The Walking Dead: The Hopes and Fears of Being Human

UPR on Campus Art

Easter: The Secret of Life Everlasting

Last-supper-from-Kremikovtsi

Christians believe that Jesus died for the sins of the world. In ancient Greece, there was a tradition of making a particular individual into a scapegoat who symbolically took on the sins of the people and was expelled from the city or put to death. They called this person a pharmakos. Before his death he was clad in holy garments, wreathed with sacred plants, fed on the purest of food. Through his sacred sacrifice, the sins of the city were banished. The fate of a pharmakos was to be insulted, beaten, disrespected in every way and put to death.

The mysteries of Mithras, celebrated their sacrificial rites symbolically, rather than literally. An icon of Mithras slaughtering a bull was used as an altarpiece rather than by enacting the sacrifice itself. “Thou hast saved us by shedding the eternal blood,” reads an inscription not to Jesus, but to Mithras. Although centuries later, Christians would express gratitude to their savior in nearly the same language.

Now, the cross was a sacred symbol for the ancients. Its four arms represented the four elements: earth, air, fire and water. The fifth element, spirit, was bound to materiality by these four elements. Plato refers to the desires of the body as nails that one-by-one fasten the soul to the body. The four nails used to crucify man through hands and feet would have been symbolic of our sensual desires, which attach the soul to the world of the four elements.

In the same way that Osiris was synthesized by the Greeks, with the indigenous god Dionysus to create the the Greek mysteries, other Mediterranean cultures that adopted the mystery religion also transformed one of their indigenous deities into the dying and resurrecting god-man. So the deity was known as Osiris in Egypt, Dionysus in Greece, Attis in Asia Minor, Adonis in Syria, Bacchus in Italy, Mithras in Persia and so on and so on. His forms were many, but essentially he was the same perennial figure whose collective identity was referred to as Osiris-Dionysus.

The Spring festival in the mysteries of Attis, like Easter, lasted for three days. During this time, the myth of Attis was performed as a passion play, just as the story of Jesus was performed as a passion play in the Middle Ages. An effigy of the corpse of Attis was tied to a sacred pine tree and decorated with flowers sacred to both Attis and the Syrian counterpart Adonis. It was then buried in a sepulcher. Like Jesus, on the third day, Attis rose again. The mythologist Sir James Frazier writes, “But when night had fallen, the sorrow of the worshippers was turned to joy, for suddenly a light shone in the darkness: the tomb was opened: the god had risen from the dead and as the priest touched the lips of the weeping mourners with balm, he softly whispered in their ears the glad tidings of salvation. The resurrection of the god was hailed by his disciples as a promise that they too would issue triumphant from the corruption of the grave. On the morrow, the twenty-fifth day of March, which was reckoned the vernal equinox, the divine resurrection was celebrated with a wild outburst of glee. At Rome and probably elsewhere, the celebration took the form of a carnival. It was the Festival of Joy.”

Paul, at around 50 CE, talks of a spiritual resurrection: “Someone will ask, how are the dead raised up? With what body do they come?” Now listen to his answer: “Fool, what you sow does not come to life unless it dies. As for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or some other grain. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor and raised in glory. It is sown in weakness and raised in power. It is sown a physical body; it is raised a spiritual body.”

So what is this secret of rebirth, as played out in countless mythologies throughout history? Perhaps it is an allegory through which we can awaken to our immortal soul – to remind us that man’s problem is that in his ignorance he believes himself to be just a body, one that will grow old, suffer and die. His sense of injustice at the inevitability of this fate leads him to hurt himself and others, either through lust for more life or fear of approaching death. These crimes serve further to bind the soul to the body and so increase man’s suffering.

It seems to me that the greatest tragedy of our time, the greatest tragedy in the modern world, is the atomizing of everything. Each of us is beginning to believe that we are somehow insular beings. And so we identify ourselves as separate beings. I suggest no more of such atomizing. Instead, let us begin to see that we are being reborn as one integral being, one undivided universal Self, belonging to one common human family.

I suggest that this is how we should celebrate Easter. We should celebrate the death of the dark ages of religious fundamentalism and literalism, with its good and evil, its saints and sinners, its insiders and outsiders, and the resurrection of the golden age with its higher level of consciousness in which the old becomes new and the new becomes sacred. Let us listen to our breath a little more. Resolve that we are going to spend a little more time in meditation, a little more time in self-reflection this coming year. This is the beginning of the year to the ancients: Easter is the beginning of the year; the beginning of a new life and a new hope.


Obadiah Harris is the founder and president of the University of Philosophical Research. Harris has a long and storied career in both mainstream academia and the American metaphysical culture.  He holds a Ph.D. in education administration and supervision from the University of Michigan and an MA in education from Arizona State University, where he was an associate professor of education and director of community education.

