Awareness of Death and Personal Mortality:  Implications for Anthropogeny – Welcome

Awareness of Death and Personal Mortality: Implications for Anthropogeny – Welcome

(piano music) – [Narrator] We are the paradoxical ape. Bi-pedal, naked, large brain. Long the master of fire,
tools and language. But still trying to understand ourselves. Aware that death is inevitable. Yet, filled with optimism. We grow up slowly. We hand down knowledge. We empathize and deceive. We shape the future from
our shared understanding of the past. CARTA brings together experts
from diverse disciplines to exchange insights on who
we are and how we got here. An exploration made
possible by the generosity of humans, like you. (upbeat music) – Welcome, everybody, to
the CARTA Open Symposium, Public Symposium, on Awareness of Death and Personal Mortality, and its implications for anthropogeny. I’m Rusty Gage, and I’m one of your, one of the co-organizers
of CARTA, in general. CARTA is founded on
these basic principles, of what are the oldest
questions regarding humans. Who are we? What are we doing here? Where did we come from? How did we get here? And, where are we going? Most of these questions
are not really tractable in modern scientific sense of things. We focus in on a couple of them that we believe resonate with
multi-disciplinary approach to understanding. So, where do we come from? And, how did we get here? The term that we’ve used
to coin our interest is anthropogeny, or explaining
the origin of humans. And it is currently defined in
the Oxford English Dictionary as the investigation of
the origins of humans. But the term harks back to 1839, and Hooper’s Medical Dictionary and the study of the generation of man. A little bit about our organization. CARTA stands for the Center for Academic Research
and Training in Anthropogeny. As I said, I’m one of three co-directors. Ajit Varki at the School
of Medicine at UCSD and Margaret Schoeninger, who’s the past Chair of Anthropology at USCD. Importantly, Pascal Gagneux
is our Associate Professor in Pathology, he’s also
the Associate Director. We have a fabulous staff
that’s been working with us for many years to make this
whole process run smoothly. Most importantly, Linda Nelson,
Ingrid Bernischke-Perkins, Kate Kaya, Vishu Nandigam and Jesse Robie, who’s been helpful, all
of them have been helpful in so many ways. The fun thing about this meeting, and this approach to
understanding the origins of man are that, it’s a
cross-disciplinary organization. And many of you that have
attended our conferences in the past have seen
that we blend humanities, biological sciences, engineering,
physical and chemical sciences, as well as the social sciences, together to answer some of
these important questions. Our mission, that we’ve sort of come to, after having been involved in
lots of other organizations in the past, is to use
all the, is this set of mission statements
that we put together, that we hope you’ll appreciate. So we use all rational
and ethical approaches to seek all verifiable facts
from all relevant disciplines to explore and explain the
origins of the human phenomenon. While minimizing complex
organizational structures and hierarchies, and avoiding
unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy. (laughter) So, many of you, I see, can appreciate the importance of that. And in the process, we
hope to raise awareness and understanding of the
study of human origins within the academic communities, but at the public at large. And that’s what these
afternoon talks on Friday are meant to achieve. We want a special thanks to the G. Harold and Leila Mathers Charitable Foundation in New York. The current Executive
Director is Howard Chester. This organization has, for
many years, been the major benefactor for this meeting. And we are deeply indebted
to their commitment. We’d also like to give a special thanks to Annette Merle-Smith,
who’s with us today. Raise your hand, please. (laughter) For her support of the
Graduate Specialization in Anthropogeny. Which some of you are
aware of, but it’s really a terrific program we support
this cross-disciplinary research for the students in the program. We have a new fund, a
Memorial Symposium Fund that we’ve begun, on
honor of Jim Handelman who passed away recently. And the plan is to endow
this in the future. And already we have a good list of people that have appreciated these
symposiums over the years that have donated to this. And we’re looking for more. On a broader scale, we
would like to thank, or on a more micro-scale,
we’d like to thank the sponsor of today’s symposium for
closed caption on YouTube, and this is Sue Rosner, Eli
Shefter and Elizabeth Lancaster. We do have a donor list
of people that are, in general, supporting CARTA,
not just the symposium, but many of the other
things we try to achieve. And I’m just throwing up their names here. But we’re happy to say
that the list is growing. And I’ll leave these up just for a moment. You can become a member and
supporter of CARTA today. And we’ll use your support
to support the symposium and other activities in
this nonprofit group. Finally, I’d like to
thank those that do such a wonderful job here at UCSD-TV. These lectures will be recorded
and made available online. So if you didn’t get
everything that you wanted to get out of these, you can watch them again and get more out of them. So, Rich Wargo, Matt Alioto,
Marci Bretts and Jacob Parker. And here at the Salk, we want to thank our ever-present Kent Schnoeker, who’s back up there running everything. And finally, give a
round of applause to Ed for his wonderful piano. (applause) (upbeat music)