The Mind Science Foundation is dedicated to solving one of the major questions of modern science - the puzzle of human consciousness - by funding leading-edge research and educational programs focused on the mind, brain and human consciousness, in order to improve the human condition.
Why study consciousness?
The biological basis of consciousness is a primary scientific question. In a 2009 interview physicist and best-selling author Brian Greene offered his assessment of the three most important questions facing scientists at beginning of the 21st century: How did the universe begin? How was life initiated? How did consciousness emerge?
Greene’s three most important questions map neatly into the three San Antonio-based foundations that are Tom Slick’s legacy: Southwest Research Institute, focused on the physical sciences and technology; Texas Biomedical Research Institute, focused on life sciences and medicine; and the Mind Science Foundation, focused on psychology, neuroscience, and mind.
Brian Greene was not alone in his assessment of consciousness as one of the three great questions. In 2005, the prestigious journal Science, on the occasion of its 125th anniversary, listed the top 25 questions facing science over the next quarter of a century. The origin of the universe was number 1 on the list, and the biological basis of consciousness was #2.
Basic research addressing the great questions in the physical and life sciences have attracted attention and support from major foundations, universities, and government agencies. Less attention and resources have been devoted to the search for understanding the nature of consciousness, the great question of how the hardware of the brain creates the lived experience of the mind. The Mind Science Foundation has a unique role as the only philanthropic foundation with a primary purpose of promoting research advancing the scientific understanding of the nature of consciousness.
How does understanding consciousness improve people’s lives?
Understanding consciousness will change the way we understand and treat brain injuries and mental illness. Understanding how consciousness works will provide new insights into how the mind regulates health and well being.
Research supported by Mind Science Foundation has already contributed to recognition of a new diagnostic category, the minimally conscious state, where patients are able to retain awareness, although the capacity to communicate fluctuates. Each year, thousands of people are afflicted with disorders of consciousness, as a result of injuries, diseases, and accidents. Research on how consciousness is impaired following brain injury may eventually lead to new treatments to facilitate recovery, and new technologies for communicating with people who have suffered such injuries. Research on techniques for training consciousness, such as meditation, can deepen our understanding of relationships between mind and health.
Funding for consciousness research will provide resources for investigators working on understanding the basic brain mechanisms that generate conscious awareness, as well as clinical scientists working on new approaches to studies of mind and self regulation in health and disease. The Mind Science Foundation can play a critical role in the process of knowledge translation, from basic science to applications that improve health and human happiness.
What are our sources of financial support?
We are a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation supported by a special endowment from our founder, visionary philanthropist and entrepreneur, Thomas Baker Slick, Jr. We also rely on tax-deductible contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations to further Tom Slick's vision of a world enriched by an understanding of the vast potential of the human mind. Shortly before his tragic death in 1962, Tom Slick wrote,
I regard the creation of the Mind Science Foundation as the most important undertaking of my life and I plan to devote most of my time to it. I feel that the human mind has tremendous unexplored potential and I want to go about the discovery of that potential in a scientific way.
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