The greatest contradiction of common sense

Are these colors real, or just representations within your head?
Photo by Bernardo Kastrup, hereby released into the Public Domain.
This essay is about a shocking contradiction in our common sense about the nature of reality; a contradiction that you are probably totally unaware of. Becoming aware of this contradiction has the potential to change your life.

On the one hand, our common sense says that the colors we see, the sounds we hear, the smells we feel, the textures we sense, are all the actual and concrete reality. We take it for granted that they are all really 'out there,' in the sense of being outside our heads. On the other hand, our common sense also seems to suggest that death is the end of our consciousness. Even if we don't acknowledge this intellectually or spiritually, most of us fear the end of consciousness with enough sincerity to betray our belief in its possibility.

Now, the point of this essay is extraordinarily simple: these two common-sense beliefs are mutually exclusive. They cannot be both true. Either everything you sense around you right now, including the computer in front of you, is a kind of "hallucination" inside your head, or your consciousness doesn’t end upon what we call physical death. And by the time we come to the end of this essay, I believe you  will agree with me.

Here is a narrated, video version of this essay:

Let’s start with the postulate that bodily dissolution — death — indeed implies the end of consciousness. Such a notion is entirely based on the idea that your body, particularly your brain, generates all your experiences. After all, what other reason could we have to believe that consciousness ends if the brain stops working? But if the notion is true, then all of your subjective experiences and their qualities — colors, sounds, flavors, textures, warmth, etc. — are merely representations created within your head. The "real world out there" has none of the qualities of experience: no colors, no melody, no flavors, no warmth. Supposedly, it is a purely abstract realm of quantities akin to mathematical equations. It cannot even be visualized, for visualization always entails qualities of experience. In essence, if this is true, your entire life unfolds inside your skull. Your actual skull is somewhere beyond the room where you are sitting, enveloping it from all sides. After all, the room you are experiencing right now is supposedly within your head.

But what if all this is baloney? What if the colors, sounds, and smells you are experiencing right now are the real reality — the actual world — not "hallucinated" representations within your skull? Then the necessary implication is that all of reality is in consciousness, for reality is then "made of" the qualities of subjective experience. But if that is so, it is your body that is in consciousness, not consciousness in your body. After all, your body is in reality, not reality in your body. And then, in turn, the dissolution of your body cannot imply the end of consciousness; not any more than the death of your dreamed-up avatar in a nightly dream can imply your physical death. After all, it is the avatar that is in your dreaming consciousness, not your consciousness in the avatar. Do you see the point?

Therefore, either all reality you can ever experience is a kind of "hallucination" inside your skull, or we have absolutely no reason to believe that physical death entails the end of consciousness. It’s one thing or the other. You take your pick: which alternative is crazier? I’ve taken mine: I am unable to deny the reality of my immediate experience, which far precedes the models and abstractions of our mad materialist culture.

So let us dare entertain the possibility that reality is exactly what it seems to be: that it has qualities, not just quantities. Let us acknowledge what every civilization before Western rationalism always took for granted: that colors, smells, sounds, and flavors are really out there, not just inside our heads. How do we then explain the big questions that materialists claim to require an abstract reality fundamentally outside consciousness in order to be made sense of?

First question: "If reality is a kind of dream in consciousness, how come we seem to be all sharing the same dream?" The idea behind this question is that, because our bodies are not connected in the fabric of space-time, our personal psyches are also not connected and, therefore, cannot be sharing a dream. But this assumes that consciousness is in the body, as opposed to the body in consciousness. If our bodies are in consciousness, the fact that our bodies are separate does not imply that our psyches are also separate. Nothing in our experience prevents our psyches from being connected — unified — at the deepest, most obfuscated level, like the visible branches of a tree unite at the invisible root. That highly obfuscated, collective root level may well be the unified source of the shared dream we call consensus reality. And that there are highly-obfuscated segments of mind (so obfuscated, in fact, that depth psychology routinely uses the misnomer "unconscious" to refer to them) is an established fact in psychology.

Are these textures real, or just representations within your head?
Photo by Bernardo Kastrup, hereby released into the Public Domain.
Second question: "Clearly we cannot change reality by merely wishing it to be different, therefore reality must exist outside consciousness." The problem here is to confuse phenomena that fall outside the sphere of volition — our wishes — with phenomena that fall outside consciousness itself. Not all conscious processes fall in the field of volition, as we all know: our nightmares, spontaneous visions, hallucinations, etc., are all undeniably subjective, but not under the control of our wishes. To say that all reality is in consciousness does not contradict the fact that much of reality unfolds according to strict regularities that we’ve come to call the "laws of nature." It only means that processes in a particular segment of mind —the obfuscated, collective root level — unfold according to strict regularities. To say that all nature is grounded in consciousness does not imply that all nature is grounded in the whimsical, tiny segments of consciousness that we call our personal egos, in exactly the same way that dreams and visions aren’t grounded in the ego either.

Third question: "There are tight correlations between brain states and subjective experience. Therefore, the brain must generate consciousness." Well, there is an alternative way of seeing this that is incredibly self-evident: the brain is not the cause of consciousness, but merely the image of a process in consciousness. Take lightning: it doesn't "generate" or "cause" atmospheric electric discharge; it’s just the way atmospheric electric discharge looks. Take a whirlpool in a stream: it doesn’t "generate" water; it is simply the way water flow localization looks. There is nothing to a whirlpool but water, yet we can point at it and say: "There is a whirlpool!" Similarly, there is nothing to the brain but consciousness, yet we can point at it and say: "There is a brain!" As a whirlpool is the image of flow localization in water, so the brain is merely the image of flow localization in consciousness. As such, it is no surprise that brain states correlate with personal — that is, localized — subjective experience: one is simply the outside view of the other! Yet the brain doesn’t "generate" consciousness for exactly the same reason that a whirlpool doesn’t generate water.

