Friday, August 3, 2012

Mind Revolution (B. Alan Wallace video); via Buddhist Geek

B. Alan Wallace (Roads to Bliss)
“…This is something that had been postponed for 300 years from the time of Copernicus. Can you imagine 300 years of the development of science -- of physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, geology, etc., etc., 300 years before they actually started the scientific study of the mind?

“That should throw you back for a moment if you’ve not quite thought of it in those terms. This is bizarre. The mind is that with which you’re doing all the science. It would be like somebody giving you an instrument and saying, 'Use this instrument; you will discover a lot of things' then waiting 300 years before you actually look at the instrument itself.”

This video and quote come from B. Alan Wallace’s talk “Toward the First Revolution in the Mind Sciences.” 
The cool thing is that he is giving this talk to Google employees! Vince Horn met Alan in July and had a chance to listen to this talk in Boulder. It’s an excellent talk on the history of the physical and biological sciences in the West.
His theory on how the mind sciences are about to go through an equally profound revolution like the revolutions related to Galileo and Darwin in the physical and biological sciences respectively.
Meditation, of course, is first person introspection. So it -- refining the instrument -- has a lot to do with empirical Western sciences. Reading Wallace’s superb book The Attention Revolution goes a long way to examining the instrument as well.

Who in the world is?
B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D. has been a scholar-practitioner of Buddhism since 1970, at one time serving as translator for the 14th Dalai Lama. He seeks ways to integrate Buddhist contemplative practices with Western science to advance the study of the mind. He is the founder and president of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies ( 

() How are mental wellbeing and hedonic pleasure to be
distinguished? What types of mental, verbal, physical behaviors support and/or
undermine the cultivation of mental balance?  How does it relate to wellbeing?

Galileo and some nearby planets
Galileo played a seminal role in launching the first revolution in the hard physical sciences. A key element in this revolution was the rigorous and sophisticated observation of physical phenomena. Darwin likewise launched a revolution in the life sciences on the basis of decades of meticulous observation of biological phenomena. Although scientists have been studying the mind for more than a century, no comparable revolution has taken place in the mind sciences. The missing element that may account for this delayed revolution is the absence of rigorously precise observations of mental phenomena as established in the Buddhist Abhidharma. By integrating third-person methodologies common in the cognitive sciences with the first-person modes of examining the mind, which have been developed in Buddhism and other contemplative spiritual traditions, our present generation may bring about the first real revolution in the mind sciences

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