Our symposium on “Sleep, Lucid Dreaming and Consciousness” at the University of Texas at Austin on the 14th of May gathered more than 100 participants of diverse academic and non-academic backgrounds, who engaged in discussion with world class experts on the subject [click on the links below to view videos on youtube].
At the beginning, Dr. Michael Schwartz spoke of consciousness as our “mode of access” to the world and the troubles that we are having with sleeping due to electric lights.
Dr. Stephen LaBerge presented his research on lucid dreaming and spoke of the uncanny reality of dreams. Isn’t it – as he claimed – that perception and dreaming have a lot in common? Dreaming is perception unconstrained by sensory input and perception is dreaming constrained by sensory input.
Dr. David Presti gave the overview of the what we know and – most importantly – what we still don’t know about the brain and the mind-brain-body connection. How are we related to what we call reality? There is now a greater amount of evidence that the brain as a whole – rather than its particular parts – interacts with itself, the body and the environment. More research is needed, but we can be sure that what we call knowledge today will become obsolete in a few hundred years from now, as it has been in the past – Presti emphasized.
Dr. Wallace Mendelson spoke about sleep disorders – narcolepsy, cataplexy, obstructive sleep apnea and others that are becoming more prevalent these days than in the past. An interesting example is a subjective insomnia, in which one is physiologically sleeping, while being convinced and reporting not sleeping through the night at all, and being exhausted as a result. What an intriguing case for the mind-body problem.
There was a panel discussion at the end, which you can view here.
The symposium was a success and another one is being planned for next year – one in which the alternate states of consciousness will be explored in greater detail and scope.
The Symposium was organized by Robert Abzug, Marcin Moskalewicz and Michael Schwartz thanks to a generous grant by Robert J. Barnhart. The organizers would like to thank Alba Lara and Belinda Mendoza for their kind assistance in management of the event.
“Social Science & Medicine provides an international and interdisciplinary forum for the dissemination of research findings, reviews and theory in all areas of common interest to social scientists, health practitioners and policy makers. The journal publishes material relevant to any aspect of health from a wide range of social science disciplines (eg. anthropology, economics, geography, psychology, social epidemiology, social policy and sociology), and material relevant to the social sciences from any of the professions concerned with physical and mental health, and with health care practice, policy and organization. It is particularly keen to publish findings or reviews which are of general interest to an international readership.”
Today, the 6th Geneva Conference on Person-Centered Medicine will include a workshop on Developing a New Person-centered and Evidence-based Regional Medical School in the United States led by: Michael Schwartz (Round Rock, Texas)and Juan Perez-Miranda (Madrid).
This event will include: • Introduction on Intertwining Person-Centered and Evidence-Based Medicine: Michael Schwartz (Round Rock, Texas) • Domains of Inquiry and Action in the Pursuit of Person Centered Medicine: Edward Sherwood (Round Rock, Texas) • The Journey to the Center of Person-Centered Medicine: Lianne Marks (Round Rock, Texas) • Essential Skills for Physicians in the Pursuit of Person Centered Medicine: Jim Donovan (Round Rock, Texas) • Discussants: Inger Ekman (Gothenburg) & Salman Rawaf (London)
A one hour seminar titled, “What are the medical humanities for?” will be given by Professor Robin Downie, Philosophy, from Glasgow University on Tuesday 30 April, from 5pm to 6pm [11am – 12pm CDT] at the Centre for Medical Humanities, University of Leeds.