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ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Series Description: Roshi Joan Halifax, Richard Davidson, Sensei Al Kaszniak, John Dunne, Adam Frank, Amy Cohen-Varela, and Perla Kaliman discuss a variety of topics ranging from epigenetics and neuroscience, to a philosophy of science which incorporates Buddhist notions of emptiness, the primacy of human experience and relationality. This year’s symposium explores some of the most radical issues of our time, and it is a deep dive into a view of reality that has profound implications for how we live our lives. The Symposium honors Francisco Javier Varela García, Roshi Joan’s dear friend and colleague, who was a Chilean biologist, philosopher, and neuroscientist and best known for co-founding the Mind and Life Institute to promote dialog between science and Buddhism.

Episode Description: Amy Cohen-Varela discusses her late husband, Francisco Varela’s, pioneering work in neuroscience, philosophy, and biology. She discusses the vital significance of relationship to life and experience. Themes from his work include his theory of enaction, autopoiesis, sense making, and identity making. Amy describes the motivations that underlie her husband’s work, saying, “the passion that drove him from start to finish was one of bringing science home to human experience, and the loam in which experience is rooted is relationship.”

Amy Cohen Varela

Amy Cohen Varela is Chairperson of the Mind & Life Europe Board and involved with Mind and Life since its inception. She is also a clinical psychologist specialized in psychodynamic therapy...
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English
United States
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