UPR on Campus: The Meanings of America

Meanings of America

Jasper
Johns, 1930-, Three Flags, 1958

Greg Salyer, Ph.D.
President
University of Philosophical Research

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

Tuesday Lectures Thursday Films
The Native Nation

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

Before there was “America,” there was a continent of more than 500 nations and cultures varying widely in language, religion, and social structure. They practiced sophisticated land management, created a vast network of roads, and constructed large cities rivaling those of Europe. When the Europeans invaded, these 500 nations became one in the new American imagination, los indios or “the Indians.” The name arose from a mistake in navigation and remained as a mistake of the imagination to this day. Despite a calculated and prolonged genocide by Euro-Americans, Native people remain on the continent and survive through their ceremonies and humor.

Watch the lecture on Vimeo

Smoke Signals

Thursday, April 27, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

The Religious Nation

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

America’s creation myth is about religious freedom from a Europe still bleeding from its religious wars that were tied to state-sponsored religion. Members of the Plymouth Colony landed in Massachusetts in 1620 and provided a religious counterpart to the Virginia Company that had settled in Jamestown in 1607. The Plymouth Colony’s “freedom from” religion of the state and “freedom to” practice their own beliefs remains a pivotal tension at the heart of the America as a religious nation. The First Amendment of the Constitution articulates this paradox: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . .”

Watch the lecture/discussion on YouTube

The Crucible

Thursday, May 4, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

The Immigrant Nation
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

The meaning of America has been articulated since its beginning in the Latin phrase e pluribus unum, out of many, one. The many, of course, are immigrants. The one is harder to imagine and realize. This three-word myth assumes an America that is open and secure, diverse and unified, and constantly changing and fundamentally stable. That is an idealistic and perhaps impossible goal for a community, much less a nation of this size. A symbol that is usually associated with this myth is the melting pot, which appears instructive on the surface until we begin to ask questions of it. Who is doing the melting, and what is the result? What is lost and what is gained in the melting? Is it language, culture, identity? Such questions are more pressing than ever as the myth of the immigrant nation undergoes unique challenges and revisions.

The Immigrant

Thursday, May 11, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

The Destined Nation
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

It has been argued that the myth of the American West is the longest-lived of the American myths. Expansion to the Pacific Ocean represented a culmination of the colonization of the continent and finalized the nation-building that began with contact. In fact, Frederick Jackson Turner called the settling of the frontier the second founding of the republic, and this consummation of the myth of destiny did not end at the western ocean. Instead, it continued to grow into the nation’s first foreign policy doctrine of Manifest Destiny, a mythologically loaded phrase if there ever was one. Less of a consensus than the melting pot, Manifest Destiny nevertheless provided an ideology of American colonization and war that found
particular expression around the globe.

Dead Man

Thursday, May 18, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm
The Self-Reliant Nation
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

Mythologies have heroes, and the American mythology has a hero at its center. That hero is you, the American. This hero myth is not reserved for noble ones or founders of cities, as in ancient mythology. Part of the American mythology is that the hero myth is available to all by their birthright as Americans. The myth connects to the nerve centers of the American mythos: individualism (and new spaces and resources in which to practice it), self-reliance, rags to riches, the American dream, and American exceptionalism. Moreover, the hero myth finds a home in everything from the American farmer to the American philosopher. Even those who had been excluded from the American dream by previous bigotry can (mythologically at least) become an American hero.

American Beauty
Thursday, May 25, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm
The Capitalist Nation
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

There is a good chance that any time a concept is presented as natural, self-evident, or inevitable we are talking about a myth. As Roland Barthes noted, “Myth transforms history into nature.” This observation is uniquely true of capitalism in America. The American Dream is a “self-evident” capitalist dream, thanks especially to popular novels of the nineteenth-century young adult writer Horatio Alger’s and his rags to riches myth. Any myth, however, must interface with other myths in the whole mythology. How does capitalism fare in this scheme? Surprisingly well, actually. In this lecture/discussion we will see just how and why capitalism is woven into the meanings of
America.

