Closer to Truth

Discussions with Robert Lawrence Kuhn

34 short philosophical debates with public intellectual Robert Lawrence Kuhn and renowned author and alternative medicine advocate Dr. Deepak Chopra, exploring profound questions around fundamental issues of existence. A thought-provoking series headlining the search for ultimate reality and purpose.

More with Deepak: One World, Satsangh, Love in Action, Yoga Primary Series, Seven Spiritual Laws of Success 2.0, The Ultimate Happiness Prescription 2.0

About the show

Dr. Deepak Chopra & Robert Lawrence Kuhn

34 episodes

Location: San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art

Studio: The Kuhn Foundation

2014

HD PG-13

About Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra, M.D., F.A.C.P, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a modern-day health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 89 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His 90th book and national bestseller, Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential (Harmony Books), unlocks the secrets to moving beyond our present limitations to access a field of infinite possibilities. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”

Visit his website at www.deepakchopra.com


About Robert Lawrence Kuhn

Robert Lawrence Kuhn is the creator, writer, host, and executive producer of Closer To Truth, the PBS/public television series on cosmos, consciousness and meaning (God / philosophy of religion) that presents leading scientists, philosophers and creative thinkers discussing fundamental questions (produced/directed by Peter Getzels). Dr. Kuhn has published over 30 books, including The Mystery of Existence: Why is there Anything At All? (with John Leslie); Closer To Truth: Challenging Current Belief; Closer To Truth: Science, Meaning and the Future; How China’s Leaders Think; and The Man Who Changed China: The Life and Legacy of Jiang Zemin (the first biography of a living Chinese leader published in China and China’s best-selling book in 2005).

He is a commentator for the BBC, CCTV, CNN, Bloomberg, etc., and a featured columnist in the South China Morning Post and China Daily. He is the creator, executive producer and host of the award-winning China’s Challenges series, broadcast on PBS stations and in China, and Closer to China with R.L.Kuhn (on China politics, economics, society) on CCTV News . He is an international corporate strategist and investment banker. He has a BA in Human Biology (Johns Hopkins), SM in Management (MIT), and PhD in Anatomy/Brain Research (UCLA).

Visit his website at https://www.closertotruth.com/

Season 1

Why is Consciousness So Mysterious?

Why is Consciousness So Mysterious?

Consciousness is one of the most controversial topics that face humankind. Scientists are bamboozled by the existence of something that does not truly exist. Mysticism is ridiculed by the scholars who claim that our minds are playing tricks on us, but why play games with an illusion? All we are is a figment of our imagination – our awareness.

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What’s Fundamental to the Cosmos?

What’s Fundamental to the Cosmos?

If consciousness is fundamental, it might seem otherworldly, so how could consciousness relate to the physical world? If we understand that what we observe is not truth and surrender to the mystery, then we can have pure perception of the universe. Deepak Chopra discusses the theories and laws which affect our understanding - ideas which are truly unknowable.

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What is Consciousness?

What is Consciousness?

The awareness of consciousness is our common ground. One’s singular perception of another will never be the same as anyone else’s. The scientific method is the only way we can believe in an independent reality, but science is not the method of finding the truth. If we knew the truth the world would be a much different place.

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Is Death Final?

Is Death Final?

Death comes to all life forms. Many belief systems agree that death is the beginning of the afterlife, while biology shows that death breeds healthy recycling of our skin cells, stomach cells and blood cells. The same is evident with our consciousness; what we are recycling in our awareness is the matrix of creativity. Death creates new context, new meaning, and new life.

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Can the Mind Heal the Body?

Can the Mind Heal the Body?

What is the relationship between mental attitude and physical health? The mind is the subjective experience of consciousness while the body is the objective experience of consciousness, but both occur together simultaneously and are designed to work in harmony. Scientific research has shown that through meditation and spiritual practice, patients have the power to reverse their genetic makeup and ‘heal’ the body.

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Why are Science and Religion at War?

Why are Science and Religion at War?

Science and religion seek truth, love, and acceptance, so why do they battle amongst themselves? All wars are in truth, conflicts between systems of thought and for that reason, science will continue to fight a war against religion. In the Middle Ages, religion was winning. Today, science takes the lead as the world evolves their thinking, yet science will never win because science fails to define true meaning.

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What is God?

What is God?

How should we reflect on the question, ‘what is God?’? What God is and is not can only be defined by our awareness. Human beings compartmentalize the world based on our own experiences and often place responsibility on the name ‘God’ but how do we know if God is true or even real?

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Do People Have Souls?

Do People Have Souls?

