Pasatiempo - - MIXED MEDIA -

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

Mirabai Starr

Pa­tri­cia Church­land

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