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The Book That Shows That The World Cannot Be Properly Understood Through Just The Mind

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An in-depth review of the book Why Materialism Is Baloney by Bernardo Kastrup. The book is currently available for pre-order on Amazon, with its release slated for April 2014.

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Cover 72ppiThe “problem” with this marvelous book is that those among us who most need to confront its wisdom won’t have the openness to do so. And those with the openness to do so may not really require these explanations.

Kastrup goes about as far as one can go to use language, concepts and metaphors to “prove” that the world cannot possibly be understood merely through the mind as something separately knowable and immanently material.

Those who read Collective Evolution already probably resonate with Eckhart Tolle’s famous lines, “life is not the opposite of death; birth is the opposite of death; Life has no opposite” or “the mind cannot know the mind.”

To those who run our planet and form the backbone of our “science” this makes no sense. But they’re the ones who need to read this book and better yet, let them argue against Kastrup who uses their own scientific method to thoroughly discredit the arrogant assumptions of much of science.

For this reason he had me on board on page 14:

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“The true underlying nature of reality – the inner workings of the computer running the game – is an issue of metaphysics; an issue of philosophy. It requires different methods to be properly assessed and understood. For as long as scientists like Stephen Hawking are allowed to make preposterous pseudo-philosophical pronouncements and not be either ignored or thoroughly ridiculed by the mainstream media – in exactly the same way that, say, a famous artist would be ridiculed or ignored for making pseudo-scientific statements – our culture will fail to understand the nature of our predicament.”

Kastrup would make a wonderful attorney or debater in a “courtroom of reality” by stating his case against the current scientific assumption:

“Materialism asserts that reality exists outside your mind in the form of assemblies of material particles occupying the framework of space-time. Even energy fields are imagined, in current physics, to be force-carrying material particles.  The existence of this material reality is supposed to be completely independent of your, or anyone else’s, subjective perception of it. Thus, even if there were no conscious beings observing reality, it would supposedly still go merrily on: the planets would still orbit the sun, the continents would still drift, volcanoes would still erupt, crystals would still form in the bowels of the Earth and so on. That there is such a thing as consciousness is, according to materialism, a product of chance configurations of matter, driven mechanically by the pressures of natural selection. We are supposedly an accident of probabilities.” (15)

The 800 lb. gorilla for science:

But when it comes to consciousness, nothing allows us to deduce the properties of subjective experience – the redness of red, the bitterness of regret, the warmth of fire – from the mass, momentum, spin, charge, or any other property of subatomic particles bouncing around in the brain. This is the hard problem of consciousness.  As a matter of fact, consciousness is a sore on the foot of materialism. The materialist understanding of the world would seem a lot more solid if there were no such a thing as subjective experience at all.”(17)

Here the author is echoing the concept that Deepak Chopra often puts forth as “qualia” –the subjective aspect of our experience that is not scientifically definable and yet we know it; a great example of this is when Peter Francis Dziubian says that you can read everything that has ever been written about wine and never know how wine tastes.

Eventually Kastrup builds a powerful case for non-locality of consciousness; again resonating with comments made by Dr.Daniel Siegel at the Wisdom 2.0 conference when he suggested (as a neuroscientist) that his studies in the brain and the apparent “nonexistence” of a coherent self has led him to the realization that there is “no reason the self should be bounded by our skin.  We are ‘not the body.’  The self is both me and we and ultimately a new, and perhaps third entity, a MWE.”

A blistering critique of scientist like Hawking:

“If it serves as consolation, notice that all worldviews, including materialism, entail analogous paradoxes when it comes to the ultimate origin of everything. Big Bang theory, for instance, carries this contradiction in another form: how did everything, in the form of a bang, come out of an absolute void? What was there to bang?  One is immediately confronted with the contradiction that, while there was nothing in the beginning, there had to be at least a potential, with certain properties and attributes, which could have led to a bang.”  (153)

One might snarkly add –“who was there to bang?” because a “what” and a “who” are both mental concepts and what Kastrup is pointing to here is the poverty of such linguistic attempts at understanding what is. Indeed the word “potential” is another tip-off because it harkens directly to Heisenberg’s revolutionary Uncertainty Principle but “where” can potential “exist” except as a mental property. Where is potential in nature aside from inside a sentient being’s intelligence?

When Kastrup starts to build his own theory, or speculates on aspects of “freewill” he may get on shaky ground, because now he is describing consciousness (or the “membrane”) in quasi-physical terms that may hold some value or truth but cannot be “proven.” Freewill, for example, flies in the face of recent neuroscience experiments and yet we can and have the feeling or experience of choice; even Eckhart Tolle talks about aspects of choice in his work –we can “choose” whether to accept a situation, try to change it, or leave the locale. But essentially freewill is just another concept that can only be experienced by trying to DO and whether there is a ME that is “free” can never fully be known outside of a loop or paradox.

