Category Archives: Science

Trapped in an Asylum in the Dreamworld

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Just had a very interesting dream. It seemed to last for a few hours. I even woke up twice and re-entered it. It was as if I never really left the dream.

It started out with me joining this secret group that solved crimes. This girl was training me and we went into this building and she spoke with a man on a roof, while I waited for her inside. I had left my things in another room and when we went back to them, she asked if I was sure they were the same. I asked why wouldn’t they be, and she said that the man likes to trick people. I ended up throwing a lot of it out. We are just about to leave and I find that I am carrying an old book that apparently had been given to me. The people at the register call me back because they think I am trying to steal the book. They look at it for a while, but can’t find it in their system. Finally I ask if I can go since it obviously isn’t theirs. The man behind the counter tells me he has a package for me and pulls out a box with my name on it to give me a reason to stay. The girl who is training me comes over and we open it. Inside is a case that belonged to her mother before she died. Somehow, she had known I would come and left if for me. I do not know what it contained. As we’re looking at the case, I realized that they weren’t going to let us leave. I began to come up with a plan that she create a distraction, while I got the case and the book and escaped, and then she would join me since they didn’t seem to care about her being there or not. This is when I woke up the first time.

As I went back into the dream, the girl was gone, and I was now trapped in this building with my family. They had told us not to talk to anyone. But, I decide, that doesn’t mean that we can’t explore. We pass a person carrying a body without a head. Next we explore upstairs and pass many people who seem a little unusual and I get the impression that maybe this place is like a mental hospital, it seemed like Arkham Asylum, strange because I’m not too familiar with that, but the name came to me. There are a few stores that we go in and as we make our way back downstairs a few people grab at us, but we are able to avoid them. As we look off over a balcony we see the doors to this place open and close. By the motion of the doors we can tell that they are meant to keep people inside, and realize that we have to figure out how we’re going to get out. It seems that they open the doors at set times. Next we are back downstairs and they want everyone in the auditorium. During this time, my dad manages to slip outside through the doors. Then somehow my mom, who is carrying a baby manages to escape. I follow them through the doors, but we are now being chased by guards who want to bring us back. This is when I wake up the second time.

As I return to the dream this time, I am back in the asylum. My dad is there too. I saw him briefly, but then they took him to another room. I get a call from him on my phone and I answer and it sounds like him, but I suspect that they are listening, asked him to call. I had EEG wires attached to my head and somehow I could see my dad’s brainwaves on my phone screen and he appeared to be sleeping. I was watching his brainwaves for an arousal as I dialed his number from a different phone, but he did not seem to wake up or hear it ringing. I got up again to explore and try to plan my escape. I came across a machine that visitors could sign in and out. The name of the last person who had left was still there. I knew if I put my name, it would cause alarm, so I put my dad’s initial and last name I.Day, and then buttons came up where you could add guests. I pushed the button 3 times accidentally and it said that we had to pay $3 in order to leave. There were slots for coins and as I am looking to see if I had any money, my dad comes over and gives me this giant coin to deposit. It turned out only to be worth $1 so I am searching through my quarters, trying to insert them before time runs out. There was a timer and I remember it saying I had 37 seconds left. As I add the last quarter, a message pops up on the screen and says that we have angered it. Not quite sure what that means since the doors opened and we ran to get out of there. We made it through the door and off of the grounds before the gates closed. And I remember my dad picking me up to escape in a cab. This is where I finally woke up and ended the dream.

Not sure exactly how I was able to stay in this world for so long. It lasted for at least a few hours judging from the time that I woke up the first time and when I finally got up. It was like it was such an interesting world, that I couldn’t leave. Even though I woke up and got up for a few minutes, I continued to think about it and my mind never fully left, so that when I got back into bed and drifted back to sleep, I was still there.


Dream Research Project Update!

Due to interest from people in various areas, I have updated this research project to include meetings via phone or internet. I am hoping to have the first meeting within the next week or two, before 2/18/15. For more information on the project please see my previous post or visit my Dream Research Project page. I have also created a private facebook group where I will be uploading files and opening discussion for the design of the project. If you would like to join, please visit the groups facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/liminaldreamresearch/ and request to join. All updates will be posted on the group page. Also, if you are not on Facebook and want to participate, please email me at lday@email.jfku.edu and I will send you more information.


