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Beyond scientism: Re-humanizing the mind (The Return of Idealism)

Non-reductionism, the idea that mental states are not reducible to physical states, is the new orthodoxy in analytic philosophy of mind. However, in this instalment of our idealism series, in partnership with the Institute of Art and Ideas, Dr. Giuseppina D’Oro argues that analytic philosophy’s conception of psychology as a natural science is beholden to the dubious ideology of scientism, therefore not acknowledging the autonomy of the mental.

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The Fall into the phenomenal: How idealism can help the Creation story converge with deep scientific truth

Taking a clue from Christian theologian and philosopher Origen of Alexandria, Androu Arsanious argues that the biblical Fall is the story of humanity’s mistaking of the Kantian phenomena (the world as represented in perception) for the Kantian noumena (the world as it is in itself); that is, the story of our mistaking appearances for reality. Understanding this allows us to complete the Augustinian project of reconciling the stories of religion, which describe what is beyond the world in terms of the world, with the stories of science, which describe the world in terms of what is beyond the world, such as mathematical abstractions. This is a fascinating essay.

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Latest Popular

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Beyond scientism: Re-humanizing the mind (The Return of Idealism)

Non-reductionism, the idea that mental states are not reducible to physical states, is the new orthodoxy in analytic philosophy of mind. However, in this instalment of our idealism series, in partnership with the Institute of Art and Ideas, Dr. Giuseppina D’Oro argues that analytic philosophy’s conception of psychology as a natural science is beholden to the dubious ideology of scientism, therefore not acknowledging the autonomy of the mental.

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The Fall into the phenomenal: How idealism can help the Creation story converge with deep scientific truth

Taking a clue from Christian theologian and philosopher Origen of Alexandria, Androu Arsanious argues that the biblical Fall is the story of humanity’s mistaking of the Kantian phenomena (the world as represented in perception) for the Kantian noumena (the world as it is in itself); that is, the story of our mistaking appearances for reality. Understanding this allows us to complete the Augustinian project of reconciling the stories of religion, which describe what is beyond the world in terms of the world, with the stories of science, which describe the world in terms of what is beyond the world, such as mathematical abstractions. This is a fascinating essay.

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Time & Mind: Finding a theory that closes the gap (2023 work conference, day one)

This video contains all the presentations and debates originally broadcast live during Essentia Foundation’s 2023 work conference, on the topic of time and mind. Speakers include Prof. Bernard Carr, Prof. Lee Smolin, Prof. George Ellis, and Prof. Jonathan Schooler.

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Metabolism is what the ‘unconscious’ mind looks like

Dr. Sachs discusses the dynamics of our deepest, seemingly ‘unconscious’ mental processes, and shows remarkable correspondences between them and metabolic processes such as protein synthesis and folding. He suggests, along firm idealist lines, that our body’s metabolism is simply a metaphor, the extrinsic appearance of our inner, ‘unconscious’ mental processes. In other words, metabolism may be what the deepest layers of our own mind look like, when displayed on the screen of perception. This is an involved essay and not the easiest of reads, but it is well worth the effort.

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Understanding collective self-consciousness in Hegelian pragmatism (The Return of Idealism)

Hegel is usually thought of as defending an obscure metaphysics that claims reality is the manifestation of a collective mind, or Geist. But, as Prof. Terry Pinkard argues, Hegel has a lot in common with the more ‘down-to-earth’ movement of pragmatism.

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The science of consciousness after death

When the results of observations and experiments designed to investigate the possible continuance of consciousness after bodily death are interpreted according to standard scientific criteria, they strongly indicate the reality of the hypothesis. We fail to acknowledge it because of metaphysical biases ingrained in our culture and, in particular, academia, argues Dr. Quinn.

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It’s Time for Mindful physics! An introduction to the Time and Mind conference

We begin our coverage of Essentia Foundation’s 2023 work conference with host, Prof. Bernard Carr’s introduction to the conference. He highlights how fundamental mind is to physics, and then elaborates on the intimate relationship between mind and time, suggesting that only a better understanding of time will allow us to make sense of individual minds.

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The birth of Idealism in the West (The Return of Idealism)

Parmenides’s cryptic claim that thought and being are the same has echoed throughout Western philosophy. Prof. Tom Rockmore argues that in making this claim, Parmenides set the foundations for the struggle between idealism and realism, and suggests that unlike many interpretations, Parmenidean idealism ultimately supports the view that we cannot know a mind-independent reality.

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Higher dimensions of consciousness

Our brains do not produce consciousness, they ‘filter’ it and consciousness is related to the higher dimensions in string theory. In this thought-provoking conversation, distinguished Professor of mathematics and astronomy Bernard Carr explains his theory of consciousness and psi-phenomena.

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Gödel’s Incompleteness and the Realm of Wildlife

Humans relate to nature through the intermediation of abstract linguistic concepts that aren’t themselves part of nature. Animals, on the other hand, relate to nature through actions—gestures, secretions, sounds, etc.—that evoke meaning in a manner directly grounded in the elements of nature. The potential power of this more direct approach has been illustrated by Kurt Gödel, who used elements of mathematics—natural numbers and arithmetic operations—to model mathematics itself and investigate its nature, thereby unlocking great insight. This is analogous to how animals relate to their world. Could Gödel’s insight help us transcend the artificial boundaries created by our abstract concepts and, thereby, better understand reality?

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Reconciling the dancing polarities

In an essay meant to give us food for meditation during the holiday period, as we take account of the year now behind us and the—tragic and otherwise—events that marked the year, our Founder and Chairman speaks to the importance of maintaining, in a mature fashion, the dynamic balance between the often extreme polarities that characterize human society.

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UAPs, NDEs, and foundations of physics: it all makes sense under Idealism

Only a form of objective idealism can account for UAPs, NDEs, and the latest discoveries in foundations of physics and the neuroscience of consciousness, while remaining consistent with the whole of science and rational inquiry. Learn more in this discussion between Hans Busstra and Bernardo Kastrup.

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Self-cultivation, individuation, and the mind-body problem

If the fundamental layer of reality is understood to dissolve the seeming metaphysical differences between mind and matter, psyche and soul, then bodily practice becomes a direct means for psychological and spiritual development. Such development, in turn, conveys the direct experience of the unity between mind and matter, psyche and body, self and world. This is the central point of this short essay by anthropologist, Jungian analyst, and martial artist Mark Rossbach.

