NPR

Life And Mind At Dinner: An Allegory

Blogger Marcelo Gleiser imagines a conversation between a geneticist, a Buddhist, a physicist, a psychologist, and a theologian about life and the future of humanity.
Source: Getty Images/iStockphoto

What follows is an allegory in which blogger Marcelo Gleiser imagines a conversation between a geneticist, a Buddhist, a physicist, a psychologist, and a theologian about life and the future of humanity.

At an undisclosed location, a geneticist, a Buddhist, a physicist, a psychologist, and a theologian sat waiting for dinner. The idea was to engage in the almost lost art of conversation, where a group of people exchange opinions with an open mind, eager to put forward their views but also with the shared goal of learning from one another.

Cell phones were turned off.

The host, the psychologist, chose the topic: life. Not life as in "what are you up to these days," but rather "what is life?" and "can and should technology interfere with the 'natural' flow of things?"

The Buddhist started by asking the geneticist to define life. "Funny," he answered, "I can't." He continued:

"No one can, actually, at least in some sort of universally accepted way. What

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