A strange perspective on the practice of science: response to Peter Vickers



A more complete, revised and final version of the essay originally published here is now available at:

 https://iai.tv/articles/a-strange-perspective-on-the-practice-of-science-auid-1712?_auid=2020 

Vickers portrays the practice of science as a subjective exercise driven by majority opinions, prejudices and vulgar associations. It is almost embarrassing to have to respond to such a piece, but here it is, nonetheless.

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122 comments:

  1. That was an enjoyable knock-down to read. "Trite", "socially (and intellectually) irrelevant" and "libelous". Vickers article comes across more like emotionally driven anti-mask trolling on social-media than carefully reasoned philosophical (or scientific) argument. Solid, reasoned, response Bernardo. I await Vickers retraction. Or at least more empty rhetoric. :)

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  2. This seems all to similar to Massimo Pigliucci's critiques as well (who curiously also holds a philosophy of science degree), wherein he says metaphysical speculation is ok, but insofar as it's not backed up by empirical/scientific evidence, then it as no relevance to reality ~ in his case,'reality', and the scientific study of it, meaning a world of mind-independent material stuff from which consciousness emerges. So in arbitrarily defining 'reality' as such, of course no metaphysics based in the primacy of consciousness can ever be relevant to such a 'reality' ~ basically creating a non sequitur, then building a critique based upon it. What's up with these philosophers of science that they seem to have no clue about the philosophy of metaphysics?

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    1. I mean to be honest metaphysics itself is a useless branch of philosophy. I know science won't likely answer the big question of what this is all made of but it works a hell of a lot better at navigating reality and help us to understand.

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    2. Science is better at navigating the reality that it has created for us. It has instantiated us as human beings, objects in a class of biological organisms living in a physical world. We are not happy with this world and we don't want to to die like biological organisms. We want out.

      Metaphysics is not useless. It is pointless to those, like you and Peter Vickers, whose consciousness have been sculpted by science and have resigned themselves to being biological objects living and dying out in a physical reality. To others, like me, who intuits that there is a way out of this materialistic paradigm, metaphysical speculations are akin to breakout attempts of inmates at Supermax. We don't belong in prison.

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    3. Actually, only metaphysics can help one understand what reality is made of. Metaphysics is the attempt to grasp the very fundamentals of reality - that is the very nature of its research and discussions within it.

      Metaphysics informed by science from all fields is the only way forward. It is also the path Bernardo has chosen to tread (and probably the most successfully of all modern philosophers in my view).

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    4. My reaction to those who dismiss metaphysics as useless is to assume they are uneducated or an an idiot. I'm unable to think of another explanation.

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  3. The Vickers claim that the majority view must be the correct view, is a depressingly common one as though truth is decided by some popular "X Factor" style vote. I hope Vickers takes time to address your response Bernardo and issues a suitably considered reply and who knows, even an apology!

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  4. Accordingg Simon and Garfunkel there are 50 ways to leave your lover. Studying materialists there are 50 ways to express their basta-mentality. Every argument is just this mentality in disguise. All paths lead to materialism, no matter what happens.

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  5. Well done Bernardo
    I am so curious how a Vicker or a Pigliucci would receive such a comment like yours. Both qua content (arguments) and qua tone and emotion. I fear that it won't reach them.
    I wish the ideas like idealism would spread steadily and hope the incomprehension of those ideas won't crystallize around such morons.

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  6. People like old Pete here are missing out on the incredibly magical description that metaphysical idealism paints for us that perceive the truth in it. He is like the grinch that stole Christmas. He sees his ego as having not been invited to the party and it really pisses him off. The world will always have such people. As to the inability for Bernardo's words to accurately describe to Peter what is in many ways indescribable that is the fault of written language and the individual reader's ability to grasp it. When Programmable Logic Controllers first came out and I was having to train electricians with no digital background it was amazing how difficult it was for them to grasp that the relays and switches in the program didn't really exist. They were only software. I see Bernardo's challenge to communicate to people like Peter as being similar.

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  7. I really admire your battle spirit and battle skills! I would not have the energy to stand up against the pervasive metaphysical ignorance in science and seemingly philosophy alike. It seems that confusion is the central characteristic of the human mind… Thank you for doing your job in the most genuine and luminous way!

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  8. Bernardo has delivered about as definitive an intellectual takedown as possible, the equivalent of a pin or knockout in the first minute of the first round. Certainly there are more formidable opponents out there, itching for a shot, and how exciting it would be to see something in this philosophy/science arena more akin to Ali vs. Frazier than to the second Liston fight.

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  9. And the funniest thing is that this argument was made by a person with a phd in philosophy of science. Seems like parroting the mainstream ideas without even a little bit of actual thinking is appreciated by the academia

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  10. Poor Peter Vickers! This was his Giuliani moment where he manically rushes headlong into court with ad hominem attacks and lack of facts, determined to defend his master—current textbook science. Personally, I am moved by Vickers’ manly certainty in an area where there is precious little, even among the giants of physics. Here one might ask what, exactly, is textbook science regarding physics. That would be the Copenhagen Interpretation, right? That was the brainchild of Niels Bohr, right?

    “The Copenhagen interpretation, which informs the textbook presentation of quantum mechanics, depends fundamentally on the notion of ontological wave-particle duality and a viewpoint called “complementarity.” …Bohr’s own interpretation is…fundamentally different from and even opposed to the Copenhagen interpretation in virtually all particulars. In particular, Bohr’s interpretation avoids the ad hoc postulate of wave function “collapse” that is central to the Copenhagen interpretation.” (Niels Bohr’s Interpretation and the Copenhagen Interpretation—Are the Two Incompatible?, https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/525618?seq=1)

    But surely the above assertion cannot be right. I mean, the giants of physics were all manly men like Vickers, full of Moses-like certainty in their god, science, right?

    “I have been unable to achieve a sharp formulation of Bohr’s principle of complementarity despite much effort I have expended on it.” (Einstein 1949)

    “While imagining that I understand the position of Einstein, as regards the EPR correlations, I have very little understanding of his principle opponent, Bohr.” (Bell 1987)

    “Niels Bohr brain-washed a generation of physicists into believing that the problem had been solved fifty years ago.” (Gell-Mann 1979)

    “Every sentence I say must be understood not as an affirmation, but as a question.” (Niels Bohr, quoted in Jammer 1966) (https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/525618?seq=1)

    Maybe not. Let’s lift the bonnet of knowledge and look under the hood. What does the sort of manly certainty Vickers exhibits entail, epistemologically speaking? First, we need to examine different theories of learning (Interference Theory, Wikipedia). Working from an assumption of active learning means we seek to select the most informative, unbiased instances, and ask an omniscient oracle for their labels to retain a learning algorithm, maximizing accuracy. Such an oracle, however, is assumed to be infallible, indefatigable, individual, and insensitive to costs determined by the difficulty required to formulate an answer. In real life we have multiple sources of information of differing reliability or areas of expertise. Proactive learning relaxes all these assumptions, relying on a decision theoretic approach to jointly select the optimal oracle and instance by casting the problem as a utility optimization problem subject to budget constraints. Proactive learning is related to retroactive learning—the realization that, as in any particular moment in time an agent may lack the specific information or resources needed, whatever we think we know is always subject to (retroactive) review as (or when) new information or resources become available.

    In this light we might want to question whether a Vickers brand of certainty is evidence of strength or weakness.

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  11. Maybe Bernardo will do me a favor and not publish this comment because I am probably going to take a drubbing. Many of these comments seem pretty trite to me. They seem to be either about showing how incredibly "intellectual" one is and can carry your own when talking with Bernardo or they seem to be about supporting your champion much like one would support a sports team. Bottom line they seem pretty predictable to me. Maybe that is what Bernardo was wishing for but I hope not. I keep coming back in by own mind is "What is the practical application of Bernardo's work?" For me it helped refine my world view and when something impacts your world view I don't think it can help but impact how one approaches life. I would love to hear more about how Bernardo's work has impacted other people instead of strictly about what a true and noble champion we have selected.

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  12. eakj makes a valid point about most of the comments on this thread, including mine, being essentially "dog piling on the rabbit." I would only counter with the observation that this particular rabbit was asking for a dogpile. As for the life-impact of Bernardo's work, a substantial and fruitful question, I can only say that it has assisted me, and I'm sure many others, in transcending the philosophical materialism drummed into us by our zeitgeist. Because I believe this philosophical form of materialism fuels, if not engenders, the moral form of materialism, now culminated in the hyper-capitalism exploiting people and killing the planet, Bernardo's metaphysics (as in your case, eakj) bleeds into my ethical inclinations and aspirations. To put it simply and directly, Bernardo's work, and the work of others who think along the same lines, helps me to grow, however imperfectly and incrementally, in what I believe to be, hope to be, wisdom and love, elegantly combined by Schweitzer into reverence for life. The line between philosophy and religion, as Schweitzer liked to note, has always been thin at best.

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    1. For a long time I sort of felt left out. The hyper-capitalist reality that I see as a direct offshoot of materialism seemed to have several convoluted and contradictory laws. 1. Acquiring "stuff" is the path to happiness. 2. Coveting other people's stuff is admirable, righteous and virtuous. 3. Once stuff is acquired one must cultivate an attitude that my stuff is my stuff and all of those people coveting my stuff are to be feared and controlled. 4. The people that have the stuff that the "have nots" are coveting must be feared and controlled.
      That path didn't seem to leave much room for taking in and appreciating all of the beauty and majesty that surrounds us. And as you say it leads to the destruction of all of the true beauty and majesty that is the source of all of our "stuff".
      So when I see people with the arrogance that Peter has on one hand I feel sorry for them. Let's assume for a moment that for whatever reason Peter doesn't have the desire or ability to understand. Assume he is really sincere. What do we do to win over those folks? The materialist model is so entrenched in western civilization thinking it will have to be unwound slowly over time. One event aiding the change in thinking will be the upcoming colapse of the environment. Peter will not be able to deny the obvious destruction that materialist thinking is causing even if it were to be scientifically accurate.
      I'm starting to get overextended. I am not a writer of philosopher and certainly not a scientist. I'm hoping those people that deserve those coveted titles can redirect the conversation to "What do I do to make it better, today not tomorrow?". What is there to be done to convince people like Peter of the elegance and self evident truth of Bernardo's work? And if we can't convince the people like Peter what do we do to meet our moral obligation as stewards of our existence so that we can have the incredible scenes on Bernardo's website to leave to the future?

