Transcript for Christian De Quincey Ph.D

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what’s up folks this is our episode with

christian de quincey in it we discussed

consciousness and his book blind spots

21 good reasons to think before you talk

and yeah it was an interesting read it

was actually quite challenging to get

through just because I usually move

through books pretty fast with this one

I it took me some time I had to process

what I was reading just because it

really does challenge your paradigms and

the things that you’ve been told through

New Age movements and so I really think

you guys will enjoy this episode it is a

little highbrow and perhaps I wasn’t

we’re asking the right questions and

nonetheless it’s a good interview the

call did drop a few times it did make it

a little bit difficult to sustain a sort

of flow within the conversation all in

all good interview good episode please

make sure you check us out on youtube

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the human experience is deconstructing

consciousness as we speak to my guests

Christian De Quincey Christian my good

sir welcome to hxp thanks it’s good to

be here I’m very much looking forward to

our conversation so Christian I mean

you’re you’re a professor of philosophy

and consciousness studies you graduated

at John F Kennedy University you’re the

Dean of consciousness studies at of

philosophical research you’re an

award-winning author you founded the

wisdom Academy you seem to have an

unlocked a hero level achievement in the

consciousness field what sparked this

interest for you and what about

consciousness fascinates you so much

okay so well the the story goes back a

long way it’s actually something I have

written about in one of my my other

books radical knowing where i talk about

when i was a child of about seven or

eight years living in Ireland and it was

a rainy day and I had nothing to do so I

picked up my old my father’s old

tattered encyclopedia and started

reading through it and came across a

drawing of a dinosaur that was

associated with an entry an article on

evolution so I started reading and there

was a lot I didn’t understand but I

understood enough to be surprised that

not only did I come from my parents but

and they from their grandparents and all

the way back to the beginnings of

humanity but that humans themselves

evolved from some prior ape-like

ancestors that came from other mammals

that came from reptiles that came from

amphibians that came from fish and all

the way back through Jellyfish to what

that old encyclopedia called infusoria

single celled critters that we would

call protozoa are back

Syria so I was astounded at that early

age to realize that my earliest

ancestors were bacteria but even more

than that I wondered well between

bacteria and me sitting here in my

parents room in Ireland between bacteria

and humans where did this ability to

wonder consciousness to be able to think

where did that first arise in the great

unfolding of evolution mm-hmm and so I

looked at my dog and I was pretty sure

well I’m sure dogs have it in the cat

and yes I was sure that she had it too

so i looked at the goldfish and after a

few moments of hesitation decided that

yes even go fish even fish have

consciousness and then i wondered about

the worms out in the back garden whether

they had this ability to wonder to think

to be conscious and i couldn’t decide

one way or the other so somewhere

between fish and worms i figure that

consciousness had come into being but

exactly where the encyclopedia didn’t

answer that question and that question

of where in the great unfolding of

evolution did consciousness first arise

but stayed with me in the background and

then in my late teens and early 20s I

started reading up to see if I could

find an answer to that question and I

started by studying evolutionary biology

and after a while I realized that

there’s no way that biology is going to

be able to answer a question about

consciousness so then I shifted over to

psychology and although I found it

fascinating reading about perception and

other psychological phenomena I realized

after a while that that actually the

science of psychology had nothing to say

about consciousness it back in those

days and still to some extent today it

was dominated by behaviorism which had

no room for mind or consciousness so

then I thought well it’s really a


as a question about the nature of the

relationship between consciousness and

the physical world and so I then dived

into philosophy but and particularly

philosophy of mind which was the

discipline that addressed this question

but I soon came to realize that there

are two English languages there’s the

English that we all speak and then lose

the English that philosophers speakin

and I just had real difficulty back then

decoding the language of philosophy

Western academic philosophy and so then

I turn my attention to Eastern

philosophies to Buddhism Hinduism Dowson

in particular and was delighted to find

a wealth of information that was focused

on consciousness ring but it had nothing

to say about evolution and so my

question still remained unanswered and

so in desperation I turned back to

Western academic philosophy of mind this

time really determined to crack the code

and and I did and along the way I

rediscovered the work of the my favorite

philosopher the British metaphysician

Alfred North Whitehead and and found

that the answer to my question was

nowhere that consciousness didn’t arise

anywhere in the great unfolding of

evolution for the simple fact that it

was always present that consciousness

always existed wherever there was matter

there is some are energy there’s some

