GALILEO COMMISSION REMIT
The world today is dominated by science and by its underlying assumptions, which are seldom explicitly articulated. The Galileo Commission’s remit is to open public discourse and to find ways to expand science so that it can accommodate and explore important human experiences and questions that science, in its present form, is unable to integrate.
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Although medically ignored, these near-universal experiences often provide comfort and meaning as well as insight into the life led and the death anticipated.
In this fascinating interview Federico Faggin, designer of the first commercial microprocessor and pioneer in the movement to base mathematical theory on consciousness, urges science to embrace consciousness to explain the weirdness of quantum physics, and use it as the instrument of scientific investigation.
Three necessary conditions for the existence of consciousness are identified: a) a ground of reality, envisaged as a universal field of potentiality encompassing all possible manifestations, whether material or ‘mental’; b) a transitional zone, leading to; c) a manifest world with its fundamental divisions into material, ‘informational’, and quale-endowed aspects. We explore ideas about the nature of these necessary conditions, how they may relate to one another and whether our suggestions have empirical implications.
In this episode of Tim Freke’s podcast “What is life?” Tim sits down with Steve Taylor, an adviser to the Galileo Commission, to contemplate the mystery of life. They touch on a variety of topics on their intellectual journey: how compassion and creativity manifest themselves in daily lives, the nature and dynamism of time, the problem of free will, how consciousness emerges and how it relates to evolutions, what kids can teach you about being present, death and much more… Their discussion is a step in the right direction to, as Tim puts it, ‘bring in a new narrative’ in our cultural and intellectual lives that can build on top of the materialistic worldview and overcome the potentially nihilistic implications of materialism.
I suggest here that ‘mind’ can usefully be viewed as a process of integrating environmental dynamics with brain dynamics. It is probably expressed in brains in fractal patterns of ionic fluxes, especially calcium ion fluxes. Consciousness may be founded in a neutral monism at the basis of reality. As manifest in us however, it could prove to be a translation, mediated by implications of Heisenberg time/energy uncertainty, of spatio-temporal aspects of ‘mind’ into a tempero-spatial format. Differences between qualia might conceivably have a basis in knot theory. Potentially useful research directions are then briefly described.
Two doctrines rule our times: Neo-Darwinism and Neoliberalism, which are deeply connected and together form one overwhelming ideology of inevitable competition and deadly strife. Biological life, however, is never about one winning, but rather an endless celebration of reciprocity.