Mitra Karl Brunnhölzl Dr. Christof Koch Dr. Maxine Anderson
This will be our fourth in a series of conversations representing these three views, where we have explored and learned that natural science’s objective knowledge and the subjective understanding of inner science are not mutually exclusive. The program will also be available to view as an online webcast.
Christof Koch offers his thoughts: “I’ve always been fascinated by death for two reasons: the legal & medical definition of death is constantly evolving. Death used to be in the chest (i.e. when your heart stopped beating and your lungs stop breathing) but now has moved into the head (brain death) and continues to evolve. We don’t actually understand scientifically what death is at the organismal level and usually define it as the irreversible absence of life. Of course, we not sure about how to define life. Life and death are system level properties possess by the whole which is more than the union of the parts. How to make that precise is challenging.”
Maxine Anderson offers these thoughts: “From one point of view, growth and development of the personality involves coherence, differentiation, increasing complexity – all of which go against the arrow of time which trends towards de-differentiation, and decomposition. As if the organizations involved in living are akin to swimming against the entropic currents. At some point, however, that energy to swim against wanes and one submits to the sweep of the de-animation. Giving in to the entropic forces may be a way to think about death, which may be responded to in various ways. To become part of the universe once again, dissolving into strands of thought, of beauty, of the melding of past, present, future — where the pains and passions of ‘now’ hold little meaning.”
Karl Brunnhölzl will “Give a summary of the process of dying from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition point of view, what of it is externally perceptible and what is only internal, even beyond the so-called ‘clinical death’ (that is, the dissolution of consciousness), as found in texts like the ‘Tibetan Book of the Dead.’
If there is enough time, I would also like to speak a bit about the Buddhist notion of actually dying in every moment, since everything in our body and mind is changing and passing moment by moment.”