The first chapter begins by questioning the building blocks of everything else: reality, perception, illusion, delusion, hallucination, subjectivity, unknowability, memory, truth, fact, and other such notions. Just a few of the quotations you'll find:

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
—Anaïs Nin

Reality is frequently inaccurate.
—Douglas Adams

Since the initial publication of the chart of the electromagnetic spectrum, humans have learned that what they can touch, smell, see, and hear is less than one-millionth of reality.
—R. Buckminster Fuller

It is inconceivable that anything should be existing.
—Celia Green

We need to take dreams more literally, and waking life more symbolically.
—Robert Moss

What was once called the objective world is a sort of Rorschach ink blot, into which each culture, each type of personality, reads a meaning only remotely derived from the shape and color of the blot itself.
—Lewis Mumford

Fact explains nothing. On the contrary, it is fact that requires explanation.
—Marilynne Robinson

Of course, sometimes it’s quite difficult to know if you’re hallucinating. You might hallucinate a silver pen on your desk right now and never suspect it’s not real—because its presence is plausible. It’s easy to spot a hallucination only when it’s bizarre. For all we know, we hallucinate all the time.
—David Eagleman

Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth, but not its twin.
—Barbara Kingsolver

All our previous positions are now exposed as absurd. But people don’t draw the obvious conclusion: it must also mean then that our present situation is absurd.
—Terence McKenna


Beware the stories you read or tell: subtly, at night, beneath the waters of consciousness, they are altering your world.
—Ben Okri

A huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded.
—David Foster Wallace

Einstein’s space is no closer to reality than van Gogh’s sky. The glory of science is not in a truth more absolute than the truth of Bach or Tolstoy, but in the act of creation itself. The scientist’s discoveries impose his own order on chaos, as the composer or painter imposes his; an order that always refers to limited aspects of reality, and is based on the observer’s frame of reference, which differs from period to period as a Rembrandt nude differs from a nude by Manet.
—Arthur Koestler

When you sit in a chair, you are not actually sitting there, but levitating above it at a height of one angstrom (a hundred millionth of a centimeter), your electrons and its electrons implacably opposed to any closer intimacy.
—Bill Bryson

I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.
—John Cage

It’s in our biology to trust what we see with our eyes. This makes living in a carefully edited, overproduced, and Photoshopped world very dangerous.
―Brené Brown

You must accept the truth from whatever source it comes.

Humor is what happens when we’re told the truth quicker and more directly than we’re used to.
—George Saunders