Fourth question: "If I take psychoactive drugs or suffer physical trauma to my head, my subjective experience will change. Therefore, the brain generates consciousness." The rationale here is the following: pills and trauma are assumed to exist as physical things outside consciousness. Then, because they can clearly alter your subjective experiences through physically interfering with the brain — which is also assumed to exist outside consciousness — then, the argument goes, consciousness must be generated by the brain. Notice that this entire rationale simply assumes that pills, trauma, and brains exist outside consciousness, which is precisely the point in contention! You see, if all reality is in consciousness, then a pill or a well-placed knock to the head are simply the images of processes in consciousness; they are also in consciousness, not outside it. Where else could they be? What is a pill but what you see, touch, feel in your fingers? It has color, taste, texture. It's a set of subjective perceptions with the qualities of experience. As far as you or anyone else can ever know for sure, a pill is in consciousness. Therefore, that a pill or physical trauma to the head alter one’s state of consciousness is no more surprising than the fact that your thoughts can change your emotions. Thoughts and emotions are both in consciousness, and we are perfectly comfortable with the fact that they can influence one another. For that exact same reason, we should be perfectly comfortable with the fact that drugs and physical trauma also influence our subjective states. As there is nothing to the brain but consciousness, so there is nothing to a pill and physical action but consciousness.

All questions that lead materialists to naively insist on the existence of an unprovable, abstract universe outside consciousness can be logically and empirically made sense of under the rigorous and parsimonious view that all reality is a phenomenon of consciousness, in consciousness, as I explain in my book Why Materialism Is Baloney. Your intuition that the world you experience around you right now, with all its colors, sounds, smells, and textures, is the actual reality — as opposed to a kind of hallucinated reproduction inside your head — is entirely correct. The implication of that, however, is that your consciousness — your subjective feeling of being — will not cease to exist upon your physical death. This is an inescapable conclusion derived from logic, clear thinking, and empirical honesty, not mere wishful thinking. It so happens to also be a hopeful conclusion.

Copyright © 2014 by Bernardo Kastrup. All rights are reserved.

Comments

  1. There are other flaws with materialism. Basically materialism states that random mindless forces create us and then could never create us again. If we could never be created again how could we have been created in the first place? An obvious untenable contradiction.

    Also materialism cannot explain our seeming individuality. Since all brains are the same why do I seem to be an individual staring out of this specific set of eyeballs? What was different about the universe when I showed up? Materialism says "nothing"! Another obvious untenable contradiction.

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    1. I didn't understand this, TJ. Maybe you can elaborate on it a bit more? Perhaps others didn't also quite get it. Under materialism, why couldn't life be created anew again, by chance? Under materialism, brains are also not quite identical... and even if they were, materialism would entail that two identical brains would produce two identical consciousnesses which are, nonetheless, separate, this being the reason why you are just one of them.

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    2. Well most materialist claim that an individual only live once, consciousness ends when the body does. But if consciousness is due to random forces then my consciousness actually must be re-created by those forces again in the future. Subjectively it would be like there was never any time in between and I would live continuously (which is actually what Idealism states).

      The second point does seem to be a hard one to grasp, even for you, though it's something I've mentioned before and seems to be obvious to me. People don't seem to understand their own existence.

      Let's ask this question. Under materialism why would I be aware of being associated with this specific body TJS?

      This body could be running around without "me" being associated with it just as the billions of bodies that came before it were running around without me being associate with it.

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    3. On the first point, I think you are implicitly assuming that the second version of "you" should REMEMBER the first version, which is not entailed by materialism... If the second "you" doesn't remember the first "you," it all plays out as if they were different "you's" anyway... BTW, materialism does acknowledge that, given enough time, what you claim will indeed happen. But it's much more time than the age of the universe.

      On the second point, I still don't understand. You wrote: "Under materialism why would I be aware of being associated with this specific body TJS?" Because this body hosts your consciousness physically, and it grounds your conscious perspective into the world as a kind of platform? I.e. you can consciously control the muscles of this body, not another; you can move the eyes of this body, not another; you can feel the pain of this body, not another, etc...?

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    4. Don't get me wrong. I'm not here to defend the lunacy of materialism. I am very hot on debunking it. But for that precise reason, I am also very hot on focusing on the _right_ arguments to debunk it.

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    5. I guess this is a tough thing to grok. Yes the TJS body does seem to be grounding "this" conscious perspective. But under materialism what would determine it to be this body/platform? Why wasn't it another body/platform like BK? There was probably another body born 5 minutes after this one why isn't "this" perspective grounded through that body/platform instead. Basically something about materialism must explain why I was born when I was or it is totally invalid.


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    6. "You" are constituted by a particular psychological state, especially memories. So you are determined by a particular brain in a particular state since this determines ones psychological state. Nevertheless it wouldn't be your body that grounds "you" as such. If your body was scanned, destroyed and recreated at a different location, then "you" would "jump" to the new body. Or even if the brain in the newly created body was slightly different but memories were the same, you would still feel you had "jumped" to the new body.

      I put "you" in quotes since there is no persisting self under materialism.

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    7. "But under materialism what would determine it to be this body/platform?"
      I guess I'm beginning to sense the intuition, but I also guess that, if we speak on a strictly logical basis, there's no problem for materialism here. Under materialism, your conscious perspective IS the state of your brain. That's why it is your body, not mine. Everything you think, feel, or perceive, including the thoughts above, is supposedly just states of TJS's brain.

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    8. I am not a psychological state and especially not memories. Awareness is what accumulates memories. It's true the TJS personality EGO is based on memories and experience but if all my memories disappeared I would still be awareness and new memories would accumulate. In fact I can only remember a small portion of my life so one could say most of it has already been wiped.

      Bernardo materialism still cannot answer the question because it cannot explain why my conscious perspective is the state of this particular brain and no other.

      Read this again very carefully. There were billions of bodies running around that had brains with conscious perspective brain states that seem to have nothing to do with me. Suddenly this body shows up with conscious perspective brain state that is me. There is nothing in materialism that explains this individuality.

      There really is 0 difference "materially" between bodies. All bodies are made of the same sub atomic and atomic particles and are totally interchangeable. You certainly can't say the electrical impulses in any brain are personalized. That's a BK impulse, this is a TJS impulse!?
      The only difference between bodies is .02% of the genetic code which is information not material.

      Idealism does explain our individuality as self reflective focus points in the light of consciousness.

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    9. It seems you glossed over Bernardo's answer that your brain generates consciousness, and your experiences are of your particular body and not another, so when you persistently say Why am I identified with this body - I simply can't understand your question. As to the other bodies running around, they are all in the same boat. And most of your identity is memories. Pure awareness, yes, but then the individual tied into a particular body undergoes many experiences which form the personal identity. It doesn't matter if our bodies or brains are relatively identical. The individuality becomes greater over time. This must be what Jim Morrison was referring to when he sang "If you give this man a ride, sweet memory will die." (He will kill you).

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    10. TJS, I am trying to sense where you are coming from. Sometimes I have a feeling I got it, but then it instantly escapes me. Let me ponder this for a while longer to see if I can put myself into your frame of mind and understand what you mean... it's quite subtle...

