Among several notable thinkers that are on the rise in the world of both nondualism and physics, Bernardo Kastrup provides a very clear and uncompromising critique of the prevailing meme of materialism and elegantly questions many of its most cherished assumptions.
Bernardo has a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering with specializations in artificial intelligence and reconfigurable computing. He 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 Laboratories. Next to a managerial position in the high-tech industry, Bernardo maintains a philosophy blog and a video interview series, and continues to develop his ideas about the nature of reality.
Mark DeNicola sat down with Bernardo at the Science and Nonduality conference for a fascinating and lively interview.
Bernardo also presented his newest ideas in a video that covers his talks at SAND and other conferences and his books: “Nondualism and the fallacies of panpsychism and artificial sentience.”
Here is the essence of Bernardo’s thesis:
“We live in a culture dominated by two contrived metaphysical inferences: that the world exists outside consciousness and that particular arrangements of matter in that world somehow generate consciousness. This distorted view of reality feeds the delusory dreams of artificial consciousness so prevalent in the media today, such as in movies like Ex_Machina.
In contrast to science fiction, however, there is the cold science fact of our complete failure to articulate, even in principle, how particular arrangements of matter could possibly generate consciousness. But instead of forcing our culture to revise its mistaken metaphysics, this failure is leading to a new delusion: panpsychism, or the notion that consciousness is in all matter, as opposed to all matter in consciousness.”
The question is always how to clearly and methodically discuss and understand these questions when our very language and conditioned belief systems provide a subject-object prejudice and opaquely cover up so many assumptions that are untrue?
Must we revert and ultimately return to the pejoratively labeled “soft unscientific” areas of metaphysics, philosophy, and poetry? In today’s materialistically slanted world such subjects, even when treated by compelling thinkers like Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, and Alan Watts, are seen as outside the scope of science, and thus irrelevant to areas like physics and biology.
But these prevailing views are beginning to shift, and Bernardo’s work is a major component in changing the way we think about such matters.
Soon to be available and newly published, More Than An Allegory: On Religious Myth, Truth and Belief promises to be a fresh look at the underlying traditions that have shaped our culture, but have been in many ways threatened by materialist scientific dogma.
When we recognize that all words and language are simply symbolic pointers to a higher and obvious Truth that is Life itself, we can finally open to a richer relationship with, rather than a clinical and nonsensical understanding of, reality.
In my own work I have been inspired by the deep belief that “DNA is software” is much more than a metaphor; I suspect that Bernardo is finding layers of truth in ancient wisdom that have been trampled by materialist science and yet still inform our subconscious and, yes, our DNA.
In our time the low hanging fruit of fundamentalist religions has been amply debunked by scientists and atheists, but where I believe Bernardo is going is to examine a much deeper and in fact ancient secular yet sacred view of consciousness as primary that has been overridden by the dogma of much organized religion.
I am very interested in seeing where this new subject area has led him.
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