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    2. It's not like his idealism is any better since from where I stand it leads to either nihilism or solipsism.

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    3. Where you stand is, apparently, where Peter Vickers is standing. Bernardo has explained ad nauseum why you guys are not getting it. His view of idealism is worth looking into if you want to know why it doesn't lead to nihilism or solipsism.

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  13. Subject “libelous piece” refers to Peter Vickers’ article entitled “Idealism, pansychism, and science” published in IAI News on December 2, 2020. IAI News said: “We will be inviting Philip Goff and Bernardo Kastrup to reply here”. Below is my contribution to Bernardo’s rebuttal.

    In his article’s opening salvo, Vickers said:

    “It is absolutely accepted that the philosopher should have a great respect for science, as an epistemological endeavour. On the face of it, both science and philosophy search for truth: scientists ask ‘big’ questions such as “Where did human beings ultimately come from?”, and philosophers similarly ask ‘big’ questions such as “What is the relationship between the mind and the brain?”. But whereas scientists sometimes actually reach truth (human beings evolved from more primitive mammals, which themselves evolved from amphibians, etc.), philosophers seemingly never do, and are doomed to forever go round in circles.”

    Is evolution theory a matter of truth? Vickers must be relying on the science of natural history as expounded by Keith Stewart Thomson at the University of Oxford.
    Thomson remarks: "Change over time is a fact, and descent from common ancestors is based on such unassailable logic that we act as though it is a fact. Natural selection provides the outline of an explanatory theory." (Wikipedia)

    Change over time may be a matter of fact but we are not talking about the observable change in an object in a laboratory. Specie transformation – even if admissible - is not observable, not within the attention span of the scientific observer’s lifetime. The closest purported ancestor of the human being assumably disappeared 500,000 years ago. Beyond that, there is no evidence of anything. Is this the substance of scientific truth?

    At any rate, evolution – of anything - takes time, a fundamental dimension of physics. Evolution implies change, a transformation of what was (past), to what is now (present), to what it will be (future) in a physical reality. And this process of mutation can only exist in a temporal realm of mentation that records (remembers) the past, registers (observes) the present, and projects (imagines) the future.

    Therefore, physicalism is not the anti-thesis of idealism but a subset of the latter. In other words, our physical reality resides within the confines of conscious reality.

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  14. I have been pondering for some time to write Bernardo about a proud, unapologetic philosopher with no inferiority complex, who understands the complementary and indispensable role of philosophy in relation to science. Someone who understands the undeniable merits of science and, as a direct implication of these merits, the limitations of science as a method of inquiry. Frankly, a philosopher who understands the first thing about philosophy's role in human life.

    As Bernardo indicates at the end of his devastating reply to Vickers' smear piece, he is desperately looking for such a person, and so I decided to reveal my secret:
    the person just described is a man at 90 years of age (almost double the age of Bernardo), a scientist (math, physics), a philosopher (with great knowledge of Vedic and Traditional schools). He writes and speaks at least as brilliant and clear as Bernardo and is one of the few scientist who fully supports that materialism is baloney (so he is largely ignored, and for the same reason Bernardo has been smeared several times: the powers that be). He is like Bernardo involved in a philosophical initiative and he plays the main role in a recent documentary called The End of the Quantum Enigma.

    I am sure that many goods things could come from a meeting between Bernardo and this person, whose name is Wolfgang Smith.

    For the initiative, documentary and articles see https://philos-sophia.org/

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    1. Just checked out the site you recommend, Mees, and read (more like devoured) several articles by Wolfgang Smith. THANK YOU for directing our attention, along with Bernardo's, to this internet oasis of refreshing, clarifying, edifying thought. On the popularizing book level, Fritz Schumacher's "A Guide for the Perplexed," which I have long cherished, came immediately to mind. I hope that others who appreciate Bernardo's work will also dive into Wolfgang's. They will find the water warmly familiar. And I, also, would love to see the two of them meet, if they haven't already had the pleasure of doing so.

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    2. My pleasure, Newton!

      Seems the synchronicity I mentioned will have follow ups!

      I did a search on Wolfgang Smith on this side, but nothing came up.

      Thanks for the book suggestion, I only knew Schumacher's Small is Beautiful.

      Very briefly, Smith's traditional view is of a tripartite cosmos, and man too: corpus, anima (soul) and spirit. The first it bound by space and time, the latter by neither, while the intermediary anima is only bound by time, which allows "real-time" perception (two beautiful articles on philos-sophia) and also the synchronized control of the trillions of processes in our body and in other living organisms.
      Very elegant, very old, and very miraculous.

      I briefly mentioned the powers that be, which IMHO play the main role in the ongoing spiritual war. I came on this path by reading The Ascendency of the Scientific Dictatorship (Phillip D. Collins & Paul D. Collins).
      quote:
      “The ruling class seized control of science and used it as an ‘epistemological weapon’ against the masses.” – Collins

      Behind today’s New World Order/Great Reset political/technological/spiritual deception are since time immemorial evil forces whose goal is total control.

      Total control is the subject of a 1956 book by Dutch psychiatrist Joost van Meerloo, The Rape of the Mind, which is suddenly very actual.
      quote
      Perhaps the greatest danger, to the totalitarian mind, is the use of intellect and awareness and the "egg-head's" demand for free, verifying thinking.

      I see it happening everywhere today (including the smear attacks on Bernardo), and I think Wolfgang Smith sees it too.

      If these snippets resonate with you, I would like to exchange ideas with you (am writing a book and need a sparring partner in this field)

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    3. I like your comment and think it is very timely. I'm not an intellectual and never been a follower and terrible about remembering what I read and where I read it. So I can't tell you where I read this but it was a great article that basically said, "When the powers start talking about the fact that man is rounding the corner on violence. "We (the powerful) have finally figured it out and will enforce peace and prosperity on the populace." This is always when the caca is about hit the fan. It has happened before the last two world wars and many time previously in history. I found the observation intriguing. Don't know how accurate it is but I'm a very proactive person and I find myself almost instinctively preparing myself mentally and physically for the upcoming challenge. I feel like a squirrel gathering nuts for winter!

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  15. Just think of Vickers act as an endogenous act of will which only draws Bernardo further into this battle or only elevates him more. Something with consequences not immediately predictable by his immediate actions.

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  16. “Kastrup seems willing to distort science for his own idealist ends.”

    I cannot find the above statement in Vicker’s article which does contain the statement below.

    “Elsewhere, however, Kastrup's presentation of the science seems significantly biased towards his idealism.”

    One could argue that both statements essentially say the same thing. While the second version has wriggle room to invite clarification and allows debate, the first does not.

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  17. I have read Bernardo Kastrup’s Dec 7 “final version” of his Dec 2 essay that was written in reaction to Peter Vickers’ Dec 2 article “Idealism, Panscychism and science”. At IAI News, Vickers’ article has attracted readers’ comments that support Bernardo’s position. I have “lifted” two of them and reproduced them below because they said what I want to say here.

    “Given the job of science - i.e., understanding the objective causal properties of physical systems - science is, by definition, not metaphysics. Indeed, unlike science, Idealism is a metaphysical ontology intended to answer what reality is, that is, the essential, underlying nature of existence; therefore, by definition, Idealism is not science. Peter, instead of merely dismissing Bernardos views and calling them unscientific, how about you actually address them based on their philosophical merit. From what I can tell, Idealism is by far the most parsimonious, explanatory description of reality, especially when considering that Physicalism can't answer for the sole datum of existence itself - phenomenal consciousness - and to survive as an accurate ontological description of reality must postulate an infinite multiverse. Perhaps it's time for you to take these views a little more seriously.” (Ethan Bills, Dec 4, 2020)

    “Very good article. I think what underscores the idealist and panpsychist position is a starting point. What "really" needs to be done is refine mind and consciousness as the reality problem. If in reality mind and consciousness exist at the levels of panpsychism or idealism, then how do our minds create our reality at this scale of objects, space, time, feelings, smell, sight....The physicalist approach may yield the proper data but the gap to explain this scaled reality still points towards the panpsychist idealist.” (Vic P, Dec 3, 2020)

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  18. The guy does seem like a nutter to me.

    But then again your brand of solipsism isn't much better. Having read all your stuff you don't actually defeat solipsism in any meaningful way or make a good case for helping others. In fact, much of what you say tends to lead to solipsism and the only reason you aren't one is just your say so.

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    1. What kind of help are you looking for?

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    2. I'm assuming all three comments from "unknown" today are the same person so I'll in a general way respond to all three here.

      I think all of your comments are valid takeaways. Humanity has been trying to write it's own owners/operator manual ever since we hit the planet. A lot has been written about 40,000 year old cave art but what I would love to know is what did those primitive society's talk about sitting around the campfire. Are the facts that we can now build a better mouse trap, any "nutter" out there with a computer can self publish their opinions, that we can now go to a grocery store and buy a chicken someone else killed really mean we have come any closer to answering the truly fundamental questions? Or in reality have we only been going in circles attempting to "know" the "unknowable". When we point to technology and say "See how far we have come" is that really a pretense to the fact in many ways we haven't gone anywhere and are unable to accept that we probably never will. So for me Bernardo's work has been extremely enlightening at a personal level and I'm deeply grateful for it but I realize it is only personal and probably really doesn't move the greater "ball" in any meaningful way.

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    3. I disagree with Eakj that today’s comments from “unknown” have any merit. As Sree has already pointed out, he doesn’t have a clue about Bernardo’s “stuff”, which he claims to have read in entirety. I also disagree with the final comment about Bernardo’s work not moving the “greater ‘ball’”. I have read all 8 published books and have great hope for them having an impact on mainstream culture, however long that may take.