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Light or Darkness? Suhrawardī’s philosophy of illumination

Is the conflict between good and evil—light and darkness—ultimately a false dichotomy? Could nature be best described as a hierarchy of illumination instead? This brief essay is an introduction to the illuminationist thought of Persian philosopher and theologian Suhrawardī. It will hopefully make you curious about the work of this great thinker, and motivate you to study his legacy further.

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Does the Renaissance have roots in Islamic philosophy?

Natalia Vorontsova interviews Prof. Peter Adamson about the importance of Islamic philosophy for Western thought. Although little known in the West, philosophers such as Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna) and Ibn Rushd (Averroes) played an absolutely crucial role in preserving, building on, and transmitting to the West the wisdom of Aristotle, Plato, and the Neoplatonists during the Middle Ages. Similarly, Suhrawardī’s Philosophy of Illumination and Ibn Arabī’s doctrine of the Unity of Being continue to influence Western thought to this day. If we want to understand the history of European philosophy, we cannot ignore these influential scholars and sages.

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Announcing ‘Time and Mind,’ a FREE online conference!

Reserve the dates on your calendars, for on November 30th and December 1st, 2023, Essentia Foundation’s ‘Time and Mind’ online conference will take place, live and free to watch for all. It will be hosted by Prof. Bernard Carr and feature luminaries such as Lee Smolin, Paul Davies, George Ellis, and many others. No registration is required!

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Freedom and Will as fundamental: Utpaladeva and Schopenhauer compared

Two philosophers, separated by time and geography, arrive at surprisingly similar conclusions regarding the nature of self and reality: universal consciousness driven by will and imagination. Dr. Pfändtner takes us on a delightful and edifying journey of comparative philosophy.

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God’s dark side: A review of Jung’s ‘Answer to Job’

As part of our book club on YouTube, Hans Busstra has made a book review of ‘Answer to Job’ by Carl Gustav Jung. Regarded by Jung as his most important work, Answer to Job is a tour de force in which classical Christian doctrine is turned upside down: Jung argued that the incarnation of Christ was not to redeem humanity for its sins against God, but to redeem God for his sin against Job.

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Finding new paths

Our founder and chairman invites us to look at the world from new perspectives, under new angles, so to see through the artificial constraints imposed by culture and habit, and devise functional paths forward. This essay is part of the book Beyond Us.

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Trans-idealism: matter as the transcendence of mind

Bringing together Spinoza’s multi-modal monism and Hegel’s idealist ‘Absolute,’ and then folding them into a post-modern amalgamation, Prof. Moiseev discusses ‘trans-idealism’ and its relation to ‘trans-science.’

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The heart and the mind: Our founding story

The Essentia Foundation’s origin story is the story of Dutch entrepreneur and humanitarian Fred Matser meeting philosopher Bernardo Kastrup. In this video, Hans Busstra narrates how the meeting of these two men stands for the connection between heart and mind, a connection that forms the basis of Essentia Foundation’s work.

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The meaning of life, beyond the false free will vs determinism dichotomy

In this video, Bernardo shares with Hans his view that the free will vs determinism debate misses the point, because fundamentally there is no distinction between nature’s will and what nature is necessitated to do. If you can accept that, on a personal level, you don’t have free will, you realize that you are being ‘played’ by a universe that—due to computational irreducibility—cannot ‘see’ where it’s going before it goes. Instead of suffering as an effect of ‘bad’ free will decisions by human agents, suffering becomes part of the inevitable evolution of the universe.

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In defense of Integrated Information Theory (IIT)

In what may come as a surprise to many, our Executive Director highlights the careful, scientifically laudable metaphysical agnosticism of IIT—the leading neuroscientific theory of the structure of consciousness—as well as its superiority to alternative theories and synergy with Analytic Idealism.

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Entropy is in the eye of the beholder

Entropy is linked to the computational bounds of conscious experience, rather than being a property of objective systems, argues Dr. Proulx in this intriguing essay. Increasing entropy is but an artifact of an observer’s inability to keep track of information, resulting from a serial downsampling of an infinitely complex reality. This essay synthesizes seemingly disparate ideas to offer a coherent and promising perspective on one of the greatest mysteries of science—the second law of thermodynamics—linking it to fundamental consciousness.

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The 10 books that will make it hard to believe in a physical universe

Hans and Bernardo discuss the 10 books that make it very hard to still believe in a fundamentally physical universe!

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Materialism in academia is a fundamentalist belief system

The metaphysics of materialism is a belief system held in large swathes of academia in the same manner, and often for the same reasons, that religious beliefs are held in fundamentalist organizations, argues Dr. Quinn, with 30 years of academic experience to substantiate her views.

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The danger of Idealism: A broad conversation with Bernardo Kastrup

A conversation ranging from the consciousness of bacteria, to our minds being ‘time traveling machines,’ to Hans asking Bernardo if Eve performed the first quantum measurement when she ate the apple. Also: why is meditation, literally speaking, an egoistic thing to do? Did Job suffer more than Jesus? And, this one is personal for Bernardo: what is the real danger of idealism if life hits you really hard?

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Best way forward or unnecessary detour? A review of “Dual-Aspect Monism and the Deep Structure of Meaning”

In this long-form book review, Prof. Edward Kelly argues that dual-aspect monism represents an unnecessary side path in the search for a successor to physicalism, and that idealism is a better option.

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The ghost in the shell

Quantum physics forces us to recognize that consciousness is inherent to a unitary, semantic order at the foundational level of reality, which presents itself to us as matter, argues Grace Endries. Her approach brings together neuroscience (namely, Integrated Information Theory) and quantum mechanics (namely, David Bohm’s Implicate Order) and proposes a causal relationship between consciousness and wave function collapse.

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Medical Conditions and Unexplained Experiences of Children

This essay interrogates the relations between mind and matter through the lens of children’s unexplained experiences and medical conditions. Conditions that can affect regions of the body through inflammation, such as epilepsy, PANS/PANDAS and narcolepsy, are examined against reports of increased extra sensory experiencing in children. Epigenetics is used as an example to show how ancestors, in the form of great grandparents, may be the true progenitors of children’s psychic contents, fused within a participation mystique (Jung).

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The red herring of free will in objective idealism

At the level of universal subjectivity, the question of free will is a meaningless red herring, argues our executive director. The meaning of life has nothing to do with making free choices, but bearing witness and paying attention to the dance of existence. Only when one truly grasps this, can one be free in the only true way: the freedom to allow oneself to be what one cannot help but be, and to choose to do what nature demands.