form of consciousness and so I then

became enthralled with the philosophical

position of pants psychos in which

states that all matter is intrinsically

sentient and that consciousness goes all

the way down it was there not only in

the fish and the worms that in the cells

of the fish in any animal in the

molecules of those cells in the in the

atoms and the subatomic particles in the

quark or quanta or whatever lives of the

fundamental basis of physical reality

there is some degree some trace of

consciousness that did an ability to

feel to be aware to make choices exists

at that level so

you’re connecting the atoms that are

floating around and matter and and then

you’re moving towards human

relationships I mean I I found your book

challenging to read actually I usually

can finish a book in a couple days I

found myself you know I started reading

this book last week and I found myself

reading a few pages and scribbling a

bunch of lines taking notes I would I

would read a few pages and then kind of

put it down and I would have to absorb

what you said and I found I found the

back of what it says on your book quite

hilarious i’m just going to read that we

live in a world filled with cliches

convenient assumptions and unquestioned

conclusions that many of us use without

giving them a second thought we all

spread these thought viruses infecting

everyone we come in contact with but

many of these blind spots and how we

think about ourselves and the world do

not withstand rigorous scrutiny or even

casual scrutiny in some cases yet they

fall out of the mouths of scientists

religious teachers journalists and

authors with dumbfounding frequency wow

that’s quite a statement so I was

challenging many of the basic

assumptions that we find in modern

science and philosophy that most

scientists and philosophers that I’m

aware of just take for granted and so

it’s it’s understandable that if you

know the experts so to speak take these

ideas for granted without much

questioning that the general public the

lay audience is likely to also take them

for granted and so by challenging these

deeply ingrained assumptions can take

time can’t can be people need to take

have a double take to find out exactly

what I’m saying and and why why people

don’t notice the the absurdities of many

of the positions that are taken for

granted and if you like and if we have

time we can go into

I’m gonna love logging into them I don’t

have time to go to old it of course all

right I mean let’s get into the very

first one that you mentioned that we I

think it’s the first one that we create

our own reality and I mean I I found I

found what you said intriguing that we

in fact don’t create reality we color

our thoughts color reality the color we

color the way that we perceive reality

can you can you detail that can you get

into that for us please yeah I I sure

can and by the way that wasn’t the first

blind spot in the book we can come back

to the first one if you like it was

everything came from nothing and you

know in the Big Bang and that’s that’s

there it opens with that for it for

specific reason but the question the you

ask I think occurs very early on that we

create our own reality well there are a

couple of problems with that first of

all if it were true that each of us

creates our own reality then how could

we ever communicate if you lived in your

created self-created reality and I lived

in my self created reality what would be

the common link that would enable us to

communicate and clearly we live in

realities that overlap because right now

you and I are communicating so we

obviously don’t live in our own separate

self created realities we live in a

shared reality so that’s the first thing

it’s we don’t exist on our own reality

but the second point is is that we

certainly don’t create its reality

because we as a species have been around

for what couple of million years give or

take free and clearly reality has

existed for a long time even this

universe has been around for about 14

billion years before we came on the

scene yeah the clearly reality does not

depend on human consciousness or human

intention for a reality to exist so it’s

the other way around it’s not that we

create reality reality created us so

neither do we create our own reality nor

do we create any reality through our

thoughts and and

that’s the third aspect of that blind

spot is that actually thoughts don’t

create anything except perhaps trouble

thoughts and beliefs are just

abstraction that under like frozen

snapshots of experience experience

happens naturally and automatically from

moment to moment to moment and what if

thought is it’s like freeze framing one

of those moments and then putting it to

one side but meanwhile experiences keep

happening and so the the the thought

that we had one moment is out of date by

the time the next moment of experience

arises and so on our thoughts and

beliefs are made of thoughts of many of

these abstractions all our thoughts

relate to some time in the past some

moment ago not to the current moment of

reality and one thing that I often talk

about with my students is I asked the

question when does consciousness or

experience happen and everybody says

right now and then I say when does

reality happen well again reality

happens right now in the present moment

so experience in reality coincide

therefore the optimum way to know

reality to know what was actually going

on what is actually happening is to pay

attention to our embodied experience in

the moment not to the thoughts and

beliefs we have about reality because

they refer to a reality that no longer

exists it’s in the past it may be just a