There Will be BloodThursday, June 1, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm
The Anti-Intellectual Nation
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

Like their Hebrew mythological forebears, the founders of America used the concept of the chosen nation to define themselves against the “others.” Among these others are Europeans, and a primary feature of European mythologies is what has been described as a certain intellectual elitism. Never mind that it was such intellectualism that conceived and inaugurated America in the beginning. The emergent and still-present myth of the “plain-spoken” and “simple” American has been plied into political power repeatedly and effectively. Why should a nation value anti-intellectualism and how does it play into the meanings of America? The answers may be surprising and revealing.

No screening Thursday, June 8. Watch Being There on your own and discuss it during the next lecture if you like.

The Violent Nation
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

Violence is the ritual practice of American myth. Given the belief that America was a “wilderness” that needed to be subdued, especially in regard to its Native people, violence becomes a sacrament of nation building and mythological regeneration. Congruent with the value of violence is the value of its tools, that is, arms. That America is and has been one of the most violent countries in history is directly related to the meaning and use of violence as establishing and renewing the meaning of America.

No screening Thursday, June 15. Watch Birth of a Nation on your own and discuss it during the next lecture if you like.

The Innocent Nation
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

While all nations avoid admitting complicity in nefarious acts, America has a unique approach to innocence that is drawn directly from the other meanings of America that we have been studying. Innocence is also related to another prominent meaning of America, that is, exceptional. Innocence and exceptionalism make for a powerful mythological identity that allows for Manifest Destiny and other mythologies to proceed without critique, or at least a critique that is recognized and accounted for. As such, it is a self-sustaining myth and also an extremely dangerous one both for citizens and the nation’s others.

No screening Thursday, June 22. Watch Forrest Gump on your own and discuss it during the next lecture if you like.

The Future Nation
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
7:00-8:30 pm

Given the meanings of America that we have explored, it is clear that American mythology is uniquely oriented toward the future. Even as the Pilgrims looked back over their shoulders at the religious wars they left behind, they looked forward to establishing themselves in this new “Promised Land.” The open frontier continued to fuel this myth, and when the frontier was “closed,” the future took on the contours of capitalism and eventually space exploration. Add in innocence and exceptionalism and we have a recipe for the future that is uniquely mythological and American. Even the world acknowledges (or used to) that the future is American, for better or for worse.

Events like movie nights are wonderful, but they require shifts in our staff schedule. We want to make sure that enough people are going to show up before we rearrange schedules to accommodate the film. Let us know if you are definitely coming, and we’ll be here for you. If fewer than four people sign up, we will need to cancel and will let you know here. Thanks for your understanding.http://doodle.com/poll/xk42m7wd2ysafbmi

Blade Runner

 Thursday, June 29, 2017,
7:00-8:30 pm

 

Second Saturday Speaker’s Platform

UPR is pleased to announce its 2017 Second Saturday Speaker’s Platform! With one faculty member each month sharing a lecture and discussion with our community, we will be offering three talks per quarter in this series.

We will have extended bookstore and library hours (10am-4pm) every 2nd Saturday of the month in conjunction with the series. A selection of our faculty will be presenting online, indicated below, available to all international and traveling students.

$12/lecture, $30/Quarter


2017 Speaker’s Platform
Lecture Date (Single Lecture):



Winter Quarter:

Saturday, January 14th, 2017:

“Mentoring the Inner Journey”

With Jonathan Young, Ph.D.

Lecture10:30am-12:00pm in the auditorium

Vasilisa

Sometimes, seekers get help with the quest. Teachers and guides appear at key moments with bits of insight or practical suggestions. Mentor images in stories and dreams can assist us as we move toward enlightenment. Wisdom figures in mythology, literature, and film include Merlin, Glinda, Gandalf, Mary Poppins, Dumbledore, The Fairy Godmother, Baba Yaga, and Charlotte (with her web). Carl Jung was assisted by Philemon. We will discuss the role played by inner and outer advisors who show us the way.

Jonathan Young is a psychologist and storyteller who assisted mythologist Joseph Campbell at seminars and was the Founding Curator of the Joseph Campbell Archives and Library. He is also contributing producer and featured commentator on the Ancient Aliens televisions series. His books and articles focus on personal mythology. Dr. Young is on the faculty of the University of Philosophical Research

Saturday, February 11th, 2017:

“The New Philosophical Paradigm for the Spiritual Unfoldment of the Self”

With Pierre Grimes, Ph.D.