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Model collapse in the psychedelic realm

Psychedelic experiences collapse our model of reality and thereby contradict materialism, argue Hans Busstra and Jussi Jylkkä, PhD, in this fascinating video essay.

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Consciousness beyond death, with Dr. Pim van Lommel

In his ground-breaking prospective study on Near Death Experiences (NDEs), cardiologist Dr. van Lommel concluded that merely physiological explanations are inadequate. In this in-depth interview, Essentia Foundation’s Natalia Vorontsova discusses the philosophical implications on these findings with Dr. van Lommel.

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Announcing Essentia Books, an imprint dedicated to idealism

Today we are proud to announce the launch of Essentia Books, a new imprint. Through it, we will be publishing scholarly works relevant to metaphysical idealism, the notion that nature is essentially experiential. Among many other leading authors, we will publish the latest book by Federico Faggin, inventor of the microprocessor and MOS silicon gate technology, recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from U.S. President Barack Obama, and probably the most well-rounded idealist alive.

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Simulated selves in a simulated world

The world we think we live in is but a projected tiling of our own concepts onto the scaffolding of external reality, and our personal selves mere illusions, argues Felix Haas. But does this essay go far enough in addressing the very doubts it raises? Does it consistently and consequently pursue its own premises and conclusions to their ultimate implications?

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How a neuroscientist came to embrace the reality of acausal synchronicities

In this courageous and very personal essay, UC San Diego neuroscientist Dr. Laleh Quinn shares with us her journey from materialism to opening up to the possibility of acausal, transpersonal, mind-like organizing principles in nature. The events that led to this opening-up will amaze you. We salute Dr. Quinn for her sincerity, integrity, and commitment to truth.

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The dizzying free fall of Quantum Bayesianism

In conversation with Prof. Christopher A. Fuchs, Essentia Foundation’s Hans Busstra explores QBism: an interpretation of quantum mechanics that puts the agent right at the centre. It suggests that pure experience is fundamental in nature.

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The missing subject: a critique of Philip Goff’s panpsychism

Once we accept that experiential qualities are irreducible to physicality, we become logically committed to subjectivity itself as the fundamental substance at the foundation of reality, distinct from physicality.

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From points to fluctuating strands: advancing theoretical physics

To advance, theoretical physics must stop thinking in terms of points and, instead, think in terms of the configurations and fluctuations of strands constituting the underlying fabric of reality, argues Dr. Schiller. We believe his argument represents a step forward towards a holistic understanding of nature as the behavior of an extended substrate, as opposed to the dynamics of discrete, point-like things.

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Simple code in the mind of God

Insofar as the activity of the mind of nature can be modeled as computation, the complexity of our physical universe is an inevitable, emergent outcome of the basic, simple ‘thoughts’ of ‘God,’ argues River Kanies by leveraging Stephen Wolfram’s notion of ‘ruliad.’

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The subject beyond the ‘I’: On structural psychoanalysis

A careful investigation of our phenomenal inner life reveals a self indistinguishable from the world and others, and yet impossibly beyond both, argues Dr. Sachs. This realization constitutes a challenge to our need to self-actualize as individuals, with significant psychological (and perhaps even metaphysical) implications.

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Panel discussion: the role of the observer, the double-slit experiment, the reality of physical laws, etc.

The participants of Essentia Foundation’s 2022 work conference, on the physics of first-person perspective, discuss whether there are objective physical laws out there in nature, whether the double-slit and similar experiments capture the essence of quantum mechanics, whether the scientific method demands inter-subjective confirmation, and what constitutes an observing agent under Quantum Bayesianism. This video completes our coverage of the 2022 conference. Stay tuned for news about the upcoming 2023 conference, which promises to be even more exciting!

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Spinoza versus humanism (The Return of Metaphysics)

Now that metaphysics has been rehabilitated, Spinoza’s thought can help us overcome our last idol of delusion: humanism, the notion that humans are in some innate sense special and separate from the rest of nature.

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The double-slit experiment doesn’t reveal the essence of quantum weirdness

Dr. Lorenzo Catani argues that interference phenomena, such as observed in the famous double-slit experiment, in fact do not capture the essence of quantum theory.

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Why evolutionary theory contradicts materialism

Evolutionary theory not only fails to account for the putative emergence of consciousness from matter, but it also outright contradicts materialism by implying that subjective states have causal powers in and of themselves, argues Dr. Oxenberg. His argument is explicit, conceptually clear, original, compelling, and we could not find a way to refute it. It is an argument not against evolutionary theory, but precisely based on it. Dr. Oxenberg then goes on to conclude that “the truth of evolutionary theory is consistent with a fully informed and rational spiritual faith.”

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How Idealism saved Leo Tolstoy’s life

Today’s article sheds light on the personal journey of one of the world’s most renowned authors, and the impact of idealism on his development and growth. It shows us what joins humanity together in its suffering, but also what joins it in the potential for collective healing. The power is within all of us, quietly showing us the way.

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There are no physical laws in the world

Physicist Dr. Daniele Oriti, from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, defends the view that physical laws are epistemic in nature, having no independent ontological status.

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Does science need intersubjective confirmation?

In this fascinating presentation about the philosophical implications of quantum mechanics, Dr. Emily Adlam discusses the problem of confirmation in orthodox interpretations.

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Imagination as the ground of reality, with Patrick Harpur

In this wide-ranging interview, one of our favorite scholars, Patrick Harpur, discusses the fundamental role of the imagination in human history, the human mind, and reality at large. He also discusses the daimons, those elusive, contradictory figures who inhabit minds and the world, but who appear only to those with the eyes to see. Harpur’s extensive, extraordinary, life-transforming body of work is one of the most criminally underrated in modern scholarship.

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The march towards Eastern idealism

Today’s episode of the Essentia Readings podcast dives into the Western world’s history with consciousness and its still evolving relationship with this subject. It goes on to chart a seeming progression within this region towards Eastern idealist thought, while drawing what the author sees as key similarities and differences in these far-flung disciplines.

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Quantum Bayesianism and the embodied agent

Dr. Jacques Pienaar discusses the notion of an embodied agent in the context of Quantum Bayesianism (‘QBism,’ for short). QBism is an interpretation of quantum mechanics according to which the wave function represents simply what we know about reality—a kind of betting strategy about what we will see next—as opposed to reality itself.