few moments ago are indeed it might be

way back in our childhood or indeed in

some prior lifetime this notion that we

create our own reality has become

incredibly popular it’s it’s very it’s

very mainstream in New Age movements I

mean such as the secret a lot of people

are pitching this idea so I mean so then

how does this work I mean are we cut do

we have our own little bubbles that we

kind of interpret information with and

then you know as I speak to you those

sort of bubbles kind of coalesce and and

we exchanged information that way yeah

well I think I think the reason that

people have these very different ideas

for example the idea that we create our

own reality as I show in this book blind

spots that cannot be true the reason

that such clichés and blind spots like

that persist is because people don’t

actually take the time to think through

the assumptions that they hold and they

just take for granted and so what this

book is about in the subtitle I

mentioned is 21 good reasons to think

before we talk so people actually don’t

stop to think they just accept these

ideas without question and so what this

book is doing is stopping and asking and

encouraging inviting people to think a

little bit deeper and to show them that

actually these 21 cliches really don’t

make any sense once once we decide to

look at them more closely they just

don’t withstand close scrutiny so yes a

lot of people have the idea and really

cling to the idea that we create our own

reality but as I pointed out is that

cannot be the case because if that were

the case we could never communicate and

clearly reality isn’t something that we

creates it’s the other way around

reality creates us because it has

existed long before we even evolved into

into the a if consciousness is

subjective and the process of life is

objective then how I mean how does how

do we connect this together how do we

use this in relationships if you’re

married how is my consciousness

affecting the consciousness of another

person well boy you’ve packed in a lot

of topics there with lots of at least

implicit questions but you began by

asking how is the objective process of

life related to the subjective process

of consciousness ring so we can pick

that up and then come back to the topic

of relationships sure um in as I

mentioned earlier that the the world

view that seems to me to make the most

sense to account for the fact that

matter exists bodies exist and

consciousness exists we know that to be

the case but the the the philosophy that

best accounts for the existence of both

of those and their relationship is Pam

psychosom the idea that matter our

energy is intrinsically sentient so

every object is also a subject there’s

no separation between them it doesn’t

mean they are identical and that’s

another blind spot that is very very

prevalent is that people hear that

something that two things like

consciousness and an embodiment might be

different might be distinct and they

assume that therefore they are separate

but distinction is not the same as

separateness so just because two

realities are distinct consciousness and

embodiment or mind and matter doesn’t

mean they are separate now they always

go together and so wherever you have

that maybe this is then the major point

that you need to get to be able to it’s

kind of like maybe the code to so much

would be the alternative positions that

I’m presenting in this book okay if you

don’t get this the rest probably will

keep seemed very strange to you is that

we have to give up the idea that either

the basic reality is matter which is

called materialism and that some how in

a way that’s inexplicable mind or

consciousness emerged or evolved from

pure objective matter that’s just a

non-starter philosophically the other

idea is idealism that’s common and Mary

many spiritual traditions particularly

Eastern spiritual traditions is the

reverse idea is the idea that mind or

consciousness or spirit is the ultimate

reality and that what we call matter is

either an illusion it doesn’t really

exist or else it is something that

emanated from pure consciousness from

pure spirit but that’s exactly the same

inexplicable problem faced by

materialism except in Reverse there’s no

way to account rationally logically

account for the fact that something

purely subjective could ever produce

anything objective that pure spirit our

consciousness could ever produce real


so materialism is problematic I dealers

in this problematic in terms of being

able to explain the relationship between

these two realities mind and matter okay

and then the third view is dualism it

takes the view that both mind and matter

do actually exist but that the existence

separate domains at least acknowledge

the reality of one and says that you

can’t reduce either matter to mind our

minds to matter but that they exist in

separate domains now the problem with

dualism is that if mind and matter

consciousness and energy exist in

different domains then how come they

could ever interact and nobody can even

begin to explain how that could happen

so we have deep problems philosophically

with materialism that says that only

matter is ultimately real with idealism

that says only kind mind or

consciousness is ultimately real and

with dualism that says both matter and

mind are real but they exist separately

in separate domains all of those views

are deeply problematic the only view

that seems to account for the reality

and the existence and relationship

between matter and mind between

consciousness and energy is the view

called Pam psychosom the idea that

matter energy are intrinsically sentient

that subjectivity is inherent in

objectivity there is no separation