Lecture10:30am-12:00pm in the auditorium

Blake

This lecture will discuss the following:

  • The dangerous inherent power of the exercise of the dialectic.
  • The folly and origin of false beliefs about the Self.

Pierre Grimes Ph.D. Philosophy, University of Pacific; MA Comparative Philosophy, University of Pacific; BA Philosophy, San Francisco State College

He is the founder of the philosophical midwifery movement, which is an adaption of Socratic midwifey, and is a mode of philosophical counseling. The name Philosophical Midwifery comes from Plato’s dialogue, The Theaetetus.

  • Professor of Philosophy, Golden West College
  • President of the Noetic Society, Inc.
  • Director of the Open Mind Academy
  • Author of “Is It All Relative?” and “Philosophical Midwifery”

10:30 am, Saturday, March 11th, 2017:

“The Soul’s Journey”

With Richard Geldard, Ph.D.

Online Lecture Video

Soul

The idea of a soul as a symbol of the eternal, a remnant of divinity, an expression of the afterlife, has always been part of the human journey. From India, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and beyond, mystics philosophers, artists, farmers and laborers alike hold to the idea of a small piece of divinity within. The soul was born, been dormant, neglected, and revived and then lost, but always reborn. It has been in the world’s wisdom traditions that the soul has been the most consistent presence in human nature  Each of these traditions has its own knowledge and experience for us to measure against our own sense of this part of our being.

Professor Richard Geldard, PhD is a member of the UPR and Holmes Institute faculties. He teaches courses in Ancient Greek Thought, New England Transcendentalism, Hermeticism, and The Examined Life. He is the author of a dozen books, the latest being “The Soul’s Journey,” His web site is www.rgbooks.com.

 

Spring Quarter:

Saturday, April 8th, 2017:

“The Peculiar Spirituality of T.S. Eliot”

Lecture10:30am-12:00pm in the auditorium

With Tim Shaughnessy, Ph.D.

Eliot

This lecture concentrates on a small selection of T.S. Eliot’s major poems.  Emphasis focuses on words, images, symbols, and a creative style that when blended together creates verse of profound metaphysical significance.  We will review and discuss quotes from Eliot’s early works, The Waste Land, Hollow Men, and move forward to his later work, The Four Quartets.  Along the way, we hopefully gain insight into Eliot’s peculiar spirituality.The critic Scott James, notes:  There is no portrayal of common emotions.  All the things which common people think of as practical and desirable vanish into insignificance under Eliot’s vision.In his own words, “ Poetry is of course not to be defined by its uses.  It may effect revolutions in sensibility, such as are periodically needed; may help to  brake  up the conventional modes of perception and valuation which are perpetually forming; and make people see the world afresh, or some new part of it.  It may make us from time to time a  little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are usually a constant evasion of our selves, and an evasion of the visible and sensible  world.  But to say all this is only to say what you know already, if you have felt poetry and thought about your feelings.”Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 4.07.02 PMTimothy Shaughnessy, Ph.D.  B.A. degree In English Literature from Arizona StateUniversity; Masters in English Literature from Northern Arizona State University; Ph.D in Educational Administration and Supervision from Arizona State University, emphasis in Research and Community Education. Teaching experience at University of the Pacific, CA, in English Composition, Arizona State University in Public Administration and grant administration. Served in four U.S. federal agencies; Department of Health and Human Services as a program specialist,: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as a compliance analysis; Department of State, Voice of American as Director of Management Analysis, and the Internal Revenue Service as Chief of Financial Revenue and Chief of Educational Services Program. Consultant to the U.S. Department of Education and Veterans’ Administration. Consultant to the University of Philosophical Research.

 

Saturday, May 13th, 2017:

“Rebirth, Reincarnation & Transmigration: An Overview”

With James Santucci, Ph.D.

Lecture10:30am-12:00pm in the auditorium

Bhavachakra

An examination of the process of reincarnation.  Is reincarnation the same as transmigration, metepsychosis, and rebirth?  What is  reincarnating?  What is the difference between resurrection and reincarnation?

