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For over a decade, a small group of scientists and philosophers-members of the Mind and Life Institute-have met regularly to explore the intersection between science and the spirit. At one of these meetings, the themes discussed were both fundamental and profound: can physics, chemistry, and biology explain the mystery of life? How do our philosophical assumptions influence science and the ethics we bring to biotechnology? And how does an ancient spiritual tradition throw new light on these questions?
Pier Luigi Luisi not only reproduces this dramatic, cross-cultural dialogue, in which world-class scientists, philosophers, and Buddhist scholars develop a holistic approach to the scientific exploration of reality, but he also adds scientific background to their presentations, as well as supplementary discussions with prominent participants and attendees. Interviews with His Holiness the Karmapa, Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, and actor and longtime human rights advocate Richard Gere take the proceedings in new directions, enriching the material with personal viewpoints and lively conversation about such topics as the origin of matter, the properties of cells, the nature of evolution, and the ethics of genetic manipulation.
— Sameet Kumar
1 How Real Are the Elementary Particles? 16
2 The Emergence of Complexity; and an Interview with Matthieu Ricard 50
3 Toward the Complexity of Life 73
4 How Life Unfolds; and an Interview with Richard Gere 110
5 The Magic of the Human Genome and Its Ethical Problems; and an Interview with His Holiness the Karmapa 140
6 From Consciousness to Ethics 166
7 Last Words 194
About the Mind and Life Institute 201