Dream Research Project

So I am currently recruiting participants for my research project related to dreams. It is a study involving unusual experiences occurring somewhere between waking and dreaming. More information can be found on my Dream Research Project page. I have had multiple experiences that fall into this category, one of which I have written about here.

Dreams have always seemed to fascinate me. The fact that we can live a completely different life while we are sleeping, how sometimes, I cannot seem to distinguish whether what I remember happened while I was awake or asleep, and whether or not it matters.

My dad and I have had discussions about fictional characters and how we sometimes know more about them, than about the the author of the books in which they appear. Sherlock Holmes, for instance, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Is Sherlock Holmes really any less real simply because he is fictional? It depends, I suppose, on your definition of reality. We know so much more about him than we do about Doyle who we assume was a “real” person.

In any case, this research project involves examining various worldviews and exploring how these liminal experiences can influence or change our ways of thinking about the world around us.


More Lucid Dream Strangeness….a singsong voice said “You’re still dreaming…”

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Just had more lucid dream strangeness. I was on a balcony where I had just been, but the street had changed and I realized I was dreaming so I jumped off the balcony and started to fly. I asked the dream to take me somewhere and I ended up in this room with red/burgundy couches and all the doors were closed. I opened one and there were about 5 or 6 people sitting in chairs, kind of like a classroom. They all stood up when I came in. I recognized my mom as one of them. It was when she was younger maybe still in school. I think it was around the time that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. So I went up to her and told her that I was her daughter, her future daughter and she hugged me. I told her I hadn’t seen her in 17 years. She looked at me and told her friends “she does look kind of like me doesn’t she?” Then the dream ended and I woke up. I looked at my cell phone and started to look at my messages, and noticed that they seemed strange, I couldn’t remember half of them, and then I found a picture on my phone of the room with the red couches from my dream. I heard this strange almost twilight zone type music and a singsong voice said “you’re still dreaming…” and I was whisked away again, this time to the apartment where I grew up. As I walked by my parents bedroom I saw two shadowy figures look at me, one of them waved. I continued to walk down the hallway, looked in the other bedroom, then the dining room and kitchen. I tried to look at the clock but it was kind of blurry. As my attention would shift from one room to the next, each room would change, the furniture, the decor, so that every time I looked at each room it looked different. I think I decided to take a picture of one, and this man appeared, he said he wanted to make it look believable for the picture. I asked “Who are you” and he said “The director”. I followed him thorough this hidden doorway to what looked like a movie set, but he would not say more. I then remember my attention shifting back to my body in bed which I could feel, but felt as if I was in a deep meditative state. It felt as if I was just awake meditating and thinking, I was aware of my breathing, my cat sleeping on the pillow above my head, I felt her tail brush against my face. I started to wonder if maybe lucid dreaming isn’t really sleeping at all, maybe it’s something in between dreaming and meditating. In this dream state, I felt it was less fragile than lucid dreams I have had in the past. I wonder if it is possible that I could have traveled back in time in my dream and visited her…


Adventures in Book Shopping

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I got these books last night after spending about an hour in the science section of Dimple books (http://www.dimple.com)…Yes I know I have an addiction. At least I wasn’t at the free bookstore (http://www.bayareafreebookexchange.com), I would have had 3 times this amount. So here’s my story: it’s about 10 minutes before they close, and I want to look at the philosophy section briefly, so I’m trying to carry all these books in my hands, I have them in a stack when I see a book I want to look at. I don’t really want to put the ones I’m carrying down so I kind of lean them against the shelf so I can pick up the book. As I’m doing this two guys come into the store. One of them says he wants to show the other one a book. As they walk by me one of them speaks, so I say hi. He asks why I’m holding the books like that and if I work there. I explain that I’m just trying to carry them so I can pay for them. He picks up an astrology book, opens it, and asks what my sign is:

Me: Scorpio

Him: Oh well we’re a perfect match!

Me: What is your sign?

Him: Libra

Me: Okay… (thinking: Right…not sure Libras and Scorpios go well together…but ok)

Him: I bet you have more books than friends.

