Consciousness and altered states


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Consciousness and altered states
Night school

New evidence suggests that we can learn while we sleep, but do we really want to put our hours of rest to work?

Kenneth Miller

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Consciousness and altered states
How the light gets out

Consciousness is the ‘hard problem’, the one that confounds science and philosophy. Has a new theory cracked it?

Michael Graziano

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Neuroscience
The real problem

It looks like scientists and philosophers might have made consciousness far more mysterious than it needs to be

Anil K Seth

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Consciousness and altered states
Hallucinogenic nights

Sleep paralysis has tormented me since childhood. But now it’s my portal to out-of-body travel and lucid dreams

Karen Emslie

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Consciousness and altered states
Off-beat Zen

How I found my way out of depression, thanks to the writings of the English priest who brought Buddhism to the West

Tim Lott

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Consciousness and altered states
The mathematics of mind-time

The special trick of consciousness is being able to project action and time into a range of possible futures

Karl Friston

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Sleep and dreams
Falling for sleep

When wakefulness is seen as the main event, no wonder so many have trouble sleeping. Can we rekindle the joy of slumber?

Rubin Naiman

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Consciousness and altered states
The mental block

Consciousness is the greatest mystery in science. Don’t believe the hype: the Hard Problem is here to stay

Michael Hanlon

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Spirituality
Does meditation work?

It’s hailed as the panacea for everything from cancer to war. Does research into its efficacy meet scientific standards?

Ute Kreplin

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Consciousness and altered states
Hive consciousness

New research puts us on the cusp of brain-to-brain communication. Could the next step spell the end of individual minds?

Peter Watts

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History
Drugs du jour

LSD in the ’60s; ecstasy in the ’80s; ‘smart’ drugs today: how we get high reflects the desires and fears of our times

Cody Delistraty

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Addiction
Missing marijuana

When I stopped smoking weed, my appetite shrivelled and my head throbbed – but it was the dreams that really shook me

Malcolm Harris

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Neuroscience
I feel therefore I am

How exactly did consciousness become a problem? And why, after years off the table, is it a hot research subject now?

Margaret Wertheim

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Philosophy of mind
Are you sleepwalking now?

Given how little control we have of our wandering minds, how can we cultivate real mental autonomy?

Thomas Metzinger

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Art
How wonder works

One emotion inspired our greatest achievements in science, art and religion. We can manipulate it – but why do we have it?

Jesse Prinz

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Consciousness and altered states
Caves all the way down

Do psychedelics give access to a universal, mystical experience of reality, or is that just a culture-bound illusion?

Jules Evans

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Computing and artificial intelligence
Conscious exotica

From algorithms to aliens, could humans ever understand minds that are radically unlike our own?

Murray Shanahan

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Values and beliefs
Dissolving the ego

You don’t need drugs or a church for an ecstatic experience that helps transcend the self and connect to something bigger

Jules Evans

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Cognition and intelligence
Build-a-brain

We could build an artificial brain that believes itself to be conscious. Does that mean we have solved the hard problem?

Michael Graziano

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Mood and emotion
Why the long face?

Sadness makes us seem nobler, more elegant, more adult. Which is pretty weird, when you think about it

Adam Roberts

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Consciousness and altered states
Into the deep

Just when you crave one more sensual hit, the void of the float tank stops time, strips ego and unleashes the mind

M M Owen

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Consciousness and altered states
Model hallucinations

Psychedelics have a remarkable capacity to violate our ideas about ourselves. Is that why they make people better?

Philip Gerrans & Chris Letheby

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Consciousness and altered states
Zapped

I strapped TDCS electrodes to my head to see if I could make myself smarter by stimulating my brain. Here’s what happened

Mary H K Choi

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Consciousness and altered states
A good trip

Researchers are giving psychedelics to cancer patients to help alleviate their despair — and it’s working

Linda Marsa

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Consciousness and altered states
The uncertainty machine

Forget prophecy and wisdom. Using the I Ching is a weirdly useful way to open your mind to life’s unexpected twists

Will Buckingham