Gratis verzending vanaf €35,-
Unieke producten
Milieuvriendelijk, hoogste kwaliteit
Professioneel advies: 085 - 743 03 12

Hello, we are Essentia Foundation

Reading | Editorial

The editors | 2021-01-16

About us scaled

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.

It is with sober optimism in these difficult times that we, Essentia Foundation, introduce ourselves to you. Essentia has been created to address one of the least discussed—yet most significant—challenges facing our society today: the now-clear fallacies of our materialist worldview, according to which matter is primary and mind secondary. In doing so, we also hope to articulate a more coherent, parsimonious and empirically adequate alternative: idealism, also known as nondualism.

A remnant of a more intellectually naïve and unsophisticated past, metaphysical materialism now rides on intellectual habit and unexamined assumptions. Being the reigning worldview in our society, it subtly validates and amplifies some of our most dysfunctional behaviors, such as consumerism, environmental destruction, corruption, conflict, mechanistic medicine, etc. If truly embodied, materialism can also contribute to our most dreaded inner states, such as existential anxiety and a sense of meaninglessness associated with clinical depression.

We at Essentia Foundation are committed to truth. We believe that, if there were good objective reasons to consider materialism the most plausible metaphysics, we should bite the bullet and live with the implications. But on the basis of the latest scientific evidence and analytic reasoning, the contrary is arguably the case: evidence from neuroscience and foundations of physics is now contradicting some of the foundational tenets of materialism. Careful reasoning in analytic philosophy is also showing that materialism may be incoherent, based on fundamental logical fallacies. So why should we accept its grim implications? Why should we live according to a demonstrably fallacious worldview?

In his magnificent book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions—perhaps the most important volume of the 20th century—Thomas Kuhn has shown that, historically, we are anything but objective when it comes to our worldview. The latter is defined more by a set of inherited values, beliefs and assumptions than reason and evidence. Looking back to our ancestors, we have no difficulties acknowledging this. For instance, we think patronizingly of 17th-century scientists, who thought electrostatic attraction was caused by an invisible elastic fluid called ‘effluvium.’ What a nonsensical view of things, isn’t it? But when it comes to ourselves, here in the early 21st century, we cannot imagine that we are as deluded as our ancestors; that, just like them, we can’t see past our own paradigmatic values, beliefs and assumptions.

Essentia Foundation will seek to help us see beyond the materialist paradigm. Indeed, to future generations, our present mistakes will look as silly and incomprehensible as ‘effluvium.’ Two of these mistakes will seem particularly confounding to them: our insistence on replacing reality with a mere description of reality, and our disposition to acknowledge appearances while denying the thing that projects these appearances in the first place. Let us look into these more closely.

Early scientists counted on their senses to study the world: the things they could consciously see, hear, smell, taste and touch around them. Their world, just like yours and mine, was thus a world of mental qualities: colors, sounds, flavors, aromas and textures. At some point, they realized that it was very useful to use numbers to describe the relative differences between mental qualities: to say, for instance, that a feather weighed 50 grams while a heavy piece of luggage weighed, say, 50,000 grams. This represented the birth of quantitative science, in which numbers and their relationships are extremely powerful tools to describe the world and predict its behavior.

But then something strange happened: some scientists and philosophers—the distinction wasn’t clear at the time—started maintaining that only the numbers exist, which they called ‘matter.’ For them, only the description of the world had standalone reality, while the qualities described in the first place were somehow secondary to the numbers, mysteriously created within people’s skulls. This was the birth of metaphysical materialism, which—in a self-evidently incoherent move—tries to magically pull the territory out of the map. Yet it stuck. Instead of acknowledging it has taken an early wrong turn, our paradigmatic thinking labels this wrong turn a ‘problem’—more specifically, the so-called ‘hard problem of consciousness’—and promises to somehow solve it one day.

Equally embarrassing is our paradigmatic insistence that appearances exist, but not the reality that projects—or appears according to—these appearances. For matter is but an appearance: it’s how the world presents itself to our observation, not necessarily what the world is in and of itself. Immanuel Kant and Arthur Schopenhauer have made this abundantly clear already over two centuries ago, but our paradigmatic values, beliefs and assumptions are stronger than the iron-clad logic of our own sages. We say that matter is all there is, that it is the ‘thing-in-itself,’ instead of the mere appearance or representation of a deeper and more concrete reality.

