> > Science and Consciousness 2017

 Science and Self-inquiry 2016

In-Depth Study Program: Science and Consciousness

Facilitator: Dan Kilpatrick


Monday, September 11 - Friday, September 15  |  2:30 - 5:30 PM

Krishnamurti Educational Center
1098 McAndrew Road, Ojai, California 93023 (map)


The intention of this program is to explore together deeply pertinent questions and their relevance to our own lives and our shared ways of looking at things. And perhaps through this exploration, we may come upon something that is being overlooked but is with us all the time.


Topics to Be Explored

Science focuses on describing physical reality, consisting of material objects that interact, exchange energy and are separate from one another. This is implicit in the scientific perspective, taken as a given. Science also has taken an interest in the nature of consciousness and its origins, something which is not so easily definable. The word consciousness can have more than one meaning, such as being conscious or aware, or it can refer to our picture of reality. Science in some ways blurs these distinctions, using it to mean awareness and also the experience of ‘self’. Here we are using consciousness as interchangeable with the ineffable quality of awareness, unseen directly (not an object) but obvious through its action.

Underlying various scientific theories of awareness there seems to be a guiding principle or assumption. Awareness is implicitly thought to be a process that “emerges” out of the neural activity of the brain. And this view, in turn, seems to arise from the scientific perspective itself, one that assumes that the material world of separate objects is the ground of all being, with everything proceeding from this. This is understandable because this is what science measures and describes, and this perspective works well in our daily outward living.

Questions to Explore

So consciousness/awareness is inevitably seen as something arising out of material processes. Based on this, consciousness is conditional, dependent on the so-called material. But what if this scientific view is itself conditional, reflecting an underlying conditioned perspective? Doesn’t science arise from human thought, and does human thought, therefore, condition the scientific perspective? And what about thought itself, is it also conditioned? Are human thought and science independent of the entire history of our universe, planet, biology, and humankind? In other words, does science perceive the world directly and actually, or is its view conditioned? And is this conditioning different from our own? Is this conditioned perspective reflected in all that science formulates, perhaps in an unconscious way? Even at the level of existence consisting of separate interacting physical objects, is this picture arising out of a conditioned perspective that fragments in order to describe? And if so, what does this mean for the nature of awareness? Has science, because of its perspective, misplaced the whole notion of awareness? In looking at all of this, is there ‘something’ that is not conditioned, not arising out of a conditioned perspective?



Dan KilpatrickDan 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.



Program Fee: $100
Pepper Tree Retreat room fee (four nights Mon-Thurs): $330

Note: There are no meals associated with this program (retreat fee includes breakfast).

Note: The room price is subsidized. The price listed is for shared rooms, and room allocation will be determined by the retreat staff.

Krishnamurti Educational Center
1098 McAndrew Road (map)
Ojai, California 93023