 

UPR on Campus—Gods and Monsters: Understanding our Hopes and Fears

UPR On Campus
Spring Quarter Free Course

Meanings of America

Lev-Beh-Ziz

Leviathan, Behemoth and Ziz. Ambrosiana Bible


Winter Quarter Lecture Series

Gods and Monsters:
Understanding our Hopes and Fears

Greg Salyer, Ph.D.

When we think about the most powerful beings in our symbolic worlds, we come immediately to gods and monsters. While each is charged differently (positively and negatively), a closer look reveals that they actually exist on the same continuum. Gods represent our best hopes, while monsters symbolize our greatest fears. In this ten-week study, we examine the psychological and cultural meanings of this symbolizing process. We will draw from the academic disciplines of anthropology, literature, mythology, philosophy, politics, psychology, and sociology as we examine gods and monsters in literature, film, and television.

To continue the discussion online, write Dr. Greg Salyer at gregsalyer@uprs.edu for access to our UPR on Campus site.


Gods and Monsters


 

Lecture 10: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 (7:00-8:30 pm)

The Walking Dead: The Hopes and Fears of Being Human

It seems appropriate somehow that we end our series with zombies, our most recent and uniquely “American” monster, if only because zombies are about the end of life and civilization as we know it. It is also appropriate because zombies seem to be a super-symbol for what it means to be human. How so? Zombies capture our concerns with the body, viruses, contagion, and cannibalism, along with larger concerns such as the soul, chaos, the uncanny, ethics, and the apocalypse. Perhaps more than anything else, zombies are monsters that cause us to ask what it is to be human. Are we gods or monsters, angel or animal, both or neither? Those will be the questions for our last lecture/discussion. We may even find some answers.

 

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Greg Salyer is the Dean and Chief Academic Officer at the University of Philosophical Research and has been a teacher and administrator in higher education for almost twenty-five years. He has a Ph.D. in Literary Theory, Contemporary Literature, and Religious Studies from Emory University’s Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts and has taught in many venues, from small liberal arts colleges to a major research university, and also online since 2000. He has taught Gods and Monsters at several of these schools.

Past Lectures available on YouTube: Gods and Monsters Playlist

Lecture 1: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 (7:00-8:30 pm)

How to Make a God: Religion and Anthropomorphism

Notice that we’ve already taken an important first step by assuming from the outset that we are able to make a god. In a religious education class, we wouldn’t make that assumption. We would assume, in fact, that gods exist apart from human creation and that our task is to understand them. To do that, however, we would have to deal with texts—sacred texts—from the Vedas to the Qur’an. Very soon we would find ourselves asking about the nature of those texts, how they were produced, and interpretive strategies we would use to understand them. We would then be in the realm of human imagination and culture, which is also where this study occurs. Put a different way, should these gods exist, it would be in our collective imagination and culture, so we should look there to understand the god within even if he exists without. In this lecture we take a step back from theology and engage in anthropology, sociology, and psychology. That means we are focusing upon individuals, culture, and the meaning-making process that produces gods and monsters. What is that process? That’s the first lecture: How to Make a God.

 

Lecture 2: Tuesday, January 31 (7:00-8:30 pm)

How to Make a Monster: The Id and Seven Principles of Monster Culture

This week we see the other end of the gods-monsters continuum and once again analyze the processes and projections involved. Our focus now will be on how we represent our greatest fears. If we make gods in one way or another, why would we think of making monsters? But we do make them, and they keep coming back. In fact there may never have been a time when we have been more interested in monsters. What functions do these creatures serve? To conjure up horror for ourselves, there must be something dark and dangerous going on in our psyches, our cultures, and our fertile imaginations. Freud has provided the most comprehensive theory of that psychological process. He calls it the Id, and it’s a part of all of us. There is also a cultural dimension to monsters, one that may be even more interesting than the psychological one, that is appropriately termed “monster culture.” As Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: ““Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” This week, we look into the abyss to see what is looking back at us.

 

Lecture 3: Tuesday, February 7, 2017 (7:00-8:30 pm)

Giving Birth to Gods and Monsters: Greece and Babylon

The oldest stories we have are those of gods and monsters, though it’s sometimes hard to tell them apart. That’s because in these ancient stories from Greece and Mesopotamia, we have gods who act monstrous and monsters who act god-like. It’s not as confusing as it sounds at first. Hesiod’s Theogony is unique in the world of mythology. While we have many wonderful and fascinating creation myths throughout the world, this story is a creation myth of the gods themselves. The text also introduces some major themes of gods and monsters, such as order and chaos. From Greece we move to Babylon and a story behind the story of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible. Enuma Elish is, like Theogony, a creation story of the gods and of the world, but it has unique and monstrous features that engage both our greatest hopes and deepest fears.

