Explorations into the Body of Consciousness: Highlights from Dr. Charles Raison’s talk from the International Forum on Consciousness

Forum attendees have dinner with speakers.

Forum attendees have dinner with speakers.

The following blog highlights the presentation from Dr. Charles Raison at the International Forum on Consciousness, Conscious Evolution: The Awakening, co-hosted by the BTC Institute and Promega Corporation, May 7–8, 2015.

The Forum is designed to bring together people from diverse perspectives and professions to facilitate public dialogue regarding complex and challenging issues.  This year, our intent was to respond to voices of wisdom and action that call for us to shift our consciousness up a notch.

Our goals included building on the lessons of past and present in order to grow further into new systems, new ways of being that may better allow us to foster a long-term, sustainable relationship with the biosphere and the ever-evolving cosmos.

A full house of 325+ attendees, we were guided by eight outstanding presenters, all of whose talks and panel discussions may be viewed via links from our website (http://www.btci.org/consciousness/).   Our first speaker, Dr. Charles Raison, who recently joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin , effectively set the stage for the Forum, piquing interest for the talks and discussions that followed, as well as the many related conversations that continue to flow.

A few highlights from his talk:

  • Science strives for objectivity but every scientist has a personal motivation regarding the work they’ve come to do.
  • Quoting John Muir, “When we try to pick out anything by itself we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” Looking at consciousness this way is interesting – not mystical, but actually scientific.

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The Skin Of Paint On The Pinnacle Knob

Review Of the 9th Annual International Bioethics Forum: Taking the Measure of the Magic Mirror, April 22-23, 2010, BTC Institute, Madison, WI

If we were to think of the height of the Eiffel tower as representing the age of our earth, then the existence of humanity would be nothing more that the skin of paint on the pinnacle knob. This was Mark Twain’s angle on the history of humanity and the opening perspective offered by Professor of Philosophy, Sean Kelly, whose inaugural lecture at this year’s annual International Bioethics Forum on the science of consciousness kick-started a series of talks by a preeminent cast of academic thinkers and speakers. Kelly’s ensuing factual inventory set the tone for others to follow. During their brief history, humans have become a force that has incontrovertibly impacted our planet. Ninety-five percent of that skin of paint of human existence occurred before the advent of agriculture. And during that time humans have shown that they are the only beings with a capacity not only for complex language but also for storing information outside of themselves in the form of books and multimedia.  No other species dwells upon historical time like we do. Continue reading