The membrane metaphor in images

UPDATE 17 Nov 2012: I accidentally deleted the original post and recovered it here. But the 30+ original comments have probably been lost! See more here. I sincerely apologize for this.

Most of you know that I have been working on a metaphorical model of reality that looks upon mind as a kind of membrane, the vibrations of which give rise to all subjective perception and, as such, to all reality. I have discussed this in a number of previous posts in this blog, amongst which:

Mind as a Hyper-Dimensional Membrane;
Categories of Consciousness;
Subject, Object, and Instincts; and
The Brain as a Knot of Consciousness.

Now, a video has been produced where I discuss the ideas behind these articles in a, hopefully, more evocative manner:

Notice how the membrane metaphor described in the video provides a different, but perfectly coherent ontological framework upon which to interpret the mathematical formulations of M-theory, the leading edge of theoretical physics today: The hyper-membrane M-theory works with, in this case, is the medium of mind itself, not a strongly-objective entity outside of mind. I believe the entire mathematical formulation of M-theory could be seamlessly ported onto this ontological interpretation, leading to a much more parsimonious, clean worldview, where the 'hard problem of consciousness' disappears naturally.

This video, and the accompanying articles mentioned above, form a kind of preview of my fourth book, which I am working on now. I am working for it to be a thorough, well-substantiated, coherent, strong, and rather complete articulation of my idealist views and general philosophical system about the relationship between mind and reality. I hope for it to be a reference work in reviving the philosophy of idealism; that is, the notion that all reality is in mind.

Though I am quite satisfied with my current publishers, I want to take the opportunity to drop the following note here: I am interested in maximising the degree of exposure of my upcoming book, and would whole-heartedly entertain the possibility of switching to a bigger publisher, prepared to commit serious resources in promoting the book. If you have ideas on this regard, please contact me privately through the link provided here to the right.

Copyright © 2012 by Bernardo Kastrup. All rights are reserved.


  1. Re: M-Theory, I wonder what you would think of "Farewell to Reality: How Modern Physics Has Betrayed the Search for Scientific Truth" - Jim Baggott

    *Starred Review* When a prominent theorist acknowledges how many spatial geometries superstring theory allows—“More numerous than grains of sand on a beach. Every beach”—Baggott sees not conceptual fertility but scientific failure. After all, theorists cannot identify any of the absurdly numerous geometries they contemplate as superior to others as a description of reality. Unfortunately, Baggott finds that some theory-mad physicists simply do not care about reality—or about the scientific method as a way of discovering it. Baggott’s own commitment to empirical reality pervades his overview of six principles foundational to the orthodox science behind the accepted model of the universe. To be sure, readers will soon realize that that model leaves large questions unanswered: Why, for instance, won’t relativity and quantum mechanics play together? Why does the big bang look so fine-tuned? Though he acknowledges the lacunae, Baggott argues that scientists should not be rushing into the gaps with wildly imaginative theories exempt from empirical testing. Boldly naming names, Baggott indicts prominent theorists—even Stephen Hawking—for spinning fairy-tale physics in fantasizing about multiple universes, anthropic principles, M-theory branes, and string-theory vibrational patterns. Solid physics, he warns, is fading into airy metaphysics. Certain to broaden and intensify the debate over what counts as science. --Bryce Christensen

    Though I think the author has unfortunately bought into Materialism as the legitimate underlying philosophy of Science, I still think its a legitimate question. "What counts as Science?" It seems to me useful for us to have a discipline that self limits to that which is testable. Where just making stuff up isn't enough. I am curious as to your thoughts on the bleed between science and meta-physics.

    1. Hi RHC,
      Yes, I think Baggott has a point there, as has e.g. Lee Smolin. It is indeed a valid criticism of M-theory that it's somewhere in between philosophy and science. Yet, my interest in M-theory is not restricted to whether it can be fully verified experimentally, or whether there are concrete applications for it. My interest is, in fact, rather philosophical. We know that there are huge gaps in our current understanding of the universe if we think of it as a collection of material particles. And to think of the universe as the vibratory patterns of a hyper-membrane seems to be promising as a long-term project. So maybe there is something to the idea that the universe is indeed the vibratory patterns of some "medium." Whether experimentally verifiable at the present or not, the idea offer a new and intriguing avenue of thought. Is it science, strictly speaking? I don't know, but I consider the question rather one of word play.
      Cheers, B.

    2. Just saw your reply. I think I am a little to the Right of you on this. Baggott's main point is that theoretical physics as an entire enterprise has gone meta-physical. Assuming he is not exaggerating, I think this is a bad thing. Mostly for bourgeois, utility related reasons; ie science, especially physics as the progenitor of engineering, which IMHO is the only justification for the level of resource and time commitment society gives it. Sorry, I have a tendency to turn everything into a political-economic discussion. But also, probably in my ignorance of what is actually going on in the field, it does seem like all of this comes from a desire to avoid dealing directly with the anomalies and disconnects that have arisen from the physics that have been tested ie relativity, quantum mechanics and even the Newtonian. One of the aspects of Baggot's book that is most interesting is his description of the chain of theorizing that leads to M-Theory and beyond. I was left with the impression that there was nothing particularly "true" about it and that the density of dependence on cascading, completely imaginary, premises is appalling. At some point the amount of invented out of thin air stuff crosses a point of absurdity and one might as well be studying the nature of reality based on Tolkiens Middle Earth mythology with Maths. But as said I am way out of my league on this topic and hope I am wrong.

    3. Yes, there is a point and a sense in which all philosophy and science eventually descends into a rabbit hole... that's the nature of the mystery we call reality.


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