Cosmos Café [2020-02-11] - The Idea of the World 0 (Kick-off)

Recorded 11 February 2020

ZOOM video conference:

If you haven’t been following the related proposal thread, I strongly suggest that you jump over there first and familiarize yourself with what we want to do, for this thread is where we want to get that ball rolling.

Our focus will be the front matter to Bernardo Kastrup’s The Idea of the World (see Reading/Watching/Listening section, below), in particular

  • Acknowledgements
  • Forward by Menas C. Kafatos
  • Note to readers of my previous books
  • Preface, and
  • Overview

Our goal is to get started with a close, critical reading of Kastrup’s text by engaging just that material that sets the stage for the book as a whole. In this session, it would be nice to set a foundation for our further reading, noting similarities and differences in our own understanding of what Kastrup is trying to do and how this fits into our own understandings of reality. In other words, it is an attempt to get on the same sheet of music, even if we might be singing different parts.

Reading / Watching / Listening

Kastrup, Bernardo (2019) The Idea of the World: A multi-disciplinary argument for the mental nature of reality , Winchester, UK/Washington, USA , iff Books, Front matter. (See introduction, above.)

Nota Bene: If you do not yet have the book and are not sure whether you want to invest in it, by downloading the Kindle “Reading Sample” for this text from Amazon, you will have access to the front matter and first chapter or two of the text. What is more, all the “content” chapters of the book are also available online and for each subsequent reading session, links thereto will be provided.

Seed Questions

  • Do have any particular thoughts about the “Acknowledgements” section?

  • What do you think of Kafatos’ “Foreword”?

  • If you’ve read any of Kastrup’s previous works, was his “Note” helpful? If you haven’t, has it caused any unwanted confusion?

  • What do you think of Kastrup’s approach in constructing the book?

  • Do you feel that you have a good understanding of what Kastrup is trying to do and how he is trying to do it?

Context, Backstory, and Related Topics

Suggested Agenda

  1. Welcomes and introductions (depending on who’s there and who knows whom)

  2. Round Robin 1: Why did you decide to embark on the “quest”?

  3. Round Robin 2: First impressions of the text (whereby this round can overlap with RR1)

  4. A closer look, based on the Seed Questions, and discussion

  5. Round-up and preview of coming attractions (what’s up next time)

(This is, as the heading implies, a suggestion. I’m open to any and all modifications that help us along the way. It is, at a minimum, a framework to start with.)


Hope to be there having done the reading!!


Here a couple of recent articles B. Kastrup. Might help to get into the discussion.


Hi, I’d like to join but am having difficulty figuring out what time it would be in my time zone and if it’s feasible (the time shown when I’m on the site is a city I don’t recognize) I am in GMT +8 if that is any help.


Great help! We’re scheduled for 7:00 pm (19:00h) GMT on Tuesday, 11 Feb., so that would make it rather early in the morning of the 12th for you!

For the kick-off, I just took the usual CCafé time, because it was convenient, and I knew that around half-a-dozen of the interested parties could conceivably make that time. Having said that, the participants, even for regular CCafés are spread out from California/USA to Central Europe (I’m in Germany), so it is in many ways inconvenient for somebody all the time. In this case, the habitual prevailed.

Enabling as digital technology may be in some regards, when it comes to face-to-face meet-ups, good ol’ Chronos (i.e., clock-time) is a very problematic intruder. For that reason, and as I had mentioned in other related posts, I’d like to organize the sessions for this reading in such a way that the majority of the participants are not too unnecessarily inconvenienced, at least not all of the time. I have no idea if that is possible. But, I’m open for suggestions, as I’m sure everyone else is. The face-to-face sessions are always the most fun and productive when we’ve got a fair number of faces – particularly ones we don’t get to see all the time – to engage.


I received the following comments by email from an early correspondent who occasionally follows our discussions but does not have an account on the site:

Dear Marco & Associates,

There is one notable and admirable trait characterizing your efforts from the start — sincerity. Bravo!

On the matter of mentalism, following are a few thoughts.

First, a qualifier: Please pardon the use of declarative sentences. Though I speak as though I knew, or indeed, could know, anything stated should be subjected to and validated or refuted by your own investigations and assessments.

Roughly a hundred years ago, a time of great insight and progress in physics spawned by Einstein’s postulates a decade or so earlier, the Danish physicist Neil’s Bohr said some thing like “When we are affixing a subjective value to a dynamic process, we are not so much measuring the world as creating it.” From this I choose to infer the we are mentally creating a universe. Further, if I am creating a universe, you, too, are creating universes. Ergo, there are multiverses and we are creator gods. Now the trick becomes to act accordingly. Perhaps the first act might entail respect for ourselves and our fellow creator gods. The second act could be to implement the old carpenter’s adage — measure twice, cut once. However, to measure and cut well, we would be aided by helping to launch the coming Age of Empiricism. To address a seeming contradiction, namely that materialism and mentalism cannot go hand in hand, I say simply that as we emerge from the yet continuing Dark Ages, we can make peace with contradictions as we move forward in understanding, recognizing the relatively low point from which we start, namely we can say little empirically of 85 +/- of the physical universe we inhabit other than that it is “dark,” and that we have behaved barbarously as we clawed and connived our way to the top of the food chain on this lovely, lonely mote.

