Sunday, August 12, 2007

My presentation on The Spiritual Brain in Seattle

Yesterday, I gave a presentation on Mario's and my new book, The Spiritual Brain (HarperOne, September 1)to a private conference in Seattle.

Looking out at the audience, I realized clearly that nonmaterialist neuroscience (neuroscience that assumes that the mind is real) is NOT just a way for fifty academic bores to contend at the taxpayers' expense about whether or not the mind is real.

Even if the mind were not real, the time and money they waste is real. And it is at the expense of learning how to help the mind heal the brain and body.

I stressed the practical value of treatments for disorders based on harnessing mental attention and the placebo (remembered wellness) effect. I also encouraged an evidence-based approach to the efect of spirituality on health, the effect of prayer on healing, and the effect of near death experiences on life change.

The materialist, by contrast, is stuck trying to develop a model that proves that nothing is really happening, everyone is deluded, it's all wrong, all bad, et cetera.

The presentation went pretty well, and many people bought copies of the book.

It was the first time I'd tried PowerPoint, so I just typed out the key points. Quite honestly - an experienced presenter told me later that I shouldn't do that. I am (he said) a natural speaker and very entertaining, and knew the material well enough that the printed key points (which always seemed to me to appear in the "wrong" order) were sometimes a distraction. Well, the certainly distracted me. He recommends using pictures, charts, and graphs instead. That sounds like fun, and I am going to put together something like that.

Meanwhile, the audio book (from Tantor), in several formats, will be available in December.

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