Where I think Kastrup shines, however, is in pointing out the limitations of scientism from a scientific perspective –unmasking it as the emperor with no (empirical) clothes and opening the reader up to alternative concepts of the reality of nonlocalized intelligence and consciousness. To his credit, Kastrup (as a scientist) deals well with paradox –he doesn’t attempt to fight or explain it; he points it out as a necessary byproduct of our own mental limitations or a function of what is (we are not in a position to know which).

“A core idea of this book is the notion that localized segments of mind at large can become immersed in the illusion of being separate from the rest of the broader membrane. The illusion originates from the self-reflective amplification of certain mental contents to the detriment of others. The ego becomes blind to the broader membrane of mind, identifying itself solely.”  (191)

Here he again resonates with the premise of much of Eckhart Tolle’s work—the fact that there is a functioning logical entity within us with which we identify but that is not what we truly are by nature. Ego is known by consciousness when we awaken to our nature, but we are not our Ego, and if we seek to identify “what” or “who” is consciousness we miss –because it is nonmaterial – an “empty” loop of subjectivity.

Kastrup also makes his points mainly with metaphors and analogies. One of the most evocative is that of the body as a partial “echo” of consciousness (vibration) like a tuning fork.

Here he has a striking insight relative to the sacred science of Egypt –or mummification –when he writes:

“The living body is not a mere habitation of the soul, but a true – albeit partial – image of the conscious entity. It is not an artificial shell, or a distorting barrier concealing and cloaking an inner entity, but the authentic way in which the conscious entity manifests in consensus reality. As such, it is not invalid to think of a person according to her body image: the body image is as honest to the conscious entity as flames are honest to combustion. However, it is ludicrous to think of the body image as the complete story about a person, in the same way that is incorrect to think that flames are all there is to combustion.”  (178)

Another powerful image that Kastrup uses is the whirlpool with respect to the “relationship” between the “individual” and consciousness –similar to the wave as part of the ocean; but in the case of a whirlpool you have the added dimensions of depth and continuity and perhaps most interesting to me –the whirlpool on a massive scale actually exists as the center of our galaxy as a black hole –literally annihilating all matter and time into a vortex of –what? Mind?

Kastrup says:

“The body image, of course, compounds the illusion. The body is simply an image in mind of a process of localization of mind, just like a whirlpool is an image in water of a process of localization of water. The body doesn’t  imply anything other than mind and its movements, in exactly the same way that a whirlpool doesn’t  imply anything other than water and its movements.”

When you then consider the image of a tuning fork, and the faint residue or “partial image” of the original vibration and how it seems to continue well beyond our capacity to sense or “hear” it, it speaks to an entirely different concept of energy and nature itself.  When one considers also that even astrophysicists have discovered the cosmic “background” static of the Big Bang itself as “evidence” –the implications are staggering.

spectrum

From Dr. Jay Kumar’s presentation at SAND.

Kastrup makes the point made by Aldous Huxley in Doors of Perception that essentially our brains are “filters” of consciousness, so that if everything (all vibration in the universe) were known we would be overwhelmed; hence our filtered view of reality (by consensus) is extremely limited.  This filtering mechanism is actually the Ego, which connects to Kastrup’s suggestion about death; while he admits with the usual humility that obviously no one knows –he says:

“The mental process we call physical death ‘makes the unconscious more conscious’  because it eliminates a source of obfuscation; namely, the egoic loop.” (182) In other words it “literally” removes the filter that temporarily (while “alive”) allowed the ego to think it was a “Self.”

Kastrup goes on to describe the many ways this view of the ego and consciousness “explains” much of what we know about “primitive” cultures and their nonfiltered awareness of nature.

And here is his elegant explanation of “freewill”:

“Freewill is a property of mind at large. It is distributed uniformly throughout the membrane [Kastrup’s metaphor for One Consciousness]. However, because of self-reflective amplification [Ego loop], we identify ourselves only with a very small part of mind. Only the freewill at work within this small field of amplification is recognized by the ego as its own will. The force – the primary cause – that puts the rest of the membrane of mind in motion is seen by the ego as foreign and utterly outside its control.”

This realization and its impending death (of the Ego) is likely what Gurdjieff called “the terror of the situation” and we often call the “void” – which can be both a source of anxiety or, upon “awakening,” the beginning of exhilaration.

