Showing posts from 2013

The Biggest Error Ever Made in the Name of Science

The video speaks for itself...

Copyright © 2013 by Bernardo Kastrup. All rights are reserved.

Response to Bernardo's presentation at Science & Non-Duality 2013

By Michael Larkin.

(This guest article is an interesting essay in reaction to an earlier post of mine. I particularly like Michael's interpretation of space-time under the idealist framework of the whirlpool metaphor, as described in that earlier post. I trust you will enjoy it at least as much as I did!)

The materialist paradigm implies that everything is perceived internal to the brain. There must be something "out there", but as far as each of us is concerned, it's rendered in terms of neuronal signals. We perceive things we call "stars", but those twinkly things are perceptive impressions in our brain inside our skulls. And, of course, the interpretations of those impressions are held to be thoughts, also the result of neuronal interactions.

The "things themselves", the stars, and all the different things we perceive, are actually inside our heads. Even if you argue that you can set up some kind of detector that is outside the brain, the output …

My presentation at Science & Non-Duality 2013

Here is a video of my recent presentation at the 'Science & Non-Duality' conference 2013, where I discuss parts of my upcoming book 'Why Materialism is Baloney.' The presentation was very well received there, so I hope you enjoy it too.

Copyright © 2013 by Bernardo Kastrup. All rights are reserved.

Implanted memories... or are they?

This week several people sent me a link to an article just published on Scientific American. The title promised something extraordinary: "The Era of Memory Engineering Has Arrived: How neuroscientists can call up and change a memory." That certainly sparked my curiosity, so I decided to read it tonight, while sipping some cold Riesling in my garden, trying to cool off from the heat of the day. In the end, I was indeed amused, but not for the reasons I thought I would be... allow me to elaborate.

The article starts with references to science fiction films in which the hero, at some point, realises that his memories were all implanted by 'evil' scientists. None of the past he remembers actually happened, but was artificially synthesised and inserted into his head. I immediately thought of Total Recall (the original), where people could go to a shop called 'Recall' and order custom-made memories of holidays, adventures, heated romances, or what not, without act…

New book closer to publication

I have great news: I've just signed the contract for publication of my new book, Why Materialism Is Baloney! Not only does this bring the book a major step closer to availability, it may also have a positive impact on my previous three books. Moreover, the process of interacting with potential publishers over the past few months has taught me valuable lessons about the reality of the publishing industry today, which seems quite different from what it was only two years ago. I want to share some of these new learnings with you.

As most of you know, my previous three books have been published by John Hunt Publishing (JHP), a mid-sized English publishing house with several imprints. My previous titles Rationalist Spirituality and Dreamed up Reality were originally brought to market under the O-Books imprint. Meaning in Absurdity was published under the Iff-Books imprint. Now, all three of the books have been brought under Iff-Books (the science and philosophy imprint), where they al…

Presenting Inception Dialogues

Today I am releasing my new project, Inception Dialogues, a series of conversations with some of the better and lesser-known right-brained thinkers, feelers, and visionaries of our age. Episode 1 is an overview of the project, its character, and purpose. Episode 2 is a fantastic interview with psychologist Rick Stuart, which I encourage you to watch and share with as many people as possible. Rick, in his uniquely open-hearted and authentic style, shares with us many valuable nuggets about the nature of life and the human psyche, the meaning of suffering, as well as his experience working with terminal patients.

While I am announcing the Inception Dialogues project here in this blog, I see it as separate from my on-going philosophy activity. The reasons for this are manyfold: For one, in Inception Dialogues the content is mostly not mine. Secondly, the series of dialogues represents my adventure into right-brained territory, which is not the usual hemisphere of my philosophy work. As …

'Why Materialism Is Baloney': An overview

Today I want to share with you an overview of my upcoming fourth book, tentatively titled Why Materialism Is Baloney: How true skeptics know there is not death and fathom answers to life, the universe, and everything. The manuscript is currently complete and discussions with potential publishers are ongoing.

For far too long has the cultural debate been framed as materialism versus religion. Materialism has, unjustifiably, gone unchallenged as the only viable metaphysics as far as clear rational thinking. Why Materialism Is Baloney seeks to change this and reframe the cultural debate. It uncovers the internal contradictions and absurd implications of materialism, and then presents a hard-nosed, non-materialist metaphysics substantiated by hard empirical evidence and clear logical argumentation. In this, it is a unique and much needed work that closes a glaring hole in today’s cultural dialogue.