Me: (gives him confused look while trying to read the back of the book I had picked up) Why do you say that?….What’s that supposed to mean? (I should have said: While that may be true, I have found they are much better company than most people.)

Him: (awkward silence) So you should give me your number. (He pulls out his phone.)

Me: (Seriously? shaking head) No, sorry.

He (thankfully) walks away.

So yeah, weird encounter aside, I’m excited about my new books :) Especially Bride of Science by Benjamin Wooley and Nature’s Numbers by Ian Stewart. The books I found seem to have certain themes. For a lot of the day yesterday, I was doing some research on genealogy and am very interested in learning my history and where my ancestors came from and then I find the National Geographic book on Deep Ancestry by Spencer Wells and Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade. Also, the nautilus symbol seems to keep reappearing for me: 1. We recently talked about it in one of my classes. 2. I recently discovered this magazine and blog called Nautilus (http://nautil.us) 3. It’s on the cover of the Nature’s Numbers book and a Sacred Geometry book I found. So maybe there is some significance to it for me. The other theme I saw was the intersection of art and science which has always inspired me, but even more so after having re-read the book that sparked my interest in science (see last post) Properties of Light by Rebecca Goldstein. So definitely excited to get started. Now all I need is lots of time…

 

 

 


Properties of Light

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I just re-read this book, Properties of Light by Rebecca Goldstein. I first read it 14 years ago, it was then that I fell in love with the mysteries of quantum physics. I loved the mixture of poetry and science, the confluence of reality and unreality. It is why I studied science. But I think somewhere, I got a little lost… I think maybe I am still searching for that poetry, that sense of knowledge without reason, that exists somewhere between objectivity and subjectivity, forever suspended in quantum uncertainty.


DreamSpaces & Lucid Dreaming

I’ve been thinking a lot about vector spaces lately…most likely due to the fact that I’m taking an linear algebra class and that’s what we’re currently learning. I must have learned about them before when I tried to take this class as an undergrad, but it seems to make more sense now. Anyway, vector spaces have even been invading my dreams, which got me thinking about dreams, which is not unusual since they are what I am studying. And no please don’t ask me to interpret yours…while I do maintain that they provide us with insights and guidance and can help us uncover unconscious material, my main interest is in why we dream and what they are. So back to vector spaces, this thought occurred to me earlier today: what if the dreamspace is a vector space. We all know that in dreams, different rules seem to apply, such that the normal rules of physics, such as gravity, etc., are no longer standard. Sometimes we fly, we walk through doorways into the past, the future, seem to travel instantaneously, etc.  Which makes me wonder if there are any rules in the dream world…. Also is there such a thing as “the” dream world, or does each one of us have our own different dream world? There are times where I feel like I have a completely different dream life, a familiarity like I’m remembering having lived there before.

Recently, there was an article published in Nature Neuroscience http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nn.3719.html that showed scientists were able to induce lucid dreaming, which is where one is aware they are dreaming within the dream, by inducing gamma waves (25-100 Hz), which have been observed during spontaneous lucid dreams, in the brain using an electrical current. This is extremely interesting because we may now have a way to study dreams and experiment with them in a more systematic way than finding people who are able to do it spontaneously or inducing them with various drugs.  So back to my idea about vector spaces and the dream world. We could possibly test whether there are limits in the dream world, if there are fundamental rules that are just different from the ones we know in the waking world, or maybe they’re aren’t and anything is possible. Are there limits to how much control we have?

But then, this introduces the question of whether the lucid dream state is different from the regular dream state… As well as what actually causes spontaneous lucid dreams? It happened once when I woke up from an interesting dream and tried to go back into it, and when I did, I knew I was in the dream again. There was another time when I knew I was dreaming and wanted to wake up, but couldn’t….every time I tried to open my eyes, I would be in a different dream scenario…

Anyway, just some thoughts, possibly future research ideas, but for now I’m going to focus on my first question of why we dream and I have my own hypothesis, but more on that later when I actually start working on my thesis…


Fragments of a Fading Dream

So I’m pretty excited! I’ve been working on self-publishing a book of my writing including some of the poetry that you see here. It will be called Fragments of a Fading Dream and it’s a collection of some of my writing throughout the years on various topics such as dreams, illusion, reality, consciousness, science, love, etc. I am publishing it as an e-book as well as in print and it will be available for purchase via all the major e-reader sites as well as in print on this website and Amazon.com. The cover art is tentative, still working on it… Let me know what you think.