between the two and so therefore as life

to go back to your question what’s the

relationship between the objective

processes of living systems of evolution

and the subjective reality of

consciousness is that consciousness has

always been active in evolution it’s oh

it’s right from the very start there has

been awareness of possibilities and an

ability to make choices among those

possibilities and those have those

aspects of reality have accounted for

the progress of evolution being aware of

alternative possibilities and then

making choices that is what counts for

evolution so we can conceive of

evolution as the grand adventure of

matter-energy exploring its own


consciousness is part of the process of

evolution it’s not something that

emerged from evolution it’s always been

inherent within evolution guiding its

unfolding hmm yeah yeah that really

makes sense and I mean you taught you

talked about the sort of energy and you

talk about how the this subtle energy is

also sentient and that consciousness

doesn’t create this sort of subtle

energy can you get into that a bit

please south of energy is still a form

of energy and therefore it’s something

that spreads out in in space and subtle

space but mine or consciousness is not

spatial it doesn’t have any extension it

doesn’t have any volume it doesn’t exist

in space at all nine location it’s it’s

not even on location it’s none located

it doesn’t have any existence on space

whatsoever and so so subtle energy is

not the same as consciousness just as

regular physical energy has

consciousness built into it it’s

intrinsically sentient so is subtle

energy intrinsically sentient as well is

that all energy whether it’s subtle

energy or gross physical energy comes

with the ability to feel to be aware and

to make choices and it’s that ability to

feel to be aware and to make choices

that’s what consciousness is I have a

bumper sticker that some sums up the

relationship between consciousness and

and energy and it applies to whether

it’s physical energy or a subtle energy

and the bumper sticker is simply this

consciousness knows energy flows so when

that means as consciousness is the

ability to know to be aware to feel the

existence of anything energy is what

flows through existence of what is what

flows through space what consciousness

is not some one of those objects flowing

through space that’s a common blind-spot

common to both New Agers and to

materialist philosophers is that they

tend to think of consciousnesses as an

object and try to apply the tools and

ideas of objectivity to something that

just doesn’t have that kind of reality

it is subjective when when I’m having a

deep profound conversation with someone

and and I feel like I’m connecting with

them and you know the phrase is usually

I connected with them on on such a high

level I mean and I and I feel something

happening there and at maybe I mean you

say that energy doesn’t transmit I mean

there’s nothing being transmitted

between me and this person as we speak

not actually that’s not quite what I

said I’m saying that in in that kind of

essentially telepathic connection there

is no energy being transmitted that

accounts for the telepathic connection

Sony right now are you and I are having

this conversation and we are connecting

we are understanding each other at least

two to some degree but we effectively

communicating we’re connecting now in

the we’re speaking words and the words

are traveling through cyberspace through

them through the process of electrons

moving through space and and those are

carrying the energy you know whether or

not if we were sitting opposite each

other in a room then it wouldn’t be the

energy wouldn’t be transmitted through

electrons it would be transmitted

through vibrations in the air that’s it

that’s an exchange of energy and that

certainly happens when people

communicate there is a physical

connection an exchange of energy but

that doesn’t account for the reception

of meaning so right now to some extend

you and I are understanding each other

because we’re grasping the meaning that

the other person is communicating that’s

not contained in the air vibrations are

in the electrons meaning is something

subjective it doesn’t exist in the

objective physical world so something

else is happening besides the exchange

of physical energy where there is air

vibrations or electrons that accounts of

the fact that you and I share a meaning

we understand the meaning that the other

is communicate

that is a consciousness to consciousness

a mind to mind a telepathic

communication and there’s nothing no

energies transferred in that

communication so yes we are speaking so

for example two lovers may be sitting

together and one says to the other I

love you now they hear it because that’s

a be the the sound in the room that the

air in the room is vibrating that’s

creating the sound so there’s a physical

process taking place and so the other

person hears the words but more than

likely what really matters is not the

fact that they hear the words I love you

what they’re really interested in is the

the sincerity the authenticity the

meaning does that person really mean

what he or she says that is not carried

in the air vibrations there’s no way to

analyze or explore the vibrations of the

air are the electrons to see if that

person is really being sincere and

authentic that’s something that occurs

in in consciousness in the mind and

that’s subjective it’s not something

that occurs in space there is no

instrument that could ever detect

whether or not somebody has been sincere

are authentic that’s so we do connect

telepathically but the telepathic

connection is not something that