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    11. Onething I'm not trying to be difficult but if you can't understand the question you can't really answer it. There really is no answer from the materialistic perspective.

      Bernardo it's interesting that you find it so subtle. The question of why I seem to be this individual was something I asked my whole life. The answer came as a realization (the realization of Idealism) similar to being hit over the head with a 2X4. Not too subtle. I guess some would consider your most obvious arguments to be subtle and perhaps incomprehensible as well. Anyway let's try this.

      "You" are sitting in a white room. The only thing in the room is a red sphere. You are obviously aware of the red sphere. "I" am sitting in another white room. The only thing in this room is a black cube. "I" am obviously aware of the black cube. The materialist claim is that our brains are "generating" separate consciousness "you", "I" that is causing the awareness of the sphere and cube. Without the bodies leaving either room what would the materialist claim would have to be changed in your brain so "I" would be aware of the sphere and in my brain so "you" would be aware of the cube? It would have to be some subset of structure since that is what materialism is all about.

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    12. TJS, I don't deny I may be dense in this regard. Yes, I follow what you said. Materialism would claim something in the structure in our respective brains would need to change so we could have aware of respectively the sphere or the cube... go on, you have my attention.

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    13. Ok, good. So the Materialist would have to postulate some type of Individuality Module in each brain. Take the "I" module and put it in the BK brain and "I" would have awareness of the sphere. Put the "you" module in the TJS brain and "you" would have awareness of the cube. Obviously an individualized module would have to exist for every on of the billions of life forms on the planet not just 7 billion human life forms. In addition consider a second identical "you" module placed in the TJS brain. "You" must then be aware of both the sphere and the cube simultaneously.

      Is there any evidence that such individuality modules exist?

      Operations are done at times removing half a brain. Could any surgeon even conceive of doing such a thing if there was a chance of erasing the individuals consciousness?

      All the materialist would have to do is show that by rearranging a bunch of cells in the BK brain TJS consciousness would suddenly exist.

      Might not be a bad idea but I won't be holding my breathe.

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    14. But TJS, what does perception of the cube or sphere have to do with one's individuality? If I understand correctly, the materialists believe the world is really out there, and our brains receive some photonic info and then we perceive whatever it is that we perceive. The only way to perceive the cube or sphere is to be in front of it.

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    15. I completely understand what TJS means. In fact I understood in his first comment. Basically, in the materialist paradigm, a brain generates consciousness. What TJS is saying is that each brain generates a unique consciousness. This is actually an established question in philosophy and it doesn't have a universally agreed upon answer.

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    17. Onething......you're completely missing the point of the thought experiment. Go back and keep reading it until you "get it".

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  2. Another point.

    "everything you sense around you right now, including the computer in front of you, is a kind of "hallucination" inside your head"

    If this were true then your head would also have to be a hallucination inside your head! More materialistic baloney.

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    1. Yes, exactly. That's precisely what's entailed by materialism: The head you see in the mirror and touch with your hands is, supposedly, just a representation of your _actual_ head, within your actual head... and then, materialists turn around and say that this amazing contrivance is necessary in order to explain reality, even though they completely fail to explain the most obvious and present aspect of reality, which is conscious experience itself. Go figure...

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  3. Simm here. This looks 100 % wrong. You can' trust common sense. As you know, Einstein believed too that properties are really out there, but he was proven wrong decades ago. Physicists now know that observations produce the world. Why not open a new thread in the forum, this is so crucial.

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    1. Einstein thought that reality is "out there" in the sense of being outside consciousness. I am saying that qualities -- color, taste, smell, etc. -- are really "out there" in the sense of being outside our heads! I think all reality is in consciousness and, as such, "in here,' wherein "here" is the space of subjective experience. Our heads are in consciousness, as well as the rest of the universe. Therefore, colors can be in consciousness while being entirely outside our heads. This is what I mean, and not what Einstein meant.

      Regarding the reliability of common sense, the fact that it proves wrong in some cases doesn't mean that it is wrong in all cases. How do you choose? By separating direct experience from inference. Our direct experience tells us that the world is made of qualities outside our heads. But the notion that consciousness ends upon physical death is an inference, since nobody alive can claim to know that directly.

      Yes, start a thread in the forum! :)

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    2. "But the notion that consciousness ends upon physical death is an inference, since nobody alive can claim to know that directly."

      Millions have come back from physical death and know that consciousness does continue. If your definition of death is an irreversible physical process then obviously no one could make a claim.

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    3. That it continues may be direct experience... not that it ends. Read again what you quoted from me. :)

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  4. Your statement:

    Nothing in our experience prevents our psyches from being connected — unified — at the deepest, most obfuscated level, like the visible branches of a tree unite at the invisible root

    sounds remarkably like William James:

    We with our lives are like islands in the sea, or like trees in the forest. The maple and pine may whisper to each other with their leaves…but the trees also commingle their roots in the darkness underground, and the islands hang together through the oceans’ bottom. Just so there is a continuum of cosmic consciousness, against which our individuality builds but accidental fences, and into which our several minds plunge as into a mother sea…


    ***

    There’s a section in our yoga psychology book that deals with this very issue – namely, that events outside the control of our individual wills are not necessarily outside the realm of consciousness. If I get a chance later, I’ll post it on the forum (it’s too long for this content thread)

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    1. I would appreciate it if you did it, Don! Though I should just buy your book... it's about time I did it...

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    2. Keeping mum about that here:>))

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    3. actually, Bob thinks all my blabbering is a scheme to get people to buy the book. In truth, i'm just a hopeless blabbermouth...

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  5. Simm here. You say that qualities -- color, taste, smell, etc. -- are really "out there" in the sense of being outside our heads. But quantum physicists say that qualities are not "out there" until they are observed; for example Mars has no color until someone looks at it and notices that it is red. I still feel that you and Einstein make the same error. Please elaborate.

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    1. You are assuming that the observer is inside our heads. The point of what I am saying is precisely that our heads are inside the observer (i.e. consciousness).

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    2. When you dream, your "observations" seem to be channeled through your dreamed-up character, or avatar. Yet, it is that character/avatar that is inside your consciousness, not your consciousness inside them.

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    3. Does that mean that before Pluto was discovered, it existed in the mind of God? Isn't consciousness the mind of God? Do you agree in everything with Bishop Berkeley or is there some difference between your teaching and his?