 


dreaming…

We like for things to make sense, to be in an order we can recognize. Dreams are not necessarily either of those things, which may be why they are sometimes disturbing. Maybe what our waking brain does is to organize the information we receive into an order that makes sense to us and at night when we dream we get a glimpse of the unorganized, unedited version which is why our rules don’t exist there…


Random (or not so random) Thoughts

Ok so I know I haven’t posted in a while…

I could say that it’s because I’ve been so busy, but that’s not it. Usually I just don’t really know what to say, or if anyone is reading it anyway, but tonight I seem to be in a different kind of mood.

I’ve been thinking about the things we do in private that would probably seem crazy or strange to other people, but have become completely normal for us because we do them all the time.

Ok so here’s one. I talk to myself. A lot. I don’t think it’s that strange since I spend a lot of time alone and have no one else to talk to. I don’t really think there’s someone else there. Sometimes I imagine there is, or I fantasize about conversations with people in my head, but I know they’re not really talking to me. Sometimes I catch myself doing it in public though, but I usually don’t care.

I talk to my cat too. She doesn’t usually talk back though, except when I’m dreaming

I had a dream once that I met a man in a playground with building blocks who knew all the answers. I asked him and he told me everything I wanted to know, but when I woke up, I couldn’t remember.

Oh and I think time travel could be possible, in our dreams…seriously

And I think dream worlds actually exist and that everything that happens in our dreams is real, just in a different way

What else…

I usually leave my tv on when I’m at work at night or on vacation so my cat won’t feel alone and I program it to turn to different channels depending on what I would watch if I were there…

sometimes I think I would enjoy being in prison…lots of time to read/write, don’t have to make too many difficult decisions, maybe I’d feel a connection with  the other inmates since everyone is in pretty much the same situation – same goes for a mental institution

Oh, I would like to have an hallucination, or hear voices, or actually live in a dream – I have seen ghosts before when I was young, but didn’t get a chance to talk to them, maybe next time

I think that words are very important, that the specific words we use have meaning. There are many ways to express ourselves and the words we choose say something about how we see the world

I think that is it possible that the people we say have mental disorders may actually be seeing or experiencing a different form of reality

I think that characters in books/movies may actually exist, maybe on a different plane or dimension and our view of them is only a glimpse into their lives

I think it’s possible that each of us are characters in other people’s dreams, and other people are only characters in our own dream that we call reality

I’m not sure if I believe in coincidence, or true randomness

I don’t care for conflict, never have. Most of the conflicts in my life stems from people trying to force me to share something before I’m ready.  But I have always stood up for my right to my privacy. In school, I used to write extremely small so the teacher couldn’t read what I was writing from over my shoulder…

I only really feel alive when I’m traveling…I think I see myself differently then, like I can be anyone – I don’t have any restrictions on my life – like all the possibilities are superimposed as in a quantum state, whereas when I’m at home, everything is determined, the box is open…maybe that’s the key…

maybe I need to be able to create that uncertainty anywhere – I’ve always loved the idea of being an actress or a spy, so I could be many different people, live multiple lives…

No wonder I’m not satisfied with just one profession…

I’m interested in a lot of things, but I get bored after a while. I don’t remember facts unless they’re of some specific importance to me. I don’t debate things because I know I’m not an expert and don’t wish to be.

I’m starting school in the fall for Consciousness & Dream studies – don’t quite know where it will lead, I just like to think about stuff like that.

I don’t like to do things I don’t want to do, so I do my best not to do them

I like to work and do things that make me feel useful, otherwise what’s the point?

