Consciousness, Introspection and Habitual Patterns
Why do we do what we do, feel what we feel?
What allows us to experience our emotions, the very thing that shapes how we interact with each other and the world?
What is the function of consciousness?
Our conversation will view these questions from the aspect of scientific discovery, psychoanalysis and Buddhist philosophy.
Mitra Karl Brunnhölzl, Senior Teacher, Nalandabodhi
Karl was originally trained, and worked, as a physician in Germany. Since 1988, he received his Buddhist and Tibetan language training mainly at Marpa Institute For Translators in Kathmandu, Nepal (director: Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche) and also studied Tibetology, Buddhology, and Sanskrit at Hamburg University, Germany. Since 1989, Karl served as a translator, interpreter, and Buddhist teacher mainly in Europe, India, and Nepal. Since 1999, he is one of the senior translators and teachers at Nalandabodhi and Nitartha Institute (director: Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche) in North America, Asia, and Europe. In addition, he regularly taught at Gampo Abbey’s Vidyadhara Institute from 2000–2007. He is the author of over a dozen books on Buddhism, such as The Center of the Sunlit Sky, Straight from the Heart, When the Clouds Part, and The Heart Attack Sutra (all Snow Lion Publications). Karl lives in Seattle and mainly works as a translator of Tibetan and Sanskrit texts.
Christof Koch joined the Allen Institute as Chief Scientific Officer in 2011 and became President in 2015.
He received his baccalaureate from the Lycée Descartes in Rabat, Morocco, his M.S. in physics from the University of Tübingen in Germany and his Ph.D. from the Max-Planck-Institut für Biologische Kybernetik, Tübingen. Subsequently, he spent four years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1987 until 2013, he was a professor at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, from his initial appointment as Assistant Professor, Division of Biology and Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences in 1986, to his final position as Lois and Victor Troendle Professor of Cognitive & Behavioral Biology. See here for Christof’s academic pedigree and his students.
Koch has published extensively, and his writings and interests integrate theoretial, computational and experimental neuroscience. His most recent book, Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist, blends science and memoir to explore topics in discovering the roots of consciousness. Stemming in part from a long-standing collaboration with the late Nobel Laureate Francis Crick, Koch authored the book The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach. He has also authored the technical books Biophysics of Computation: Information Processing in Single Neurons and Methods in Neuronal Modeling: From Ions to Networks, and served as editor for several books on neural modeling and information processing. Koch’s research addresses scientific questions using a widely multidisciplinary approach.
His research interests include elucidating the biophysical mechanisms underlying neural computation, understanding the mechanisms and purpose of visual attention, and uncovering the neural basis of consciousness and the subjective mind.
Learn more about Christof here.
Dr. Don Ross
Dr. Don Ross has been in clinical practice for over three decades. His clinical experiences have been broad. They include work in Bellevue Hospital surgical trauma and Pittsburgh emergency room, psychosomatic medicine in Parkland Hospital, family medicine in Vermont and private practice of psychiatry in Seattle.
After completing psychoanalytic training and a personal psychoanalysis at the Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society, he received further certification as a Training and Consulting Psychoanalyst.
He currently serves on the faculties of Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society and the Northwest Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. He has written on the obstacles to play, psychosis and the mental activities in support of intimacy. Connecting his medical experience with public health, Dr. Ross helped initiate and, with Acharya Tashi Wangchuk and Susan Kirchoff, RN, MA, helps oversee two medical clinics, one in Sikkim, India, the other in eastern Tibet.