Why Materialism Is Baloney articulates a surprising and compelling way of looking at nature…

Interview on idealism

An interview I gave very recently to Et Vita has just been published. It contains a nice overview of topics I address in my upcoming book tentatively titled Why Materialism is Baloney and, as such, is somewhat of a preview of the book. I hope you enjoy it!
Copyright © 2013 by Bernardo Kastrup. All rights are reserved.

In Memoriam

Today, breaking from the usual pattern, I want to share with you a very personal thing. As I neared the completion of the manuscript of my fourth book, late in 2012, my cat neared the completion of her life. As my surreptitious co-author, she sat next to me while I wrote most of the articles in this blog, and most of the words in my books. Her name was ‘Snoes,’ a Dutch word that means something like ‘darling’ and is pronounced ‘Snoos.’ My wife and I adopted her only a few months after we settled in our first real home. Unlike many cats – who tend to avoid direct eye contact – Snoes would always look us straight in the eyes. That was our way to communicate, which we refined into a language over time. For almost 15 years, Snoes was an integral part of our family and lives, filling voids we didn’t know existed until after she was no longer with us.

With an uncanny synchronicity, her little body failed bit-by-bit as I completed each chapter of my manuscript. Because I was her nurse – adm…

Modern Tales of the Dioscuri: The Quest for Truth

Chapter 1: The seer

Pollux and Castor sailed far, to a distant island beyond the boundaries of maps, in search of Phineus, the seer. Upon arriving, exhausted but exultant, they immediately sought an audience with the famed prophet. Pollux, carefully trying to disguise his identity as son of Zeus ⎯ whose fit of jealousy had caused the blindness of Phineus ⎯ was the first to speak:

⎯ Greetings, wise seer. My brother Castor and I are on a quest for the ultimate Truth. But we know not which course to pursue. Bewildered as we are by the myriad myths of man, we humbly plea for your guidance.

Phineus looked over the two brothers with compassion. He knew the inevitability of what was to follow. After a long sigh, he replied:

⎯ There are only two authentic paths to truth, young seekers. Man has no shortage of myths at his disposal. If his true motivation is to find peace, he must search for the myth that resonates with his heart and make it his life and reality. This, the path of the heart, is …

Zen Buddhism and Christianity

Who am I to talk about religion? I am no theologian or religious scholar. Heck, I'm not even religious. So what compels me now to write something about two of the world's most significant religions? The sincere answer is: I am not really sure. Over the past weeks, after having finished the first draft of my fourth book – a very analytical, intellectual piece of work – I've found myself operating less at an intellectual level and more at an intuitive, heart-felt level. It is as though the completion of the draft freed me up to explore new avenues of being, and new ways to relate to myself and reality. In this process, it occurred to me that there is a striking similarity, even an equivalence, between Zen Buddhism and Christianity when it comes to the key manner in which these two religions help an individual relate more harmoniously to the world. This is what I'd like to talk about below.

Before you feel compelled to point out to me how these two religions differ drama…

What is there to do?

The other day I was discussing with a reader what can be done to prevent the growth of meaninglessness and isolation in the heart of our culture from crossing the point of no return. Although my conversation with her included more practical issues, like the alarming environmental deterioration and dangerous geopolitical trends we all bear witness to, I want to focus here on the psychological and 'spiritual' – a word I use with hesitation, since its meaning is so loose – health and wellbeing of humanity. On this specific point, my young reader felt strongly that vocal and decisive initiative should be taken by those with insight into the situation; that something must be done in the form of strong actions. It wasn't lost on me what she was trying to suggest regarding my responsibility in all this.

Yet, I am not inclined to revolutions or attempts to change people on a mass scale. By and large, I don't think they are effective. I believe change comes from within the ind…

Brain, Mind, and the Matrix of Innovation

I have been busy writing my fourth book and, therefore, have not written much here lately. To try and compensate for it, I'd like to share with you a presentation I gave recently. In it, I discuss the nature of the creative process and its relationship to the mind-body problem. Are innovative ideas generated algorithmically by the brain? Or is brain activity, in fact, an obstacle to creative insight? An intriguing pattern in revealed: Creative insight correlates precisely with a reduction of brain activity. Many cases are reviewed to substantiate this pattern: accidental savants, psychedelic trances, brain damage, hyperventilation, meditation, acceleration- and strangulation-induced loss of consciousness, traditional ordeals and initiatory rituals, transcranial magnetic stimulation, etc. The presentation concludes with the surprising idea that, analogously to how lightning is merely the image of the process of electric discharge, the brain is not the cause of mind but an image of…