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Bernardo Kastrup 1st Interview
Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer, and my guest today is Bernardo kastrup. Bernardo has a PhD in computer engineering and has worked as a scientist in some of the world’s foremost research laboratories, including the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, and the Philips Research Labs, where the cashmere Casimir effect of quantum field theory was discovered. He has authored many scientific papers and for philosophy books, rationalist spirituality dreamed up reality, meaning and absurdity, and his latest why materialism is baloney, which I am in the midst of. I’m up to about chapter seven now and totally loving it. This latter book is a grand synthesis of his metaphysical views. Bernardo has also been an entrepreneur and founder of two high tech businesses. To get today he holds a managerial position in the high tech industry. In parallel, he maintains a philosophy blog and audio video podcast and continues to develop his ideas about the nature of reality. Bernardo has lived and worked in four different countries across continents, and today I’m speaking to him in Holland. Right, there’s a little blurb that you also wrote about your book, I want to just read that you say this is about materialism isn’t as baloney. This isn’t a feel good spiritual book, but a logical and rigorous expert exploration of reality. It looks past the cultural fog, that for so long has obscured our our view and negatively influenced our lives. It unveils a reality much more conducive to hope than the bleak materialist view implies, it concludes that life is pregnant with meaning and purpose. And that death is just a change in our state of consciousness. It is time we opened our eyes and dropped the insanity of materialism 21st century humanity demands a more mature adult worldview. So I’m looking forward to a really lively conversation. Yeah, I must say that the you know, it’s not an easy read your book, it, you really have to put on your thinking cap and pay careful attention. And many times I read a sentence or a paragraph over again, just to make sure I was getting it. And I couldn’t possibly do justice to it if I had to reiterate what it’s all about. But I was absorbing a lot. And I think you’re really onto something in terms of viable theory as to how creation comes about. And so, so we’ll talk about all this. But you know, one thing I haven’t learned yet, but maybe it’s on your blog, or somewhere or other that haven’t read is, what your spiritual background is, because you do seem to have a spiritual orientation. So how did that what does that all been about for you?
Bernardo Kastrup: Wow, it’s a good question. If you ask about my past, where I grew up, in a half, Catholic family, my mother’s side of the family was Catholic. My father was very much into the science thing, you know, a rationalist that influenced me more than then religion and Catholicism. And I basically grew up in science, I went to university at 17. And science was the big thing for me, I had a dream from childhood to work at CERN. And that ended up being my very first job in life. And when you’re there, you know, for your first week there, your colleagues always pointed to you who the Nobel Prize winners are sitting on the continuum close to you. And it was a kind of church. So if you asked me what is my spiritual background, it has been science. And at some point in my life, things began to change in terms of how I see the world. The word spiritual spirituality, it’s a valid word, but it’s a word. At the end of the day, it’s about truth, right? What is true, what is going on? That’s what it’s all about. And you make me go about it on in a sign in a scientific manner, according to the scientific method, you may go about it in terms of direct experience, experiential knowledge, instead of conceptual intellectual knowledge, that would be the spiritual path. Or you may make a mix of it all and then try to find the truth, your own way. To answer your question, Rick, I don’t really have a spiritual background as such, although I am interested in spirituality.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, I’ve seen you quoting Adyashanti for instance, and have you ever had a spiritual teacher or done any actual spiritual practice such as meditation or anything or have you just mainly been and on the intellectual path,
Bernardo Kastrup: I mainly on the intellectual path I have done meditation. I have my second book in terms of reality, I describe what I call experiments with altered states of consciousness which come from meditation, visualization, other techniques. So I have done that, but never with a teacher. Okay. I never had a direct relationship with a spiritual teacher. My personality is such that I’m not sure that would work well, for me.
Rick Archer: Depends on the teacher, maybe some, some teachers are pretty mature and there aren’t going to let trips on you.
Bernardo Kastrup: Yeah, I, I’m open to that.
Rick Archer: Yeah. But you know, it’s worth mentioning that the intellectual path to God realization, if you want to call it God realization is a recognized valid path in many traditions in you know, in, in the, in the Vedic tradition is called Jani yoga. And it’s primarily a matter of really fine intellectual discernment about the nature of reality. And if you’re so wired, that you’re capable of doing that, that can be the best and fastest and most legitimate path for you. So you know that spirituality isn’t necessarily all about, you know, sitting on a cushion with your eyes closed, it can be a matter of intellectual discernment and discrimination for some people.
Bernardo Kastrup: I hadn’t heard about that the form of yoga, and you made me curious now, to be very honest with you. I write these books I have these ideas I am I feel very confident in these ideas. I think they are correct. They give me peace intellectually. But do I live in peace as a person? Absolutely not. And I have had my own short glimpses or known abiding experiences, as Adyashanti would call them of a broader reality, and that those were very shocking and very profound change in me forever. But they haven’t stayed with me. So I don’t live in peace. So from that perspective, I, ironically enough, I think, direct experiential path, that you don’t conceptualize truth, but you live it directly, I think that has more value to human life. And then you might ask, why do I do what I do? That’s because of a cultural question, I think there is value to that other path as well, at a cultural level, because it opens the intellect. The intellect then allows you to accept things that the intellect would otherwise block. So it makes it easier to have a direct experience of truth, if you can influence the culture in such a way that it’s more conducive to a direct experience of truth. And that’s what I tried to do. But I, honestly, I don’t think it replaces direct, spiritual experience. So to say, your spiritual realization?
Rick Archer: No, I don’t either. But, you know, what I’m suggesting is that, for some people, intellectual discrimination can be a means of going deeper and deeper and deeper, and to the point where the full experience of realization that others might arrive at through a more directly experiential process, can Dawn and you would end up, you know, you end up with the same place, but you’ve used the intellect as, as a vehicle instead of a Mantra or devotion, or, you know, some other some other way of going about it.
Bernardo Kastrup: It’s interesting to know, there’s hope for me then. Not last,
Rick Archer: I think you’re doing okay. I mean, as I was reading the book, I just kept thinking, wow, I mean, to be able to write such a book, when one must have an incredibly clear mind, you know, and very subtle and nuanced way of understanding things. And I think those you know, clarity and subtlety and fine discrimination are actually criteria of perhaps even prerequisites to spiritual realization. So I think you’re doing all right, buddy. I hope so. And I just wanted to comment on something we were talking about a minute ago with regard to science and spirituality, and you know, said, Well, my path has mainly been science. I can easily, you know, think of examples, as can you have times in history where the scientists were actually really much more on the track of reality, if spirituality is really about understanding reality and living reality. I mean, guys, like Galileo and Copernicus, were much more spiritual in that sense, then the predominant spiritual tradition of the time, which was, you know, propagating a lot of BS and and discriminate it, you know, torturing and repressing those who actually had a correct understanding. So just because something seems Spiritual on the surface, you know, or is overtly kind of explicitly spiritual doesn’t mean it’s actually closer to the truth than something which is in a more scientific,
Bernardo Kastrup: I would concur with you even Newton was profoundly spiritual. Yeah, it was a mystic. Yeah. BRUNO Giordano, Bruno and other one,
Rick Archer: right? He’s the one who got himself burned at stake for being so bold as to suggest that the earth wasn’t the center of the universe. So materialism I don’t know if I wrote this down or this was your definition, materialism, awareness restricted to the material level of void of life, no transcendent, no subtle perception. Is that was that how you define it? No. Okay. How would you define it must have been my definition.
Bernardo Kastrup: Well, materialism is based on two propositions to postulate, so to say. One is that empirical reality is fundamentally outside consciousness, that if there were no conscious being observing it, it would go merrily on without us
Rick Archer: tree falls in the forest kind of thing.
Bernardo Kastrup: It would still fall in the forest. Nobody were looking at it. That’s that’s one thing that although quantum mechanics is making that shaky ground, they’re still holding on to that, but there’s still an avenue to hold on to that postulate. And the other postulate is that matter which exists fundamentally outside mine, specific arrangement of that matter, create mind create consciousness. And it’s important to say that I use the word mind interchangeably with consciousness. A lot of people when they say mind, they mean thoughts. Yeah, I mean, the whole shebang, I mean, all subjective experience, the space of subjective experience, I call that mind.
Rick Archer: Yes, good you to find that because when I first started reading your book, I kept thinking, well, by mind, he really means consciousness, because I think of mind as an excitation of consciousness and individual expression. You know, one of your whirlpools in your analogy, but But you when you’re talking about universal mind when you say mind,
Bernardo Kastrup: that’s right. Yeah, it’s the traditional old philosophical definition of the term mind. Today, you know, especially in non duality circles, it has come to mean thought, right? excludes perception, emotion, intuition, in my definition of mind, all subjective experience, thoughts, emotion, intuition, perception, dreams, visions, all that unfold in the in the field of mind or in the field of consciousness. I don’t mind the word,
Rick Archer: right. So materialists,
Bernardo Kastrup: yeah, materialists would then say, the world the real world is outside mind, matters outside mind. And configurations of metric create mind,
Rick Archer: right?
Bernardo Kastrup: In other words, it’s the ultimate in projection, because what are we we are Mind Mind is for consciousness, I will use the word consciousness now not to confuse your audience. We are consciousness, we are subjective experience itself. Everything we know knowledge itself is an excitation of consciousness, you cannot know what you are not what you’re not conscious of and has never been conscious of. So that’s fundamentally is what materialists do is the project and essential quality of what they are on to something external, supposedly abstracted by their own consciousness, and they say, that is conscious. And I am a product of that. It’s the ultimate in psychological projection. And my argument in the book is, this is nonsensical.
Rick Archer: Okay, so then, in summary, a materialist thinks that the mind is the epi phenomenon of brain functioning, it’s a result of, you know, brain cells firing and neural chemicals and things like that happening. And what you would call an idealist is the flip side, the polar opposite of that is, the brain is actually something that the mind creates, or that consciousness gives rise to, not the other way around, right? So
Bernardo Kastrup: that’s fair, if you think about it. What everything we know about the brain about the body has been an is a content of mind when a scientist looks at somebody else’s brain. What he sees is, is a percept is a content of consciousness. It’s something the scientist is aware of, even if you look down to your own your own body, and you palpate your torso, and you see your limbs, these are contents of your consciousness. So fundamentally, it’s much more reasonable to say that your body and your brain are in your consciousness, than to say that your consciousness is in your body and your brain, which is what material is to do. So there is this double movement in materialism. They take specific contents of their consciousness, in the abstract it away and they say is a separate this is outside consciousness. Since then there is a movement back in which they say, and that thing outside consciousness generate my subjective experience of the world right now. It’s a completely redundant movement in mathematics, you would cancel out the plus and the minus, if you would see something of that form.
Rick Archer: So what would materials objection to the point you just made be what be the most common objection? Oh, there will be argue against.
