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Experience with the IFIS Online Colloquium

Prof. Dr. Dr. Harald Walach

Normally I am quite sceptical concerning hybrid and new technologies for communication and prefer the classical set-up with people in front of me I can interact with. But this was surely a very good example to the contrary. I would have never thought that it is in fact possible, even fun to have a good colloquium via internet. (It’s possible to have one, but whether it is good is another question. This one I found was good.) I have done that once previously and found it very tedious, because there was always the odd glitch. Now it worked perfectly well. The Zoom platform is very professional. So, from the technical side, it was really perfect.

I felt well as a presenter, although it does make a difference, whether you can see and sense your audience directly or not. However, true to the topic, I felt that there was sufficient connectedness between the remotely placed but online connected participants such that I felt listened to and addressing real people and not just the ether in general. So it felt like a decent seminar. I think, my input was useful and well received, and I learned that useful communication can happen even over the internet. The break-out groups via internet were a first-time experience for me, but funnily it worked well.

Whether, what I had to say was useful for the participants they have to decide. It seemed to me I was able to convey what was important. What emerged as a topic to follow up is clearly the question of phenomenology and analytical scrutiny. The danger of starting to think from a new paradigm is surely inflation: everything is suddenly somehow weird and quantum-something, and we tend to then forget straight and clean thinking. That is the big danger I see, and that is also, why I use any terminology of that type in normal discourse very sparingly, although I am quite convinced that we need a new type of thinking. But this will not come as an alternative or something that replaces what we have, but rather as a complement. So the question will not be that of an “either – or” disjunction, but a conjunction of “as well as”: using classical analytical thinking and a more integral, holistic approach. The question is not either – or, but when to apply which at what level. And this question is tricky. The best way to approach it, I find, is to start with very good phenomenology, documenting the effects, observing them closely and then see how much of it can be understood using classical approaches and what aspects of a phenomenon defy classical interpretations. That is, when a holistic approach like the one I have sketched, comes into play. And to be quite clear here: I have just shown one possible path. There may be many more, and the one I have shown might not even be the best option. But one has to start somewhere, and here is a possible starting point.
So to carry on, I would urge people to collect phenomenological instances of experiences that seem to cry out for a non-local explanation, and then carefully think how they might be explicable in classical terminology and via analysis, and which aspects defy such an approach. There we will have the raw material that is needs another type of analysis. Perhaps a website like the IFIS website might be a possible starting point for collecting such experiences, and then allow for a discussion?

For more info about Harald Walach's presentation see here: http://www.archiv.ifis-freiburg.de/sites/www.ifis-freiburg.de/files/img_ifis/IF....