Join us at Pari Center to
Explore the Mystery
with Richard Baker Roshi, Valerie Hardcastle, Basil Hiley, Bernardo Kastrup, Gary Lachman, Iain McGilchrist, Roderick Main, Paavo Pylkkänenand Beverley Zabriskie
Chaired by Shantena Sabbadini
8 two-hour online sessions, one every Saturday and Sunday
June 5 – 27, 2021
9:00 PDT | 12:00 EDT | 17:00 BST | 18:00 CEST
All sessions are live; recordings will be available for any sessions you are unable to attend.
Consciousness is one of the last outposts of pure mystery in our understanding of the brain. Undoubtedly there is plenty to learn about how the brain’s physiology controls our bodies, emotions and enables thoughts. Yet even these so-called easy problems are extraordinarily daunting, as scientists struggle to discern the detailed workings of sensory perception, memory, language, emotion and more. Then there are the puzzles associated with the brain’s ability to integrate all of this neural processing, producing a unified ‘self’ from the multitude of neuronal traffic. But where ‘we’ exist in our bodies, how we develop that sense of self and how it can be explained in terms of the activity of mere cells in our brain—all of that is still a mystery.
Program of Event
Saturday June 5
with Bernardo Kastrup
Sunday June 6
Can Quantum Mechanics Solve the Hard Problem of Consciousness?
with Basil Hiley and Paavo Pylkkänen
Saturday June 12
Mundane and Mystical: A Panentheistic Perspective on C. G. Jung’s Late Thoughts About Consciousness, Ego, and Self
with Roderick Main
Sunday June 13
Emotion, Synchronicity and Surprise
with Beverley Zabriskie
Saturday June 19
Beyond the Robot: Consciousness and Existentialism
with Gary Lachman
Sunday June 20
What Is the Neural Correlate of Consciousness?
with Valerie Gray Hardcastle
Saturday June 26
The Inner Science, Experiential Investigation, and Analysis of Consciousness
with Richard Baker Roshi
Sunday June 27
The Brain and our Encounter with the World
with Iain McGilchrist
Consciousness is the primary and most immediate experience we all have. Before knowing our name or who we are, before being able to recognize any specific experience we are undergoing, the immediate realization that “I am” is always there.
Yet this fundamental first person experience sits uneasily within the context of our scientific third person description of the world. No doubt consciousness has somehow to do with the brain, since physical or chemical changes in the brain affect the contents of consciousness. But the contents of consciousness, e.g. the experience of the color red, are qualitatively different from and irreducible to patterns of excitation in the brain. This irreducible difference has been dubbed “the hard problem of consciousness.”
What has been dubbed ‘the hard problem of consciousness’ is much deeper than mere neurophysiology. It involves the sense we have of ourselves and our destiny, the issue of life after death and the distinction between animate and inanimate. What are the boundaries (if any) of consciousness? Is consciousness everywhere (as mystical traditions teach) or nowhere (as materialists claim)?