Dr. James A. Santucci is a retired Professor of Comparative Religion at California State University, Fullerton.   He received his Ph.D. degree from the Australian National University (Canberra, Australia) in Asian Civilization with an emphasis on the Veda. He is the editor of Theosophical History and Theosophical History Occasional Papers and the author of La società teosofica and An Outline of Vedic Literature, articles and book chapters appearing, among others, in the Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism, Nova Religio, Alternative Christs, and The Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements.  He is also a contributor (the Sanskrit language) to the Intercontinental Dictionary Series (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig).

Saturday, June 10th, 2017:

“In Excess of Being: A Phenomenological Practice of Nature”

 

With Sabrina Dalla Valle M.F.A.

Online Lecture Video
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Is nature understood today as more a symptom of something else we haven’t yet discovered?  Out of physical necessity, I attempt to follow this inquiry in a Goethean sense, looking at nature as “the pregnant point from which a series of phenomena governs itself from within outward.” For anything that is alive retains a certain potential…and it is here that we understand the primary order of things. Being recently affected by lung toxicity I am acutely aware of the coherency between inner and outer atmospheric conditions. In such a disabled state, dualism is implicitly dissolved. There is only one ‘nature’ flowing between human and environment. To understand what this means on a more concrete level, l am observing the external atmosphere in which I live by way of light quality, climate and sound- and my own inner breath in terms of lung capacity for air and congestion. In this description, I am also attempting to look beyond the tensions of the inner imagination and the outer world so as to experience time forms not bound to the psyche or measured cycles active in current scientific observation of atmosphere.

Sabrina Dalla Valle, MFA, is a writer of experimental and philosophical texts. She is author of Bee as Timbral Space :  a post-geometric eclogue (2016, Logosophia Books), 7 Days and Night in the Desert (Tracing the Origin) selected by Mei Mei Berssenbrugge for Best First Book Award (2013, Kelsey Street Press). Her writing has been anthologized and archived in  Mindmade Books 2012 chapbook series; Alchemical Traditions (2013, Numen Books); University of Pennsylvania’s The Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing (PennSound), 2014; San Francisco State University’s The Poetry Center Archives, 2014; UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2016.  She is co-founding editor of Diaphany, a peer-reviewed journal and nocturne for the publication of written and visual work that explores phenomenological perception and integral expression.

 

Summer Quarter:

Saturday, July 8th, 2017:

“Making Meaning in 2017

With Greg Salyer, Ph.D.

Lecture10:30am-12:00pm in the auditorium

It is an unprecedented time in American and world history. Democratic institutions are threatened and appear to be waning while the problems they were created to address are worse than ever. Ennui and angst are prominent if not dominant, and it seems that our social interactions are increasingly poisonous. The public sphere has become a mutual shouting match, and our politics are locked into the same intransigent and vituperative rhetoric. As W.B. Yeats put it, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.” He would go on to say that some revelation must be at hand. Is it? Do we need a revelation, a new vision? If so, what might it look like? What do the ancient wisdom teachers have to say about all of this? How do we make meaning in 2017 and beyond?

Front Camera

Professor Salyer is the author of Leslie Marmon Silko, a study of the prominent Laguna Pueblo writer’s work, and the co-editor of Literature and Theology at Century’s End. He has published many essays and given numerous presentations on Native American literature, contemporary fiction, and literature and religion. He received his Ph.D. from Emory University in literary theory, contemporary fiction, and religious studies. Greg has chaired numerous departments and directed several programs, including English, liberal studies, and writing programs. He has been teaching online since 2000 and is the President of the University of Philosophical Research.

Saturday, August 12th, 2017:

“The Deadlock of Modern Theoretical Physics as a Fallout of the Crisis of Materialism and Education: A Critical View From the Perspective of a Scientist, Teacher and Spiritualist”

 

With Marco Masi, Ph.D.

