Consciousness, Spirituality, and Intellectual Honesty, with Thomas Metzinger

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By Michael W. Taft. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Thomas Metzinger and Michael W. Taft discuss having moral integrity with yourself, intellectual honesty in the pursuit of spirituality, the overlapping goals of science and spirituality, the possibility of a fully secularized spirituality, neurofeedback and virtual reality, mortality denial, the simulation hypothesis, and a whole bunch more.

Thomas Metzinger is full professor and director of the theoretical philosophy group and the research group on neuroethics/neurophilosophy at the department of philosophy, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany. He is the founder and director of the MIND group and Adjunct Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute of Advanced Studies, Germany. His research centers on analytic philosophy of mind, applied ethics, philosophy of cognitive science, and philosophy of mind. He is the editor of Neural Correlates of Consciousness and the author of Being No One and The Ego Tunnel.

Thomas Metzinger’s website.

A video of Metzinger’s Spirituality and Intellectual Honesty talk.

Read an interview with Thomas Metzinger, entitled “What Is the Self?

Show Notes

0:25 – Introduction

2:53 – Interesting times in the world

4:12 – Summary of Thomas’ talk, “Spirituality and Intellectual Honesty”

7:46 – Impact and divided reactions to “Spirituality and Intellectual Honesty”

12:43 – Internal moral integrity: belief formation & authority

17:05 – Needing a teacher, master or guru

21:10 – Surrender, Western enlightenment and the “crazy corner”

24:13 – Getting science to say something interesting about human experience

26:08 – Neurofeedback glasses for walking meditation; taking meditation into life

30:00 – Virtuality and nothingness, consciousness as virtual reality

34:03 – Suchness; spirituality as de-immersion from conscious experience, meditating on artifacts

36:20 – The feeling of being real, transparently and opacity

38:55 – Hyperreality & derealization: hallucinogens, religious ecstasy and seizures

40:42 – VR meditation, getting in touch with virtuality

42:28 – Reaching earlier brain processing stages through meditation or hallucinogens

45:43 – The Ruining Innocence podcast: a half-serious criticism of taxonomies and discussing meditation

49:33 – Thomas’ thoughts on the Arrow of Attention; correlates in neuroscience

53:20 – Mindfulness of inattention and avoidance, pitfalls of mindfulness

56:07 – Discussing Douglas Harding: the Headless Way and immersion; more discussion of the Arrow of Attention

1:00:14 – The self as a visual metaphor; the pre-3D lump of sensations and motor babbling

1:03:23 – Thomas’ recent studies of subjectivity: the epistemic agent model of self

1:09:48 – How it transpires that the Self is not conscious

1:11:34 – Questioning science’s value for practice; the moral imperative of trying to improve contemplative practice

1:15:12 – Thomas’ critique of the perennial philosophy; strategies of mortality denial

1:22:07 – The simulation hypothesis; thoughts in the mind of god

1:25:41 – Is suffering real, and how deep does reality go?

1:29:05 – A hypothetical merging of science and subjectivity

1:31:29 – Outro

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42 episodes