Raymond Tallis is a philosopher, poet, novelist and cultural critic and was until recently a physician and clinical scientist. In the Economist’s Intelligent LifeMagazine (Autumn 2009) he was listed as one of the top living polymaths in the world. In this exclusive interview he offers a critique of current predominant intellectual trends and discusses an alternative understanding of human consciousness and of what it is to be a human being.
Max Velmans is currently Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, Visiting Professor in Consciousness Studies, University of Plymouth, an Academician of the Social Sciences, and has been involved in consciousness studies for around 40 years. His main research focus is on integrating work on the philosophy, cognitive psychology and neuropsychology of consciousness, and, more recently, on East-West integrative approaches.
Iain McGilchrist is a psychiatrist and writer. He is committed to the idea that the mind and brain can be understood only by seeing them in the broadest possible context, that of the whole of our physical and spiritual existence, and of the wider human culture in which they arise – the culture which helps to mould, and in turn is moulded by, our minds and brains. His seminal book, The Master and his Emissary, is a fascinating exploration of the differences between the brain’s right and left hemispheres and their effects on society, history and culture. In it, he argues that, despite its inferior grasp of reality, the left hemisphere is increasingly taking precedence in the modern world, with potentially disastrous consequences. In this exclusive interview, Iain McGilchrist discusses the book and the need for a greater understanding between science and the humanities.
Susan Aldworth is an experimental printmaker and filmmaker referencing both neuroscience and philosophy in her work exploring human identity.
Significant recent shows include Susan Aldworth:The Portrait Anatomised at the National Portrait Gallery; Brains: The mind as matter, Wellcome Collection; Mind Maps: Stories from Psychology, Science Museum, London; and Images of the Mind, in Dresden and Brno. Her work is in many collections including the V&A, British Museum, Hunterian Museum and Wellcome Collection.
Marilyn Schlitz, Ph.D. is a social anthropologist, researcher, writer, and charismatic public speaker. For more than three decades, she has been a leader in the field of consciousness studies. Her research and extensive publications focus on personal and social transformation, cultural pluralism, extended human capacities, and mind body medicine. She recently wrote and produced a feature film (called Death Makes Life Possible) with Deepak Chopra on the topic of death and dying, and how engaging that topic in a deep and meaningful way informs the way we live our lives.
By establishing a dialogue in which the meditative practices of Buddhism and Christianity speak to the theories of modern philosophy and science, B. Alan Wallace reveals the theoretical similarities underlying these disparate disciplines and their unified approach to making sense of the objective world. In this article, he explores the relationship between Christian and Buddhist meditative practices, showing that, though Buddhism and Christianity differ in their belief systems, their methods of cognitive inquiry provide similar insight into the nature and origins of consciousness.
Dr. Wolfgang Baer received his Ph.D. in Physics from the UC Berkeley. His interest in cognitive brain functions has lead to publications exploring the physics of consciousness, real intelligence, and research applications directed toward the extension of cognitive brain capability beyond its normal limits.
Garry Kennard is a painter, writer and founding director of Art and Mind (www.artandmind.org). A fascination with how the brain reacts to works of art has lead Kennard to research, write and lecture on these topics. With Rita Carter and Annabel Huxley he devised and directed the unique Art and Mind Festivals which attracted leading artists and scientists to explore what light the brain sciences can throw on contemporary culture. He has an interest in mountaineering and has climbed in the Alps and Africa, as well as leading his own expeditions to the Nepalese Himalayas.
Links to the Interalia Magazine blog, ‘Talking about Consciousness’, featuring – His Holiness The Dalai Lama: The Relation between Matter & Consciousness ; Alva Noë : Why is Consciousness so baffling? ; Marvin Minsky on Consciousness ; J Krishnamurti: On the relationship between thought and consciousness ; Peter Russell: The Reality of Consciousness