The idea of the world by Bernardo Kastrup


The Living Force
I just finished this book and thought I'd give my thoughts. I've seen the author has been mentioned on a number of threads already so is familiar to some members.

First things first, the synopsis

This book examines what can be learned about the nature of reality based on conceptual parsimony, straightforward logic and empirical evidence from fields as diverse as physics and neuroscience. It compiles an overarching case for idealism - the notion that reality is essentially mental - from ten original articles the author has previously published in leading academic journals. The case begins with an exposition of the logical fallacies and internal contradictions of the reigning physicalist ontology and its popular alternatives, such as bottom-up panpsychism. It then advances a compelling formulation of idealism that elegantly makes sense of - and reconciles - classical and quantum worlds. The main objections to idealism are systematically refuted and empirical evidence is reviewed that corroborates the formulation presented here. The book closes with an analysis of the hidden psychological motivations behind mainstream physicalism and the implications of idealism for the way we relate to the world.

With regard my own specific thoughts, I'll break them down into 2 categories. The things I liked about the book and those I didn't.

What I liked:

To me, this book has the most rigorous breakdown that I have come across of why non-materialism or consciousness is the most fundamental element of reality. Earlier in the book, the author essentially proved why physicalism can't be true in such a way that it made sense and left no doubt which in turn helped drive home the idea that non materialism is indeed the underlying basis of reality.

Another thing I liked about the book is it meshes in with the philosophy of the forum and material discussed here. In that sense, it helps "lock in" a few concepts.

Whilst there are many books out there that essentially deal with this subject, this one was quite rigorous and the author is clearly targeting an academic audience. The advantage of this is the arguments and logic used are coherent and airtight - they don't necessarily require leaps of faith.

Finally, it does actually make you think of things slightly differently though it isn't entirely intuitive given it's talking against our cultural indoctrination. Nonetheless it provides plenty to think about.

What I didn't like:

It can be repetitive in places.

The language is heavy and complicated.

It was somewhat long.

It is sort of dry - a double edged sword.

Whilst I agree with the overall premise, I find it somewhat frustrating when authors and proponents of this ontology extrapolate phenomenon observed at the quantum level to our level of observation at the macro level. They do this to try and explain reality as we see it and make it appear different to how we see it but it's not intuitive because physicality at our level doesn't appear to have any relationship to our ability to observe it unlike how it behaves at the quantum level i.e. physicality does look like it is independent from us at our level and not an emergent phenomenon from our perception and universal consciousness relating with each other to somehow create this illusion we perceive as the physical world. I don't distrust that physical reality is an emergent phenomenon from consciousness but I find it difficult to connect what I see from my vantage point to what is described at the quantum level.

Why I think idealism won't be mainstream:

One word: utility. I couldn't help but think that the material worldview whilst it has many shortcomings, especially at the spiritual and cultural level, at the survival and technological level, it has led us to achieve a high standard of living on the material plane.

For idealism to outdo materialism it must be useful in helping people live their lives and maybe elevate life in a way that is attributable to its philosophical underpinnings. For now it almost seems like its greatest benefit is on the spiritual plane with regards providing us with a bit of a spiritual cushion from the ravages of materialism (which is nihilistic from a spiritual perspective).

Nonetheless this idea that their is some sort of interrelation between our perception and universal consciousness which then gives rise to the physical world is somewhat tantalising. That the physical world is emergent rather than objective and independent in its own right is mind-blowing. It's not a big jump to see why the C's talk about densities in terms of awareness, a term the author described in the book. At some level it can indeed be that physicality is variable simply because the Beings who have attained that level of awareness are somewhat less disassociated from universal consciousness and their relationship to it.

Rather than how such a world or state of Being will look like, I much rather think of it as how it will feel like. At our level of awareness, it feels like we are very separate and disconnected from all else around us except our own bodies. It is weird to think that the physical world around us is emergent from our perception interrelating to the wider universal consciousness. It is weird to think that we, biological life, are disassociated forms of consciousness from the underlying universal consciousness. 💥
Last edited:


The Living Force
Also, the book had the most interesting description of death I have ever come across. Within the confines of this ontology, death is the dissolution of our disassociative state from the wider universal consciousness. In this regard, with death there follows an increase in conscious awareness as we essentially dissolve back to where we came from and become unbounded from our 3D experience and confines. In this regard, it seemed less scary and definitely not final.

In fact, it leads one to wonder what death is in its truest form. We are clearly not our physical bodies though our physical bodies are a representation of our boundedness to our current state of experience and disassociation. Our physical bodies can die which is to say become unbounded from this state of experience but we can't die as we are essentially part of the underlying universal consciousness. I suppose at that level you have to wonder how you experience yourself and how you define yourself. I suppose at our current level, death will also entail the dissolving of part of your self-definition, perhaps the whole of it?

Bloody hell, no wonder physicality is so appealing. It offers us reassurances in its concreteness. Things are well defined and well understood within its confines - well to a certain level, don't look at the quantum level or go too big into the cosmic level as at both ends, physicalism starts to break down!
Top Bottom