Heaven and earth Mirabai Starr’s family moved from New York to Taos in the 1970s, into the thick of commune culture a few years after Starr’s older brother died from cancer. At age fourteen, she became a spiritual seeker, devoted to the Hindu god Krishna and studying under adult teachers. Today, Starr still lives in Taos and is the author of numerous books about religion and spirituality, including God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (Monkfish Book Publishing, 2012) and Saint Teresa of Avila: The Passionate Mystic (Sounds True, 2013). Her new memoir, Caravan of No Despair, published by Sounds True, recounts the shattering death of her fourteen-year-old daughter and treks back through other deaths Starr has endured and grieved, including that of her first boyfriend, just before she threw herself body and soul into the mystic. Starr reads from and signs copies of her new book at The Ark (133 Romero St., 505-988-3709) on Saturday, Nov. 14, at 2 p.m.
Hoping to trip up the very earthbound neurophilosopher Patricia Churchland, television talk-show host Stephen Colbert once asked her whether or not she’d ever read the Bible. “Little bits and pieces,” she said. She disappointed the faux-conservative further when she informed him that morality comes from chemicals and connections in the brain rather than, as he proposed, the brain getting “filled with morality” from the right sources. Churchland, a professor at the University of California, San Diego’s Salk Institute for Biological Studies, is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and is the author of several books, most recently Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain (W.W. Norton & Company, 2013). She discusses the neural workings that shape personality and identity in a Community Lecture for the Santa Fe Institute at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the James A. Little Theater (1060 Cerrillos Road, at the New Mexico School for the Deaf). Admission is free. For information call 505-984-8800. — Jennifer Levin