Bernardo Kastrup: There’ll be lots of objections, they would point for instance, to the fact that there are very strict correlations between brain function and subjective experience, they will argue that there is even a causal link like if you, if you drink alcohol, which is a material substance that influences your brain chemistry, your subjective experience will change. Or if you’re somebody, if you suffered trauma to the head, your subjective experience will change. So they will pointed these things as evidence that the brain generates the mind, they will also point to the fact that if reality is in consciousness, and our bodies are in consciousness, then realities are kind of dream, right? When you dream, you have a dream that body, but that by raising your consciousness, it’s not your consciousness that is in that dream the body. So they will say okay, then you’re saying that reality is that kind of dream, how come are we are, we are all sharing the same dream, then, because we all seem to be sharing the same reality. So they will point to all these arguments. And the common ground of all these arguments implicit. I argument there is to say that we do not have sufficient explanatory power to make sense of reality. If we say that only CONSCIOUSNESS EXISTS, in order to explain reality, we need to infer something else, namely, an entire bloody universe outside consciousness. Otherwise, we cannot make sense of things. I say that is false. And I then I take a lot of time and space in the book to answer each of these objections one by one to show that the explanatory power of this notion that our reality is in consciousness is identical or more than the explanatory power of materialism of this world outside mind. And if that is so then postulating a universe, outside mind is entirely redundant. It’s like believing in the flying spaghetti monster. It’s an unnecessary assumption. It’s an unnecessary multiplication of hypothesis. And that is the argument I tried to make. Well, I could
Rick Archer: ask a question here. But why don’t you unfold it more? I mean, elaborate now, on your whole argument that you present in the book.
Bernardo Kastrup: I think materialism starts from two confusions two things that they confuse. One thing they confuse is to mistake consciousness for volition. Felician is our egoic wishes, what we want, what we don’t want, what we think we can control what we think we can’t control. For instance, if you fantasize, while awake, those images in your mind are under the control of your volition. But if you hide, if you have a nightmare, those images also in your mind, are not the control of you’re under the control of your egoic volition. Materialists mistake, volition for consciousness, they say, I can’t influence reality by thinking about it differently, right? If I fall off the building, I can’t just think that I’m not falling that I’m safe on the ground, I will still fall and I will still hit the ground and die. What the point is makes is that reality at large is not under the control of volition. It doesn’t say that reality is not in within consciousness. The other mistake they make is, let’s just
Rick Archer: pause on that one for a second. So I think that their assumption there is that if you know if reality were a manifestation of consciousness, that we should be able to jump off the building and just fly or not, you know, not fall or something like that. But they’re presuming that they’re kind of presuming that reality is a manifestation of individual consciousness and what you know, which has its limitations, by definition, and what you’re saying is that reality is a manifestation of universal consciousness. And, you know, we as individuals don’t necessarily have all the capabilities that Universal Consciousness has, you know, and it has its laws and its way of functioning that are inherent within it, which we as individuals have to abide by.
Bernardo Kastrup: That’s one way to look at it, but we can even bring it even closer to home closer to ourselves. Schizophrenic has hallucinations that are private to him. They are not collected. Nobody is sharing those hallucinations. Yet they are certainly not under the control of his volition. This because the phrenic does not control his hallucinations. They just play out. Sometimes with continuity for years. If you watch The Beautiful Mind that movie, you will see that schizophrenic hallucinations can be a parallel world, a private financial world that unfolds over the years. And it’s undoubtedly in mind, nobody would question that nobody would say it has a reality outside mind the hallucinations of a schizophrenic. And yet they are not under the control of coalition. So it’s quite obvious if you think about it, that even our personal minds extend beyond the scope of volition that there are things we experienced in mind alone, like our nightly dreams, which are not under the control of volition. And the difference is a particular type of subjective experience. If if I fantasize now that I’m falling off a building, the images are the same as in a dream at night, when I’m falling off a building those images, that part of the experience is identical. But when I’m awake, there is an extra experience, the feeling of being in control, there is nothing more to that than an experience. And that particular experience is missing in the dream at night. That’s the only difference. In both cases, these are all experiences and for the mind, in one case, you have a particular experience extra, which is the feeling of being in control. In the other case, you don’t have that, but it’s still in mind.
Rick Archer: And lucid dreaming. And some people say they have lucid dreaming and they can very much control their dreams. That’s but that’s a different matter,
Bernardo Kastrup: then you can bring that extra experience out so to your 90 nightly reveries. So. Yeah. But materialists in general, tend to make this, this silly mistake to assume that mind equals what is in the field of religion, to be honest with you. Even philosophers of older ages, like George Barkley, an exponent of idealism, he seemed to have made that confusion as well. When he was asked to explain why the world the outside reality outside between quotes unfolds. Apparently outside the control of our volition, he appealed to a second mind, the mind of God, which implicitly acknowledges that our mind consists only of that, which is under the control of volition. Today, since the advent of depth psychology in the late 19th century with William James Freud, Carl Jung, since then, we know that there is much more to mind than the field of religion much more to our personal minds, let alone the collective mind that seems to create the images of consensus reality. So going back to your question, that’s one I think, mistake of, of materialists, the other one is a simple confusion is to confuse the image of a process for the cause of the process. So for instance, if you see flames, flames are not the cause of combustion. The other way combustion looks. Combustion, the microscopic process, the chemical reaction of combustion is released plasma and energy and all that the image of that process, we call that image flames, they don’t cause combustion, that they are the way it looks. I argue that our brain brain activity, especially certain types of closed loop, processes in the brain, they are not the cause of consciousness. They are the image of a process of self localization of consciousness, when observed from the outside, in just the same way that flames are the image of microscopic combustion when observed from the outside. If you’re in the middle of combustion, it wouldn’t look like lens to look like something else. And another analogy I use is to say that the brain is like we’re pulling the string of mind, when water self localizes and rotates around a specific point in the stream, you get a wearable, but there is nothing to a whirlpool but water. Similarly, I would argue that there is nothing to the brain but mind. And then if people say, Oh, but I can point to a brain and say there is a brain. Well, you can point to a whirlpool and say there is a whirlpool you can delineate its boundaries, it’s a very concrete thing. But there is nothing to it. But the pattern of flow of water, I think the brain is just the image of a self localization of the flow of mind. Because of that it bring activity correlates very well with subjective experience, because one is the image of the other. That’s why when scientists put you under a CT scan, and observe your neuronal processes, it correlates very well with what you report you’re experiencing, of course, you’re looking at the same process from two different views, an inside view and an outside view. But both are the same process. One is the image of the other it’s not not surprised, not surprising at all. That there are these correlations between brain activity and mind and it does not mean that the brain generates mind for the same reason that a whirlpool doesn’t generate water.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So, but based on what you just said that, you know, brain is a localization of mind, everything is a localization of mind, right? I mean, my, these glasses are a localization and the roses behind me are localization, every everything, if ever, if consciousness is the ultimate constituent of creation, the ultimate reality, then everything that appears material is just a kind of a coagulation of that a localization of that. But some of these localizations are more self reflective than others are better able to recognize or more sophisticated than others, kind of like, well, I’m gonna go with that first. Before I say more.
Bernardo Kastrup: I would be very careful with that, Rick, because I think there is an important difference between saying that all reality is in consciousness, and saying that everything is conscious
Rick Archer: Well I didn’t quite say that, but we’ll get to that, but it didn’t quite say that.
Bernardo Kastrup: I sensed an implication for instance, if you say that I am a localization of consciousness, that means I am conscious, there is something it is like to be me, I ground asserting subjective perspective, asserting subjective point of view on reality, I am conscious as a localization of mind is this glass of water, if it is a localization of mind, it should be conscious to I don’t think it is conscious, I think it is in consciousness. I don’t think there is anything it is like to be this glass of water. I don’t think it grounds a subjective point of view on reality, I think it’s just an image in my consciousness, in your consciousness in the consciousness of the audience of this show. In that sense, it is in consciousness, and there is nothing to it, that is not in consciousness. But that doesn’t mean that it is conscious. I think life is the image of a localization processing consciousness, but life, no life, are just images in consciousness, not necessarily processes of localization of consciousness, if you know what I mean.
Rick Archer: I know what you mean, I want to I want to dwell on this one a bit. In your book, you mentioned the word pantheism, which was it pan psychism. And that every that everything is conscious to some degree. And so one question there is, where do you draw the line? You know, if you go down the evolutionary scale, and you get down to, you know, amoebas, and bacteria and viruses, and then a certain point, you don’t, it’s a gray area, you don’t know what’s animate or not. And then you get down into the inanimate stuff like rocks, and, and all. So is there a cut off point? Which, yeah,
Bernardo Kastrup: I acknowledge the difficulty in finding the cut off point. I acknowledge that difficulty. We have the difficulty today, if we talk about life, is the virus alive? Is the virus really alive? Or is it not? There are questions about it, the virus cannot reproduce itself without some other living beings to help it to manufacture other viruses. And bacteria is probably certainly alive. And from that point on, everything is aligned. So I acknowledge the difficulty in precisely defining the boundary. But I don’t think anybody would question the difference between this glass of water in me, I am alive, the glass of water is not an insect is alive. A rock is not, I would argue that both are in consciousness. And in that sense, there is no fundamental separation between them. But one grounds, a specific localized point of view within consciousness, and the other one is an image in consciousness. That’s what I would argue, I would stay close to science at that level. And let science try to figure out where is the boundary of life and non life and whatever that boundary is, I would say, that is the boundary between localization of consciousness and just the wider stream, the wider flow, one on one side of those of that boundary, you have wearables. On the other side, it’s the broader stream.
Rick Archer: Okay, I think I have two points here. One is that regardless of where you were, the cutoff point is between life and non life. If you look at anything closely like your glass of water, you see that there’s a sort of a marvelous at a fundamental level there’s there’s a marvelous orderliness and and structure to what’s going on there. That is not random. That’s not you know billiard balls bouncing into each other. There’s some kind of intelligence permeating it, whether it as an object can be aware of itself is But let’s just say it can’t. And I can grant you that, although in some traditions, they say everything is aware of itself to some rudimentary degree, but not in the way we human beings would understand. So that’s one point. Another point is that, you know, you say this thing is in consciousness, but that’s a very dualistic way of speaking, the glass of water is in consciousness. So then you have a glass of water, and it’s in consciousness, kind of like an ice cube is in water. And, and that’s, that’s a good metaphor, because if consciousness is the ultimate reality, the ultimate constituent of everything, then it’s not quite correct to say the glass of water is in consciousness, the glass of water is consciousness. That doesn’t mean it’s conscious. But it’s consciousness, you know, interacting within itself, taking the form the apparent form of a glass of water.
Bernardo Kastrup: So you made two points. And let me see if I can remember the first one.
Rick Archer: The first one was regarding the cut off point. Yeah.
Bernardo Kastrup: No. The first one was, you said, there are all these beautiful patterns by nature intelligently, simply tell that they seem to express to manifest a certain intelligence? Yeah, orderliness? Yeah. Yeah, if we say that nature is the image of processes of consciousness in consciousness, which is what I say, I don’t say that they’re necessarily self localization, aspects of consciousness, they don’t ground a localized point of view a localized perspective, onto reality, with the are still in mind. In that case, there are images of processes in mind. And as such, they must reflect the fundamental nature, the fundamental qualities, the fundamental properties of mind, it is no wonder then that we find these beautiful patterns, beautiful symmetries, and sometimes beautiful asymmetries in nature. And I consider it completely valid to say that as images in mind, of processes of mind, they are reflecting that beauty, the fundamental underlying nature of consciousness. So I think your intuition applies completely and in
Rick Archer: and again, by mind here, you mean something new in a universal field? Not the individual?
Bernardo Kastrup: Correct
Rick Archer: Yeah.
Bernardo Kastrup: Correct.
Rick Archer: Keep that in mind.