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Fitting theism in the natural frame

The ‘hard problem of consciousness’ demands an expansion of the naturalist understanding of reality that may allow for some form of reconciliation between science and theology, argues Rev. Dr. Joshua Farris.

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Panel discussion, the physics of first-person perspective (day 1)

A panel discussion with Markus Müller, Caslav Brukner, Nuryia Nurgalieva and Eric Cavalcanti, closing the first day of ‘The Physics of First-Person Perspective’ conference.

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Metaphysics without fantasy (The Return of Metaphysics)

What defined much of 20th-century philosophy was an attempt to overcome metaphysics and replace it with science. But those attempts failed. From the Logical Positivists and Wittgenstein to Derrida and Heidegger, metaphysics found its way back into the very theories that were trying to get rid of it. But even if metaphysics is inescapable, we cannot simply return to speculative theorizing about the ultimate nature of reality. Instead, we need to recognize that all theories have limits and are merely attempts to find better ways to navigate our way in the world, not to discover ‘the mind of God,’ argues Hilary Lawson.

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Thought experiments on a quantum computer

In this presentation on Quantum Information Theory, ETH-Zürich’s Nuriya Nurgalieva discusses the ontological implications of thought experiments on a quantum computer.

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Spinoza was an Idealist

Spinoza is wrongly considered a Pantheist for whom God is simply the physical world. Instead, a careful read of the Ethics reveals Spinoza to be an Idealist, argues Michael Asher.

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What is it like to be Wigner’s friend?

In his fascinating presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2022 work conference, Prof. Caslav Brukner, PhD, discusses what it may be like to be Wigner’s friend, the famous character of an important thought experiment in foundations of quantum entanglement.

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Experimental metaphysics with first-person perspectives

Dr. Eric Cavalcanti, from Griffith University Center for Quantum Dynamics, discusses ways to inform metaphysics by leveraging laboratory experiments with quantum systems in a superposition.

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An introduction to the physics of first-person perspective

An introduction to the ‘physics of first-person perspective’ conference, highlighting the relevance of the topics addressed to our understanding of the nature of reality.

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How time creates identity

In this episode of Essentia Readings, actress Nadia Hassan reads an article by Bernardo Kastrup, wherein he argues that time is what creates the illusion of personal identity in the framework of one universal mind.

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Idealists all over the world

The repeated emergence of metaphysical idealism—the notion that reality is experiential in essence—across cultures, geographies and history should be explained not in terms of its cultural motivations, but its plausibility as a correct account of nature, argues Prof. Tartaglia in this scholarly but very accessible essay.

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Consciousness beyond brain function, with neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander

On this Christmas day, when many of us think of departed loved ones, we have a holiday special for you: A frank conversation with neurosurgeon and near-death experiencer Dr. Eben Alexander, on the survival of consciousness beyond brain function. Buckle up, for this is an amazing journey (quite literally) where scientific reasoning and direct experience must somehow hold hands, despite seeming contradictions.

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The dark side of therapy

The mental health professions may often play the role of enforcing social norms and conventions, as opposed—or in addition—to being methods for understanding and improving our mental lives, argue the authors. Essentia Foundation believes strongly in the scientific and clinical validity, as well as the critical importance, of psychology and psychiatry in reducing suffering in our society. As such, we may hold a different view than that of the authors. Nonetheless, we find this essay well argued and well documented, and believe it does offer thoughtful, valid points even to those who, like us, defend the validity and importance of the mental health professions.

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The physics of first-person perspective: An introduction

An informal chat between Dr. Markus Müller (IQOIQ-Vienna, Austrian Academy of Sciences), Dr. Bernardo Kastrup and Hans Busstra (Essentia Foundation), recorded just after the online conference “The physics of first-person perspective.” The conversation provides a tantalizing preview of the themes discussed in the conference, as well as their relevance to how we view the nature of reality.

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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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EF-Keytoe Analytic Idealism Course

Welcome to the Essentia Foundation/Keytoe Academy course on Analytic Idealism The course below has been 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 [...]

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Positivism and the failed attempt to bury metaphysics (The Return of 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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Consciousness cannot be reduced to brain activity: Doctor Raymond Tallis on the mind-body problem

Professor Tallis—a philosopher, poet, novelist, cultural critic, retired medical physician and clinical neuroscientist—discusses the relationship between mind and brain, as well as the big questions about the nature of reality.

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Quantum physics and the first-person perspective

The Nobel Prize in physics this year (2022) went the scientists who showed that the physical world is a product of observation and relative to the observer. And so Essentia Foundation’s conference this year is organized in collaboration with the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, Vienna (IQOQI-Vienna), home to Prof. Anton Zeilinger, one of this year’s Nobel Laureates in physics. The conference will be hosted by IQOQI-Vienna’s Dr. Markus Müller and feature seven other speakers.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The timeless mind: A thought experiment

Mind cannot be reduced to matter. Therefore, instead of looking for the origin of mind, we must understand reality in semiotic terms: as a universal set of signifiers and meanings. This is the argument put forward by Massimilano Sorrentino and Daniela Panighetti in this essay.

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A psychiatrist’s perspective on dissociation and complexity

Today’s article is a master class on dissociation, from the field of psychiatry. It breaks down the complexity of this phenomenon, and shows us that it is a much more common process in life than is generally thought. Furthermore, when observed in the realm of mind and then extrapolated beyond to consciousness as a whole, it allows for a better understanding of the fundamental premise at the heart of analytic idealism.

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How to understand your mind, beyond thought

The unmediated experience of where the question “what am I?” arises in our mind is already its answer, writes Johannes Jörg; an answer that cannot be produced by thought alone. To understand our own minds, we must go beyond conceptual reasoning and explore our older, more primary mental faculties. By merely being aware of our often-ignored inner states, we can restore balance to our lives. This is because living systems are self-organizing: when dysregulation comes into awareness, it is already being regulated.

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How Idealism—and Schopenhauer—saved Tolstoy’s life

In the grip of the nihilistic ethos of late 19th-century materialism and Darwinism, Leo Tolstoy contemplated suicide. He would be saved only by finding confirmation, in Schopenhauer’s idealist philosophy, of his own earlier idealist intuitions. Idealism would go on to deeply transform Tolstoy’s life and work, reconnecting him to the simple but profound intuitions of meaning that pervade the lives of peasants. This easy-to-read essay recounts the existential difficulties of a world-famous individual who presaged both our cultural ethos today, and the transformative opportunities offered by modern idealism.