Such a misunderstanding would be, well, understandable if nature weren’t putting evidence to the contrary right in front of our eyes—literally—every day: every time we look into the mirror, we see an appearance. But we know that ‘behind’ that appearance, in some sense, lies the thing-in-itself: our conscious inner life, our moods, thoughts, emotions, fantasies, aspirations, hopes, dreams, fears and desires. When we see tears flowing down our faces as we look into the mirror, we know that the tears are but the external appearance of the concrete inner reality of sorrow and despair. We know that material tears on a contorted material face aren’t all there is to the story, but merely the way a felt inner reality presents itself to external observation. And since our tears, faces and the rest of our bodies are made of the same atoms and force fields that constitute the rest of the observable universe, it is only reasonable to infer—as Schopenhauer did—that the rest of the universe, too, is but the external appearance of a deeper reality; perhaps a reality of inner feelings analogous to our own.

But instead, our paradigmatic thinking assumes that there is an arbitrary discontinuity in nature: in human beings, there is an inner mental reality of which matter is an appearance, alright; but when it comes to the inanimate universe—and perhaps most other living creatures as well—matter is the thing-in-itself. For us, in the early 21st century, there is nothing ‘behind’ the appearances; there is nothing that appears in the form of appearances, just hollow, phantasm-like appearances themselves, without inner essence. This is analogous to going to the cinema and acknowledging the existence of the images on the screen, while denying the reality of the projector by virtue of which the images exist. Erupting volcanoes, thunderstorms, exploding supernovas: we think of all these images as flat, hollow, without intrinsic meaning; they aren’t representations of a deeper reality, but mere phantasms without essence, zombies floating in thin air.

Perhaps future generations will dedicate entire fields of study in psychology, sociology, anthropology and the like, to trying to figure out how we could have gone so wrong; how we could be so blind, for so long, to the blatant incoherence of our own thinking. But for now, different action is called for: subjectively biased as even science and philosophy may have become—for they are the quintessential embodiment of the paradigm—reason and evidence should ultimately prevail, as they have in previous times. What we need is a constant, tireless, ever renewed articulation of the available reasoning and evidence, till they slowly start to percolate through the paradigmatic shield of our collective thinking. And once a critical mass of reason and evidence has come through, our understanding of the essence of ourselves and nature at large will undergo remarkable change; change that will bring us closer to truth and each other. This, in essence, is what Essentia Foundation tries to achieve.

But what will this new worldview look like? What are reason and evidence pointing to? As we hope to make clear over time with the material we will be publishing, there is a strong sense in which the precise opposite of what we think today is much more plausible: instead of matter being primary and mind secondary, we will find that mind—not your or my individual mind alone, but an extended form of mind underlying all nature, of which we are microscopic segments—is primary, matter being just an appearance of essentially mental processes. We will find that, when regarded from a particular perspective, mentation—the thing-in-itself—simply presents itself in the form we colloquially call ‘matter.’ Indeed, there is now robust, compelling scientific and philosophical evidence for this; evidence known in small specialist groups, but hardly made accessible to a wider public. Essentia Foundation will seek to eliminate this communication gap.

The journey ahead is long and difficult. But we believe that, with your help, our goals can be achieved within our own lifetimes. A brave new world will emerge from that: one less susceptible to consumerism and environmental destruction; to despair, loneliness and meaninglessness; to corruption, conflict and egotistic thinking; a world where we will more readily recognize our essential identity with each other and the rest of nature; where logic, reason and evidence will actually be logical, reasonable and evidentiary; where we will see through not only the paradigms of our ancestors, but also our own; in a word, a more mature world, closer to truth.

The journey has only just begun!

Subhash MIND BEFORE MATTER scaled

Essentia Foundation communicates, in an accessible but rigorous manner, the latest results in science and philosophy that point to the mental nature of reality. We are committed to strict, academic-level curation of the material we publish.

Recently published

|

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.

|

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.

From the archives

|

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.

|

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.

|

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?

Reading

Essays

|

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.

|

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.

|

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.

|

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.

|

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?

Seeing

Videos

|

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.

|

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.

|

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.

Let us build the future of our culture together

Essentia Foundation is a registered non-profit committed to making its content as accessible as possible and without advertisements. Therefore, we depend on contributions from people like you to continue to do our work. There are many ways to contribute.

Essentia Contribute scaled