The Romance of Reality Is Available Now
My new book about complexity, consciousness, and cosmic evolution is out now in all formats. Here are the interviews, presentations, and reviews that have been posted since its release.
It’s been quiet around here for some time, but all is quiet before the storm. The self-organizing community of cosmic optimists known as the Neuromantics has been plotting and scheming over the last year and the fruits of these efforts will be revealed in the coming months. Starting November 1st, a free newsletter will be posted every two weeks, followed a day later by a premium newsletter that will only be available to paid subscribers ($5 per month or $50 per year). The free newsletter will feature content that aims to improve society while the paywalled content aims to improve your life directly. The hope is that the latter can help with the former, because if each individual works toward self-optimization, the collective effect will be the optimization of human civilization.
For new visitors wondering what the heck the Road to Omega (R2O) Project is all about, there is this longer introduction post and a shorter About section, but a more comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) post will be published next, and it will spell out what this “plan to save the world with science, epistemology, and blockchain technology” actually is, and why you should get involved. Simply stated, our civilization appears to be on a trajectory towards catastrophe, and if we want to change that trajectory, we need a new unifying worldview and general approach to collective survival.
The scientific and philosophical foundation of that worldview is laid out in my new book The Romance of Reality: How the Universe Organizes Itself to Create Life, Consciousness, and Cosmic Complexity. On June 28th it became available in bookstores and online retailers like Amazon, where it is also available as an audiobook. It was thrilling to see it in places like Barnes & Noble, which is where I spent a lot of my twenties reading the books that planted the seeds for it. I dedicated The Romance of Reality to my son Julien, who seems to like it, but was a bit angry there weren’t any pictures.
The book even became the #1 best seller in the category of cosmology for a couple days, beating out Stephen Hawking’s classic A Brief History of Time. To be clear, the book is more about complexity science, cognitive science, and evolutionary theory than it is about cosmology, but I’ll take it!
It was also spotted in Amsterdam, which means The Romance of Reality is global, baby!
I am proud to say that the advanced praise for the book exceeded all expectations. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if anyone was going to endorse a book that so blatantly challenged the mainstream consensus on just about all of the biggest existential questions. But when blurbs started rolling in from people like Michael Shermer, a best-selling author and the founding publisher of Skeptic Magazine, and Karl Friston, the world’s most cited neuroscientist, it reinforced my belief that a major paradigm shift is on the horizon.
A mixture of luck and stubborn persistence would land me appearances on some major podcasts and web shows, including the largest podcast in the world. In this 10-minute YouTube clip from a 2-hour interview on The Joe Rogan Experience (available on Spotify), I explain how the universe is waking up through the emergence and evolution of intelligent life. The video now has over 1.8 million views and 8k comments. That’s another indication that the public is ready to welcome the vision of a self-organizing cosmos that effortlessly generates novelty and inevitably produces life, mind, and culture. In other words, a universe that is waking up.
After that, the interview requests started pouring in, and I was invited on The Michael Shermer Show. Michael is one of my favorite intellectuals and knows quite a bit about evolution, which made it easy to explain some otherwise difficult concepts. He’s a self-described skeptic, but at the same time open to new big ideas—ideas that challenge the nihilistic narratives implied by the reductionist/materialist worldview—as long as they are scientific in nature. Its reception by the skeptic community, as can be seen in the comment section, reveals that people who consider themselves secularists and atheists are ready for a science-based spirituality. As Carl Sagan said, “Science is not only compatible with spirituality, it is a profound source of spirituality.” Bridging the gap between religion and science is one goal of the R2O project, and I hope the book provides a first step toward that objective.
After that I would appear on over a dozen podcasts, including The Jim Rutt Show, The Singularity University podcast, The David Pakman Show, The Damage Report, The Conversation, and many others. You can watch them all in their entirety below, along with some presentations I gave to the Active Inference Institute that are for a more technical audience. I’ve posted them all here in case anyone wants to fall down a Romance of Reality rabbit hole.
The book reviews have also been trickling in. Psychologist Gregg Henriques wrote one titled Finding the Romance in Reality for his Psychology Today blog Theory of Knowledge, which I highly recommend. Giulio Prisco, creator of the Turing Church newsletter—which is very similar in theme to Road to Omega—also gave the book a thoughtful and inspiring write-up. Dozens of other reviews can be found on the Amazon page, where the book has received a 4.4/5 star rating with close to 100 ratings. Not too shabby for a title that’s only been out a few months!
But the best thing of all about the book release are the many emails and DMs I have gotten from readers who were moved in some way by its content. The feedback has been super thoughtful, helpful, and inspiring. Beyond making a lot of new friends, I have found some brilliant collaborators who will be contributing to the R2O project. The Romance of Reality was not an easy book to write—in fact it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life—so it is really heartwarming to see it appreciated by others. Calling it “a dream come true” would not be hyperbole.
If you don’t have the book and this post has convinced you that you should, I’m offering a couple of limited-time promotional offers to show my appreciation to readers. If you purchase the book through Amazon and email a copy of your receipt with a mailing address to email@example.com, I will send you a signed and numbered bookplate, which is basically a small sticker that can be placed in the book where a signature would normally go. This offer is limited to 100 bookplates, so if you are number 78, then next to the signature will be the date and “78/100”. There are about 50 bookplates left. For those of you who have already asked for one, those will be shipped out in November. (My apologies for the delay!)
For the first 100 people who sign up for a yearly ($50) subscription, or become a “founding member” ($100), I will send you a signed hardcover copy of The Romance of Reality (retail price: $26.95) directly if you’d like one. Founding members will receive additional tokens of appreciation, to be explained in the next newsletter. Since some people who subscribe will already own the book, you must email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know that you want a signed copy. Books will be shipped out around 1-2 weeks after I receive your email.
Thank you for subscribing to the Road to Omega newsletter. I hope the content that is coming in the following months makes it worth the wait. Please like and share this post and previous ones so that this social experiment can grow into something that can create real change. The future may depend on it!
Singularity University: The Evolutionary Journey to the Singularity and Beyond
The Jim Rutt Show: Bobby Azarian on The Romance of Reality
The David Pakman Show: The Future of the Universe and Our Place In It
The Damage Report: Why Diversity of Thought is Essential to Optimizing Society
TYT’s The Conversation: Author Bobby Azarian Answers “Why Do We Exist?”
The Metamodern Spirituality Channel: The Awakening Universe
Third Eye Drops: Is the Universe Growing the Mind of God?
Zoom Out: Using Neuroscience and Cybernetics to Transform Social Organizations
The Jon Katz Show: Bobby Azarian
The Philosophical Gospel Podcast: Dr. Bobby Azarian—Consciousness, the Cosmic DNA?
Mind Escape: Bobby Azarian part I
Mind Escape: Bobby Azarian part II
The Active Inference Institute: Universal Bayesianism—A New Kind of Theory of Everything
The Active Inference Institute: The Integrated Evolutionary Synthesis—A Unifying Theory of Reality
There’s also this 10-minute promo video I made with the concept company Infinity Maps that explains the big ideas in the book. Be sure to subscribe to the Road to Omega youtube channel if you have not because a lot of awesome new content is on the way. Stay tuned!
Great promotion work Bobby! Science communication is not easy but you're pushing the boundaries. Excited to see the next projects popping up.
Congratulations again, I hope you're ready for a life in the limelight Bobby! The new wave of AI and ML research seems to be accelerating the emergence of ideas from complexity and its adjacent fields into a wider and more technical audience. Only a matter of time before your book will be seen as one of the earliest marks of the present Zeitgeist / paradigm shift. Exciting!