The Consciousness Chronicles

The Consciousness Chronicles Hot

Julie Clayton   July 06, 2010  
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The Consciousness Chronicles
Date Published
May 01, 2010

The Consciousness Chronicles is a new DVD documentary series featuring some of the world's leading consciousness researchers from all disciplines: scientific, philosophical, experiential and mystical.

The Chronicles provide exclusive, in-depth interviews that go far beyond soundbites. The responses are challenging, captivating, often amusing and always enlightening -- a rich sharing of knowledge and insights that will help change our understanding of ourselves and the universe. For any explorer into the wonders of consciousness, the Chronicles are a unique and indispensable resource.

Editor review

Overall rating 

Alice: “Mad Hatter: No wonder you're late. Why, this watch is exactly two days slow.”

For the uninitiated, the prospect of watching a film with people talking about consciousness might seem solemn or tedious. And certainly there were moments—and speakers—that I personally gravitated toward more than others in The Consciousness Chronicles. But for this viewer, exploring consciousness is like popping down rabbit holes and finding oneself in magical realms of imagination and possibility. In this particular Alice-in-Wonderland world of consciousness, the enlightening—and often groundbreaking—ideas offered in this film are like the Mad Hatter hurrying us along to the party!

If not exactly a tea party, The Consciousness Chronicles is certainly an expedition into the far reaches of consciousness: the final frontier for humanity. In-depth interviews with twelve scientists and researchers from the “Toward a Science of Consciousness Conference” in Tucson, Arizona, explore such mysteries as altered states, time, quantum theory, and the nature of consciousness itself. The discourses range from didactic to prosaic and from complex to straightforward; each speaker speaks to the impact of their premise on ordinary reality.

The diversity of concepts and theories presented in Volume 1, this two-DVD set, illuminates the rich fecundity of exploring the tapestry of the mind. The thread of connection is that each model of reality is another inroad to understanding the what, how, and why of consciousness, inviting rigorous discussion and thought-provoking reflection. Each interview runs about twenty minutes and is segmented with questions that are specific to the inclinations from that particular speaker: the questions are momentarily illuminated on the screen, which is helpful for keeping viewers on track. We don’t actually see or hear the interviewer, which gives the impression that the speaker is talking directly to us.

As this DVD set indicates, consciousness is studied from multiple fields of inquiry largely within the “hard sciences,” and yet often as a stepchild of the so-called “real” classical parent: physics, biology, neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, chemistry, neurobiology, research science, astronomy, and so forth. Frequently, consciousness is not pursued as an interest itself but as something undeniable that arises from asking other cognitive questions. No matter how it comes to the forefront of our attention, the study of consciousness is nothing less than the study of the nature of existence and reality—and probing the mystery may be as close as we ever get to definitive answers.

Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad?
Alice: I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are.

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