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    4. Let me ask you a couple of questions Bob. I agree whole heartedly with Bernardo's work but I do not see that as a validation of his work per se. I believe a lot of things certain people would be glad to beat me to death for. So my questions are. What will an impact on mainstream culture look like? It can be said Jesus Christ had an impact on mainstream culture. What does that impact look like to you? Secondly, Isn't "however long that may take" just a little nebulas and open ended? I'm one of the knuckle draggers in life. I have no college degree although I worked as an automation engineer for most of my "career". I'm a guy that is pretty pragmatic and at some point something having no pragmatic impact is pretty much whistling in the wind for me. At some point a plan has to be executed for it to matter. At times I feel maybe Bernardo is alluding to a plan as an example his article to Bill Gates. Obviously Bernardo sees a result that is desirable and feels compelled to put his finger on the scale. I'm not sure exactly why he sees that result is more desirable than say the destruction of all human life. I know that is extreme but I personally know environmental types that think that would be a good thing. So is Bernardo's desire to see a survivable or possibly even a thriving future based on values that are a product of his metaphysical idealism? If that is the case I'm having a devil of a time finding that kind of a direct correlation in his writings. In my mind believing in "peace and joy for all mankind" isn't near enough. There has to be plan where there are winners and losers. I'll bet you a dollar to a donut that when they built the Large Hadron Collider there were lots of winners and losers. I'm sure there were land owners that had to sell their land even if they didn't want to. Lots of wildlife was disrupted. There were lots of engineers and scientists that wanted their ideas realized that didn't win. There were lots of contractors that lost bids. So far from Bernardo I haven't seen that clear cut vision of a goal and the single minded focus necessary to get to that goal.

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    5. Eakj, for a discussion on what that impact would look like,I would refer you to Brief Peeks Beyond chapter 8, also chapter 5. Regarding the timeframe, near the end of the aforementioned chapter 5 Bernardo comments, “Materialism will be replaced as a paradigm, I believe, within my lifetime. It has run its course and can no longer nurture the human psyche.” That sounds good to me.

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    6. To be clear, Jesus Christ's impact actually means Christianity's impact. One could argue that Christianity was inspired by one guy (alter?) called Jesus who ultimately impacted "mainstream culture". There is no evidence that he had any direct input into the formulation of Christian theology of any kind. The early Christians (notably Saint Paul) wrote and compiled the Bible using stuff from Judaism.

      It's the same deal with Buddhism. Academic research uncovered nothing that came directly from the Buddha (i.e. no one knows what the Buddha taught). In other words, Buddhism was invented by the monks.

      At any rate, the impact of religion cannot put a dent into physicalism which is the dominant worldview today. The reason is because the hard sciences provide the knowledge we desperately need to stay "in business" putting food on the table, dealing with bodily injury and illness, and maintaining stability of the massive societies in which we live.

      If Bernardo's goal is to displace the materialism paradigm withing our lifetime, we had better put our shoulders to the wheel and help him get us all out of the ditch.

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    7. I went back and re read Chapter 5 and 8. I don't in principal find any real problem with what Bernardo is preaching to the masses. No more than any spiritual leader has preached the same before including the aforementioned JC. The Judeo Christian religion is full of "anti" materialist teachings. Nothing new here. And as I have said before I owe Bernardo big time for supplying the piece of the puzzle for me that consciousness is fundamental so no problems so far. But Jesus died on the cross because he chose to allow it to happen. In the myth he was the Son of God and could have smited the crap out of his persecutors. So he in effect did something by doing nothing. So my point is that if one really has a truly strong spiritual or metaphysical belief or let's say knowledge that will manifest itself in the way the person approaches life. It will cause them to do or not do certain things. If I wanted to bypass this existence so I can live in the non material existence I have Smith and Wesson .38 to provide a short cut. So my argument is that Bernardo implies things we do in the material world matter either to the greater good or to the spiritual good of the individual. So for lack of a better word that would manifest itself in pragmatic behavior or if that is a naughty word it manifests itself into behavior that impacts the material plane of existence. As an example I live amongst people that have almost no material possessions. The fact that I own a 2 year old Suzuki Grand Vitara, that I live in an earthbag house my wife and I built with our own two hands and we built a guest house using the same technique. The fact that I have a television set and have enough money to travel if I so choose puts me up there with Bill Gates in these peoples minds. They feel blessed if they own a cow. Without going into a huge amount of detail the other day my wife and I bought one of the young men in our community a brand new car to use as his own. I'm talking about a brand new off of the showroom car. Now I know this young man. He'll treat it with great care. He'll use it to help his family and his community. Most of these people have never even seen a brand new car and darned sure have never sat in one. That "pragmatic" behavior I see as a direct result of following a non-materialist metaphysics.

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    8. Eakj - OK, so it sounds like you have a basic grasp of the impact of an idealist metaphysics on people’s behavior, and therefore on the larger society, after all. Among other things, it motivates better treatment of other people, other living things, and the planet.

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    9. I see one huge opportunity for society to replace the materialism paradigm and it won't require one second of contemplating our belly buttons and that is the materialism paradigm is in no way sustainable. There is a truism that people don't change. There is one caveat or qualifier to that statement. People don't change unless they experience a life threatening emotional event. I think that baby is coming down the pike even as we speak. In my mind the trick will be to have enough people already aware of the disaster that materialism or physicalism has been on every level. I mean in reality how many people are actually happier having all of their stuff. And this has to be people that aren't intellectuals. Many intellectuals seem to live in a fantasy that they are the only ones that know anything. And the way they prove this is by quoting other intellectuals that agree with them. Quoting them from obscure books that nobody but intellectuals are going to read. To create the critical mass necessary to steer society in a new direction once the crap hits the fan is going to require giving guidance to the masses.

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  19. “The notion that there is a world outside and independent of the phenomenal is an explanatory model, not an empirical fact.” (Kastrup)

    The reason why Peter Vickers is at odds with us is because the above statement is a hard pill for him to swallow. He has my sympathy because it is a hard pill even for me to swallow although I am dead certain that there is no “outside”.

    I do live my daily life as though there is a world outside; that is, until I try to figure out what “outside” means. Is the rock on which I stub my toe “outside” because science told me so? What about the beer I am swallowing? I can experience it going down my throat. Is it “outside” or inside of me? It is inside my body, for sure. Whether or not it is inside, or outside, of me is another matter. What am I?

    The notion that I am an “alter”, a disassociated ego-consciousness, is also an explanatory model of science. But this is another kettle of fish and Peter thinks it smells. Can we blame him even though our model is supported by empirical facts?

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    1. One has no choice but to live life as if there was an "outside". If one chooses to live his/her life otherwise there will no longer be an outside because they would be dead as a hammer. I guess I'm way too simplistic because many of these arguments and observations seem a bit too obvious. Regardless of if you accept Bernardo's "explanatory model" or not there are things that must be done to stay in this plane of existence. I'm sure that's a wrong description but for grins and giggles let's go with it. One must still eat, drink, breath, urinate, defecate, etc. If you are lucky enough to be an intellectual in academia or an intellectual celebrity like Deepak Chopra you may have all of your necessities provided by someone else's toil and have someone else deal with getting rid of your waste.

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    2. “One has no choice but to live life as if there was an "outside". If one chooses to live his/her life otherwise there will no longer be an outside because they would be dead as a hammer.” (eakj)

      True. “Outside” implies more than what classical physics has to say about the division between objects in a material world. “Outside” means anything that has nothing to do with me and, to which, I don’t have to give a damn. Sounds selfish but let’s face it: losing my little finger is more alarming than a whole Afghan village getting wiped out in a drone strike. Sad but true; and it is this truth that Peter Vicker’s science wants us to accept.

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    3. “Regardless of if you accept Bernardo's "explanatory model" or not there are things that must be done to stay in this plane of existence. I'm sure that's a wrong description but for grins and giggles let's go with it. One must still eat, drink, breath, urinate, defecate, etc.” (eakj)

      You hit the nail on the head. Doing things that must be done to eke out a living is precisely what imprisons us in this plane of (material) existence where each individual is separate from another, as well as, from the outside world.

      Philosophical inquiry aside, is there any benefit to junking this consensus worldview for the layman who must earn his bread by the sweat of his brow until he returns to the ground?

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    4. There is a perception by many in modern society that the "layman" has an empty life. I have been blessed to have had an extremely diverse life. I feel so thankful for things like never having a college degree although I've been accused of being very intelligent and having always had the opportunity if I so chose. The reason I say that is in my experience the very "educated" run the risk of that education becoming a prison that does more to separate themselves from others than any one thing I know of. I have had the opportunity to know some extremely poor and disadvantaged individuals that I would have accused of being very intelligent. One is the young man we just purchased the car for. After actually getting to know these people I walked away honored to have known them and deeply envious of their lives. By the same token I have known a number of highly educated people that if you said I had to think like them I would just as soon shoot myself than face even one day with a view of life that was so desperate and sad. That is one reason I find many intellectuals so boring. They believe in their own self importance when in reality they are clowns with a very funny hats. The beauty, the mystery, the majesty of life is there for all to see regardless of their education. Bernardo didn't invent reality. All he did is observe it and characterize it in a fashion an idiot like me could understand. I've known many poor and uneducated that figured it our without Bernardo. They know it in a sublime way. They wouldn't know a quark from a hole in a ground. Can they carry on ad nauseum like Vickers about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? No they can't nor would they want to. I have become convinced that this life has a purpose. I am convinced how we live matters, not what we live.

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    5. “I have become convinced that this life has a purpose.” (eakj)

      How does your conviction about life having a purpose relate to Bernardo’s idealist worldview? He contends that “There is only cosmic consciousness. We, as well as all other living organisms, are but dissociated alters of cosmic consciousness”.

      Do you feel that the entirety of our existence is a living consciousness, that shares our conscious human nature, and not a universe of inanimate stars and planets inhabited by “soulless” organisms as declared by science?

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    6. “I've known many poor and uneducated that figured it our without Bernardo. They know it in a sublime way. They wouldn't know a quark from a hole in a ground. Can they carry on ad nauseum like Vickers about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? No they can't nor would they want to.” (eakj)

      Compared to Peter Vickers, Jesus would be considered poor and uneducated. Just because one has no school-learning doesn’t mean one cannot think. However, no matter how well Jesus could think, it would count for nothing if he could not convey his thoughts to experts in academia, through the use of language, with skill and clarity. He would be of no better value to our philosophical inquiry than a brilliant deaf-mute.