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Can we live without searching for ultimate truths? (The Return of Metaphysics)

It is second nature for human beings to look for ultimate truths and ground our lives on that search. But should we give up on ultimates altogether and, instead, live pragmatically on the basis of the best ‘literary story’ we can come up with? Dr. Danielsen Huckerby describes how philosopher Richard Rorty argued for just that.

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Physicist and inventor of the microprocessor, Federico Faggin, on life, the universe and everything

Physicist Federico Faggin is the inventor of both the microprocessor and silicon gate technology, and probably the world’s most well rounded idealist alive. This interview is an open, free-ranging but very accessible conversation with Mr. Faggin.

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The world as cognitive construct

Today’s article examines our decidedly limited mental representation of the world, and how it is fundamentally linked to the systems of meaning available to us, to our perceptual constructs. It lays out incredible data to show just how much and in how many ways our perception can be manipulated, and the role we often take in our own delusion.

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The world in mind: Transcendental idealism in Husserl and Kant

Although the philosophies of Kant and Husserl are not logically inconsistent with a hypothetical world outside mind, both deny that there is any meaning or significance to such a theoretical abstraction. Therefore, both Kant and Husserl were true idealists, argues dr. van Mazijk.

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How hyper-dimensional spacetime may explain individual identity

How can one natural consciousness appear to be many? Prof. Bernard Carr proposes that multiple dimensions of time, which can also be associated with the notion of a ‘specious present,’ can resolve the problem both rigorously and in an intuitively satisfying manner.

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Consciousness, spacetime and the intelligence of nature

Closing the second day of the 2021 ‘The Science of Consciousness’ conference, dr. Jacob Jolij, dr. Esmee Gerken and Dr. Iain McGilchrist take questions and debate consciousness, spacetime and the intelligence of nature.

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Fictions and simulations: The case for idealism

A new, creative and compelling argument—even a new type of argument—for idealism is elaborated upon in this long-form essay, which is fluid and easy to read.

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Falling for naive common-sense: Russell and physical realism (The Return of Metaphysics)

The story of our falling for naive physical realism—the notion that we can become directly acquainted with non-mental entities, which are supposed to have standalone existence—in the early 20th century, and how modern thought is now bringing us back to more mature Idealism.

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Is the human brain a model of the universe? Read and commented on by Nadia Hassan

The article Nadia Hassan reads today presents documented similarities between the human brain and the cosmos, and poses the question: can either be modeled after the other? This very exciting possibility might allow as of yet undiscovered truths about both realms, and bring us closer to the Holy Grail of modern physics, the Theory of Everything.

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Is Western thought marching towards Eastern Idealism?

Prof. Grego argues that, if we extrapolate the evolutionary trajectory of Western scientific and philosophical thought since the European Enlightenment, it becomes possible to discern that it is progressing towards a consciousness-only ontology convergent with Eastern thought.

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How can you be me? The answer is time

That you believe you were your five-year-old self is grounds to believe that you can be another person, right now, while still being you, argues our executive director in this stimulating theoretical essay.

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Interview with Dr. Iain McGilchrist, on the nature of reality (Part 2)

Here is the second and final part of our interview with Dr. Iain McGilchrist, on the nature of reality. Unmissable!

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Interview with Dr. Iain McGilchrist, on consciousness and its role in nature

Essentia Foundation’s Natalia Vorontsova interviews psychiatrist and author Dr. Iain McGilchrist about his new work, “The Matter with Things,” and the role of consciousness in nature. Unmissable!

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The Three Minds, read and commented on by Nadia Hassan

The article Nadia Hassan reads today shines an important light on the field of medicine, allopathic medicine in particular, and questions the largely biomedical approach underpinning mainstream practice. It argues for a more connected and balanced view, one in which the role of mind is paramount in understanding illness, and the process of healing.

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The futile search for the non-mental: Derrida’s critique of metaphysics (The Return of Metaphysics)

Jacques Derrida argued that finding some ‘uncontaminated’ presence of reality is impossible, for our experiences are determined by our mental contexts. Yet, perhaps far from refuting metaphysics, Derrida may actually make a case for the recognition that our reality isn’t just contaminated by the mental, but is mental.

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Higher dimensions of consciousness?

In this much anticipated presentation of the ‘Science of Consciousness’ conference 2021, dr. Jacob Jolij brings advanced physics and philosophy of mind together, to discuss higher dimensions of consciousness.

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Mind may be older than we think

We may have reasons to believe that life is an intentional work of art; and not a very original one, for it may be based on a form of planetary imitation!

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The Collapse

Hans Busstra and his guest, Dr. Markus Müller, make Quantum Mechanics intuitively understandable, while remaining true to it. They argue that we must start from a first-person perspective and predict what we will see next, as opposed to the metaphysical presupposition of an external, objective physical universe with standalone existence. If truly understood, as this episode attempts to help you do, his views are as compelling as its implications are world-changing.

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Idealism rediscovered (The Return of Metaphysics)

Prof. Paul Redding highlights the recently rediscovered importance of German Idealism, particularly Hegel’s idealism, in articulating solutions to present-day problems.

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Blobs of order

In this fascinating presentation, filled with surprising images, Dr. Esmee Geerken looks deeper into the symbiosis between animal and mineral, aiming to form new materials through biomineralization mechanisms.

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The miraculous epicycles of materialism

Faced with a growing mountain of refutations in the form of empirical evidence and clear reasoning, materialism tries to survive through a bizarre display of absurd imaginary entities, hypotheses and hollow rhetoric, writes our executive director in this week’s mid-week nugget.

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Can consciousness understand itself?

Has human consciousness evolved enough to understand what it is and isn’t? Dr. Hogan warns against a rush to judgment when it comes to answering the big questions of life, self, and reality at large.

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The Platonic realm emerging in mind and nature

Prof. dr. Erik Verlinde, well-known for his ground-breaking theory of entropic gravity, talks about emergence in mind and nature, as well as the Platonic realm physicists tap into to describe the world.

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The fantasy behind Sabine Hossenfelder’s superdeterminism

Our Executive Director critiques physicist Sabine Hossenfelder’s proposed ‘superdeterminism,’ which aims to account for the theoretical difficulties of quantum measurement without departing from physicalist metaphysical assumptions.

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Idealist stones hurt too

Physical realism is a leap of faith compelled by fear induced by a failure of the imagination, argues Dino Alfier. He provides a comprehensive take-down of Samuel Johnson’s attempt to refute Bishop Berkeley’s idealism by famously kicking a stone and proclaiming, in a peculiar display of circular and illogical reasoning, “I refute it thus.”