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    4. I'm very cautious about the G-word, since there are over 7 billion different definitions for it, most of which wildly different from how I would define it. But if we define God as the broader stream of non-self-reflective, non-lucid consciousness not localized in the form of "whirlpools," then I think Pluto, before its discovery by any "whirlpool," should have indeed existed in the "mind of God" at least as a potentiality, which is exactly what QM predicts. That potentiality turns into a specific actuality the moment "God" _self-reflectively_ observes Pluto _through one of its whirlpools_. After all, fundamentally there is no difference between the stream and the whirlpools in it... it's all just water in movement, forming specific patterns.

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    5. Let me add to this: as I discuss in the book, localization of consciousness is also the means for the rise of _self-reflection_, or lucidity (that is, when not only is there experience, but also knowledge _that_ one is experiencing). Without localization, there is no self-reflection and mind is instinctual. So what I am saying above is that, before _self-reflective_ observation, reality exists in the "mind of God" (argh...) as fuzzy, non-lucid, instinctual potentialities. But once the "fuzzy ripples in the stream" corresponding to these potentialities penetrate a whirlpool and enter the field of self-reflection, the potentialities collapse into a specific, LUCID actuality. Since whirlpools and stream are, at bottom, the same one mind, this collapse happens everywhere in a non-local manner, not only inside the whirlpool.

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    6. Intense UV rays from a young Sun bombarded life on the early Earth. Some organisms were better than others in dealing with UV light and got a survival advantage over other life forms. Was that already self-reflective observation? Were those early organisms pioneers who discovered the Sun? If not, then when did the Sun exactly emerge from the non-self-reflective potentiality and which organisms were the associated pioneers:? Amebas, worms, mouses, chimps, Neanderthals?

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    7. Before the emergence of biology: reality was the dream of one mind, as if you were dreaming at night of a universe of stars, rocks, and dust. Before life, the sun existed as an image in that dream. Naturally, the dream wasn't self-reflective or lucid (in the same way that your ordinary nightly dreams aren't self-reflective or lucid). At some point, because of the patterns and regularities intrinsic to mind (i.e. "laws of nature"), that one mind dissociated -- split up -- into apparently separate points-of-view, each witnessing the one dream from its own perspective. The image of that dissociation, or localization, within the dream is biology, or life. Notice that dissociation is a well-known psychological phenomenon. Dissociation, or localization, also enabled the emergence of self-reflection, or lucidity, at the cost of broader consciousness.
      The boundary between life and non-life is difficult to pin-point exactly (as viruses alive?). But this difficulty is a virtual problem. There are obvious differences between a teddybear and a real bear; between a rock and an ameba. So the point holds fully despite the microscopic gray area.
      See: http://youtu.be/NCzbnuCVpEs

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    8. And who is the mysterious observer that is capable of self-reflection? Are there two versions of us, a mortal social collection of atoms without free will; and an immortal solitary observer? Is this discussed in your book(s)?

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    9. The ones capable of self-reflection, or lucidity, are us, and perhaps other life forms. Self-reflection comes with localization, as I elaborate upon in the 'Why Materialism Is Baloney.' Our bodies are simply the image of that localization of consciousness within the dream of reality, not the cause of consciousness; like a whirlpool is the image of localization of water, not the cause of water. Now, you could say that our localized personal identities are a kind of illusion. After all, there is really nothing to a whirlpool but water itself. That 'water' (one-consciousness, mind-at-large, "cosmic consciousness," "God," what not...) is all that actually exists in an irreducible manner. You may then ask "who is that consciousness?" but what is really the meaning of this question? The one-consciousness is simply the space of all subjective experience. We can't explain it because it is fundamental, primary. An explanation entails reducing something into something else, but that doesn't hold at the fundamental level. Physics acknowledges this, the only difference being that physics chooses inferred invisible entities (quantum meta-fields, branes, etc.) to consider fundamental, instead of the empirical fact of consciousness itself.

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    10. And yes, all this is elaborated upon at length in the book...

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  6. I, Simm, find this interesting. We could also say that a hurricane is the image of localization of wind energy. But is there any evidence that those whirlpools of mind (images of localization of consciousness) really exist? Well, chakras mean 'wheels' in sanskrit, and mandalas are obviously the same thing. Whirlpools are wheels. Indian mystics claim that chakras appear only when mind turns completely inward until all consciousness that is left is pure self-reflection. This is discussed in Rawson's book. I remember that you mentioned mandalas in Dreamed up reality.

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    1. Uh, now it gets deeper... Mandalas have a much broader symbolism than I intended with the whirlpool metaphor. According to Jungian psychology, mandalas represent the centre of the Self, which is much beyond the ego or mere personal identity.
      The evidence for the existence of a whirlpool of consciousness is your own subjective experience: it seems certainly localized and split off from the rest. :)

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  7. I guess one issue for me with what you say, Bernardo, is the idea that before the advent of biology, when the possibility of self-reflection was manifested (biological entities being the image in Source Consciousness of, potentially, some degree or other of self-reflection), SC wasn't Itself self-reflective. I mean, have I understood that correctly?

    If I have, then SC doesn't apparently know or understand its own potential. It dreams the grand dream, in which everything happens to possess a certain consistency and logic, which at some point localised consciousness can investigate and come to know/understand in systematic ways, discovering the existence of what you refer to as "patterns and regularities".

    I have difficulty in grokking an SC that can dream up something with so much consistency, pattern and regularity, without a purposive awareness of what It is doing. I mean, my own consciousness operates purposely, and if I want to achieve some ordered end, I have to consciously apply some kind of logic to it, and be aware that that's what I'm doing. If I don't, the result is most likely to be nonsensical and not really functional. The dream of SC would seem to be just the opposite despite any putative lack of self-reflective awareness.

    As I've said, maybe I'm not understanding you correctly and you are saying something else. Whatever, my hunch is that SC has created a scenario in which it is possible for It to manifest as something unaware of Its own plan and aim that is capable, eventually, of coming to be so aware of it; capable of coming to know Itself. That is, creation becomes the means for SC to experience coming to know Itself, which in the end is a rediscovery, or returning home. Maybe it's a way of staving off the cosmic boredom of knowing all that can be known. As Alan Watts put it, a game of cosmic hide-and-seek that can be played out in countless different ways, one of which is you, and another, me.

    It is this philosophical viewpoint, really, which underlies my belief that our localised consciousnesses do not cease on physical death; because if they did, there would be no continuing awareness that could experience the return to Source. One could posit other explanatory frameworks, I suppose, but this one seems the most parsimonious to me.