Online Lecture Video

physics

Contrary to popular belief, the foundations of physics are facing one of its deepest intellectual crisis. While applied physics experienced a tremendous development, and several new discoveries from the micro- to macro-cosmos revolutionized our understanding of the physical world, the progress in the conceptual foundations of modern theoretical physics stagnated. For more than half a century now physicists worldwide tried to unify quantum mechanics with general relativity and conceived of a plethora of new ‘quantum gravity” theories (like superstrings, etc.) But recent results coming from particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are telling us that nature ignores them. How the universe works at these levels remains mysterious more than ever. Overall the net impression is that of a great confusion and incertitude, which clearly signals a deep foundational as methodological crises. What is left among many is a sense of dissatisfaction and frustration for the lack of real progress, and nobody knows why. I suggest that the problem is not merely technical or scientific, but has its roots in a cultural and social understanding of how education should work. Our schools and academia are designed to foster too much the intellectual and rational faculties of the child, student and academic, and tends to suppress the contact with our inner being. With most of us not being aware of it, our educational systems are designed to expunge a priori the intuitive thinker, the seer, the naive but free visionary. The lack of these spiritual and intuitive personalities in mainstream science, is best reflected in those activities of science which are not practical oriented but more of a conceptual and philosophical nature. I will discuss how this has been the case with particle physics and modern unification theories.

Marco Masi graduated in physics at the university of Padua, Italy, obtained a Ph.D in physics at the university of Trento and worked as a researcher in universities in Italy, France, and Germany, where he now lives. His interests veered towards new forms of individual learning and a new concept of free-progress education originated from his activity both as a tutor in several universities and in the last two years as a maths and physics teacher in a high school, which gave him a deep insight into the modern educational system with all its systemic, social and also unconscious intricacies that are at the root of many modern educational issues.

Saturday, September 9th, 2017:

“Infinite Information, Worlds Without End: Myth and Religion in the Age of the Internet”

With Robert Ellwood, Ph.D. (Assisted by Richard Ellwood)

Lecture10:30am-12:00pm in the auditorium

Internet

The Internet has greatly changed the ways we humans learn, practice, and understand religion.  This presentation will survey some of those ways, from basic information, to blogs discussing religious issues, to on-line services and even whole religions, to the mythologies of computer games, to “Second Life” religious exploration, to “Cyber Apocalyptic” speculation that in time cyborgs, human-computer hybrids, will emerge to change wholly the nature of human life, and so of religion.  Richard Ellwood will project relevant websites on a screen as the talk and conversation proceed, and will demonstrate an oculus rift device which can put the wearer in an alternative reality.

Robert Ellwood, a Ph.D. in history of religion from the University of Chicago, is emeritus professor of religion at the University of Southern California, and the author of religious studies textbooks.  He now lives in Ojai, CA, with his spouse and two cats.  Richard Ellwood is technology director at Besant Hill School in Ojai.

 

Fall Quarter:

Saturday, October 14th, 2017:

The Impact of the Renaissance on Occult Traditions and the Birth of Hermetic Tarot

With Yolanda Robinson, Ph.D.

Lecture10:30am-12:00pm in the auditorium

One of the most important contributions of the Renaissance to the history of Western thought was the fusion of Humanism with pagan traditions, pre-Socratic thought, Platonism, Aristotelianism, Christianity, and even Cabala. Classical texts were rediscovered at this time, and works like the Corpus Hermeticum, the Hymns of Orpheus, and the Chaldean Oracles (attributed to Zoroaster) were embraced as wisdom literature. Tarot, tarocchi, is a child of the Renaissance and shares many of the characteristics of the cultural and social life of that time. Hermetic Tarot also carries its own consciousness and has accrued even more hermetic and occult characteristics beyond the 17th century and into modern times.

Objectives:

  • To provide background and examples of the way that Tarot (tarocchi) evolved within a hermetic-cabalistic current that defined the consciousness of the Renaissance.
  • To show how magic, alchemy, astrology and mystery traditions in general were incorporated into the art and literature of the Renaissance.
  • To suggest, using the concept of “poesis of the psyche,” how the birth of Hermetic Tarot coincides with the birth of the Renaissance Magus.

Yolanda M. Robinson, Ph.D, has been researching Hermetic traditions and working with Tarot for over thirty years. She holds a M.S. in Transformational Psychology from UPRS. Dr. Robinson is a retired Foreign Service Officer and is presently on the faculty of the University of Philosophical Research. She recently edited the new edition of the Knapp-Hall deck (2014) and published a book on Mysticism and Cabala in the Knapp-Hall deck (2015).

