Differences in family size wouldn’t explain a correlation over a long period between relative difference in house sizes and increase in food surpluses, since there’s no reason to think differences in family size would piggyback on that correlation. Greater amount of food would sustain larger populations, but if the societies were egalitarian, everyone would be able to have large families or every family would receive the same care to enable the children to survive. You wouldn’t have the relative differences in house sizes increasing over time as the surpluses increased.

Kohler’s paper, cited in the Guardian article, looks technical and scientific to me. I’m not qualified to address whether the mapping argument there is bogus, but that’s neither here nor there, because the main point is commonsensical. Inequality wouldn’t have arrived immediately in full force, in the beginning of the transition from egalitarian bands of nomadic hunter-gatherers to large settlements, but would have increased over time as the farms became more adept at retaining large surpluses to support greater social complexity and specialization, not to mention wars of conquest.

Regarding that video on metaphysical idealism, I’d like to know what the definition of “consciousness” is such that all of reality could be fundamentally a “field of consciousness.” Kastrup, the author, says he uses “field” metaphorically there. So what could he mean by “consciousness”? In particular, how would consciousness be different from space? (In quantum mechanics, space is highly creative because of the uncertainty principle.) If consciousness isn’t necessarily intentional, so that you could be conscious without being conscious of anything, what would be the nature of that consciousness that has no object? Why call it consciousness rather than space? If consciousness requires an object (or presupposes intentionality), we’re into dualism rather than monism.

Again, can there be consciousness without life? If the fundamental, cosmic consciousness isn’t alive (let alone personal) in any organic sense, what do we mean by that kind of consciousness? How are we defining that word? If consciousness occurs only in living things, we’re back at materialism or some kind of dualism that makes sense of organic bodies. If the organic qualities are supposed to be illusory or figments of the source mind’s imagination, what is consciousness such that its faculties are separated into imagination and reasoning and so forth (since the mind wouldn’t be just randomly imagining things but would be doing so consistently, adhering to what we call natural laws)? The difference in brain structures makes sense of such distinctions, so how would an appeal to raw consciousness and to metaphysical idealism do so?

Kastrup says the apparent plurality in the world is due to “dissociation,” but what could he mean by “consciousness” such that the cosmic mind could suffer dissociation without having a brain that degrades?

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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