“Being Human 2012” to reveal revolutionary insights into human nature 


“Being Human 2012: Science, Philosophy and Your Life,” where pioneers in the exploration of human nature — from behavioral economics, cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, social anthropology and philosophy — will come together for the first-ever multidisciplinary event of its kind. The purpose is to engage the public in a conversation about how recent revolutionary insights from science and philosophy challenge basic assumptions about human nature and how these insights can fundamentally shift one’s experience of daily life. The first-annual Being Human event will be hosted at the Palace of Fine Arts, in San Francisco, on March 24, 2012.

“We live at the dawn of a scientific revolution. Recent findings from science and philosophy promise to overthrow long-held biases and stories about what it means to be human,” said Peter Baumann, founder of The Baumann Foundation, sponsor of the event and a San Francisco-based think-tank that explores the experience of being human in the context of cognitive science, evolutionary theory and philosophy to foster greater clarity about the human condition.

“Many of these fresh insights can have a profound impact on our experience of daily life,” Baumann said. “We are delighted to bring these new understandings into the public arena, so that they are accessible to anyone who is curious about their own experience. Ultimately, our goal is to serve as a bridge between the theoretical and the practical, and to foster increased well-being.”

Moderating the event is Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a leader in the field of mind-body medicine and one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people (2006). He is best-known for his research on brain plasticity, his collaboration with the Dalai Lama and studying the brain activity of meditating Tibetan Buddhist monks.

“This promises to be a unique event,” Davidson said, “where we will explore together the frontiers of understanding human nature, asking questions such as: How does the non-conscious mind influence the decisions we make? What is the relationship between self and culture? Are you who you think you are, or is that just an illusion? What does science tell us about our relationship with fellow humans? What are the evolutionary origins of the human mind?”

Among those who will share their latest insights include:

  • New York Times best-selling author David Eagleman, “the kind of guy who really does make being a neuroscientist look like fun” according to the Times, and who, in his recent best-seller Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, rounds up the latest discoveries about the mechanics happening below the surface of conscious awareness.
  • Beau Lotto, artist and neuroscientist, who leads the world’s first public perception research space, Lottolab Studio within London’s Science Museum, exploring scientific and philosophical understanding of human perception.
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn, internationally known for his work as a scientist, writer, and mindfulness meditation teacher engaged in bringing mindfulness practices, especially mindfulness-based stress reduction, into the mainstream of medicine and society.

Tickets for “Being Human 2012” are: Special Seating $250, General Admission $135, Students $75. Register at www.beinghuman2012.org. For more information for each of the speakers, visit www.beinghuman2012.org/speakers.

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