Mind Meld 170 | Dr. Donald Hoffman | Is Reality a Lie?

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Is our reality a lie?

Dr. Donald Hoffman returns to the mind meld to chat about his new book, The Case Against Reality, and why everything we think of as ‘real’ may be no more than a convenient illusion.

Hoffman is a Professor of Cognitive Science at UC Irvine. His chief areas of inquiry include perception, the illusory nature of reality, free will and the development of a scientific model for consciousness.


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In some ways, talk of ‘living in the Matrix’ has jumped the intellectual shark. Sure, it’s juicy and I’ve babbled about it plenty, but the notion hasn’t produced much in the way of serious philosophy or science (which I’m obviously a world-renowned authority on). The majority of what’s out there hinges upon thought experiments and speculation. So, most these musings, no matter how fascinating or intuitively tasty they might be, are not very ontologically filling. They’re more like philosophical junk food that leaves me feeling trashy.

Of course, there are a few exceptions and Dr. Donald Hoffman is one of my favorites. He’ll be the first to tell you he’s not trying to prove we live in a ‘simulation,’ but he does believe that we live in a convenient illusion. In fact, he contends that we actually don’t perceive the truth of reality at all. Hoffman believes there’s a deeper reality out there, in there, whatever (more on that in the pod).

What Hoffman is proposing is totally original, and I have to say, I love it. I love it when our collective hubris gets shattered, I love it when everything we think is incredibly solid and unshakable becomes malleable, when suddenly we’re as if children in awe before an impossible fractal infinity of possibilities and wonder. Don Hoffman delivers just that.

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