    I'm kind of implying that SC always has awareness of what Itself is, but has designed things so that It can at the same time experience coming to know Itself. If there's a duality, it's between the Source that always knows what Itself is, and manifestations of Itself that are engaged in the psychodrama of coming to know what SC is. It's a duality that at some point disappears when the manifestation comes to realise that it is none other than SC.

    I think that now and then, many of us get some kind of inkling of this: maybe spontaneously, maybe through spiritual practices. They may still be very far from the full experience of homecoming, but nonetheless beyond our ordinary level of awareness. Some spiritual traditions speak in terms of "annihilation in God", thinking in terms of the permanent death of the human ego (which is really a ceasing to identify with separation) whilst still physically alive. Whether that is the final homecoming, or actually just one permanent step in that direction, I wouldn't be able to say.

    In one way, maybe you lean to the view that SC is self-inventing in time (whereas I lean to the view that SC is self-rediscovering in time), through its manifestations? Would that be a fair way of putting it? If we find it hard to understand an SC that can simultaneously be Self-aware and Self-unaware, that may say more about the limitations of our localised viewpoints than anything else. After all, perhaps only through localisation of manifestations of SC could there be the possibility of "amnesia" and of the adventure of the great psychodrama we are all apparently engaged in.

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    1. "before the advent of biology, when the possibility of self-reflection was manifested (biological entities being the image in Source Consciousness of, potentially, some degree or other of self-reflection), SC wasn't Itself self-reflective"

      At least not AS self-reflective as biology potentially is.

      "If I have, then SC doesn't apparently know or understand its own potential."

      Yes, I believe so.

      " have difficulty in grokking an SC that can dream up something with so much consistency, pattern and regularity, without a purposive awareness of what It is doing."

      The patterns and regularities are intrinsic to "SC." They are what "SC" simply _is_. They don't require planning, premeditation, or intentionality at a lucid, self-aware level. They happen "by themselves," like you beat your heart and grow your fingernails without being self-reflectively aware of it.

      "In one way, maybe you lean to the view that SC is self-inventing in time (whereas I lean to the view that SC is self-rediscovering in time)"

      Becoming self-reflectively aware of its own intrinsic nature, i.e. becoming lucid of itself, is a form of self-discovery, not of self-invention.

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    2. OK: self-discovery. And I think I get what you are saying about the patterns and regularities being simply what SC is. Maybe you are right, who knows; it has a certain logical consistency. I guess we have to follow our own intuition about such things.

      My intuition tells me that your interpretation is indicating that self-reflection is an emergent property of SC; that in a sense it is pre-adapted for such emergence. While I I'm not using the term emergence in the same way that materialists do, nonetheless there seems to be an element of serendipity involved. Maybe it's my particular take on spirituality that kind of baulks at that idea. Whatever, I'll freely admit I don't know whether my intuition is correct, and I do think I am somewhat clearer about what your intuition is telling you, hence I'm glad I posted and that you responded, so thanks.

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  8. Is the death of the body/mind the same as the dissolution of a localized whirlpool or the dissolution of an image in consciousness?

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    1. I don't think mind (in the sense of "consciousness") ever dies, because it is irreducible. That said, I guess I know what you mean (you say "mind" in the sense of "thoughts").

      The whirlpool _is_ the image of a process of localization in consciousness. If the process of localization ends (which is what physical death is), its image also dissipates. And for as long as the process doesn't end, its image perdures. So I'd answer your question by saying: both.

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    2. This important clarification has to be made, the death of the body doesn't follow the death or end of universal consciousness but it does signify (that is the death of the body) the end of a localized consciousness. Let's celebrate the offer that our ESSENCE is ETERNAL but at the same time mindful that our PERSONAL REALITY or 'whirlpool' is not. Thanks!

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    3. People love to hear and will easily subscribe to the slogan, THERE IS NO DEATH. This no different than some religious systems promising ETERNAL LIFE. Thanks again!

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    4. I agree, but this differentiation may become unimportant and academic after the fact of physical death, for the same reason that the end of your dreamed-up reality upon waking up isn't important after you are awake (imagine how scary it would be if someone told you dreamed-up character that his entire reality would vanish into thin air the moment a magical device called an "alarm clock" decided to go off?). What you truly are, and were all along, continues anyway. That's all that matters.

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    5. Hmm, it sounds like you're saying that when I die, "I" am gone. How is that better than materialism? To what am I striving and learning? What difference does it make if I have wisdom or not? And, if when I die I am gone, why is it that in near death experiences the person is not gone?
      I understand what you mean about the brain localizing consciousness which is unbound without a brain, but it might not be that simple. Despite loss of the brain, there might still be a subtle membrane of the soul, that contains the individual consciousness, although in a much more free state.

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    6. Personally, I think it's correct that when your ego dies, it dies. But your essence doesn't. As I recall, Bernardo mentions this possibility in his membrane metaphor; some underlying structure might persist, which can support a different ego (if reincarnation happens). This underlying structure is what has the true potential to evolve, and the egoic self is meant to be something that enables us to experience what we call life and thereby advance our evolution. For whatever reason, experiencing what we call organic life as a localised consciousness helps in doing that.

      It's not unlike the view of a spiritual tradition like Sufism, where the aim is to "die before you die", that is, to experience the death of the ego before physical death. To some extent, the non-dual state, as I've often seen it described, may be something akin to this; but I suspect it's not the ultimate state possible in human beings. It may take time to integrate this awareness with ego before one can operate optimally in life, which I believe entails a strong element of service to humanity. The person of Jesus as portrayed in the NT is an icon of an integrated human being performing such service. I think there have probably been many more who have consciously served, and in all sorts of ways; Jesus had his own particular modus operandi, in what we might call the prophetic tradition. Others have probably had MOs that on the surface are completely different, and they may not have been celebrated in human history or culture even if their service contribution was indispensable.

      We can all serve to some extent, even if it's only by being a balanced, law-abiding individual who contributes to the overall well-being of society. Such a society helps support spiritual evolution in all its members. Over time, we've probably become somewhat better at generating such societies, though probably still have a fair way to go.

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    7. I guess it depends on what you mean by essence. For that mater, I have heard people speak of ego for 40 years, but I still don't really know what anyone means. I understand that much of what I identify with as myself is a temporary affair relating to this particular lifetime and its circumstances, which if I survive bodily death would certainly fade out in time, but if the ego dies, who is it that evolves?

