Michael Shermer argues that reality is independent of consciousness. Deepak Chopra argues that reality exists within consciousness. Who is right?
They both are. They are answering the same question from two different perspectives. One question can have many different answers depending on the perspective from which you look at the question.
Take a bacon cheeseburger, for example. From one person’s perspective, a bacon cheeseburger may be joyously delicious. From another person’s perspective, it may violate religious or moral beliefs or it may lead to serious health problems. From the perspective of a cow or a pig, a bacon cheeseburger may mean a life of horrific misery. From the perspective of a chef, it may be an expression of the art of food. We could go on and on… Which take on a bacon cheeseburger is true? They all are.
Now let’s take this same bacon cheeseburger, and instead of looking at it from another perspective, let’s zoom in and out. Looking at the bacon cheeseburger from an arm’s length, it’s a food that may evoke any number of emotions. But zoom in close enough, down to the atomic level, one would see the same atomic particles that you’d see were one to zoom in that close to an electric razor, a rock, or anything else, for that matter. The burger is made from the same stuff. We’re all made from the same stuff. Thou art that, as it’s said in seventh century BC Indian literature. Now let’s zoom back out, and we’ll find that this burger does not exist in isolation. This burger depends on countless other things. It depends on the cook, countless farmers, the customer in the restaurant, all the way to the people on the oil rig who produced the oil to fuel the truck that delivered the wheat to the bakery for the bun. And so on nearly ad infinitum. This bacon cheeseburger is so interdependent on so many other things, and it’s very existence is hard to separate from this web of interdependency.
Simply put, the Bacon Cheeseburger Theory is akin to the number 9. A 9 is a 9 if you look at it one way. But look at it from another perspective, and it’s a 6.