The Grand Delusion: What We Know But Don't Believe

The Grand Delusion: What We Know But Don't Believe

by Steve Hagen
The Grand Delusion: What We Know But Don't Believe

The Grand Delusion: What We Know But Don't Believe

by Steve Hagen


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This is a fun, unique book that goes deep into the great mysteries of knowing—something like Lawrence Krauss's A Universe from Nothing meets Sam Harris's Waking Up. Or, perhaps, Sam Harris and Stephen Hawking meet Socrates.

Robert Pirsig wrote of Steve Hagen’s first book, Why the World Doesn’t Seem to Make Sense, “For those who are certain that objectivity and intellect are the ground floor of all knowledge, this can be a valuable trip to the sub-basement.”

Now, in The Grand Delusion, Hagen drills deeper, into the most basic assumptions, strengths, and limitations of religion and belief, philosophy and inquiry, science and technology. In doing so, he shines new light on the question Why is there Something rather than Nothing?—and shines this light from an entirely unexpected (and largely unexplored) direction.

Using a provocative mix of examples from physics, philosophy, religion, myth, neuroscience, and mathematics—and a clever conversational exploration between Hagen and his interlocutor, “ANYONE”—this book also offers a fresh perspective on other questions that science, philosophy, and religion have long grappled with. Such topics include:

- What does it mean to exist?
- What is consciousness?
- What is reality?
- What is the nature of truth?

Layer by layer, Hagen examines the questions we ask, the way we ask them, the assumptions and beliefs we hold dear, and the ways in which we separate ourselves from the very answers we seek. In the process, he draws on sources that include Huang Po, Richard Feynman, Sir Arthur Eddington, Hui-Neng, Susan B. Anthony, Daniel Dennett, Joseph Campbell, Dogen, Emily Dickinson, Nagarjuna, Ikkyu, William I. McLaughlin, Sam Harris, and Henry David Thoreau.

Ultimately, this book reveals how all of these fundamental questions—and many, many more—stem from a single error, a single unwarranted belief, a single Grand Delusion.

The Grand Delusion helps readers move past this delusion into insight that can settle these age-old and seemingly intractable questions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781614296782
Publisher: Wisdom Publications MA
Publication date: 10/13/2020
Pages: 328
Sales rank: 668,219
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Steve Hagen has been an instructor in religion at St. Olaf College and a science researcher for the University of Minnesota and the State of Alaska. In 1979 he was ordained a Zen priest, and in 1989 he received formal endorsement to teach. He has, however, no formal ties to any Zen or Buddhist hierarchy. In 1997, he founded Dharma Field Meditation and Learning Center in Minneapolis, where he continues to serve as head teacher. He is the author of the bestselling Buddhism Plain and Simple and several other popular books on religion, science, and philosophy.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction: Big Unsettled Questions 1

Part I Mind, Matter, Motion, and Music

1 The Ultimate Question 7

2 Sublime or Trivial? 11

3 Breaking Out of Habitual Thought 13

4 Neither Edged nor Edgeless 17

5 How We Perpetuate Ignorance 21

6 Substantial Confusion 31

7 A Universe of Mindstuff 39

8 No Need to Explain Everything 49

9 No Stand-in for Reality 53

10 What We're Missing 57

11 Seeing Is Not Believing 63

12 Who Do We Think We Are? 73

13 How We Make Up Trees, the Universe, and Everything 79

14 The Persistent Illusion of Persistence 85

15 Forget What Happens 91

16 Different from Anything Else 97

17 Tasting Actual Knowledge 101

18 Slow Down 105

19 Consciousness, Awareness, and Reality 109

20 The Self Illusion 113

21 A Self Would Have to Be Something 119

22 This Illusory World 121

23 This Sizeless World 125

24 Mind Is Moving 131

25 How Motion Is Mind 137

26 There Is Only Mind 145

Part II Grand Symmetry and Grand Delusion

27 What about God? 151

28 Belief Is the Culprit 159

29 Truth outside of Words 163

30 The Unwholesome Nature of Beliefs 167

31 Truth Doesn't Belong to Anyone 171

32 Religion without Belief 179

33 Just Notice and Return 183

34 Leave Belief to Science 185

35 What Science Cannot Touch 191

36 The Two Truths 195

37 Settling the Matter 201

Appendix A The Trouble with Truth Theories 209

Appendix B Mind and Consciousness 215

Part 1 The Hard Problem Lies in What We Imagine 216

Part 2 The Easy Problems lie in What We Can't Imagine 220

Part 3 So, What's the Problem? 227

Appendix C The Flood and Other True Fictions 229

Appendix D Quagmires, Lacunas, and Longstanding FEQs 245

Appendix E The People Behind the Quotations 255

Glossary: Understanding and Using a Vocabulary of Enlightenment 259

Notes 271

About the Author 309

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