Publication 2195

Vörös S. (2014) The Autopoiesis of Peace: Embodiment, Compassion, and the Selfless Self. Poligrafi 19(75/76): 125–148. Fulltext at
The aim of this paper is to detail a recent paradigm shift in the field of cognitive science (the so-called embodied or enactive approach to cognition) and to demonstrate how its unique approach to understanding life, the mind, and cognition might facilitate peaceful and compassionate coexistence. The paper is divided into three parts: first, it examines the so-called autopoietic theory of life, as proposed by Maturana and Varela. According to the embodied/enactive approach, there is a deep continuity between the structure of life and the structure of the mind, so before delving into the realm of the mental, it is important to acquaint ourselves with the fundamentals of the so-called bio-logic (the dialectical logic of living systems). Second, having elucidated the general anatomy of life, this paper goes on to discuss how the dialectical principles of bio-logic translate to the dialectical principles of neuro-logic and provides an outline of the fundamental nature of human beings as embodied organisms embedded in their environment. Third, drawing on the idea of co-determination of self and the world, which lies at the heart of bioand neuro-logic, it is argued that the dialectical structure of life and mind manifests itself in empathic openness towards the other and is thus not merely a theoretical postulate, but an experiential (realizable) actuality that can be cultivated through the application of various meditative/contemplative and therapeutic practices. This, as it turns out, is of utmost importance for the possibility of a sustained (auto)poiesis of peace, for it is only when one actually lives (en-acts), and not merely thinks, the co-determination (nondistinction) between one-self and the other that peaceful coexistence (genuine inter-being) can arise and propagate.

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