If the ultimate truth is consciousness, then how can we articulate our understanding of an immortal soul? Is a soul erroneous, is our identity carried though the mortal into the immortal following death? We often fear oblivion, but it is not possible. Transcendence of our souls and identities is the vertical paradigm which defines our afterlife.

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Is Consciousness Limited To Biological Beings?

Is Consciousness Limited To Biological Beings?

Consciousness and intelligence can be simulated in non-biological systems, but can these simulations generate real phenomenon of awareness? Fundamental algorithms are the basis of artificial intelligence and non-biological systems, whereas our consciousness stems from true creativity and individuality. If these systems are created with optimum complexity, are parallels possible?

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Is Consciousness Our Reality?

Is Consciousness Our Reality?

Many philosophers say that consciousness is another fundamental part of the universe which makes consciousness equivalent to other physical forces. Is it that important, or is it more important? The space time events that occur around us are very much like the reality of consciousness – we cannot see them, but we are aware of their existence.

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Does Spirituality Come from Consciousness?

Does Spirituality Come from Consciousness?

Spirituality is a domain of awareness where we experience our universality. Within this broad perspective, spirituality is an awareness which encompasses our feelings of love, compassion, emotion, imagination, and even self-reflection. From a conflicting perspective (the narrow more wide-spread definition), spirituality is just the relationship one has with a higher power, God or the divine. Can spirituality have a physical explanation?

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What is Enlightenment?

What is Enlightenment?

Enlightenment is the experience where there is the disillusion of every boundary. No conceptual boundaries, only wholeness of being, the universe and life itself. The experience is hard to explain Some take to drugs, self-hypnosis, breathing styles and more the recreate the feeling of enlightenment and get in touch with reality. Are these feelings of enlightenment real? Or are they only a projection?

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Is God a Person?

Is God a Person?

What would it mean if God were a person, one that evolves throughout our consciousness? If God is an infinite being, we cannot truly measure its existence. Different expressions of ‘God’ relate to different religions and belief systems but at the core, God is like us in some expanded sense. But if personhood is not the foundation of reality, then the hope of a human being’s existence beyond a few decades of life is not possible and only an illusion.

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What is a 'Person'?

What is a 'Person'?

One of the greatest long-standing debates amongst philosophers is the idea of personhood. Personhood being defined by selective memories and desires which are used to create an identity, but persons are ever evolving in consciousness. So how do persons persist through time, and how do we create our identity based on these conscious experiences?

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Can Immortals Attain Consciousness?

Can Immortals Attain Consciousness?

The ticket to freedom is finding out who you are. When you want freedom and desire love and belongingness, seeking consciousness can awaken your awareness, allowing you to transcend along a unique evolutionary journey; it is an exhilarating and beautiful thing. However, do you have to give up a personal sense of individuality to achieve this filtered perception of reality? Or are you simply creating your own reality?

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Is Free Will an Illusion?

Is Free Will an Illusion?

Free will is one of the hardest philosophical problems that exist. But if consciousness is fundamental reality, what does that mean for the definition of free will? Most of us live in a deterministic world with the illusion of freedom, but those who deeply understand consciousness and endure enlightened experiences can begin to recognize true free will.

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Is ESP Fact or Fraud?

Is ESP Fact or Fraud?

Are paranormal and out-of-body experiences real or figments of the imagination? Why is ESP always on the fringe? Even if we believe ESP is delusional, it is important to recognize that millions of humans are claiming to have these experiences. Statistically, it seems bleak, but from the consciousness perspective there is no question these experiences occur.

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Can Conflicting Religions Be Harmonized?

Can Conflicting Religions Be Harmonized?

Competing dogmas and doctrines of world religions have existed since the beginning of time, but the religious experience for each institution has commonalities of transcendence and philosophies for the ultimate. Can these conflicting religions be harmonized and why are religious experience so powerful and religious institutions so pervasive?

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Season 2

Can Science Provide Answers?

Can Science Provide Answers?

Does science provide ultimate answers, regardless of spiritual and religious fundamentalism? It is the prevailing doctrine, but if you want ultimate answers and ultimate truth about reality, is science just inferential knowledge? If consciousness is the foundation of our awareness, then we must question its validity.

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Is Consciousness Necessary?

Is Consciousness Necessary?

Sanctions pervade the universe, with self-awareness and creativity. Some believe that the consciousness is existent in every particle, every person, every living and non-living thing – must this universe contain consciousness, or is the universe existing in consciousness?

