Customer success story, Part 2: Interview with the book’s author

Cactus Communications

October 6, 2020

Editage customer Renyuan Dong recently published his book Rainstorm of Tomorrow: The Ever-Flowing Banquet of Philosophy. The book was edited under Editage’s editing services.

In this interview, John Trujillo, a freelance editor who worked on a major portion of the book, spoke to Mr. Dong about the book and his experience in writing and publishing it:


Congratulations on the publication of your book Rainstorm of Tomorrow: The Ever-Flowing Banquet of Philosophy. How are you feeling about it?

It took me a tremendous amount of time and effort to write and edit the book, as well as find a suitable publisher. But by the time I received a final copy of my book and letters from readers about how much they liked the book, it all felt to have been worth it.

Rainstorm of Tomorrow is a polymathic work that dexterously weaves the storied philosophical themes of truth, ethics, and aesthetics together with the theories of relativity, quantum mechanics, neuroscience, epigenetics, social Darwinism, utilitarianism, evolutionary psychology, and modern art – from the soberest rationality to the wildest conjecture – to generate provocative or even alienated discourse on topics that readers might otherwise regard themselves as being familiar with, and challenge them into rethinking any settled positions that are taken for granted. Core discussions of the book are represented by:

  • A reversed worldview—the tree growing into the soil with its roots buried in the air
  • The complexity of ethical behaviors—the conformity to utilitarianism by anti-utilitarian events and the violation of utilitarianism by seemingly utilitarian events
  • The establishment of universal aesthetics – memory inheritance through “the encephalic waterpipe”


What inspired you to write this book?

It was on insomnia-plagued nights that I journeyed onto a blog to jot cogitations stranger than fiction: the culprits behind my stolen sleep; the raging beast of thought who knows no weariness until the relief of dawn; a rebellious, nocturnal soul shed of its daytime attire as a social elite. Spurred on by the unexpected success of the blog, these impulses later spawned the prototype of this book.

Most of the ideas presented in this book matured during my collegiate study of philosophy and economics, as well as my professional tenure in healthcare and biology; the shift wrought a cross-disciplinary mode of thinking, illuminating connections and contradictions that defy the boundaries of each subject. Through my travels, such as an exchange program in Europe and a later career in Japan, I found persistent proofs of and supplements to my existing philosophical belief transcendent of the confines of any one culture. At the root of the ideas presented in the book, however, lie my inherent sense of alienation from the world and my vigilance against any established norms.

With the advancement of disciplinary differentiation in today’s segmented and atomistic society, individual pieces of knowledge are often restrained to the little patch of any given specialty. For one to grasp the world in an all-encompassing picture, we need to weave the threads of different disciplines together. That tapestry is called the philosophy of science. I wish for my book to help by presenting this tapestry.


Can you provide our readers with examples of how your cross-disciplinary background helped to develop the thoughts presented in the book?

My career in healthcare and biology, for example, has greatly inspired my perception of the essential structure of our universe.

I was once asked to explain why Carbapenem, a class of highly effective antibiotics usually reserved as the last means to treat infections, is effective in addressing some multidrug resistant bacteria – or super bacteria as we usually call them – but is not so effective in resolving other infections that can even be managed by the co-administration of weaker antibiotics: aspirin and others. I answered with the following:

Imagine the chamois living on a rocky mountain. The natural fortress shelters it from most natural disasters: fire, drought, hurricane, etc. However, it is extremely vulnerable to earthquakes and the subsequent landslides and falling rocks. What about its distant relative, the antelope on the plain? While it is prone to many disasters such as fire, drought and hurricane, it need not worry much about the earthquake, as there aren’t many falling objects to watch out for on the plain. Therefore, the level of harm the earthquake can effect is not definite but relative to different habitats. Ditto the strength of Carbapenem can do to different microbes.

Before I realized it, I was already tying parallels between a microscopic phenomenon to its macroscopic counterpart. Amazed by the distant similarity across the temporal and spatial scales, I proposed a bold conjecture about our universe later when I wrote this book:

The universe is not composed of infinite time and space, but rather constitutes the inner body of a giant creature. The nebulas and stars within the universe correspond to the organs and soft tissue of this giant creature. If that is the case, what, then, are humans? The answer is that human beings are essentially parasitic bacteria living within the giant creature. Are we probiotics or harmful bacteria? Are natural disasters and environmental changes movements of a universe-generated immune response to human overcrowding and pollution? Moreover, what is taking place in vitro of the giant creature? Perhaps there is another, even larger organism in comparison with which our universe (the giant creature) may be as small as a parasitic bacterium. The structure of nature may thus circulate endlessly…


Much of the book seems to focus on how inherent aspects of humanity can, when considered alongside contemporary currents in science and technology, inform our future. What do you envision the outcome of your book’s provocative discourse to be?