      Vickers has a Ph.D. in Philosophy among other academic qualifications. He is equipped to argue and articulate complicated philosophical concepts about reality with Bernardo in jargon I cannot comprehend. Jesus would be worse off than me in that regard because (even though I have no formal training in philosophy) my modernized worldview gives me a leg up in grasping what the experts have to say. Jesus would have no clue and wouldn’t care. We wouldn’t either if we could turn water into wine.

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    7. "How does your conviction about life having a purpose relate to Bernardo’s idealist worldview?" Damned if I know. My world view doesn't come from Bernardo's world view. Got a lot of respect for the guy but I wasn't looking for a sage when I came across Bernardo. For me Bernardo provided the missing piece by convincing me that consciousness is fundamental. That is almost like proving that cars are designed to go down the highway. Now you have to start it up and go somewhere. In my case I had been driving many miles before I really understood what cars are designed to do. So when I make the philosophical statements I make they have nothing to do with Bernardo per se. Bernardo I see as a type of expert. I worked in a world with lots and lots of experts and I have come to know some are fantastic and some are idiots. Presently Bernardo comes across to me as being somebody attending a football game with one foot in the stands and the other on the field. Is he in the game or is he acting as an announcer? In my case I am solidly in the game and love it. Bernardo's proving to me that consciousness is fundamental brought a whole new dimension to the game, a game I already loved and I am so, so grateful for that gift.

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    8. I see I didn't answer all of your question of the first reply and part of the problem is I don't have all of the answers even for myself. In the American Indian philosophy I follow it says there is the known, the unknown and the unknowable. When one is attempting to understand the unknowable there is a feedback loop so to speak that causes anxiety, depression, frustration. I firmly believe this is true so who ever designed this gizmo gave us limits much like a good parent puts limits on their child. You tell Johnny you can play in the front yard all you want but don't you dare go out in the street. Now Johnny being the curious kid he is wants to see what is on the other side of the street but if he pursues that he is going to get a spanking. So Johnny is much happier if he accepts his limitations and enjoys the freedom he has been given.

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    9. In reply to your Jesus comment I think in general terms you are spot on. This is where Jesus, my Indian philosophy and I agree. Everything is 100% personal. The journey is 100% personal. The consequences are 100% personal. Bernardo's journey is Bernardo's journey. In the modern world there has been a sort of need to paint everything in a collective approach. As an example my Warriors path has in effect it's own 10 commandments and of course shares many of the Judeo/Christian 10 commandments. Let's take "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors goods". That is 100% personal. There are no qualifiers like, "But what if I'm poor and he is Bill Gates". Nope, not allowed. In my path there is no deity out there looking to smite your rear or keeping score or weighing your soul. In my case you are the only one that pays and you pay the price that comes with failing to walk with impeccability. You have added one more bar to your prison cell.

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    10. “There is a perception by many in modern society that the "layman" has an empty life.” (eakj)

      A layman is a person with no specialized knowledge in a particular field. Most people have no specialized knowledge in any field. I agree that education can be imprisoning. We become educated when we learn to speak, read, and write. Literacy denaturalizes perception. It directs the way we see the world in a structured way that knowledge is organized. This is why intellectuals stuffed with knowledge seem removed from reality. They think like robots. They can’t feel. They have no “common sense”.

      The uneducated mind is free to perceive reality directly and accurately. A Ph.D. like Peter Vickers wouldn’t be able to survive off-grid because he can’t see straight like a grizzly can. The beast could corner him and gobble him up. An uneducated native of the forest can see as straight as the bear can, and then some. School learning can cripple the human mind and lock it in a physical reality built by science.

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    11. The problem with any education in my mind is that one learns what is correct and what is incorrect at the same time. Depending on what that education means to one's ego one may hold both of those "truths" to be absolute, especially the one's that have it Piled Higher and Deeper.

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    12. “In the American Indian philosophy I follow it says there is the known, the unknown and the unknowable. When one is attempting to understand the unknowable there is a feedback loop so to speak that causes anxiety, depression, frustration.” (eakj)

      Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that attempts to understand the unknowable. It’s Johnny wanting to find out how the magician pulled the rabbit out of the hat. He just won’t take things at face value, sit back, and enjoy the magic show. He has got to know and is risking getting his butt whacked.

      Why is it important for you to know that “consciousness is fundamental” and everything in life is grounded in it? If knowing this makes you happy rather than depressed, then you are not dealing with the unknowable but living with the known. You are fully in a game that the rest of humanity is yet to play.

      Bernardo isn’t in the game; I don’t think. He just finds physicalism absurd and is offering, for consideration, an alternative ontology of his form of idealism. His is a worldview in the making, a postulation of a viable known for critical review and endorsement by the scientific establishment.

      Hopefully, we will all join you in the game.

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    13. Why is it important that consciousness is fundamental? Great question. I'll give it a shot. I'm 66 and have spent all of my life with my face stuck in National Geographic, Popular Science, Scientific American you name it. At the same time I was going to Catholic School where religion was a subject you studied everyday just like math or science and continued to purse that in parallel with the science. I had one year of public school. So relatively early I resolved my religious conflicts with reality as I say it again in sort of a sublime approach. There were a number of significant corrections but those were all many years ago.' Science on the other hand I struggled pretty strongly with and Bernardo's work was the final answer and in hind sight it is so damned obvious. Science in effect is in many ways like a computer trying to write it's own construction and operators manual. In my mind it is hopeless because the computer never will be able to understand the complete process that brought it into existence. Especially the quantum mechanics part. So I see that as a crude analogy of the challenge facing physicalist. However people like Peter Vickers are too arrogant or too ignorant to understand their own limitations. Understanding that consciousness is fundamental told me the answer I hoped to get from science to reinforce my perception concerning the spiritual side of life would never be forthcoming. And what is so wild about that for me is that many of the ancients already knew that. As much as the Phd's want to believe they are capable of understanding everything and that validates the control they have over us knuckle draggers they are in effect the emperor with no clothes.

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    14. I believe there is deeper, more pressing reason for Bernardo's epic struggle against philosophical materialism. That reason lies in the twofold meaning of materialism, one of which is philosophical, the other, ethical. Is it any wonder that as the materialistic worldview became dominant, the materialistic lifestyle did as well? The result is a global socioeconomic system we awkwardly call "neoliberalism," which turns people, everything else on our planet, and the very planet itself into objective things, mere commodities or resources to be exploited, consumed, and discarded. Seen in this larger context, the struggle against materialism is not only an intellectual challenge but an existential one, a matter of life and death in light of looming ecocide. The American Indians and other indigenous people knew instinctively what we have tragically forgotten or arrogantly rejected. Yet the only way out of our crisis is not back but through, and thus the escape route, the path to a better, more beautiful and sustainable world, which Bernardo and others are doing their best to blaze on the intellectual level.

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    15. I sense you are correct concerning Bernardo's motivations. However doesn't this bring Bernardo slap up against one of the paradox's. My adopted metaphysics would say this is the "You must pursue truth as you see it pretending what you do matters while knowing that nothing you do matters". That can be taken out of context. What it boils down to is that the results don't matter. Believing that is in effect is feeding your self importance. What matters above all else is your individual intent. Is you intent impecable or is your intent self serving. Many people today have become masters at lying to themselves about their intent. Nobody can lie to you like you. I sense at time Bernardo struggling with that from the position of a nobel warrior. But in my philosophy the struggle is extremely important. I feel no need to believe Bernardo has all of the answers but to believe he struggles with impeccability.

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    16. “I believe there is deeper, more pressing reason for Bernardo's epic struggle against philosophical materialism. That reason lies in the twofold meaning of materialism, one of which is philosophical, the other, ethical. Is it any wonder that as the materialistic worldview became dominant, the materialistic lifestyle did as well? The result is a global socioeconomic system we awkwardly call "neoliberalism," which turns people, everything else on our planet, and the very planet itself into objective things, mere commodities or resources to be exploited, consumed, and discarded.” (Newton Finn)

      Ethics are moral principles that govern the conduct of an individual. It’s a personal affair concerning “the spiritual side of life” (eakj).

      Moral principles informed by experts, for governing human behavior in society, are not ethics but the ideological blueprints of politics for imposing law and order. A person, in this instance, is an object in a class, a human digit subjected to programming for the greater good.

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    17. “Understanding that consciousness is fundamental told me the answer I hoped to get from science to reinforce my perception concerning the spiritual side of life would never be forthcoming. And what is so wild about that for me is that many of the ancients already knew that.” (eakj)

      What did the ancients know? The transmission of what they knew - in the form of myths, folktales, and scripture – is obscure to me. You are convinced that there is something there. I can tell you that there is nothing here in all that we know about the world both on the outside as well as on the inside.

      Consciousness being fundamental is obvious to you and me. You are in the game. You are not going to wait for Bernardo’s attempt to get “FDA approval” of his game plan because you don’t have a choice about the matter. The instant you see the truth in the nature of reality, you are living it. You internalize and become the game “choicelessly”, so to speak. This has tremendous implications in perception. What do you see now that you never saw before? Granted, you still have to live as though there is a world outside in dealing with practical matters to take care of your body. But how do you relate with other alters, like Peter Vickers or even your wife, disassociated ego-consciousness, who are not in the game and think you are crazier than Bernardo? Kastrup, is merely advancing a theory. He has not jumped into the game with both feet as you have.

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    18. I'll run this up the flag and see if and how you salute than go from there. Number one the ancients knew there is an unknowable. Secondly as Bernardo touches on in "More than Allegory" their myths, folktales and scriptures was pointing to something. I love your "FDA Approval" statement. So just as you and I can't wait for FDA approval neither could the ancients. My wife and I spent the night in a tiny rock cottage on the island on lake Titicaca that was supposed to have been the birthplace of the first Inca. You are at like 13000 feet altitude and 65 miles from the nearest light. This was at the end of our tour of Peru including a flight in a Cessna 180 over the Nazca lines and visiting Machu Picchu. I had a nature call at about 3 a.m. and man I didn't want to get out of bed because it was freaking freezing. Finally nature forced me and when I walked out and was confronted almost violently with a star lit night sky like I didn't know was possible it hit me, "They got it". Like I say it was at a sublime level but I have come to the conclusion in reality that is the only way you can get it. Anything else is only intellectualized and therefore trivialized or "FDA" approved.