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Something vs. Nothing

Something vs. Nothing

Why is there something rather than nothing? Why is there anything? The nature of nothing reveals deep insights about the nature of reality. Sounds, weight, form, taste, and smell are qualities of our universe, they are experiences of our consciousness. When asked why these qualities exist in our universe, philosophers are bewildered by the mysticism of the unknown.

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Does Consciousness Depend on Language?

Does Consciousness Depend on Language?

If we did not have language, would we have consciousness? Does language help create consciousness? Or does consciousness create language? Some argue that consciousness is the product of our capacity to have language, and if we did not have language, we would not have consciousness. Others argue that consciousness has formed human language, with language being the last expression of thought.

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Personal Identity?

Personal Identity?

We change constantly. The molecules in our bodies are replaced regularly, yet we feel we are unified persons over time and throughout our lives. Are your personal identities the ideas we have about ourselves, or is our personal identity pure awareness and consciousness? Our inner sense of “me” is continuous in life, just like our consciousness, gravity, and space time qualities.

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What Does Immortality Feel Like?

What Does Immortality Feel Like?

What would surviving bodily death and reaching immortality feel like? If one identifies with their body and mind, then it is argued that the memories we have are recycled and perceived as body and mind. This recycling could continue and if there is recognition that there is a part of you that is timeless can be the defining key for why we survive death. But how will life after death feel? What awareness would you have? Would you still be “you”?

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The Science of Consciousness

The Science of Consciousness

Scientific professionals once believed that biological science was the basis of truth, but fast-forward 20 years and now scientists have welcomed and recognized the existence of consciousness as a part of our universe. Is it possible to study consciousness scientifically? How do scientists and philosophers submit the mysteries of consciousness to experimental or analytic investigation and are they making progress?

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Humans vs. Animals

Humans vs. Animals

Does every being have the capacity to endure cosmic consciousness, and how would it differ from planets and animals to humans? Humans are the superior species on Earth, but consciousness overlap is possible through evolution. What do the similarities and superiorities tell us about what it means to be human?

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What is Belief?

What is Belief?

A belief is a thought that we hold to be true, but no one has ever proved. We have never proved that the word is material, for example. From religious to scientific to philosophical, their beliefs are the powerful and dangerous ideas which direct our behaviors and have a stronghold on our lives, sometimes withholding us from the search for truth. How can we have confidence in our own beliefs?

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Why Are Cultures Joined By Belief Systems?

Why Are Cultures Joined By Belief Systems?

It is clear our cultures are defined by the belief systems of our ancestors and upbringings. Why do people in similar cultures – religions, ethnic groups, classes - believe similar things? Epigenetics and the behavior of our genes can even be influenced by the genetic expression of our lifestyles and cultures. How do cultures break this cycle and how can we influence others to search for their own truth?

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What is Truth?

What is Truth?

What is truth and how will we ever know what defines truth? Truth is both relative and absolute. Relative being the systems of thought such as science, religion, and philosophy. Do these systems of thought give us a sense of truth? Or is truth only relative to our own independent ways of thinking?

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Realism vs. Anti-Realism

Realism vs. Anti-Realism

One of the traditional philosophical conundrums is what can we know about the external world? We know what we think we know through our sense, but is there a real external world out there, or is this reality all we can know is true? Is reality (whether internal or external) shaped by our perceptions - formed by our brains - and thus forever unknown in itself?

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Is There Truth Behind Science?

Is There Truth Behind Science?

Many scientists would say that science has limitations but if we exceed those limitations, we reach the realm of opinion, not truth. The question remains, are there any kinds of truths not accessible by science? When we see empirical facts, what we are recording is a species-specific mode of observation – the brain has something to do with it. Are these independent verifications controlled by our brains, or is there a fundamental reality that creates the brain’s capacity to interpret science?

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Thoughts On God

Thoughts On God

When we describe and create labels for ‘God,’ are we confining the idea of God to just that description and moving away from God’s true purpose? Western religions pose a monotheistic, personal God, while Eastern traditions offer other ideas, including multiple deities and non-personal cosmic consciousness. Can these diverse beliefs relate?

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Does Evil Abolish God?

Does Evil Abolish God?

Why is there so much evil in the world? How do we deal with evil? Those who believe in cosmic consciousness do not withhold the idea that fighting evil is the way to defeat it. And if God is cosmic consciousness, infinity contains everything - including evil and opposing forces. This balance of forces is essential to our universe.

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The Existence Of Our Universe

The Existence Of Our Universe

Is the existence of our universe a brute fact, with no explanation at all? Or is there some reason behind the cosmos? Some claim God created it, while others claim that it is an expression of consciousness, formed from the cosmos. If you believe in the second, did consciousness have a choice when creating our universe?

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