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The ability to re-live our memories and imagine the future lies at the heart of humanity. It is key to creativity and innovative problem solving. Artists have this ability in spades: but we all do it and on a daily basis. It allows us to understand diverse realities ~ to see alternative temporal and spatial perspectives, as well as the way in which others may see things similarly and differently to ourselves. It forms the cornerstone of our identity, both individually and within society. Identity is not the same as a label, and this will be discussed.
Imagination is essential for considering future scenarios but in so doing it erodes our memories: for each time we retrieve the information we re-evaluate all that has gone before. This process is both disadvantageous and opportunistic in equal measure.
The absence of the ability to engage in mental time travel is both striking and devastating, and fundamentally changes the way a person thinks. We see this exemplified in very young children and in patients with specific brain damage. The question can be asked whether we are unique among the animal kingdom in travelling mentally in time.
Studies on animals create a window of opportunity to ask whether other alien minds might be capable of such feats. Such insight might open the door to new ways of thinking, providing a gateway to understanding alternative realities and ones beyond our own.
Tickets: Free to Members, Faraday and Fellows, £10 Associates and £15 guests
If you haven't been before, you should bear in mind that FEDs are by tradition formal occasions, and while evening dress is not obligatory, it is customary. Smart dress is acceptable.
Make a night of it! Come for a cocktail or something delicious, modern and British to eat. The bar and café at the Ri has the perfect atmosphere for a night out.
Listen to the audio archive of this event: