Interview with Susan Blackmore

I am sharing this youtube interview with you all as I greatly appreciate Susan’s work in the world. She succinctly expresses my sentiments on these issues, and both of my books directly mirror the opinions shared in this video. She is a nondualist trained in psychology, Zen Buddhism, and environmental psychology, who writes extensively on philosophy, consciousness, the self illusion, free will, cognitive science and many other related topics. She is highly respected in her fields and quite eloquent. I hope you enjoy!

1 Comment

  1. If the self is an illusion, then who is having the illusion?

    The mind models reality. If the model provides correct and useful information, then it is considered to be a true model of reality. A model that is inaccurate with bad information is called an “illusion”. But if the model allows us to interact successfully with reality then it is called “real”. And we call it “real” because it is our only means of accessing reality.

    A model of the self is like the model of an apple. We experience the apple. We experience the self. We presume in both cases that each object exists in reality. We confirm this by using one sensory perception to confirm another. If I see an apple, and reach for it, and pick it up, and take a bite, and all of these experiences are consistent with previous apples, then this apple is real. But if I reach for the apple, and it feels different, and I knock on it and it sounds hollow, then I realize it is artificial fruit used for decoration and not for eating.

    I am aware of myself in the same fashion. When I touch the apple, my tactile sensation not only confirms the shape of the apple, but also confirms that “that which is me” has touched an apple.

    Free will is when we decide for ourselves what we “will” do, when “free” of external coercion or other undue influence. This is not an illusion or belief, it is an empirical distinction.

    “First there is a mountain. Then, there is no mountain. Then there is.”


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