Dayalbagh Educational Insitute

Keynote Speakers

(IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)

Prof. Reinhard Blutner

Berlin; University of Amsterdam, Institute of Logic, Language and Computation, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Reinhard Blutner completed his Ph.D. in Theoretical High Energy Physics at the Karl Marx University of Leipzig (1975). Furthermore, he has a habilitation thesis in Cognitive Science at the Humboldt University of Berlin (Faculty of Philosophy, 1995). Blutner started his scientific carreer at the East German Academy of Sciences. Later, he taught linguistics at the Humboldt University of Berlin and artificial intelligence at the University of Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, he also gave courses on the philosophy of mind, intensional logic, and quantum cognition. Further, he gave courses at the University of Krakow, Stanford University, the University of Bloomington, the University of Oslo, and the Universities of Stockholm, Zadar, and Ljubljana. Blutner has written several books and about a hundred publications. His research interests concern the semantics and pragmatics of natural language, bidirectional optimality theory, lexical pragmatics, symbolic-connectionist integration, quantum cognition, and reasoning with uncertainty. Since his retirement in summer 2013 his work has concentrated on quantum cognition, including applications in cognitive musicology.

Complementarity and Quantum Cognition

The idea of complementarity is one of the key concepts of quantum mechanics. The idea was originally developed in the psychology of William James.  Recently, it came back to the humanities and forms one of the pillars of modern quantum cognition. In the first part of my presentation, I will explain two different concepts of complementarity: Niels Bohr’s ontic conception, and Werner Heisenberg’s epistemic conception. Furthermore, I will give an independent motivation of the epistemic concept that has been powerfully applied in the domain of quantum cognition and consciousness. In the second part, I will give examples illustrating the potency of complementarity in the domain of survey research and Jungian personality theory.

Prof. Mark Juergensmeyer

University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA

Mark Juergensmeyer is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was founding director of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies. He has taught at the Berkeley, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara campuses of the University of California and served as founding dean of Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He is the recipient of Guggenheim, American Council of Learned Societies, and other fellowships, and has two honorary doctorates. He has served as President of the American Academy of Religion, and is author or editor of 30 books, including The Oxford Handbook of Global Religion, The Encyclopedia of Global Religion, God in the Tumult of the Global Square, Radhasoami Reality, Gandhi’s Way, and the award-winning Terror in the Mind of God. He received his PhD in political science from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, New York.

Prof. Martin Krieger

Kiel University (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel), History Department; former Vice Dean of the Humanities Faculty and Speaker of the Center for Asian and African Studies (ZAAS) at Kiel University,  Kiel, Germany

Martin Krieger is professor for Northern European History at the University Kiel (Germany). His major focus of research is the cultural history of the Baltic Sea area and knowledge-exchange between Northern Europe and India. He has lived in India for some time, has conducted research on the former Danish trading-settlement Tranquebar in todays Tamil Nadu and extensively published on Indo-Eurpean relations. Books published in India comprise “Water and State in Europe and Asia” (with Peter Borschberg, New Delhi: Manohar 2008), “European Cemeteries in South India” (New Delhi: Manohar 2013) and “Nathaniel Wallich. Botanist and founder of the Indian Museum (in print, New Delhi 2021).

On the way towards an Indo-German Consciousness. The Discovery of ancient India in Germany

This paper investigates early German studies and discourses on ancient India from the latter half of the eighteenth century. Even if only few Germans had visited the subcontinent themselves, texts and images from and on India gained enormous attention and constituted the basis of German indology. This, for example applies to intellectuals such as Friedrich Schlegel or poets like Wolfgang von Goethe. In particular, the translation and reception of the drama “Shakuntala” played a decisive role. In the opposite direction, European including German knowledge simultaneously entered India by individual scholars or institutions like the Asiatic Society, which spread new insights among Indian intellectuals like Dwarkanath Tagore or Radakanta Deb. It will be asked: To what degree did the growing knowledge on South Asia contribute to a broadening of a common global (or at least Indo-European) consciousness? Was it a reciprocal process and is a similar impact to be witnessed among Indian cultures? What were the major issues to be discussed such as language, history or astronomy? Which interests and strategies did the protagonists of the relevant discourses pursue and did the debates contribute to shaping everyday-life in India as well as in Germany? Finally it may be asked if eighteenth-century debates constitute a model for present processes of cultural exchange and mutual understanding.

Dr. Vijai Kumar

President of the Radhasoami Satsang Sabha, Dayal Bagh, Agra, India

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Prof. Mojib Latif

Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research GEOMAR in Kiel, and Kiel University, Kiel, Germany; President of the German section of the Club of Rome, and CEO of the German Climate Consortium

Prof. Dr. Latif is one of the worldwide leading scientists in climate and ocean research with numerous papers in the renowned journal Nature, and the best known communicator on climate issues in German media.

