At the Edges of Consciousness
with Dr Alex Gomez-Marin
Tuesday 30th January 2024
6.30-8pm UK time via Zoom
7-8pm UK ti
The scientific study of consciousness began to cease being taboo only thirty years ago. Today, it is a field of study de facto and de jure, even in orthodox neuroscience. However, it is a young science; some even describe it as a proto-science. We continue to try to untangle “Galileo’s knot,” whom, four hundred years ago, programmatically declared the separation between objective reality (shape, position, velocity, etc.) and subjective reality (flavours, tastes, pains, etc.), giving ontological and methodological priority to the former and indefinitely postponing a science of consciousness. Furthermore, the current paradigm in research on human experience ignores, disdains, ridicules, and even censors what I call “the edges of consciousness,” which include all kinds of everyday exceptional experiences and anomalous cognitive processes. They are “edges” in a double sense, as they are “marginalized” (with all sorts of derogatory prefixes like “pseudo,” “super,” “extra,” and “anti”) while also being the true “frontier” of knowledge. I propose, therefore, that a new science of consciousness is possible, as long as, as Nobel Laureate in Physics Richard Feynman said, we are willing to refute ourselves as quickly as possible, transcending doubt and belief; only then will we truly progress. The study of the human mind holds surprises similar to those that revolutionized our understanding of matter-energy and space-time just a century ago, which we have not yet fully integrated into the citadel of academia or our daily lives. Current neuroscience has the same responsibility as early 20th-century quantum physics. Science is a journey into the unknown, or it is not science.
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Àlex Gómez-Marín, PhD
Dr. Gomez-Marin is a Spanish physicist turned neuroscientist. He holds a PhD in theoretical physics and a Masters in biophysics from the University of Barcelona. He was a postdoctoral investigator at the EMBL-CRG Centre for Genomic Regulation and a research fellow at the Champalimaud Center for the Unknown in Lisbon. His research spans from the origins of the arrow of time to the neurobiology of action-perception in flies, worms, mice, humans and robots. Since 2016 he is the head of the Behavior of Organisms Laboratory at the Instituto de Neurociencias in Alicante, where he is an Associate Professor of the Spanish Research Council. Combining high-resolution quantitative experiments, computational neuro-ethology and theoretical biology, his current research concentrates on the edges of human consciousness in the real world. In 2023 he was awarded the Linda G. O’Bryant Noetic Sciences Research Prize. Alex is also the director of the Pari Center in Italy.