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‘Consciousness: The Science, Metaphysics, and Poetics’ Panel Discussion

February 28, 2022 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm Free


The Anderson

The Anderson is pleased to present, as a component of the programming for Conscious, Subconscious, (Collective) Unconscious (Feb. 11 – Mar. 4), Consciousness: The Science, Metaphysics, and Poetics with neurologist Dr. Eben Alexander, Dr. Polina Beloborodova, and Filmmaker/ Traditional African cosmologist Marques Redd.

Zoom Panel, 2/28/22, 7:00 EST



A panel of esteemed scholars and thought leaders will be exploring consciousness as a phenomenon and lived experience, from scientific as well as philosophical and spiritual perspectives.  Dr. Beloborodova, Dr. Alexander and Dr. Redd will be sharing about their research as well as their incredible personal experiences with spirituality and philosophy of the mind. 


Polina Beloborodova is a PhD Candidate in Social Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, working with Dr. Kirk Warren Brown at the Wellbeing Lab. After earning a BS in Management at HSE University (Moscow, Russia) and a double MS, also in Management, at HSE University and ESCP Europe (Paris, France), she started her career in business. However, Polina eventually found her calling in psychology research, completed a PhD in Psychology from HSE University and is currently working toward her second, quantitative research methods-focused PhD at VCU. She served as Research Assistant at the Positive Psychology of Personality and Motivation Lab (Moscow, Russia), VIA institute on Character (Cincinnati, Ohio), and Decision Neuroscience Lab (Richmond, Virginia). Polina’s research interests lie in the intersection of contemplative science and positive psychology, with a special focus on how mindfulness practice affects our social and emotional well-being.


Academic neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander III, whose career includes decades as a physician and associate professor at Harvard Medical School and revered teaching hospitals, was once staunchly committed to the materialist world view — the belief that the physical world is all that exists. His scientific belief system was altered by his 2008 transcendental near-death experience (NDE), an odyssey into another realm during a week-long coma. Despite a bleak medical prognosis, Dr. Alexander awoke to make an inexplicable return to full health. His medical case and recovery were validated in the peer-reviewed Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. Since his NDE, Dr. Alexander has been reconciling his rich spiritual experience with quantum physics, cosmology and the philosophy of mind. Dr. Alexander speaks around the world to educate about the role that consciousness plays in wellness, healing and recovery.

Marques Redd is a traditional African cosmologist, independent scholar, and multimedia artist.  He engaged in intense study of ancient Egyptian cosmology and its cultural influence while pursuing a BA in African & African American Studies and Social Studies from Harvard University and a PhD in English from the University of California-Berkeley.  He supplemented that work through being immersed in a wide array of African spiritual systems, particularly from Afro-Cuban, Yoruba, Dogon, Igbo, and Dagara cultural contexts. His published essays include “Astro-Black Mythology: The Poetry of Sun Ra,” “Those Mysteries, Our Mysteries: Ishmael Reed and the Construction of a Black Esoteric Tradition,” and other pieces he has written for arts institutions such as Silver Eye Center for Photography. In September 2021, he released the film Obi Mbu (The Primordial House): An Igbo Creation Myth. In October 2021, he launched a public art collaboration with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra entitled Playing the Cosmic Strings, and he has curated shows in cities such as Cleveland, Columbus, Denver, Tampa, and Miami. Other work in production includes a series of glass sculptures of queer African deities that will be exhibited at the Pittsburgh Glass Center in 2023.