Transcendental Engagement (New Delhi Minute)

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As many of you know, I am on vacation in New Delhi, enjoying:

Lodhi Gardens. Khan Market. Taj Hotel.

Think of the title of this post as maximally inverse to Earthly Entanglement, as in Verse 2 of New York Minute (by Don Henley, from The End of the Innocence):

Harry got up, dressed all in black
Went down to the station, and he never came back
They found his clothing scattered somewhere down the track
And he won’t be down on Wall Street in the morning

He had a home, love of a girl
But men get lost sometimes as years unfurl
One day, he crossed some line, and he was too much in this world
But I guess it doesn’t matter anymore

In a New York minute, everything can change

Somehow that phrase, the chunk of words, “too much in this world”, has stuck with me as a cautionary inner voice about not forgetting that there is more to living than worldly material pursuits. I am sure that die-hard Weberians and Puritans (and some very old-school U. Chicago economists) will be rolling their eyes at me – a Rational Romantic, not quite William Blake – but just a lover of William Wordsworth, as you know from Portrait of an Academic Capitalist as a Young Man.

In Weston Brahmin, I introduced Sridhara Navatva-Shastra, the mantra being Leisure, Luxury and Pursuit of Newness, and questioned the Vedic advice of disengagement. This leads to the essential question:

Can one be Transcendent, but still be Engaged?

The four pillars of (my) Transcendental Engagement are:

Intellectual Enjoyment. Economic Vibrancy. Spiritual Nourishment. Philosophical Reflection.

Let me discuss these in reverse order.

Clearly, MyAmpleLife is my (playful) version of Philosophical Reflection, paying homage to


My Spiritual Nourishment (my version of selfless action, an implementation of Bhagavad Gita) comes from, among other things, my Academic Philanthropist efforts in Organ Transplantation:


Nudge Video

Split Liver Transplantation

Exception Points for Gender Equity

My (contribution to) Economic Vibrancy originally came for SmartOps, but now it is through advising startups and my involvement (through NeoTribe Ventures and TiePgh Angels) in

Venture Capital.

Of course, being a University Professor is (largely) about Intellectual Enjoyment, these days due to Quantum Computing and such.

Above all, as you know, I love movies, including documentaries. I am an executive producer of a new one (working title was Vax Wars) that I am very excited about (and supporting documentaries is an important activity within my Transcendental Engagement):

Dear Sri,

Excited to tell you that we finally have a confirmed date for the Virulent screening event — Wed., Oct. 26 — at the Carnegie Science Center.  The evening will begin with a 6:00pm hors d’oeuvres and wine reception, followed by the movie and our post-screening panel with Drs. Debra Bogen, Terence Dermody, Peter Salk, Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew and Todd Wolynn.

Am also pleased to let you know that Pitt Chancellor Emeritus Mark Nordenberg has agreed to join County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, WQED CEO Deb Acklin, Science Center director Jason Brown and, we hope, you on the host committee.

All best, Laura

I have agreed to be on the host committee. (And, many of you already know, I am on the Carnegie Science Center’s Wall of Fame due to SmartOps.) Look forward to seeing many of you at the event!



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