Sunday, May 10, 2009

Join Us in Exploring the Mind, Wisdom, and Consciousness

Heads up on two upcoming events.

First, Tom will be doing a two-part presentation on "Mind, Self, and Consciousness" out at Rio Salado's Lifelong Learning Center on Tuesday May 12 and Tuesday June 9 from 10:00-2:00. Visitors are welcome. Following is a little preview:

What is the nature of the mind? What is the “I”, the “me”, the sense of personal identity or self that we all seem to possess? Most intriguing of all, what is consciousness? What is this strange thing we call “experience” and why is it private and subjective? Why, in fact, is there consciousness at all and how did it arise within a physical world?

These connected questions have baffled both philosophers and scientists through the ages, and the two presentations will cover the whole array of relevant issues and ideas, from Plato, the Buddha, and Descartes to Freud, Sartre, Damasio, Clark, Chalmers and many others.

Tom will begin with ancient theories of the mind, starting with the Greeks and mystical Eastern thinkers, and then move into modern views, covering both Enlightenment philosophy and science and the emergence of psychology toward the end of the nineteenth century. From there he will explore contemporary thinking, looking at the brain and consciousness, the evolution of the self, and most recently, some mind-expanding theories on what the mind is.

Participants will be challenged to consider a myriad of questions: What is the relationship of consciousness and matter? What is the unconscious? Where is the mind? Why am I me and not you? We will consider whether the self is an illusion, a social construction, or a figment of the imagination. We will consider the issues of freedom, responsibility, and determinism as it pertains to the mind and the self. In the finale, we will even head into the future, connecting mind, self, and consciousness with artificial intelligence, robots, the cosmos, and the possibilities of expanding our conscious minds in the world of tomorrow.

Later in the summer Tom and Jeanne will both be presenting at the Science, Wisdom and the Future Conference in San Luis Obispo on California's central coast from June 24-28. There is still time to register for the conference and to engage with some top-knotch speakers so check out the link.

Tom will do a first session Wisdom, Virtue, and Future Consciousness, and a second special session on The Future of Psychology and the Cosmology of Consciousness. Jeanne will be speaking on Wisdom and the Ideal Society. There is a wonderful lineup of speakers such as Riane Eisler, author of Sacred Pleasure and The Chalice and the Blade, evolutionary writer and head of the Darwin Project, David Loye, and proponent of conscious evolution, Barbara Marx Hubbard.

The conference will bring together scholars and students, experts and lay persons—all who are interested in drawing on our latest science and deepest wisdom to build a sustainable and flourishing future for planet Earth and all its inhabitants.

Along with formal presentations, working lunch discussions and open space give all participants the opportunity to contribute to the dialogue. There will also be significant opportunities for sharing organizational work, important books, upcoming conferences and initiatives through displays, and special focus sessions. Various modes of sharing scholarly, artistic, and multi-media expressions of science, wisdom, and visions for the future will enrich the conference experience.

To see a list of presenters, or if you are interested in participating or in presenting, hit on the link above or call Cheryl Genet at 805-438-4088 for more information.