Swedish news magazine: Gaps in science beg consideration of spirituality in consciousness theory

by | May 30, 2024 | Consciousness Theories, Press Watch | 0 comments

FOKUS, Sweden’s award-winning news magazine in its 20th year, was founded to share new insights for the “passionate exchange of ideas” on aspects of society, including science. “We do it with sincerity, even when it borders on the rude”, the magazine pronounces.

While vigorous debates on today’s hot topics crowd the virtual public square, the ages-old one on the nature of consciousness lies off to the side, and bound up in hundreds of years of philosophy, science and religion. And scarce mainstream media coverage, not least in Sweden.

This month FOKUS took a characteristic provocative leap to publish a long-form piece chronicling the views of the triumvirate. Journalist Anders Bolling* deftly posits, “Maybe it’s time to blur that line between science and what we usually call spirituality. Strictly speaking, the boundary between science and philosophy is already gone”.

By the time Bolling has chronicled centuries of philosophical thought, scientific sway and religious dogma, and highlighted “the consciousness wars” between sparring researchers and theorists, that suggestion is pure logic.

Science cannot explain the why, what or how of consciousness, and the long search for the part of the brain “responsible” for consciousness remains elusive. The splintering of ancient philosophy into religion versus science (a relatively recent convention) is covered, along with evidence on Near-Death Experiences and other phenomena that physicalists ignore. The history, the thinkers, and the leading theories of consciousness (Integrated Information Theory, Orch-OR, Panpsychism, etc.) are made accessible to the mainstream public audience in this story.

That FOKUS accepted the pitch was a win in itself.

In at least the past decade, Sweden’s only other long-form mainstream piece on consciousness research was last year’s story in popular science magazine Forskning & Framsteg by Per Snaprud. However, his approach was firmly physicalist. Spirituality is not a topic for the news literati in Sweden, which reinforces the FOKUS bias toward the leading edge with Bolling’s story.

By borrowing an apt description in the book The Blind Spot, Bolling’s story manages to call out those drunk on scientism with a bit of their own medicine: “Just as the blind spot of the eye is located exactly where the optic nerve opens, so is the blind spot of science exactly where the actual study of the world takes place: in direct human experience.”


Liza Horan

*Bolling serves on the FJN steering group

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