We think attachment is only to our money or to our body and other stuff. No, that’s the easy things to understand you’re going to have to let go of. But imagine attaching to other stuff which has always been there: what defines you, what you think you are. Your consciousness, your will.

Ontology

Ontology is a branch of philosophy concerned with the study of being or existence. Ontology seeks to describe or posit the basic categories and relationships of being or existence to define entities and types of entities within its framework. A key question ontology grapples with is determining what entities and phenomena exist or can be said to exist.

Some key concepts in ontology include universals and particulars. Universals refer to general entities or types of things while particulars refer to concrete individual entities. Other ontological topics look at issues like dependence, composition, identity, properties, space and time. Ontology also intersects with other branches of philosophy like metaphysics and overlaps conceptually with fields such as semantics in linguistics. Its study helps frame philosophical questions about the nature of reality and existence through systematic conceptualization. While controversial, ontology provides a structured conceptual foundation to analyze assumptions about what is in theoretical terms.

Documents

Terence McKenna   (1993)

A Weekend with Terence McKenna

“Healing the inner elf through trance, dance, and diet”—the session for true McKenna enthusiasts: twelve hours with the bard himself, in which he touches upon practically all of his trademark topics.

Terence McKenna   (1997)

Appreciating Imagination

Join Terence McKenna in this weekend workshop as he takes us on an imaginative journey into the depths of human creativity. Through eloquent exploration of psychedelics, virtual worlds, and shamanic states of consciousness, McKenna reveals how embracing our imagination allows us to envision and manifest alternate realities beyond cultural conditioning. By cultivating our creative faculties with mathematical reasoning, intuition, and immersion in nature, he guides us toward transcending ideological limits into an enlightened future of compassion. Ultimately, breaking boundaries through the power of imagination will inspire us to reach new heights of understanding and connectivity.

Terence McKenna   (1990)

Awakening to Archaic Values

A weekend workshop in which Terence encourages humanity to return to harmonic habits which have been lost in the tide of time.

Alan Watts

Consciousness and Rhythm

This seminar explores consciousness as an intrinsic rhythmic interplay with reality instead of a detached witness. Watts challenges notions of separateness, asserting that individuals and the cosmos are fundamentally unified. He encourages transcending ego and dualistic thinking to harmonize with the underlying patterns and dance that all differentiated experiences, including our own being, arise from. The goal is realizing our inherent interconnectedness with the seamless whole.

Alan Watts

Diamond Way

Watts beckons us to peer past the veil, where remembering and forgetting engage in a cosmic dance. Traverse the paradoxical streams of jiriki and tariki, self-power and other-power, until the very concept of “I” dissolves like a dewtopped lotus. Prepare to be unshackled and uninhibited, for in the quest for nothingness lies the quintessence of everythingness.

Alan Watts   (1971)

Conversation with Myself

Essential Lectures, Program 12

While walking in a field above Muir Woods, Alan Watts points to humankind's attempts to straighten out a wiggly world as the root of our ecological crisis.

Douglas Hofstadter   (1979)

Gödel, Escher, Bach

An Eternal Golden Braid

By exploring common themes in the lives and works of logician Kurt Gödel, artist M. C. Escher and composer Johann Sebastian Bach, this book expounds concepts fundamental to mathematics, symmetry, and intelligence. Through illustration and analysis, the book discusses how self-reference and formal rules allow systems to acquire meaning despite being made of 'meaningless' elements. It also discusses what it means to communicate, how knowledge can be represented and stored, the methods and limitations of symbolic representation, and even the fundamental notion of 'meaning' itself.

David Chalmers   (2016)

Hard Problem of Consciousness

Philosopher David Chalmers on the combination problem, dualism, and panpsychism.

Terence McKenna   (1998)

In the Valley of Novelty

Journeying through multiple dimensions of psychedelic consciousness, Terence McKenna's visionary weekend workshop invites us on an entheogenic voyage to the frontiers of the mind and its imminent conquering of matter. Blending scientific insights with shamanic wisdom, McKenna argues that natural plant medicines like psilocybin and DMT provide portals into mystical realms and alien dimensions, catalyzing revelations about nature, reality, and the human psyche. He urges us to courageously explore these consciousness-expanding substances, seeking the gratuitous beauty and truths they unveil. For McKenna, the psychedelic experience holds secrets to our world and ourselves—if only we dare lift the veil.

Ernst Mach   (1914)

Inner Perspective

Ernst Mach's illustration of the subjective visual experience.

Bryce Huebner   (2013)

Macrocognition

A Theory of Distributed Minds and Collective Intentionality

Bryce Huebner develops a novel approach to distributed cognition and collective intentionality, arguing that genuine cognition requires the capacity for flexible, goal-directed behavior enabled by integrated representational systems. It posits that collective mentality should be ascribed where specialized subroutines are integrated to yield group-relevant, goal-directed behavior. The approach reveals that there are many kinds of collective minds, some more akin to those of honeybees or cats than humans. It challenges traditional notions of collective intentionality, suggesting that groups are unlikely to be "believers" in the fullest sense, shedding new light on questions of collective intentionality and responsibility.

Alan Watts   (1969)

The Nature of Consciousness (Part 1)

Out of Your Mind 1

A seminar about “what there is.” Watts weaves together keen insights from science and spirituality to propose that existence is more like a game of hide-and-seek where we pretend not to recognize how self and other are interconnected.

Alan Watts   (1969)

The Nature of Consciousness (Part 2)

Out of Your Mind 2

Alan Watts suggests the sole identity with our egoic thoughts limits our consciousness, and that existence is an interdependent web in which consciousness plays a game of pretending to be separate. We must recognize the fundamental unity of self and world; that consciousness encompasses all experience. He provides various techniques aimed at dissolving illusory boundaries of the ego. Watts maintains that enlightenment requires no striving, since we already live in eternal presence and are manifestations of the divine reality, pretending forgetfulness for the adventure of self-discovery.

Gregory Bateson   (1972)

Steps to an Ecology of Mind

Here is the book which develops a new way of thinking about the nature of order and organization in living systems, a unified body of theory so encompassing that it illuminates all particular areas of study of biology and behavior. It is interdisciplinary, not in the usual and simple sense of exchanging information across lines of discipline, but in discovering patterns common to many disciplines.

Alan Watts   (1966)

The Book

On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

At the root of human conflict is our fundamental misunderstanding of who we are. The illusion that we are isolated beings, unconnected to the rest of the universe, has led us to view the “outside” world with hostility, and has fueled our misuse of technology and our violent and hostile subjugation of the natural world. In The Book, philosopher Alan Watts provides us with a much-needed answer to the problem of personal identity, distilling and adapting the ancient Hindu philosophy of Vedanta to help us understand that the self is in fact the root and ground of the universe. In this mind-opening and revelatory work, Watts has crafted a primer on what it means to be human—and a manual of initiation into the central mystery of existence.

Rabindranath Tagore   (1922)

The Religion of Man

The Religion of Man is a compilation of lectures by Rabindranath Tagore, edited by him and drawn largely from his Hibbert Lectures given at Oxford University. A Brahmo playwright and poet of global renown, Tagore deals with the universal themes of God, divine experience, illumination, and spirituality.

Alan Watts

Images of God

The Tao of Philosophy 2

Alan Watts talks on the impact of various models of the ultimate reality, and the contrasts between male and female symbolism.

Alan Watts

Coincidence of Opposites

The Tao of Philosophy 3

Alan Watts explains the sense in nonsense and how to enjoy the playfulness of life while sincerely participating in the human game.

David Chalmers

What is it Like to be a Thermostat?

Commentary on Dan Lloyd, “What is it Like to Be a Net?”

Could a simple thermostat possess consciousness? Philosopher David Chalmers believes it's possible. He compares connectionist networks to mundane thermostats, finding uncanny similarities in how they process information. This suggests thermostats could model basic conscious experience, if we accept certain criteria. Chalmers argues complexity alone cannot explain awareness. Though advanced artificial networks mimic consciousness, some essence eludes. He concludes we must look beyond connectionist models, seeking deeper laws not yet conceived, as we continue our quest to unveil the very essence of consciousness.