 

Lecture 4: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 (7:00-8:30 pm)

The Divine and Monstrous Feminine: Sophia, Medusa, and their Sisters

In the story of gods and monsters, it appears that women who are seen as the former are eventually turned into the latter. There have been many theories set out to explain this strange phenomenon. Most of them have to do with the inherent power of the woman to create life and the resulting response from masculinity to attenuate or obliterate that power. Whether we call it “womb envy” or patriarchy, the placement of women on the god-monster continuum speaks volumes about a culture’s values. Sophia is the goddess of wisdom and appears in the Hebrew Bible and Gnostic texts from the Christian era. She is said to be with God at creation. With a gaze that turns men to stone and hair writhing with snakes, Medusa has invoked fear for millennia. In fact, it is said that Medusa was made out of terror, not terror out of Medusa. Hélène Cixous put it better: “You only have to look at the Medusa straight on to see her. And she’s not deadly. She’s beautiful and she’s laughing.” Beautiful monsters and wise goddesses—it’s going to be an interesting discussion.

 

 

Lecture 5: Tuesday, February 21, 2016 (7:00-8:30 pm)

Christian Gods and Monsters: Jesus, the Devil, and the Book of Revelation

What may be familiar this week will become strange as we look at one of the most famous (and infamous) god-monster dualities. While we could spend all ten lectures just here, we will focus on the apocalyptic drama of Jesus and the Devil as it plays out in that most-monstrous of biblical texts—Revelation. Much has already been said about this devilishly difficult book, but we will take an approach here that is sure to be new to you. It is also one that will reveal the text to be more than just an hallucinatory trip through ancient symbolism that produced the most controversial book in the Bible. On the contrary, Revelation contains a well of interpretation that has yet to be fully drawn. Plus, there’s a dragon.

 

Lecture 6: Tuesday, February 28, 2016 (7:00-8:30 pm)

Leviathans: Gods and Monsters in the Sea and the State

Leviathan is an ancient biblical monster who appears in the Psalms and Job. He is also the title creature of Thomas Hobbes’ work seventeenth-century work on government. What do these two god-monsters have in common? More than you think. You may have heard of Hobbes’ description of life as ““solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” The only way to address this situation, according to Hobbes, is to create a body politic with a monster for a head. The features of that monster are drawn directly from the biblical leviathan. It’s time to talk politics, gods, and monsters.

 

Lecture 7: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 (7:00-8:30 pm)

Modern Gods and Monsters: The Death of God and the Rise of the Superman

Let’s allow Friedrich Nietzsche himself introduce this lecture/discussion: “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?” (The Gay Science). Nietzsche and his protagonist in Thus Spoke Zarathustra live on the razor’s edge of the god-monster paradox and are not fearful of being wounded by it. In that way and others, Zarathustra is a modern god and monster in one who calls us individually to become the same.

 

Lecture 8: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 (7:00-8:30 pm)

Frankenstein: The Hopes and Fears of Technology

The product of both a dream and a contest to write the best ghost story, Mary Shelley’s novel has become a touchstone for Western culture’s monstrous imagination. If you know Frankenstein’s monster only through film and popular culture, you do not know him at all. He is, perhaps, more human than his creator and quotes Milton and Goethe as he seeks to know his place in the world. Moreover, the monster is a modern incarnation of older gods and monsters, some of whom we have already met. No wonder, then, that the creature has become our most well-known and well-worn monster. He touches several psychological and cultural nerves in his search for his creator and meaning, and he notes at one point in the story: ““I ought to be . . . Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel.” We could say the same about ourselves as we contemplate our most famous monster.

 

Lecture 9: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 (7:00-8:30 pm)

Dracula: The Hopes and Fears of Eternal Life

His name means devil or dragon in Romanian, and after Frankenstein’s, Dracula is one of our most familiar monsters. We have seen that gods and monsters exist on a continuum, and Dracula falls here as well. He is cloaked in divine presence but is also clearly monstrous as he overturns sacred expectations in terrifying fashion. That terror operates on a cultural level as well, as the Count symbolizes the otherness of different cultures. In fact, we shall see that he represents specific cultural and religious traditions, some that we know from our studies to this point. As we saw in our exploration of monster culture, the monster always returns, and that’s because the monster never actually dies. The symbol of life, eternal and mortal, is blood, and that symbolism connects to some of our oldest hopes and fears. “The blood is the life,” says one of the characters. Blood, sex, death, and eternal life—it’s all in Dracula and in religion.

 

UPR on Campus—Understanding the World’s Religions

Worlds_Religions_Archive

Beginning Tuesday, October 25th, UPR professor Dr. Greg Salyer will offer a weekly public lecture and discussion series at UPR. Touching upon the tremendous diversity of religious traditions practiced across the globe, Dr. Salyer will utilize universal notions such as myth, ritual, the idea of the sacred, and community to weave a rich tapestry of thought and discussion in order to strengthen our understanding of the world’s religions. $10 suggested donation per lecture (we ask that you try and reserve your ticket in advance so that we can best accommodate each class)

Lectures will take place in the Auditorium. Please check-in inside our bookstore. Bookstore hours are extended until 9pm on lecture nights

All lectures are being recorded and will be made available online at the following link

Greg Salyer is the Dean of Students at the University of Philosophical Research and has been a teacher and administrator in higher education for almost twenty-five years. He has a Ph.D. in Literary Theory, Contemporary Literature, and Religious Studies from Emory University’s Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts and has taught in many venues, from small liberal arts colleges to a major research university, and also online since 2000. He has taught world religions at most of these schools and has developed a unique approach to the subject, one that uses five “lenses” from the discipline of religious studies to examine particular religions.