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    19. “Secondly as Bernardo touches on in "More than Allegory" their myths, folktales and scriptures was pointing to something.” (eakj)

      Of course, they were pointing to something! Back then, when the ego-consciousness was innocent and free of the claptrap of science, everything in life was magical because nothing was known. If you felt that the Milky Way zapping you in the mountains of Peru was awe-inspiring, imagine what went through the minds of the ancients in a full-blown eclipse of the Sun!

      Science wrecked it for us and took the magic out of life with its goddam explanatory models for every spell bounding phenomenon. The US wrecked the moon for me: that awesome lighted disc in the night sky following me on my walk home was thrashed when they took that giant step for mankind.

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    20. Thank you for correcting my singular to plural, "was to were"! I can type really fast but extremely poorly and try as I might to find the errors my mind refuses to see them until after the comment is published and then they are obvious.
      Yes that is the double edged sword that science brings to the journey. I'm unsure if we are really any happier now that we are so much more accurately informed. I do believe it is possible to recapture some of what is lost but how much I don't know. One of my skills is that of a master woodworker and lathe artist. I remember reading about the giant chestnuts trees that grew in the US before a blight wiped them out. We have never known them so do we lose something we never knew? We have never known that innocence, at least as adults. Can we "unknow" something? From a personal standpoint the universe has become a very magical place for me in my old age. I feel I understand my place in it at a sublimely intuitive level. In my mind one of the critical ingredients to arrive at this point has been humility. In the intellectual world that is an ingredient in short supply. Everybody is trying to prove their brain is bigger than the next brain.

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    21. “Yes that is the double edged sword that science brings to the journey. I'm unsure if we are really any happier now that we are so much more accurately informed.” (eakj)

      In a word, the answer is no, we are not happier now mainly because we are NOT accurately informed. The misinformation, even though it is not deliberate, has shaped our perception and messed up “our heads”. I did point out that if one realizes the truth that consciousness is fundamental and one is “in the game”, then science no longer dominates one’s perception of reality. One sees everything differently. And consequently, one lives – in a “sublime” way – differently to deal with the unhappiness inherent in an abstract existence, the domain of the intellectual, the empty explanatory world of science.

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  20. “Metaphysics informed by science from all fields is the only way forward. It is also the path Bernardo has chosen to tread (and probably the most successfully of all modern philosophers in my view).” (Jacob)

    I wonder if we (and I mean laymen like me) can participate effectively in the discussion of expert topics such as metaphysics and science (i.e. physics), let alone criticize or agree with the positions taken by Bernardo Kastrup and Peter Vickers. They both paid for the right to say what they think.

    A Ph.D. degree certifies that the holder has completed original research documented in a defended dissertation. It takes around 8 years to get to that point from ground zero (i.e. high school grad). The tuition cost of a doctoral program for one year alone averages US$40,000.

    Most of us can talk a good game, but the hunt for the truth about life is not a spectator sport.

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    1. Replying to Sree: I suspect Peter Vickers would like that comment, but I hardly think that a PhD provides proof of a clear headed grasp of reality. In fact, that they went through 8 years of higher education focused on left brained analysis, and no doubt including some brain washing, may even be suggestive of the reverse. The lack of an advanced degree certainly doesn’t make one a “spectator” with regards to life and reality.

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    2. As a double-PhD, I agree wholeheartedly with Bob Jones!

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    3. A PhD is a product of consciousness just like everything else. And believe me I respect the hell out of Bernardo however I feel my observations about my reality are as valid as anyone else. In the final analysis maybe nobody actually has an accurate description of reality or there wouldn't be so many unlike say the description of a tree.

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    4. “Replying to Sree: I suspect Peter Vickers would like that comment, but I hardly think that a PhD provides proof of a clear headed grasp of reality.” (Bob Jones)

      If we can look past the subjective personality and focus on the objective ego-consciousness (or alter), I would imagine that all things being equal, a sharpened implement is more effective than a blunt one. Going to philosophy school is for acquiring a skill, I don’t have, in grasping the quiddity of reality. I find it hard to accept that a classmate, as clever as me, in high school who went on to spend 8 years of apprenticeship in a trade under the supervision of masters of the craft could end up no better than me.

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    5. Sree, I don’t dispute that getting a PhD in philosophy would greatly improve one’s skills in arguing the finer points of academic philosophy. I’m sure Daniel Dennett could talk circles around either of us on his worst day. But that has no bearing on our right to tell either him or Vickers they are full of shit.

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    6. Which causes me to ponder what would a philosophers impact be if he couldn't talk or write? At some point doesn't there have to be a tangible impact or is it elevating the act of pontificating way past the point that act deserves.

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  21. Eakj - I quite agree. What’s needed is a balance between logic and the ability to formulate reasoned arguments on the one hand and intuitive understanding on the other. I was simply trying to argue against the idea that a high level of training in the former makes one an authority with regards to the latter. I don’t agree that the one implies the other, however much our academic elites would like us to believe that.

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  22. Bob, I agree totally with your previous comment. There are so many fatal flaws in mass media and technology in my mind it's hard to know where to start. We are marching to the precipice with blinders on assuming someone is leading this parade. Humans seemed to feel compelled to find a "messiah" and once located then to identify suitable disciples to totally screw the message up. When we were isolated and still had to feed and defend ourselves that provided a limit to this self aggrandizing insanity. Now as was pointed out earlier society spends huge amounts of resources by building big energy consuming campuses, paying insane salaries to their staff's all with the goal to produce useless drones that are experts at contemplating their navels. Now if someone could point to some significant positive change and say "look how far we've come" then I would say great. But humanity is about to drive itself off of a cliff with this psychotic focus on our self importance. Put somebody on the end of a hoe working under the hot sun in a garden they can both be productive and contemplate their navels at the same time.

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  23. “Sree, I don’t dispute that getting a PhD in philosophy would greatly improve one’s skills in arguing the finer points of academic philosophy.” (Bob Jones)

    Yes, professional philosophers are good at thinking and writing because they have devoted time and effort to do what they love.

    Academic philosophy? Is there any other kind? The word “academic” connotes a study that is only of theoretical interest with no practical relevance. Admittedly, a lot of research is pursued out of love when education is an end in itself.

    Peter Vickers thinks that Bernardo’s work is not merely academic but a lot of “hot air”. While I resent Vicker’s lack of professional grace in his analysis of the Kastrup/Goff discussion, I don’t have the intellectual wherewithal to demonstrate – in formal philosophical language - the errors in his conclusions. Claiming that he is full of it is an allegation without the proof that critical thinking provides.

    And yet, the consensus in this forum is that a doctoral accreditation in philosophy gives one no advantage in fathoming fundamental questions about reality. This doesn’t sound right. Surely, a trained chef at a 3-Michelin star restaurant can cook better than mom.

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    1. I can touch, smell and taste food. To me in this day and age much of the especially celebrity philosophers have a circular argument of ,"I studied under an important person so therefore that makes my thoughts and opinions important". You actually see that today in every form of celebrity be it actors, entertainers and in that case it's, "I make a lot of money from my work and money is important so therefore I'm important and my opinions are important".

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    2. Great philosophers were long past dead by the time they were celebrated. They were not the public intellectuals of today cultivating a following. The reason is those philosophical insights, that profoundly shaped human thought about basic ethical values, political systems, and ideas of reality, were way ahead of their time. Thinkers with those insights were run out of town by their contemporaries rather than worshipped.

      What is it that piqued our interest in Bernardo’s work? Why didn’t we study philosophy like he did if getting to the truth – first hand - was that important? If we were PhDs, our corroboration of his insight would bear weight and we could collaborate in advancing his research instead of looking over his shoulder.

      It sucks being a layman. I don’t think I could hack it in philosophy school even if I had the time and the money. It’s too hard! I am being "impeccable" to avoid getting imprisoned in self-delusion.

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    3. Sree, I claim the right to state what is obvious to me, whether or not I can prove it “in formal philosophical language”.
      Allow me to suggest that a reading or revisiting of Brief Peeks Beyond chapters 4 and 5, particularly 4.1 and 5.3 might provide some interesting food for thought.

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    4. What is it that piqued our interest in Bernardo’s work? I have no desire to overstate the impact of Bernardo's or understate it. I was attempting to understand the "source" of consciousness. I "assumed" science would at some point either allow or deny my metaphysics. At some point science would point to the "unanswerable" question or put to bed that there was any such thing. Would finally prove that every physical question had a physical answer as science appeared to believe there was. It seems silly to me now that I never ever considered for a moment that consciousness was the source. Once Bernardo characterized that simple statement in a way I could understand it's validity my reaction was almost one of "Stupid, the answer has been right in front of my face all along". The only reason I continue to follow Bernardo's work is there is an itch way back in the back of my mind that there may be an answer or at least part of the answer to help move man off of the ruinous path I perceive us to be on. It may be too little to late. One weakness of humans, even humans as smart as Bernardo is they seem to be so locked into their little bubble of reality they only see things inside that bubble. The materially poor man plowing his field with his bull (my neighbors) is someone to be pitied. The celebrity philosopher Noam Chomsky (I know he is a linguist) is to be admired and honored. I personally think if we have a prayer of saving ourselves we have got to get back to a life that is simple and regardless of what the inteligencia tells us, is extremely full and noble.

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    5. Good suggestion, Bob. I will revert after I review Bernardo's essays. I hope eakj can do it too so that he can give us a third person perspective (Daniel Dennett's requirement) and referee our debate.

      I am caught up with dinner preparations now for Christmas Eve. A Merry Christmas to you, eakj and all here who claim the right to state what is obvious to them (i.e. that Jesus was born on Christmas Day).

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    6. I went and reread those chapters and walked away embarrassed. The points I have been attempting to make were already there and written much more clearly than I can state them. Merry Christmas to everyone and when you folks are ready I'm ready. Cheers, Ed

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    7. Merry Christmas Sree,

      While you’re reading that, let me hit you with one observation.
      I’m sure you’re aware that the vast majority of Bernardo’s books were written BEFORE he got his PhD in philosophy. I understand he only got that PhD to silence his critics who were whining that his writings didn’t deserve a hearing - because he didn’t have a philosophy PhD.
      Now that he has the PhD he continues to express the same views he did years ago, and you’re telling us the debate between Bernardo and Vickers is beyond our reach - because we don’t have philosophy PhDs.
      It seems to me that that combined with the fact that Bernardo with his 2 PhDs is with me on this should settle the matter.