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The ethics of Idealism, read and discussed

Today’s article is a fascinating deep dive into the subject of morality and the neurological mechanics of our joint human condition. It is an eye-opening presentation of how we actually relate to each other, and what this could mean for the future of our collective consciousness.

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The Science of Consciousness: Panel discussion, first day

Closing the first day of the 2021 ‘The Science of Consciousness’ conference, dr. Bernardo Kastrup, Prof. dr. Heleen Slagter, Dr. Steve Taylor and Prof. dr. Henk Barendregt take questions and debate.

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Is intelligibility a pre-condition for existence? (The Return of Metaphysics)

University of Chicago’s Prof. Robert Pippin returns to Kant and Hegel to ask the question: is intelligibility a precondition for existence? Are our thought processes and their inherent capabilities and limitations fundamentally linked to what can or cannot exist in nature? He reviews German Idealism to ponder what it could mean for us today.

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The force that complexifies nature

A form of consciousness that pervades all nature impels physical structures to become more complex and, eventually, canalizes itself into our individual being. This is what Dr. Steve Taylor, from Leeds Beckett University, argues in his presentation during our 2021 ‘The Science of Consciousness’ work conference.

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What lurks behind spacetime?

The cosmic riddle of structure without extension—of how complexity can exist outside space and time—is tackled by our Executive Director in this first edition of our ‘mid-week nugget.’ 

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Whirlpools in Universal Consciousness

Dr. Nagaraj reminds us of the extraordinarily rich and long history of metaphysical Idealism in Indian philosophy, and of the power of metaphors to illustrate, to the common person, the simultaneously profound and simple truths of Idealism.

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The mathematical logic of consciousness

In the second presentation of the ‘Science of Consciousness’ conference 2021, Prof. dr. Henk Barendregt brings the rigor of mathematical logic to our understanding of consciousness and its various states and manifestations. For good measure, he also discusses Vipassana meditation within this formal context.

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Conscious storms and the origin of life

This surprisingly coherent and empirically well-grounded essay argues that, although governed by blind, purposeless laws of nature, the Earth’s atmosphere—just like biological brains—may be associated with a subjective first-person perspective, and may have therefore purposely created life on Earth. The essay coherently brings together a compatibilist approach to free will, an idealist metaphysics and speculations about abiogenesis.

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The predictive mind

In a fascinating exploration of some of our minds’ most amazing abilities, Prof. dr. Heleen Slagter, Principal Investigator of the Cognition & Plasticity Laboratory of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, talks about the predictive mind: the ability of our cognitive systems to not only perceive the world, but also infer what the world should be like, given our previous experiences.

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Nadia Hassan reads ‘Re-thinking identity: Children’s experiences of self’

In the best episode of ‘Essentia Readings’ yet, Nadia Hassan introduces us to her young niece, a child who is aware, during sleep, of the fact that she is asleep. This suggests that our original, natural sense of self and consciousness, before culture tells us how to think about both, is much different than our adult understanding.

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What neuroscience actually shows about consciousness

In his opening presentation of the ‘Science of Consciousness’ conference 2021, Essentia Foundation’s executive director Bernardo Kastrup reviews the neuroscientific evidence and discusses what it actually tells about consciousness. He also discusses, in explicit and specific detail, what he perceives as widespread physicalist confirmation bias in both academia and mainstream media.

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The spirit of the universe

The gap between panpsychism and idealism is bridged if one infers that fundamental consciousness, instead of being a property of elementary material particles, pervades the fabric of space itself, from where it is then canalized into living beings.

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Iain McGilchrist: “Consciousness is the stuff of the cosmos”

Renowned psychiatrist Dr. Iain McGilchrist laid out his idealist metaphysical views unambiguously in the closing presentation of the ‘Science of Consciousness’ conference, 2021. His clarity, lucidity and almost hypnotically compelling style provided a spellbinding end to the conference. Video and transcript follow.

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Idealism may not be what you think

It increasingly strikes us that the reason why many scientists and scholars reject idealism—the notion that reality is essentially mental—is based on simple misunderstandings of what idealism states or implies. In this brief editorial, we would like to discuss and correct some of these misunderstandings.

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Nadia Hassan reads, ‘Near-Death Experiences during cardiac arrest’

In the fourth episode of the Essentia Readings podcast (available for free on all major platforms), Nadia Hassan reads Dr. Pim van Lommel’s ‘Near-Death Experiences during cardiac arrest,’ a half-hour of fascinating material.

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The Copernican Revolution of the human mind

Conceptual reasoning might seem as central to our understanding of self and world today as the Earth once seemed central in the pre-Copernican cosmos. But just as the Copernican Revolution repositioned the Earth in the orbit of a much larger system, an on-going revolution in our understanding of ourselves will dramatically expand the boundaries of our inner cosmos.

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Reality Reminded, a podcast like no other!

We’re launching the Reality Reminded podcast, with acclaimed Dutch documentary filmmaker Hans Busstra. Could it be that we have ‘un’minded reality and now need to ‘re’mind it? This is a show like no other, in that each episode covers a specific theme, as opposed to a specific interviewee; the listening experience has an almost visual feel to it; and the content covered is more akin to an ongoing television documentary than a podcast. And best of all, it’s all FREE.

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Nadia Hassan reads ‘What is consciousness?’

In the third episode of the Essentia Readings podcast (available for free on all major directories), Nadia Hassan reads Dr. Gerald Woerlee’s What is consciousness? A half-hour of fascinating material that may surprise you.

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The eternal background of consciousness: An interview with Prof. Vyacheslav Moiseev

When a special kind of ‘beingness’ organizes itself by taking on form, it presents itself to itself, from within, against its own background, thereby igniting consciousness into existence.

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Announcing ‘The Science of Consciousness’ online conference, 2021

Every year Essentia Foundation organizes an online conference featuring some of the world’s leading scholars, scientists and academics, on a topic relevant to ontological idealism. This year, we are delighted to focus on The Science of Consciousness, in a very special edition of the conference organized by Prof. dr. Sarah Durston. We’re even more delighted to count as our partners, this time, the Sentience and Science Foundation and the Institute for Advanced Study of the University of Amsterdam.

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Sinking into life: the tragedy of our lost philosophy

In an age when abstraction and conceptual games have come to dominate our philosophy, we must wonder whether we’ve lost something important, even crucial, in our way to relate to the world, one another and even ourselves.

