Social/Culture

What Does It Mean to Be You? A Podcast Explores Consciousness

This 40-minute podcast offers a tour through the state of research into consciousness, including the study of meta-cognition, or studying how people and their brains function when they reflect on their own consciousness.

The hosts of the show are guided by cognitive neuroscientist Anil Seth. They visit Professor Christof Koch of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, Washington, as part of their journey. Koch is pursuing integrated information theory, which posits that a system that can integrate information and cause changes in itself is conscious. This means that consciousness extends not just to mammals but to all multi-cellular life, so, for example, a bee has some modicum of experience of being a bee. This raises questions of degree – at what point does consciousness not exist? This shares some elements with pan-psychism, which argues that consciousness exists in everything.

Koch says we have to realize that science comes up with theories that seem counterintuitive but can turn out to be true. Such was the case with many major advances, such as the theory that the earth is round, which was initially rejected because it would seem that everyone would fall off a round world.

Dr. Steve Fleming at University College of London discusses how important the study of consciousness is. We don’t understand it, so understanding it would be a huge scientific success. But we also have a practical need to understand it, Flemin said, so we can address what happens with mental illness or patients who appear to be unaware but might have an interior mental life.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/audio/2016/aug/05/big-unknowns-what-is-consciousness-podcast

Moon Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, Consciousness Pioneer, Passes Away

The world has lost the physical presence of a pioneer whose visit to our moon inspired him to expand his awareness of human possibilities and consciousness. Two articles are included here. The first is the obituary of this great American by The New York Times. The second is a tribute to his work on consciousness, with much more detail about the significance of his work. It was compiled by Eternea, a group devoted to research and exploring the power of consciousness.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/06/science/space/edgar-d-mitchell-sixth-moonwalking-astronaut-dies-at-85.html?_r=0

https://madmimi.com/p/85bc37?fe=1&pact=34504-129678126-7567635897-583764bd57137d9be43947d9044df6b2c06d7c2b

Coping With Grief During the Holidays

As Janis shared with her readers around Thanksgiving, http://thehandonthemirror.org/news/let-thanksgiving-and-smiles-lift-you-up, the holidays can be a rough time when you have lost a loved one.  Forever Family Foundation, which supports grieving families and afterlife science, has a great resource list for those who face this challenge. http://www.foreverfamilyfoundation.org/site/support_and_information

Here are a few articles with advice on this emotional time when an absence is felt even more deeply.

http://www.aarp.org/home-family/friends-family/info-12-2012/death-loss-christmas-holidays-goyer.html

https://griefnet.org/library/hfa-tips.html (and their general grief resource list https://griefnet.org/library/coping.html)

http://www.griefshare.org/holidays

Women drawn to spirituality

This message on Oprah’s network rang very true. Author Janis Heaphy Durham was entrenched in the very concrete world of business and journalism as a newspaper publisher until unusual occurrences after the death of her husband drew her back to her spiritual center. They led to her writing The Hand on the Mirror. Did being female make her more open to new spiritual questions? Here’s the short video that suggests women are naturally spiritual.

http://www.oprah.com/video_embed.html?article_id=60561