Selected conversation episodes from “The Oneness of All” podcast between myself and my friend Dave.
188. Free Will and Morality
In this episode, I speak again with my best friend Dave in a discussion mostly about free will and morality, among other topics. In this discussion, we talk about some of the different ways one can talk about manifested things such as objects like tables and chairs, as well as concepts like morality, free will, etc. within our experienced, relative world, or a “higher level” of reality, and the fact none of these things actually and ultimately exist within another level of ultimate reality in which there is only consciousness or stasis, and change or discreteness. We discuss how there is in fact, no genuine morality in light of the fact of determinism, and therefore there can only be, at best, action taken with others out of pragmatic necessity. In other words, we put people in prison to protect ourselves and others from these individuals, not necessarily because we deem them “evil” or “bad” people, which is an impossible judgment to make about others in light of determinism since with the truth of determinism, one cannot do otherwise than what they in fact did. I discuss my shared misgivings with Sam Harris regarding some “compatibilists’ view that determinism and free will can somehow coexist at the same time. I argue the only way this makes sense is to argue that at the relative “higher” level of reality we need out of pragmatic necessity to consider ourselves and others moral agents with free will even though the truth of determinism makes this an ultimate impossibility. In our discussion we also discuss our thoughts on some conversations on the “Making Sense of Free Will” episode on Sam Harris’ “Making Sense” podcast episode released February 14, 2023 in which Sam talks with author and physicist Sean Carroll, mathematician and author Jedea Peral, and biologist Jerry Coyne among others.
166. How Does the Self Happen?
In this discussion with my friend Dave, we talk about some ideas on how the self, or the persistent feeling of a permanent, unchanging “entity” or “experiencer” or “doer” may emerge as a felt experience. Also discussed is how values are inseparable from our actions and decision making.
155. Psychological Continuity
In this episode Dave and I discuss our thoughts on two pieces of audio from Sam Harris’ “Waking Up” app entitled “The Paradox of Identity” and “The Paradox of Death.” Among other discoveries, we come to an understanding of the ego being synonymous with psychological continuity.
129. The Dream of the Individual
In this episode I again speak with my friend Dave as we discuss our thoughts on a conversation entitled “Wrestling the Paradox” with Jim Newman and Sam Harris on his “Waking Up” meditation app. In this discussion, we speak of the contradiction of Jim’s speaking of “non-happening,” all the while holding an actually happening conversation with Sam Harris. The fundamental issue with Jim’s position is his denial of change while speaking of “non-solidity,” which is only possible if change is really happening. We also discuss the arrogance of those who would claim “enlightenment.” There is also discussion on the non-contradictory position of Reality being All, with two side of the same “one coin” of All, being stasis (synonymous with consciousness) and change.
In this episode I speak with my friend Dave on several topics especially salient to these turbulent times; the issue of not being able to agree as a society on common values, which I believe may be the cornerstone issue of our society; the bad faith and disingenuous arguments by those who don’t respect science, evidence, and sound reasoning. Also discussed is the role of culture and class in our societal fragmentation and how we might best repair and heal our fractured world.
82. What is “Experience?”
In this episode, I speak again with my friend Dave, this time discussing the question of what is experience and how it does or does not relate to the definition of consciousness. We look at the definition of consciousness as related to experience from Annaka Harris in her book, “Conscious,” and discuss why we disagree with her and Thomas Nagel’s definition of consciousness being “something that it is like to be that organism,” which Dave and I would argue is nothing more than brain behavior and the awareness of “self” or ego, different from consciousness. We also discuss the other fundamental of the Universe – change, and why change must be a second fundamental principle along with consciousness, synonymous with stasis, in order to create distinction, the appearance of separation, discreet forms, or “existence” if you will. Consciousness or stasis, and change are two sides of the same one coin – the one whole of All. Also discussed is mathematics as a language of consciousness.
80. Consciousness Revisited
In this episode, I speak again with my good friend Dave on the topic of consciousness, including the limitations of science to explain consciousness and why I believe science will never be able to explain consciousness, why consciousness like all is non-dual and singular, a “theory of everything,” the problems with assuming “objective reality,” and why the idea of there being a dualistic separation between matter and consciousness is incorrect.
68. Do We Exist?
During my fifth conversation with Dave, we begin with the question of “do we exist?” During this conversation we also discuss other topics, including the difference between possibility and probability, the notion the universe is probabilistic rather than strictly deterministic, and what this might mean with respsect to determinism and free will. We also take a look together at the issue of presuppositions through the lens of probability.
66. What is Identity?
In my fourth conversation with Dave, we discuss notions of identity, how identity might happen, and some of the consequences of what it means to identify with a self, an ego.
63. What is Consciousness?
In my third talk with Dave, we discuss consciousness and some varying definitions of consciousness, including that of philosopher Thomas Nagel which essentially describes consciousness as “something that is is like to be an organism.” Dave and I discuss some of the problems with this definition, and also discuss our thoughts on some of Annaka Harris’ new book “Conscious.”
62. Observing the Universe
This episode is a conversation between myself and my best friend from college Dave, with whom I spoke on the last episode. This is actually our first recorded conversation, which I had not intended to release due to some of the poor sound quality, but later thought better to release the parts of our conversation I felt were of acceptable sound quality and most importantly quite valuable. Topics discussed include consciousness, conscious “AI,” survival bias, “spiritual” fraud, the fundamentals of stasis and change, evolution and entropy, some of the problems with “total honesty” and the futility in defining “moral absolutes.”
61. The Game
On this episode, I speak with my best friend Dave whom I’ve known since 1993 during our college years, and with whom I have had and continue to have the most profound conversations of my life. During our discussion we talk among other things about life being a kind of “game” if you will, since our illusory sense of self is the foundation of this entire play of responsibility, accountability, and ownership in the human experience of life as we know it, and how knowing one is a “player” in the game can profoundly affect our experience of life. Also discussed is why we need to “buy in” to the illusion of self for the evolutionary sake of survival, “natural ethics,” morality, and free will among other topics.