Bernardo Kastrup: But to say that, for instance, the I think it’s a it’s valid, and intelligence to say that the beauty of a crystal, when you look at it, under a microscope, reflect archetypal features, of what mind is, we don’t really we cannot pin down what mine is, because we are it the eye that sees cannot look at itself, as an object. So we are the mind is the nowhere not the known. So we cannot pin it down directly. But the reality of life as an image of mind, because it’s generated by mind, is a metaphor for the underlying fundamental qualities of mind. The crystal, the beauty of that crystal, is a metaphor for an archetypal quality of mind. And I think, in fact, I think the meaning of life is to observe nature with those eyes to observe nature, as if it were a dream and ask yourself, What does this mean, it’s an expression of something very subtle, that underlies all this and which we cannot see directly. We can only see the metaphor that it produces. Truth manifests itself through the fictions it creates the fiction of reality. And in that sense, the fiction conveys truth indirectly, as a poem convey to convey its truth through through metaphors and analogies. So I don’t think my position denies the intuition you expressed in your first point, I think it’s completely applicable. Nature manifests the the fundamental archetypes of mind. And we should read nature as we read a poem as you read, as we read a metaphorical novel. Your second point, you mentioned that there is a dualism built in what I’m saying that things that are in mind, let me ask you this. I could say, imagine a spinning top, there’s a spinning top on a favorite spinning. I would say the spin is in the top. But there’s no no duality about it because there’s nothing to the spin. Other than the top that spins, you cannot take the spin away from the top and say, here’s the top and here’s the spin. The spin is a state of the top. It’s a behavior of the top. Yet we have two words for it, spin and top. The dualism is merely language. The reality of the situation has no dualism at all when I say that, this glass of water is the mind. It’s like the spin of the top. It’s a behavior of mind. Yeah, it’s a process of mind. Like the Whirlpool is a process of the water There’s nothing to the Whirlpool but water cannot take the Whirlpool out of the water and say, here’s the Whirlpool that is the water, or the vibrations of a guitar string. The only thing to vibrating, vibrating is guitar string is nothing other than the string that vibrates. The vibration is a state of this string, there is no dualism at all, it looks like it because we talk about it in language. But there is a difference. I think, going back to the analogy of the stream, between water flowing unimpeded in water circulating around a specific point and forming a whirlpool, I would call the latter life localized consciousness, a particular localized point of view on the broader reality, the rest, I would describe it as a mind. But it’s not to do or for the same reason that the spin is in the top that the vibration isn’t a guitar string, or that the work was in the water. It’s not a separate thing. It’s a particular behavior. There are many different particular behaviors. guitar string can vibrate in many different frequencies in many different modes, a spinning top can rotate in many left, right, and it can wobble. That’s this differences in the state and the behavior, in my view of reality, are what explain the variety of reality, the variety of phenomena that we experience, all of reality is a pattern of excitation of mind. But only certain patterns of excitation ground a localized point of view, the rest is just a behavior of the broader mind, that’s how I see that I don’t know if, if I’m making myself clear, I think
Rick Archer: I understand. So the glass of water is just a localized excitation of mind. And I am also a localized excitation of mine. But the difference between us is that, you know, I am such a more sophisticated localization in terms of the complexity of my nervous system and brain that I can have this conversation with you which the glass of water can’t because of water, you know, looking microscopically at the glass of water, or at my body, both exhibit all kinds of marvelous stuff going on on a molecular and atomic level. But there’s just not enough sophistication in the, in the instrument of the glass of water in the in the material of the glass of water, to be cognizant, in any way, kind of like radios, you know, I mean, you have a rock, and the radio waves are passing through the water, the rock, the electromagnetic field permeates the rock, and then you have a nice radio. And the electromagnetic field permeates that also, to a certain extent, they’re made of the same stuff, you know, I mean, silicone and whatnot. But the the arrangement in the radio is so intricate and sophisticated and designed to be able to actually detect those radio waves and tune into different frequencies of them. And they’re, by give us different stations to listen to.
Bernardo Kastrup: I want to talk to you on on this a little bit. Okay, I spent, if I hear you, I try to hear more than what you’re saying. You know what I mean? Sure. And this more that I hear. The implicit thing behind what you seem to be saying is that we are all made of matter. Well, matter I am made of matter. It’s different arrangements of matter.
Rick Archer: Yeah, but you can boil that down to non matter. I’m just speaking on the level of matter but, but any anything that appears to be matter if you look closely enough is non material,
Bernardo Kastrup: I’m going to take you back to your fundamental experience of reality. Matter is a concept in our minds and experience in our perceptual field. When we say that we are made of it we are already projecting, we already projecting something like take a step back, go back to yourself, This exists in my mind and in your mind, the fundamental thing is the guitar string that vibrates with we can’t see it, all of existence is the vibration of the guitar string, the guitar string itself is forever inaccessible, invisible, can’t even be set to exist, because existence is the vibration of the thing. The thing itself is outside existence outside being metaphysical concept that arises from our experiences. What I insist on, and because I think a lot of people are tempted by by this slip in assumption. What I insist on is that there is nothing it is like to be this glass of water. There is something it is like to be me. However, this glass of water only exists in so far as it is experienced. That’s what I’m saying
Rick Archer: experienced by whom, by you by anybody conscious
Bernardo Kastrup: by anybody or anything consciousness conscious, even if it is a part of consciousness that fundamentally transcends our The ordinary notion of humanity. Carl Jung used to talk about a collective quote, unconscious, I think the word unconscious is unfortunately, although I keep on using it because there’s so much history behind it, I would call it an obfuscated part of consciousness. If there is this collective obfuscated part of consciousness, it manifests a certain behavior that becomes visible to us in the form of the universe. It doesn’t need a human being to look at it for it to exist, so long as it’s the behavior of an obfuscated collective part of mine that is much broader than than any living creature we can pinpoint. But a living creature, another another metaphor may help, you have two eyes, you’re looking at my image through two eyes, you can close any one of them, and you would still see an image, this image is would be slightly different, which you can see if you put a finger right in front of your head, then you close one eye and another, you see that the images are very different. If what you’re looking at is very far away, they looked like the same image, but they are not there are two images. Now your experience of the two is unified. You only see this three dimensional world around you imagine that a psychological phenomenon that is well known, it’s called the split off complex split off complex of your mind, imagine that you could split your mind in two. So one split off complex with experienced one eye the other split split off complex with experienced your other eye. These would be the localization processes of consciousness, each one of them would ground a individual localized point of view on reality, they would be to split off complexes of one mind, namely, your mind, if you can imagine your mind splitting into two. So you identify only with one eye on the one hand, and another complex identifies only with the other eye, then you know what life is life are split off complexes of the one bloody mind underlying Oh nature, which is the most parsimonious explanation possible for reality, life by split off complexes, not everything is a split off complex, if you want to is a split of complex, you’re still watching the world around you, you’re still watching this glass of water. And this glass of water is not necessarily a split off complex. Do you understand what I mean? I think so,
Rick Archer: let’s keep chewing on it. In your book, you use the word filters at a certain point and one of the chapters and how we’re all like, we’re all filters, which filter out most of what’s actually going on in order to make living possible. If we, if we didn’t have such filtration, we would be so overwhelmed. Unless we were designed to be omniscient and be able to handle it, we’d be so overwhelmed that we wouldn’t be able to function. And different filters work in different ways. You know, a dog has much less obfuscation in the sense of smell and hearing and bath and so on. So how about if everything is a filter, not just living things, but the glass of water is so effectively filters out conscious experience that if conscious experiences nil, and yet the glass of water is a fluctuation in the membrane of consciousness, as you put it, just as much as a human nervous system is just a much less refined or complex fluctuation. And incidentally, before when I was talking about instruments and you know, talking about materiality as if it had some kind of reality to it, you know, I’m making a concession with with relative world in order to talk that way. We, you know, we do that all the time. We you know, even if we understand or even experienced that everything is ultimately consciousness, we have to give each level of apparent reality its do in order to function in the world.
Bernardo Kastrup: You’re I think the core of your argument is that there isn’t this binary division between things that are conscious, and things that are just in consciousness that there’s a continuum there. Yeah, there’s
Rick Archer: no point it’s all consciousness interacting within itself. And over the course of billions of years, more and more complex forms have evolved. And at a certain point, self reflective quality began to dawn. And you know, now we’re at the point where we have and we’re probably not the most sophisticated beings in creation, but you know, we’re all we were the most sophisticated ones we know of and we’re in a very self reflective state compared to well compared to a dog and then compared to a rock but you know, during The first couple billion years, let’s say after the Big Bang, there were no sentient beings around. But there were stars forming and stars exploding and heavy elements getting created. And this whole evolutionary process taking place, all guided and orchestrated by Infinite Intelligence, as much as things are now, all with this sort of evolutionary direction to it in the in the direction of more and more sophisticated forms, which which could eventually enable the universe to know itself or to enable that consciousness to become a living reality, a living breathing, you know, eating, pooping reality, rather than just a sort of, you know, an unmanifest field.
Bernardo Kastrup: I will acknowledge that it’s the first time I’m working knowledge this in any place in any presentation in any media. I will acknowledge that, when you think deeply and rigorously about it. It is complicated to say that the cut off point is binary that until here, there is no we cannot speak of the thing being conscious. And after here we can speak of the thing being conscious. It is tricky. The reason I don’t go there is that I think, in most situations, in most thoughts, feelings, and most perspectives of reality, we can speak of it as if it were a binary cut off point. And I think it is beneficial to think of it this way, although as we go crazy, otherwise, we go saying, you know, my chair is conscious, well is each leg of my chair conscious, because then there are four conscious beings there plus the top five, but every permutation and combination of lag with lag and top is also conscious. So you have an explosion of conscious beings, each one with a particular point of view, each one with something it is like to be
Rick Archer: it No, you’re attributing too much sentience to the Terek chair legs and things like that, you know, we can say the chair is consciousness in its essence. But that doesn’t mean that the chair as a as a as a whirlpool, in consciousness as a as a, you know, excitation of consciousness has enough sophistication as an instrument to be self reflective to be conscious in in any meaningful sense.
Bernardo Kastrup: But these are two different things. You can be conscious and not be self reflective.
Rick Archer: Yeah, like a dog or
Bernardo Kastrup: a dog is not self reflective
Rick Archer: a mosquito or whatever. Yeah,
Bernardo Kastrup: there you go. There you go. So I don’t think self reflectiveness is the key thing here.
Rick Archer: Okay,
Bernardo Kastrup: Only certain beings are self reflective.
Rick Archer: No, yeah. So that comes in much later on up the evolutionary scale. So, so let’s so let’s say that, you know, the leg of a chair or a chair itself, it, here’s the the basic idea that, you know, I mean, even many physicists, and you’re a physicist, of course, are keen on the idea that there must be some one fundamental, Ultimate Reality unified field, or whatever you call it. And you know, because because the more they boil it down, the more simple it gets, the more the less diversity there is. And then you get down to, you know, certain handful of force and matter fields, and everything else is an excitation or, you know, the synchronization of those, you know, an elaboration of those, and you go deeper still, in some of those forests and matter fields begin to unite. And so intuitively, it seems that, you know, if you went deep, deep enough, you’d get down to one fundamental essence of everything, which, you know, and this whole talk of depth and surfaces is sort of just a concession with human perspective, because if it’s that way, in its essence, it’s that way on the so called surface as well. We’re just not seeing it deeply enough. So and, you know, there are physicists, such as John Hagen, who’s who’s speculate that this unified field that physics is groping for is none other than consciousness, which mystics have have known for millennia, and that everything Therefore, just as physicists would say, everything is a sort of excitation of the unified field on the physical level. Every mystics would say everything is actually CONSCIOUSNESS. YOU IN in their experience. I agree with that. I’ve gone a little long here, but go ahead.