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    8. And there in lies the problem. Why do we give a fat rat's ass what "his critics" think? We have a world going to hell in hand basket. Part of what is lacking is conviction. So while having these discussions feels good I have lots of ways to make myself feel good, some of them even socially acceptable. Here are some of the key points we have to sell humanity on, 1)Believing what we do matters, matters. 2) That fear is the enemy. If you assume you don't die then the reason for fear is greatly reduced. It's hysterical to me how much this sounds like the description of a religion. If we are trying to sell people that live with their heads in the clouds it won't matter anyway. If we are trying to sell people that think electricity comes from a hole in the wall or food comes from the grocery store or gasoline comes out of the little pump "thingy" we are selling the wrong people. We need people with the ability to grasp infrastructure and how we impact that in a way that is good for humanity and make the painful sacrifices and decisions necessary. Now maybe I'm a fool for believing this is even remotely doable but I think we must try.

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    9. “While you’re reading that, let me hit you with one observation. I’m sure you’re aware that the vast majority of Bernardo’s books were written BEFORE he got his PhD in philosophy.” (Bob Jones)

      I believe Bernardo earned a PhD in computer engineering before getting his PhD in philosophy. I am guessing here but the academic training in doing original research is the same in principle across disciplines. Dr. David Bohm was a theoretical physicist. It didn’t stop him from contributing ideas to philosophy of mind.

      The point I am making is this: an expert is not a total dud.

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  24. “It seems to me that that combined with the fact that Bernardo with his 2 PhDs is with me on this should settle the matter.” (Bob Jones)

    Settle what matter? That laymen can philosophize as ably as accredited experts? You wouldn’t take Bernardo seriously if you were brutally honest with yourself. He was being kind. Do you believe that that carpenter from Nazareth took on the High Priest at Jerusalem in a debate on Jewish law? If he was that obnoxious, then he deserved to be nailed to the cross for arrogance.

    I contend that a trained mind is better at the art of thinking and adopting attitudes of benign skepticism. The layman, by nature, is a receptacle of information, a passive learner rather than an active one. This is why we read philosophy books rather than write them. And because we cannot mount a critical challenge, we are wont to summarily dismiss what experts have to say out of hand just because we have the right to do so.

    Below is an example of what an expert would do if he disagreed with Bernardo. If the conversation goes on, we all stand to gain – even if it is from passive learning.

    “Kastrup is a proponent of idealism (somewhat modified) as opposed to realism. I, by contrast, would argue that both idealism and realism must be transcended. The world is neither only within nor outside the mind, for the very distinction between the mind and the world turns out to be an artifice.” (Samuel Zinner)

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  25. “Allow me to suggest that a reading or revisiting of Brief Peeks Beyond chapters 4 and 5, particularly 4.1 and 5.3 might provide some interesting food for thought.” (Bob Jones)

    What have Chapters 4 and 5 got to do with my opinion that someone schooled in philosophy is better at objective and impartial argument - about Bernardo’s metaphysical speculations - than a layman (a non-expert in this specialty)?

    eakj said: “I feel my observations about my reality are as valid as anyone else.” I don't question that because I agree with his perception that “Everything is 100% personal. The journey is 100% personal. The consequences are 100% personal. Bernardo's journey is Bernardo's journey.” In other words, eakj is his only authority (as long as he has no need to consult Peter Vickers, Daniel Dennett, or even beloved Bernardo for a second opinion).

    Most of us don’t have the confidence to stand alone. If you don't, then you are part of the collective; you yield the right to self-determination, resign yourself to a consensus paradigm, subject yourself to experts, and take your place at the bottom of the totem pole.

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    1. I enjoyed your comment and see a lot of validity in it. It seems I am way behind the curve in many ways. Just watched an interview with Bernardo with some guy in a baseball cap. It was the first relatively recent one I've watched and I though the guy asked the best questions. Point being in that interview Bernardo kind of caught me up on where he is and where he is going. I loved it and could totally relate. He mentioned the book "Mans Search for Meaning" by Frankel. God I loved that book and it was so important in developing my own path. I was 19 at the time so that makes it 47 years ago. Anyway after watching that interview my take away was, "Sign me up".

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    2. I have been reflecting on Brief Peeks Beyond. This is the first and only Kastrup book that I have looked at. It struck me that Bernardo is not your typical academic philosopher. His metaphysical speculations have a "spiritual" motivation. He has concerns about the welfare of the human condition and campaigns for fundamental change to our worldview for the betterment of mankind.

      We are convinced that consciousness is fundamental. There are others like Peter Vickers who are not and want to maintain the status quo of "a real-world outside". It is only a matter of time before truth tips the balance. You are adamant and unshakeable about the "game" you are in. You could be the "hundredth monkey" to usher in the new paradigm.

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    3. Sree in case you are interested this is the Youtube interview. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPAsL0g_ydg Very thought provoking.

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    4. Ok, I browsed through it. It's a discussion of Kastrup's perception of reality. Why is the podcast thought-provoking to you?

      Bernardo's theory is pretty straight-forward. It's not going to change the way I toast my bread. I realized consciousness is fundamental long before I became aware of Bernardo's philosophy. Life is still a mystery to me.

      What is thought-provoking is your disassociated "personal" situation and my disassociated "personal" situation because we are not out of the woods yet. Everything else is a distraction.





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    5. I should have said "I found it very thought provoking". I like the toasted bread observation. If you don't mind explain "we are not out of the woods yet". I've become convinced that life being a mystery is part of "The Plan". I assume if the designer of this machine (the material universe) didn't want it to be a mystery it wouldn't be.

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    6. A tiny flame of curiosity was there since I was a ten-year-old kid grappling with the mystery of life. It was there because life for me was like being lost in the woods, an unsafe place. To be out of the woods is to be free of the mystery of life.

      The reason why life is mysterious to me is not that the true nature of reality is unknown and I want to find answers. It is because I can’t figure out why life is so difficult to live. School is not easy and most don’t make it through high school. I couldn’t care less if reality is grounded in green cheese instead of consciousness if being a disassociated alter was not fraught with mindless labor, financial insecurity, bodily disease, social conflict, and death.

      Brief Peeks Beyond proffered ways how each of us can bring about a safer world for all. I have been doing all those 5 things naturally by living a simple ascetic life (in the city) removed from the common herd. Even if Kastrup has a following of 100 million, we won’t make an impression on a world of 7 billion; especially, with 400 babies born every minute going the other way. I am not sowing pessimism but being realistic about my "personal" redemption through world change. Saving my skin is the game plan until I am out of the woods and the mystery vanishes.

      Let me ask you why you think Bernardo, in mid-career, switched to philosophy? Was he bored with computer engineering? Or did his work at CERN – watching physicists’ vain attempts to find answers to the mystery of life - caused his psyche to spring alive the way a gas fireplace flares up when the knob is turned from “pilot” to “high” and the tiny flame that was always there in him suddenly roared brightly with a passion?

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    7. Good stuff! I am convinced the deepest answers to the most profound questions are in the realm of the "Unknowable". As intelligent as humans are these are areas walled off to us. The best anyone can do is make a guess. Some guesses are somewhat educated and some are guesses done by blithering idiots and some are nothing but efforts to use humanities instinctive fear of the unknown to manipulate people.

      As to your assertion that life is so difficult to live I don't necessarily share that view. While your list of life's challenges are undeniable it is one's perception as to if they are negative or positive. In my case I love challenges even death. Death is the ultimate challenge, the one challenge you can't detour. At this stage of the game I look at death and what happens after the fact with great curiosity. Death is my great motivator. I have far more days behind me than in front of me. This realization compels me to do what I can to make a positive contribution with what time I have left. Death is my task master and my teacher.

      As to the challenges facing humanity they do appear to be insurmountable. Certainly they aren't conquerable in the foreseeable future so the questions becomes are they manageable? As in any dynamic system the answer becomes, "It depends". As the saying goes my goal is to help someone, not everyone.

      I find Bernardo extremely intriguing. There are parts of his life experience that I can identify with 100%. Most people go through life as "something". They are a soldier, a technician, a logger and sawmill operator, an engineer, a farmer and rancher, they are a pilot, they are a public school teacher, they are an artist, they are a furniture maker, they are a gold miner, they are an airplane builder, they are a biker, they are a house builder. My guess is at a basic level Bernardo is like me (I know that is sticking my neck way, way out and I'll probably get it cut off, Not a problem, no guts no glory). These are all things I've done but I've never been any of them. I just don't think that way. None of these things will ever be me. After watching one of his interviews I walked away thinking with every direction change Bernardo was running to something not from something. That is the critical point. You run from things and no matter where you go there you are. The same unhappy disgruntled person. You run too things and life is a never ending adventure with endless lessons and incredible meaning.

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    8. According to Bernardo, you are an alter, a disassociated ego-consciousness, that will merge with Mind-at-large when the body dies. This is his story. His theory is also an explanatory model that can be likened to a parable or fairy tale. No matter how we cut it, we cannot transcend our reality in storyland, be it physicalist, dualist, or idealist. Nothing is literal or absolute. This is how consciousness operates.

      Why is death a challenge, and is there such a phenomenon? What contribution can you make and what is the relevance of it either to you or to Mind-at-large? You are but a ripple in the pool, an aberration in the tranquility.

      I am reviewing a Katsrup research essay "The Idealist View of Consciousness After Death" to keep our discussion in context.

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    9. It would be difficult for me to address these issues from the perceptions of Bernardo because my perceptions do not come from Bernardo. What Bernardo resolved for me was the what came first, the chicken or the egg question? Let's call the material universe the egg and my assumption was that consciousness, being the chicken, came from the egg. Never entered my mind that the chicken came first. It was actually a very simple thing that had an incredible impact on me. Now as to my self importance the philosophy I follow says unequivocally that we are nothing in the scheme of things and to think otherwise is the most dangerous think you can do for a whole host of reasons. So my desire to make a contribution has nothing to do with my importance but everything to do with pursuing wisdom. Now if you have to ask why that is important you wouldn't understand the answer. That is not meant to be flippant but a simple statement in fact because it would be like trying to describe the color blue to a blind man.