involves the exchange of energy through

space so we connect in two ways we

connect energetically through exchanges

of energy that happens all the time

that’s a physical process and one

something objective connecting with an

exchanging energy with something else

that’s objective but we also connect

inter subjectively through sharing of

meaning and that’s something that

doesn’t occur in space and doesn’t

require any special connection at all I

mean would you say that that everything

is connected yes I would yeah in fact I

even have a chapter in the book blind

spots on that

you know some years ago I had this aha

moment like a lot of people either have

these aha Eureka moments in the shower

or while I’m driving and this particular

one happened one day while I was taking

a shower I was thinking about the this

idea that everything is connected and it

suddenly struck me well of course

everything is connected it couldn’t be

any other way than that think of it this

way so if if you are iron not connected

or if two things are not connected it

means that there is something between

them that separating them but if for

something between us that’s separating

us then whatever is between us is also

connecting us if there is nothing

between us then there’s nothing

separating us so either way we are

always connected there is no way for any

two items in reality to ever be

unconnected they always connected in

some way because if there was anything

between them then whatever is between

them connects them and if there was

nothing between them then they would be

connected anyway so the idea that

everything is connected to me is kind of

ho-hum it’s like d’oeuvre yes of course

because there is really no other option

they’re really important and intriguing

question to me is not whether everything

is connected or not clearly everything

is connected to everything else the

really interesting question is what is

the nature of connection and we connect

in two ways we connect we connect

physically through exchanges of energy

and we also connect non-physically

through sharing of meaning in

consciousness and the sharing of needing

and consciousness is not something that

can be explained in the exchanges of

energy so again to go back to the

example of two lovers communicating they

say to each other I love you well

there’s a connection physically through

the words being spoken than the air

vibrations that set up a chain reaction

that ultimately gets processed in the

brain but none of that contains meaning

meaning is something that occurs

in consciousness and so we connect

through shared meaning which has nothing

to do with the exchanges of energy

through space hmm I mean I found find

all this incredibly profound and it

connects it does connect with me when

you put it the way you do and I remember

the chapter in your book that was kind

of a softball for you I mean you also

mentioned that we we aren’t alone we are

not isolated individuals that come

together to form relationships and I’d

love to hear your perspective on that as

well well yeah this comes back to a good

point that you were raising earlier

about you know how do people communicate

in in one of my other books radical

knowing that the theme of that book is

intersubjectivity and essentially in

that book I the subtitle is exploring

consciousness through relationship so we

can explore consciousness in in three

ways from what’s called the third person

perspective which is what neuroscience

does it explores the structure of the

brain and the nervous system and that

gives us the objective correlates of

mind or consciousness it doesn’t tell us

anything about consciousness per se but

it tells us how the brain operates when

when events are going on in the mind of

consciousness so that’s one way

neuroscience is the third person

perspective the the other one is the

first person perspective which is to

which is what people do in meditation

and contemplation where we take the time

to go deeply into our own subjectivity

and to pay attention to what’s happening

in that and those are really the two

standard modes that and that people use

for exploring consciousness and for a

long time the first person perspective

proponents would say that everything

that the third person the materialists

are doing is missing the mark and the

only true way to explore consciousness

is through first-person contemplation 4s

person investigation in in radical

knowing i point out

there is a third way and that’s the

second person perspective which is

through intersubjectivity so rather than

just looking into our own subjective

private awareness we can pay attention

to what happens when we are connecting

with others in relationship that is

intersubjectivity that my subjectivity

is in a co-creative relationship with

your subjectivity that actually we are

co-creating each other at every moment

that that Mike my consciousness is not

only influencing your consciousness but

it is literally co-creating your

consciousness that part of who you are

is created by part of who I am and vice

versa that all sentient beings in the

universe are contributing to the being

to the existence of all other sentient

beings in the universe the Buddhist

tradition is deeply aware of this and

refers through is codependent co

origination that everything arises

because of its relationships with

everything else so in that sense

consciousness the deepest nature of

consciousness is not our individual

subjective minds of consciousness that

that is that that is real there is a

reality to our individuality but the

deepest nature of who we are is not

individuals the deepest nature is the

word I coin in that book is is inter