Bernardo Kastrup: I agree with that. I think this is a valid model. I think John does this great work in elucidating. This this perspective is out there. You have talked to John A short while ago,
Rick Archer: I was actually his tm teacher back in when he was in high school in a body cast. Motor motorcycle accident long story.
Bernardo Kastrup: That’s how it started. Okay, so indefinitely. So that perspective is out there, I concur with it. I think it’s valid. I think it’s valuable and important. Let me try giving you another perspective, just to add something different to the discussion. We, in this perspective of the unified field, the danger of death, the trick we have to be careful with is not to objectify consciousness is not to turn consciousness into something that is outside that we are looking at consciousness is the space of subjectivity itself is what it means for you to be alive right now. So there’s a danger that we the intellect starts objectifying that so I’ll try another analogy that brings us back here. Yeah, instead of out there.
Rick Archer: And both our experience and our language structure tend to trip us up in that way. You know, how does because our experience objectifies everything. And we’ve based our language structure on our experience. So it’s really easy to slip into talking in a way, which is not really valid. You go Yeah,
Bernardo Kastrup: there you go. So let me turn on the metaphor. Let’s go back to psychology split off complexes. Going back to the point where you’re exploring before, which is a gradation, or is there a binary division, at which point an image of a process can be said to be conscious, as opposed to only being in consciousness? Let’s think of it in terms of split of complexes. For a while I still suffer and not not as much as before from hypochondria, which is, it’s like an external thing. In your mind. It doesn’t feel like it’s me, I am still there. I’m still there saying this is nonsense. What am I worrying about here? That is total baloney. It’s completely ridiculous. That person is still there. Yet, there is another entity, an entity that worries an entity that is not rational, and I feel its feelings. I think it’s thoughts. I manifest its behavior. Is it split off from me? No, because I still feel its feelings, I still think it’s thoughts, I still manifest its behavior, I still recognize it, I am still aware of it. But it’s beginning the process of splitting off, because while it is still completely part of my field of experience, I already begin to look at it as a growth as a differentiation, like like a finger beginning to grow out of a hand, it’s begins to become alien, but I’m still aware of its thoughts, I’m still aware of its feelings. Now, if you stretch that a little bit more, there will be a point where it will split. And then you have double personality disorder, or multiple personality disorder, in which different complexes take turns in awareness and in the control of the body, but they are completely split off from each other. I think life begins at the point where a complex in the mind of the in the one mind as complex in the one mind becomes split off. Really, that said, I don’t deny that there is a continuum that precedes that just like my hypochondria dream demon is not completely split off, but it’s not quite me really. Yeah, I don’t know whether this helps, but at least it brings us back to our direct experience of reality, as opposed to objectifying consciousness itself.
Rick Archer: That helps. There’s a term in Sanskrit pragyaparadh, which means mistake of the intellect, and it’s said to be responsible for the splitting off from the sort of unified, you know, state of awareness in which everything is one two cents into the sense of individuation and ego and separation from the whole. But anyway, regarding life and, you know, beginning to emerge at a certain point, you know, I, I could argue from this, you know, from the standpoint it depends on what we mean by life, but I could argue that there’s life in the center of the Sun or in the midst of intergalactic space, in the sense that if, if consciousness is pure life, and you know, then there is nothing which is not life, anywhere. And, you know, but obviously, usually when we say life, we mean biological life life, which is some kind of, you know, aware, aware in some functional way. But, you know, things are just aware to the extent that they embody that pure essence that that ultimate stuff, which of which everything is made. I’m sorry, I got a little off on my point there, but that’s the point I think I was trying to make.
Bernardo Kastrup: I agree. I don’t think there is a difference in in fundamentals are different in a difference in fundamental quality between In the subjective feeling of being me, and it’s the innermost subjective feeling of being me and the subjective feeling of being new, or the subjective feeling of being a fish, we all think we are the center of the world, in a sense, because we grounded this perspective. And the difference is just the story we tell ourselves, there the differences come. But if you eliminate all stories, that fundamental awareness, that fundamental, not awareness, that fundamental subjectivity, I think, is the same.
Rick Archer: And when you use the word feeling, it may feel different for you and for me, and for the fish. But because feeling has to do with, you know, some kind of cognition of some kind, or some sort of registering of an impression or a sensation. But But what I think you really mean to say is that the ultimately the conscious your consciousness, my consciousness, the consciousness of the fish, is the same consciousness, there’s a, there’s a line from the incredible String Band light that is one of the lamps be many. So you know, or you can take the example of electricity, it’s the same electrical field, but here, it’s a light bulb there, it’s a computer screen there, it’s a television in terms of the way that electricity is sort of reflected or channeled.
Bernardo Kastrup: Well, to give another analogy, if the fish has no perceptions, and no thoughts, and I have no perceptions, and no thoughts, I would feel exactly like the fish. That’s what I mean,
Rick Archer: maybe, you know, earlier, you were talking about how, you know, mind can’t know itself, because to do so sets up a dualistic situation in which, you know, it would have to step apart from itself to know itself, but it’s not an object, it’s like, you know, the eye can’t perceive itself. It’s the perceiver. But, you know, there there’s a verse in The Gita, the self realizes itself by itself. So, but it does not in a sort of a subject object, you know, perceive or process of perception perception structure, it does so by just merging into complete unity in which that the self recognition, it’s hard to describe in words. And so, you know, can a fish do that? I don’t think you Okay, well, can the cells recognize itself in the way I’m describing in through the instrument of fishes? Nervous System? I don’t think so. I don’t think the fish is sophisticated enough as a nervous system to have that realization. But it can happen to a human and I’ve had arguments with people about this lady named Laurie Moore, she kept saying animals are enlightened. But um, I think the human nervous system has reached that level of sophistication where that can take that realization can it can be an instrument through which the self can realize itself? And I
Bernardo Kastrup: agree, yeah, I think that requires self reflective. And that’s where self reflect reflectiveness comes into the picture, which is this ability to take the contents of your own mind, turn them into an apparent object, and think about the contents of your own thoughts, or perceive the contents of your own perceptions as if you were not them. It’s a kind of double mirror effect. But that’s still
Rick Archer: dualistic. Because you are perceiving thoughts. Now, when the thoughts settle down and down and down to the point where there is no mental activity whatsoever anymore, then consciousness can just shine and it’s in its pure nature, without any sort of agitation whatsoever. Without any mental activity, you’re not thinking about consciousness, consciousness is aware of itself in a in a sort of a fundamental, least excited state.
Bernardo Kastrup: And in that state, do you think it makes a difference between being a human being or being a fish?
Rick Archer: Yes, because as a fish, I don’t think a fish has the capacity to to transcend all the levels of relative experience in that way and enable the self to realize itself in its purest state.
Bernardo Kastrup: How do you How does the self realize itself in a state of non excitation? What is the realization if it’s not an excitation of the self?
Rick Archer: Usually, the experiences that I’m sure there are others who could speak to this much better than I but the experience is, is cognizant, just on the, on the verge of merging into and emerging from it, you know, then it’s like, ah, you know, I am this unboundedness. This, you know,
Bernardo Kastrup: There you go. That’s an excitation.
Rick Archer: Yes, exactly. to actually think about it in any sort of cognitive way. There has to be some excitation. And when this experience becomes clearer, for instance, there are people for whom this is a 24/7 state, it’s not just an occasional glimpse. So that means it remains during sleep, but but during sleep they’re not thinking Oh isn’t as cool I’m awake during sleep that you know, pure Self is there. But on immersion in my point, but on emerging from sleep well A bit of waking state function begins to happen. There’s this recognition of this awareness has been here throughout the night. It’s been continuous.
Bernardo Kastrup: Yeah, yes. So you need some excitation in order for anything to be reflected. Because otherwise you can be self reflective as much as you want. If there is no light to form an image, nothing gets reflected anywhere. Yeah. But if that image, if that light is too strong, then it becomes a distraction. Then it obfuscates everything, and you no longer see what’s really going on.
Rick Archer: And in Sanskrit, there’s a term LeeSha video, which means faint remains of ignorance. And what it means is there has to be a faint remains of some kind of duality. In order for this realization of oneness to be a living reality,
Bernardo Kastrup: I will make a difference between true duality, which is nonsensical. Materialism implies a form of true duality in the sense that it makes consciousness a strongly emergent property of matter, in other words, fundamentally different and that there’s a duality right there. I think through duality doesn’t exist. But as you said, a couple of minutes ago, and I still remember your words, you said, the self cannot step out of itself to turn itself into an object that it can study. It can’t do it for real, but maybe it can create the next best thing, which is to fold in on itself. And think about its own thoughts or perceive its own perceptions. That’s not true duality, it’s self reflectiveness. It’s an internal dynamics of the self. And maybe all reality is precisely an effort of the self to do it is to see to see itself indirectly, it can’t see itself directly, but it can see a metaphor of itself. And by manifesting a behavior that it can observe, and I think that that’s what’s going on existence is an excitation of mind. And we are the parts of minds that have folded in on themselves. So they can think self reflectively, about those excitations and contemplate those excitations as a metaphor for our own fundamental nature. Yeah. What is life telling us about who or what we really are? Because life cannot be anything other than a manifestation of our fundamental nature, the good and the bad parts? There is nothing else it can be. It can only be that.
Rick Archer: Yeah, no, I think I agree. There’s another thing I forget the Sanskrit but what the translation is, the lamp at the door. And what that means is that for the enlightened, the intellect is like a lamp at the door, which kind of illuminates both inside and outside the house. So there’s a simultaneous kind of, you’re kind of standing, it’s like that. Robert, what is that guy that Restaurant at the End of the Universe? Yeah. So you know, so there’s this sort of simultaneous balancing point, in which the, the, the outer world is perceived, and yet the inner, the pure consciousness, the foundation of it all, is, is not perceived as an object, but lived as the essence of what one is, and one just sort of resides there and lives there. And, and the and by virtue of that, the outer world, so called outer world is seen as not being outer, it’s contained, contained within me, everything is contained within myself, and is seen in terms of what it actually is consciousness. And that’s where you get the sayings from the Upanishad. It’s like taught to amasi, that thou art and sarvam, COVID, Om Brahma, all this is Brahman, and you know, words like that, phrases like that.
Bernardo Kastrup: I think this is, this is so clear, so true, and so obvious that it can be grasped, even by our little flimsy intellect. Because if you think about it, we have dreams as a great explanatory tool, right? When you’re dreaming at night, you have a avatar in the dream, a dream the character. And during the dream, you identify with it, because it grounds a certain local perspective within the dream. When you wake up, you immediately realized that it wasn’t your consciousness in the avatar. It was the avatar in your consciousness. It’s just so happens that your consciousness took a local perspective within the dream, in other words, within the imagery that it itself generated. Intellectually, we can immediately jump from that to waking reality. It’s completely reasonable to imagine our bodies are Brains being a mind, as opposed to mind being in our bodies, or in our brains, for the exact same reason that it was your avatar in the dream, it was in your mind, not your mind in the avatar in the dream, even though during the dream, it felt exactly the same as it feels now. And that is a point that many materialists get confused with when we say, all reality is in consciousness. They beg the question of materialism all over the place that you like, Yeah, but how could we all be sharing the same dream? Well, wait a moment. If our reality is in consciousness, it is our bodies that are in consciousness, not consciousness in our bodies. Therefore, the fact that our bodies are separate, does not imply that our minds at the deepest most obfuscated levels are also separate. It doesn’t imply that. And if it doesn’t imply there’s nothing stopping us from assuming that mind is unified at the bottom, and therefore it generates the same dream for everybody. Because at bottom, it’s the same collective unconscious between calls the same collective obfuscated part of mine, that is creating the show, just like it creates a dream at night, the difference being that instead of taking the perspective of only one avatar in the dream, like we take in our personal dreams, that one mind is taking many perspectives within that one dream as split off complexes of itself. And that’s where the fun starts,
Rick Archer: as beautiful. Bob Dylan said, I’ll let you be in my dream if I can be in yours. So yeah, what you’re saying is that there’s like a cosmic dreamer. And you and I, and the glass of water, and everything else are just, you know, avatars, they’re just sort of characters or objects in this cosmic dream. And that’s how we get a consistency between between different observers. We’re all we’re all in the same basic dream.