Lecture 1: Tuesday October 25, 2016 (7:00-8:30pm)

Perspectives on Religions

Beginnings are important to a religion—and to studying it. One of the best ways to understand a phenomenon as complex as religion is to begin simply, in this case with etymology, the origin and history of the word itself.  We will also explore the five lenses we will use to study religion: the sacred, myth, ritual, community, and the individual.

Lecture 2: Tuesday November 1, 2016 (7:00-8:30pm)

The Sacred in Native American Religions

The oldest religions on earth can be found in contemporary expressions of indigenous traditions. In the face of globalisms old and new, their resilience is astonishing, and some of their adaptations are immensely creative. Their understandings of sacred space and time both predate and influence our own. Centered on the landscape and oral storytelling, these traditions represent a religious perspective that is unique and integrative.

Lecture 3: Tuesday November 8, 2016 (7:00-8:30pm)

Myth in Hinduism

Like indigenous religions, Hinduism contains traces of religious belief that antedate it by incalculable years. Hinduism emerged from these earlier beliefs and practices to create the oldest institutional religion on earth. Much of its vitality is found in its sacred texts and myths, which include deep philosophical ruminations, songs, epic poems, and manuals for the performance of rituals. We will examine Hinduism through the lens of myth, specifically, in terms of its nature and functions. 

Lecture 4: Tuesday November 15, 2016 (7:00-8:30pm)

Ritual in Buddhism

Buddhism is a branch of Hinduism that developed into its own, full-fledged religion, and it is in part a set of rituals that is uniquely centered in the body, from its beginnings in its founder’s early asceticism to its ritual practices of meditation. One of the most widespread and eclectic religions, Buddhism has many incarnations across the world. We will examine Buddhism through the lens of ritual, specifically, the body, symbol, and magic.

Lecture 5: Tuesday November 29, 2016 (7:00-8:30pm)

Community in Chinese Religions

For much of its existence, Chinese culture was closed to other cultures, especially Western cultures. As the Chinese gazed inward, they focused religiously on domestic balance and harmony. All of these religions see ethical practice, relationships, and the maintenance of institutions as the highest expressions of the sacred. We will examine Chinese religions through the lens of community, specifically, ethics and institutions.

Lecture 6: Tuesday December 6, 2016 (7:00-8:30pm)

The Individual in Zoroastrianism

Often overlooked even in world religions courses, Zoroastrianism has been a pivotal religion in the development of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, contributing much of its ideas of individuality and eschatology to them while retaining a small but dedicated group of adherents even today. Unique rituals and concepts combine to make Zoroastrianism one of the most influential and interesting world religions. We will examine Zoroastrianism through the lens of the individual, specifically, salvation and the afterlife.

Lecture 7: Tuesday December 13, 2016 (7:00-8:30pm)

The Sacred in Judaism

One of the oldest living religions, Judaism offers a unique perspective on identity and tradition by virtue of its anthropomorphic deity and vital traditions. In addition to thriving despite millennia of persecution, Judaism has given birth to other religions, notably Christianity. We will examine Judaism through the lens of the sacred, specifically, anthropomorphism and tradition.

Lecture 8: Tuesday December 20, 2016 (7:00-8:30pm)

Myth in Christianity

Christianity begins by taking another religion’s story as its own, then adding a global, evangelical element. As such, Christianity’s story has been at the center of its history and practice, even with radically diverse versions of it. We will examine Christianity through the lens of myth, specifically, its forms and relationships.

Lecture 9: Tuesday January 3, 2017 (7:00-8:30pm)

Ritual in Islam

A religion that was effectively “the world religion” for much of the Middle Ages, Islam is unique in its focus on practices, whether it is the pilgrimage to Mecca (the hajj) or one of the other five pillars. We will examine Islam through the lens of ritual, specifically, rites of passage and communitas.

Lecture 10: Tuesday January 10, 2017 (7:00-8:30pm)

Community in Sikhism, Bahá’í and New Age Religions

Religions tend to present themselves in exclusive fashion, even as they adapt to include other cultural elements, but Sikhism and Bahá’í are two religions that successfully adapt and include other religions. Sikhism blends Hinduism and Islam, Bahá’í incorporates all of the world’s religions in a fascinating mixture, while New Age Religions are eclectic by their very nature. We will examine these religions through the lens of syncretism and eclecticism.

