Worlds of Entanglement Symposium - September 29-30, 2017, Brussels (Belgium)
At the end of September, I’ll be in Brussels, entangling with colleagues and friends at the “Worlds of Entanglement” symposium. As you will discover, by exploring the symposium's rich program, there are session revolving around very different themes, like quantum foundations, entanglement in social science, economics and uncertainty, complex systems and others. I will present, in the quantum foundations session, Diederik Aerts’ conceptuality interpretation of quantum and relativity theories. More precisely, I’ll try to explain how we can understand the strange behavior of quantum and relativistic entities by adopting a very bold hypothesis: that instead of being objectual entities, they would be conceptual entities. Not in the sense that quantum and relativistic entities would be human concepts, but in the sense that they would share with the latter the same conceptual nature, similarly to how, say, sea waves and sound waves, although very different entities, can nevertheless share the same undulatory nature.
2nd International Congress on Consciousness - May 19-21, 2017, Miami (USA)
It was a great pleasure to be part of the second edition of the International Congress on Consciousness (ICC), organized by the IAC - International Academy of Consciousness, which was held in Miami, Florida, from May 19th to 21st, 2017. As it was the case already for its first edition, the IAC succeeded in actualizing an “unlikely event,” with a surprising mixture of topics, styles and approaches, all revolving around the notion of consciousness and its numerous manifestations. This is of course inevitable, when such a multidisciplinary (not to say transdisciplinary) domain of research is tackled, crossing over so many different visions, experiences and motivations. This also means that a certain inhomogeneity in the level of the different presentations is impossible to avoid, but I believe is also something to be in part welcomed. Indeed, this remains a research field still at an embryonic stage of development, so that all intellectually honest attempts to capture even the tiniest ‘elements of reality’ of its elusive content, though only in ways that are anecdotal, conjectural, or even metaphorical, are important in order to shape the future more solid explanations, the more specific questions to address, and the game changer experiments to conduct, be them in the first, second, or third person. My talk was about the notion of “multiplex realism,” which I developed together with Diederik Aerts. It was a sort of continuation of my presentation of two years ago, where my exhortation was to take quantum physics and consciousness more seriously, accepting all the consequences that follow from such enterprise. This time my accent was in the breakdown of our parochial spatiotemporal representation of the physical reality, and the fact that the latter is so complex, and contextual, that a single viewpoint appears to be insufficient to stage it in a all-inclusive way. My conclusion was that the quantum and relativistic revolutions have not yet been fully integrated in our modern worldview, still predominantly based on purely spatial and mechanistic models, certainly inadequate to account for all known (inner and outer) phenomena. An extended worldview is however gradually gaining ground, although it is still perceived to be highly non-intuitive by the majority of scientists, physicists included. It is however this extended worldview that we need to adopt if we want to have a chance at understanding the complexity and richness of our world, both at the physical and consciential (extra-physical) level. If we do so, many phenomena that currently appear to us as extraordinary, and therefore difficult to accept (like precognition, which I mentioned in particular in my speech), may suddenly look very “down-to-earth.” This would be so because we would have brought earth back to its original place, where it has always been: in the “depths of the sky.” Among the presentations I particularly appreciated, let me mention, in no particular order, the ‘biophoton emission studies’ by Beverly Rubik and Harry Jabs, the ‘therapeutic and evolutionary implications of retrocognition’ by Viktoria Duda, the discussion about ‘scientific disagreement’ by David Collura, the ‘conceptual model about the nature of reality’ by Federico Faggin, the ‘bioenergy detection via nuclear magnetic resonance’ by Wagner Alegretti, the analysis of ‘persistent non-symbolic experiences’ by Jeffrey Martin, the ‘analysis of psi phenomena experienced by children’ by Nanci Trivellato, the ‘near-death experiences perspective studies’ presented by Pim van Lommel, and the ‘children’s reports of past-life memories’ exposed by Jim B. Tucker. Two very nice moments that also marked the congress were the ‘lifetime achievement award’ honoring the lifetime achievement of Robert G. Jahn and Brenda J. Dunne (the two of the famous ‘Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program’, which flourished for nearly three decades under the aegis of Princeton University) and the heartfelt musical performance by George Arrunateghi. So, my compliments to the IAC, and their professional staff, for the impeccable organization of the event, which I’m certain will become a classic of its kind.