Fronteiras do Pensamento is a multi-cultural project that, since 2007, enables the debate on themes related to art, world, thought, education and science, presenting philosophers, writers, scientists and leaders who are, in their own way, at the forefront in their areas of research and thought. This year, in Santa Catarina, with the support of Softplan, the event will be attended by the renowned Brazilian neuroscientist Miguel Nicolellis, the Mozambican writer who holds the Camões prize, the most prestigious Portuguese language award, in 2013, Mia Couto, and the psychologist , Professor and columnist of the New York Times, the Canadian Paul Bloom.
Reinventing the world is the common thread in the 2014 edition
Fronteiras do Pensamento Santa Catarina cycle of high studies invites Brazilian neuroscientist Miguel Nicolellis, Mozambican writer Mia Couto and Canadian psychologist Paul Bloom to discuss contemporary issues in Florianopolis. Consolidating itself in its fourth edition on the island, the project takes place on August 25, 26 and 27 at the Teatro Pedro Ivo. Reinventing the world is the common thread of the 2014 edition.
Inventing, in the primitive sense, means discovering new things or imagining a story. But for modern psychology and philosophy today, the term gains a new status: from the production of a new synthesis, from a new combination of ideas aimed at an end. In this sense, inventing is the opposite of discovering, and it becomes the effort to go from an abstract to a concrete, altogether for the parts. Fueled by a prior need – whatever it may be – the creator of concepts is concerned with its context and what it offers about the reality that surrounds it and then one can transform it.
According to Fernando Schüler, Fronteiras curator, “we are in a period of turbulence. The market economy has proved to be an unrivaled source of progress, but also of unjustifiable inequalities, deprivations and social pathologies. Systematic thinking can help us address these issues. It can help us reinvent the world with each generation. This is the invitation of Fronteiras do Pensamento for its 2014 edition. ”
The total speaking time is one hour and a half with open space for the public to participate with questions to the speakers. Fronteiras do Pensamento is a multiple cultural project that focuses on freedom of intellectual expression and quality education as tools for development. The event brings together renowned intellectuals, national and international, who have unique approaches in their areas of knowledge, provoking reflection on current trends and ideas.
In 2013, with the presence of the urbanist and former mayor of Bogotá, Enrique Peñalosa, the physicist Marcelo Gleiser and the Italian psychoanalyst Contardo Calligaris, the Fronteiras in Santa Catarina was attended by more than 2 thousand people and was considered a success by the organizers . Almost 200 conferences of the Frontiers of Thought have already been attended by thousands of spectators in several Brazilian cities. With lectures throughout the year in Porto Alegre and São Paulo, the project also has special series in Florianópolis and Salvador. The event has already had the participation of thinkers like the politician Mario Vargas Llosa, the writer Tom Wolfe and the sociologist Edgar Morin. In the Santa Catarina edition, the oceanographer Sylvia Earle, the philosopher Luc Ferry, the journalist Åsne Seierstad, the writer Fernando Gabeira, the film director Peter Greenaway and the philosopher Michel Onfray.
Fronteiras do Pensamento Santa Catarina 2014 is an achievement of the Santa Catarina State University – UDESC. The event is sponsored by Softplan, Intelbras and support from Tractebel Energia.
August 25th, 2014 – Mia Couto
The Mozambican writer, Mia Couto, is one of the main exponents of the Portuguese language today. He is one of the main writers of the African continent and, also, one of the most translated. Known in Brazil for works such as O Fio das Missangas, Antes de Nascer o Mundo and Terra Sonâmbula, among many others, it produces a literature engaged with African culture and the struggle of the Mozambican people for survival. With 27 published works including poetry, short stories, romance and chronicles, awarded several prizes (among them the Camões 2013 award, considered the most important and prestigious prize of the Portuguese language), the author does not talk about a specific subject. On the contrary, he manages to make his work diversified by placing elements of his native land, such as the variant of the Portuguese language itself in Mozambique.
His literature is engaged with the culture of the African people and their struggle for survival. When searching for elements of tribal mythologies, legends and regional causes, it makes clear the existence of a Portuguese with multiple lexicons in his works, proving that the Portuguese language is in constant evolution, possessing a diversity of combinations not yet explored.
