Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
Theme Weekends

Event - Can Science Capture Aliveness?


At its frontiers, science seeks to understand the nature of the universe, including the fundamental elements of life itself and how it arises. By deciphering how the brain functions, science hopes to create artificial intelligence systems with “common sense”, insight, sentience, and awareness. Can science uncover these fundamental aspects of life, and in so doing can it create these living qualities and even new forms of life?

Lying at the heart of these questions is a basic assumption: life does not exist prior to its arising as biological forms. We speak of lifeless periods, planets, and regions of Earth where no biology is apparent. Based on this, science begins to define the basic parameters that are required in order for life (as we know it) to arise on this and possibly other planets.

Thus, life is perceived as arising out of specific and necessary “inanimate” conditions. Does this view fully capture what it means to be alive? Or is it possible that there is a more fundamental nature to Aliveness that is not conditional on anything? Not as some New-Age or ancient idea, but actually; something that might make itself apparent even as it doesn’t fit into our current, science-based view of existence.

Science describes what happens in the universe in cause-effect terms. In this way, it implicitly creates a picture in which all that happens is purely mechanical. Is this really how things are? Or does this reflect the underlying perspective that is describing all this in the first place? Can a mechanistic viewpoint actually grasp something that might not be fundamentally mechanical?

Can a mechanical, cause-effect approach ever arrive at that which is spontaneous and alive? In its striving to understand and manipulate the nature of life, does science actually know what it is seeking? Might it be that in science’s attempt to capture the totality of existence, it is missing something essential?

Is it possible for science/scientists to become aware of its conditioning framework, of its actual movement? Is such a realization itself mechanical, or is this realization already of a different dimension?

Can science in fact move with Aliveness as opposed to perceiving it as something separate from itself?

And might these questions be relevant to our own efforts to live more fully, to become enlightened, etc?

You are invited to explore the question of Aliveness within the scientific domain and its broader implications for our own lives.

Facilitator: Dan Kilpatrick is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Physiological Systems, and the Program in Neuroscience, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He has had a long-time interest in our shared, underlying nature and inquiry into how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. The insights of J. Krishnamurti and others have been an invaluable part of this journey, helping to reveal that the opportunity for self-discovery is present in each and every moment and does not depend on circumstance. Coming to see that ours sense of self is something in which we all share, not as a conclusion, but as an immediate and living fact, is also perhaps our greatest challenge.

Dan received his undergraduate degree from the University of California at San Diego in chemistry and his doctorate degree in biochemistry from Duke University. His research focuses on how self-organizing gene networks controlling development and its timing give rise to emergent properties of the nervous system.


Sep 10, 2018

1070 McAndrew Rd.
Ojai, CA, 93023