A Hypothesis for the Mind-Body Problem

Paranthology-vol3issue3There’s a provocative article on Scribd under its “Trending” section:  “A Paradigm-Breaking Hypothesis for Solving the Mind-Body Problem” by Bernardo Kastrup in the journal  Paranthology. The author holds a Ph.D. in computer engineering, works in the high tech industry and has also worked at CERN according to his bio on Amazon. The article is a great read for those who speculate on life after life or are  researching for inspiration for a novel involving the paranormal.

The article offers an hypothesis on the relationship of the human brain to what we call “mind” or consciousness. Kastrup proposes that the materialistic view of the brain does not explain consciousness.  He hypothesizes that our brains act as filters of a vast consciousness that exists outside of our material brains, but when the brain’s metabolism is low, these filters can weaken or deactivate.

When our brains’  filters are ‘deactivated’ we are exposed to experiences that transcend time and space. He says this could explain the extraordinary experiences reported by pilots under narcosis, or by those who have experienced near death experiences (NDE) or altered states through trauma or other events such as meditation or certain drugs. The explanation, to simplify, is that these events dilute or weaken the brain’s natural  filter, which he says orients our physical body to a local space and time.

The materialistic view of the brain suggests that these extraordinary subjective experiences should be expressed as high activity in the brain, but that correlation does not bear out says Kastrup, pointing to various neuroscience studies.

At his conclusion, Kastrup writes:

“This ‘filter’ hypothesis explains how traditional techniques for the attainment of transpersonal insight work: by reducing the activity of certain brain regions, they (partially and/or temporarily) take the filtering mechanism offline, allowing consciousness to de-clench and expand beyond the space-time locus of the body. From this perspective, physical death is not the end of consciousness, but its liberation.”

Kastrup is also the author of three philosophy books: Rationalist Spirituality, Dreamed Up Reality, and Meaning in Absurdity.