History of employment

1983 – 1985 Scholarship of the Max Planck Society, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI), Hamburg, Germany

1985 – 1988 Scientist, MPI

1989 – 2002 Senior Scientist, MPI (equal to Associate Professor Level)

2003 – Present Full Professor, University of Kiel and GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (formerly Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences)

Awards

2000 Sverdrup Gold Medal Award, American Meteorological Society

2000 Max Planck Award for public Science

2004 DUH-Umwelt-Medienpreis 2004: Lifetime Award, Deutsche Umwelthilfe

2006 Co-recipient, NORBERT GERBIER – MUMM International Award of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

2009 German Ocean Award, Deutsche Bank

2012 Co-recipient, ASLI’s Choice Award, an award for the best book of 2012 in the fields of meteorology/climatology/atmospheric sciences

2015 Deutscher Umweltpreis, Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, one of the most prestigious environmental awards in Europe (prize money € 500,000 together with Johan Rockström)

2018 B.A.U.M.-Environmental Prize (Category, Science)

2018 NatureLife International Environmental Award

2019 Alfred-Wegener-Medal, German Meteorological Society

 

220 peer-reviewed scientific publications.

The challenge of long-term climate change

The earth has experienced a global surface warming of just above 1 °C since the beginning of industrialization and humankind is responsible through the emission of vast amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide (CO2). The present CO2-concentration is unprecedented during the last few million years and the rise is continuing despite the Corona-virus pandemic and the lockdown in many countries. Although there has been a large consensus in the climate research community about the cause of global warming for many years, global greenhouse gas emissions have increased by about 60 % since 1990. Humankind is following a worst-case scenario and climate models project a global warming of about 4 °C by the end of the century should CO2-emissions continue to rise unabatedly. How do climate models function and what are the uncertainties in projections of the future climate?

Dr. Christine Mann

Munich, Germany

Dr Christine Mann, née Heisenberg, is the 6th child of 1932 Nobel Laureate Werner Heisenberg and his wife Elisabeth Heisenberg. She studied Theology and Pedagogics in Munich (1964-1968), Germany, and Psychology at the University of Münster (1974-78), and in 1986 obtained her PhD in the field of Educational Science at the University of Göttingen. She has worked at various primary schools in Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia, and as head of a school psychological counselling centre in Worms. In 1966, Dr Mann married Prof Frido Mann, grandson of 1929 Nobel Laureate Thomas Mann. 

Since 2001 Dr Mann has turned to quantum physics. In 2011 Frido and Christine Mann initiated an interdisciplinary discussion group, in which they met regularily with Prof Dr Thomas Görnitz and others, to think about questions of the relationship between mind and matter in quantum physics.

After numerous publications in the pedagogical-didactic field, in 2017 Frido and Christine Mann jointly published the monograph Es werde Licht. Die Einheit von Geist und Materie in der Quantenphysik (Let there be Light. The Unity of Spirit and Matter in Quantum Physics), Fischer-Verlag. The anthology Im Lichte der Quanten. Konsequenzen eines neuen Weltbildes (In the Light of Quanta. Implications of a New World View), edited by Frido and Christine Mann, is scheduled to be published by the Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft (WBG) Theiss in February 2021.

Is “das Geistige” the basis of the world? 

First, I will explain the term “das Geistige” (spirituality), and why I use this German term in my English lecture. In a second step I will illustrate with reference to the German term “Geisteswissenschaften” (Humanities) that I understand ´the spiritual´ in a much broader sense than ´consciousness´, ´mind´, or ´wit´, because ultimately with the emergence of life ´das Geistige´ gained foundational relevance as a separate modality of the world alongside matter and energy, without which life would not exist; indeed, a preliminary form of the spiritual in this sense can already be discerned in the first single-celled organisms.

I will then briefly discuss a new development in quantum physics, based on an idea by C.F. von Weizsäcker and elaborated into a comprehensive physical theory by Prof. Thomas Görnitz. This theory sees abstract bits of quantum information as the basis of the world, which condense into energy and then form matter, understood as structures of energy concentration, but which are also the basis of everything “Geistiges”. This means that matter, energy, and “das Geistige” are based on the same foundational ground. And since structure is already more than pure energy or matter, namely an order that goes beyond the material, it becomes clear that already in every matter “das Geistige” is also transported. At the same time, one can recognise that “das Geistige”, though it goes beyond the purely material, can never exist in our world without a material basis.

Based on these premises, I will show, how “das Geistige” has unfolded in the development of life, and how comprehensive the concept  “des Geistigen” actually is.

