While we have numerous resources today at our fingertips that can amplify our understanding and expand our conscious awareness about the nature of reality, there are a select few that offer a broad level of value with respect to what they present and how they present it. One such resource, and the focus of this review, is the book Brief Peeks Beyond: Critical Essays on Metaphysics, Neuroscience, Free Will, Skepticism and Culture by Bernardo Kastrup.
How we perceive our reality determines how we live. Our understanding of the nature of life shapes these perceptions, as well as our thoughts and beliefs. It is therefore vital to explore what it is that we believe and how we understand the nature of reality, as these will most heavily influence our personal and collective way of life. Our busy and noisy modern lives, unfortunately, do not offer us much, if any, opportunity for deep reflection, introspection, or contemplation. Most people cannot seem to find enough time to meet their basic personal needs, like getting enough sleep or proper nourishment, let alone award themselves time to examine their beliefs about the nature of reality. Yet if we pause and step back for a moment, we begin to see how the very things that are driving our chaotic and often destructive lifestyles can be transcended if we grant ourselves the opportunity to understand them. The roots of our compulsions and consumptions lie in materialism—an abstraction that has heavily primed our understanding of life and our reality.
One of the most valuable things that we can do for our personal and our collective wellbeing thus, is to enrich our understandings by exploring and questioning what we’ve come to believe about how things work and why. This is where Bernardo Kastrup’s book Brief Peeks Beyond: Critical Essays on Metaphysics, Neuroscience, Free Will, Skepticism and Culture can offer extraordinary insight and guidance to help us effectively navigate the landscape of this reality.
Consciousness – whatever it may intrinsically be – is the only carrier of reality anyone can ever know for sure.
Bernardo Kastrup, Brief Peeks Beyond
About the Author
Bernardo Kastrup is a researcher, speaker, writer, and entrepreneur. He has a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering and has worked as a scientist in some of the world’s foremost research laboratories, including the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). He has authored many scientific papers and several books, including:
- Rationalist Spirituality: An exploration of the meaning of life and existence informed by logic and science
- Meaning in Absurdity: What bizarre phenomena can tell us about the nature of reality
- Dreamed Up Reality: Diving into the Mind to Uncover the Astonishing Hidden Tale of Nature
- Why Materialism Is Baloney: How True Skeptics Know There Is No Death and Fathom Answers to life, the Universe, and Everything
- Brief Peeks Beyond: Critical Essays on Metaphysics, Neuroscience, Free Will, Skepticism and Culture
To learn more about Bernardo and his work, visit: www.bernardokastrup.com
About the Content
Brief Peeks Beyond is composed of 7 sections that each house several essays on a given theme. It also includes an introduction and conclusion from the author, as well as a foreword written by Deepak Chopra and an afterword written by Rupert Spira. Here is a brief overview of the book:
In this section, the author shares about the purpose and nature of this book and how to use it most effectively, with respect to how one may read and interpret the essays.
2: On Metaphysics and Cosmology
This collection presents the framework for the book and features two of the most foundational essays for understanding the author’s work and perspective. The essays in this section dive into the core of metaphysics, and include topics like materialism, quantum science, God, and the nature of life and death.
3: On Consciousness, Neuroscience and the Media
This collection delves into topics related to the mind and brain, the conscious and the unconscious, memory, and also shares some surprising effects of psychedelics.
4: On Skepticism and Science
This collection helps the reader understand the way in which we think and conduct the majority of what is called science today. It explores topics like meaning and purpose in light of a scientific and philosophical backdrop, as well as the role of skepticism.
5: On Culture and Society
This collection explores the characteristics of our modern culture, how, when, and why things changed and operate as they do. It covers the role of philosophy and education, the nature of external authority figures, and the impact of the experience, projections, and enchantment on our life.
6: On the Strange and Mysterious
This collection examines topics revolving around death and the afterlife, including near-death-experiences (NDEs), as well as the possible nature of extraterrestrial life and phenomenon.