Bernardo Kastrup: Yes, to go back to the to the Whirlpool metaphor. We are all whirlpools in the same stream. It’s one way of putting that, and there are ripples in the stream containing information. And these ripples penetrate multiple workflows at the same time. So the workflows register, this ripples at experience. And the experiences are consistent, because the ripples come from outside their workflows from the broader stream, in which all the workflows are actually unified, as patterns of flow of a single stream.
Rick Archer: Yeah, you drive some interesting conclusions from this in your book about the unconscious and about being able to know things that we couldn’t ordinarily know or, you know, do we don’t ordinarily know. And, you know, you just say, I guess this relates back to the filter idea that ordinarily we filter out most stuff, but that all kinds of things can be known if they’re if some, if there’s a little bit less filtration here or there. Yeah.
Bernardo Kastrup: I think from an idealistic perspective, I use idealism, because it’s a traditional philosophical term, but I don’t like the term to be honest with you, I feel forced to do it. Because you see, if all reality is in consciousness, and it’s merely an excitation of consciousness or mind, there is no point in using the word consciousness and mind. Consciousness is simply what is Yeah, we don’t need a word for it. It doesn’t identify discernible subset of reality. The only reason I use the word is that materialists invented this hallucinated abstract a universe that supposedly is not consciousness. So they gave artificial meaning to the word. So just wanted to make this this this disclaimer here. But from this perspective, of idealism, or continuing to use the word, what we have to explain is why you I or anybody else is not aware of everything. Because if we are all in this one mind, and it’s all in that one mind, why don’t we know why don’t we experience everything? What the hell’s going on? Why oh, material?
Rick Archer: Yeah, why doesn’t my finger see the garden outside? Because because the finger isn’t designed to see, you know, each each individual aspect of my body has a particular function. So we, as individual expressions, each have a slice of reality that we’re designed to tune in on. And, you know, I don’t see what’s in front of you in your room, you don’t see what’s in front of me in my room. But, you know, but both those things are contained within Universal Mind,
Bernardo Kastrup: or we even go beyond that. Why do you need sense organs? If you’re all in one mind? Why do we stop seeing when I close my eyes? Bloody hell, it’s the same mind why do I need eyes? Why do I need a tongue? If my mind is not in inside my skull? Why do I stop perceiving if I close the sense organs on my face? How do you answer that question? That’s what we have to explain. Under this idea that all reality is in consciousness. Most people will experience that reality directly You know, it’s true, but then they come back to the ego, and the intellect starts telling them, this can’t possibly be the case. I mean, they have total cognitive dissonance, you know, it’s a form of schizophrenia, because our culture is so twisted in its assumptions about reality. So just to make an, I wanted to add, insert something else in the discussion, right, because I think it’s important. That’s the reason I write these books. To try to influence the culture in such a way as to reduce the cognitive dissonance between our models of reality in the culture that we absorb from education from other people from the general cultural, milieu, so to say, in the direct experience of the truth, which is it’s all one big dream in one mind, these two things shouldn’t be so dissonant. And the only way to resolve that is not to change the truth, because the truth is what it is, it’s to change how the culture models, our worldview are a view of reality. So one becomes more conducive to the other. That’s why I write these books, not because I think what I do is in any way more valid or more important than the direct experience of truth. It isn’t. If it were, I wouldn’t be hypochondriac, I wouldn’t be suffering. I suffer every day. And it’s essential for my creativity. By the way, I’ve noticed that. But how do we then answer the question? If there is only one mind, why do we need sense organs? Why don’t we have total clairvoyance of everything that’s going on across time, space and beyond? Right? That’s what we have to explain. I see two ways, two necessary steps to explain that one is already built into the metaphor of the Whirlpool, Whirlpool is a localization of mind, the water that gets trapped in the Whirlpool for a little while is going nowhere, but to work for itself. If that water is consciousness, our consciousness is then localized. If this body is an image of a localization of consciousness, then the consciousness consciousness that is experienced from this body is localized. That’s the first step of the explanation. If it is localized, wherever it’s not in that workflow can only be experienced if it comes from the outside. I think our sense organs are the rim of the whirlpool. They are the interface between the Whirlpool and the rest of the stream outside the Whirlpool, and the ripples, information experiences that come from the borders, draw the stream, and penetrate the Whirlpool through the rim, we have a name for those reports, we call them photons, sent molecules, taste molecules that touch our tongues, temperate heat, that touches our skin touches our skin, sound pressure and sound waves. These are the names we give to the ripples of the stream that penetrate the Whirlpool through the rim. The name we give to the rim of the Whirlpool is skin, eyes, tongue, nose, ears, our sense organs, our sense organs are the rims of the whirlpool. But that still doesn’t explain everything. It’s only explained that there should be a qualitative difference between your perceptions, through the sense organs, and subjective clairvoyance of everything else, because you’re still part of that one mind whatever is going on in that mind, you should know why don’t you know? I think we don’t know. Because as part of our psychic structure, the mind has folded in on itself to create self reflectiveness. And this self reflectiveness amplifies mental contents. Just like if you put an image between two mirrors facing each other to reflect on one the reflection reflects on the other creates a double reflection that reflects on the first and it goes ad infinitum. It’s an enormous amplification of that image. That amplification I think works like the glare of the sun, obfuscating the stars at noon, at noon, the stars are all still there, technically, you’re still seeing them because their photons are still hitting your retina. But you don’t know that you are seeing them. Because they obfuscated by the glare of the sun. I think the ego creates this obfuscation. For instance. I love this example because it brings it right back to people. For the past several minutes, you have been conscious of your breathing, but you have not been self reflectively aware of your breathing. In other words, you didn’t know that you weren’t conscious of your breathing. You were not you were not conscious that you weren’t conscious of your breathing. Why? Because the consciousness of your breathing was completely obfuscated by this bunch of words and difficult concepts that I’m throwing at you. That was in your field of self reflection. You’re trying to make sense of that you’re thinking about your thoughts, and about the thoughts of your thoughts and you know, you’re conscious that you were conscious that you’re conscious, et cetera, that you were conscious of what I was doing. Therefore, the rest of obfuscating your breathing, the dog barking, the flow of air around your ear lobes, whatever else was going on, and If whatever was going on in China, whatever is going on in the mind of God, whatever’s going on in this going on in the center of a black hole, or the volition, of our collective obfuscated consciousness that for that particular experience that we call volition is creating the rest of the universe creating the rest of reality, all debt is obfuscated, it isn’t unconscious, in the sense that there is no fundamentally different part of the psyche that is not conscious, and another part is conscious. That’s a duality already. And it’s as problematic as the duality of materialism or any other development. It also entails a hard problem of consciousness, how can consciousness emerge from the unconscious, there is no unconscious, there is only deeply obfuscated contents of consciousness that become obfuscated by the glare of self reflexive awareness that that’s my explanation for why we need sense organs, sense organs allow vibrations of the broader stream of mind repose of the broader stream of mind to enter the field of self reflective awareness, and become amplified. That’s why we think that we are no longer conscious of the world, if we close our sense organs Tell that to a blind person who was born blind, some people can do it, although they don’t have the sensors themselves, they have less obfuscation. With less of frustration, the background comes up, it rises, because it’s less obfuscated. I think that’s what’s going on.
Rick Archer: So okay, in that, so using your Whirlpool and stream analogy, the stream knows everything that’s going on within the stream, right, you have a fish here, you have a rock there, you have a whirlpool, there, you have all this stuff. And, and this, you know, little snag of a branch there that the stream as a stream is aware of the whole everything within its course. But the you know, the whirlpools, but definition are localizations in the stream, and they are so constructed that they are only designed to know what’s within their little Whirlpool boundaries. So like that, you know, you could say that consciousness or if we want to get a little bit more religious in our terminology, God is omniscient, knows everything, everything is can completely coordinated and orchestrated. If I dropped my glasses here on my desk, it actually sends out influences the gravitational field of the Earth that sends vibrations through the Earth. There’s, there’s nothing even though it’s infinite decimal, the influence, there’s nothing in creation that is not sort of infinitely correlated in some way with everything else in creation, and all that is contained within that totality of intelligence that we’re calling that we call consciousness, or that we might call it God. But, you know, there’s been an individuation, obviously, an apparent one, in terms of what we call the manifest creation. And by design, each individual expression is not meant to have the omniscience that the totality has, if it did, there’d be no point in creation to begin with, and it wouldn’t be able to function either. You know, if you knew the thoughts of everybody in the world, if you could hear them in your head, it would be awfully hard to discern your own thoughts and, you know, carry on. So
Bernardo Kastrup: I think I’ll go along with your terminology. Yes, I think, since reality is only experience, and there is nothing to reality that is not experienced, then yes, God experiences everything. God knows everything. But I don’t think that God in the sense of the broader mind, knows that it knows. To know that, you know, is self reflectiveness in the image of self reflectiveness, as far as we can discern today, is the human body, the human psyche. If it’s not correlated with the human body, it’s not self reflective. As far as we know, maybe it maybe this is wrong. But as far as we know, today, that’s the case. I think that is what human beings add to the broader mind to God, if you will, it’s self reflection, it’s to know that you know, and not only that, it’s to know that you know, that, you know, that, you know, are the finite from. So, yes, God, I think, is omniscient, but not soft. reflectively. So, it knows everything, but it doesn’t know that it knows that is our job. That’s our role in the field of existence. And if you think about it, in practical terms, there isn’t that much of a difference between knowing but not knowing that you know, and not knowing at all. Think about it Whatever you know, but right now you don’t know that you know it? Is there much of a difference between that and things that you really don’t know, like what happens inside a black hole. So I think our role is enormous. It’s crucial. I don’t think this is a cosmic cosmic mistake. I don’t think reality and our incarnated form to use religious terminology is meaningless or useless. Not at all. On the contrary, I think we are the means through which the universe not only knows but knows that it knows and thinks about it, self reflectively. That’s the only way you can interpret the metaphor, you can interpret the poem out of existence. Otherwise, you’re just immersed in it. Like in the stream of instinct, you’re just carried away with it like a rag doll in a tsunami, you can’t make sense of it. You can’t stick your head out of the flow and say, Hey, what’s going on here and ask yourself the important questions. I don’t think God can ask itself or herself. Let me not be not discriminate here. I don’t think God can ask herself the important questions. It is not self reflective, self reflectively aware enough to even formulate the question in the same way the fish doesn’t ask what is water? The fish is immersed in it. It’s not asking the questions we are asking the questions. The price of it, though, is that the creates of reflectiveness of cautiousness needs needs to fold in on itself. And the moment it does it, it localizes and obfuscates whatever is not in the field of self reflection. It’s a cosmic trade off, you gain self reflectiveness, but you lose awareness of the rest, because of obfuscation. And nature is struggling with it clearly and just look around. That’s the struggle of nature. That’s what’s going on.
