A collaborative, interdisciplinary, and immersive opportunity for conversations around humanity’s response to the crisis of disconnection and othering for researchers, contemplatives and changemakers
Humanity is experiencing a crisis of disconnection and ‘othering.’ The challenges we face—from racial injustice to conflict within and across borders to climate change—demand concerted action; yet we remain more divided than ever. What is the role of our minds in creating these divisions, and how can our minds transform to create a more connected world?
The 2022 Mind & Life Summer Research Institute will explore the way we become ourselves in relation to others, and how othering and belonging emerge in us individually, within community, and in the context of culture, our legal and social institutions, and our physical environment. At the individual level, we will examine how basic features of human cognition unconsciously and automatically establish both in- and out-groups, and how deep perspective-taking and understanding may naturally arise and undercut these tendencies with resonant compassion and love. At a societal level, we will look at how social institutions and practices can deepen old grooves of othering, hindering our efforts to build peace. We will learn how structural inequities once enshrined in law persist even after laws change, and how we can use history, neuroscience, and contemplative practices to inform new practices of conflict resolution that “widen the circle of the we.” And with the climate crisis unfolding in real time, we will consider how modernity has shaped the Western view of ourselves as separate from nature, and discover more interconnected worldviews embraced by many cultures and Indigenous communities.
Throughout, we will engage in contemplative practices to help us explore how body states come and go, theoretical frames arise and pass, and identities feel both elusive and solid. We’ll investigate how such practices can help us break out of habitual patterns of separation, allowing us to more fully see, and live into, our interconnection. With this sense of becoming, we hope to emerge from the week with the view that we belong to each other, and to the world.
Who should attend?
Researchers (scientists and humanities scholars), contemplatives, changemakers, and those interested in this topic —professionals, policy-makers, leaders, and activists—from all over the world whose studies, work, and passions align with this year’s Summer Research Institute theme related to Othering, Belonging, and Becoming.
The Mind & Life Institute is committed to: 1) building a thoughtful and engaged interdisciplinary community that integrates diverse perspectives and experiences, and 2) offering catalytic and transformative opportunities especially for those early in their careers.
This unique virtual gathering fosters the opportunity to deepen work and connections and the potential for innovative and interdisciplinary collaborations and projects. We welcome candidates of all races, ethnicities, classes, genders, ages, religions and spiritualities, physical abilities, sexual orientations, geographic locations, disciplines, and institutions to apply.
Applicants to the Summer Research Institute must apply to one of two categories of participants:
Emerging: Undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Junior faculty (researchers across the sciences and humanities) and early-career changemakers (professionals, policy-makers, leaders, and activists) and contemplative teachers within five years of appointment or beginning work in the field.
Please note: Only Emerging researchers who attend the SRI may become eligible to apply for the Mind & Life Francisco J. Varela Research Grants. Other participants may be eligible for other Mind & Life grants.
Established: Researchers (across the sciences and humanities), contemplative teachers, and changemakers (professionals, policy-makers, leaders, and activists), and those interested in this topic who have held faculty appointments or positions for more than five years.
Applications open Dec 13, 2021. More information on how to apply, registration fees, and scholarships will be updated soon.