David Eagleman PhD, is selected as the inaugural Kai Zen Master, due to his prolific achievements in four areas. We could think of no one more qualified to holistically represent human evolution and its long cosmic trajectory. Dr. Eagleman's worldview is rooted in the external world of matter, measurement and science, as well as in the interior and subjective consciousness of soul, self, art and the collective unconscious. He has degrees in literature and neuroscience, has published extensively on time perception, synethesia and neurolaw. He is a Guggenheim Fellow, a Council Member of the World Economic Forum, Board Member of the Long Now Foundation and now a Kai Zen Master.
In addition to being an accomplished neuroscientist, Dr. Eagleman is a talented popularizer of neuroscience, psychology, philosophy and their implications for modern society. Our generation's Carl Sagan, he brings the complex questions of personality, ego/identity, perception, consciousness and certainty to the mainstream via his talks at TED, Being Human, and Poptech, as well as his New York Times best selling science book, "Incognito". He coined the term "Know Thyselves" to draw attention to the nearly infinite amount we do not yet know about personality, ego, awareness and perception, as indeed we have be proven to act as many personalities depending on the circumstances. He describes the conscious mind as the "broom closet in a mansion", full of subterranean influences, experiences and values that govern our behavior to a far greater extent than our conscious "self" believes.
Secondly, he is a philosopher, having termed a synthetic position between Atheism and Theism, called Possibilianism. Continuing the Socratic/Voltairian tradition of delimiting uncertainty, Possibilianism assert that we know far too little about reality to assert there is no God, and yet far too much about existing religious traditions to believe that any one of the has a comprehensive lock on God, reality or ethics. As such, we must remain in the world of wonder, generating new hypotheses to explain reality and focus more of our surpluses on answering the questions still unknown about perception, self and the cosmos.
Thirdly, he is a gifted science fiction writer. Sum: Forty Tales of the Afterlives is a collection of end of life scenarios, where he explores the many yet untested explanations for what happens to us after death. This book has been described as funny, creative, courageous and philosophically challenging.
Lastly, he is a scholar activist, helping America understand its fascination with justice and retribution, despite there being so little evidence of a discrete self, a philosophical necessity for ascribing guilt. He is Founder and Director of the Baylor College of Medicine's Initiative on Neuroscience and Law.
We are pleased to welcome Dr. Eagleman to the KZM club, where he keeps great company.