Colours of Idealism

I got a new interest. Or maybe I'm just treading old paths. Having nothing better to do, I went to look what Susan Blackmore has been up to recently. I found her taking part in a debate at the online festival HowTheLightGetsIn (uhm, if you don't leave gaps it doesn't?) organized by iai in June this year. Or, according to Susan in May. Yeah, clocks may differ, talk about recently. HowTheLightGetsIn is sort of a carnival fair where so called biggest (note the superlative) thinkers are trodden out invited to inspire the lost and confused public.

The debate, titled The miracle of mind, purportedly tried to answer the question if there will ever be consensus on consciousness. I am sure the title was aptly chosen, because if any big minds could consent on consciousness it would indeed be a miracle. A lack of funds prevented me to transcend the paywall. So I wasn't able to watch the miracle being debated into debacle. Nevertheless I noted that I hadn't been introduced to one of the participants, Bernardo Kastrup, before.

Bernardo seems to be treated as an academic outsider. Or at least, he sees himself as "a nominal member of the intellectual establishment who, nonetheless, has been fighting — for over a decade — against what is perhaps the most entrenched position of that establishment". The entrenched position beeing materialism and, if their friendly occupants don't duck in a timely manner, also militant atheists' strongholds. Bernardo is a somewhat busy writer on his blog, on the iai website and with several books in print, though his prolificity comes with insights of varying profoundness. While he regards himself as a quiet and kind person, he admits to some agressiveness in rhetoric — assuredly for tactical purposes only.

The pennon of Bernardo's brave commando against the entrenched position bears the colours of idealism. Idealism used to be a philsophical school which enjoyed quite some favour from philosophers, before most of them decided to become all analytic, and long before philosophy went exploring the postmodern jungle and hasn't been heard of since. Idealism holds that beeing is beeing experienced, or, less jargonly, that everything is mental.

Through a little recherche I learned that the book The Idea of the World would likely be the most technical apology ("undoubtedly my most rigorous and academically solid volume to date" in the words of the author) of Bernardo's idealism and I went for that one.

I have already finished the first two chapters and I set out to write something short and possibly insightful about the second chapter. But somehow I became distracted and this post left its premeditated path. Maybe I will take up the reins again (is that an idiomatic English expression for taking back control of something that became carried away on its own volition?) and you will hear about my adventures another time.