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MYSTICS & SCIENTISTS 41 - Eastern and Western Perspectives on Science and Spirit

Friday 6th to Sunday 8th April 2018

The Mystics and Scientists conferences have been held every year since 1978, and are dedicated to forging a creative understanding of the complementary roles of scientific and mystical approaches to reality. The conferences always provide a highly engaging and creative opportunity to come together with like-minded people in a spirit of exploration and dialogue. Our theme this year revisits the broad relationship of science and spirit from both Eastern and Western perspectives. Our speakers bring together world views from biology, philosophy, psychology, religious studies, music, art and spirituality, and they will address the theme from their various angles of expertise.

This conference will balance keynote presentations and discussions in facilitated small groups so that we can also access the ‘wisdom in the room’ with participants sharing their own insights. There will also be optional meditation and movement each morning. We very much look forward to your participation in what promises to be a memorable weekend.


Prof. Ursula King, PhD

Emeritus Professor of Theology

Prof. Keith Ward, DD

Professor of Divinity

Catherine Thom

Classical Musician

Dr Joan Walton, PhD

Senior Lecturer in Education

David Lorimer

Programme Director of the SMN

Dr Bhakti Niskama Shanta, PhD

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Institute

Dr Bhakti Vijnana Muni, PhD

President of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Institute

On Arrival

The conference begins on Friday at 6:15pm with a wine reception, followed by dinner, welcomes from the President, Dr. Peter Fenwick and the SMN Chair Dr. Paul Filmore. Programme Director David Lorimer will talk on Radhakrishnan on East and West. Dr Joan Walton will then introduce the conference and map the field. We will devote more time than in the past to facilitated small group discussions between participants.

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This conference runs from 6 - 8 April, 2018
Day 1
06 Apr 2018
Day 2
07 Apr 2018
Day 3
08 Apr 2018


With Dr Paul Filmore, Chair of the SMN, and Dr Peter Fenwick, President of the SMN.
Dr Peter Fenwick, MBBS
Dr Paul Filmore, PhD

Missing Persons: Has Science Taken the Wrong Turn?

The tremendous accomplishment of mechanistic thinking have created a false conviction among scientists that the only types of causation pertinent to the scientific venture are Aristotle’s material and efficient causes....
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Dr Bhakti Niskama Shanta, PhD

Towards a more Harmonious Concept through Vedanta and Science

 Although Science and Technology have made great advances, we still lack comprehensive concepts about life. Biology has not been able to explain the concept of life. The frontiers of Science in the 21st century are open to its own internal critique. The new critique is not something from without. Kant explained that “Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.”
Dr Bhakti Vijnana Muni, PhD

Plenary Dialogue

Prof. Max Velmans, PhD
Dr Bhakti Niskama Shanta, PhD
Dr Bhakti Vijnana Muni, PhD

From Music to Clay – A Spiritual Journey through the Meeting of East and West in Ceramics

This talk explores the meeting of East and West in Studio Ceramics, fostered largely through Bernard Leach (1887-1979): artist potter, natural philosopher, and spiritual seeker. His influence on Western ceramic...
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Catherine Thom

The Philosophy of Idealism in India and the West

One of the first religious books I read was by Radhakrishnan, who expounds an Indian version of Idealism. Later I came across Hegel, a German Idealist who seemed to have...
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Prof. Keith Ward, DD

Beyond Mysticism West and East: Towards a Global Spirituality

My lecture is an invitation to think about mystical spirituality in an inclusive, integral way, transcending all divisions through integration rather than negation. Weaving together different strands from Western and...
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Prof. Ursula King, PhD
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