I have been following Bernardo’s thinking and writings for a long time. A few weeks ago my cousin asked me if I saw something he had just written, and my thoughts… My answer to her has evolved into this…
I don’t think Bernardo Kastrup fully realizes how it is that he keeps trying to think his way to the end of thought, a sort of destination, phenomenon or quality (objective?) that he and his colleagues tend to label “consciousness.”
A sort of framework or scaffolding Bernardo seems to use a lot to continue as the “thinker” (doer) of his own thinking, is to debate (duel) with certain scholarly peers and colleagues, who, through a whole huge “rational” mess of convoluted and befuddled intellectual gambits and complexities, are rather lost in a centuries-old game. Sort of like college football, these scholars are addicted to banging away at each other with modern formulations, words, data, concepts and publishing credits, instead of bodies, balls and goalposts.
A whole world of competing academic and institutional ideologies and associate ideologues, each one trying to assert their own exclusive (personal) “understandings” of why it is that thought and/or matter, and all their various space-time (measurable) effects, is all there is.
Bernardo knows a good bit more and better than all that, and articulates what he knows in some beautifully clear and elegant ways.
He is in some noticeable ways and in certain areas on the very edges of awareness, and probably experiences in certain moments what can only be communicated via metaphor, pointings, pure art and resonance.
Yet in other ways and particularly in such realms as empire, i.e., prominent social personalities, power, money and self-imagery, Bernardo seems to still be pretty lost in much of the meta-belief-in-separation’s dominant, conflicted and competing projections, collectively called (by fragmented mind) the “world.”
And yet he has a highly trained and incredibly amazing mind, seems to be a profound intellectual adventurer, and is looking in some right directions through a massive education, all the while dragging establishment science and academia as best he can along with him.
Maybe sort of like what some U.S. “democrats” these days are trying to do with the “republican” mindset, get them to see their own behavior in some better ways, or at least drag them along into some better trajectories or views, so to speak.
Bernardo doesn’t seem to understand that for as long as he keeps arguing with establishment belief systems he will keep being co-opted back into them, to serve establishment’s own purposes. The more successful his challenges are, i.e., the more he is able to reform the establishment into his own images, the more encompassing and successful his co-optation will eventually become. Or maybe he does understand this, and it is what he wants. No knowing.
For the purposes of this essay, establishment and the collective identity of separation are the same.
None of the ways human “civilization” has clawed itself to where we seem to be now are the way forward. Every effort based on that history (his story) will only lead us, as individuals, communities and societies, ever deeper into destruction, along with most of life’s present forms and expressions here on earth.
In the same way the actual universe itself, at different major transitional points in its (as well as earth’s) evolution, totally used up all the conditions, processes and circumstances that brought it to that point, making a whole new (never before known) trajectory both necessary and possible, human sentience on this planet, along with the planet itself, has now reached (and is reaching ever deeper into) a similar transition.
And just as as in earlier transitions, when none of the prior conditions (or stages) of the universe could guarantee, describe or “predict” what a new trajectory might look like, let alone survive its appearance (emergence), the same is true now for humans, as a (potentially) awakening part of what is an ancient yet always new, eternal journey.
In any case we are unavoidably a part of life’s journey on this planet, and it is time and past time for us to begin to let go of the old, without yet “knowing” the new. Humans as a part of evolution are being called now to step out of time (past and future), together. What will always survive is what we have always been, only now perhaps more (and more) consciously, openly, and together.
We will, I believe, if and as much as we are able to let go, especially of what we believe to be the past, begin to discover other ways of engaging with ourselves, each other and the universe. It is our willingness we are being called now to realize, all the while as we let go of willfulness, otherwise know as the assertions of identities of separation.
The modern western educated mind trying to understand this requirement is like the proverbial camel trying to pass through the eye of a needle.
Going for a walk with Bernardo in these realms of thought and language, in these ways, if I ever were to find myself doing that unlikely such, would be sort of like going for a walk in the forest with a world class olympic gold medalist gymnast who can virtually (pun intended) fly over all the seeming “obstacles” in the forest.
All the while as the forest is calling to both of us to slow down and bring our attention back to this expression or place that is unfolding both within and as a part of our very own here and now presence. This is the only place where he and I and the world might begin to share a deeper awareness of what he and I and the world also are, together, as the forest.
Invite this amazing Bernardo of my fantasy, through a sort of sharing of what we are that is the same, to actually experience together with me our being as the very forest itself. The two of us now discovering what is the most intimate surprise of all, that this larger context (expression) of who he and I also are, and that we were calling at the beginning of our walk the forest (or world), is now actually and consciously, without any labels, concepts or identity, discovering itself through and as our very own extant conversation (journey) with each other. Writings (walking) on water and behold, the water itself is revealed, to itself.
In other words realize with Bernardo a world of connection, rather than mere observation, as we support each other in letting go of some of the ways observation (separation) seems to offer (what is always and only) a temporary “sense” (illusion) of “control” over what we believe is other, the so-called observed.
Just as it is not always a blessing to have great wealth, privilege, power, it is not always or at least only a blessing to have a talented, healthy, highly trained and educated mind, or a talented, healthy, highly trained and educated body. “Blessing” in this context meaning helpful for our purpose here on earth.
Projections upon projections, none of it real. What is true and real never comes, never goes, never changes. And yet, all change, all form, all phenomena is both made of and arises from the real. This huge play of existence we are for a while believing we are separate from, in a sense condensates out of the real, and it all eventually falls away, dissolves, and returns back into the real.
What I am calling here the real is what all of us who have been blessed with a human birth are being called to realize we also are. I believe it is actually an incredible gift we are being called to accept, through each of us and all of us, perhaps the most incredible gift of all.
Without becoming familiar with, embracing, and actually entering into paradox, none of this can be grasped. It is prior to all words, concepts, time and space. It can only seem to be grasped by allowing it to slowly (and sometimes suddenly) grasp us. Always in its own time, and manner.
When that sort of symbiosis happens, the forest (world) begins to converse, dance, sing, shape-shift and paint into actual phenomenal existence its very own joy, love and beauty, otherwise known as Source, all of it now expressing and discovering itself through each of us, with each of us, as each of us, and all of life.
The universe in a grain of sand realizes that it is so…