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The ethics of idealism

Research suggests that there is a neurological foundation to the experience of social connectivity, and that it is the same as the foundation of consciousness itself: synchronistic alignment appears not only within an individual brain in correlation with experience, but also between people taking part in joint tasks. This can form the basis for an objective ethics, argues Dr. Walden.

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Nadia Hassan reads ‘Communicating through the collective unconscious’

In this fascinating second episode of the Essentia Readings podcast, Nadia reads Prof. Victor Petrenko’s work. Nadia’s commentary towards the end is particularly spellbinding! This podcast is available through all major platforms.

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The hierarchical structure of the universal mind

Spanish science journalist and doctor Antonio Rial delights us with the perspectives acquired after decades studying and communicating science. He regards reality as the image of a hierarchical structure of mental processes, an evolving ecosystem of minds.

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Inducing the mental creation of experiential realities

Can people—even those ostensibly not hypnotizable—be coaxed into creating entire virtual realities that they then take for facts? Can the same techniques be used to alter our memories of the past? If so, is this significant for our understanding of what reality—the real reality—actually is? Psychologists Prof. Petrenko and Dr. Kucherenko share astonishing results produced by Russian clinical and experimental psychology, which answer these questions in the affirmative.

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On the self-validating nature of idealism

While physicalism is impossible to confirm even in principle, idealism suffers from no such limitation. This intrinsic verifiability makes it a more fruitful avenue of investigation.

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Launching the Essentia Readings podcast, with Nadia Hassan

We are delighted to launch today the Essentia Readings podcast. In it, British-Lebanese artist Nadia Hassan reads a selection of the material published by Essentia Foundation, adding her own commentary and impressions. With this initiative, we hope to reach you with quality, enriching content not only during your reading time, but in other moments of your life as well.

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Depression, anxiety and the grip of metaphysics

Metaphysical beliefs modulate our experience of all aspects of life. As such, explicitly assessing the metaphysics we internalize can be the difference between depression and contentment, anxiety and vibrant aliveness. In this brief editorial, we highlight the crucial importance of metaphysics to every facet of our lives.

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Keeping a close ‘I’ on ‘reality’ in social science

In seeking to ameliorate social injustices by debunking the egoic self as measure of all things, the social sciences risk inadvertently abolishing the very notion of a subject of experience, argues Dr. Donna Thomas. The way forward, according to her, is to embrace metaphysics and understand the self not as a separate social agent, but as the ontic ground of all reality, common to all of us.

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There is no self: the periodic table of experience

Theologian Dr. Asher Walden argues that the self can be accounted for purely as a momentary aggregate of mental factors. Although we normally think of experience as some kind of relation between a subject and an object, in truth there is just experience.

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This ‘zero-worlds’ theory might just be crazy enough to be true

Journalist Hans Busstra interviews physicist Dr. Markus Müller on his so-called ‘zero-worlds’ theory, which was not meant as a proof of idealism, but does ‘give you idealism for free.’

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The activity theory of consciousness

Prof. Vladimir Serkin discusses a theory of consciousness whereby the latter is not regarded as merely a product of physiological function. His isn’t an idealist approach and, therefore, we at Essentia Foundation reserve judgment about it. However, the theory is undoubtedly scholarly and reveals the remarkably interesting directions in which Russian academia is pursuing an explanation for mind. They aren’t as held back by physicalist prejudices as similar efforts in the West, and thus deserve our careful attention.

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Dissociation and complexity: A psychiatrist’s perspective

The claim that individual human consciousness is a segment of a universal mind, separated from it via dissociation, is supported by the neurobiology of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), according to psychiatrist Dr. Yulia Perch. In this essay, complexity science and Dr. Perch’s own clinical experience are used to demonstrate that dissociative processes in a living psyche are not specific to DID, but widespread and inevitable.

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What’s out there when our brains quit telling us stories?

If the reality we think we inhabit is but a story confabulated by the brain’s ‘default mode network,’ what is the world ‘out there,’ and the self ‘in here,’ when the inner storytelling is subdued through meditation?

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Communicating through the “Collective Unconscious”

Prof. Petrenko shows that we may be regularly, though implicitly, using the so-called “collective unconscious”—a transpersonal field of subjectivity we all share, but which we can’t explicitly access through introspection—to tap into each other’s minds, minds in the animal kingdom as a whole, and perhaps even beyond.

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Our free Analytic Idealism Course is now online!

Today we’re releasing a complete, carefully produced but free online course on Analytic Idealism, perhaps the most modern and intellectually compelling formulation of Idealism currently available. The course is based on a series of seven videos, totaling over 6 hours of content. It is conducted by Essentia Foundation’s executive director, Bernardo Kastrup.

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Analytic Idealism Course

Analytic Idealism Course This is a carefully produced but free, online, video-based course on Analytic Idealism, with over 6 hours of content, conducted by Essentia Foundation's executive director, Bernardo Kastrup. Whereas the course has been designed to be accessible to a non-specialist audience, it makes very few concessions in terms of the substance and thoroughness [...]

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The primordial quantum language

Consciousness is the inner reality of the world, governed by the laws of coherent quantum systems, while matter is but an expression of the meaning inherent in this inner reality. The classical world of matter conforms to the statistical properties of a primordial quantum ‘language’ spontaneously used by the inner quantum reality to express itself. These are the insights of physicist—and inventor of the microprocessor—Federico Faggin in this captivating essay.

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The flip, and the flipped: leaving materialism behind. An interview with Jeffrey J. Kripal.

Journalist and documentary filmmaker Hans Busstra interviews Prof. Jeffrey J. Kripal on ‘the flip’: the sudden change of worldview away from the materialist paradigm that is increasingly experienced by scientists, scholars and academics the world over.

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Contact with universal consciousness through the research of human mentality

One of the most respected psychologists in the Slavic world—where materialist prejudices are less pronounced—Prof. Victor Petrenko, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, discusses his views on the nature of mind and reality. He shows, through remarkable experiments, that our very perception is conditioned upon our ability to tell ourselves, conceptually, what we are perceiving. It is possible that we simply do not perceive what we have no conceptual categories to make sense of. This way, we may be immersed in effectively alien aspects of reality that we cannot cognize. This captivating essay introduces to a Western audience the high-quality—and arguably less metaphysically biased—scholarship of the Slavic world in an area of knowledge whose relevance to our lives cannot be overestimated.

