What Is Consciousness?

with Richard Baker Roshi, Valerie Hardcastle, Basil Hiley, Bernardo Kastrup, Gary Lachman, Iain McGilchrist, Roderick Main, Paavo Pylkkänen and 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 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)?

Each session will allow time for audience participation in the form of dialogue, discussion and Q&A.

Program of Event

Saturday June 5
Analytic Idealism 
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
Closing Panel: What is Consciousness
with Valerie Hardcastle, Gary Lachman, Roderick Main, Paavo Pylkkanen and Beverley Zabriskie

General information

All sessions will last for approximately 2 hours, and will be held over zoom.us. The session structure may vary from speaker to speaker, but in general participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of the presenter and in some cases there will be breakaway discussion groups. 

Each session will be hosted by a member of the Pari Center Team, to ensure that the call is running smoothly and assist anyone experiencing technical problems. 

All sessions will be recorded. The recordings will not include the possible breakout-room discussions, but only the speaker’s presentation, follow-up discussions and Q&A. If a participant does not feel comfortable being recorded, we invite that participant to turn off their video and audio throughout the session. These recordings are available to anyone who has purchased a ticket for an attended session, or for a session they have paid for but were unable to attend.