To kick off this series in 2022, Cliff Saron will offer a talk entitled "The Little Black Dog and Other Tales: Travels with Francisco and Science in the Foothills of the Himalayas".
With heartfelt remembrance and the curiosity of a wilderness explorer, Cliff will walk us through some of the stories, insights, and anecdotes from some of the early encounters between the Dalai Lama and Western neuroscientists, Francisco Varela chief among them. Much more than a talk, Cliff will offer us an immersive experience, replete with his own photographs from those early days that show the singular context out of which the original Mind & Life dialogues arose. In particular, he will reflect upon Francisco’s single-minded commitment to a certain ‘totality’ or truth when meeting with the Dalai Lama; the extraordinary cross-fertilization that was made possible between Western science and Tibetan Buddhism through these dialogues; and the intimate links between his own long career in neuroscience and the very personal insights gleaned from those early dialogues. It will be at once a story of friendship and collaboration and a profound illustration of the mutual ‘rubbing’ that can occur between different cultures and different methodologies for studying the human mind.
We hope that you can join us for this rich and poignant conversation!