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    10. I like your chicken and egg analogy comparing your consciousness to the chicken (1) and the material universe to the egg (2). Thanks to Bernardo, now you see that the chicken (1) came first and laid the egg (2). 1 > 2. It is not the other way round according to settled science that declared that the egg came first and laid the chicken. 2 > 1. While it is clear that only chickens lay eggs and not the other way round, evolution theory reversed the natural order and put the egg first. All the experts, including Bernardo and the likes of Peter Vickers and Daniel Dennett, accept the premise of evolution that posits the beginning came with the hatching of the egg (2) in a “Big Bang”. How does this work if consciousness is fundamental which means that in the beginning there was only the chicken (1)?

      Can you help me out here? Don't be a chicken. Give it a shot. Bob Jones said that we laymen can also philosophize. It is ok to get stuck in the ontology. No one will criticize or laugh if we get egg on our faces. After all, we are not experts.

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    11. Sree - the idealist view, if I may say so, would be that biological evolution is a manifestation of the evolution of consciousness. Materialists sometimes make the circular argument that idealism can’t be right since consciousness is the product of biological evolution, but that assumes consciousness is a product of biological organisms in the first place, which is precisely what idealism denies.

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    12. Evolution implies change. Biological change (e.g. gestation of fetuses) is observable and does take place in consciousness. Consciousness itself cannot change, can it? So, what do you mean by “evolution of consciousness”?

      Materialists say the egg (i.e. material universe) came first with a “Big Bang”. You and I and eakj reject that assertion and insist that the chicken (i.e. consciousness) was always there before the egg came along. If we deny that the biological evolution of species gave rise to consciousness, how can we have the chicken and eat it too? The only way to do that is to say that the chicken that came first is Mind-at-large, and the consciousness that came later through biological evolution of the species is the hatching of chicks (i.e. ego-consciousness of alters). How does that sound?

      Bernardo's theory needs further development to explain how chicks get hatched; otherwise, we must reject the theory of evolution and incur the wrath of the scientific establishment.

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    13. Sree I like the way you think even if I am not sure I agree with it. Let me start with what I see as some givens:1) Idealist will incur the wrath of the scientific establishment regardless of the fine points.2) I don't see how it is possible to be an idealist, look at the world around you and not come to the conclusion that there is a plan. I'll parrot Bernardo for a second, "Not my plan, not your plan but a plan at large". Darwinian evolution is an adequate describer of small changes in species but fails mightily at describing the creation of new species. (Here come that main stream science wrath). How it gee haws with mind at large versus consciousness beats hell out of me. 3) I had an egg for breakfast and chicken breast for lunch.

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    14. Sree,
      “So, what do you mean by “evolution of consciousness”?”The development of self-reflective meta-consciousness from phenomenal consciousness, or basic subjective awareness. So arguably it’s the content of consciousness that evolves.

      “ The only way to do that is to say that the chicken that came first is Mind-at-large, and the consciousness that came later through biological evolution of the species is the hatching of chicks (i.e. ego-consciousness of alters). How does that sound? “
      Basically right. Abiogenesis is what the dissociation of alters looks like from our perspective.

      “Bernardo's theory needs further development to explain how chicks get hatched; otherwise, we must reject the theory of evolution and incur the wrath of the scientific establishment.”
      I suggest it’s more that people need to read Bernardo’s work before they critique it. I think Why Materialism Is Baloney can be helpful for getting a handle on these issues.

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    15. Let me follow up by adding that Bernardo’s first book, Rationalist Spirituality, also provides a good overview of his metaphysics (they’re all well worth reading). Also, I won’t disagree that Bernardo's theory needs further development on some points. It’s not intended to provide final answers, just a better hypothesis than the alternatives.

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    16. I'm not sure I furthered the discussion with the chicken and her egg or visa versa. Personally I don't really care if Bernardo's theories receive any further theoretical development. I'm much more interested in practical application. It sounds like maybe more of that might be coming from his foundation. One reason I was successful as an automation engineer without a degree is my focus was strictly practical application and using the KISS principal to determine that practical application. So many of the degreed engineers would be gleefully chasing rabbits through the bushes while Rome burned. (Alright Sree there's an analogy from hell show me what you can do with it). I think Bernardo's background lends itself to coming up with as KISS as possible approaches to the problems humanity is facing. I see the challenge as giving people a philosophical road map(might be very similar to a religion). Once they have that philosophical road map give people guidance on how to apply it (as an example the building of modern nuclear power plants as fast as possible for the good of everyone) or removing the fear of death from your decision making because decisions made in fear are generally pretty poor decisions. They are not actions but reactions. So this is what I am interested in. While fighting philosophical battles may be entertaining to some it has all of the lasting importance of a Sunday afternoon professional football game.

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    17. Eakj - I see you made 33 comments on this post, and a comparable number on other recent posts. It seems odd to see so many comments from someone who thinks this discussion and Bernardo’s work are irrelevant.

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    18. Bob I never said Bernardo was irrelevant although I probably implied I thought a lot your comments were. Now if you find my commenting excessive or irrelevant I guess you can have me "cancelled". Cheers

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    19. Whoa, my friends. Let's keep the conversation going. eakj meant navel-gazing philosophy from the likes of Vickers and Dennett are irrelevant. Our inquiry into Bernardo's work have practical relevance in our personal lives and show we have skin in the game. We have got to hang together to build critical mass in shifting the paradigm.

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    20. Which brings us to the problem even within members of a religion that agree with each other in principal. I think Bernardo's work points to a possible philosophy that doesn't get hung up on the small stuff because there isn't an angry, jealous, vengeful deity we are trying to appease in this lifetime. That if there is a meaning to this existence that meaning comes down to us as individual discombobulated parts of mind at large. We may have an impact on the whole but we aren't facing an eternity of torment. I've never been a fan of torment so it definitely makes me feel better.

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  26. Hey Bernardo,

    Just heard your interview on Mourning Talk Show. Another outstanding interview.
    I listen to every podcast with you I can find. It never seems to get repetitive. Always new insights, fresh perspectives, new material. Thanks for everything you do!

    P.S. - In case you’re not aware of this - https://www.seekingbalance.com.au/ - Joey Remenyi’s site.

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    1. I watched that one also and found it to be thought provoking also. I spent many years in the control rooms of power plants and refineries analyzing data, configuring process control computers (Distributive control and PLC's). Attempting to create a meaningful representation of what was happening in the field so the operators could control the process. I would love to know if Bernardo has any insights he would like to share as to who built this machine (the material universe) and for what purpose. I have my own speculations at least on the purpose and would love to know his. Does he see it as a machine with a designed purpose?

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  27. “I suggest it’s more that people need to read Bernardo’s work before they critique it. I think Why Materialism Is Baloney can be helpful for getting a handle on these issues.” (Bob Jones)

    Your suggestion is reasonable and I have been going through Katrup’s publications to keep up with you and eakj.

    In “Materialism Is Baloney”, Bernardo said that the most influential worldview is metaphysical materialism. “Indeed, it is nearly impossible for any person inserted in a modern cultural context to escape the haze of the zeitgeist and develop a truly unbiased, critical, and personal worldview.” (Kastrup)

    While it is possible to step away from religion, politics, and even the culture in which we are embedded, rejecting the “world outside” is not an option. Materialism is the default worldview - when we are at work or performing practical tasks in attending to basic needs - and can only be dispensed with when we are daydreaming (and philosophizing) or asleep.

    So, how could Bernardo’s theory ever be implemented at the practical level, as eakj wants? What else is there to do with a “consciousness only reality” when the day is done?

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    1. Sree - Not sure what’s difficult about this issue. Bernardo provides ample discussion on this in his books. Chapter 8 of BPB is devoted to practical applications, including alternative medicine and the potential of positive thinking, I’m seeing good discussions of metaphysics and society in 5.2 and 5.8 of that book. It sounds to me like what you’re asking is what can you right now to start transforming you’re life to align better with an idealist worldview. My answer would be to take up a practice to help build up your connection with your inner self, that is, the more obfuscated parts of your psyche that are closer to mind-at-large. Something like yoga or meditation perhaps.

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    2. "Something like yoga or meditation perhaps." On my farm we have several psilocybin one being Cubensis Ecuador I would suggest. I have really enjoyed this conversation and feel compelled to introduce myself. I have a miserable little Youtube channel and I'll send a link for one of my drone hyperlapses taken from my deck and from there is you so choose you can look at the other videos. There are only like 3 or 4 and it was done to show my family and friends back in the states. They are best viewed HD full screen. This one is only 30 seconds long but it will make you see Jesus and stuff. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VunBeiawo9c

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    3. Ok, I have been mulling over the youtube videos of you fooling around with drones and an old bus. For someone who understands the significance of a consciousness only reality, you are investing a lot of your waking hours in the material "world outside". The practical implementation of Bernardo's theory of idealism in our lives ought to be consistent with his call (in Brief Peeks Beyond) to restrict inessential materialistic pursuits and distractions. This is not a criticism of your lifestyle. In fact, I am questioning my own which is withdrawal from "the world outside". I don't do anything that requires me to use the material worldview unless it is absolutely necessary.

      There is also another question I would like to explore with you and it is about death. Bernardo doesn't say anything other than near death experiences. I hope you can help me out with this.

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    1. The appeal of Bernardo's idealism to dualists (folks who are invested in the afterlife and reincarnation) is his arguement that the ego-consciouseness of alters (namely, me and you and Bob Jones) doesn't fizzle out with the demise of the material brain because your consciousness merges with the mother ship (i.e. Mind-at-large).

      Is that why you are excited about a consciousness only reality?

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  29. For me and I can only speak for myself, Bernardo's work has an elegant simplicity that just feels right. The wall in my mind that didn't allow me to think in terms of "merging with the mother ship" was a wall of my own construction. In reality, deep down at an intuitive level I knew the "mother ship" existed but I couldn't put together how. In effect how is there a heaven or hell for that matter? How does it fit in a "material" universe? At some level I had surrendered to the thought police of physical science without really knowing I had done that. I kept waiting for them to discover the thing that allowed our reality to exist side by side with a non-physical reality. Bernardo supplied that answer for me. If you look at me and say, "So who the hell are you?" I would totally support that question. I'm addressing your question from my perception only. I am not an apostle attempting to spread the "good news" of Bernardo. The only thing I would attempt to do is make people aware of an alternative world view that I found enlightening and rewarding but every individual is on their own. If a person doesn't relate to it then by all means press on to bigger and better explanations.