viduals tick not only the Buddhist sage

refers to as inter being the deepest

nature of reality is relationship and

then out of this matrix a web of

relationships you can picture it like an

ocean these waves of individuality arise

out of the ocean of intersubjectivity

out of the ocean of relationship and

they exist for the length of our

eighteen nineteen hundred years and then

they dissolve they return back into the

ocean of intersubjectivity so

individuality is not the primary reality

of our existence it is real

it is secondary our deepest nature our

deepest reality is the connections the

relationships the intersubjectivity out

of which are individually arises our

individuality arises Wow I mean so would

you say that this is a process of

evolution or is this intelligent design

yes I I point out that in in in blast

spots that be the dilemma are the

dichotomy of the confrontation between

the intelligent designers the

creationists and the standard view of

evolution they’re not the only two

options in fact both of them are in some

ways accurate and and both of them are

in some ways wrong it’s not that there

is no intelligence and evolution again

from the perspective of pants I cotton

since all matter old energy is

intrinsically sentient has its own

subjectivity has its own awareness as

its own ability to make choices there

right from the very start evolution not

just here on earth but cosmic evolution

has involved consciousness directing the

unfolding the flowing of energy through

through the universe so there is an

intelligence active within evolution but

this is not a supernatural intelligence

as the intelligent designers and the

creationists assume it’s not like

there’s some God out there above

transcendent to reality to the universe

no the the creative aspect of the

universe is inherent its intrinsic to

the universe itself that matter energy

is intrinsically creative is

intrinsically sentient is able to make

choices and that it is guiding its own

unfolding and that the process of

evolution is the consciousness within

matter guiding the unfolding of matter

into these more and more complex forms

so from single cells to the

multicellular beings we recognize as

humans and elephants and dolphins and

dogs and cats and so on so I mean how do

we tie all this I mean how do we tie

this together I mean we have sentience


ness and this this energy I mean how

there there is the sense of for example

when when I start to think of a place or

when I start to focus my consciousness

onto a certain thing that thing if I

think about a white honda I will start

seeing white Honda’s everywhere why does

something like that happen well it’s

certainly not because you’re creating

those white Harmon hunters because

you’re thinking of them that’s that’s

pretty clear you’re seeing them because

you’ve now programmed your attention to

be more attentive to the observation of

white Honda’s I mean that’s a classical

psychological phenomenon but it’s got

nothing to do with creation if that’s

what you were thinking or implying no me

why is why is our sentience so important

okay so let me just get back and make an

important point is that we were asking

about why why would the cosmos consider

human consciousness to be more

significant than say the consciousness

of some other creatures I mentioned your

ass but we could also talk about whales

or elephants whales and elephants can

communicate over really long distances

without the benefit of developing

artificial technologies that humans do

that and that we require to communicate

over these immense distances whales can

do that without creating technologies

that in the process of creation

negatively affect the environment and at

pollute the environment and lead to the

current major crisis in our world today

of global warming and climate change so

and of course that’s not just apply to

communications technology its applied to

all industrial types of technology in

general whales and dolphins and

elephants and and other intelligent

creatures don’t need to mess up their

environment in order to communicate long

distances the human species does at

least thinks it does and has done so

it’s very easy to imagine

some cosmic greater intelligence looking

at our planet and thinking the most

intelligent species there are the ones

that don’t mess up their environment and

since humans have brought the

environment to the point of near

collapse that may not only destroy

ourselves but all other species along

with us that doesn’t strike me as the

height of intelligence and certainly

from a cosmic perspective be very easy

to think that that be that the cosmic

Lords would decide that the whales and

the Dolphins and the elephants were far

more intelligent than humans human

beings aren’t special as many say in

your book that’s one of the the major

blind spots in fact I often refer to it

as the the mother of all blind spots the

idea that humans are special it’s

something that you applied implied a

moment ago that because we have the

ability to create technologies and

civilizations art and science and

philosophy and religions yes we have

that ability and and in some ways that

makes us stand out from other species

but the point to realize is that every

species by definition has something

special that distinguishes it from other

species otherwise it wouldn’t be a

distinct species so yes humans can do

things that other species can’t do but

they can do things that we can’t do

dolphins and bats for example

communicate through echolocation we

can’t do that without developing

technologies to augment our natural

senses so every species is different

from every other species and every

species is unique and in that sense