7: On Free Will
This collection offers a broad explanation of free will, helping us understand its random and determined nature.
8: On Practical Applications
This collection provides insight into how to effectively navigate within and put into practical action an enriched understanding of the nature of our reality. It touches upon topics like health and integrative healing and offers empowering guidelines for how we can positively and beneficially affect our reality.
9: Takeaway Message
In this section, the author offers a summary of the core ideas presented, and sheds further light on how to make sense and put into action an effective understanding of how our culture and societies work, and how to go about changing them.
Philosophy gives people intellectual permission to truly embrace what their intuitions and experiences are already telling them to be true.
Bernardo Kastrup, Brief Peeks Beyond
Personal Remarks About Brief Peeks Beyond
It is always such a pleasure to come across books like Brief Peeks Beyond that so compellingly engage the reader with its content and stimulate a deeper level of thought, awareness, and understanding. I am always deeply moved by works like these as I inherently feel their incredible value when it comes to the potential they have with respect to positive impacts on our society.
The book is written with a strong tone of passion and conviction, skillfully blending science and philosophy in a way that speaks to our hearts and minds, and aims to reconnect us with the lost and forgotten parts of ourselves that give our life a greater depth of meaning. I greatly appreciated this elegant balance that was woven throughout, as well as the messages of connectedness and intentionality. There is a high degree of eloquence on the author’s part, as well as intelligent insight into every topic that is touched upon. It was also refreshing to experience some unique perspectives in how we’ve come to perceive some common topics, for example, extraterrestrial life.
I greatly enjoyed each of the sections and topics of this book for their unique and individual contributions. The arguments and explanations put forth for the presence and significance of consciousness, as well as the limitations of materialism, were infused with a high degree of logic and sound experience. However, I must say that when I got to chapter 5, my entire being lit up. What was shared and how it was shared in this section and its collection of essays spoke to me and resonated with me on a very deep level. At times like these, I am always in awe at how connected we can be with others in our way of thinking and expressing. For me, this is one of the many experiential pieces of evidence that there is a collective one mind at work. I felt the same exceptional resonance when reading through section 8 and its collection of essays.
What we each must keep in mind as we traverse through the content of such books is that they are not meant to offer a new dogma or belief system. As the author himself shares, there is speculation and opinion that composes this work and it is up to us to question and be critical thinkers. Something I always invite each member of the audience to keep in mind is that the more we explore and subject ourselves to various viewpoints, the more we allow potential to flow within our being for growth, evolution, and expansion. Take what resonates, critically and openly consider what doesn’t, and build upon the ideas as they pertain to your personal knowing and experience.
With respect to the format, the book has a wonderful flow, connectivity, and coherence despite being composed of a collection of essays. There is a clear theme that is being built upon and strengthened upon by each subsequent section. Aside from reading this book from cover to cover, the reader can also easily return to any particular essay for further exploration and contemplation. I found this format to actually make the book a lighter read, despite its potential heavier and academic nature, which I feel will make it more accessible to a larger audience of readers.
If what I’ve shared here speaks to you on some level, I highly invite you to further explore Brief Peeks Beyond and consider reading it to expand your consciousness. It is a vital book to read for anyone who wishes to better understand themselves, modern science, and the nature of our reality. The book provides education, expansion, inspiration, and empowerment. It offers us a bold exploration of ideas, theories, and concepts that can beneficially transform how we understand life and our world. Consequently, Brief Peeks Beyond provides a stimulating playground for our psyche to strengthen its muscles of potential and critical thinking.
We must get past the delusions of our intellectual adolescence.
Bernardo Kastrup, Brief Peeks Beyond
Video Episode with the Author
I had the pleasure of connecting with Bernardo to address and further explore some of the topics he raises in the book in the following video episode: Explorations of Metaphysics, Neuroscience & Culture.