The Grand Delusion

What We Know But Don't Believe


This is a fun, unique book that goes deep into the great mysteries of knowing—something like Lawrence Krauss's A Universe From Nothing (Atria) meets Sam Harris's Waking Up (S&S) (Both S&S bestsellers). Or: 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.

  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (July 28, 2020)
  • Length: 328 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781614296799