Dr. Bernardo Kastrup - New thinking allowed

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Bundokji
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Dr. Bernardo Kastrup - New thinking allowed

Post by Bundokji » Thu Nov 14, 2019 4:26 pm

Today i was in for two nice surprises. On Sutta Central forum, Ven. Brahmali shared two videos presenting Dr. Bernardo Kastrup of which one was an interview with Dr. Jeffery Mishlove on "new thinking allowed" series. The two surprises were:

1- Coming across a new intellectual who is interested in science, philosophy and meditation.
2- Discovering a new series of "thinking allowed" as i am fond of the old series. Just seeing how much Dr. Jeffery got old during that time is worthy of contemplation.

I am interested in feedback on Dr. Bernardo Kastrup's input in the following video. To what extent do you think his views and personal insights are inline with the Buddha's teaching?



Thanks :anjali:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

SteRo
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Re: Dr. Bernardo Kastrup - New thinking allowed

Post by SteRo » Fri Nov 15, 2019 9:17 am

One and a half hour? :jawdrop:

Since you already spent so much time maybe you could provide selected statements of his you find dubious?

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Bundokji
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Re: Dr. Bernardo Kastrup - New thinking allowed

Post by Bundokji » Fri Nov 15, 2019 1:41 pm

SteRo wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 9:17 am
One and a half hour? :jawdrop:

Since you already spent so much time maybe you could provide selected statements of his you find dubious?
I am afraid i am unable to use the approach you suggested because i found him to be very coherent and systematic in his thought. I already watched three of his videos (did not finish the fourth one) and to randomly select some of his statements would be a distortion and would not do him justice.

He authored six books so far of which the video in the OP is meant to discuss one of them. This particular book "dreamed up reality" does not include a definite model of reality but more of sharing his personal experiences with altered states of consciousness, which can be induced in many ways such as mind machines, psychedelics and meditation. For less personal and more systematic explorations of his ideas, i recommend watching other videos, such as this one:



He begins by emphasizing an important distinction, that is, the conventional scientific thinking in our modern age which presupposes that the world is real, objective, independent from our perceptions and that our subjectivity is unreliable is more of a philosophy or dogma than being integral to what constitutes science, because science can tell us about the behavior of nature under some conditions, it does not tell us what nature is.

Physical realism, as an assumption, has achieved its purpose as it helped the observer to be more objective about what they are observing but it outlived its usefulness.

Another assumption is that our perception (our experience of the world) is fundamentally unreliable hence we try to enhance the reliability through peer confirmation, measurement and repeating confirmations. This is useful in the sense that we should not replace reality for hallucinations or our idiosyncrasy or the fulfillment of our wishes for reality as it is, but it goes too far: its one thing to say that reality is not pliable to our egoistic wishes and to say that at its deepest level, reality is fundamentally independent from its observer. Our cognitive apparatus highly influence the world we live in.

When we think our cognitive apparatus is "normal" we think we see how the world really is, and when cognitive apparatus is disturbed we think we distort or deviate from reality. If people realize how much of what we see as "normal" is influenced by conceptual constructs they will be shocked. People who experienced altered states of consciousness know that.

He was asked to speak about his altered states of consciousness which he described as dismantling the layers and overlay we erect (conceptual cogweb) which stands between us and reality. These altered states of consciousness are difficult to convey because language has evolved as a vehicle to convey shared experiences. I am not going to expand on his personal experiences as i see no much utility in doing that but people who are interested can listen to the video. What i particularly liked though is his emphasis on the pitfalls of getting into altered states of consciousness. To quote him for once "The human psyche is a dangerous beast and should be handled with a lot of care and when you set it loose things can go much better or much worse".

He does not advocate solipsism and finds it incoherent, but emphasized what we as individuals can bring to the trans-personal mind that harmonizes our experiences.

The social narrative remains extremely seductive. If you don't have a narrative that gives a meaning to your life as meta-cognitive being life becomes unbearable. The will to meaning is so powerful for a self reflective human beings. The culture provide individuals with a framework for meaning (we need authority figure and power of consensus)., so the altered states of consciousness do not necessarily eliminate the need for meaning.

The only certainty, according to him, is that reality is fundamentally mental. He advises though to refrain from using this starting point to pass judgements on reality. . The trickster would make stories depending on this starting point and this to be avoided and better seen as metaphors.

If we acknowledge that our understanding of reality can be contaminated and distorted, the most profound mode of inquiry is psychology, not physics. The mind is very creative and would not hesitate to deceive itself. We are driven by forces that is beyond our metacgonition.

The cultural narrative achieved its status not because its subtle or accurate, but because its easy to understand, while reality is so slippery and too hard to pin down.

These are some general ideas from the video shared on the OP.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

SteRo
Posts: 845
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:27 am

Re: Dr. Bernardo Kastrup - New thinking allowed

Post by SteRo » Fri Nov 15, 2019 2:29 pm

Very interesting. Thank you very much for that abstract. I feel I have come across similar type of ideas elsewhere but cannot recall where. But I have not known the name "Bernardo Kastrup" before reading your post.

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