This is the initiation of a conversation between Simon Egopart and me on the idea of Cosmic Consciousness and Idealism, which began as a conversation about the metaphysics of Bernardo Kastrup. I will post here the opening of the conversation written by Mr. Egopart, and will respond in the comment section.
Mr. Egopart’ s writings can be found here: https://simonegopart.be/
Simon Egopart writes:
Cogito ergo sum. We have a mind that allows us to experience things, and clearly there is something to experience. It seems there is mind and there is “something”. To science, today, both remain a mystery.
In the 20th century, science has discovered that “the something” consists of energy. We interact with energy and, as a result, build an image of a world inside our minds. Science was able to discover a number of properties of energy, and invented formulas that allow us to predict the behavior of energy. But science can only speculate about the origin of energy or about why energy behaves the way that it does. Science doesn’t have any idea about what energy really is and based on the discoveries of the last 100 years, it seems more and more likely that the answer to those questions, will forever remain out of perception’s reach. The same goes up for mind. So far, science is stuck on the hard problem of consciousness, and can only speculate on how our mental experience of reality is generated.
For centuries now, science has been trying to improve its understanding, by extending what our senses can observe. Science tries to dig deeper into “the something” we experience. However, we can take a different approach by focusing on the second component that is involved in our experience: mind. Is there something in our mind that can explain how energy could make us experience a physical reality?
There most certainly is! There is a perfect candidate, a gem hidden in plain sight. We dream! A dreamdoor may feel hard while dreaming, but it is not an object. It is a thought. Something in our mind, I will call it the “manifestation-mechanism” from now on, is able to make a mental reality, feel like a physical reality. The manifestation-mechanism is so powerful that only minds that are trained in the art of lucid dreaming, can distinguish the dreamworld from waking reality. The dreamworld consists solely of thoughts, but the manifestation-mechanism presents the dreamer an extremely convincing experience of a physical reality.
Because we dream, we are certain that the manifestation-mechanism exists. And that reduces the question about the nature of our reality to the following very simple question: Is that manifestation-mechanism only active when we dream, or also when we are awake? In that aspect it is noteworthy that scientists have discovered that dreaming about something makes our brain fire in the same pattern as performing the activity in the real world. It looks like something similar is going.
If we simply assume that the energy of our reality is mental in nature, instead of physical, than our experience of reality becomes completely understandable. The quantum collapse is no longer mysterious. When observed, a mental energy wave feeds the manifestation-mechanism which results in the experience of observing a “solid” particle. The hard problem of consciousness also dissolves. Even dark energy, lightspeed and relativity are no longer weird. All paradoxes that science is confronted with, become understandable and the only thing we have to do for that, is assume that energy mental in nature. So let’s apply Ockham’s razor!
The purpose of these lines it not to convince that reality is mental in nature. I only want to convey that the idea that energy is mental in nature, is a valid hypothesis on the nature of our reality, and that it is by no means absurd to investigate it.
Since any reasonable person should agree that science is our best method for investigation, the concept of a mental reality should be investigated scientifically. Unfortunately, today this is NOT possible. Science was hijacked by materialism and in order to protect their precious belief system, materialists have rigged the way scientific research is conducted. They did so, by broadly adopting a frame of evidence that by its very nature, only “works” if reality is indeed physical in nature.
This is clearly demonstrated by the case of the infamous Masaru Emoto. Whether or not his discoveries are valid, is not even relevant for our reasoning. Emoto claimed that human consciousness could affect the molecular structure of water. To materialists this idea is absurd. To idealists is it entirely possible, because water and consciousness are both manifestations of the same mental energy. However, if Emoto would be right, if indeed the molecular structure of water can be affected by human consciousness, then how could he ever reproduce his results under circumstances set by materialists? If materialists are involved in the experiment, the water of the experiment would be subject to both the consciousness of team Emoto ánd the consciousness of team Matter. And since materialists do not believe the molecular structure of water can be affected by human consciousness and so, their consciousness would interfere with the results of the experiment. The only way to avoid such interference would be to isolate the experiment from opposing consciousness, and currently the only way known to us to do this, is to make sure this opposing consciousness is not involved at all. But in this case the results of the investigation would not be accepted by materialists. This is a deadlock situation and a problem that should be deeply troubling to well-meaning scientists.
The requirement that a “non-believer” should be able to produce the same experimental results as a “believer”, makes perfect sense in a physical reality, but it is completely absurd in a mental reality. If you want to investigate a specific hypothesis, you have to be able to work under conditions that are compatible with the hypothesis. If science has adopted a methodology that only allows to investigate some hypothesis and not others, it de facto is no longer scientific, but religious.
