Bernardo Kastrup and Rupert Sheldrake: The Nature of the Cosmic Mind, with Jonas Atlas


Both Rupert and Bernardo Kastrup are outspoken critics of mechanical materialism. They share a strong focus on questions about consciousness and its relation to the formation of reality. While their ideas exhibit considerable overlap, there are also apparent divergences. Yet, surprisingly, they have not engaged in a public discussion about some of their core interests. That is why Jonas Atlas thought it would be a good idea to bring them together for a hosted dialogue. He sensed that such an exchange could cast a new light on age-old philosophical debates. For example, Bernardo is a strong proponent of idealism, while Rupert often presents a more trinitarian view of existence. This difference (or is it perhaps similarity?) provided a good starting point for a deep discussion on the nature of the cosmic mind. As the conversation unfolded, exploring the inherent consciousness underlying all reality in its deepest depths and highest heights, they both reinforced and nuanced each other’s perspectives. The result is a thought-provoking dialogue about various insights that philosophy, theology, and science have to offer about the divine essence of existence.

00:00:00 Introduction
00:01:32 Part 1: monistic idealism or trinitarian panentheism?
00:16:15 Part 2: what are some good metaphors to describe the conscious ground of existence?
00:20:33 Part 3: approach these questions analytically, allegorically or experimentally?
00:24:08 Part 4: how do the universal consciousness and its expressions interact?
00:34:19 Part 5: if consciousness is all there is, why does matter seem to be unconconscious?
00:40:46 Part 6: are the smallest particles conscious?
00:50:20 Part 7: are large cosmic entities conscious?
01:01:10 Part 8: does the whole cosmos have a mind of its own?
01:03:26 Part 9: why does the unity of the cosmic mind express itself in multiplicity?
01:14:19 Some final words of appreciation

Bernardo Kastrup is the executive director of Essentia Foundation. His work has been leading the modern renaissance of metaphysical idealism, the notion that reality is essentially mental. He has a Ph.D. in philosophy and another Ph.D. in computer engineering. As a scientist, Bernardo has worked for the European Organization for Nuclear Research and the Philips Research Laboratories. He has also had a 25-year career in high-technology, having co-founded parallel processing company Silicon Hive and worked as a technology strategist for the geopolitically significant company ASML, for 15 years. Formulated in detail in many academic papers and books, Bernardo's ideas have been featured on Scientific American, the magazine of The Institute of Art and Ideas, the Blog of the American Philosophical Association and Big Think, among others. Bernardo's 11th book, coming in Octobre 2024, is Analytic Idealism in a Nutshell: A straightforward summary of the 21st-century's only plausible metaphysics.


Jonas Atlas is a scholar of religion who writes and lectures on religion, politics, and mysticism. Though rooted within the Christian tradition, Jonas immersed himself into various other traditions, from Hinduism to Islam. After his studies in philosophy, anthropology, and theology at different universities, he became active in various forms of local and international peace work, often with a focus on cultural and religious diversity. Jonas currently teaches classes on ethics and spirituality at the KDG University of Applied Sciences and Arts. He is also an independent researcher at the Radboud University, as a member of the Race, Religion and Secularism network. His latest book is Religion: Reality Behind the Myths:


Dr Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, is a biologist and author best known for his hypothesis of morphic resonance. At Cambridge University he worked in developmental biology as a Fellow of Clare College. He was Principal Plant Physiologist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics and From 2005 to 2010 was Director of the Perrott-Warrick project, Cambridge.

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