A fascinating debate on iai.tv explores the enduring, confounding, mystery of consciousness. Secrets of the Mind: Can Science Explain Consciousness? is the sort of event capable of drawing in even the most casual thinker, and poses relevant—at times poignant—questions we’d all like answered. But like the proverbial fish in the pond, we inhabit the shallows and depths of our own minds. How can we discuss objectively what we cannot (at least while alive) “see” from outside? This debate, like all on iai.tv, begins with “The Pitch”: statements from the hosts. In this case, psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist (“Consciousness stems from the divisions of our brains.”); Emeritus professor of psychology Nicholas Humphrey (“We should be concerned with the metaphysical issue of sentience.”); and physicist Roger Penrose (“Consciousness transcends computation.”).
The Pitch is of course followed by The Debate, and panel member Joanna Kavenna (prize-winning British novelist and travel writer) presents three themes: What is consciousness? Why are we conscious? Can science solve consciousness? Though the Big Question of the origin, or source, of consciousness likely cannot be answered in any final way, the fertility of imagination and intellect—tools of creativity—so present on this show is itself testament to our capacity for exploration of inner space seemingly as infinite and strange as that which surrounds us. Whether the mind emanates consciousness, or perhaps acts as a filter of some Jungian Overmind colored by individual belief systems, isn’t yet known (and there are more options than those). Secrets of the Mind is a valuable philosophical/scientific debate about a timeless mystery. There might very well be more to us than meets the I.