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    8. I think ego is a way of expressing yourself rather than an entity in it's own right. When we die I think our personality and our sense of self carry on as they are, but because we find ourselves in a very different environment, our way of expressing ourself changes accordingly.

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    9. I guess it depends on what you mean by essence. People use the word ego, but what does that really mean? My identity in this life is of course made up of many temporary and unimportant details which will surely fade into insignificance after I die, but who is it that 'evolves'?

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    10. onething wrote: "Hmm, it sounds like you're saying that when I die, "I" am gone."

      No! On the contrary. I think your true 'I' is never gonne, because it is consciousness itself, the very field of subjectivity that is you. What dies is the belief in the stories you told yourself about who or what you are. When you wake up from a dream, your no longer believe in the stories you told yourself about who you were in the dream. But the true 'you' survives and doesn't care much about the fact that he doesn't believe in the fundamental reality of your dreamed-up avatar anymore ("it was just a dream!"). That's what I think happens upon physical death. I discuss this at length in the book (Why Materialism Is Baloney), I think in chapter 7 or 8. A lot of what is being asked here is addressed in the book.

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    11. What is ego? According to some cases of apparitions, mediumship and children who seem to remember their past lives, it seems that it is more likely is that persist human individuality after death: consciousness, memories, motivations, etc., which could be called ego.

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  9. Hi Bernardo, I'm following your work and I have a question. You say that there is nothing that it's like to be a glass of water and I get what you mean but when a person dies, surely there is nothing it is like to be their cremated body (for example). A cremated body might be what unconsciousness looks like. If you perceive a glass of water as being in consciousness but not conscious then why do you not also perceive ashes as in consciousness but not conscious?

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    1. I think Bernardo would see also perceive ashes as in consciousness but not conscious. What has he said that makes you think he wouldn't?

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    2. Bernardo suggests that consciousness continues after death but if the body becomes ashes then is that not the image of something that was once conscious and is now unconscious? Bernardo says that a brain is what consciousness looks like. I'm saying that a dead body in whichever form is what unconsciousness looks like.

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    3. I think it is nothing more complicated than a living brain/body is the images of consciousness and a dead brain/body is an image that is no longer conscious. Just because a dead body looks very similar to an alive body, for a while at least, doesn't mean it has to be an image with the same properties of consciousness. If it did then a purely synthetic body that looked exactly like a body would have to be conscious.

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    4. Bernardo mentions possible additional dimensions of the body and that perhaps while the body in 3 dimensions may be discarded the higher dimensional reality of the body may continue. That's the only thing I've heard Bernardo say which could explain why consciousness continues after the death of the body. Stephen you seem to be agreeing with me above but using different wording. How does consciousness continue after the death of the body according to Bernardo then? Remember, a living brain/body is what consciousness looks like. A dead brain/body is an image that is no longer conscious. Therefore consciousness ends with death. If anyone knows how to get around this please comment.

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    5. I don't think it follows that consciousness ends with death it just moves into a different dream with a different image.

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    6. I think the living body is the image of a _localized segment of_ consciousness, not of consciousness as such. Consciousness is the water, not any particular whirlpool. When the body dies, that particular segment of consciousness -- a particular whirlpool in the stream -- de-localizes. The whirlpool dissolves. But consciousness doesn't disappear for exactly the same reason that water doesn't disappear when the whirlpool dissolves. It simply becomes de-localized. The dead body is merely an echo of the localization process that is no longer happening. Back to the stream analogy, a dead body is simply the disturbances -- ripples -- in the stream originally created by the whirlpool, and which continue to propagate in the stream after the whirlpool dissolves.

      Now, the other question is whether consciousness can still remain partly localized after the body dies. That is what you refer to when you talk of a hyper-dimensional body that transcends our five senses. That, speculatively speaking, may be the case. It could be that the body is merely a _partial_ image of the whirlpool. The dissolution of the body may imply merely a dissolution of certain (visible) aspects of the whirlpool, but not the whirlpool as a whole. Be it as it may, the bottom line is that consciousness itself -- the field of subjectivity that is your inner-most 'I' -- never disappears, for exactly the same reason that water never disappears even if all whirlpools and ripples dissolve completely everywhere.

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    7. I'm not quite sure what you are asking but cremated ashes like any other collection of atoms have a limited consciousness but are at the same time IN consciousness. The so called physical body is a vehicle an entity uses for a period of time. An entity has various subtle bodies over and above the physical. When the physical body 'dies' the controlling entity vacates that structure which then breaks down into lessor components. All components used to build the universe from the very smallest to the most sophisticated lifeforms have a degree of consciousness or intelligence according to their position in a hierarchy of evolution.
      MK

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    8. Thank you for your response Bernardo. I can now visualize consciousness and its localisations now whereas I couldn't before as I didn't fully understand. Thanks to everyone else, as well, for their insights.

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  10. So how does consciousness experience colours and form etc if it is not through the brain? You seem to dismiss the role of the brain in how we perceive reality as a materialist fantasy, but surely what the materialist describes is exactly what happens, it is just that from an idealist's point of view it happens inside consciousness. You seem to argue that it doesn't happen at all, that consciousness somehow experiences colours and forms directly, not via the brain?

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    1. The brain is merely the image of a process of consciousness localization, like a whirlpool in a stream. Empirical reality are the ripples in the broader stream, which can penetrate several whirlpools, injecting similar information in each of them. As the ripples penetrate the whirlpool, they can be distorted in unique ways by the internal flow dynamics of each individual whirlpool. This explains how two people can interpret or recall the same events in different ways: from the ego's perspective, what is being experienced is the compound interaction between the original ripple that penetrated the whirlpool and the internal dynamics of the whirlpool itself. This interaction is idiosyncratic and unique to each whirlpool. All this is explained at length in chapter 4 of Why Materialism Is Baloney, and in an even better way in chapter 6 (with the vibrating membrane metaphor, which is superior to the whirlpool one). I encourage you to read that book because you are asking all the right questions.
      Yet, notice that all whirlpools and all ripples are still just the movement of water in the stream. There is nothing to any whirlpool or to any ripple but water in movement. In the analogy, the water is consciousness itself. So there is nothing to reality but consciousness in movement, which is what we call subjective experience.

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  11. I have twice posted a comment/question, and twice it said my comment was posted, but it has not been.

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  12. If I have this right...