By stressing how inherent aspects of humanity — as a mixture of the enterprising spirit and the pursuit of happiness — shape our memory, aesthetic concepts and even design our lifespan of today, I render a more realistic future map in the book by emphasizing the important role utilitarianism plays in human evolution.

The way that human civilization advances is sometimes described as the Red Queen’s race. In a room that is constantly rolling backward, “it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that.” Hardly anyone knows what happens to those do run twice as fast and step outside the room, since most of us satisfy ourselves with being at the head of the room and exploiting the other livestock for our welfare. This is because we, as humans, share a symbiotic but nonidentical interest with the will to live. While the will to live awards us with happiness whenever our ability increases, it ultimately aggregates individual achievements into collective progress that advances the continuous evolution of mankind. On the other hand, most individuals of the human race are only willing to invest a marginal effort for progress at the cost of indulgence, since they aim for happiness instead of evolution. The enterprising spirit of human beings drives us forward, whereas the pursuit of happiness and indulgence encumbers our pace.

On the other side, utilitarianism is not as simple as its deceptive principle of “gaining advantage and avoiding harm.” In reality, we often find that behavior thirsting for quick success and instant rewards departs from the doctrines of utilitarianism, while other behavior that is seemingly absent of desires complies with the teachings of utilitarianism in unexpected ways. Such dialectics and agreement between opposites may provide us with a way out from the trap of the Red Queen’s room.


When working with Editage, what did you value most and what did you find to be most challenging?

I appreciate the level of the comprehension that the editors of Editage demonstrated towards the content of my book. They really see through what the author intends to convey and propose an exact, authentic expression in the culture of the English language. In addition, they also added a literary touch to the context. As a result, the book achieves a balance between academic and creative writing styles that evokes the traversing of a tightrope and renders abstract philosophical argumentation metaphorical to make it more accessible to the general public.

One challenge for me is to distinguish objective editing opinions from subjective ones, as some points of my book could be controversial and open to debate. At other times, the boundaries between the two are blurred rather than explicit, and decisions must be made discreetly to optimize expression without compromising my writing style. However, I do treasure and evaluate these subjective editing proposals in the same manner as the feedback I would receive from beta-readers. Even when I didn’t revise my book according to the suggestions, they prompted my use of words that were more semantically specific, the rephrasing of sentences to achieve a more neutral style, or the addition of explanatory paragraphs to add further support for my arguments. All helped to build a work of finer quality.


Finally, what is your advice to other writers like yourself?

As a first-time writer, you may experience struggles like running out of inspiration, stagnation in finding the right publisher, and a vacillation between writing for the market and writing what you love. One trick I practiced to pull through all of these frustrations is to envision/imagine the “bright” future once I have achieved my goal. The obstacles that seemed insurmountable when I faced them at such moments would – looking back – seem unworthy of mention. This approach helps you to jump outside the cell that currently prisons you, reassess the difficulties from a holistic view, and boost your incentives by advancing the future reward. This is especially important because publishing nowadays can be a challenging task and a protracted war for new authors.

Another piece of advice is to sustain your self-confidence. Every writer starts off with a high level of confidence in his/her work that may gradually diminish to self-doubt after numerous rejection letters: after all, it is difficult to hold to one’s faith when the surrounding world seems to devalue or ignore it. In the epilogue “To the Masses As Well As to the Mavericks” of my book Rainstorm of Tomorrow, I discuss in detail about how to deal with the conflict between the pursuit for self and social/market demands, and how to sustain one’s personal belief amid adversities. I hope you will find this to be of help.


Author bio: Renyuan Dong works as a senior healthcare consultant based in Tokyo. He has rich academic backgrounds in both philosophy and economics, speaks three languages—English, Chinese, and Japanese—and boasts of having travelled to over 30 countries. Through his travels, the author found persistent proofs of and supplements to his existing philosophical belief transcendent of the confines of any single culture. The multinational identity of the author may help usher in an occasion for West to meet East in the philosophy of science.

Editor bio: John Trujillo began his career by studying neurobiological sciences and conducting research on the biological correlates of restrictive, repetitive behaviour in mice. He later underwent several about-faces in shifting towards English instruction, academic editing, and architecture. While apparently disparate fields, the editor sees each distinct direction as a step in his continuous exploration of different forms of problem solving and the shaping of healthful environments.


Rainstorm of Tomorrow has been listed on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads.


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To see the video testimonial from the author, see Part 1.

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