Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies
Humankind is now facing unprecedented crises that imperil the entire ecosphere, including human civilization itself. In a large part, these problems stem from the industrial revolution that began 150 years ago and the gradual domination of global culture by materialism as a worldview, hedonism as a prime value, and consumerism as a way of life. In response to the catastrophic loss of meaning and degradation of our environment that has ensued from this triad, the mission of the Santa Barbara Institute is to shed light on the true causes of mental distress and genuine well-being by turning inward to observe the mind directly, rather than narrowly focusing on its behavioral expressions and neural correlates.
We seek to understand the nature of consciousness and its vast potential for effective transformation. In order to do so, we must be willing to overturn centuries of cultural chauvinism, racism, and closed-mindedness toward other cultures and ethnic groups, which have caused modern civilization to ignore the ancient discoveries these cultures have made regarding human nature and reality as a whole. Our approach is to integrate the first-person methods of inquiry developed and practiced by the great contemplative traditions of the world with the third-person methods of inquiry utilized in the physical and cognitive sciences.
We believe that the global crises we face today—environmental, social, racial, medical, economic, and spiritual—can be overcome if the human family joins together in seeking to understand the nature and potentials of the mind that is common to us all. We persevere on this quest in a spirit of deep humility, mutual respect, and heartfelt compassion for one another as human beings and for all the sentient beings with whom we share this planet.
Afterword to Fathoming the Mind
New Frontiers in the Collaboration of Buddhism and Science
The Santa Barbara Institute’s activities focus on three inter-related fields of endeavor:
Board of Directors:
Paul Ekman, PhD
Jerome Engel, Jr., MD, PhD
Agustín Barrios Gómez
President and Founder of SBI: