two hemispheres

So having investigated the nature of mind and self,
you come to the conclusion that self is a delusion of mind.

Knowledge itself is part of that delusion,
and in consequence knowledge is … ‘nothing’

What follows is,
only logic combining knowledge
hence … 🙂 ‘nothing’

What is left when we know that self is an illusion?

Well, it looks kind of nihilistic:

  • i am mind, and mind has a concept about self. can i equate mind to self?
  • i am awareness, but two elementary particles are also aware of the fields surrounding them, so with some reductionist logic, I’m just a bunch of particles sensing each other
  • to make it more digestable: I’m just a hierarchy, a holon(1) of particles sensing each other

-> bare consequence: the holon will disintegrate when life ends

People have invented metaphysics to get around the bare consequences of the preceding logic:

one method is to not equate ‘me’ with the ‘physical mind’
and to create a metaphysical counterpart of it:

a soul in most religions,
clearlight consciousness in buddhism.

Unfortunately, all metaphysics is based on sand:

If there is no consciousness
outside the physical platform,
then there is no metaphysics;

but we cannot prove anything outside the physical platform,
we simply don’t have tools to measure anything in that realm.

Using empirical methods, we can not (yet/ever) prove anything metaphysical:

  • processes of near death experiences(2) and the use of mind altering substances like LSD(3) and DMT(4) and others, are very similar. Perhaps both processes are happening when the left brain hemisphere is the first to resign?
  • there is the account of Jill Bolte Taylor(5), a neuro-scientist, inferring that if we disconnect our left brain hemispere we disconnect the talking self, the google in our head and experience interconnectedness.

Perhaps the left brain is the one saying:
I’m mind, I’m google in your head, i’m self, I’m ME, I think therefore I am

Perhaps the right brain is saying:
I am awareness

Underestimated Reality: I’m a dual brain, and no half is better than the other … ?

links and footnotes:

  1. A holon (Greek: ὅλον, holon neuter form of ὅλος, holos “whole”) is something that is simultaneously a whole and a part. The word was coined by Arthur Koestler in his book The Ghost in the Machine (1967, p. 48).
  2. Near Death Experience Research Foundation,
  3. footage on youtube of some LSD experiments
  4. Neuroscientist Describes Her DMT Trip
  5. Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight

Picture by bvdb (whoisbert) august 2014 – @home – Canon Ixus HS230 – IMG_7865/63


9 thoughts on “two hemispheres

  1. This is my first intersection with your blog. You play with questions I have always enjoyed exploring and this reminds me I need to open myself up to that exploration.

    I worked for years with survivors of brain injury including one who had her corpus callosum severed to treat seizures and several with anoxic injuries so severe they had no ability to lay down any new episodic memories. Any one of these individual would have a sense of self (even if it become out of synch with time over the years for those with no short term memory).

    By contrast, the question of “who am I?” seems to trouble those of us who are living with mood disorders. Just recovering from a manic episode I know that the internal dialogue that helps us define ourselves can be very misleading, distorting and painful. One can ride from a highly inflated sense of self to no meaningful sense at all and be left at the end of it all wondering where the frame of reference is. I have always favoured a subjective sense of reality – but it’s lonely.

    Food for though, thanks.

    • Thank You, JM, for your insightful and courageous comment. I vividly remember a documentary about people with both brain hemispheres severed. It touched me deeply.
      Then there is the question ‘whoami’ … A tough question with sometimes unexpected answers. I’m in the phase of letting go my attachment to being ‘something’.
      In the end, this question is very much related to “where did the universe come from, and why does it exist” — small scale or large scale, … scale doesn’t seem to matter. Neither of those existential question will be answerable while on earth, and what happens beyond is nothing but speculation.
      I find a lot of joy in seeing beautiful things, and often photograph what I see; these days I take the opportunity to share. When seeing, photographing and sharing, the existential questions background, and mind seems to be a little more silent than usual.

  2. ‘Knowledge itself is part of that delusion.’ – I disagree; the premise is not logical. There is a (knowledge of) non-dual awareness. Before it is actualised, it cannot be even remotely imagined. Therefore it is neither a construct of a delusory mind nor wishful thinking.

    ‘What is left when we know that self is an illusion?’ – Everything that sentience and phenomena present to awareness, other than the running narrative of selfhood and the belief/assumption in the localisation of awareness.

    ‘Can I equate mind to self?’ – It’s not logical to equate the ephemera of mind (psychical representations) with any enduringly fixed and independently instantiated entity, which is what being self-natured entails.

    ‘We cannot prove anything outside the physical platform.’ – Is consciousness, or more specifically awareness, not self-evident? It is for the Hard Materialists to ‘prove’ it does not in some sense ‘exist’, and they have failed; again, because it is self-evident – there are qualia.

