The Idea of the World – Review

We are witnessing a shift in worldview that is now slowly but steadily advancing. Three of my favorite writers tackling this much needed transformation are the terrific scientific thinkers Robert Lanza (Biocentrism) and Donald Hoffman (The Case Against Reality) and philosopher Bernardo Kastrup. The Idea of the World is his seventh book about idealism, the philosophical system that proposes that everything is in consciousness.

Firstly, his latest and most rigorous book yet, exposes the fallacies of physicalism (or materialism) that is currently the reigning metaphysics. This position posits that an objective world exists independent of our minds. Then it goes even further by claiming that this world outside experience somehow created our consciousness in the first place! By making the subject into object, materialism creates the insoluble ‘hard problem of consciousness’. Idealism avoids this major error in logic by positing that what we experience IS reality.

But also in idealism, there are objections to overcome which Bernardo does very eloquently in subsequent chapters. Questions such as why there is a relationship between brain activity and reported inner life, why we all seem to experience the same world, and why we are unable to alter the laws of physics with our minds. He also explains why the latest findings in quantum mechanics and neuroscience inexorably point to mind as primary reality.

Because of terminology, it takes some experience in philosophic reading to (fully) comprehend this work. So if this is a new territory for you, then it’s probably better to start with one of Kastrup’s earlier books, such as the excellent Why Materialism is Baloney. However, I found this work much easier to read than other philosophy-of mind-books by for example Nagel or Chalmers. Bernardo’s writing style is very pleasant and his arguments are extremely clear.

The mental model of reality is currently the best way we have for looking at the world. I am convinced that this will be the new common worldview, and that we’ll look back at some of today’s mainstream ideas, such as billions of microscopic robots in our brain forming our integrated minds, and that we’ll be really amazed at the delusions of today’s scientific culture. We’re not there yet, but great thinkers like Bernardo Kastrup are bravely paving the way.