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  Special Programs and Events

Redefining Love & Intelligence:
Humberto Maturana's Biology of Love


Previously Offered: October 26 & November 2, 2003 10 - 6
Facilitated by Claudia L'Amoreaux, Director, Haven Learning Center

How we live determines what we become; the manner of living, not the genome which supports our living, is the basis of evolutionary change.
~Humberto Maturana

You are invited to participate in a 2-day workshop on Chilean neurobiologist Humberto Maturana's Biology of Love. Humberto Maturana is at the forefront of a paradigm shift away from physics to a new biology as the central model for the sciences. He turns our current understanding of what it means to be human on its head with questions like "Love and aggression - are they polar features of our biology or, of our cultural human existence? Are we genetically aggressive animals that love occasionally, or are we loving animals that cultivate aggression culturally?"

Maturana's work has led to radically new understanding of living systems and cognition that has fueled successful organizational transformation efforts in business and education (developed support for schools in Latin America with UNESCO), influenced human-computer interaction design (Winograd and Flores), informed coach training programs (Newfield Australia--Ontological Coaching), and impacted fields as diverse as family therapy, immunology, artificial intelligence, economics, sociology, public administration and postmodern philosophy.

THE BIOLOGY OF LOVE FRAMEWORK will help participants:

  • catalyze effective conversations to support the dynamics of love - create healthy relationships, collaborations and organizations
  • shift from hierarchy to network patterns and shared goals - efficient co-design of new organizations and outcomes
  • refocus attention from morality to ethics and embrace "being in the world" - opens space for responsibility and mutual respect
  • plan specific ways forward - expand intelligent behavior in the individual, family, organization

Who should attend

Consultants, therapists, health practitioners, coaches, educators, parents, individuals involved in educational and organizational design and change initiatives

We will examine & learn to apply Maturana's core statements

We are loving animals
"Language evolved in us humans as we began to live in the pleasure of intimacy in a way that conserved this way of living. We developed language because we became the loving animals. Humans are those animals that have expanded living in love."

We are equally intelligent
"I claim that from a biological point of view we humans are all equally intelligent, and this is the case because we live in language. The fundamental neuronal plasticity needed for living in language is so gigantic that we are fundamentally equally intelligent."

Emotions determine intelligence
"I do not think there are different kinds of intelligence. I think emotions modulate the domain of intelligent behavior in which we can operate, and hence our intelligence is expanded or diminished according to our emotions. The only emotion that broadens vision and expands intelligent behavior is love."

Only love expands intelligence
"Only love expands intelligence, because love as the domain of those behaviors through which the other arises as a legitimate other in coexistence with oneself, opens us to see and to enter in collaboration. To live in love, in the biology of love, in the conservation of collaboration, in the acceptance of the other and in the acceptance of the conditions of existence as a source and not as an opposition, restriction or limitation, has been fundamental for the evolutionary trend of conservation of the continuous expansion of intelligence in our lineage."

Workshop format

"Learning is a transformation in living together. We tend to think of learning in terms of acquisition of information--this is not what it is. It is a transformation in living together, a transformation of doings in a process of doing things together with others."   ~HM

The Biology of Love is best engaged within the context of a committed conversational community. In the spirit of learning as conviviality, we will examine Maturana's work in the context of a highly interactive Learning Conversation that will include readings, video presentations, and reflective practice. Short introductory readings will be suggested prior to the first session and in week between sessions.

About the facilitator

Claudia L'Amoreaux is an educational consultant and learning coach. Her consulting clients span Education (UCSC--Virtual High School) Entertainment (OZ Interactive--multiplayer 3D gaming), Business (Perceptronics--E-learning), Government (UNESCO's World Heritage Centre--E-learning), Sustainability (Zero Emissions Research Initiative, Brazilian Rural Producers Association). She has worked in the Pacific Islands, North and South America, the Middle East and Europe. In 1997, Claudia was in Jerusalem with a new media team documenting Israeli-Palestine peace initiatives for UNESCO's World Heritage Centre when she witnessed a suicide bombing. Claudia found in the Biology of Love a powerful potential for resolving the hopeless conflict and escalating violence she encountered in this life-changing experience. She is making Dr. Maturana's ideas accessible to a wider group of people through videos, presentations and Learning Conversations. She is currently producing video interviews with Dr. Maturana on the Biology of Love and Education. Her own work has been featured on BBC World Radio in their Essential Guide to the New Millennium, 3/2000, on the internationally syndicated television show, New Media News, and in the film, On the Wild Side--Meetings with Remarkable Women. She co-authored the book, Creating Learning Communities (Solomon Press, 2000). She is a founding member of the Meta-Learning Lab and directs the Haven Learning Center in Berkeley, California.

Workshop details

Sunday, October 26 and Sunday, November 2, 10 - 6


Santa Cruz, directly off Highway 1, near UCSC
Directions will be given to registered participants.

Registration and payment

To reserve space, contact Claudia:

Additional details

Please bring your lunch. Coffee, tea, juice, water and light snacks will be provided. All participants are invited to gather at a local restaurant for dinner immediately following the workshops. (Dinner is not included in the workshop fee.)

Santa Cruz is a pleasant hour and a half drive from the Bay Area. The workshop location is on the west side of Santa Cruz, right off Highway 1. We recommend taking 280 S to 92 W to Half Moon Bay and then Highway 1 S to Santa Cruz. Specific directions will be provided to registered participants.

Suggested readings

Papers online


  • The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding by Humberto Maturana and Francisco J. Varela

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