    From this, what "we" are is a particular perspective on a continuous dream-like environment. We are not our thoughts or actions or perceptions; these arise "within us". We infer that there is a solid, underlying world that causes these experiences, although we never actually experience this directly.

    On volition, we arbitrarily assign our 'identity' to a part of experience, associating it with certain spatial and temporal limits. We identify 'us' as extending to the spatial limits of the kinaesthetic sense but not beyond, and we attribute 'us doing something' to the experience of intention and the experience of the result occurring within a certain time limit. (Although in fact, we don't deliberately intend most of our actions singly; we experience them)

    When you die - possibly - the experience of bodily sensations might fade along with your anchoring or localisation to a particular perspective, revealing that you were not these things after all.

    So long as we put aside thinking about the experience of reality in the 3rd person, and instead take the stand of being or having the experience of reality in the 1st person, this works. All good so far.

    This still leaves a problem for me though: If what I experience, as consciousness, is effectively 'mental objects' arising within me - and everyone else, because there is just one continuous consciousness - how come I encounter illusions? How can I mistake a rope for a snake, and so on? And how can I see a snake when at the same time another reports seeing a rope? This implies some 'mechanism' that separates my direct experience of an object from its 'true nature', in some sense - and that this may vary between viewpoints at a given time?

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    1. >> From this, what "we" are is a particular perspective on a continuous dream-like environment. We are not our thoughts or actions or perceptions; these arise "within us". We infer that there is a solid, underlying world that causes these experiences, although we never actually experience this directly. <<

      YES! Exactly!

      >> On volition, we arbitrarily assign our 'identity' to a part of experience, associating it with certain spatial and temporal limits. We identify 'us' as extending to the spatial limits of the kinaesthetic sense but not beyond, and we attribute 'us doing something' to the experience of intention and the experience of the result occurring within a certain time limit. <<

      YES! Exactly!

      >> When you die - possibly - the experience of bodily sensations might fade along with your anchoring or localisation to a particular perspective, revealing that you were not these things after all. <<

      YES! Just like when you wake up from a dream, and realize that it was the dream within you, not you withint he dream, all along.

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    2. >> This still leaves a problem for me though: If what I experience, as consciousness, is effectively 'mental objects' arising within me - and everyone else, because there is just one continuous consciousness - how come I encounter illusions? How can I mistake a rope for a snake, and so on? And how can I see a snake when at the same time another reports seeing a rope? This implies some 'mechanism' that separates my direct experience of an object from its 'true nature', in some sense - and that this may vary between viewpoints at a given time? <<

      Chapter 4 of Why Materialism Is Baloney explains this. Each particular, localized 'point-of-view' within the dream also has its own local experiences -- local excitations of consciousness within the 'whirlpool' -- in the form of thoughts, interpretations, conclusions, opinions, views, etc. Moreover, each localized point-of-view may also have a distorted perspective on the excitations of consciousness-at-large. The distortion happens when mental excitations transition from the collective, obfuscated segment of mind that 'dreams' consensus reality up, to the localized, private segment of mind we call our egos. An illusion is just one such idiosyncratic, potentially distorted excitation as interpreted by the ego, like a distorted, badly interpreted, badly recollected dream. Fundamentally, it is still an excitation of consciousness just like consensus reality is. But it is not a _shared_ excitation. Instead, it is a private one. The difference between fantasy and consensus fact is merely this: the former is a private dream, while the latter is a shared dream. Fundamentally, they are the same, differing only in the degree of sharing. The book explains this better.

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  13. Yes I share your final question and actually posted it as part of a discussion that is going on on Bernardo's discussion forum - although you have expressed the question far more eloquently than I did.
    https://groups.google.com/forum/m/?fromgroups#!topic/metaphysical-speculations/w-nPePPcTjk

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    1. Chapter 4 of Why Materialism Is Baloney explains this. Each particular, localized 'point-of-view' within the dream also has its own local experiences -- local excitations of consciousness within the 'whirlpool' -- in the form of thoughts, interpretations, conclusions, opinions, views, etc. Moreover, each localized point-of-view may also have a distorted perspective on the excitations of consciousness-at-large. The distortion happens when mental excitations transition from the collective, obfuscated segment of mind that 'dreams' consensus reality up, to the localized, private segment of mind we call our egos. An illusion is just one such idiosyncratic, potentially distorted excitation as interpreted by the ego, like a distorted, badly interpreted, badly recollected dream. Fundamentally, it is still an excitation of consciousness just like consensus reality is. But it is not a _shared_ excitation. Instead, it is a private one. The difference between fantasy and consensus fact is merely this: the former is a private dream, while the latter is a shared dream. Fundamentally, they are the same, differing only in the degree of sharing. The book explains this better.

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  14. Additional thought which I find brings this into direct experience: Hold your hand up in front of you. Is that your real hand? If not, where is your real hand? Can you point to it where it is? (If you then find yourself pointing to your head, to indicate your brain, then you can do the same thing starting with the question, "Where is your real head?")

    If you think there is a "real hand" that is the underlying source for the experience of seeing your hand in front of you, then you are forced to admit that this "real hand" is outside of all experience, in some parallel other place that you can never access or have direct evidence for. It is effectively a convenient fiction.

    The alternative is to access there is no "real hand" other than the experience of the hand - or rather that it is not possible to talk meaningfully about anything other than the experience, which is perhaps slightly different.

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    1. But take your example of the hand and let's add some other observers to reflect our actual experience of living in a shared reality. Let's assume you are standing looking at your hand whilst standing outside in the snow. A caribou looks at your hand and see a dark shadow against the starkly contrasting UV light that it can see although we can't, that is reflecting off the snow all around you. A passing Colorado constrictor snake sees your hand's heat again starkly contrasted against the cold air and snow using it's infra red sensors. A new age healer looks at your hand and sees auras of different colours surrounding it. A scientist with a microscope looks and sees the individual skin cells of your hand. Another takes an X-Ray image of your hand and sees your bones.

      Each observer has a unique experience and a unique image and yet there is just the one hand in the same shared reality frame at the same moment in time. How can we escape the conclusion that there is an underlying reality that is perceived differently by different observers? And why do we need to avoid that conclusion?

      Each conscious observer is receiving data and co-constructing an image from that data. Data would seem to be a sensible proposition as to what the underlying reality may be and quantum mechanics supports this.

      The question of whether this underlying data arises from an overarching consciousness or not can then be discussed. But to say that all the images of our perception are just exactly as they appear and just arise directly from Mind/consciousness is really not saying anything at all.