A thinker of alterity and contrasts and, at the same time, of celebration and stories, the writer confesses himself to be in love with Brazil and Brazilians. In this way, the speech should not have an official tone, averse to his personality. On the contrary, Mia Couto will tell his rich stories as the visitor that arrives just before lunch would: affectionate, attentive to the movements of the house and close to the sensibilities that bring the smells and the light of day. In his lectures, he explores the thresholds of human intellectual activity capable of forming, reflecting and remaining in a state of healthy restlessness: “If in Mozambique I live a reality so close to the Brazilian, the right question would not be why I like to visit Brazil so much. The real question would be different: why, coming to Brazil, do I become Brazil?
His first work, Raiz de Orvalho, was published in 1983, when he was almost 30 years old. He is the only African writer member of the Academia Brasileira de Letras (Brazilian Academy of Letters).
August 26th, 2014 – Miguel Nicolelis
The first speaker of the 2014 edition of Fronteiras do Pensamento is Miguel Ângelo Laporta Nicolelis, considered a few years ago the main candidate to be the first Brazilian winner of a Nobel Prize. One of the leading neuroscientists in the world, Nicolelis has already broken several barriers, one of them being the first Brazilian to feature in the cover of Scienceem 2009 when developing a surgical therapy that can be used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
Nicolelis gained immense prominence in 2014 for coordinating the project that was presented during the opening of the 2014 FIFA World Cup when a person with special needs (tetraplegic) kicked off a symbolic kick-off at the São Paulo Arena (Itaquerão) with the aid of an exoskeleton. Now the challenge is to make the person make more complex movements. This research gave international prominence to Nicolelis. Already in 1999 the scientist managed to have a monkey move the arm of a robot with just the thought, through a chip implanted in the brain. Years later, the researcher also made monkeys be able to control the walk of robots. These were the first steps to create the “andar de novo” project, in which Nicolelis led a team of dozens of scientists in creating an exoskeleton.
Nicolelis is a physician and PHD, in addition to being a professor of Duke University’s “Anne W. Deane” Neuroscience Chair in the US, in the departments of Neurobiology, Biomedical Engineering and Psychology, and is the founder of Duke University’s Neuroengineering Center. He is also the founder and Scientific Director of the International Institute of Neuroscience Edmond and Lily Safra in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte. His research, which won many awards, has already been published in the scientific journals Nature, Science and Scientific American. His work has also been commented on in Newsweek, Time and Discover magazines.
Dr. Miguel’s research is recognized in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Review of Ten Best Emerging Technologies. He was named among the 50 technology leaders in the United States by Scientific American in 2004. Miguel is also a member of the French Academy of Science and the Brazilian Academy of Science and has authored more than 160 manuscripts, edited several books and special volumes of Scientific journals, and currently has three patents in the United States.
August, 27th, 2014 – Paul Bloom
On the second night of Fronteiras do Pensamento conferences is the Canadian psychologist Paul Bloom, considered one of the greatest theorists on learning, who’s going to speak. His research explores how people perceive the physical and social world. In this sense, it is easy to explain the desire to warm up during the cold, to feed when you are hungry and to reproduce. These are all evolutionary issues necessary for the survival of the species.
More difficult to explain, however, is the taste of humans for the arts, such as painting, architecture and music, and as difficult as it is to explain the different sensations of pleasure a person receives when confronted with two identical products, one of which is the original and a replica. For the user, having an original doll gives more pleasure than having a replica. Why, for example, having a work by Vincent Van Gogh or Leonardo Da Vinci can stop meaning anything at a time when the person who owns it finds that it is a replica? Where are the origins of this kind of human pleasure?
We can start from the point that it is always better to have an original than a copy because there will always be fewer originals than copies. But Paul Bloom sees more than that, that our sensations are related to our beliefs. An example is the taste of a food product that is related to what we think of it.
Currently, Paul Bloom is a professor of psychology at Yale and has several articles published in scientific journals such as Nature and Science, and has columns in several international newspapers.