Saturday Bookstore & Library Hours

Bookstore

Our Bookstore and Library will be open the 2nd Saturday of October, November, and December in preparation for our upcoming 2017 2nd Saturday Speaker’s Platform and the approaching Holiday Season.

Saturday 10/8/16: Bookstore & Library open 10am-4pm

Saturday 11/12/16: Bookstore & Library open 10am-4pm

Saturday 12/10/16: Bookstore & Library open 10am-4pm

The Research Library will limit occupancy to 10 visitors at a time.


Our Bookstore is always open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm. Come visit us and browse our selection of new and used books spanning an expansive array of subjects and interests from Alchemy and Alternative Healing to Depth Psychology, Mythology and Buddhist Studies…As well as a selection of incense, gem stones, symbolic prints and tarot decks

We offer literature and catalogs for all of our online degree programs as well as select textbooks and course albums for audit and independent study.

We are also the original home of an in-depth selection of works published by the Philosophical Research Society spanning from the 1930s to recent releases. Click here to view PRS Publications.

Questions? Contact us at: 323.663.2167 ext.116, bookstore@uprs.edu

Radio Interview with Dr. Obadiah Harris

Common_Sense

Tune in this Friday, September 9th to hear UPR President Dr. Obadiah Harris discuss the topic of spirituality expounding upon his wealth of experience as a devoted author, educator, and spiritual seeker with host David Gaggin.

The “Common Sense Spirituality Show” will air this Friday at 9am Eastern/ 6am Pacific on W4CY and WVET. Please use link http://w4cy.com/ to listen in and share with your online communities. The podcast is usually made available on iHeart Radio the Monday following the airing.

The Common Sense Spirituality Show discusses spiritual issues ranging from topics like karma, reincarnation, souls and faith to the nature of mankind and the purpose of life. The show considers religious, scientific and metaphysical views and seeks to help the listeners expand their consciousness by finding life’s most plausible answers. Host David Gaggin, is a former Boeing engineer, Army & NASA Director, life long researcher into mankind’s greatest mysteries, and author of The Endless Journey.

Obadiah Harris is the founder and president of the University of Philosophical Research. Harris has a long and storied career in both mainstream academia and the American metaphysical culture.  He holds a Ph.D. in education administration and supervision from the University of Michigan and an MA in education from Arizona State University, where he was an associate professor of education and director of community education.

He is the author of multiple books, including his most recent title, The Simple Road: A Handbook for the Contemporary Seeker published this year by Tarcher/Penguin.

Easter: The Secret of Life Everlasting

Christians believe that Jesus died for the sins of the world. In ancient Greece, there was a tradition of making a particular individual into a scapegoat who symbolically took on the sins of the people and was expelled from the city or put to death. They called this person a pharmakos. Before his death he was clad in holy garments, wreathed with sacred plants, fed on the purest of food. Through his sacred sacrifice, the sins of the city were banished. The fate of a pharmakos was to be insulted, beaten, disrespected in every way and put to death.

The mysteries of Mithras, celebrated their sacrificial rites symbolically, rather than literally. An icon of Mithras slaughtering a bull was used as an altarpiece rather than by enacting the sacrifice itself. “Thou hast saved us by shedding the eternal blood,” reads an inscription not to Jesus, but to Mithras. Although centuries later, Christians would express gratitude to their savior in nearly the same language.

Now, the cross was a sacred symbol for the ancients. Its four arms represented the four elements: earth, air, fire and water. The fifth element, spirit, was bound to materiality by these four elements. Plato refers to the desires of the body as nails that one-by-one fasten the soul to the body. The four nails used to crucify man through hands and feet would have been symbolic of our sensual desires, which attach the soul to the world of the four elements.

In the same way that Osiris was synthesized by the Greeks, with the indigenous god Dionysus to create the the Greek mysteries, other Mediterranean cultures that adopted the mystery religion also transformed one of their indigenous deities into the dying and resurrecting god-man. So the deity was known as Osiris in Egypt, Dionysus in Greece, Attis in Asia Minor, Adonis in Syria, Bacchus in Italy, Mithras in Persia and so on and so on. His forms were many, but essentially he was the same perennial figure whose collective identity was referred to as Osiris-Dionysus.

The Spring festival in the mysteries of Attis, like Easter, lasted for three days. During this time, the myth of Attis was performed as a passion play, just as the story of Jesus was performed as a passion play in the Middle Ages. An effigy of the corpse of Attis was tied to a sacred pine tree and decorated with flowers sacred to both Attis and the Syrian counterpart Adonis. It was then buried in a sepulcher. Like Jesus, on the third day, Attis rose again. The mythologist Sir James Frazier writes, “But when night had fallen, the sorrow of the worshippers was turned to joy, for suddenly a light shone in the darkness: the tomb was opened: the god had risen from the dead and as the priest touched the lips of the weeping mourners with balm, he softly whispered in their ears the glad tidings of salvation. The resurrection of the god was hailed by his disciples as a promise that they too would issue triumphant from the corruption of the grave. On the morrow, the twenty-fifth day of March, which was reckoned the vernal equinox, the divine resurrection was celebrated with a wild outburst of glee. At Rome and probably elsewhere, the celebration took the form of a carnival. It was the Festival of Joy.”

