Formation of Consciousness,
Change of Cognition

Second Seminar on the Generalized Science of Humanity
organized under the Convention of Scientific Cooperation between ILCAA & MSH.

Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (MSH)      
Paris, France
Research Institute for Languages and
Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA)
Asahicho, Fuchu, Tokyo, Japan

Hideaki Nakatani (ILCAA/TUFS) & Jean-Louis Dessalles (Paris Tech)

Thursday 2 April 2009      (Maison Suger, 16 - 18 rue Suger, 75006 Paris)
  9:00 Hideaki Nakatani (ILCAA, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)
Cognition with Unconscious Predilection according to Ancient Indians
10:00 Jean-Louis Dessalles (Paris Tech)
Mutual Understanding through Sharing Cognitive Dissonance
11:15 Kazushige Shingu (Kyoto University)
The Creation of Another World: From Dream to Reality
14:00 Toru Maruyana (Nanzan University, Nagoya)
Emergence of the Concept of “ego” in the Grammatical Structure
of the Languages of Western Europe - Afterthoughts

15:00 Anne Reboul (CNRS)
Language: of Freedom and Human Bondage
16:15 Hiroshi Ichikawa (University of Tokyo)
Is The Buddhist Enlightenment Regarded as Philosophical or Religious?
- Religious Education for Enlightenment in Early Modern Japan -
17:15 Jean-Pierre Nadal (CNRS)
Making choice under social influence: collective phenomena in social systems
18:15 General Discussions

Friday 3 April (MSH, 54 Bd Raspail, 75006 Paris, salle 7)
  9:00 François Taddei (INSERM, Paris)
How to change the world ? From microscopic to global changes, from the
origins of life to networks of social entrepreneur
10:00 Tsutomu Nakada (Science Council of Japan, FAAN, Niigata University)
Brain Science of the Mind - Brain as a Complex System -
11:15 General Discussions
13:00 Closing of the workshop

Formation of Consciousness,
Change of Cognition

Second Workshop on the Generalized Science of Humanity,

organized under the Convention of Scientific Cooperation ILCAA - MSH.

2, 3 April 2009, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (Paris)

The Generalized Science of Humanity (GSH) was conceived for the first time in March 2004 in order to make good for the lack of a scientific field that should provide an integrated view of humankind and its surrounding world. Since then, the project named ‘Constitution of the Generalized Science of Humanity’ organized by ILCAA has been elaborating the new field with the collaboration of specialists from diverse disciplines, such as neuroscience, ethology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, philology, etc. In carrying out the research, the project has concluded a Convention of Scientific Cooperation between ILCAA and MSH (2005-2009).

The GSH project has organized the following five symposia in Tokyo and published four volumes of the Generalized Science of Humanity (Tokyo, 2006 – 2008) which report its activities and contain articles. [1]

1.     Peaceful World and Enriching Human Lives - The Pursuit of a Generalized Science of Humanity. Tokyo, 21 March 2005.

2.     Planning the Future World with the Diversity of Civilizations. Tokyo, 22-23 October 2005.

3.     High Technology and Human Nature. Tokyo, 13 January 2007.

4.     Science and Religions as Open Intelligence. Tokyo, 10-11 December 2007.

5.     Formation of Consciousness, Change of Cognition - For Our Better Global Community. Tokyo, 24 January 2009.

The theme of the symposia in Tokyo has changed from well-being in the whole world to consciousness, through civilizations, high technology and religions. That is to say, from a theme of wider social range to that of narrower and cognitive ones.

Meanwhile, the first workshop entitled Ecology of Epistemic Transfers in the Design of a History of Humanity was held at Paris in March 2008. Following the above mentioned cognitive context, it has focused on the question of epistemic transfers, because of the growing necessity to constitute a meaningful scientific synthesis in order to reform each of the schemes of our scientific cognition.

In this two day workshop, we have noticed a certain divergence of the intellectual climate of France and of Japan. It was not easy for the Japanese scholars to understand the French situation where scholars feel some difficulty in teaching the evolutionist view of biology or do not succeed in creating any chair of ethology in the university, while the feeling of integration of the Japanese with nature, or the impossibility or eventually unwillingness for the Japanese to form an individual identity, both communal and personal, should be incomprehensible for the French.

This unexpected confrontation has urged us to reconsider the biological, historical, social and personal conditions concerning the formation of mind and of its transformation in human beings. It would be necessary to dissolve beforehand one’s own standpoint in order to realize mutual understanding between civilizations, religions, scholars of different disciplines or even individuals.

In more general sense, the dissolution of one’s own point of view would be necessary in good many phases of our life, for example, for someone in psychic distress or for a scholar who hit a brick wall in his research. To surmount our own cognitive wall is, thus, a key point not only for a better mutual understanding, but also for self-help, which might bring about profound peace of mind or scientific discovery, etc. In brief, it may be the key to our new way of life with a feeling of full satisfaction.

How, then, can we dissolve our own rather limited and firmly fixed cognitive position? Our own view concerning the self and the surrounding world seems to be formed and influenced 1) by genetic conditions inherited from the living beings ever since they appeared on the Earth, 2) by prenatal, familial and social epigenetic conditions in the embryo and in childhood, and 3) by ‘apogenetic’ conditions in adulthood.[2]

It would not, therefore, an easy task to change our consciousness (‘bon sens’) formed in such complex and long process. In these conditions, it is a desideratum to reconsider not only the history of humankind, but also the biological human conditions including human capacity of language, from this point of view. In fact, from the oldest times, shamans tried to change their own mind and those of their clients; the Buddha, Lao-tse and many other men of religion taught a way by which one will attain profound spiritual peace. We may find out many other ways of changing our mind in the wisdom of various civilizations. Neuroscience or psychology will contribute toward better understanding of the neural or psychological foundations of these phenomena.

[1] On the details of the GSH project, see the web site:

Please click the button ‘English/Français’ on the top page to read the English/French version.

[2] Compare the formation of consciousness in one person with that of a language: The language learned after a certain age (about 10 or 12 years old) cannot become a mother tongue. We might expect the same situation for the cultural formation of mind set and socialization.