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    2. Stephen,

      To say that all reality is in consciousness is NOT to say that there is only the reality perceived within egos. In Why Materialism Is Baloney I go to great pains to explain this. Obviously there is an underlying, shared source of reality that transcends individual egos, for the very reasons you cogently explain. But that does not contradict the assertion that such shared reality is NOT outside consciousness. Consciousness is not limited to egos, otherwise you wouldn't experience your dreams and nightmares -- or schizophrenic visions, if you have those -- as something being created outside you, even though they are obviously only in your consciousness. That the human psyche is fragmented into segments, some of which we do not identify with or control, is an empirical fact in depth psychology.

      >> The question of whether this underlying data arises from an overarching consciousness or not can then be discussed. <<

      Idealism states that it does arise from a collective, overarching segment of consciousness. The interpretation and recollection of what arises can then vary from ego to ego, for exactly the same reason that we (i.e. our egos) misinterpret or mis-recall our nightly dreams, believing them to have been or meant something other than they actually were or meant.

      >> But to say that all the images of our perception are just exactly as they appear and just arise directly from Mind/consciousness is really not saying anything at all. <<

      Here you are saying two different things. Our perceptions are exactly as they appear insofar as egoic consciousness is concerned. But yes, perceptions within egoic consciousness ultimately arise from a deeper, collective, obfuscated segment of our psyches (similar to that which generates dreams and visions). And that means that they still arise from Mind/consciousness, even not from the ego. You seem to be suggesting a contradiction above that doesn't really exist. It is true, however, that, when experiences arising from this deeper segment of mind penetrate the ego, distortions can occur in that transition. The ego can recall or interpret things in its own distorted, idiosyncratic way. This is analogous to how we (i.e. our egos) recall or interpret the meaning of our dreams in distorted ways.

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  15. I have several points I would like to discuss.

    1 The main problem is that everything is reduced to a choice: choose between idealism and materialism (or dualism), but there are not compelling reasons to chise for one or the other in my opinion, because everything is reduced to what seems more intuitive but intuition can not be a good guide or maybe yes.

    2 Mainly what interests me is find out if there is an afterlife and what is its nature, but say that it is more sensible to accept idealism and idealism has no reason to rule out the existence of an afterlife is totally inadequate. First, there is no way to know if idealism is true for the first point. And second, even if idealism is compatible with the existence of an afterlife, it does not tell us whether there is indeed an afterlife. For this empirical research is required as the psychic researchers did. But this research is metaphysically neutral, because an afterlife remains compatible with materialism, since we can imagine that our phenomenal world during our biological life is caused by our brains, but with our death phenomenal world will be caused by a second body, the etheric body, for which there is evidence.

    3. whirlpool metaphor suggests that our individuality disappears after death, which conflicts with some NDEs, some cases of apparitions, mediumship and children who seem to remember their past lives.

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    1. I think you raise some interesting points. Empirical evidence has to play an important part in assessing the value and accuracy of any theory. I think the strong evidence of NDEs and OBEs is more problematic for the materialist as these experiences are seen to be non-physical in nature. However now that scientists are slowly coming to terms with the fact that this supposedly physical reality is actually information based at the most fundamental level then that should lead them to be more open to these other 'non-physical' dimensions of experience as they too are fundamentally produced from information. A new model of all realities as being fundamentally virtual realities could be a way forward for materialists and idealists to find more common ground than they would currently admit to.

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    2. I reject your point 1 strongly. It isn't a symmetrical choice at all. The qualities of experience are the only certain, empirical fact of existence. A world outside experience is an inference, not an empirical fact like experience itself is. Therefore, if we can explain all of reality without that extra inference -- without postulating a whole universe outside the only carrier of reality anyone can ever know -- then that is the best explanation. In exactly the same way, a flying spaghetti monster can conceivably explain the creation of the world, but we don't need that extra postulate to make sense of the planet. The choice isn't symmetrical: criteria of parsimony and reason clearly identify a preferred scenario in both cases.

      Regarding 2, Idealism, as I formulate it, implies in the continuation of consciousness -- albeit in a different, less localized state -- after physical death. That is an 'afterlife,' even if articulated in a less romantic manner. So if you accept idealism as I formulate it, you necessarily accept a form of afterlife.

      Regarding 3: physical death, under my formulation of idealism, implies a partial de-localization of consciousness because the physical body is the image of a process of consciousness localization. But I go to great pains in the book to emphasize that this image is not necessarily complete; that it is most likely a partial image. As such, physical death is likely a _partial_ de-localization of consciousness, not a complete one. A form of more diffuse individuality may persist after bodily dissolution, which would be consistent with NDE reports. In the book, I elaborate on this quite explicitly.

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    3. 1. But the only thing that is not inferential is my consciousness here and now: the past, the future, other consciousness and meta-consciousness remains inferential in idealism, so the situation is symmetrical, because both idealism and realism are unprovable and only can be assumed, not proven.

      2. Idealism under your formulation has no reason to discard an afterlife, but this is not the same as that involving an afterlife.

      3. Okay, but it requires starting from empirical research, studying apparitions and mediumship, for example, not from metaphysical speculations.

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  16. Interesting article and good points, however I'd challenge your logic regarding the conclusion that "your consciousness — your subjective feeling of being — will not cease to exist upon your physical death".

    You say that if all reality is consciousness and your body, as well as your brain, is an image in your consciousness then "consciousness — your subjective feeling of being — will not cease to exist upon your physical death". But that I see as logically flawed. The logical implication of "your body is in your consciousness" is: "if consciousness ceases to exists, then your body would also cease to exists". The converse is NOT necessarily true, as logic teaches us. Thus, all you can say is: "upon your physical death, your consciousness will not _necessarily_ cease to exist" - that is, it may or may not cease to exist, which is indeed a very different the materialist view (which necessarily implies that physical death is also the end of conscience as its product).

    I think this distinction is important and does not weaken your arguments. Proving that the converse is also true is a very different matter, you might have discussed it elsewhere.

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    1. The point is that, if it is the body that is in consciousness and not the other way around, then __we simply have no reason whatsoever__ to associate the dissolution of the body to a hypothetical dissolution of consciousness. You have no reason to think that you will go blind if the person you are watching turns around the corner and disappears from view; you have no reason to think that you will go deaf if the song playing in the radio stops. For exactly the same reason, you have no reason to think that your consciousness will disappear if your body dissolves.

      Strictly speaking, I understand what you're saying. But it seems to me a bit like hair-splitting.

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