When I picked up Ziya Tong’s recently released The Reality Bubble: Blind Spots, Hidden Truths, and the Dangerous Illusions that Shape Our World, I was expecting a nice summer read where I’d learn some interesting things about the natural world. It was, indeed, both those things. Tong’s writing style is fun, clever, and captivating, and her ability to explain and make links between a wide range of scientific research is impressive. (And no surprise given her background in science journalism, most notably as a host of Discovery Channel Canada’s Daily Planet.)
As I read more, it became clear that this was much more than a neat book of nature trivia. Rather, Tong makes a sweeping argument that the blind spots in the way we perceive the world and make sense of our place in it –-- from our perception of matter, space, and time, to the underlying paradigms in society that make the trains run on time, so to speak – have crucial implications for the planet and for us. (Really, the praise on the book jacket from Naomi Klein and David Suzuki should have been a clue…) In essence, Tong suggests that we don’t know what we don’t know, and by adopting a more informed and critical approach in our way of life we can not only avoid some dire consequences, but also flourish. I hesitate to get much deeper into Tong’s thesis because it really comes out wonderfully over the course of the book, with a great zinger at the end. Suffice it to say, I find myself looking at things with a new perspective since I’ve finished The Reality Bubble and will be recommending this book to everyone I talk to for the next few months.
As I read The Reality Bubble I was reminded of LUNA and our project of connecting people to nature through art, specifically this year’s focus on the Wilket Creek ravine. For me, learning about the existence and important function of ravines in Toronto revealed a huge blind spot in my understanding of our urban landscape, and I don’t think I’m alone in this. As I better understand and appreciate the vital role that our ravines play in our water system, and the cost of neglecting these natural areas, I am convinced that everyone needs to know this. I hope that our project can contribute in some way to a broader awareness and revitalization of ravines across the GTA. When you know better, you do better - right?
Book review by Jessica Krecklo Naidu
For more information on The Reality Bubble by Ziya Tong, please visit: