Source: Robotic Souls – The New Atlantis
Alex Tsakiris: Okay, Bernardo. Let me move on to another couple of criticisms and here’s one of my favorites because it really captures the lack of deep thinking that always seems to accompany this goofy materialism. I hate to say it so conclusively but we’ve both been doing this for a long time, and you go down these rutted roads that have been so well worn that after a while you see it coming. But you label this as criticism #14: Why would consciousness deceive us by simulating a materialist world?
Dr. Bernardo Kastrup: It is a precious one, isn’t it?
Alex Tsakiris: It is precious in the same way that a child says something, and it’s just precious. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but you just have to marvel at it.
Dr. Bernardo Kastrup: There is so much prejudice imbedded in it in a way that people are not self-reflectively aware of it. It’s amazing. As I write in the book, why did the sun deceive us for so many centuries by pretending to go around the Earth? Why did the Earth itself deceive us for so long by pretending to be flat? It’s the same kind of question as asking why is the universe deceiving us by pretending materialism to be correct? It’s not the universe. The universe it what it is. The sun has always been doing what it always did. The Earth has always been spheroid since it’s formation. Nothing is deceiving anything. The only thing that’s deceiving is ourselves. Materialists are deceiving themselves by interpreting the world according to a certain perspective, certain implicit, hidden assumptions. And they are so committed to that, thinking so much within the box, when they are pushed out of the box they ask this kind of question. Why is the world deceiving me by pretending materialism to be true? Yeah, ask the sun why it deceived us by pretending to go around the Earth. It’s the same kind of question.
The New Atlantis » Do Elephants Have Souls?. This seminal piece in The New Atlantis:A Journal of Technology & Society is an exhortation to rethink determinism and the notion of our consciousness as it relates to life and creation. In the last two centuries elephant populations have declined by 98%.
Staff members at the Elephant Sanctuary told me of an incident with one of their “girls,” who spotted a fallen bird outside her barn and ran right over to it, utterly distraught. She crooned and stroked it and did not settle down till it had been properly laid to rest. What did this mean to her, exactly? We don’t know. But she was clearly very moved by a fellow creature’s woe and had no trouble seeing it for what it was, different life forms though they were. How sad when we, “higher” animals who share this gift, convince ourselves to dull it.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31). If a single little bird is worth the all-consuming grief of Dulary the Elephant and the cosmos-animating mind of the Father of Creation, and human worth surpasses that, then what is there to lose in holistically appreciating the life of this one bird, even insofar as it resembles ours? And how much more than the bird an elephant, which by its own extraordinary nature shows that all species are not equal — but is a portal to the world of non-human life, and the possibilities therein.