I don’t have a favorite of anything, it changes all the time

I don’t believe that anything is permanent, or that I have ultimate control over the future

I think it’s possible that everything we “know” is an illusion

That everything I see could be created in my mind

That if I think it, I can possibly make it real

That belief is extremely powerful

That we create our own reality

And that maybe

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is impossible

Well that’s it for now

Until next time…


The World as ‘I’ Know It

(a poetic interpretation of the Being Human Conference)

There once was a world
and in that world there was an ‘I’
‘I’ have a body and a brain and something called a mind
all of which ‘I’ use to interpret the signals that surround me
these signals tell me that ‘I’ am a human
and that there are millions of others like me
and that they, like me, are human too
and share my world
that they also have bodies, and brains and minds of their own
and that each of these bodies and brains and minds are different
that they interpret the signals around them differently than ‘I’ do
and perceive the world (that we share) differently
can ‘I’ be sure that they really exist
that they aren’t just my mind’s interpretation of the signals that surround me
so ‘I’ learn how to communicate with them
discover some similarities
some differences
share experiences
create bonds
they are as real to me as anything else ‘I’ know

‘I’ know that our bodies work in a similar way
the mirror neurons in my brain allow me to empathize
to see myself in them; to imagine their experiences as my own
to become their reflection
‘I’ am able to trick my brain, even though my mind knows better
to alleviate my phantom pain
my contextual reality, how easy it is to trick the brain
it still believes the illusion, even when the mind is freed

our thoughts and experiences shape our world
how we interpret the information we have been given
they comprise our chosen deception
they are the filters through which we perceive

‘I’ can essentially “see myself see”
which is awareness you see
but ‘I’ cannot see how ‘I’ see
that is the unconscious me
thus ‘I’ cannot see the unconscious me
due to oversimplicity
you see the conscious me
only knows the summary
to understand the full story
would require many more words
than are in my vocabulary
to understand the unconscious me
would require the entire dictionary

‘I’ have been informed that there is a sense of self
that exists within my brain
that ‘I’ project onto this body
but can also be transposed
onto a different body
to trick my brain
into thinking it is me
how is it that my brain
cannot see the holes in its own reality
these are just simple deceptions
that my mind can see through
but what about something more complex
something like my unconscious me
that my mind cannot fully understand
how do ‘I’ know
if what ‘I’ think ‘I’ know
is real
or is my ‘reality’ just a projection
of my unconscious me…?


The Uncertainty of Being Human

 

It is because Humanity has never known where it was going that it has been able to find its way.

~ Oscar Wilde

We are all human beings being human – a characteristic that all who are reading this share (as far as we know). But what does it mean, to be human? Is it the set of characteristics that set us apart from other beings? What does our ‘humanity’ consist of? Is it just our common biology; that we are not primates?, What is it that about us that makes us distinctively ‘human’ and not monsters (vampires, werewolves, ghosts, etc…) Does it have to do with our sense of self, our awareness, our consciousness? Could it be the space in between, the capacity to use these tools to create, to imagine alternative possibilities? Or our compassion, our ability to empathize and become a mirror for the experiences of others? The speakers at the Being Human conference sought to provide some insight into this .

We as humans are a conflux of seemingly conflicting dualities; we have the capacity for rationality, but still act irrationally,we have the capacity for logic, but are driven by emotions; we create complex machines to mimic ourselves, yet have little understanding of how our own machinery works, we have the capacity to build and the capacity to destroy, to love, to hate, for compassion and for intolerance, to become architects of greatness or destruction. We live in a world that isn’t exactly as it seems; a world where colors can appear different depending on context alone, where phantom limbs can cause real pain; where a lesion in a particular part of the brain can essentially change who you are; and our sense of self can be easily transposed to an avatar. How easy it is to trick ourselves, it comes as no surprise that we become complicit in our own deception.

We trust in our senses to transmit information, which is the basis for how we perceive the world. The information enters through our senses and is presented to the brain for interpretation. The brain looks for relationships in the information in order to provide meaning, giving it context. The brain relies on experience and history in creating these relationships. Without context, the information is meaningless. Through feedback from experiences, we adapt and create a sense of normalcy consistent with our worldview. The awareness that we have, the ability to ‘see ourselves see’ allows us to see the illusions; to see that our perceptions are dependent on context and experience. It also allows for us to see the possibility of other viewpoints, since other people’s perceptions are based on their experiences; to have compassion for their view of the world.

