**A BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK**
‘A stylish, playful exploration of what digital life is doing to the way we find meaning in the world.’ Guardian, ‘Book of the Week’
‘A report from the front line of the digital generation by someone superbly well-equipped to read and decode the signals.’ Sunday Times
‘A bravura investigation of our turbulent times.’ New Scientist
‘Clever, funny and deeply moving… an engaging and thought-provoking journey through the fakery of modern life.’ Mail on Sunday
A spellbinding examination of the nature of reality, by one of the brightest thinkers of today.
Cognitive science proposes that we have evolved to build mental maps of the world not according to its actual, physical nature, but according to what allows us to thrive. In other words, our individual and collective realities are fictions – carefully constructed to enable us to maintain our particular perspectives.
It used to be that our fictions were rooted to reasonably solid things: to people, places and memories. Today, in an age of online personas, alternative truths, constant surveillance and an increasingly hysterical news cycle, our realities are becoming more flimsy and more vulnerable than ever before. Ours is now a zoomed-in perspective, where the backstage is centre stage. We are both camera person and subject, with new powers and new weaknesses.
Our personal and political spheres are dangerously merging. How will the form and grammar of our feelings have to change in this over-exposed environment? Should any of our stories remain secret? How are these phenomena changing the way we live? How do we maintain a sense of reality in an increasingly fantastic world?
Picnic Comma Lightning is an innovative examination of the nature of reality in the twenty-first century, one that explores the key ethical, political and neurological forces contouring our inner selves, but also the old influences of grief and desire, memory and imagination. In it, award-winning author Laurence Scott provides a lively and accessible new philosophy for this epoch in Western civilisation, one that will change the way you see the world, and your place within it.