Paul, at around 50 CE, talks of a spiritual resurrection: “Someone will ask, how are the dead raised up? With what body do they come?” Now listen to his answer: “Fool, what you sow does not come to life unless it dies. As for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or some other grain. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor and raised in glory. It is sown in weakness and raised in power. It is sown a physical body; it is raised a spiritual body.”

So what is this secret of rebirth, as played out in countless mythologies throughout history? Perhaps it is an allegory through which we can awaken to our immortal soul – to remind us that man’s problem is that in his ignorance he believes himself to be just a body, one that will grow old, suffer and die. His sense of injustice at the inevitability of this fate leads him to hurt himself and others, either through lust for more life or fear of approaching death. These crimes serve further to bind the soul to the body and so increase man’s suffering.

It seems to me that the greatest tragedy of our time, the greatest tragedy in the modern world, is the atomizing of everything. Each of us is beginning to believe that we are somehow insular beings. And so we identify ourselves as separate beings. I suggest no more of such atomizing. Instead, let us begin to see that we are being reborn as one integral being, one undivided universal Self, belonging to one common human family.

I suggest that this is how we should celebrate Easter. We should celebrate the death of the dark ages of religious fundamentalism and literalism, with its good and evil, its saints and sinners, its insiders and outsiders, and the resurrection of the golden age with its higher level of consciousness in which the old becomes new and the new becomes sacred. Let us listen to our breath a little more. Resolve that we are going to spend a little more time in meditation, a little more time in self-reflection this coming year. This is the beginning of the year to the ancients: Easter is the beginning of the year; the beginning of a new life and a new hope. 


Obadiah Harris is the founder and president of the University of Philosophical Research. Harris has a long and storied career in both mainstream academia and the American metaphysical culture.  He holds a Ph.D. in education administration and supervision from the University of Michigan and an MA in education from Arizona State University, where he was an associate professor of education and director of community education.  

 

The Living Wisdom Concert Series – Music to Nourish the Soul

The Living Wisdom Concert Series seeks to further personal and global knowledge and understanding by breathing new relevance into ancient traditions, using music as a metaphor to demonstrate the historical and cultural ties intrinsic between us all. This four-part series will feature musical traditions from India, China, Babylon, Israel, Pakistan and Morocco. Each concert will focus on a specific musical tradition that has promoted healing and well-being since the earliest days of civilization. See below for more information.

The Southern California Parliament of the World’s Religions  one of LA’s leading interfaith organizations is a proud co-sponsor of UPR’s Living Wisdom Concert Series.   Since 2007 SCCPWR has been dedicated to creating multiple, groundbreaking events about current events and religious diversity involving both religious and secular communities, as well as drawing attention to the work of the global parliament. Visit www.SCCPWR.org for more information. The Southern California Parliament of the World’s Religions, one of LA’s leading interfaith organizations, is a proud co-sponsor of UPR’s Living Wisdom Concert Series.  Since 2007 SCCPWR has been dedicated to creating multiple, groundbreaking events about current events and religious diversity involving both religious and secular communities, as well as drawing attention to the work of the global parliament. Visit www.SCCPWR.org for more information.

Tickets can be purchased by phone Tuesday – Thursday, 10am – 4pm at: 323.663.2167 ext.112, at the door, 

or at this linkClick here for information on parking, location and bookstore hours

Burning Heart

Sunday, May 17th, 4pm – 6pm


We invite you to join us for the fourth and final installment of the Living Wisdom Concert Series, Burning Heart, with master Qalandar singer and harmonium player, Sukhawat Ali Khan, percussionist Jamie Papish, and Armenian master woodwind player Norik Manoukian.


Sukhawat Ali Khan a member of the Yuval Ron Ensemble, represents the family lineage of the 600-year-old Sham Chorasi traditional school of music, which was established during the reign of Emperor Akbar of India. His training in both classical raga and Sufi Qawwali singing began at the age of seven under his father, legendary Pakistani/Indian vocalist Ustad Salamat Ali Khan. A San Francisco Bay Area resident, Sukhawat teaches this musical style and performs concerts for dance and world music lovers everywhere.

Sukhawat has performed at the Montreal, Monterey and Prospect Park jazz festivals, the Fillmore in San Francisco, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and many other major venues and music festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe. His vocal abilities have been used on other recordings as well, including the Disney film, Hidalgo (2004).

