EMBL Forum Lectures
Friday, 16 March 2012, 16:00, Large Operon, EMBL Heidelberg
Nicholas Humphrey, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the London School of Economics, UK
Soul Dust: the Magic of Consciousness
How is consciousness possible? What biological purpose does it serve? Nicholas Humphrey has a radical new theory. Consciousness, he argues, is nothing less than a magical-mystery show that we stage inside our own heads – a show that paves the way for spirituality, and allows us to reap the rewards, and anxieties, of living in the “soul niche.”
Nicholas Humphrey is an English psychologist who until 2008 held a School Professorship at the London School of Economics (LSE) and a half-time professorship at the New School for Social Research in New York.
His work has tackled issues such as consciousness and belief in the supernatural from a Darwinian perspective. His primatological research formed the basis of Machiavellian intelligence theory. As of 2011, Professor Humphrey has published eight books and made a Channel 4 television series called "The Inner Eye" in 1986. He became involved in the anti-nuclear movement in the late 1970s and delivered a BBC Bronowski memorial lecture titled "Four Minutes to Midnight" in 1981. He edited a book of writings on war and peace with Robert Jay Lifton titled "In a Dark Time: Images for Survival" and won a Martin Luther King Memorial Prize in 1985 for this work.