Between You and the Universe
- How Science, Symbols, and Experience Create (Your) Reality
- Narrated by: Shanon Weaver
- Length: 4 hrs and 54 mins
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Buy for $14.95
Reality spans across all the experiences you feel, all the words you communicate with, and all the knowledge you’ve acquired over your lifetime. Reality, in this regard, is quite literally everything. Nothing is out of scope.
But how much of reality do you understand?
Between You and the Universe explores the expansive concept of reality by breaking it into three parts: science, symbols, and experience. You can explore what these distinct parts are and how they interweave to stitch everything around you. The goal is to present three mental models that explain how your reality emerges, from your idea of self to your understandings of the universe.
You’ll probably notice familiar disciplines ranging from physics, neuroscience, linguistics, and philosophy. However, this book's particular classifications and arrangement of concepts allow you to structure these separate ideas into comprehensive mental models. By doing so, this book covers a wide breadth of questions:
- How do you become conscious?
- How do your sensations work?
- How does language facilitate your experience?
- What are symbols?
- Why do symbols exist everywhere around you?
- What assumptions exist in our scientific undertakings?
- And, what are the unknowns in reality that we still wish to explain?
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.
What listeners say about Between You and the UniverseAverage Customer Ratings
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Interesting but with some sloppy details.
The author divides our understanding of the world into worldviews of science, symbols and experience and then explains each. I had always thought that science provides an understanding and that experience provides feelings but I had never thought of symbols as another perspective of our world. This was interesting.
Several statements I found to be incorrect or misleading. The most glaring one was a statement of light traveling at 160,000 mi./s in a vacuum. I replayed this several times to make sure I had heard what I heard. This is just plain wrong. It is 186,000 mi./s in a vacuum. It could be that the person reading made a mistake but regardless, it’s wrong.
The statement that there are trillions of galaxies is also incorrect. Today it is estimated to be 100 billion, possibly 200 billion but certainly not trillions. Haphazardly throwing around the terms billions and trillions is commonplace today but it should not be in this book. Comparing billions to trillions is like comparing a collection of dimes to a collection of $100 dollar bills.
The author talks about weak and strong electromagnetic waves but doesn’t define what that means. It is the amplitude of the wave. He leaves the reader with the impression that ultra low frequency waves (that cannot ionize matter, including parts of our bodies) can combine with each other and harm our bodies. The only way that could happen would be if the frequencies are the same and are therefore additive. But even so, the frequency itself would not change and still would not be able to ionize matter. It would instead result in some molecular motion (heat) which could damage cells but it would be very different from ionization. The author does nothing to clarify the difference. It’s a shame because he could use this to help the public understand why data about cell phones use and electrical power have not uncovered harmful effects. Perhaps induced motion could create heat and if the cell phone is held to your head for long periods of time and over long periods of time, damage could occur. But we await data to support this view.
The author presents the scientific community as having two cosmological models relatively equal in their scientific acceptance. One is the “Steady State” and the other is the “Big Bang.” OK, but equal acceptance? Hardly. The “Big Bang” is accepted by 95 to 99% of scientists, depending on their specific fields. The author unfortunately promotes the public’s incorrect idea that there is major disagreement among scientists. There isn’t. Since discoveries made in 1965 of microwave background (predicted by the “Big Bang”) and other observations, the “Steady State” theory has been replaced with the “Big Bang.”
I might also add that scientists don’t “believe“ in the “Big Bang” the way a religious person “believes” in God. Scientists see the “Big Bang” as the best explanation of observations - at least so far.
I found the use of the word “infinite” by the author somewhat annoying when he means an extremely large finite number. Once again this coincides with the public’s misunderstanding and/or misuse of terms.
Towards the end of the book the author talks about “Qualia“ as possibly being a fundamental property. This is intriguing. I have read similar propositions considering “consciousness” as a fundamental property. Declaring something as fundamental certainly would circumvent the problem of trying to explain it. Is it just an easy way out??? I don’t know, but it is interesting.