Francisco J. Varela


Born
in Santiago, Chile
September 07, 1946

Died
May 28, 2001

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Influences
Humberto Maturana, Edmund Husserl, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Mencius, Con ...more


Francisco Varela was a biologist, philosopher, and neuroscientist who, together with his teacher Humberto Maturana, is best known for introducing the concept of *autopoiesis to biology*, for bringing phenomenology and first-person approaches to biology and neuroscience, and for co-founding the Mind and Life Institute to promote dialog between science and Buddhism.

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Principles Of Biological Au...

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More books by Francisco J. Varela…
“Just as the mindfulness meditator is amazed to discover how mindless he is in daily life, so the first insights of the meditator who begins to question the self are normally not egolessness but the discovery of total egomania. Constantly one thinks, feels, and acts as though one had a self to protect and preserve. The slightest encroachment on the self's territory (a splinter in the finger, a noisy neighbor) arouses fear and anger. The slightest hope of self-enhancement (gain, praise, fame, pleasure) arouses greed and grasping. Any hint that a situation is irrelevant to the self (waiting for a bus, meditating) arouses boredom. Such impulses are instinctual, automatic, pervasive, and powerful. They are completely taken for granted in daily life.”
Francisco J. Varela, The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience

“Organisms do not passively receive information from their environments, which they then translate into internal representations. Natural cognitive systems...participate in the generation of meaning ...engaging in transformational and not merely informational interactions: they enact a world.”
Francisco J. Varela

“... The result, in this world view, is that real freedom comes not from the decisions of an ego-self’s “will” but from action without any Self
whatsoever”
Francisco J. Varela, The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience

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