CONSCIOUSNESS: Ideas and Research for the Twenty-First Century


Imants Barušs


It is useful every couple of years to take a bird’s eye view of consciousness studies and reflect on what we see. When I look, I still see two streams, one of which is the social and political framework for the study of consciousness, and the other of which is the substance of what we know about consciousness. The former is still largely defined by the extent to which the scientific study of consciousness has been freed from a materialist agenda. The latter includes recent research into the clarity of cognitive functioning in the absence of sufficient neurological support for it, after-death communication, experimenter effects in anomalies research, and the psychodynamics of entering transcendent states of consciousness. Taken together, these two streams appear to converge on the discovery of the depth and meaning of existence that is being revealed through consciousness research.