Presenting Inception Dialogues

The logo of 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 a skeptic and analytical thinker, I do not want to mix up that adventure with my regular work. For this reason, Inception Dialogues has its own website, separate from Metaphysical Speculations. On YouTube, I will upload the episodes under my usual channel, but in a dedicated and clearly identified playlist.

I hope that Inception Dialogues complements my on-going work, and that you find value for yourself in the conversations!


  1. Your interview with Rick Stuart was delightful, Bernardo. Rick helped me reconnect with an awareness I sometimes have of the amazingness of self-conscious being--of not being nothing. Really: how amazing that is, and how often we pay it such scant attention to it.

    I think we're all of us, without exception, seekers of meaning. Some of us conclude that there is no meaning, and yet if we do, we may feel an enormous passion in asserting that. However, none of us actually feels meaningless even if we assert we are. Whence would come the passion if we truly believed that? What is the thing that feels passion? Some of the most passionate people one comes across are active proselytisers of meaninglessness, and that is what brings meaning into their lives. If they really felt meaningless, they would see that they were wasting their time proselytising.

    Others may think everything's meaningless and not be so passionate about it. I suspect some like that have swallowed the consensus pill about what a happy and productive life is. It's not that they know what true meaning is and see their lives are meaningless; it's more that they've been conditioned to accept what is meaningful (e.g. lack of pain and suffering), and since life isn't like that for them, they haven't eventualised that meaning. So though they imagine some people have, they know they haven't, and the fundamental suffering arises out of a sense of failure.

    Everything could be different if they stopped taking the pill. In simple terms, the universe lets you know whether or not you are on the right track. Some of the time, you aren't, and that's why you feel pain, why you suffer. It's not in any sense punishment, but feedback. It's like the feedback one gets when touching a hotplate. Hurts like hell, but we should be thankful it happens. We shouldn't try to run away from suffering: we should try to look at it, to discern its source. Quite a lot of it comes about through taking the pill, through accepting what culture extols and pathologises. But built into every one of us is the ability to sense natural feedback. The pill dulls this sense, stops us taking it seriously. Pain and suffering, instead of being treated as a potentially positive signal for change, becomes something to avoid at all costs; and since that very response is itself a broken one, it leads to the continuance of pain and suffering in a vicious circle.

    ctd (only 4096 characters allowed)...

  2. No one questions the innate wisdom of bodily responses to physical discomfiture: no one says that since it's largely a subjective phenomenon, we can safely ignore it. But our culture routinely belittles the psyche's response to psychical discomfiture. It isn't to be trusted: only third-person consensus can determine what one should and shouldn't regard as genuine existential threats or genuinely worthwhile aims.

    You'd think by now we'd have clocked what the problem is and why our culture is broken. I think, as it happens, more and more of us are beginning to get an inkling. But I also think that quite often, we look to the wrong kinds of problems. I know this might be controversial, but I think that the environmental movement, whilst it means well, often falls into this trap. The earth is a huge and complex system. Billions of human beings and their effects are no more than a pimple on its nose. We can no more save planet earth than can a flea an elephant. Long before we came along, and quite possibly long after we have gone, it will do its thing regardless.

    Environmentalism, whilst it has some some laudable aims and even some effective programs, has become yet another religion or ideology that dispenses its own pills: it's creating more problems by far than it's solving. I could dissect that in much greater detail, but I would stray too far off topic.

    The greater challenge for human beings, in my view, is in starting to pay attention to, and to trust, the feedback that the universe provides us in the realm of the psyche. If we develop a third-person consensus, it should arise from first person experience; we should stop trying to do things the wrong way about. Like environmentalism, there's a degree of arrogance involved; arrogance that is predicated on the supremacy of intellect over intuition, of the left brain over the right. Iain McGilcrist has quite a lot to say about that in his book The Master And His Emissary.

    I've recently been Reading and viewing materials on the Web from Peter Kinsgley which I think is relevant to this new project of yours, and I'd love it if you could have a conversation with him. Several MP3's I'd recommend are on this page:

    1. Michael, I agree with you that human beings cannot destroy the Earth; it will go on for millions of years after we're gone. But we can indeed, in my view, make the Earth uninhabitable by us, human beings, for long enough that we go extinct. That's the environmental crisis I see, not the destruction of the planet or of the life on it in general.

  3. Michael,

    Thank you for your kind and gracious words. I have valued my relationship with Bernardo and others who share the vibrational resonance with other fellow " self reflective protrusions" on the Collective and Infinite Membrane....using one of Bernardo's rich metaphors. Or reaching into Bernardo's prolific ;>) jewelry box of metaphors and picking another gem, we are sharing our "individual whirlpool" in the Ocean of Consciousness (Mind) with other individuals who become a collective subgroup of overlapping ripples, resonating in larger collective patterns of Imaginal space, gleefully playing into a "collective of individual whirlpools" that are resonating together in a shared pattern of ideas, humor, Eros, and sense of endless open- minded curiosity of "Why and What is This About?", ultimately Inexplicable Mystery we call the Human Experience.

    It reminds me of the late Terrence McKenna's wonderful entheogen-inspired, improv rants. Listening to him on the internet is an ever-present poetic frolic of interconnected ideas that were inspired as his rave progressed, miraculously leaping from one idea to another in labyrinth of acentric, meanderings where his "psychonaut" inspired experiences of realms of inter-dimensional experience somehow meets Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, Isaac Asimov, and Richard Nixon,continue to resonate.

    That is what Bernardo's website does for me. And Michael, I dance and "rave on John Donne, rave on" with you and many others.

    Ultimately we can just enjoy the ride. We are just here for the experience "stumbling to Damascus" or perhaps Gomorrah.

    Rick Stuart

  4. Thanks for a beautiful interview Bernado and for introducing me to such a compassionate insightful man. I must admit I required 2 attempts to get used to the pace, but second time round Rick showed me fantastic vistas through his storytelling.

    There are lots of takeaways for me, but chief among them was how meaning enables us to transcend suffering and how we can help people find meaning by letting them tell their life stories. I am familiar with this thinking from the notion of biography work and anthroposophy, but it was great to hear somebody arriving at the same truths through what I assume was a completely different path from my own.

    Thanks again

    Angus Hawkins

    1. There is a faster-paced, 10-minute digest available now! :-) Thanks for the nice feedback, Angus.

    2. Thanks Bernado...... I've obviously found this post now :) Now I'll try and find the one I posted about Castor and Pollux.

  5. Hi Bernardo,

    Thank you for these interviews. They are all outstanding, but The interview with Rick Stuart is extraordinary, I just watched this yesterday.

    I think I'm still to assimilate everything that was said, so if you asked me to pick specific points at this time I might have trouble doing so.

    What I mean is that it is the *overall effect* of the interview which is overhelming. It has resonated with me in a very real way, not in the usual rational sense, but on a deeper level which I can't really articulate myself at this time.

    Thank you again. You are the right track with this project. Those who need this material will find a way to it, I believe.


    1. I'm very glad you liked it, Douglas, and thanks for the nice feedback!