    ‘The account of Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuro-scientist.’ – In her 18 minute TED talk she simplified brain asymmetry to accord with the partial ‘understandings’ of popular psychology. It is more complicated. [see: ]

    Thanks for the article Bert; and all best wishes.


    • Hi Hariod, thanks for the comment. It would be so much easier to have a conversation in a coffee parlour, and talk and smile and laugh about the conceptual world, and the unknown reality that sends us all these phenomena which are then incompleteely received by our senses and wildly interpreted by my two crazy hemispheres, … In front of the laptop sitting in the chair just before breakfast, it ‘feels’ more like a chore 🙂 Even have to think about which editor to use, since WP-reply boxes are known to suddenly disappear — which is not always bad since it allows for reformulation of earlier thoughts, and usually in a more concise and clear way.
      Have some tea or coffee and Leonidas Pralines.
      Now using pluma as an editor.

      Two and a half years ago, I gave up certainties. This had been a slow proces leading to a sudden crisis. The existential earthquake demolished the house of existential answers, and a small shed was build after the storm had passed.

      A very important conclusion after the turmoil was that I cannot ‘know’ anything beyond a little amount of physics that seems reliable enough to send rockets into space and slam particles at CERN. The only real and verifiable knowledge we have is maths, but then, maths do not exist.

      How can I know anything about non-duality? I’m a monkey on some third hand unverifiable knowledge. So I often remain in the ‘unknowing sphere of experience’. This has reduced my library by 50%, and I’m still giving away some of those once very precious books.
      ‘2B Unknowing’ has helped me when troubleshooting at work, casting out the many assumptions of “this process cannot fail”. It has helped me to live: stress, fear and anger have reduced a lot and there is a more open way of being.

      * Yes, I am conscious, but so are our dogs, and shrimps, and these days I’m not closed of the possibility of trees, rocks or atoms possessing some kind of consciousness. There is no divider saying that only life must be conscious. There is also no real dividing line separating life, from non life.

      * Self is not exactly an entity. Self is a concept about the entity supposed to be me. Is there a real self beyond concept? Certainly, but even without the concepts and brain chatter, the stream of consciousness is always inside mind.

      The blog post ‘two hemispheres’ was not meant to be science or philosophy. Just an insight in my thoughts. I have to give up any concept that I still keep as truth, in order to learn about reality as it is. Doubting everything. Killing metaphysics.

      Have a wonderful weekend

      • Thank you for this beautiful response Bert; it is a privilege to get to know a little more about your past.

        I agree with you on the matter of our supposed ‘certainties’. I am a relativist at heart, and even the seemingly obvious usually has alternative ways of being apprehended.

        In asking, as you do, ‘How can I know anything about non-duality?’, then there can only be unhelpfully paradoxical answers to this. It is apparent to itself, not to anyone or anything in particular. I think you know this and are being coy. 😉

        Your point about consciousness is accepted, and as far as I can tell, much of the cutting edge of consciousness theory is focused on the idea of consciousness as information integration, or as being fundamental to the natural world itself, or even as universal in the sense of a panpsychism. [see: Giulio Tononi, David Chalmers] This is a video talk some readers might find interesting:

        With respect, I don’t follow your argument for an existent and independently instantiated ‘self’. I think you would have to explain what you mean by the expression ‘the stream of consciousness is always inside mind.’

        You have a wonderful weekend too Bert, and many thanks for allowing me to sound-off here in what may appear a rather contentious manner.


        • Just a shorter answer to two remarks in your interesting reply …
          “I think you know this and are being coy” — if non-duality exists, and if it is a higher mode of operation, mind, lower on the rung, will never know it. It will retain a 2D image of a 5D experience.
          “stream of consciousness is always inside mind” — the only consciousness that looks like it can travel long distances outside mind, seems to be something I like to call ‘long distance connector’; a sense organ still interfaced inside the brain that seems to pick up the intention of someone wanting to phone me ‘right now’. This allows me to postpone leaving the office for a couple of minutes, just long enough to let the phone ring. The interface is still inside the brain, getting conscious about it might or might not precede any brain acitivity, but I don’t see any reason to give this other sense another way of operation as my hearing.
          Surrendering now to the sense of feeling sleepy — a hormone finds a receptor, and I’m getting conscious of my body feeling sleepy.
          Have a great evening.

          • We have some differences here Bert, though as we went over this in your article ‘The Core’ then there is no point in rehearsing them here once again. Still, it is always very interesting to exchange differing takes on matters with intelligent and sincere individuals, and I greatly appreciate you allowing and participating in this platform of exchange.


            With all best wishes to you.


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