Rick Archer: I don’t know whether God is self reflective or not. And maybe right that it’s through us through through conscious beings, that self reflection takes place. In fact, there’s a whole cause there’s a whole interesting explanation of this, which I can’t fully do justice to. But that is that, and it kind of begins to relate to your membrane analogy. But so let me let put that aside for just a second and say one more thing before we do, which is that whether or not God is self reflective, or consciousness, in the universal sense, is self reflective. There’s a kind of a, there’s a mechanism to creation, which is, you know, far beyond human human intellect to understand or Fathom or calculate, which continues to work just fine with or without that self reflectiveness. So all the various laws of nature that govern the, you know, the functioning of subatomic particles and atoms and molecules and gravity and all the different forces and everything, all that stuff is just is rolling along with the beauty and precision and proof and perfection and orderliness that if that evidence is vast intelligence, and whether that intelligence is self reflective, or not, maybe another question, but So then next part that I put on the shelf is, Oh, do you wanna respond to that?
Bernardo Kastrup: Respond to that? Yeah, I think it’s very interesting, I can see two ways to look at it. One way to look at it is to say, whether it is self reflective or not, or not, at that broader level. It’s still whatever behavior it manifests. In other words, whatever exists at that level, is still fundamentally a reflection of the inherent intrinsic properties of mind. Mind,
Rick Archer: mind, again, in the universal sense,
Bernardo Kastrup: God, so let’s go back to the word to the G word, to make it easier to mind mind that large God, whether it’s self reflective, or not, what it manifests can only reflect its intrinsic properties. Maybe its intrinsic properties are such that order Partnern and duty are the only possible outcome. Maybe that’s the case. And then you don’t need self reflectiveness. It’s just what is it’s just the nature of what exists. Another way to look at it is to say, maybe there aren’t only these two levels us in mind at large, maybe there is a hierarchy of localization, a hierarchy of self reflection, and what we see is just a very thin slit of what is really going on. We are seeing a small projection like shadows, like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave in which somebody inside the cave only see shadows on the wall, what what’s happening outside the cave, if you only see shadows on the wall, maybe there is an entire hierarchy of being to use a mystic term behind underlying, transcending what we experienced through our five senses. I think you’re right. And if there is that hierarchy, we go back to the agnostic legend speaking to the agnostic myth. The world is not a creation of God, it’s the creation of the Demiurge. And the Demiurge is the creation of God. So, maybe there is a still very broad, not very much self reflective, but partially self reflective mind, whose activity is the universe we know. And we just emerged from that mind. And underlying that mind, there may be much more going on until you reach the level of total one differentiation, or Godhead, or God, whatever you want to call it.
Rick Archer: Well, if I if I understand what you’re saying, I mean, I talked to people fairly often and have friends who perceive a lot of that stuff that’s going on, I mean, who perceive celestial beings, you know, and perceive their function in the, or in the management of the universe, and creation and manifestation. And, and that’s part and parcel of their daily ordinary experience to actually cognize this stuff. So there’s that.
Bernardo Kastrup: Usually, I just explained this, I think it’s relevant. I’m open to that. And I have my own private thoughts and reverence, about those questions. I entertain those thoughts a lot. But the thrust of what I tried to do is to make ontological sense of empirical reality as we all share ordinary reality.
Rick Archer: But one man’s ordinary is another man’s, you know, I mean, there are people who have whose ordinary reality would seem extraordinary to us.
Bernardo Kastrup: But the more idiosyncratic parts of reality that we don’t share collectively, on a broad level. They don’t construct culture directly.
Rick Archer: So but there are outliers who are way ahead of the curve. And like you were saying, in your book, there was a time in the 1500s, or something where suddenly, perspective dawned and, and artists began to draw things with perspective. Whereas before, everything was sort of two dimensional. So there are outliers in our culture now, who, you know, might be living life in the way that it’ll become, you know, commonplace. 300 400 years from now. It’s possible,
Bernardo Kastrup: yet, the focus of what I’m trying to do is, can you interpret ordinary shared reality, the mean, not to the outliers in a way that is much more conducive to truth that is closer to truth than the insanity? The absurdity of materialism? That’s what I focus. That’s why
Rick Archer: That’s good. Yeah. You’d be speculating if you tried to interpret the outliers experience, because not your experience, but that somehow we had to have to be taken into account also to paint the whole picture. Well, maybe
Bernardo Kastrup: that’s my experience, but it’s certainly not a collective experience. So I usually refrain from talking about the hierarchy of beings, celestial beings and transcendent realities and all that. I try to focus my message on, hey, we don’t need to talk about that. Let’s just talk about what we all share what we all agree with, do we need to say that there is an entire world outside mine? Bs? We don’t. It’s insanity. It’s different Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Rick Archer: Good. So now there’s another thing, which is that your whole thing in the book about the University of creation being the, the result of fluctuations in in a font in an underlying membrane, and I guess that’s sort of metaphorical. But I think it’s really interesting. And I, one thing I just want to throw in and then let you talk about that is that there’s kind of a Vedic cosmology, which holds that, you know, conscious, and there’s even icon iconography about this where Vishnu is lying on the cosmic ocean, and all kinds of things like that, but in the ocean gets stirred up. But there is the understanding that consciousness is the foundation fundamental reality. And that because it’s consciousness, it becomes conscious of itself. And the minute it becomes conscious of itself, there is a threefold structure set up of observer observed and process of observation, and that that threefold stuck structure continues to diversify and bifurcate, resulting in the whole elaborate dance of creation. And that this isn’t, I’m not saying this, that it’s happening in a historical sense, like that happened 14 billion years ago, but it’s happening now continuously consciousness becoming aware of itself, resulting in this sort of manifestation of greater and greater diversity. And I think that relates to what you were trying to explain in your book about a membrane in 10 dimensional space, vibrating in so many complex ways and being self reflective in so many complex ways as to give rise to the you infinite diversity of creation that we that we see.
Bernardo Kastrup: Yeah, that is metaphorical, of course, I run the same risk with everybody else runs. When I talk about mine doesn’t membrane or anything else by object fight, I turned mine into an object as opposed to the view of subjective experience, that that starts with an error already. The problem is that it’s an error you can’t avoid if you are to speak, if you are to utter words, you, you can’t you can’t help but objectify mind if you want to talk about it. So it is metaphorical, I don’t think mind is a membrane in any literal sense whatsoever. Mind is the space of subjective experience. Now, I use that metaphor. And I talk about the dimensions and all that in an in an effort. To bring this philosophical perspective, closer to science, physics is talking about M theory, membrane theory or Mother of all theories. I mean, there are many different explanations for the name in theory. But the idea is that the universe is a manifestation of a hyperdimensional membrane that vibrates according to different patterns, different modes, different frequencies. And the vibrations of that membrane are then a subatomic particles that we see which combined to form everything. That’s physics, they consider the membrane an object, and they consider themselves and their consciousness as emerging as particular. patterns in that membrane. What I’m saying is, you know, what may be the membrane is mind itself, its subjectivity itself is not something outside from which we emerge, it is us and the outside emerges out of us, it’s the opposite way of looking at it. That’s the source of, of that motivation for that metaphor. And it’s still along the lines of the metaphor, the membrane, this object, that is not an object, which is subjectivity itself. If it is not vibrating, if it’s not moving, then there are no experiences. The definition of the metaphor is that experience is the movement, the vibration of the membrane. And since experiences are all the risks, because all reality is experienced, since all reality of the mind, you find yourself in the interesting dissonance in language, where you have to say that the membrane itself doesn’t exist, it has to be void, because existence is the vibration of the membrane. The membrane itself without vibrating, has therefore to not exist,
Rick Archer: or its pure existence. It’s not meant it’s not objectified objects, it’s just pure unmanifest existence,
Bernardo Kastrup: that’s where language breaks completely language cannot take us there. And it’s not because it’s a highly spiritual transcendent experience, it’s still very conceptual and intellectual and still language breaks, language cannot take you there, if you define experience as the movement of the membrane, the membrane at rest does not exist yet. What is the vibration of the membrane? Other than the membrane itself? Right? What is the actual vibrating membrane other than the membrane? And if you grasp this, you understand, for instance, why Adyashanti talks about emptiness dancing? Yes, what exists is the void, dancing. And you see, you can make sense of that. Intellectually, to some extent it wants change your life, it will not to give you that, ah ha, that that experience that will forever change the way you relate to reality into the world. But it will give you a little Aha, like, Oh, now I know what these people are talking about existence is the movement of the void. Therefore, existence isn’t void. Because just look around. It’s not nothing. But it’s also nothing, because there is nothing to the medium that vibrates, other than the medium itself.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And I would suggest that Adyashanti is not just intellectualizing when he says emptiness dancing, he that’s his experience. Yeah, you know, when he looks at a flower, he’s not just seeing the material flower. He’s seeing the emptiness, you know, quality or the consciousness quality, predominantly, as being what that flower is.
Bernardo Kastrup: Yeah, I never had that experience. But I arrived at the conclusion through another path. And if you think about it, forget M theory, which is highly speculative. Let’s just go to the leading edge acknowledged, mainstream part of physics today. This is something you could explore with John Hegley. Next time, by the way,
Rick Archer: maybe you and John together sometime for group discussion.
Bernardo Kastrup: That would be cool. What physics will tell you today is that reality is the excitation of a quantum field. Some call it a quantum matter field, but this Field basically, when it’s at rest, it doesn’t exist. It can’t be said to exist. It’s pure abstraction. Because existence is an excitation of that quantum field. And physics will tell you that particles pop in and out of existence all the time, all around us countless times right now as we speak. So they popping in and out of existence out of the field, John would call it pure potentiality, which is his way to say that it doesn’t exist. But it’s also not nothing, it is a potential to exist. And it’s a potential with structure, because existence is what it is, and it’s not something else. So it has some structure. So even physics does not skate this, this contradiction, this, this cognitive dissonance of saying that existence clearly exists, we’re talking about it, but it’s also void, because it’s a behavior of the inexistent or the unmanifest, or whatever you want to call it.
Rick Archer: I’ve heard John say that in a cubic centimeter of empty space. At the level of this pure potentiality, he talks about, there’s more energy, potentially than there is displayed in the entire manifest universe. So it’s like this, you know, just incredibly potent field of potentiality, that we only actually see a fraction of in terms of the manifest world.
Bernardo Kastrup: Yeah, I envy people who have experienced that directly, as opposed to arriving at a conclusion through conceptualizations abstractions, and thought, I do envy that I
Rick Archer: think you’re well on the way to experiencing yourself, you don’t need you won’t spend your whole life as an envious hypochondriac.
Bernardo Kastrup: So maybe if I don’t, that’s also fine, you know, yeah. Whatever will manifest through me will manifest I mean, for the right, what am I see,
Rick Archer: that’s the right attitude, you’re doing okay. That’s all I gotta say, there, you know, relevant, relevant to what you’re saying a minute ago, there actually, I think Papaji wrote a book called nothing ever happened. And I’ve heard other sages sort of express that same phrase, which is that, from their perspective, the universe actually never manifested, it just appears to have manifested. But in reality of that, ultimately, it hasn’t, you know, fundamentally, and no one can arrive at that level of perspective, that level of experience. But as you say, you know, we are filters we are sort of instruments through which manifestation appears to have happened. And we go through this whole rigmarole of being all caught up in the mind and Maya, have it until we eventually turn your turn back, then come back to whence we came and attain that perspective.