Prof. Andreas Müller

Kiel University (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel), Theology,  Kiel, Germany; President of the Scientific Society of Theology, and former Vice Dean of the Theological Faculty

Andreas Müller (*1966 in Bochum) studied Protestant Theology in Bethel/Bielefeld, Bern (CH), Heidelberg and Thessaloniki (GR). Doctorate in 1998 in Heidelberg. Habilitation 2003 in Munich with a thesis on spiritual obedience in Johannes Sinaites, called John of the Ladder. 2003-2009 work as pastor of the Protestant Church of Westphalia with a church-historical research project and parallel professorships in Jena, Kiel and Berlin. Since 2009 professor for church and religious history of the 1st millennium at Kiel University. Since 2011 Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Church History Section of the Scientific Society for Theology (Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für Theologie). Since 2012 Chairman of the Society of Friends of Christian Mysticism.

Beyond consciousness – paths of Christian mysticism in Late Antiquity

Christian mystics in late antiquity thematise on the one hand mysticism on the way to encountering God. Monks like Evagrius Ponticus described such paths in detail and probably also practised them. The goal was complete dispassion and love. Other mystics in late antiquity, however, were not satisfied with such paths alone. They searched for the place of encounter with God beyond all consciousness. These are usually referred to as representatives of negative theology. The lecture will present both the paths of the gradual approach to the divine as well as the central ideas of negative theology, especially in Gregory of Nyssa and Dionysius Ps- Areopagites.

Prof. Ulrich Stephani

Kiel University (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel), and University Clinic of Kiel, Institute of Neuropaediatrics, Kiel, Germany; former Dean of the Medical Faculty

Ulrich Stephani, born 1954, completed his study of medicine at the Universities of Hanover, Würzburg and Berlin. He received his license to practice medicine in 1977, was certified as a pediatrician in 1989 followed by “Habilitation” and Venia Legendi in 1990. 

From 1992 to 2018 he held the function as Director of the Dept. of Neuropaediatrics at Kiel University, as well as Director of the Northern German Epilepsy center for children and adolescents. Between 1998 and 2007 Ulrich Stephani was the first secretary of the German chapter of the ILAE, in 1999 and 2000 president of the German speaking Society for Neuropediatrics. In 2013 he was appointed to Dean of the Medical Faculty at Kiel university until 2020, from 2018 he was board member of University clinics of Schleswig Holstein. Retired in 2020 he is active in several functions at Kiel University. He completed several third party funded research projects and published more than 250 articles on Neuropaediatrics and pediatric epileptology.

Consciousness – approach with epileptology 

In people with epilepsy intermittent loss of consciousness is common and constitutes one part of their seizure, sometimes it is their only visible part as in childhood absence epilepsy. This cerebral dysfunction is mostly accompanied by so called spikes and wave – activity (sw), measurable with encephalographic methods like electro- (EEG) or magneto electrography (MEG). Sw – discharges themselves can be but need not be necessarily accompanied by changes of consciousness. After a clinical video-EEG-example of sw-in a school girl, frequency spectrum and network studies using EEG and EEG-fMRI time series will show differences between sw with and without changes of consciousness. The respective networks seem to be related to structures of the so-called default mode network. In epilepsy, oscillatory synchronization and desynchronization of different brain areas are changed based on astro-glial and neuronal dysfunctions, exemplified in epileptic absences with sw. These insights might also be used to study and explain non-disease changes of consciousness, e.g. certain emotional and dreamy states.

Prof. Annette Wilke

Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Department of the Study of Religions; Centre for Religious Studies, Münster, Germany

Annette Wilke is Professor of the Cultural Study of Religions (emeritus) at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Münster, Germany (1998–2019). Academic training in the History of Religions, Philosophy, and Theology at the University of Fribourg (CH), and in Indology in the US, Zurich und Varanasi. PhD in the History of Religions at the University of Berne (1994) with a dissertation on comparative mysticism. A. Wilke is a founding member of the Centre for Religious Studies at the University of Münster and of the working group Aesthetics of Religion (German Association for the Study of Religion, DVRW). She has been conducting a research project on the Tantric ritual manual Paraśurāmakalpasūtra, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), and she belonged to AESToR NET, funded by the DFG. Until her retirement she was also a member of the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” at the University of Münster with a project on global Hinduism.

