All sensible people knew this because every person of authority said the earth was at the center of the universe and because it was a fact as obvious as the night! Look up! Clearly, all of it revolves around us, while we are perfectly still.
Then, one day, a jackass named Copernicus came along and blew everyone’s mind by convincingly making the case that the earth is not at the center of the universe. Instead, Copernicus argued, our planet revolves around the sun.
Well, today, the jackasses in psychology and neuroscience are telling us that you are not at the center of your mind’s universe. Your conscious mind, despite its familiar, comforting and certain presence, is only one small part of a vast and complex mental universe, and, for much of the time, your conscious mind isn’t even at the center of the action that runs the show of your daily life.
To which you might proclaim, “hogwash, it’s as plain as day that I — that is, my conscious mind — is the be all and end all of my mind.”
And that exclamation, if you were to make it, would put you in a long and noble tradition of science deniers who, if right, would have us believe we live on a flat, young, not-warming earth at the center of the universe. Are you sure this is the kind of company you would like to keep?
I am, nevertheless, sympathetic to your instinctive disbelief. I get it. Had I not spent twenty years of my life studying a variety of philosophical and religious accounts of the mind and identity, I probably wouldn’t have been able to take at face value the results of the scientific research. But I have, so I do.
Admittedly, science is a moving target. What we know now about the mind will evolve and change over time. Nevertheless, I think the genii are out of the bottle.
Most importantly, the conclusions the scientific community have already reached about the mind, and which are now widely regarded as uncontroversial, I think, will usher in a conceptual revolution on par or bigger than the Copernican Revolution.
It is also a revolution that is only just getting underway. Do you want to be a part of it?
I’m also in the process of developing a little online course, which will explore the implications of the research described in these books (and others) from a philosophical perspective.
If you would prefer a personal guided tour through this research and its implications, let’s talk.