CYRIL COSTINES 


I strive to understand consciousness. At as many levels of description and analysis as possible. As a result, my academic education and research has taken me across disciplinary boundaries. I studied biology, psychology, and philosophy at the universities of Berkeley, Greifswald, Heidelberg, Konstanz, and Magdeburg, and hold a M.Sc. degree in Philosophy-Neurosciences-Cognition. My philosophical, empirically informed research focuses on i.) the triangulation of consciousness per se (Metzinger, 2020; Costines et al., 2021), ii.) the mapping of phenomenal state-space (see Bayne, 2016), and iii.) the institutionalization of a secular consciousness culture (Metzinger, 2006; Fink, 2018). I am currently a research assistant to Prof. Dr. Thomas Metzinger at the Chair of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Mainz (see MPE project). In collaboration with Dr. Timo Torsten Schmidt from the Free University of Berlin, I am developing a Citizen Science project that builds on the Altered States Database (Schmidt, 2018) with the goal of mapping the phenomenal state-space (Phenomenomics project). In addition, I am a member of the Psychotropic Substances Research Group at Charité Berlin, which addresses issues related to altered states of consciousness. I co-founded the MIND Foundation, an advocacy organization for psychedelic research and psychedelic therapy, for which I served as a board member and science communication director, among several other full-time volunteer positions. If you are interested in my work or in working with me, please feel free to contact me.

 SELECTED RESEARCH EXPERIENCES 

10/2013–06/2014
Hamm Lab (Psychophysiology Lab), Department of Psychology, University of Greifswald, Germany
fMRI research on the neurocognitive mechanisms of active and passive coping with threats
Supervised by Julia Wendt and Andreas Löw

08/2011–07/2012
D'Esposito Lab (Cognitive Neuroscience Lab), Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California at Berkeley, USA
fMRI research on the neurocognitive mechanisms of sustained attention
Supervised by Mark D'Esposito and Sepideh Sadaghiani

02/2009–06/2009
Spanagel Lab (Behavioral Genetics Research Group), Institute of Psychopharmacology, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany
Behavioral, genetic, and neurochemical research on the influence of circadian clock genes on cocaine addiction
Supervised by Rainer Spanagel and Stephanie Perreau-Lenz

 PUBLICATIONS & POSTERS 

Costines, C. (in prep.). Bewusstseinskultur und Bildung. In M. Harant & D. Bogner (Eds.), Bildung und Mindfulness – Theorie und Praxis des Kontemplativen im Bildungsprozess. Berlin: Springer VS. [Invited book chapter; in German].

Costines, C., Borghardt, T.L., & Wittmann, M. (2021). The Phenomenology of “Pure” Consciousness as Reported by an Experienced Meditator of the Tibetan Buddhist Karma Kagyu Tradition. Analysis of Interview Content Concerning Different Meditative States. Philosophies, 6(2), 50. (Download PDF).

Egan, M., Costines, C., D'Esposito, M., Sadaghiani, S. (2019, June). Knowing ‘when’ and knowing ‘what’: The impact of cue information on intrinsic top-down control. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, Rome, Italy.

Wendt, J., Costines, C., Lindner, K., Pfannmöller, J., Hamm, A., Löw, A. (2014, June). Time course of periaqueductal gray activation during active and passive coping with threat. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, Hamburg, Germany.

 SELECTED ORGANIZED EVENTS 

09/2019
Charité Berlin University of Medicine, Germany
INSIGHT [International interdisciplinary conference on the scientific study and application of psychedelic states]
Co-initiator, co-organizator, and co-host

06/2018–10/2019
MIND European Foundation for Psychedelic Research, Berlin, Germany
MIND Academy [Educational platform for talks and workshops on topics related to altered states of consciousness]
Co-initiator, director, co-organizator, and co-host

04/2017–07/2017
Department of Philosophy, University of Magdeburg, Germany
Wer ist dieser Ich? [Interdisciplinary and intercultural lecture series on the self; in German; funded by Udo Keller Foundation]
Initiator, co-organizator, and co-host

 TALKS, TEACHING & OUTREACH 

02/2022
Zen Center Altbäckersmühle, Singhofen, Germany
Invited four-day workshop [in German; science outreach]
Secular Consciousness Culture
Abstract & Registration

01/2022
Zen Center Altbäckersmühle, Singhofen, Germany
Invited four-day workshop [in German; science outreach]
Empirical and Philosophical Consciousness Research
Abstract & Registration

11/2021
Zen Center Altbäckersmühle, Singhofen, Germany
Invited four-day workshop [in German; science outreach]
Philosophy and Zen
Abstract & Registration

11/2021
DFG Research Training Groupe, Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Germany
RTG 2386 Extrospection Interdisciplinary Virtual Workshop: Accessing Mental States
Talk [online; together with Dr. Timo Torsten Schmidt]
Phenomenomics: Mapping the Phenomenal State Space

10/2021
Psychotropic Substances Research Group, Charité Berlin University of Medicine, Germany
Talk [online; together with Dr. Timo Torsten Schmidt]
Phenomenomics: Mapping the Phenomenal State Space

🠕 UPCOMING
🠗 PAST


07/2021
University of Vilnius , Lithuania
5th International Conference on Time Perspectives (ICTP2021)
Symposium talk [online]
What Is It Like to Experience Emptiness?

10/2020
Psychotropic Substances Research Group, Charité Berlin University of Medicine, Germany
Talk [online; in German]
On How the MPE Project and the Phenomenomics Project Complement Each Other

10/2020
Psychotropic Substances Research Group, Charité Berlin University of Medicine, Germany
Talk [online; in German]
Philosophically Informed Consciousness Research

02/2020
Center for Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Studies (CIIS), University of Tübingen, Germany
Invited talk and two-day workshop [in German]
Introduction to Psychedelic Science and Secular Consciousness Culture

06/2018
MIND European Foundation for Psychedelic Research, Berlin, Germany
Talk [in German]
Thomas Metzinger’s Concept of Minimal Phenomenal Experience

04/2017–07/2017
University Sports Center, University of Magdeburg, Germany
Student course [weekly; in German]
Theory and Practice of Zen Meditation

 EXISTENTIAL PRACTICES 

Explorative introspection
Over the past decade, I have been experimenting with various consciousness technologies (e.g., meditation) both to increase my mental autonomy and to heuristically inform my academic consciousness research by improving my ability to systematically and comprehensively describe and analyze my own phenomenal state-space.

Graceful simplification
Over the past decade, I have been experimenting with different lifestyles (e.g., voluntary homelessness) to figure out what I really need and don't need to live a good life and to prepare myself to die well. For example, a simple lifestyle with the bare essentials has proven to be most beneficial for me. Currently, I am preparing to live in the woods of Brandenburg, in a tiny house, named Ada.


Sprechen. Schreiben. Schweigen.