What is so appealing is that for all of the difficult reasoning and language, the author is very humble. He concludes:

“Do I believe that the way of thinking laid out in this book nails down the truth? Do I believe that my metaphysics is complete? Of course not. Such a belief would be of exceptional hubris and naïveté. What I do believe is that the worldview discussed here is a concrete and sound step forward when compared to the reigning paradigm. As I hope to have demonstrated, it explains all aspects of reality that materialism claims to explain, and then many more. As such, I’m absolutely convinced that my formulation of idealism is significantly closer to the truth than the madness of materialism.”

For all of his humility Kastrup is a brilliant writer; while some of his paragraphs are long and arduous they make for a compelling organic unity. Here is a sample summation:

“…when you close your garage door behind you in the evening, it’s clear that some process holds the pattern of things you leave behind in the garage – including your car – while you are asleep, since you can come back to that same pattern in the next morning. There is no denying this. But, because of the assumption of realism, materialists must then associate the pattern with a universe outside mind itself. Drop the assumption of realism and the original deduction leads to a completely different, and much more parsimonious, conclusion: the process that holds the pattern is a mental process that happens to transcend egoic awareness, in the same way that the mental processes responsible for generating dreams or schizophrenic visions also transcend the ego. That a pattern can be held – and even develop – independently of the ego does not mean that such pattern isn’t still purely mental. A whole phenomenological universe indeed unfolds outside the ego, but not outside mind. Such a trans-egoic universe is still an experience, but the experience of a broad, non-personal, non-self-reflective segment of mind.”

Paragraphs like this are not always easy to follow but if you do the work, they elegantly lay out a very comprehensive and viable notion of reality. Kastrup has laid out his case in a very compelling scientific style. For those who would like to follow this line, and for perhaps an equally deep discussion of scientism I would recommend Jacob Needleman’s “A Sense of the Cosmos.”

At this talk at SAND (Science and Nonduality) Kastrup defined himself (to the extent that he ever would) as a “skeptic” –which has a long tradition in philosophy but ultimately is another name for accepting not knowing.  That attitude alone makes this a book worth investigating.

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Awareness

New Study Shows What Disrupted Sleep Does To Your Mental Health

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new study showed that those with less distinction with activity and sleep were 6 percent more likely to develop depression and 11 percent more likely to have bipolar disorder.

  • Reflect On:

    Your sleep is important. What are you doing to ensure you have good rest? Are you eating before bed? Using your phone? Both of these things contribute to poor sleep. You can use some of the tools below to improve your sleep.

We all know just how important it is to have a good nights rest, unfortunately for many of us, this is a fleeting dream. New research has emerged showing just how impactful a disrupted body clock and natural circadian rhythm can be for our mental health.

Researchers from the U.K. came to this conclusion after studying the circadian rhythm, which is our natural waking and sleeping patterns throughout the 24-hour sleep cycle.

Lead author of the study, Laura Lyall, a research associate in mental health and well-being at Glasgow University said in a statement, “In the largest such study ever conducted, we found a robust association between disruption of circadian rhythms and mood disorders.

“Previous studies have identified associations between disrupted circadian rhythms and poor mental health, but these were only small samples.”

The Study

Scientists from the University of Glasgow studied data collected on over 90,000 adults between the ages of 37 and 73 years old in the U.K., between 2006 and 2010. Each participant in the study wore an activity tracker on their wrist for 7 days between 2013 and 2015.

The data that was collected was used to calculate what is known as the relative amplitude. Researchers took note of how active the participants were in the busiest 10 hours of each day and compared that to their least active 5 hours in the day. The people with less of a distinction between active and resting periods scored a lower amplitude indicating that they were either not active enough during the day while they were awake or too active during the hours that are generally intended for sleep.

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Those who scored a lower amplitude were found to be at a greater risk for mental illness. Factors such as age, sex, smoking, childhood trauma, and educational attainment were also taken into account.

The study, published in The Lancet, showed how they were 6 percent more likely to develop depression and 11 percent more likely to have bipolar disorder. This particular group of participants were also more likely to feel unhappy, alone, unsatisfied with their health and even have slower reaction times.

Around one in 25 participants were about as active during the day as they were at night. These were “people who have very poor sleep hygiene, people on their mobile phones at midnight checking Facebook or getting up to make a cup of tea in the middle of the night,” Daniel Smith, professor of psychiatry and senior author of the study, told the Times.

“It could be that there is a direct causal link where circadian disruption causes impaired subjective well-being and increases the risk of mood disorder. Or it could be the opposite, that this circadian disruption is a consequence of mood disorder and its associated risk factors,” said Lyall.

