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Genetics is Karma - Western science meets Eastern philosophy

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In November 2018, I had the pleasure of taking part in a conversation with Swami Sarvapriyananda, on the relationship between science (genetics and neuroscience, in particular) and Eastern philosophies (Vedantic philosophy, in particular). The event was organised and hosted by the Rubin Museum in New York, and prompted by the publication of my book, Innate.


The conversation was framed around the concept of karma, which has some interesting parallels with evolutionary influences on human nature, genetic effects on our individual natures, and neural mechanisms of learning and memory. But, as you will see, the discussion was quite wide-ranging, touching also on reductionism in neuroscience, subjective experience, the self, perception, qualia, free will, morality, artificial intelligence, and the hard problem of consciousness.
Though I am not a believer in Eastern religions (or any religion), I do find many aspects of the underlying philosophy – especially the emphasis on flux over stasis…