In order to fix this we have to increase our understanding of how energy works, but I’ll hold onto my thoughts on that for now. If you think all of the above is rubbish, if you can easily refute it, there is no need for me to continue.
One thought on “Conversation with the Belgian Author Simon Egopart on Idealism as Cosmic Consciousness”
I agree with everything in the first paragraph and much in the next two, so let’s stipulate the following for our starting point:
1.Something exists for the mind to experience.
2. The most elemental level of existence we know scientifically is energy within quantum fields.
3. Science cannot explain what energy is or why it exists.
4. Science has not, at least yet, explained how the brain produces consciousness.
5. There exists an innate capacity to create mental representations of the world; what you call the manifestation mechanism.
Next, let’s take a look at your explanation from dreams. I think we agree that this representational capacity is at work in both waking experience and dreams – we take inputs and construct a picture of reality. Still, we experience a stark difference between dreams and waking experience, and that difference stems from the different inputs. In waking experience we construct the world from sense data, which are instances of energy stimulating the electrical impulses of the nervous system. This energy originates outside of our consciousness and is not an arbitrary creation of our consciousness, but what we call hard reality. Dreams, to the contrary, are the operation of this same manifestation system, but the inputs are determined by our own mentality – existing neural connections and base drives, wishes, and fears. I see nothing in the reference to dreams that implies any consciousness outside of living beings. Just energy exciting the electrical mechanics of our nervous system.
Now let’s look at the deepening mystery of elemental reality, which became undeniable with relativity and quantum mechanics. It is true that we have never made any progress in interpreting quantum mechanics, and I believe we never shall. But the issue is not any material/immaterial dichotomy, but rather the limits of representational thought, i.e your manifestation mechanism, which is the basis of scientific inquiry. This thought is conditioned by senses of space and time, and organized under the principle of sufficient reason. These are evolutionary adaptations that proved crucial in our survival as a species, but are essentially pragmatic adaptations not directed to the discovery of ultimate truth. The ability of science to measure, calculate, and describe relationships is just expansion of our primitive use of these capabilities to represent what is immediately important in our environment and calculate consequences of actions – the increased ability to hunt prey and evade predators.
This leaves the deeper truths of what energy is and how it is a mystery that lies beyond our evolved conditions of thought as space, time, and causality, but not beyond the physical world or our sensations. For me that isn’t a problem, but rather the call to exploration. It cannot be scientifically explained, but its nature can be explored in experience. That is what draws poets, artists, musicians, and the very best of physicists. Contrary to that are the metaphysicians, analytic philosophers, theists, and mediocre scientists, who try to evade the mystery through reductionism. In the instance we address here, we are concerned with scientific and metaphysical reductionism, which share the same fatal flaw: attempting to define the undefinable and thereby forge the appearance of solving the mystery. Again, this is the same impulse to control reality that originated on the savanna to improve our survival. But in doing so, it closes off experience of deeper truth.
The metaphysical claim of cosmic consciousness is such a reduction, and as such a necessarily false explanation. It supersedes our experience of reality with an unexperienced idea of cosmic consciousness – a projection of our simple concept onto an arational and inconceivable reality. It would be better to explain within the boundaries of what we can experience and remain silent before what we cannot.
We do know that what we represent to ourselves as energy exists. At the most fundamental level of physical reality that we know, that is all that exists: energy as waves within fields, differentiated only by frequency of oscillation. That is ultimate reality as we know it. Everything that we represent to ourselves as material or objects is really a constructed picture of the continuous interplay of these waves; energy in temporary and ever changing organizations of interplay. It would seem to me safer to think of consciousness in the same way. Consciousness is energy. Cut off the energy and consciousness disappears. We measure consciousness in brain waves of the electro-magnetic spectrum. Out sensations and thoughts are quantum energy events that entangle with the the universe in the same way everything else does. When we effect an event through observation, that is simply one more quantum entanglement. We are of the same energy fields and quantum mechanics as everything else in the universe, and reside just as firmly in the physical. That would necessarily include our consciousness. There is no valid reason to assume the duality of material/immaterial. Rather, whatever answers are to be found reside in the firm experience of the physical world, which we experience as the symphonic vibrations of energy. Our consciousness would thus be a temporary quantum system emergent from energy – a wholly physical event, not a substance or property and not cosmically pervasive, although entangled.