Bernardo Kastrup: Hopefully, when we turn back and go back, we take something with us. Yeah. And knowing of knowing that wasn’t there before, hopefully,
Rick Archer: exactly. And sages say that, to that, that, you know, what is that that phrase contact with Brahman is infinite joy, that there’s a sort of a sumptuousness and a wonder, quality to knowing reality as a living experience, which reality prior to its manifestation never had, which is why it manifested. So it could, you know, have the living experience as well as just the unmanifest experience. Interesting. Yeah. So I mentioned to you that I had gotten to chapter seven, and your book and you said, Oh, that’s where the good stuff starts. So, you know, spoiler alert here, tell me like what are we getting into now in the latter parts of your book?
Bernardo Kastrup: Well, we covered some of it. In chapters eight and nine, I, I wrap up the, the system I tried to bring across in chapter seven, actually, the metaphors and there I answer the questions that Idealists are confronted with? Normally, I finished answering them in chapter seven explaining, why do we need sense organs? Why are we sharing the same dream? If it’s only mind? Why does the brain correlate with experience and all that, in chapter eight, give myself more freedom to speculate a little more? To talk about clairvoyance and other side phenomena? How could we interpret them to talk about what happens when you meditate or when you are on psychedelics that reduce brain activity? How can we interpret that in the context of this worldview, this idealist worldview? Many other things like that, and then in chapter nine, I just share some more general thoughts about the state of our culture. Why materialists why materialism has become so predominant how it came to pass. That’s something that is so wrong It has become so dominant how that happened. And there is one section which is my favorite section, which you touched upon today, in which I go a little bit against what you normally see in non duality, Neo Advaita circles, which is the part where I talk about reality being a metaphor for the intrinsic qualities and properties of mind, that mind can never see directly. And the reason I make that point is to say that, no, you could say that all reality is an illusion in the sense that it doesn’t exist outside mind. If you define illusion as something that is built in mind and doesn’t have an external existence, then fine. All reality is an illusion. But to say that something is an illusion, doesn’t mean that it’s meaningless. If you dream at night, your dream was an illusion, but it does tell something true about your psychic state, about your state of mind. If you have nightmares, or you’re running and being persecuted, it may review an inner anxiety, a feeling that feeling that you’re threatened. And that’s a truth about your psyche, manifest through a metaphor, namely, the dream that somebody’s running after you and trying to kill you in, in a dream. So illusions, in my view, carry truth. It’s just metaphorical, allegorical truth, not literal. But it’s truth. Nonetheless, that requires self reflective interpretation of Deaf psychologists to hear your dreams. And he will tell you amazing things about your psychic state that you will hear and you will instantly recognize it’s true. I knew it all along, I just didn’t know that I knew it. I just wasn’t conscious that I was conscious, I was not self reflectively aware of it. And that insight came because you looked at an illusion, with the eyes of an interpreter. And I think the meaning of life is precisely that it is an illusion, but it’s a very meaningful, important illusion, I think we are deputized by God’s mind at large. Not to know, but to know that we know and to ask the self reflective questions that will bring more and more of our true, intrinsic underlying nature, into the field of self reflective awareness. I think that that’s the name of the game.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and carrying on that theme. You know, I think we could see everything that’s going on in the world as symptomatic of underlying qualities in collective consciousness. And, you know, we were talking before about hierarchy. So it doesn’t just jump from individual consciousness to Universal Mind, there are, you know, larger and larger structures of organization in between the two. So you have, you know, you could have family consciousness, well, I mean, break it down even further, there’s cellular consciousness, and then Oregon consciousness, you know, and then, and then, you know, individual consciousness and family, community, national, global, universal, you know, galactic or whatever, there’s all these just sort of, like the Russian dolls, sort of broader and broader structures of consciousness. So you can sort of see, you know, things like climate change, or what’s going on between in Israel right now, you know, between the Palestinians and the Israelis. And all these things are surface manifestations of quality qualities of collective consciousness, or at least have a particular level or organization of collective consciousness. Is that could they be? Yeah, what else could they be? So as you say, it’s not if it’s an illusion, fine, but it’s a very interesting illusion, very rich illusion full of meaning things are full of meaning and significance, even though you can ultimately dismiss them as being unreal. You can’t just wipe everything away like that, if you want to live in the world.
Bernardo Kastrup: Yeah, it’s an illusion that tells us something about ourselves, even if it’s not literal, it tells us something about ourselves, because what else could it be telling? You see, reality is what it is. It’s not something else. Why is it this and not something else? That is the question. What what is the fact that it is this and not something else telling you about what’s going on about who or what you really are, which is the same question as to ask what’s going on? Yeah, some
Rick Archer: teachers actually say the world is your guru that there’s, you know, things aren’t happening arbitrarily or capriciously, every every single little thing that happens is pregnant with meaning and intelligence and significance if you only have the eyes to see it.
Bernardo Kastrup: I agree with that. I don’t think it is a kind of school though. It’s the in which the teacher has all the answers, and it’s prepared a packaged lesson, just to make you find out the hard way what the teacher could have just told During an easy way, I don’t think that that’s what’s going on. I don’t think the teacher knows what he knows. If you know what I mean, I think this is really a natural unfolding process. It is not artificial. It’s not a school. It’s not a game. It’s a manifestation of what a what is just trying to make sense of what it is and what’s going on.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I may disagree with you on that, I tend to think of it as a school that there’s a, that nothing is arbitrary. And that, you know, that again, we’re kind of like fish swimming in an ocean of intelligence, and that every little leaf falling and bird flying, and everything that happens, is part of is sort of like perfectly, a perfectly orchestrated part of a vast cosmic play. And that, you know, if you kind of want to think in terms of the law of karma, that, you know, things which come to you and your experience, come for a reason that, you know, you encountered this person, or you stub your toe, or you, you know, you break your arm or all these different things, they’re just sort of happening accidentally arbitrarily out of the blue. And it’s not like you can apply logical explanations to them, but they are experiences which you are meant to have given the whole makeup of your life and the whole, the whole history and future of your life. And in order to facilitate your continued evolution to higher and higher realization,
Bernardo Kastrup: I give credence to synchronicities. So I think certain things happen and the the fragment with meaning you should pay attention to them. You could explain them though, as a manifestation of what is it just reflects what it is. And since what is mind it has the qualities of mind? I think, if I understand you correctly, your intuition is telling you that there is intentionality behind the design of what’s going on. There is intentional design in a certain way. It’s not just random. Yeah.
Rick Archer: But don’t think of it as orchestrated by anything resembling human intelligence.
Bernardo Kastrup: No, no, I concur. But I would use a different analogy, then I would I even agree with you that commodity, just look around that. There seems to be intentionality behind what’s going on. Or certain things happen. Sometimes if you go like, whoa, as Terence McKenna used to say, you can see the thumbprint of the editor where they glue to the frames together in the right order. Another analogy could be that, yes, there is intentionality, there is some degree of design, but it’s not a school, it’s a research lab. The difference being that in a school, the teachers have all the answers and just checking whether you learned in any research lab, you’re not learning, you’re you’re discovering, you’re at the leading edge of knowledge, you’re finding things out for the first time and there is intentionality behind a research lab, you know, the equipment is put there for a reason, it’s designed in a certain way for a reason, the activities are planned in a certain way for a reason. It’s not all willy nilly, by chance, random, there is purpose there is method, and yet it’s a discovery. It’s not just it’s not as cool.
Rick Archer: I like that, I think might be a better metaphor. Of course, there are a lot of research labs in schools. But no, I think it’s good. You know, it’s not like there’s some kind of predetermined, you know, packet of stuff you’re supposed to learn. But you know, you’re given opportunities, and perhaps the whole, the whole script is continually rewritten according to how you respond to each situation as you move along.
Bernardo Kastrup: Yeah, that pleases my intuition. More. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Mine to actually. So tell me, have you ever converted a materialist? No. All this effort to turn anybody around?
Bernardo Kastrup: No, I focus on on the people who are who are on the wall. Yeah. And the wall is very large. Most people are on the wall. Agnostic, speak. Yeah, people who are be very specific and focused on people whose intuitions are bringing them closer to the truth, but whose intellect does not allow them to move people who are so critical. In other words, the person I used to be, I had certain intuitions always, I would never allow myself latitude to explore certain ideas, because I just couldn’t reconcile them with my worldview with what I consider to be infallibly true, because empirically demonstrated, and my targets are the people whose intellect are at war with their intuitions, but they have to have the intuition because intuition is what gives the drive militant materialists. I’m not worried about them. I debate them, but I don’t debate them to convert them. I debate them for the sake of the people who watch the debate. To be honest with you, I have no hope for the people and in debating these days. You know, I just wrote an article criticizing Brian Cox I have debated still Been novella. I don’t have hope for them. In the sense that I don’t think they’re lost souls, I think they’re part of the same mind I am a part of. But I think their roles in the game now are purely oppositional. We don’t need to save their souls. They’re not in danger. They’re not committing sin. They’re playing their role playing their role. It’s just that they are not my targets. They’re just proxies. I beat with them for the sake of the people who watch the debate. I’m not out to convert anyone. I’m not the priest. It’s not my game. Yeah.
Rick Archer: You know, one guy, I think might eventually turn around as Sam Harris, if you’ve ever read or listen to any of his stuff, because, you know, he’s very honest. And he he gets actually a lot of flack from materialists, because of his spiritual inclinations. He’s practicing, you know, he’s been practicing Buddhist meditation intensively for years. And if that meditation actually is effective, he’s undoubtedly going to come to realizations which pull the rug out from under his atheistic perspective.
Bernardo Kastrup: I don’t know. I don’t know. But I’ll be very honest with you, I didn’t know because I look at myself. And for as long as I did not find an intellectual Avenue, not true, not a conclusion, but an avenue that made space for a different way to look at the world for as long as I didn’t find that crack through the defenses of my intellect. I would never, never allow myself to entertain the idea that I began entertaining from my early 30s. On the intellect for me, and I think for Sam and for many other people who are of the same makeup that we are. The intellect is, is the guard at the door, it controls what is allowed in the intellect defines the field of what we consider potentially true. It defines the field of what is allowed to be true. If you don’t find a crack through that field, if you don’t broaden the scope of that field. You can have whatever intuitive experiential insight you want to have two hours on your back to baseline you’re saying to just have this elated.
Rick Archer: You around I mean, how did you go from being a materialist to an idealist? I don’t know if we’ve covered that.
Bernardo Kastrup: I found the crack in the intellect.
Rick Archer: And exactly what was that crack? I mean, you you’ve elaborated over the last two hours, but yeah, but what’s the key point that sort of did it for you?
