Politics and Religion

Conversations Beyond Science and Religion

Philip Comella

Bernardo Kastrup: Dreaming Reality

The notion that we live in a hardened, physical material world, separated from mind, is ingrained into our consciousness.  It is a such a common thought that as some have said, to accept the independence of the material world is a test of sanity.  But it turns out that the question is not that straightforward after all.  And importantly, in our modern, free-thinking culture, the question is no longer off-limits.  Among the enigmas that bring the topic front and center, is the so-called hard problem of consciousness; this is the problem of explaining how something as ephemeral and quality-rich as consciousness arose from the gray matter of the brain.  The problem is so intractable, in fact, that it shifts us to think that maybe we have the picture upside down: perhaps consciousness is at the source of the physical world.  This radical-sounding thought, however, is not new but has its  source in the original writings of ancient Indian and Greek thinkers, among many other cultures.  Today, a number of writers are updating these ideas to confront the dominant materialistic paradigm, which holds that all that exists is matter in motion.  Among the leaders of this new movement is this week’s guest, Dutch writer, Bernado Kastrup, author of a number of books in this area, including Dreamed-up Reality and The Idea of the World, that challenge the materialistic paradigm.  Prepare for a mind-opening conversation.