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The primary objective of The Helix Center for Interdisciplinary Investigation is not to obtain knowledge, per se, but to aspire to an unhurried search for wisdom, emphasizing the centrality of a sense of wonder in this endeavor. Philosophically, we stand against the trivialization of thought and the balkanization within and between the sciences and the arts. Fundamental to our promotion of these views is our roundtable format of open, spontaneous discourse, one facilitating novel encounters ...
 
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Physics being the study of the fundamental properties of Nature, as the name implies, metaphysics investigates the nature of Nature, the what-must-therefore-be-the-case of those discoverable physical properties. For centuries, either explicitly or implicitly, metaphysics created the background and organizing principles for scientific research.… rea…
 
Neuroplasticity: it’s what our brains do. We alter our minds when we engage with the world and with the people in it. But, of course, when we think of “mind altering drugs” we refer to something else. That there might be a shortcut, a wormhole, a portal to some new and improved state of mind has long held our fascination.… read more »…
 
The Dismal Science seems to analyze and involve most aspects of our lives. While traditional macroeconomics continues to concern itself with natural rates of inflation and unemployment, with tariffs and taxes, with supply and demand, at both the meso- and micro-levels, economics has productively linked with sociology, social history, anthropology, …
 
Placebos “work” for quite a few medical problems. But how? And what is the work they do? What one thinks a medicine is capable of, one’s idea of that medicine, may affect us in the way “proper” medicines do. This implies that, in observing the work of a placebo we are watching an idea affect biology, the mind moving the body.… read more »…
 
“Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.” – James Madison, Federalist Paper No. 10 Populism refers to the political mobilization of “the people” against a perceived elite caste of professional politicians. And whereas a corps of elected representatives was Madison’s and Hamilton’s buffer agai…
 
The starting point of this roundtable discussion is Joseph LeDoux’s book, The Deep History of Ourselves: The Four-Billion-Year Story of How We Got Conscious Brains. LeDoux’s research on how the brain detects and responds to danger helped jumpstart and define the modern science of emotion.… read more »…
 
The question of what the world in which we live consists of is as old as mankind itself. In philosophical jargon, this is the question of the ontological basis of reality. With the growing success of physics and other sciences, the idea of one fundamental ontology, that of particles and fields, became dominant as a physicalist version of ontology.……
 
Like sympathy, empathy derives from the Greek root pathos meaning “to endure or to undergo.” It was coined in 1909 by a psychologist at Cornell University, Edward Bradford Titchner, who suggested the term as a translation of the German Einfühlung. … read more »Door The Helix Center
 
If a biologist were asked for a single word that would appropriately point to the essence and substance of biology, the word might be Life. It stands for the essential unity of that subject despite the enormous range of different interests of biologists—from proteins to the behavior of elephants to medical applications.… read more »…
 
Ancient Egyptians placed animal and bird heads on divinities’ bodies, in an embracing worldview wherein both gods and beasts extend and transcend the human ken. In his scientific extension of this ancient mythology, Darwin’s 1872 The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals explored non-human sentience.… read more »…
 
Psychoanalysis ushered a new era of understanding psychiatric conditions which lasted half a century. The advent of psychopharmacology moved the focus back to the importance of diagnosis and selection of the appropriate medication. As we learn more about the brain, with increasingly sophisticated technology, we are looking towards a revolution in d…
 
The Creative Turbulence roundtable is the culmination of the Creative Turbulence art exhibition—on view at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute from the afternoon of Saturday, June 9th through Saturday, June 16th—of four artifacts fusing art and science in a collaborative creative process embodying the physics of fluid dynamics, turbulence, and co…
 
Science can stake its claim to truth on the evidence of its empirical success accounting for reality. Does it therefore follow, necessarily, that science can lay claim to its universality? Does reality cohere in such a way that we are ultimately seeking a reductionistic account of it in toto, as some would argue is promised by physics?… read more »…
 
Schopenhauer described boredom as “a tame longing without any particular object,” Dostoevsky as “ a bestial and indefinable affliction,” and poet Joseph Brodsky as “time’s invasion of your world system.” Unsurprisingly, not many can describe boredom even though most have felt it, and it is one of the central preoccupations of the age.… read more »…
 
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