Toward a Science of Consciousness 2012
An evening of Comedy and Music
Grand Ballroom Salon B
following the Poster Session/Art Tech Demo/Games Sessions
APRIL 11, 9:45-11:00
THE CONSCIOUS COMIC MUSIC provided by
VANDA Mikoloski SKY Nelson STEPHEN Whitmarsh
"Consciousness Comedian" Vanda Mikoloski grew up in West Boylston, Massachusetts, a privileged, suburban princess. She remembers lying in a field with her big brother, Pavel, marveling about the concept of infinity and the magnificence of all of creation. It seemed like no one knew any real answers for sure, and worse, they pretended they did. She began to doubt everything authoritative people said.
Although steeped in Roman Catholicism, she cozied up to a "Satan-less" model of life with a genderless and un-anthopomorphized supreme intelligence who just loved the big soup of stuff happening so we could experience extremes and play. "Don't anthropomorphize God; he HATES that!", she would say to the nuns who taught her catechism.
She ran away from prep school. Her dad and brother died when she was a teen prompting years of self-pity, rebellion and "partying". She is so gonna kick their a##es if/when she sees them again, those kooky nutbars with the dying and all.
She became a comic at Catch a Rising Star in NYC and on TV (Showtime, Lifetime). She hung out with 'literally the funniest and smartest people in the world.'
Struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, she left show biz at 33 to follow her spiritual path & "check in rather than check out". She joined many "cults." She dealt with depression and wanted to think she had some exotic Hollywood mental illness but really, was just resisting life and feeling stuff.
She fell in love with yoga and became a yoga and meditation teacher for the Dixie Chicks on their "Fly" tour. She likes to think she implanted a deep anti-George Bush sentiment in them during one of the sessions.
She met a man named Anurag Gupta who told her "As long as I'm on this planet, I'll be in your corner 100%." He has been her coach for 8 years. She is in negotiations with him about their deal in the possible afterlife.
After writing and performing comedy about the nature of reality, quantum physics and her own personal growth, Vanda got work at Mensa conferences and opening movie premieres and conferences associated with her friend's movie "What the Bleep do we Know?"
Vanda loaded her home into her Honda Civic & drove to Los Angeles, to be around people who create culture big-time. The Honda got stolen and Vanda forgave the guy in her heart.
She has created a salon of brilliant comedians who are interested in big questions and laughing about everything, especially the sacrosanct.
She is single, living 6 blocks from Venice Beach.
Her major plan in life is to take risks even though they are scary and keep her heart open and soft, like a good chocolate truffle and to demonstrate what it's like to be free and funny. She wants people to leave her show enlightened up, having enjoyed hahas as well as ahas.
She recently went back and got her high school diploma from Hyde School in Bath, Maine and gave a very funny speech.
She is thrilled to return to "Toward a Science of Consciousness" and rub shoulders with some serious geekage factor.
Vanda, Sky and Stephen will open
the Friday Night
Sky Nelson invents theories on the physics of synchronicity while he is writing and performing his original uplifting music. He lives a message of personal change and is developing a physical theory of synchronicity demonstrating that we are all empowered. Sky has presented at the Science and Non-Duality Conference, Towards a Science of Consciousness 2010, the Society for Scientific Exploration, and led workshops at the United Centers for Spiritual Living Asilomar conference and other New Thought centers. His writings have been published in the Journal for Scientific Exploration, "Quantum Retrocausation: Theory and Experiment" (the Conference Proceedings for American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, 2011), Science of Mind Magazine and New Thought Magazine. Sky's songs have won recognition from West Coast Songwriter's Association, the Positive Music Awards, and the Indie International Song Contest to name a few. Sky enjoys improvisation and using music as a method for bringing people into the present, playing everything from Gershwin to Dr. John to the Beatles. Sky's music can be found at www.skynelson.com, and his writings on synchronicity at www.expectingsynchronicity.com "Think for yourself, Do what you love, and the World Will Change"
In 2004 I graduated as an experimental psychologist at the University of Amsterdam, doing a master thesis on the neuroscience of hypnosis as well as on consciousness and quantum physics. For the latter Professor Dick Bierman and I measured the EEG patterns in response to events originating from a radioactive source measured by a Geiger counter. We showed that those events that where perceived earlier - by another observer – resulted in a different EEG pattern in the final observer than those that were perceived for the first time and where still, in quantum physical jargon, in superposition. We interpreted these results as showing that the consciousness of an observer collapses the state-vector, in line with what Wheeler called the radical-subjective reduction hypothesis of the measurement problem. In any case, that was a long time ago and since then Dick Bierman and I performed several control experiment that keep us excited, but puzzled to say the least. Importantly for this bio, is that those results got me to Tucson for the first time. Two years later I got a PhD position at the RadboudUniversity in Nijmegen and at the Donders institute for Cognitive Neuroscience under supervision of Professor Henk Barendregt and Dr. Ole Jensen. Henk Barendregt recently got the highest Dutch scientific distinction for his mathematical work on lambda calculus and decided to spend his prize money on starting the Mind Brain Mindfulness project where het funds and supervises a multidisciplinary scientific exploration of Mindfulness meditation. I am finishing up that PhD for which I did EEG and MEG measurements of meditation and attention, and in particular been trying to define mindfulness meditation in cognitive neuroscientific terms. Lately I am also becoming interested in the transitional state between the meditative state and day-to-day consciousness. I believe there is still much knowledge untapped in this intermediate state between an altered state and its long term effects in cognitive and behavioral patterns. My thinking about this started to take shape when at TSCC four years later (2008) Professor Frank Echenhofer invited me to join him on an EEG expedition into the Peruvian rainforest. Joined by the History Channel we measured EEG brainactivity, interviewed and filmed participants undergoing the very intensive shamanic Ayahuasca ceremony. Such research is starting to understand the Ayahuasca experience as a potential scientific model for (natural) religious and transformative experiences, although much work has still to be done. Where else can we discuss these topics than at TSCC? This year I will therefor present my PhD work on meditation but will also be working on this future: planning a scientific expedition to the Columbian rainforest, where a small group of hardcore scientists will participate in Ayahuasca ceremonies, discuss their experiences and work on new scientific ideas. Finally I am looking much forward to meeting many differently-minded people, sharing thoughts and expanding our scientific and social horizons. As a volunteer as well as presenter this year I’ll try to make that happen as best as possible. Especially at the Hospitality Suite where we’ll have inebriated conversations, fantastical performances and much, much fun. Make sure to let us know if you play an instrument or want to share any other talent you want to share!