Bernardo Kastrup: I would have to reconstruct the history of my intellectual thoughts. I don’t know actually, I would have to think about it to find out what was really the first crack I begun okay, what began motivating me it was not a crack it was the motivation was commonplace and midlife crisis when you start asking yourself okay, if achieved all my goals, everything I dreamed off when I was 15 I checked those boxes already. What the hell am I alive for? What is this all about? What am I doing? Who am I you know, who am I ordering the car, I drive the the title I hold the job I have. So that that was the spark the motivation to look at truth, instead of strengthening my ego. That’s what Jung called, you know, the afternoon of life, the second part of life when you’re interested in truth, and not in establishing a role for for and carve a space for your ego in the world. But what the first crack was, I think it was consciousness studies. I think it was David Chalmers, an Australian philosopher who talks about philosophy of mind his work came up with the heart problem, right, exactly. I think it was my my recognition of the heart problem as a real problem that created a crack in my intellect. It was when I realized that there was no conceivable way to make a logical step from mass momentum charged spin, to the redness of red, the warmth of love, the pain of anxiety, the qualities of experience you couldn’t translate the quantities measured to the qualities experienced there was an a gap in between the two couldn’t bridge and get open the crack that was like, hey, my model of the world is full of holes. Actually, there is one glaring hole that not only can I not bridge now I couldn’t even device or conceive a path to have a bridge in it. It seems fundamentally unreachable that began it created a crack in the armor of the ego. And then know when, when a fast flowing river finds a crack, rushes through and widens the gap and when you see no, it’s it’s an avenue. It’s no longer a crack. Yeah,
Rick Archer: there’s a famous Story of the Dutch boy putting his thumb in the hole Did you ever do psychedelics
Bernardo Kastrup: I have tried, I have the luck of living in a country, the Netherlands, right? Where that’s where legal. It’s not only Well, not all only, not only illegal, it’s not taboo. And you can go to a doctor and get orientation and do it and the proper supervision and all that I have experimented with,
Rick Archer: that’ll create some cracks.
Bernardo Kastrup: Now, in my case, that was maybe it compounded the situation. I don’t think psychedelics are a panacea,
Rick Archer: I will say that, but I don’t think they can definitely open your eyes to the fact that reality is not what you thought it was.
Bernardo Kastrup: But it’s a very noisy channel, the Trickster is loose, in a psychedelic trip, it’s very hard to make something out of it, other than to say, whatever I think is true, I have to question again, I think that is the main takeaway. Everything else is the Trickster is in control. And it’s very hard to I consider personally, very hard to be able to come back and say what I experienced was literally true. On the other hand, nothing is literally true. This is an illusion to it’s a kind of dream. Psychedelics just open up the dream to more degrees of freedom, so to say so but it’s also an illusion. In that sense, it’s real, because it’s as real as the illusion that we’re experiencing right now. But I don’t consider them a panacea.
Rick Archer: Sure. Well, essentially, we’ve kind of come full circle and away by what you just said, which is that in the beginning, I was saying that, for certain people who are wired that way, intellectual path to realization is the most effective and the most, and it is perfectly valid. And some people listen to discussions like this. And they say, yeah, leave me alone. It’s too much complication. And so you know, just it’s not their thing. But it’s traditionally, I don’t know about other cultures, but at least in the Vedic culture is traditionally considered to be a very potent, and, and entirely legitimate and important path for those who are so so constituted Jani yogo, as I said, so it looks like that’s your path. And I in, you know, I kind of got hints in listening to some of your other interviews that you felt like, well, I don’t really have all the spiritual credentials, like some of these people that, but I think, you know, you really, from my own simple perspective, that you’ve, you’ve really made tremendous strides, and not only understanding intellectually, but you’ve laid a foundation, I think, groundwork for the experience of reality of ultimate reality. And there’s other paths to do that. I mean, there are people who do simple service, you know, save, it’s called, and they might just clean streets, or tend to the sick or whatever. And they’re, they’re laying a foundation, which can result in complete realization. In fact, Shandra, who was one of the great founders of Vedanta, nonduality, he his, he had four principal disciples and one of the guys just wash the laundry, he was he wasn’t an intellectual. He was couldn’t do that kind of stuff, then but through his service in that way, he his intellect awakened, and he had complete understanding and became Shankar is principal successor. So there are all these different paths. And part of the reason I do this show is to illustrate that there, you know, all loads whole roads lead to Rome, so to speak, and that there’s a great variety of expressions out there of people seeking truth seeking Enlightenment seeking understanding. And I think you were a great representative of one of those channels, one of those expressions.
Bernardo Kastrup: Thanks, Rick, it. It’s nice to hear this. I, as I mentioned to you before, I will confess this to you, because in the context of what you just said, I think it’s relevant to share this. I am absolutely, absolutely so much never Absolutely. But then very highly convinced of the perspective I have and what what I think is going on at the same time, that and I feel that with enough certainty, an inner certainty that drops to the chest, it’s not only in the head, I feel it, that experience is experiential. Yeah, at the same time, emotionally, I don’t leave reality from that perspective. I still live reality from the perspective of a separate ego that sees the world as a relatively threatening place and was engaged in a fight a very dualistic fight. In a sense, it’s, it’s a necessary part of what I do otherwise I wouldn’t be locking horns with materialists as I usually do and trying to change the culture or to influence the culture in a certain direction. But I don’t live from the perspective of what I seem to know. And I do think I know, I don’t think it’s an abstraction, I assume that it’s more than that. But I don’t leave from that. I don’t have the peace, the serenity, the presence that I think other people have, because they radiate that.
Rick Archer: But you know, you pull one leg of a table and the other legs come along, and you’re pulling one leg pretty well. And, yeah, most of us, almost all of us are works in progress. You know, I don’t completely live all the stuff that I say I’m just been I’m progressing and continuing to come along. So you’re a relatively young man. So don’t worry about it, you know, you’ll just we’re each following our own path and, and kind of unfolding into what we’re meant to experience in our own time and our own way. So I’m not too
Bernardo Kastrup: much worried about it anymore. That’s that I’m proud to say there was a time I was very worried about it, like, oh, man, when will I actually finally find peace? I’m not worried about it. Now, I’m completely in peace with the idea that I mean, I may never find peace, and in this life, if you know what I mean, it’s okay. I’m just doing what I feel I need to do on a day by day basis. Whatever wants to manifest through me that way, will manifest and I am not delineating paths or making plans about when I’m going to find these. My my, my daily assumption is, there is no piece and it’s okay.
Rick Archer: Well, you know, that says in the Gita, because one can perform at one’s own Dharma, the lesser and merit is better than the dharma of another, better is death in one’s own Dharma, the dharma of another brings danger. So you’re doing your dharma, you’re you’re you know, you’re a lot of duty, and you have a choice. And, you know, you might find at some point that you resonate with some particular teacher that could really push you over the edge, you know, Adyashanti, maybe a Rupert spyera, Marley’s koshirae, who’s right there. And in Amsterdam, who I interviewed last week, or some teacher, who can really kind of awaken your experience more and bring it more into line with your understanding.
Bernardo Kastrup: maybe who knows, I would have to when first one prejudice fits very strongly me, which is the very idea of a teacher. Life is a teacher recognize life as a teacher, but I have an ego problem. And I see through it, I know it’s a prejudice. I know it doesn’t have essential reality in itself. But it rings alarm bells when somebody approaches me. And I have this notion, okay, this person is supposed to teach me Yeah.
Rick Archer: Well, you weren’t you have a good education? You must have had a lot of teachers in a in a ordinary way.
Bernardo Kastrup: Yeah. And today, I think most of them were full of.
Rick Archer: Yeah, well, let’s see what happens. You know, we were talking earlier about how things just kind of unfold. And they’re meant there that there’s a saying, you know, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. So who knows, you know, you might end up finding somebody who just clicks with you, and who doesn’t set off your BS meter? And, you know, who is not on some kind of weird trip himself or herself? And, and you feel there’s some resonance? Because, you know, there are people who wake up without teachers, it does happen. But probably, it’s the exception to the to the rule that usually one is in association with some teacher than that, that the one flame lights the other flame, you know, I don’t
Bernardo Kastrup: even know if if what needs to manifest if the game plan of the unconscious between quotes here is that I wake up, I’m not even sure that that’s what’s supposed to happen. That you know, there is a strong sense in which I don’t know what waking up is, I have had my doing so is known abiding. I think I have some intuition. But it can’t say that I know what it is.
Rick Archer: And the term is too static. By the way, it has too much of a final final quality to it there, there continues to be awakenings and unfoldment.
Bernardo Kastrup: Yeah, but yeah, I will do I don’t know what it is, if I go from my intuition of it, and what I hear other people describe and Adyashanti talks a lot about what life from a woken perspective is, which is the first time I see somebody talking from that perspective, which I find interesting. So I have an image, of course, it’s a thought. It’s not the reality. I have an image in my mind about what it might mean. And then I wonder whether this is really what should happen to me because there’s a strong sense in which if I were in that place, if I imagined I wouldn’t be able to do what I do today. I wouldn’t Here’s why not. I need the foot in the illusion of materialism in order to be able to communicate it and argue against it.
Rick Archer: Well, you know, there’s the old chop wood carry water saying, You know what, whatever your life has been doing before awakening, you tend to keep doing the same things afterwards and have the capabilities to keep doing those things. So I don’t think you’d lose it. And in fact, referring to Shankar again, he he was a great debater, he went around and around India, having these debates with the kind of the materialist of his age, people whose perspective he felt were inferior to his own his understand who’s understanding what was inferior to his own, and defeating them. And the tradition in those days was that if you defeated somebody in debate, they became your disciple. But it’d be I guess, people were honest about that, you know, but in any case, I don’t agree that if you had you know, were to have a quote unquote, spiritual awakening, you would, you would lose touch with the the ordinary perspective to the point you wouldn’t be able to, I think it’d be more effective in doing what you’re doing.
Bernardo Kastrup: Maybe maybe what I just said, is just the story. My ego tells itself in order to avoid ever. I don’t know, I’m open to that possibility. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Alrighty, well, great. I’m sure that there’s we could probably go another two hours and poke into more and more things, but then I’ll miss the farmers market. Gotta go down and get my fresh vegetables.
Bernardo Kastrup: Sure. So it was an interesting conversation, you you extracted much more out of me than I ever thought you would.
Rick Archer: I don’t know it, well, you’re an easy to extract your like, you know, big water blue, and all I got to do is poke it. Something’s comes out. Let me make a few concluding remarks. I’ve been speaking with Bernardo Castro, and I highly recommend his book why materialism is baloney. I’ll be linking to a place where you can get that book into his website, and his blog and his YouTube channel and everything from his page on batgap.com Bat gap. So you know, you can go to Bernardo kastrup.com. Or you can come to BatGap, and follow all the links to all those things. And it’s the book is not for the faint of heart, you really have to, you know, kind of like focus and settle in and understand what he’s saying. But I find it fascinating and tend to finish reading it, which I don’t always do with all the books that I that come across my desk. Let me say a few more general things about Will you be speaking at any conferences or anything? We’re not as sides non duality or anything like that?
Bernardo Kastrup: I have nothing scheduled right now. Yeah, I have spoken there last year. Sand Europe.
Rick Archer: Okay, good. Maybe we’ll do that again this summer. Who knows? Yeah. Okay, so more some more general points. We’ve been working a lot on the website lately on batgap.com. And there’s a fella named David who has developed a really nice categorical index of guests. And we intend to keep refining that and subdividing it. There’s an alphabetical index under the same menu as the past interviews menu, there is a chronological index. And also someone is working on a database back end, which will give us a geographical index, which can be sorted by guest by location or by date in terms of events that people are scheduling. So that’s all under development. Then, for each guest, there is a section in the forum that’s on the site where people discuss what has been going on what has been discussed in the interview. So you’ll see a link to Bernardo section on his page, his section in the form. What else there’s a Donate button, which I very much rely on people clicking if they feel the impulse. There is a place to sign up to be notified by email each time a new interview is posted. You’ll see that on the menus. There is a link in each person’s interview page to the audio podcast of this so click on that you can subscribe to the podcast. So I think that’s just about it. So thank you for listening or watching. Next week is Harry alto back by popular demand. And thank you again Bernardo. It’s great fun talking to you.
Bernardo Kastrup: Thanks for having me, Rick. It was fun.
Rick Archer: All righty. Bye bye.