every species is special and we need to

give up the idea that for something

especially special about human

specialness that’s the that’s the hubris

that’s the problem that lies are they at

the foundation of the current ecological

crisis we have is that somehow or other

it is assumed that because humans are

special that we have a right not only

the might but also the right to exploit

the natural environment to suit our own

desires in

needs and grieves but the consequences

of that view are not very pretty and are

likely to lead to our own demise as well

as the demise of many other species so

we have to give up the idea that humans

are special are if it’s important to you

or anybody else to cling onto the idea

that there is something special about

humans then you need to recognize that

there’s also something special about

every species that’s what makes it a

species and then to follow that up with

the acknowledgment that there is nothing

especially special about human

specialness that’s the point so in that

sense humans are not special because

every species is special and one of the

one of the questions that I had while I

was reading your book and I think you

answered it near the end but in free

will I mean how does that work into all

of this well that is in some ways the 64

trillion dollar question does Free Will

exists and I think the answer to that is

yes and no that to a great extent we as

organisms as human organisms are like

every other organism is it’s true that

yes we are determined to a great extent

by our past and that’s what the

scientific establishment likes to

persuade us is the is the case entirely

but it’s while yes it is true that we

are determined to a large extent by the

laws of physics by genetics by biology

none of that accounts for the fact of

consciousness and consciousness comes

with the ability to be aware of

possibilities and to then make choices

among those possibilities and that’s

where creativity comes into being and

that’s where free will come them so we

in addition to being determined to a

great extent in a sufficiently clear

state of awareness we can be aware of

the possibilities present to us and then

choose among those possibilities

something new that didn’t exist before

and so we are not fully chained to the

past through determinism yes to a large

extent a lot of what we do is determine

and a lot events very useful we don’t

have to be aware of breathing and the

beating of our heart for example

although that happens deterministically

but we do have the ability to interrupt

the process of determinism so for

example right now you and I well they

are breathing is happening naturally and

automatically we can choose to interrupt

that process and stop breathing for a

moment or two and people who have

greater psychophysical awareness can

also do things like stopping their heart

beating for a moment many Yogi’s can do

quite amazing things with their my body

connection so we can use choice and

consciousness to interrupt the flow of

determinism and that’s the point that

gets overlooked inevitably within the

scientific worldview because the

scientific worldview doesn’t recognize

that consciousness and choice are

intrinsic to reality they see

consciousness of something that emerges

miraculously of course from the

complexity of matter um and that’s one

of the again one of the blind spots that

I address in this book is that the idea

that brains produce consciousness is a

non-starter that you’re never going to

get physical you’re never going to get

non-physical mind or consciousness from

purely physical ingredients like brain

cells and nervous systems I mean would

you see this is sort of some sort of

computer simulated environment that

we’re in no I would not why not because

we can we can have the experience of our

embodiment and we can also have the

experience of our consciousness and the

the embodiment is something that can

move through space that again it comes

back to one of the views of of idealism

I said there were two

versions of idealism there’s the view

that says we’re both you say that only

consciousness exists and then one view

says that matter energy is just an

illusion and the other says no matter

energy is real that is something that

emanates from pure object F pure

subjective mind or consciousness but

you’re never going to get anything truly

material are truly objective from surely

subjective ingredients that’s a

non-starter that’s just not going to

work out and then the other idea is the

idea well that matter energy is just an

illusion but people who make that claim

and I’ve met many of them literally just

don’t live in the world in a way

consistent with that claim they wear

clothes they eat food they drink liquids

they avoid cars in the freeway and so on

and so on so everybody who claims it

matter is an illusion actually lives in

the world as though matter is very real

and they’ve got no other option if you

want to live and stay saying you have to

treat the physical world is real the

physical world stubbornly insists on its

own reality if you try to live any other

way you will quickly become very bruised

or workers they will die so people have

to acknowledge the physical world is

real there’s just no other option it’s

not even something that they can choose

to do they might make the claim that

Matt that matter is just an illusion but

they will always act and behave and

perform in the world as though matter is

real everybody without exception that I

know who claims that matter is an

illusion doesn’t treat matter as an

illusion and I bet the same is true in

your experience that you don’t know of

anyone who claims that matter is an