Wilkes’s research focus: Hindu traditions, cultural hermeneutics, ethno-indology, comparative religion, mysticism, ritual studies, and the aesthetics of religion/ religion and the senses, esp. sensual awareness and consciousness building in Indian traditions, sound and communication in Sanskrit Hinduism past and present, and cultural hierarchies of perception. She has widely published in these fields. Publications include: Ein Sein – Ein Erkennen. Meister Eckharts Christologie und Śaṃkaras Lehre vom Ātman: Zur (Un-)Vergleichbarkeit zweier Einheitslehren (1995); with O. Moebus Sound and Communication. An Aesthetic Cultural History of Sanskrit Hinduism (2011) – also addressing sound in Radhasoami faith; with L. Traut (eds.), Imagination – Religion – Ästhetik (2015); ed., Constructions of Mysticism as a Universal. Roots and Interactions Across Borders (2021).

Sonic Consciousness in Hindu India

Among the largely different cultural hierarchies of sensory perception, India’s strong phonocentrism stands out. My contribution focuses Sanskrit Hinduism in which sound and sonality, the voice and hearing, the spoken and the sounding word enjoy exceptional cultural significance since ancient times until the present day. We are dealing with a culture in which sound (linguistic, musical, or natural) and even singular phonems have been conceived as an independent medium of expression, communication, and efficacy, and which never lost sight of the fact that a word is not only a meaning bearer, but also a phonetic structure. There was always acute awareness that language is not exhausted in semantics and denomination, but that the audible physical element of language, too, and its sonic aura play a central role in meaning construction, and that linguistic signs reach into the pre-terminological. Not only in widespread acoustic piety, but even in the traditional sciences there was awareness that texts always have also a material quality – their sound embodied in the voice – and can be perceived in a sensory and emotional way. In India, even beyond Sanskrit Hinduism, texts are invariably not only discursive bodies but sound events and performative scripts; they are vocalized, memorized, recited, sung, danced, and staged, and have been composed for hearing. This strong focus on the spoken, the audible and the sounding word has had distinct influence on collective and individual consciousness building, on beliefs, practices, habitus forms, and knowledge cultures, on worldview and cosmology, and not least on how people envision the divine or absolute reality and their place within the larger whole. After an introduction, I want to discuss the Nāda-Brahman, literally “sound-Brahman” or “sonic Absolute,” one of the most powerful sonic conceptions of ultimate being, which was ‘invented’ by the musicologist Śārṅgadeva (13th cent.), and – among others – commented upon by Kallinātha (15th cent.). Their somewhat different models of a sonic consciousness, sonic cosmology, and Supreme Reality in which non-dual Being, omni-immanent Consciousness, supreme Bliss fuse with world reality and musical sound, allows us to address interesting differences in the conception of consciousness within the Indian traditions. At stake is not only Śārṅgadeva’s ingenious novel conception of the Brahman, which made it more accessible to feeling, the body, and the senses, but also the cosmic sonic consciousness of the Tantra and yogic-tantric practise in contrast to the acosmic pure consciousness of Advaita-Vedānta, the philosophical tradition of India which became best known in the West as marker of Indian spirituality.

Prof. Ralph Yarrow

University of East Anglia, School of Literature, Drama, and Creative Writing, Norwich, UK

Emeritus Professor of Drama and Comparative Literature, University of East Anglia (UEA), Norwich, UK. 

Teacher, theatre director, performer, actor trainer, writer, editor, translator, project leader.

I made a founding international contribution to research into consciousness and the arts; developed further specializations in improvisation, Indian and Asian theatre, and Applied Theatre, centred on close co-operation with India’s leading Forum Theatre/Theatre of the Oppressed organisation, Jana Sanskriti.

Books include Improvisation in Drama, Theatre and Performance (with Anthony Frost, 3rd edition, 2015); Indian Theatre: Theatre of Origin, Theatre of Freedom; and the co-written Sacred Theatre (with Carl Lavery et al); translations (from German) of Birgit Fritz’s InExactArt: the Autopoietic Theatre of Augusto Boal, and her The Courage to Be: Augusto Boal’s Revolutionary Politics of the Body (2016). 

I have directed in the UK, Germany, India and South Africa.

Current research focuses on Theatre of the Oppressed/Applied Theatre practice; theatre and embodiment; Indian and South African practice and contemporary theatre; theatre and ecology.

I am where it is: Improvisation and Consciousness – some recent links

This presentation looks at links between improvisation and consciousness with reference to theatre and performance as reflected in recent work. It explores improvising and the improvisatory as a state, a process and a mode of production. ‘Making things new’ implies a condition allied to the origination of form, in tune with a generative capacity. What kind of consciousness (or perhaps Consciousness) might this be? Might it constitute a kind of ‘group mind’ and a reduction of ‘self-consciousness’? What are its psycho-physiological and ecological parameters? Is it a kind of ‘field –awareness’, and is its crucial impetus a key mode of will or decision? I will touch on work by Gary Peters, Adam Kahane, Samuel Beckett and others in order to signal some of these dimensions.

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