Enlightenment: Is Science Ready to Take it Seriously?

Western psychology is still outgrowing a reactive skepticism towards the subjective anecdote that it inherited from behaviorism. Fortunately, this is changing. These days, there is a growing appreciation among investigators that if you want to understand consciousness – as opposed to just brain activity – you have to start taking first-person reports seriously. This will soon include reports of human “enlightenment.”

Read More

Making Art in Dream Space

The Dream Director is not unlike a set of DJ turntables, only the medium it remixes is the mind – the proto medium. As the DJ, the user can select from an infinite number of effects. The weirder the combination, the stranger the conjured world… come remix the dreaming mind.

Read More

The Laws of Dreaming

What might science look like in another reality? In lucid dreaming, an investigator can form a hypothesis in waking, fall asleep, become lucid, and then – in rainbow lab coat and marvellous wind-swept Vidal Sassoon hairdo – test her hypothesis as the dream surges around her.

Read More

The Tourists of Consciousness

This piece about mind, nature, and the fashionable jungle brew ayahuasca won Gold for best personal journalism at the 2011 Canadian National Magazine Awards. What can psychedelics tell us about reality? Less and more than you might think. Includes an update at end, because, you know, experience keeps changing.

Read More

Lucid Dreaming: The next frontier of human exploration

Our century marks a New Age of Exploration, into an even more mysterious frontier, with empirical discoveries that may turn out to be every bit as revolutionary as the ones that undergirded the first Age of Enlightenment. The frontier is the dreaming mind, and the new explorers are known as lucid dreamers.

Read More

Dolphin Minds – A Conversation

What would we learn if we could merge parts of the human brain with those of other species? Might we hear the sounds of the past? Live in naked troops, swapping intimate experiences without words? Or build a new social network? A fun and wide-ranging conversation with two smart friends – Lori Marino and Ben Goertzel – published in the Christmas 2011 issue of New Scientist.

Read More

The Animal in Us, The Human in Them

“They have no future without us, the chimps, the elephant, the whales and the rest. None. The question that we, the keepers, are facing is whether we’d mind a future without them ” – “whether we’d be bothered by an Earth with no living vestiges of our own differently shaped selves.” – Charles Siebert

Read More

Two Tribes

There’s a new mind theory out there … The theory is worth paying attention to because, well, it’s about you. Or at least two of you: the careful, analytic you, and your misguided shadow, who spends altogether too much time in the “wrong” section of the bookstore. One of you is a Mechanist. The other is a Mentalist. Though you may not realize it, you are two foot soldiers on opposing sides of a battle that began in utero…

Read More

Living Nonduality – Panel

I hosted this panel at the 2013 Science and Nonduality conference in Holland. At least two of of the participants – Lisa Cairns and Gary Weber – claimed to be in a permanent state of nondual consciousness. For those who don’t speak the lingo, they are what some Buddhist might call “enlightened” – i.e., their sense of being a separate self has collapsed, and they now apparently reside in a state of open unfixed “oneness” – whatever you take that to mean. Actually, what the hell that actually means is the subject of this panel.

Read More