Wednesday, 30 December 2009
On Wednesday December 16th I noticed a "blob" in the peripheral vision of my right eye. I checked in to my Optometrist first thing next morning, December 17th, and within 3 hours I was being operated on for a detached retina! What followed was 5 days in support equipment to keep my head down for 22 out of every 24 hours. And with a gas bubble in my eye I was also unable to fly to the Gold Coast for a family Christmas "reunion" Boxing Day lunch (first in 11 years!). The surgery was successful with 100% recovery of sight. But what was I not seeing? Coming out of a long and difficult year, how has my "vision" been affected?
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was at the Mind & Its Potential Conference last week. He participated in a vigorous panel discussion with Marty Seligman, Director of the Center for Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania USA; Marc Hauser, Co-Director of the Mind, Brain and Behaviour Program, Harvard University, USA; and Alan Wallace, President of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies USA.
The question was asked, are there really any moral truths? His Holiness replied, "if based on religious faith then moral ethics becomes very narrow. But a secular moral ethics encompasses any action which brings comfort or benefit to the community and to oneself in the long-run, and which avoids discomfort or taking away benefit. That is moral. Nothing to do with religion." His Holiness also commented that "compassion is the most important emotion".
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
The "Mind & Its Potential" Conference at Darling Harbour last week was a real smorgasbord of neuroscience, psychology and philosophy. I particularly liked the definitions of mind given by various speakers. Baronness Susan Greenfield, Neuroscientist and Director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, described the mind as the "personalisation" of the brain. Dan Siegel, Psychiatrist and Director of the Center for Human Development USA, said the mind is "an embodied and relational process that regulates the flow of energy and information". Michael Valenzuela, Research Fellow in Regenerative Neuroscience at the School of Psychiatry UNSW, described a hierarchy of "mindedness", but claimed to be in awe of the phenomena of mind himself!
It got me thinking that wisdom is most likely an emergent relational property of culture in the manner of Dan Siegel's latest book, "Mindsight".