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What is Mind? What is Life? “Mind & Life” and “Mind in Life”– An Imaginary Dialogue between Varela and Whitehead”

Gábor Karsai

In this talk I will first present a view of ‘Mind’ and a view of ‘Life’ developed by the late Chilean neuroscientist and philosopher, Francisco Varela (1946–2001). I will then share the contemporary understanding of Varela’s thinking and its implications in the wider community of Mind & Life Europe (MLE), an organization co-founded by Varela and the Dalai Lama to facilitate dialogue between neuroscience, philosophy, and the contemplative traditions. I will interpret Varela’s thinking in the context of an imaginary dialogue between Varela and another great philosopher of the 20th century, Whitehead, and his organic process philosophy. Finally, I will present a summary how all aspects of life could be nurtured in an overarching scheme of understanding what is “mind in life”.