There are many ways in which we can trick the brain. Optical illusions are easy enough to see through once you know the truth behind them, but there are others. Perceptual sensory illusions aka phantom limbs are another. This phenomenon occurs when the loss of a limb is not acknowledged by the brain, so the brain still monitors the limb as if it is still there. One can consciously know that the limb is gone, but the conscious mind can’t communicate that information to the brain. There is a gap between the conscious and unconscious processes. One consequence of this is that these phantom limbs can cause real pain, which is very disconcerting since there is no limb which can be treated. It has been shown that one way to relieve this phantom pain is to hold up a mirror to the opposite limb and perform actions to relieve the pain while looking in the mirror. The brain accepts the sensory information as seen in the mirror as real even though one ‘knows’ it’s just a mirror. This is one example of the duality between the conscious mind and body.  Rama (V.S. Ramachandran) described a patient who had phantom pain in her thumb, but felt relief of her pain while watching her husband massage his corresponding thumb. One explanation for this could be due to the existence of mirror neurons – a cluster of neurons in the brain that fire in response to an action perceived to happen to anyone. For instance, if you see someone get stabbed with a needle, the same neurons fire in you as in them, the only difference is that your skin sends feedback to the brain telling you that it is fine and not to feel pain. In someone with a phantom limb, there is no feedback response, so you would feel as if it had actually happened to you. These cells mirror the cells in another and allow us to empathize, to see ourselves in others.

Thomas Metzinger posits that the self is not a thing but a process and that there exists, a global representation of the self in the brain. In a rubber hand experiment it has been shown that when one’s own hand is replaced by a rubber hand, the visual illusion is enough to convince your brain to think that it belongs to you. And in other experiments through work with a group called Virtual Embodiment and Robotic Re-Embodiment (VERE) in Israel, this sense of self has been shown to be able to be transposed into virtual avatars and perceiving robots where using an fMRI the avatars/robots were able to be controlled remotely by thought. He also talked about the element of transparency: how we don’t see the neurons firing but only what they represent for us; we are unaware of the medium through which information reaches us. The combination of the self model and transparency create a concept of selfhood. There is a kind of uncertainty as to how information gets to us, it’s as if we are looking through a window without actually seeing the window only what is outside of it.

As Beau Lotto stated, the brain is presented with uncertainty because we have no direct access to the physical world other than through our senses. The brain can only rely on experience to provide meaning. It is the awareness of perceiving that allows us to choose how to interpret the information that is presented to us; which experiences to use as filters what lens to use to view the world.

David Eagleman’s talk reminded us that everything we do is beyond the scope of conscious awareness. There is a gap between the conscious and unconscious mind. The conscious mind is just a summary of what the brain does; an abstract representation. It is in this conscious/unconscious gap where uncertainty lies. When we try to observe these unconscious processes, we find that we don’t quite get it right, that we don’t really know how we do the things we know how to do. We cannot observe ourselves accurately, the act of observation can change it/ruin it. The conscious mind cannot observe the unconscious, it does not have the tools, so the act of trying to make sense of it simplifies it to a point where it doesn’t work anymore – conscious interference.

When you think about the awareness that we have, the ability to ‘see ourselves see’ as Beau Lotto put it, it allows us to choose the ways in which we perceive. Allows for us to, in Richie Davidson’s words, ‘envision alternative possibilities’, which I think opens the doors to imagination and creativity. Each of us share a common biology, a common form, but have vastly different histories and experiences through which we view the world, thus creating many completely different worlds. Through our awareness of this process we are able to have compassion; our bodies are made with mirror circuitry built in, giving us the ability to empathize with others. Our conscious minds create an image of the self in our brains and along with our senses, through which we transmit information, allow us to develop a sense of selfhood and choose the world in which we live. The ultimate uncertainty is that life has no blueprint, no guide and in that uncertainty is freedom. Freedom in not knowing, freedom to to make our own choices and the capacity to envision alternative possibilities.