illusion who actually lives in a way

consistent with that plane now

philosophers call that a performative

contradiction that somebody makes a

claim that their action their behavior

their performance contradicts what they

claim to be the case so in people claim

that matter is just an illusion they

actually don’t live in the world in a

way consistent with that claim

it’s a performative contradiction now is

that there’s no way to logically refute

that that’s one of the strengths of that

form of idealism because there’s no way

to step outside the mind to know

anything about any extra mental reality

because everything we know about the

physical world we know out can only know

through consciousness one of the

strengths of idealism is that it is

logically irrefutable because there’s no

way to step outside consciousness to

know anything about the physical world

because everything we know about the

physical world the material world we

know as something that shows up in

consciousness so all knowledge

necessarily occurs in the mind occurs in

consciousness so everything we know

about the physical world including the

existence of the material physical world

is an event that occurs in consciousness

so that’s a pretty strong position to

take and it’s logically irrefutable but

the people who claim that therefore

matter is just an illusion because

everything we know about the physical

material world is something that occurs

in consciousness engage in a

performative contradiction while it’s

logically irrefutable it is pragmatical

irrefutable it’s pragmatically

problematic because people actually

don’t live in the world in a way

consistent with the claim that matter is

just an illusion everybody who makes

that claim treats matter as though it’s

real because they have no other choice

to if they want to stay alive and stay

saying yeah fair enough you know

Christian I want to I want to wrap up

here I mean we’ve covered a lot i

definitely recommend people check out

the book for themselves blind spots 21

good reasons to think before you talk I

mean is there is there any one last

thing that you want to get in here

before we close out well we talked we

addressed it earlier and I think it

probably is something worth emphasizing

again that time I refer to the the blind

spot the idea that humans are special as

the mother of all blind spots I think

anybody with any sense of responsibility

for the current situation in the world

has to address the problem of climate

change and the and the the influence of

human actions in producing global

warming and climate change and what I do

in my work is I trace that back to the

the the the assumption the the hubris

that humans are special and usually that

is defended on two grounds is defended

by religious fundamentalists by saying

that we are special because God injected

a soul into humans and were the only

creatures with souls and therefore with

true consciousness with true

intelligence then on the scientific side

they say that humans are special because

we have these special brains with a

special neocortex that is responsible

for consciousness that if you don’t have

a NE a– cortex you don’t have

consciousness that’s the scientific view

and that’s just as absurd as the

fundamentalist view that says God

injected solar consciousness into into

humans so both of these views and by the

way of course these are religions and

Sciences developed by Guess Who by

humans and so it’s it’s humans who come

up with the rationale for defending the

position that humans are special I don’t

I’m not aware of any convocation of all

the species of the planet getting

together and voting yes let’s make the

humans the dominant species in on the

planet or in the universe that never

happened never will happen no the idea

that humans are special is a purely

human generated idea it’s a very

self-serving ID at least on the face of

it in the end it would probably be our

self-destruction so we need to give up

the idea that humans are special and

recognize that we are one species among

all the other innumerable species and

sentient beings and that there’s nothing

particularly special about human

uniqueness our human specialness yeah I

love it a Christian where can where can

people find your work oh well they can

they can go to my website it’s my name

Christian De Quincey com

just for those who have a blind spot

about the letter e de Quincy is spelled

de q you I antsy ey a lot of people

leave out that me and of course you

won’t get through to my website if you

don’t use that and Christian is spelt

away there the religion of spell so it’s

christian de Quincy calm I’ve got links

to my books and two videos and articles

from that website they can also connect

with the wisdom academy there if they’re

interested in mentorships or courses in

consciousness studies and of course they

can get my books through amazon or in

the local bookstore and they can see

videos on youtube particularly videos of

recent series of videos i did with the

the host of the show thinking aloud are

you thinking aloud you’ve Jeffrey mish

love so there’s a bunch of videos

available on the new thinking aloud

channel on YouTube as well so there’s a

lot out there I suppose the easiest way

to find out the scope of my work is to

do a lot of people do is just google my

name and that will bring up a lot of

links yes sir well I just want to thank

you for your time thank you so much for

being here and sharing your thoughts

well thank you too and I’m sorry we had

such an interrupted communication this

is the human experience and we are going

to get out of here thank you guys so

much for listening

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