As to any debate regarding the physicality or mentality of existence, for the time being we can say yes, the material is mental, and yes, the mental is material and recognize there is no inherent difference.

Truth be told, I just made this all up and fully accept that it is subject to change.

In any event, the pendulum swings. The native inhabitants of Australia, one example among several, became pretty good at interpreting life through the lens of mentality, while Europeans concentrated more on physicality. Though we are overboard on the physicality side, we can use linear thought and syllogistic reasoning to build a foundation for mentalist and other interpretive measures. Here it is meant that Drexler and others’ Atomically Precise Manufacturing scheme can be brought to bear to not only eliminate inefficiencies in production but to effectively banish scarcity, thus repealing the old Law of Supply and Demand and ushering in what our National Optimists Party likes to call PopLux, or the Age of Popular Luxury — which, like the Age of Empiricism is a decidedly materialist construct, but one which lays a physical foundation out of which mentalist, intuitional, esthetical etc., systems of life interpretation can grow. We are, after all, best suited to lives of music and art.

Now comes a caveat: Though it’s said that morality can’t be legislated and no matter how dominant one system or another becomes, unless and until the love of power is supplanted by the power of love, we and many other kinds with whom we share this planet are just walking the decks of a slow Ark bound for extinction. This is why a practical scheme for implementation of positive systems recognizing the value of life, yours, mine and ours, is central to any given effort, in my view, and this is why I urge the evident brain power extant in your group to come out into the light of day and, using Margaret Mead’s dictum about changing the world, do just that. The need is self-evident and if not you, who, and if not now, when?

Also, if I didn’t have to get ready for boxing, a bit more time could be taken and this might be a bit more cogent. Maybe yes, maybe no.

Thanks for any attention you might pay (perhaps the only thing we humans are obliged to pay), and for your ongoing good works.

Please feel free to contribute this to the discussion of mentality and physicality, if you deem it meritorious.

Best wishes,
Chris [Johnson]


Hmm, so I have done the reading and it looks like the meeting is in two hours which would be my 3 AM… If I am awake then I’ll join in. It’d also be my first ever Zoom meeting so we’ll see if it works…


Hi there, my first post after a wonderful kick off session of The Idea of the World.

I’m posting the links of Bernardo’s defense of his second Ph.D.:
The full defense: Bernardo's defense of his second Ph.D. - YouTube

You can get his Ph.D. thesis here: Bernardo Kastrup, Analytic Idealism: A consciousness-only ontology - PhilPapers


Excellent! Thanks Jaime. Great to have you on-board. It was a great session today; looking forward to many more in the future.


Thanks for posting, Jaime. I’m looking forward to delving into this.


Just a question/proposal… Is it part of the program to invite Bernardo to one of our meetings? Is someone in contact with him? Seems so, because he is aware of these Cosmos Café sessions (he posted it on his forum) and he might be interested for an interview/discussion. Maybe at the end when we have gone through his book? Would that make sense?


At the end would make sense, as we come to our own conclusions, we could benefit from a meta-perspective, about his work and about what we want to have happen next. I am more interested quite frankly in figuring out what kind of projects others in our group are developing. How can we support our emerging initiatives? There are plenty of videos with Kastrup in lots of forums already. What will we know when we have finished his book that will make a difference? I would like to work through, on our own, some of the complexity of the issues already put on the table. Then we can create some questions/responses that might be useful.


Agreed. I see our CCafés as helping us sort out the issues, and once we know what they are, what any of us would like to build on or pursue further, it could be very helpful to have a chat with Bernardo himself.


Hi, I’ve recently found Cosmos Café and I watched a good bit of the video of your first Zoom meeting. Is this going to happen on a weekly basis, 7pm GMT on Tuesdays? I’m not sure how to get a Zoom invitation link to the next meeting. Or do I just go to the link at the top of this page?

I’ve read Bernardo’s book Idea of the World, some parts more in-depth than others, but I’ve had it for a while and am impressed with it. I follow Bernardo’s online forum pretty closely also, so I have an appetite for these ideas. Looking forward to it.



Greetings. Glad to have you on-board.

Given the locations of the current participants, the timing could very well remain as it is. We have a couple of interested folks in Australia, but finding a half-way convenient time to meet is rather challenging. Does the current time work well enough for you? We’d love to have you join in the online sessions.

The current “plan” is to have sessions every two weeks. The next one, dealing with part 1, of IOTW would then take place on 25 Feb. I’m in the process of setting up the page. Once that is accomplished (I hope to do that this weekend), there will be a Zoom link at the top of the page. All you need do to join in is click that link and follow the onscreen instructions.

Of course, contributions to the CCafé session forums are always appreciated. Looking forward to hearing from you.


Thanks, Ed. The current time works for me (in Michigan), so I hope to be joining you on 25 Feb. and to have something to offer there.