August 8, 2006
B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D. has been a scholar and practitioner of Buddhism since 1970. He is currently seeking ways to integrate Buddhist contemplative practices and Western science to advance the study of the mind. He is the founder and president of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies ( http://sbinstitute.com ).
Galileo took a seminal role in launching the first revolution in the physical sciences, and a key element in this revolution was the rigorous, sophisticated observation of physical phenomena. Darwin likewise launched a revolution in the life sciences on the basis of decades of meticulous observation of biological phenomena. Although scientists have been studying the mind for more than a century, no comparable revolution has taken place in the mind sciences, and the missing element that may account for this delayed revolution is the absence of rigorous, precise observations of mental phenomena. By integrating the third-person methodologies of the cognitive sciences with the first-person methods for examining the mind that have been developed in Buddhism and other contemplative traditions, our present generation may bring about the first revolution in the mind sciences.