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A cure to all mental illnesses?

In the mental health fields, there are two views towards psychiatric diagnostic categories: the realist and constructionist, which correspond somewhat to materialism and idealism. Arguing that the psychiatric diagnoses we create do not literally exist as discernible brain states, but are instead just helpful constructs, is critically aligned with idealism and offers a very different perspective to patients and their self-image.

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A new free course on Analytic Idealism

We’re releasing a new Analytic Idealism course, produced in a collaboration between Essentia Foundation and Keytoe Academy. Unlike our previous course, which was based on slides and more formal in nature, the present one is more informal and conversational. Our executive director, Bernardo Kastrup, simply talks to his audience without the use of formal visual aids. As such, the course is now easy to follow while you exercise, walk, or even lie in the bath!

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Positivism and the failed attempt to bury metaphysics

Failure to acknowledge the role that presuppositions play in the pursuit of scientific knowledge grants natural science the privileged status of the science of pure being once enjoyed by rationalist metaphysics; it does not get rid of dogmatism, but merely replaces one kind of uncritical dogmatic realism with another, argues Dr. D’Oro

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The whirlpool metaphor of individual mind

Today’s Essentia Readings podcast episode unpacks what makes a good metaphor, why metaphors are so valuable to our pursuit of Truth, and invites us to appreciate the simple elegance and explanatory power of one metaphor in particular, favored both in Eastern and Western thought.

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Spacetime is just a headset: An interview with Donald Hoffman

Prof. Donald Hoffman talks to Essentia Foundation’s Hans Busstra about his theory of conscious agents, according to which space and time are cognitive constructs in consciousness, not an objective scaffolding of the world outside. The interview also touches on Prof. Hoffman’s personal history and life, bringing the warmth of his humanity to the academic rigor of his theories.

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Do we really live in a fundamentally physical universe? Are we essentially material beings? Essentia Foundation is a new force in the cultural dialogue about the nature of reality. Find out more about us.

Reading

Essays

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Can brain anatomy and function account for psychiatric conditions?

In this in-depth interview, Prof. dr. Sarah Durston discusses the limitations of trying to account for psychiatric conditions based solely on measurable brain anatomy and function. Her candid answers may surprise those who think that brain-reductionism rests on solid ground for at least the most common psychiatric conditions.

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Metaphysics underpins all of our thinking (The Return of Metaphysics)

To criticize metaphysics is itself inevitably to rely on certain metaphysical claims, thereby making metaphysics impervious. Metaphysical ideas underpin all our thinking, argues Prof. Robert Stern.

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A child’s sense of Self

This special video production explores a child’s pre-intellectual, felt sense of self and other, which reflect age-old intuitions rooted in nature. The video is an invitation to revisit rooms in the palace of our minds that we’ve left behind many, many years ago; rooms that contain forgotten treasures whose unspoiled authenticity is an antidote to many of modern life’s ills.

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The symbiotic ecology of the psychedelic realm

The many seemingly autonomous entities encountered in the psychedelic realm suggest that human consciousness is the result of psychic symbiosis, entailing both personal and transpersonal formative principles, argues Dr. Walden in this fascinating essay.

Would you like to submit an essay?

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There is no personal self

Today’s Essentia Readings episode challenges our currently held notion of self and how we typically define experience, as well as consciousness itself.  It argues that the concept of an isolated self is an illusion, and drawing from the Buddhist teachings, illustrates what constitutes consciousness, and how we actually experience—and relate to—ourselves, the world, and others.

Seeing

Videos

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Metaphysics is inescapable: Even Wittgenstein was a metaphysician (The Return of Metaphysics)

In distancing himself from the Big Questions, such as the nature of reality and the meaning of life, Ludwig Wittgenstein ends up applying a generally-defined form of metaphysics as an antidote to unclear thinking.

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Situating Analytic Idealism within Nietzsche’s critique of realism: A world-historical view

Modern analytic idealism may offer a path to resolving the historical tension between realism (the notion that we can know something about the world out there, as it is in itself) and a Nietzschean relativism that confines all knowledge to merely personal subjectivity, writes Prof. Grego. 

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Playing in the field: The nature of children and consciousness

Through their play and the extraordinary inner experiences they report, children reveal a broader, non-local, decentered and shared self. Because children are less conditioned than adults, this may be a clue to the true nature and scope of self and reality, as well as the role of consciousness within it, argues Dr. Donna Thomas.

From the archives

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Experience requires no personal self

We tend to think that experiences are given to our personal subjectivity. Dr. Stew shows here, using easy-to-follow Western reasoning, that no such personal self needs to exist for experience itself to exist.

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An objective science of subjective experience

The West has attempted to develop its own methodology for the objective study of our conscious inner states: phenomenology. A work in progress as it still may be, it provides an antidote to naive positivistic attitudes that have dominated science until very recently. Dr. Stew reviews the historical timeline of this methodology and relates it to materialism and idealism. In so doing, he provides a systematic framework for understanding much of what Essentia Foundation publishes and promotes. This is the first part of a two-part series that will be continued next week, so stay tuned for the follow-up.

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The Copernican Revolution of the human mind

Today’s Essentia Readings episode calls for a revolution. And like a number of revolutions in history, it is an attempt to dethrone a controversial king; one the author thinks has long outstayed his welcome, and led us all rather astray. He presents the way to our freedom, and the promise of truths therein.

Let us build the future of our culture together

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