Richie Davidson is the Founder and Chair, Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison http://www.investigatinghealthyminds.org/

 

Beau Lotto is a Biologist and Performance Artist http://www.lottolab.org/
V.S. Ramachandran is the director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego http://cbc.ucsd.edu/ramabio.html
Thomas Metzinger is a professor of Theoretical Philosophy at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz http://www.philosophie.uni-mainz.de/metzinger/
David Eagleman is a Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine http://www.eagleman.com/

Make sure to check out my previous post which is a list of books by the presenters from the conference where you can find more information about some of the ideas presented here. http://www.ladylxa.com/archives/327

Click here to view the conference in it’s entirety. For more information on the Being Human conference visit http://www.beinghuman2012.org or http://www.beinghuman.org

On a related note, I just finished David Eagleman’s book of stories “Sum”. Very interesting and goes along with the idea of our ability to envision alternative possibilities. It is a series of 40 stories that imagine 40 different scenarios for what the afterlife is and provides context and meaning for the world as we know it. And each and every one could be a very real possibility!


Various Thoughts on Being Human Conference

culture is the shared interpretation of information.
what if no one person exists
all aspects of the mind of god
all parts of the hologram that contains the whole in each
one aspect of the whole,
we surround ourselves with ‘people’ who are similar to us, who share the same worldview, who interpret the world in a similar way to us
what if there are no people, there is no one else
maybe the purpose is creativity, to create our world
i think therefore i am – i cannot be sure about you
how do i know that you really exist, that you share my world
that you are not just in my mind
a trick, an illusion
how do i know if i see you as you really are
or is what i see only a projection, my interpretation of the information of you


Being Human Conference Book List

So I’m going to San Francisco this month, and this is my excuse! There’s a Being Human conference entitled The Science of Human Experience on March 24, 2012. The panel of speakers include scientists, artists, poets, philosophers, and others whose work relates to the human condition. They will be discussing current research and theories on various aspects of human nature and what it means to be human. Visit their website www.beinghuman2012.org for more info or to register. Books by each of the featured speakers are listed below. I’m going to pick up a few of them before the conference and I’ll post my impressions. Also book reviews, etc. coming soon!

Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D.

Founder and Chair, Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison

[amazon asin=1594630895&template=iframe image][amazon asin=1572249684&template=iframe image]

Peter Baumann

Author and Founder, The Baumann Foundation

[amazon asin=1604075732&template=iframe image]

David Eagleman, Ph.D.

Neuroscientist, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine

[amazon asin=0307377334&template=iframe image][amazon asin=0307389936&template=iframe image]

Paul Ekman, Ph.D.

Manager, Paul Ekman Group, LLC

[amazon asin=0805083391&template=iframe image][amazon asin=1883536367&template=iframe image]

Anne Harrington, Ph.D.

Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University

[amazon asin=0691024227&template=iframe image][amazon asin=0393333973&template=iframe image][amazon asin=0691050503&template=iframe image]

Jane Hirshfield

Prize-winning International Poet, Translator, and Essayist

[amazon asin=0307595420&template=iframe image][amazon asin=B0057IYMF4&template=iframe image][amazon asin=1852247975&template=iframe image][amazon asin=0060929480&template=iframe image][amazon asin=0060779195&template=iframe image][amazon asin=0060951699&template=iframe image]

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.

Professor of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Founder, Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society

[amazon asin=1572249684&template=iframe image][amazon asin=1604076585&template=iframe image]

Beau Lotto, Ph.D.

Neuroscientist and Artist, Founder of Lottolab Studio

[amazon asin=0878935967&template=iframe image]

Hazel Markus, Ph.D.

Davis-Brack Professor in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University

[amazon asin=0871547953&template=iframe image][amazon asin=039393070X&template=iframe image][amazon asin=1557984875&template=iframe image][amazon asin=0840033001&template=iframe image]

Thomas Metzinger, Ph.D.

Professor of Theoretical Philosophy, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

[amazon asin=0465020690&template=iframe image][amazon asin=0262633086&template=iframe image][amazon asin=090784510X&template=iframe image][amazon asin=0262133709&template=iframe image]

V.S. Ramachandran, Ph.D.

Director, Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California-San Diego

[amazon asin=0393340627&template=iframe image][amazon asin=0688172172&template=iframe image][amazon asin=0131872788&template=iframe image][amazon asin=1861973039&template=iframe image]

Gelek Rimpoche

Founder, Jewel Heart, Tibetan Buddhist Center

[amazon asin=1573229520&template=iframe image][amazon asin=1841812064&template=iframe image]

 

Laurie Santos, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology, Yale University

[amazon asin=0199216894&template=iframe image][amazon asin=0199250995&template=iframe image]