NEUROMANTICS

Bobby Azarian, PhD

Bobby Azarian is a cognitive neuroscientist with a PhD from the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study at George Mason University. He is also a science journalist who has written hundreds of articles—many receiving millions of views—for publications like The AtlanticThe New York TimesBBC FutureScientific AmericanSlateThe Huffington PostQuartzThe Daily BeastAeon, and others. Azarian has authored numerous academic papers published in peer-reviewed journals such as Human Brain MappingCognition & EmotionActa Psychologica, and Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. His Psychology Today blog (Mind in the Machine) has received over 8 million views, making it one of the most popular blogs on the website.

Azarian helped develop multiple episodes for Season 2 of the YouTube Premium series Mind Field, which won the show its first Emmy nomination. He is the author of two forthcoming books: The Romance of Reality: How the Universe Organizes Itself to Create Life, Consciousness, and Cosmic Complexity, to be published by BenBella Books and distributed by Penguin Random House in 2022, and Road to Omega: Blockchain Revolution (A Neuromantic Manifesto), which will be tokenized shortly and published by Neuromantic Books in the Fall. Currently, he is the bridge between the Neuromantics and the public.

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Kevin Schmidt

Kevin is an applied neuroscience researcher for the United States Air Force Research Laboratory managing >$26M in research projects leveraging conscious and nonconscious learning and memory systems for training and decision making. He is also an avid adventurer and has most recently been into high altitude mountaineering for personal and professional endeavors.

Kevin measures a number of behaviors in different species (e.g., humans, dogs, rodents); correlates brain/biological state (e.g., EEG bandwidth frequency, corticosterone levels) relative to performance of the organism with respect to a standard baseline or control; and augments performance to optimize task effectiveness (e.g., brain stimulation, vitamin supplementation).

Kevin is driven by the attempt to explain aspects of psychology with biological processes of brain systems. His technical approach to research is to incorporate physiology, psychology, performance, and technology during complex tasks in dynamic environments to better transition discoveries to application. This applied vector is fueled by his basic passion to understand what it is like to be conscious.

“Conformity is not necessarily a virtue. Hard work is almost never vice. Hopefulness is a moral imperative. And, a sense of humor helps.” -Harold J. Morowitz

Adam Safron, PhD

Adam is a postdoctoral research fellow at Johns Hopkins’ Center for Psychedelic & Consciousness Research. Most of Adam’s work has focused on characterizing the nature of preferences and motivation from mechanistic, developmental, and evolutionary perspectives. He has also studied the effects of brief mindfulness interventions on cognition and well-being. While conducting this research, he developed a neurophenomenological model of sensory absorption and ecstatic states via neural entrainment, which eventually led to developing a synthetic theory of consciousness attempting to integrate across seemingly conflicting perspectives (known as Integrated World Modeling Theory).

More recently he has proposed an account of embodied agency and free will, and is currently working on a unified mechanistic account of psychedelics. He is also involved in an ongoing research program to characterize ways that different forms of psychological flexibility might correlate with the dynamic character of brain networks, and possibly also physiological signals such as heart rate variability. Across all this work, Adam’s ultimate purpose is exploring how individuals can be adaptive, creative, and free in all aspects of their lives.

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Francesca Lorenzini

Francesca is a New York based artist. Born in San Francisco and raised in Austin, Texas, Francesca moved to New York City to pursue a graduate degree in Philosophy at Columbia University, where she focused on Nietzsche and aesthetics. Francesca is a self described “Climate Artist” and believes art can be a way to raise awareness about climate change and the environment. She is also a US fund raising volunteer for The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit focused on cleaning the world’s oceans by 2040.

In 2021 Francesca will release a Climate NFT that will fund an ocean cleanup project. In August 2020, Francesca started ART FOR CLIMATE LLC, an art advisory and events company that supports artists aligned with social and climate non-profits. From 9-5 Francesca works in Climate Finance for the British Foreign Office.

Francesca helped create the artwork for the cover of Bobby Azarian’s The Romance of Reality: How the Universe Organizes Itself to Create Life, Consciousness, and Cosmic Complexity, and she will be creating limited edition Neuromantic art that will be tokenized in the coming months.

Follow Francesca’s art account on Instagram.

Oliver Juan

Oliver is French-German and has a background in Business and Economics from a double French German BSc between the University of Paris-Nanterre and the University of JGU in Mainz (Germany). Later he graduated from two distinct MSc. which he undertook simultaneously: one was in Sustainability at the ESCP Business School in Berlin and Paris and the other in Behavioural Economics in the University of Kassel (Germany). He has also accomplished external courses in philosophy and phenomenology in the Humboldt University in Berlin and has presented a psychological study he conducted on cooperation and sustainability in the 14th Conference of the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association in Toulouse.

At 24 he has moved over 18 times in a dozen of European cities to work, study and to discover different cultures and mentalities (Paris, Berlin, Zürich, Brussels, Hamburg, etc.) During his work in the HQ of UNESCO in the newly founded Administration department for Sustainability, Oliver coordinated the creation of a Guide for Ecological Behaviour. In mid-2020 he started working in the German-based start-up Infinity Maps. The start-up consists of a software which helps users create deeply zoomable knowledge maps. Large amounts of information, interconnected topics and complex processes are visually represented and spatially structured. Oliver has been creating and refining maps for the book project “The Romance of Reality” by Bobby Azarian since mid-2021 (examples to be found here).

Finally, since 2019 Oliver has been working as a director of the art project “I-opener” that links the two main topics of his master’s degrees: Sustainability and Psychology. The art project is an immersive video installation of around 10 min for which 5 artists have contributed so far. The installation describes the tendency of the later generation to put the blame of the ecological collapse on previous generations without questioning how their own behaviour will be judged by upcoming generations. It explores the concepts of Sustainability, Empathy and Judgment. Here is the background of the art project (10min read).

Vidur Mishra

In this brief life so far, Vidur Mishra has spent a lot of time doing nothing (deeply absorbed in meditative states) while doing quite a few decent things but none as marvelous as doing nothing. During the pandemic of 2020 that shook the already distressed information-overloaded planet, he graduated with a B.S. in Information Sciences and Technology and a minor in Philosophy from the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State University. Well, it seems he is well equipped to jump in this uncertain sea of information—not because of his education, but because of his practice in meditation that allows him to discern signal from noise patiently—with compassion towards his fellow sentient beings. A graceful practice that allows him to mindfully navigate the “strange loop” of dualistic thought, intellect, language, logic, and tech-driven materialistic culture. 

Vidur completed an undergraduate honors thesis. It explores 1) eastern philosophy and practices of mind and consciousness (esp. Advaita (Nondual) Vedanta and Dzogchen/”Path of Great Perfection”) to dissolve self-referential egoic thought and virtual realities of mind into pure perceptionless reality and 2) the western theories of consciousness, such as Integrated Information Theory (IIT) and Strange Loop, to understand and model how thought and ego (a sense of separate self) emerge due to the self-referential movement of recursive semantic information. The Nobel laureate Herbert A. Simon (economist and cognitive scientist) said it the best: “What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”

Since the consumption of sensory and symbolic information recursively consumes attention and feeds the ego, it has become ever more important to take some meditative practice in this information-overloaded age. As such, Vidur practices yoga, self-inquiry, and shoonya meditation to transcend all dualistic cognition to effortlessly abide in the least virtual reality always directly accessible to a sentient being: pure contentless consciousness. Sometimes, he supplements this practice with silent mime, psychedelic visionary art, and kooky eerie poetry. In the past, Vidur has also worked as a Technology Analyst and Software Developer.

Follow Vidur on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.