The Romance of Reality How the Universe Organizes Itself to Create Life, Consciousness, and Cosmic Complexity
Why do we exist? This question has long been viewed as the province of religion and philosophy. But what if science has had the answers all along? According to the prevailing scientific paradigm, the universe tends toward randomness; it functions according to laws without purpose, and the emergence of life is an accident devoid of meaning. Consciousness—what it is and how it came about—is largely beyond our power to explain. But now, based on cutting-edge findings at the intersection of physics, chemistry, biology, and information theory—generally referred to as “complexity science”—a new cosmic narrative is emerging. In The Romance of Reality, cognitive neuroscientist Bobby Azarian explains the science behind this new view of reality and explores what it means for all of us. In engaging, accessible prose, Azarian outlines the fundamental misunderstanding of thermodynamics at the heart of the old assumptions about the universe’s evolution, and shows us the evidence that suggests that the universe is a “self-organizing” system, one that is moving toward increasing complexity and awareness. Under this paradigm, life and consciousness are viewed not as statistical anomalies, but as an inevitable consequence of natural laws, with sentient life playing a central role in the universe’s future. The great cosmologist and science communicator Carl Sagan once said of humanity that “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” The Romance of Reality shows that this poetic statement in fact rests on a scientific foundation, and gives us a new way to know the cosmos, along with a riveting vision of life that imbues existence with meaning—nothing supernatural required.
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