Where can you read, hear and see me in 2016?
|Photo by Bernardo Kastrup, hereby released into the public domain.|
As I sit outside today under glorious spring weather, enjoying a glass of my favorite Weiße with the warm sun shinning on my face, it feels as though 2016 has only just begun. Yet, in the dark months of winter we now leave behind my philosophical productivity was in overdrive. My ideas have congealed with more clarity and robustness, and more of their implications in a number of fields of knowledge have revealed themselves. So where will you be able to read, hear and see something about it in 2016? Here is a complete overview, as of today's status.
First and foremost, of course, the paperback edition of my new book More Than Allegory is now immediately available from at least Amazon US, over a month before the official publication date. I have been discussing what this latest book is about for some time now, so I won't repeat myself here. For more, you can have a look at the following recent essays:
Upcoming book: More Than Allegory
Overview of More Than Allegory
Religion, reason, time and space: Introducing More Than Allegory
In addition, I am contributing lengthy and elaborate chapters to two other books slated for publication later this year. One is The Neurotic Turn: Inter-disciplinary Correspondences on Neurosis, a collection of scholarly essays by a variety of authors, exploring, re-thinking and trying to revive the significance of the term 'neurosis' for the 21st century. My contribution explores the idea that the physicalist/materialist narrative is an expression of deeply-ingrained, yet culturally-sanctioned neurotic impulses. Here is a selected paragraph:
"To sum it all up, by denying our felt sense of existence and identity, the physicalist narrative attempts to clear our egos of ultimate responsibility. By denying the fundamental reality of our emotions, it attempts to protect our egos from a confrontation with far more powerful forces. By denying the symbolic meaning of nature, it attempts to circumvent the need for our egos to recognize a grander message than their own pedestrian models. It even opens up a Promethean door to immortality that, unlike religious beliefs, invests the ego—not deities—with the power to control transcendence through technology. Clearly, the attempt to protect and invest the ego with authority is the perennial theme discernible in every implication of the physicalist narrative. This betrays it as an egoic defense mechanism—whatever else it may also be—and is, by definition, neurotic."
My second contribution is a chapter for a very timely and much needed anthology on the theological theory of Pandeism. The book is suitably titled Pandeism: An Anthology. As a teaser, here is also a selected paragraph from my contributed chapter:
"My project with this essay is to rigorously articulate a metaphysics that is both consistent with Pandeism and preserves ontological space for what the spirit of the word ‘God’ denotes. In other words, I intend to argue for an interpretation of the facts of reality that renders Pandeism both genuine as a theology and metaphysically sound."
In addition to these three books, I have very recently updated and improved my freely-available white paper containing a rigorous, analytic summary of my philosophical ideas. It is available for viewing and downloading, in PDF format, from scribd via this link. In the future, I plan to take this white paper and elaborate much more on it, as well as on its implications, in the format of a short book. In fact, I am already writing this book and here is a selected passage from the manuscript, which puts the white paper in the context of my earlier books:
"Prior to the present work, I’ve written six books elaborating extensively on my ontology and views on the underlying nature of reality. Particularly in Why Materialism Is Baloney and More Than Allegory, not only have I conveyed my message at a conceptual level, I’ve also made liberal use of metaphors to help readers develop a direct intuition of the ideas expressed. It was not enough for me to simply win a technical argument in a court of philosophical arbitration; I sought to evoke in my readers a felt sense of the world described in my argument. As such, my work has had the character of continental—rather than analytic—philosophy.
"I have no regrets about it. Yet, I’ve also come to recognize the inevitable shortcomings of the approach. Some readers have misinterpreted and others over-interpreted my metaphors, extrapolating their applicability way beyond their intended scope and thereby creating straw men of my position. Yet others have simply become overwhelmed or confused by the richness of metaphorical images, losing the thread of my argument. Perhaps most importantly—given my goal of providing a robust alternative to the mainstream physicalist metaphysics—some professional philosophers and scientists felt they needed to see an analytic formulation of my ontology before they could take it seriously.
"The present work addresses all this. Starting from canonical empirical facts—such as the correlations between subjective experience and brain activity, the fact that we all seem to share the same world, the fact that the known laws of physics seem to operate independently of our personal volition, etc.—it develops a complete and unambiguous ontology based on parsimony, logical consistency and empirical honesty. It re-articulates my views in a more rigorous, explicit and precise manner. It avoids metaphors—except when absolutely harmless—opting instead for direct and succinct elaboration. To prevent ambiguity, it explicitly and precisely defines its terms whenever such terms are not used according to their ordinary English language denotations, and wherever such ordinary denotations are too vague. Its arguments are constructed according to strict formal logic. I’ve strived to make every step in them explicit and sufficiently substantiated.
"Clearly, thus, this [white paper] can be seen as my first work of analytic philosophy. It represents a delicate trade-off: On the one hand, its analytic style prevents it from reaching the depth and nuances that metaphors can hint at. Parts II and III of my earlier book More Than Allegory, for instance, use metaphors to suggest profound philosophical ideas that cannot be tackled or communicated in an analytic style, for they transcend linear reasoning, language and even spacetime. Therefore, the ontology elaborated upon here is not an expansion, but in fact a subset of the ideas I have tried to convey in earlier works. On the other hand, the present [white paper] articulates this subset in a rigorous analytic style that was lacking before. And to offer a viable alternative to physicalism, an ontology must be presented in the same precise manner in which physicalism itself is presented today. This is what this [white paper] does.
"Incomplete as the subset of ideas presented here may be in the context of my earlier output, it is still more complete than the precarious metaphysics that informs our cultural narrative today. This subset alone—as I argue in [its] pages—can explain more of reality, in a better way, than physicalism, thereby being sufficient for this [work's] purposes. By articulating its ideas very precisely, my intent is to deny the cynics and militant physicalists an excuse to dismiss the body of my work simply because it hasn’t had, up to now, an analytic formulation. If the price to achieve this is to write a [white paper] as if one were arguing a case in a court of law, then this [work] represents my case. You be the judge."
Of course, there will also be public presentations where you will be able to hear and see me this year. There are a couple already confirmed. Early in May I will be visiting the Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS) of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, by invitation of Edward Kelly, main author of Irreducible Mind and Beyond Physicalism. But because this isn't really a public presentation, I mention it here just for completeness, not as an open invitation.
On July 31st, in London, UK, I will be presenting at the Psychedelics and Nonduality event together with Peter Russell. The venue is great and the tickets cost only 10 pounds, so if you are in the UK, it's a great opportunity.
From the 24th to the 28th of August, I will be giving three different 'presentations' at the psy-fi festival in the Netherlands. I'd rather describe these 'presentations' as guided tours to seldom-explored mental landscapes, where I'll be inviting you to come along and rove through the antipodes of mind. For an impression of the festival, check out the video below.
Then, from September 9th to 11th, I will be speaking at the Sages and Scientists Symposium 2016, organized by the Chopra Foundation in Beverly Hills, California, USA. I participated in this event's 2014 edition and loved it. It's a fantastic gathering of smart people from all walks of life, leading to an alchemy of mind and spirit with the potential for great synergies. The admission price is very spicy for most people, since the costs of the event itself are also very high. Videos are made freely available later, which is always an option. But if you are around and have the means to attend, I highly recommend it. The atmosphere of the event itself is unique.
Next to all this, it is possible that one or two feature-length documentary films will become available this year featuring me. I won't promise this because I have no control over what happens in editing rooms or production schedules. But the chances are good. If and when they materialize, I will make announcements in my social media pages.
I hope you enjoy all the material that is coming down the pike in 2016!