The Yuval Ron Ensemble — Formed in 1999, The Yuval Ron Ensemble endeavors to alleviate national, racial, religious and cultural divides by uniting the music and dance of the people of the Middle East into a unique mystical, spiritual and inspiring musical celebration. The ensemble includes Jewish, Christian and Muslim artists who have been actively involved in creating musical bridges between people of various faiths and ethnic groups worldwide. Led by Award winning composer Yuval Ron (music for Oscar winning film “West Bank Story”) the Ensemble has enjoyed overwhelming community support, was chosen to be featured in PBS “Holiday Celebration” TV specials and was honored with the Los Angeles Treasures Award and the Lincoln/Standing Bear Gold Medal from the City of Lincoln, NE in appreciation of its efforts for peace and justice worldwide.

The Yuval Ron Ensemble Cd’s “Under The Olive Tree”, “Tree of Life” and “Seeker of Truth” have become international favorites with world music lovers and has been featured on National Public Radio’s “Echoes” and “Hearts of Space” programs. The Yuval Ron Ensemble was in residencies at numerous schools such as Yale University, John Hopkins University, UCLA, university of Chicago, Seattle University and Middlebury College and has performed numerous benefit concerts to support organizations that promote peace and help the disadvantaged. For more information: www.yuvalronmusic.com

Click here for a flyer for this event.

The Healing Power of Sound

Sunday, February 1st, 2015 4pm – 6pm


Join Yuval Ron, Master Bansuri Flutist Radha Reasad, and Gong Master Kenneth Goff in the healing sounds of Quigong and Gong Bath Meditation. Click here for the flyer for this event.

Desert Blues from the House of Wisdom

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015 4pm – 6pm


Join Yuval Ron, Moroccan singer Elinor Sitrish and talented percussionist Jamie Papish, for a concert of soulful music bringing together ancient traditions from the deserts of Babylon, the Holy Land and the Golden Age of Spain. Click here for the flyer for this event.

Music of the Psalms

Sunday, April 26th, 4pm – 6pm


We invite you to join us in the third installment of the Living Wisdom Concert Series. Coming in April, the Yuval Ron Ensemble, featuring stunning vocalist Katyanna Zoroghlian, will take you on a journey through the biblical to contemporary world. We will unearth the origins of the Psalms, how they were created and how they were used in ancient rituals in Jerusalem.


The Yuval Ron Ensemble — Formed in 1999, The Yuval Ron Ensemble endeavors to alleviate national, racial, religious and cultural divides by uniting the music and dance of the people of the Middle East into a unique mystical, spiritual and inspiring musical celebration. The ensemble includes Jewish, Christian and Muslim artists who have been actively involved in creating musical bridges between people of various faiths and ethnic groups worldwide. Led by Award winning composer Yuval Ron (music for Oscar winning film “West Bank Story”) the Ensemble has enjoyed overwhelming community support, was chosen to be featured in PBS “Holiday Celebration” TV specials and was honored with the Los Angeles Treasures Award and the Lincoln/Standing Bear Gold Medal from the City of Lincoln, NE in appreciation of its efforts for peace and justice worldwide.

The Ensemble was invited by King of Morocco to appear at the International Sacred Music Festival of Fez, 2009 and had the honor to headline the benefit concert for the Dalai Lama’s initiative “Seeds of Compassion” promoting Compassion in Education, Business and Community. The ensemble was featured four times at the World Festival of Sacred Music in Los Angeles and was honored to perform at an International Peace Festival ‘05 in South Korea. In addition, the Ensemble was chosen by the Mid-Atlantic Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts to represent the United States and its cultural diversity at the International Folk Music Festival in Lublin, Poland in 2005. In 2006 the Ensemble was the first to introduce the music of the Middle East to Chihuahua, Mexico at the International Chihuahua Festival, and in 2007 it was featured in the International Oud Festival in Jerusalem as part of a Peace Mission Tour to Israel. In 2010 The Ensemble toured in Spain performing a unique collaboration with the Gypsy Flamenco artists of Andalusia in concerts in Seville, Jerez and Madrid. In 2011 the ensemble was invited by the Intercultural forum of the Association of writers and Journalists of Turkey to give a concert for peace in Istanbul and to conduct a Peace Mission Tour throughout Turkey.

The Yuval Ron Ensemble Cd’s “Under The Olive Tree”, “Tree of Life” and “Seeker of Truth” have become international favorites with world music lovers and has been featured on National Public Radio’s “Echoes” and “Hearts of Space” programs. The Yuval Ron Ensemble was in residencies at numerous schools such as Yale University, John Hopkins University, UCLA, university of Chicago, Seattle University and Middlebury College and has performed numerous benefit concerts to support organizations that promote peace and help the disadvantaged. For more information: www.yuvalronmusic.com

Click here for a flyer for this event.

Movies and the Mythic Imagination: Film as Dreamscape

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March 7, 2015 at the University of Philosophical Research 

3910 Los Feliz Boulevard. Los Angeles, CA 90027

 

Also Available as a Webinar for Those Residing Outside Los Angeles!

