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In This Together

January 14, 2024

by Dr. David Fialkoff, Editor / Publisher

Veronica and I were together seven years, seven and a half, if you include the six months we spent as best friends after we stopped being lovers, still communicating every day, before she decided to take more space.

After that, life went on. Or, following another usage, it didn't. I didn't have a life. I worked all the time. Today, eighteen months along, that's still the pattern.

If, as has been said, home is where they miss you when you're gone, then I'm homeless.

My daughter has her own life, up in New Orleans. She's got two jobs and is going to school. Anyway, I've always been the low-maintenance parent. Our relationship is close, but something that we both take for granted. We talk maybe once a month. If she has time at the end of some day, we might message each other for a while. But a week or more without any contact at all is normal.

Last week, I started reading about dogs or cats eating their dead owners. After the article claimed it starts with the pet nudging the face of their deceased, recumbent master in an attempt to rouse him or her, I stopped reading. Who cares how it starts? My cat, Fellini, wouldn't nudge me very long before taking a bite, nor would I blame him.


No one would suspect anything was amiss with me for a couple of weeks. Lokkal's weekly newsletter would stop. A few WhatsApp messages would go unanswered. The rabbi would wonder if I were out of town. Veronica would probably be the first to wonder, or my landlady upstairs, if the smell came up through the floor.

When you're young, so full of life and ego, death seems horrible. But the older I get, the more it seems like a reasonable conclusion.

Psyche is the Greek word for both mind and soul. Early on in the scientific revolution scientists who speculated on such things stood a good chance of getting burnt at the stake. Render to the Church what is the Church's.

Regarding the immortality of the soul, I have always suspected that nature wouldn't devise anything as elegant and elaborate as human consciousness just to extinguish it at the death of the body. All your maturation, evolution, insight, learning, everything that made you a better human being, comes to naught. What a waste that would be, it would be, if consciousness had no causal power

Recently, this suspicion of immortality has received strong backing from leading scientists, in certain videos I've listened to. Qualia, the qualities of your experience, your sense of the color red, or of a pain in your stomach, or of love, cannot arise from the quantities (mass, momentum, charge, spin, weight...) which is all that materialistic science admits as real.

Bernardo Kastrup

Bernardo Kastrup, a physicist with impeccable credentials, including research at Cerne, and selling a company to IBM, laments that it is only very recently that scientists have been able to discuss consciousness without being banned from funding and publication, being burnt at the scientific stake.

He says that standard, old-school science is like a kid playing a video game. Perhaps he plays very well. Perhaps science can make a lot of cool things. But just as the kid is without any understanding of the hard and software that powers the game, so science has not admitted to, let alone studied, what is at the root of it all. Consciousness, psyche, soul is the elephant in science's living room.

Standard science either teaches that consciousness does not exist or considers it "an epiphenomenon, a side effect, a silly unimportant witness of the causal play of matter, an ephemeral glow around certain structures of physical entities... [rendering us] unimportant, with no meaning to our lives... whatever we go through ultimately is for nothing. Leaving us no reason to live a responsible life."

Bernardo uses the analogy of Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder) to describe our situation in this life. As in a dream, where we identify with our dream character (avatar) and are disassociated from the other parts of our dream, in life, captured by our bodily perspective, we have become disassociated from our larger, more integrated identity, which includes everyone and everything else.

Frederico Faggin

Frederico Faggin, about whom I wrote last week, who invented the silicon chip and the CPU, puts it this way:

"When we are incarnated in a body living this life, we are actually a much vaster entity that believes itself to be this body. When we believe ourselves to be the body, we reduce ourselves to only that portion of ourselves that pays attention to the info that is created by the body. When we do that, we think that we are the body and we become just a separate object."

Dying, these great scientists assure us, is just sloughing off the body's disassociated perspective.

I find this new current in science very encouraging; literally, it makes me brave. It also makes me angry, as Lou Reed sang in Sweet Jane, at the "evil mothers [who] tell you that everything is just dirt." What a better world it would be if we were all taught to believe in unity, instead of every man for himself.

I suppose that, whether or not folks are as physically isolated as am I, there is a lot of loneliness going around. This is tragic, since, in fact, we really are all in this together.

Faggin, believes that all of this, everything, is just the Universe trying to know itself. I don't know. I write about my problems because getting to know them better seems to make them less problematic. Call me silly, but I believe that, in some magical way, writing about my cat eating me makes it less likely that I will be eaten by my cat.


Dr. David Fialkoff presents Lokkal, our local social network, the community online and off, as the surest antidote to loneliness. Please do contribute content, or your hard-earned pesos to support Lokkal, SMA's Voice; Atención robustly reborn for the digital age.


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