Value Judgments and Political Orientation

Value Judgments and Political Orientation

Date: Sat, Mar 18, 2017 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Duration: 2 Hours

JeffColombeResized03Mar2017 1We are pleased to welcome back Jeff Colombe, Ph.D, as part of an occasional series of supplementary talks regarding mind in the modern world.


All social animals make sacrifices to reap the benefits of cooperating with others. Humans are unusual in their willingness to help strangers who they might never meet again with no hope of personal gain, based on conscious notions of empathy and altruism, which are also central to Buddhist teachings. Human morality has been forged on the basis of understanding what an experience might be like for someone else, and developing social norms for behavior that strive to relate individual good to the common good. Careful experiments have shown how people are willing to make sacrifices to uphold the fair treatment of even third parties with whom they have no relationship. Brain functions important to these behaviors include assessing the benefit or harm that might come from an action, direct emotional reactions of attraction or aversion to behavioral outcomes, what it might feel like to switch places with someone else, what someone else's state of mind and intentions might be, and choosing the most beneficial behavior in the circumstances. Impairments of these brain functions can impair moral decision making. Finally, differences in political orientation can be understood as placing different weight on a set of core social values that everyone shares, providing a way of building empathy and reconciliation with people whose values may at first seem incomprehensible.


Jeff Colombe has a B.S. in biomedical engineering and a Ph.D. in neurobiology, and works for a not-for-profit advising the federal government in science and technology issues in the public interest. He has over 20 years of study under teachers of Kashmir Shaivism and Dzogchen meditation.


Admission is free


Reservations are required if you plan to join us for meals and/or need overnight accommodations.  Please see General Information about Events at KTC  for details.  Please send an email to reservations@kagyu.com if you are joining us for meals only.


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