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    1. So, what broke the wall in your mind was "brain is in consciousness and not consciousness in the brain" (Katstrup). In other words, when you were jacking up that bus and taking off its wheels, all that activity including you - gloves and all - was in consciousness. Have you ever tried convincing your friend that the drone up there overhead scanning your property was in consciousness? Coming from an automation engineer, who ought to know what is what, such an assertion would have raised eyebrows and gotten a dismissive response such as "Get out of here, you clown!"

      If everything, not just your brain, is in consciousness, that separation between you (ego-consciousness) and the mother ship is something to think about. Bernardo said that the disassociation fades out when the body dies. Why is that? Among the three of us, I am less like Bob and more like you - a hands-on guy who is more at home with taking apart a Smith & Wesson and reassembling it than delving into my psyche.

      Bob Jones said "take up a practice to help build up your connection with your inner self, that is, the more obfuscated parts of your psyche that are closer to mind-at-large. Something like yoga or meditation perhaps."

      What do you think? We don't have to sit cross-legged in a full lotus position and close our eyes to do meditation. We can do it your way: looking up in the heavens at sunset or at the night sky awash with twinkling stars of the Milky Way.

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    2. As to the meditation comment. I practice meditation about 2 hours a day. Why? Because it feels good. I think way more mystery and significance is attributed to it than is necessary.

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  30. "Bernardo said that the disassociation fades out when the body dies. Why is that" That is always the dilema, the "why" of any action. My wife is perfectly happy to drive our car and never ask why or how it works. If you were to ask her how it works she would probably say something like, "You put the key in the ignition and turn it. The engine starts, you put it in gear and away you go." I could explain that how it works with a much deeper explanation getting into the systems, mechanical, electrical and digital with some detail. I could talk about internal combustion, metallurgy. Bernardo could probably talk about particle physics and get into mass, energy, spin, flavor, etc, etc. At some level all 3 explanations about "how" are correct. Now if we back up and ask "why" does it work the way it does. That in my mind is a much more profound question and much, much, much more difficult and fundamental question to answer. If you were to ask my wife "why" does it work that way I doubt she would even hazard a guess. My guess is that perhaps Bernardo has reached his intellectual understanding with answering how it works and like my wife stays away from why it works.

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    1. The reason I asked “why” disassociation fades out when the body dies, as posited by Bernardo, is because it doesn’t seem consistent with his argument that the brain is in consciousness and not consciousness in the brain. In the Introduction (1.2) of his book “Analytic Idealism: A consciousness-only ontology” he inferred that:

      1. The brain is not outside and independent of mind.
      2. Our brain is a phenomenal image imprinted from across our dissociative boundary.
      3. Our living brain is merely a phenomenal appearance presented on the screen of perception.

      In other words, our body – including our brain and all physiological processes of the body – has no material existence and nothing more than an image in consciousness. Perhaps, I should have asked “how” the death of an image, a mere phenomenal appearance, can trigger the ending of disassociation of the ego-consciousness leading to its merging with Mind-at-large.

      I am not asking you and Bob to use the power of meditation to help me solve a mystery that the designer of this machine (the material universe) wants to keep as a mystery. It is this "loose-end" in our consciousness-only ontology that needs tying up. If I am wrong, please set me right.

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    2. Sree,
      The dissociation arises in universal consciousness to help it gain self awareness. Reintegration into mind at large is a part of that process, so if the alter went on forever it would arguably be pointless. Just as the brain/body is the image of the dissociation, so it’s death is just the image of a reintegration. The key is to get away from thinking in materialist terms. The death of the brain doesn’t actually trigger anything, it’s an image of activity in consciousness.

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    3. If brain death is an image of an activity in consciousness and doesn’t trigger anything, what causes the ego-consciousness to re-integrate with Mind-at-large then?

      Is it possible to get away from “thinking in materialistic terms”? This way of thinking is consistent with the scientific method. Bernardo’s theory is a tentative assumption, and I am testing its logical consequences in the interest of furthering research. I am not doing this as an academic philosopher but as a layman for whom the consciousness-only reality has real-life implications.

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    4. “If brain death is an image of an activity in consciousness and doesn’t trigger anything, what causes the ego-consciousness to re-integrate with Mind-at-large then? “
      Activity in consciousness, whether that be interactions with other alters, with mind-at-large, or whatever. One place to go for a thorough discussion of all this is Rationalist Spirituality, one of Bernardo’s most logically analytical books, particularly chapter 14. But one caveat: in that one Bernardo uses a dualist framework as a metaphor for the sake of simplicity, which you might find confusing. In other words, even though Bernardo rejects “substance dualism”, he’s cool with operational dualism.

      “Is it possible to get away from “thinking in materialistic terms”?”
      Oh yes, it’s quite possible, though sometimes only briefly. The problem is finding the best way to go about it. I suspect Eakj can tell you more about that than I can. You might find Bernardo’s Dreamed Up Reality interesting reading in that regard.

      “This way of thinking is consistent with the scientific method.”
      Bernardo tears that myth to pieces in his writings. Materialism provided a useful model that facilitated the advancement of science and technology for a few centuries, but at a high price. It’s now become a hindrance even to the further advancement of science.

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  31. The video game analogy might be helpful here. When Ms PacMan runs around gobbling up others icons on the screen, “she” isn’t really doing anything, what’s happening is the player is interacting with computer programming. Similarly, if someone puts a bullet in my head, the “real” cause of “death” is consciousness acting upon consciousness. I know this is hard to get one’s head around, since we’re all so programmed with materialism.

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    1. I suppose you are right about my programmed mind. I don't get your analogy as easily as I got the chicken and the egg. I hope eakj would redo Ms PacMan using another parallel to help me get what you are saying. You come across as the learned type. You are kinda intellectual. I am glad eakj introduced himself in his videos working on his bus. I can relate to that being an average Joe myself riding and tinkering with bikes and all.

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    2. As far as the video game analogy I use it in my own mind at times because I can sort of relate having been in computers for so long. Let's say I have to configure a control loop in a plant that controls the level in a tank. Now way back in the old days an operator might actually go look at the level in the tank and be standing right next to the pump either filling or draining the tank. If the level were dropping faster than he wanted he might close a valve a little bit and later if he discovered he closed it too much open back up a little. He would be directly acting on the physical universe. You could say he was acting on it with his consciousness but in the old days his boss would say he acted on it with his hand. Along came computers now that same operator sits in a nice air conditioned control room and looks at a monitor. On that monitor he observes a level in a tank. This level is a representation and is not the actual level. In fact it is most likely the weight of the liquid being read by a pressure transmitter. The pressure transmitter might actually be taking that pressure caused by the level of liquid in that tank and converting it to an electronic analog signal. That analog signal then enters the computer and it is converted to a digital signal. The computer scales it to match the level in the tank. The graphics system then displays on the screen a video representation of the level in the tank. Of course the level would almost certainly be controlled automatically but it could be controlled manually by the operator. The graphics system would have a graphic representation of a control valve for example displayed on the monitor. It would tell the operator the percentage the valve was open. He might decide to close the valve a little bit so he might change the output from 50% to 40%. When he made that change the computer program would then take that data change send it to an output module the output module will then convert the digital signal to an electronic analog signal. The analog signal would then go to a device that changed the electrical signal to a pneumatic signal reducing the air pressure in the diaphragm in the control valve and the return spring would then convert that pneumatic action into a mechanical action of closing the control valve 10%. When industry first started changing over to computers operators from the old days had the hardest time understanding that all of that hardware didn't really actually exist in the computer. That tank didn't exist, nor the level, pump valve etc. It was all software. Seems easy now but at the time for operators and even electricians had the hardest time understanding all of those relays and switches didn't actually exist but were only software. We are the same. None of the things we see in the physical universe actually exist as we see them. It is only software converting these things into representations that our brains can relate to. Now if the computer crashes the actual equipment like the tank and control valve haven't actually vanished just our ability to perceive it has vanished. Those representations never actually existed. Or when the operator retires and gets up and leaves his console for the last time nothing has changed. Your consciousness is like that operator and when you die it is like him retiring. He gets up and goes home. He was never a part of the computer representation of the world and the computer was only a device that allowed him to operate in that world. Your brain is the same. This reality is nothing but an extremely elaborate representation of something. Can't tell you why but can say with some certainty that physics has proven nothing that we see actually exists as we see it. Physics has made huge strides in showing us how all of these conversions are done to allow our brains to convert energy into representations of solid stuff.

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    3. So you are saying that the operator (1) is the ego-consciousness; the computer representation (2) is reality as we see it; and the tank hardware (3) which is what? If you say that “none of the things we see in the physical universe actually exist as we see them”, then you are positing the existence of “tank hardware” behind its iconic presentation (2) that we see.

      Did I get you right? Where does the brain fit in? Is it the operator (1) who – according to you - is never part of the computer representation (2)? There is a disconnect here that needs to be addressed to clarify for me how death works. Bernardo said that the brain is in consciousness and that “our living brain is merely a phenomenal appearance presented on the screen of perception” (Katstrup). I take that to mean that not only my brain but my entire body as well, is in consciousness and part of the computer representation. Did you read Bernardo’s metaphysical blueprint right or am I mistaken?

      You said that “when the computer crashes the actual equipment like the tank and control valve haven't actually vanished just our ability to perceive it has vanished”. You are equating the computer to the brain, a device that allows me to operate in the world. How is this view of the “device” different from the mainstream worldview of physicalism that explains how the brain enables us to see and touch and taste things in the world outside?

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  32. Man you are hard to get along with! Just joking. Are you familiar with the concept of the Man Machine also known as a MMI. A MMI is a software application that present information to an operator or user about the state of a process, and to accept and implement the operators control instructions. Typically information is displayed in a graphic format (Graphical User Interface or GUI).
    I see the brain as functioning in that role for consciousness. Now one big problem we have here in analogies is that nothing is actually separate from consciousness. Consciousness is really all there is. So the best we can do is kind of dance around the edges. Don't blame me, I didn't create it, or did I?

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