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Consciousness: Science, Technology and Society Conference in Shanghai

The international conference will focus on Eastern approaches to consciousness

August 2, 2017

In October 2017, CIIS Transformative Studies Professor Allan Combs and graduate Dr. Jeffery Martin will participate as plenary speaker at the Consciousness: Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS) conference in Shanghai, China.

The Consciousness conference, in Shanghai, China, will center on Eastern approaches to consciousness such as Taoist philosophy as well as traditional Chinese spiritual and healing practices. This meeting brings together leading experts from the East and West to explore the science that relates to mind, body, and behavior. The event will also showcase new technologies, products, and services that promote mental and emotional well-being, ultimately for the benefit of society.

The key difference between Eastern and Western thought is that the core of Western knowledge has emerged from a dualistic understanding of mind and matter while Eastern science and philosophy are nondual (Atman). From the Eastern perspective, all experience finds its origins in consciousness (including first, second, and third-person experiences) and consciousness is primary. This approach to knowledge is based upon personal investigation and practices toward direct experiential knowing (e.g., practices such as breathing techniques, meditation, visualizations, chanting, etc.), while the Western approach to knowledge is rooted in materialism, focused primarily on observed (third person) experiences, and based upon theories, ideas, and a conceptual understanding.

By taking an Eastern approach, first-person experiences are honored (dreams, altered states, psychosis, etc.) and second-person research methodologies (inter-subjective engagement, collaboration) become possible. In Asia, there are over 2500 years of experimentation and exploration based upon a nondual foundational premise (Advaita, Dzogchen, Zen, Taoism). Also prominent in the Eastern approach is the role of nature and our relationship with it.

CSTS will bring together the greatest minds from the East and West to advance the collective field of knowledge toward greater understanding. This event series will encourage the development of new technologies, products, and services with a particular focus on the areas of education, mental health, creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, and management. This kind of cross-cultural knowledge exchange is necessary to address the many thorny problems facing today's global society and to bring about a shift toward a more harmonious future.

This is a world-class gathering for all those interested in the nature of consciousness from Eastern as well as Western perspectives.

The conference is scheduled for October 26-28, 2017 in Shanghai, China.