Despite these limitations, the researchers say accelerometry-derived relative amplitude is “relatively cheaply and easily measured and might be useful for identifying people at greater risk of major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder, or subgroups of patients who might benefit from therapies aimed at improving circadian rhythmicity.”

Can You Relate?

I don’t know about you, but when I am restless at night or don’t get enough sleep I definitely feel it more during the day, with some mental fogginess and I find it much more difficult to find motivation during the day. Aside from the fact that we are on average not getting enough sleep, we, generally are out of sync with our natural circadian rhythms by being up late or sleeping well into the morning, regardless of the sunrise and sunset. Throw cell phones, tablets, blue light and EMF’s into the mix and it’s no wonder we aren’t finding the time to sleep and when we do, to actually sleep deeply.

While it can be difficult to change your sleeping patterns, it certainly could provide you with an extra boost of energy, clarity and perhaps even joy throughout your day. A good night’s rest is essential, some of the things you can do to ensure you are getting a good sleep are as follows:

  • Limit screen time to no later than one hour before bed, and use a blue light filter, or blue blocker glasses anytime you are staring at a screen when it is dark outside.
  • Try to go to bed a little earlier and wake up earlier. It is essential that we expose ourselves to total darkness while we sleep, it may be worth getting some really good curtains or an eye mask. Depending on where you live, waking up at sunrise and going to bed at sunset might be worth a try.
  • Keep cell phones and if possible all electronics out of your bedroom. Consider turning off your wifi router while you sleep at night as well as these have been known to disrupt melatonin production in the brain, which is essential for a good night’s rest.
  • Be sure and get some exercise during the day, even a brisk walk in the evening can help you to sleep better at night, but the more the better as your body will truly be tired and ready for bed. When we don’t get enough exercise sometimes our bodies are left feeling restless during the day.
  • Nothing beats a nice hot bath with epsom salts and lavender essential oil to help get you in a calm, relaxed and sleepy state of mind before bed.

What helps you get to bed at night?

Much Love

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Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.

With the ancient science of Numerology you can find out accurate and revealing information just from your name and birth date.

Get your free numerology reading and learn more about how you can use numerology in your life to find out more about your path and journey. Get Your free reading.

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Alternative News

Let’s Stop Believing That ‘Children In Cages’ Is A Left/Right Issue

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The only reason that the issue of 'children in cages separated from their parents' is in the public eye is that it was part of an attempt to criticize Donald Trump's immigration policy. The situation was similar under Obama.

  • Reflect On:

    Is it possible that this Left/Right tirade on immigration is hiding a deeper problem? What will we find if we are able to see through the smoke screen of fabricated polarization and theatrical political debate?

When I hear stories like the one that’s hit the current news cycle–kids being detained in cages and separated from their parents after having entered the country illegally — I have learned to suspend judgment until I get the whole picture. This comes from finally discerning, after years of taking sides and identifying with one side of the polarity, that there are always two sides to any contentious issue, and the truth lies hidden somewhere in the vast middle.

Still, mainstream media sources tend to slant their stories based on the side they identify with. And this slant is even more pronounced when we are dealing with testimonials from members of either of the dominant political parties.

The very reason this ‘kids in cages’ story has even come into public view is that the Left is trying to cast the Trump Administration in a bad light, based on their current ‘Zero Tolerance’ Immigration Policy.

The response from the Right? They were able to identify the photo below, which was used and shared as part of the criticism of Trump’s Zero Tolerance policy, as a photo taken in 2014 — while the country was under the Obama Administration. And so they are able to ‘put the heat’ back on the Left, not only insinuating that Democrats are misrepresenting evidence for political purposes, but also that they are guilty of what they are accusing the Republicans of.

2014 photo of a US Customs and Border Protection center in Nogales, Arizona

For more insight into this, take a look at Joe Martino’s recent short video ‘Why are we just now hearing about children in cages?’, and his in-depth podcast ‘Don’t be fooled by politics.’

We’re Asking For It

The truth is, we as a collective can hardly complain if important social issues keep coming to us through the dense filter of polarized political theatre. As long as we as citizens continue to fundamentally identify with one or the other side of the polarity, politicians will continue — in essence, they don’t have much choice — to ‘play up to’ their base and excite and arouse them, so that they can maintain power and support.

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Take a look at the dramatic exchange between ‘crime-fighting super-hero’ Donald Trump and ‘sanctity of life’ crusader Nancy Pelosi trying to stake their positions on the immigration debate:

The Immigration Issue

In effect, the issue of immigration in the United States has many facets and needs to be dealt with in a comprehensive way. Most people would agree that, as currently constituted, The United States has some right to a process to determine which people will and will not be permitted to live and work in the country. Most would also agree with the notion that all people should be treated with a certain level of dignity and respect.

