Maiden neuroscience session unfolds secrets of consciousnessMarch 5, 2019
The first-ever session on neuroscience at Kerala Literature Festival (KLF) unfolded the hidden capabilities of the human brain at the fourth edition of the annual literary event.
The session highlighted the scope and relevance of a deep understanding of neuroscience, and its possibilities in modern healthcare.
Thus began an era of science debates at Asia’s second-largest literature festival that saw an illustrious gathering of eminent authors, artists, philosophers and activists discussing and sharing insights with a vibrant audience.
The session ‘Locating consciousness in the brain’ marked its importance at the event as the speakers
Dr K Rajasekharan Nair, an eminent neurologist and science author,
Dr Vishwanathan Chathoth, a well-known rationalist, and Dr Ethiran Kathiravan, a genetic scientist and author, explored the deep and complex neuronal network in the brain. The session was moderated by CH Unnikrishnan, founder & editor, Future Medicine, India’s premium medical science news magazine.
“Who we are is determined by the activity that happens within our brain, based on what we see, touch or hear,” said Dr K Rajasekharan Nair. That is how our external stimuli makes us. The activities within the hundreds of billions of neurons that make up the complex neuronal network in our brain determines all our actions, he says.
“We become materialistic when we realise that consciousness is a process. It does not have individuality,” said Dr Vishwanathan, explaining that it is never an entity. He explains consciousness as a process that happens within the brain, and that it can never be independent of it.
He also described the hyper-normal activity of the brain in autism, which unlocks a special ability to perceive things more intensely, inhibited in the normal brain.
Exploring the scientific location of consciousness, Dr Kathiravan explained that it happens where the complex neuronal network works together at the same time. “Neuronal network is very complex. When it works together at the same time, there [it] creates our consciousness.” he said.
Another key scientific session — ‘Medicine and Literature’ — was addressed by Dr M V Pillai, an eminent physician specialised in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Dr Khadija Mumtaz, a well-known Malayalam author and a physician, and Dr B. Ekbal, a public health activist and a neurosurgeon. It closely analysed the relationship between literature and medicine and criticised the malpractices happening around the field of medicine.
Connecting literature and medicine, Dr Ekbal said, “If a doctor knows the story of a patient, he surely can be a great doctor and a writer.”
The four day event, which had 500 speakers and 180 sessions on topics spanning from literature, media, politics, religion, films to socio-economic issues, was attended by 2.7 lakh audience.