Talk March 20th: Wild Narratives: The Science of Consciousness and the Stories We Live in

On Wednesday, March 20th, 2019, at 4 p.m., J. Scott Jordan of Illinois State University will present a talk of interest to a broad audience. All are welcome. The talk will take place in B1.08, on the first floor of the Computer Science building.

Title: Wild Narratives: The Science of Consciousness and the Stories We Live in

Abstract: The models we have of what we are and what we live in necessarily contextualize and constrain our models of science and consciousness. At one time, certain groups of humans conceptualized themselves as eternal spirits living in a transient material world. In contemporary models, we often describe ourselves as informational minds living in a physical world, or as physical minds situated in a physical world. Whatever the model, the present talk will propose that all such models constitute wild narratives. They are narratives because they are necessarily representations of (i.e., they are about) what we are and what we live in, and they are wild because they emerge ontogenetically, socially, culturally, and phylogenetically out of lived life. I propose such narratives have their roots in unconscious anticipations that allow us to distinguish ourselves from the world, including the actions, perceptions, and cognitions of others. Research indicates these anticipations emerge from a similar cortico-cerebellar architecture that results in all cortical activity being inherently anticipatory because it is continuously, recursively primed by memory-laden cortico-cerebellar networks (Koziol & Lutz, 2013; Schmahmann, 2001). As a result, the past is continually fed forward into the present as anticipation about the future in action, perception, and cognition, simultaneously. In short, we necessarily live within multiple levels of wild narrative, simultaneously. The talk will conclude with a review a number of contemporary cultural, artistic narratives that address these issue directly. These include W. G. Sebald’s,The Rings of Saturn, Hayao Miyazaki’s, Mononoke-Hime, and the HBO series, Deadwood.