Donald Trump’s recent Executive Order to end family separation at the border would seem like a step towards conciliation — though it is met by the other side with general scorn and skepticism, amidst questions about whether this will reunite the families that are currently separated. One side will argue that 500 children have been reunited since May, the other side will ask whether those people are still in custody or they have been freed. Democrats will say that Republicans don’t treat immigrants with any respect, Republicans will argue that Democrats are blocking funding that will allow for adequate living conditions for detained illegal immigrants.

Meanwhile, for as long as any of us have been following this issue, people continue to suffer and endure abuse in a broken system. It is such a systemic failure, would it be such a surprise to eventually discover that the system has always been broken — on purpose?

Let’s Leave The Theatre

As conscious and awakening citizens, our primary role here is to stop buying into to the exaggerations, omissions and outright falsities being propagated on both sides of the aisle. Our own discussions about immigration policy should not be dictated by this fabricated polarity, within which we have to self-identify with one side or the other. Let’s try to look beyond and see that there is a much more powerful force, pulling the strings of both sides of the debate, and maintaining a state of confusion and inaction.

Suggestions now coming out that the Mexican border immigration phenomenon has long been used as a cover for child trafficking may be the point we should really be keeping our eye on. Despite Donald Trump introducing the idea that the Democrats are ‘responsible’ for this, we have reason to believe that immigration policy from both sides has long been facilitating crimes being perpetrated by powers far above the Left/Right fray. And if we are prepared to read between and beyond the distraction, and investigate through the smoky veneer, we may soon become agents of significant change that our politicians could never be.

Get Your FREE In Depth Numerology Reading

Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.

With the ancient science of Numerology you can find out accurate and revealing information just from your name and birth date.

Get your free numerology reading and learn more about how you can use numerology in your life to find out more about your path and journey. Get Your free reading.

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Alternative News

Hegelian Dialectic: A Tool To Enslave Humanity

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Hegelian thinking is built within our entire social and political structure and is a tool used to control perceptions withing society.

  • Reflect On:

    How much do we play into the elite and system in place simply by moving along with our lives as if everything is the status quo? How are we opting our consciousness out?

Hegelian thinking affects our entire social and political structure. The Hegelian dialectic is the framework for guiding our thoughts and actions into conflicts that lead us to a predetermined solution.

If we do not understand how the Hegelian dialectic shapes our perceptions of the world, then we do not know how we are helping to implement the vision. When we remain locked into dialectical thinking, we cannot see out of the box.

Hegel’s dialectic is the tool which manipulates us into a frenzied circular pattern of thought and action. Every time we fight for or defend against an ideology we are playing a necessary role in the elites game and it holds this system in place. Opting our consciousness out is the key.

The chess board is a well known Masonic or Hegelian symbol, the black and white squares symbolize control through duality in the grand game of life in all aspects. Left or right, white or black people, conservative or liberal, democrat or republican, Christian or Muslim and so on. Through two opposing parties control is gained as both parties reach the same destination, which is order through guided conflict or chaos.

Left (thesis) versus right (antithesis) equals middle ground or control (synthesis). The triangle and all seeing eye we see so often symbolizes the completion of the great work which began almost 6000 years ago when humanity was taken over and disconnected.

The pyramid is supported by the bottom opposing sides. The capstone at the top is established through controlled solution or middle ground. Hegelian dialectic is one in the same, the final plan is in action, however, the system is decayed and destined for failure.

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The dualistic order out of chaos model is based on separation of the people driven by economics. However, the planet is at the apex where consciousness is shifting and people are seeing beyond this game. Therefore the system that is ‘controlling us’ can be will be no more. Those manipulating the planet have used Hegelian dialectic to separate and control brothers and sisters, children of this planet.

The only way to completely stop the privacy invasions, expanding domestic police powers, land grabs, wars against inanimate objects, covert actions, and outright assaults on individual liberty, is to step outside the dialectic and shift consciousness. This releases us from the limitations of controlled and guided thought.

It is all the same game brought on by the cabal of this world, we are choosing to play these roles to support a system designed to hold us back from thriving, but it is time to change that game. We can expect to see more madness and fear tactics from the establishment to keep control., but you are always free to think outside the box and let go of the Hegelian Dialectic. You can view this system for what it is as the moves on the chess board become more and more blatant.

Get Your FREE In Depth Numerology Reading

Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.

With the ancient science of Numerology you can find out accurate and revealing information just from your name and birth date.

Get your free numerology reading and learn more about how you can use numerology in your life to find out more about your path and journey. Get Your free reading.

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