, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 667–668 | Cite as

Even our Molecules Touch

  • Jon Kabat-Zinn

Francisco Varela, polymath cognitive neuroscientist, neuro-phenomenologist philosopher, and dedicated dharma practitioner, co-founder of the Mind and Life Institute, which holds periodic dialogs between scientists and the Dalai Lama, died at a young age in 2001. Francisco used to emphasize those properties of the immune system that transcended its role as an effective defense system against outside invaders. For the immune system also serves as a self-sensing system, with mechanisms that allow the body continually to monitor and affirm its “self-ness,” the utterly unique molecular identity of all its constituent structures, through molecular touching. At the same time, Francisco emphasized that this self-quality that we could call “my” bodily identity doesn’t actually have an independent existence any more than we do, but emerges dynamically out of the complex interactions among its constituent parts.

Sometimes the immune system is referred to as the body’s second brain because it is...

Copyright information

© Jon Kabat-Zinn 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for MindfulnessUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA

Personalised recommendations