 

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The seminar explores uses of movies to increase understanding of emotional life. The day includes how to detect psychological themes in stories as presented on screen – and how to use examples from movies in discussions of personal issues. Examples illustrate the value of modeling actions on those of significant fictional characters such as heroes, mentors and allies. We do not watch films, but will discuss key scenes from To Kill A Mockingbird to study idealism and consider several productions of the Snow White story to reflect onthe rewards of the spiritual path. Exploring very different genres allows us to demonstrate the wide range of drawing insights from cinema.  Films provide windows to our inner mysteries. Seeing movies as dreams can help us take ownership of unclaimed resources within.

 

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Learning Objectives

  •  Identify how plot stages mirror key development tasks.
  • Demonstrate how scenes from movies can be used to clarify specific life challenges.
  • Explain the use of dream analysis methods to draw insights from favorite films.

 

 

Schedule of the Day

9:30 am Check-in begins in the bookstore.

10:00 am   Introduction to archetypal symbolism in films

~ The cinema narrative as window to the unconscious

~ Gaining distance to reflect on pressing problems

 11:15 am  Break (approximate time)

 11:30 am  The quest story as developmental journey

~ Tapping resilience by identification with characters

12:30 pm   Lunch Break

1:30 pm Story and symbol in cinematic narratives

~ Mythological understanding of the main genres of movies

2:30 pm   Break (approximate time)

2:40 pm  Unconscious dynamics and the mythic imagination

~ Using films like dreams – as mirrors of adult issues

3:50 pm  Break (approximate time)

4:00 pm  Deepening the therapeutic relationship

~ Selecting appropriate DVDs for homework

 5:00 pm   Course concludes – Total 6 hours (RNs 7 hours)

 

Instructors:

young_and_roslynJonathan Young, PhD, PSY10231, is a psychologist storyteller, and writer on mythic stories. He assisted mythologist Joseph Campbell at seminars and was the Founding Curator of the Joseph Campbell Archives and Library. His books and articles focus on personal mythology. Dr. Young is on the faculty of the University of Philosophical Research

 

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Anne Bach, M.S., MFT 38891 is a specialist in uses of writing in psychotherapy. She gives presentations on creativity as inner work at major conferences, and lectures widely on psychological dimensions of expressive writing. Her clinical background includes poetry therapy with seriously mentally ill patients.

 

CE Credit Information

Continuing Education hours are available for psychologists, marriage & family therapists, social workers, nurses, and other mental health professionals. The course meets CE requirements in most states. The certificate of completion will be provided by the Center for Story and Symbol.

Non-credit: Those not needing verification of attendance, such as teachers, writers, clergy, and artists – are welcome as non-credit attendees. Spouses, friends, students, and others not needing verification of attendance can also choose the lower non-credit tuition.

CE Hours: Psychology, MFT, LCSW, LPCC, Ed Psych, NBCC: 6 CE hours   –   Nursing : 7 hours

Approvals:

Psychology ~ The Center for Story and Symbol is approved by the American Psychology Association to sponsor continuing education hours for psychologists. The Center maintains responsibility for these programs and their contents. CE hours are accepted by the California MCEP program. Full attendance is required for psychologists – No partial credit. The level is introductory for psychologists.

MFT, LCSW, LPCC ~ California BBS Provider Number PCE 3903

RN ~ Provider approved by the Calif. Board of Registered Nursing, BRN Provider Number CEP 12477

Teachers ~ Continuing Education courses are customarily approved by immediate supervisors. It is usually sufficient to attend on a non-credit (auditing) basis and present a receipt for the course.

 

Open to everyone. The course is not just for psychotherapists. It is open to all those interested in archetypal perspectives. The lectures are presented at the introductory level and require no background in mythology, narrative theory, or Jungian psychology.

Tuition:

In person: $140 with CEU, $95, non-credit
Webinar: $95 with CEU, $45. non-credit

January 31st in the UPR Bookstore: The Sacrifice and Other Stories

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The University of Philosophical Research is pleased to invite author and professor William Garlington to our bookstore on Saturday, January 31st at 12:00 pm to introduce his most recent book, The Sacrifice and Other Stories.

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The Sacrifice and Other Stories, is a collection of fourteen short stories written over the past twenty years. The stories deal with a wide range of existential themes including meaning, suffering, contingency and spiritual insight. Published in 2014 by Upasthapana Books, Los Angeles.

 

 


 

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William Garlington received both his B.A. & M.A. in History from the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his Ph.D. from Australian National University  Asian history & Sociology
Dr. Garlington has taught at: The Australian National University, Adelaide College of Advanced Education, St. Claire’s College Canberra, Black Pine Circle School in Berkeley, CA
He is also the author of The Baha’i Faith in America (Aug 30, 2005)

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