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Near-Death Experiences during cardiac arrest

In this short and powerful essay, cardiologist Dr. Pim van Lommel summarizes and discusses four rigorous studies of Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) carried out in clinical settings. He concludes that, on a scientific basis, the materialist notion that brain activity somehow is or generates consciousness is not adequate to accommodate and make sense of the empirical evidence available.

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Is it possible to make a conscious computer?

Science fiction and certain voices in academia have manufactured cultural plausibility for the notion that we should, one day, be able to build a conscious computer. But is this idea even coherent to begin with? Who best to ask but the creator of the microprocessor and artificial intelligence pioneer, Federico Faggin.

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Can a physicist embrace idealism?

Is science in general, and physics in particular, compatible with a consciousness-only worldview in which matter is merely an appearance of extended mental processes underlying all nature? Physicist Dr. Claus Metzner doesn’t see why they shouldn’t.

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Re-thinking identity: Children’s experiences of self

Dr. Thomas argues that children, before a conceptual, culture-bound notion of self is inculcated in them, have a more spontaneous, broader sense of identity that defies our current worldview. She argues that their more natural, fluid self is more conducive to overcoming the despair characteristic of our present situation, and that it has much to teach us about reality itself. 

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What is consciousness?

Consciousness is more fundamental than, and precedes, higher-level mental activity such as thoughts and emotions. Therefore, it is possible that consciousness—as a kind of primary ‘operating system’—is present even in the complete absence of recognizable mental activity, argues dr. Woerlee with the authority of an anesthesiologist. We may thus be conscious even during states of seeming unconsciousness, which is relevant for metaphysics—such as idealism—that consider consciousness fundamental.

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The physics of first-person perspective: An interview with physicist Dr. Markus Müller

After Dr. Müller’s extraordinary presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference, we, the editors, felt the need to interview him and explore his ideas further. If you haven’t watched his presentation already, we recommend you do so before reading on. The video is linked.

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Hello, we are Essentia Foundation

In this inaugural editorial, we introduce ourselves to you by discussing our perspective on an urgent challenge facing our society, our vision for how to address this challenge, and how we hope to contribute to the solution.

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The Flip: Recalibrating the humanities and the sciences around extraordinary experiences

There are extraordinary experiences that, although commonplace, contradict the current materialist metaphysics. This is what Prof. Jeffrey J. Kripal argues in his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference. 

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Conscious realism

Is matter merely a ‘graphical user interface’ to a deeper, conscious reality? In his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference, neuroscientist Prof. Donald Hoffman argues compellingly that this is indeed the case.

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Making space and time for matter and mind

A new understanding of space and time is a prerequisite for making sense of the mind-body problem, argues Prof. Bernard Carr in his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference.

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The mind-body problem: An anti-solution

If the mind-body problem is at all solvable, should it ever be solved? In his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference, renowned author and science journalist John Horgan maintains that, for moral reasons, it shouldn’t.

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Consciousness unbound

Has rigorous empirical research ever contradicted materialism? In his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference, Prof. Edward F. Kelly discusses decades of solid scientific work that does precisely that.

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Kabbalistic panpsychism: The enigma of consciousness in Jewish mystical thought

There are uncanny correspondences between Jewish mysticism and cutting-edge theories of reality such as idealist cosmopsychism, as discussed by neurologist Prof. Hyman M. Schipper in his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference.

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Essentia Foundation’s 2020 work conference

Essentia Foundation's 2020 online work conference In late 2020, Essentia Foundation has brought together an elite group of scientists and scholars to discuss, over two different days, the role of mind in nature. Is mind merely epiphenomenal? Or is it the very ground of reality? The discussions unfolded along a broad variety of disciplines, from hardcore [...]

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The role of mind in neuroscience

After failing to find anatomical or functional correlates of a variety of psychiatric conditions, Prof. dr. Sarah Durston has moved away from metaphysical materialism. This is what she discusses in her presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference.

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The role of mind in nature

Prof. Mikhail Ilyin, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, discusses foundational issues around the mind-body problem, as historically explored in Western philosophy and beyond. Watch his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference.

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A word from our Founder

Fred Matser, Essentia Foundation’s Founder and Chairman, explains his motivations for taking this initiative.

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The limits of conceptual communication

Fred Matser, Essentia Foundation’s Founder and Chairman, invites us to contemplate the limits of mere words and concepts in our interactions with one another and nature at large. Are we missing out on important things because we assume that what cannot be said also cannot exist?

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Is the human brain a model of the universe?

In this eye-popping essay, physicist and mathematician Melvin Felton explores the uncanny and unexpected similarities between the structure of the human brain and the universe at large, at both unfathomably small and unfathomably vast scales. Nothing in today’s science explains these bewildering similarities.

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Is what you see, what you get?

Is what we see, what we get? Are the seemingly material objects around us what the world actually is? Or are our perceptions merely providing us with a coded representation of a deeper, mysterious reality?

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Mind before matter

So what comes first, matter or mind? Prof. Kak’s answer is nuanced and deserves a thoughtful read.

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The three minds: A framework beyond biopsychosocial medicine

In this cogent essay, emergency physician Dr. Anoop Kumar elaborates on his view of the fundamental role mind plays in healthcare, as well as his three-minds model.

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Where is your mind?

Does the brain produce the mind? Or is the relationship between the two something altogether different? We explore the latest science in this short film.

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Kabbalistic panpsychism

In this powerful essay, Prof. Schipper unveils the uncanny similarities and correspondences between the ancient Kabbalah and cutting-edge theories of reality such as idealist cosmopsychism.

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Seeing things: The daimonic nature of reality

Are popular myths and tales merely an expression of naive superstition, or do they reflect—metaphorically or symbolically, as the case may be—something real about the underlying nature of reality? Author Patrick Harpur’s answer is as thoughtful as it is nuanced.

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From enigmas in physics to a structural version of idealism

Our first-person perspective is primary, the external world emergent, argues physicist and member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Markus Müller, in his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference. A follow-up interview with Dr. Müller, expanding on the topics of his presentation, is also available.

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Is matter but a superficial appearance?

Does the matter that surrounds us have a standalone reality, irrespective of observation? Or is matter merely the thin, superficial appearance of a deeper, mysterious reality?

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Limitless life

Prof. dr. Jan van der Greef discusses his intellectual journey from childhood polio to life sciences, entrepreneurship, art, and finally to a non-dual relationship with nature at large. Watch his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference.

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