Saturday, November 11th, 2017:

“Principles of Transcendental Leadership: Leadership Connected to the Heart of Universal Intelligence and Collective Wisdom”

 

With Shawne Mitchell, M.A.

Lecture10:30am-12:00pm in the auditorium

In this talk, we will explore a new modality of leadership that is a radical attempt to synthesize leading-edge thinking, ancient wisdom, and the present conscious evolution, in order to affect profound individual and collective change – so acutely needed in our world today.Transcendental Leadership shifts us away from the old paradigms of leadership models into a new leadership modality highlighting interconnection and wholeness. We know that the complex problems of today will not be resolved by the consciousness that created them. Transcendental Leadership offers us a model to provide leadership that can contribute to the evolution of the world where the conscious awareness of all of humanity is developed for the betterment of all. 

Leading from a place of transcendence, from a consciousness of wholeness, David Bohm explained:

Your self is actually the whole of mankind … the past is enfolded in each of us in a very subtle way. If you reach deeply enough into yourself, you are reaching into the very essence of mankind. When you do this, you will be led into the generating depth of consciousness that is common to the whole of mankind and that has the whole of mankind enfolded into it. The individual’s ability to be sensitive to that becomes the key to the change of mankind. We are all connected. If this could be taught, and if people could understand it, we would have a different consciousness. 

We hope you will join us in this afternoon of change-making.

Shawne holds a Masters Degree in Consciousness Studies from the University of Philosophical Research and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Washington. Shawne has been practicing meditation for over 35 years. Her deep wisdom, combined with her travels and experiences, has evolved into speaking, teaching, workshops, published articles and books.

She is preparing a course, Mystical Traditions and Contemplative Practices, which she will be teaching at the University of Philosophical Research in 2017.

Saturday, December 9th, 2017:

“The Journey of the Fool: an Exploration of the Major Arcana as a Mythology on Life”

With Athena Kolinski, M.A.

Lecture10:30am-12:00pm in the auditorium

A journey through the Major Arcana of the Tarot will take you down roads you will know well. The experiences with both the outer and inner worlds take you to through the mundane, to the challenges of the dark night of the soul, to rebirth into new levels of who we are.

Together we will explore the movement through the cards, how they interface with each other, the characters and how they speak to you in this life. Watch the mythology of the Major Arcana come to life before your eyes, and see it in a whole new light.

Athena Johnson-Kolinski, M.A. teaches at University of Philosophical Research, where her second master’s degree was obtained in Consciousness Studies. Athena is a Dreamworker, Certified Tarotpy Practitioner and New Dreamwork Coach for Star Card Dreaming (www.starcarddreaming.com), as well as an active member of International Association for the Study of Dreams.

 

 

LA Weekly: The Strange History of Los Feliz’s Mysterious Metaphysical Research Center

prslibrary71

The Strange History of Los Feliz’s Mysterious Metaphysical Research Center
by Gustavo Turner

 

No, it’s not a Scientology front.

Nor is it “a Christian Science thing.” Or the Angelus Temple (that’s in nearby Echo Park). Or an exclusive league of Theosophists, Rosicrucians or Illuminati, or followers of Rudolf Steiner or Gurdjieff or any other specific mystic, either local or exotic. It’s definitely not a den of Aleister Crowley worship.

When people venture guesses as to what goes on at the University of Philosophical Research (formerly known as the Philosophical Research Society) — the strange-looking, Mayan-style mini compound on Los Feliz Boulevard, across from the southern boundary of Griffith Park, right next to the traffic jam–prone access to the 5 freeway — they often get it very wrong.

For a good part of the 20th century, the Philosophical Research Society was the physical extension of the largely metaphysical interests and activities of its formidable founder, Manly P. Hall.Hall was a self-educated writer and lecturer who flourished in the extremely fertile spiritual soil of post-WWI Los Angeles, where New World (and New Age) religions mixed freely with the esoteric traditions of Europe and what used to be called “the wisdom of the East.”
Seekers hungry for enlightenment flocked to lectures that could range from yoga and meditation, to Jungian psychoanalysis, to the hidden rites of the Freemasons, to the secret codes hidden in Shakespeare plays or the fables of the ancient world.

This Advent Season: Born Divine

Born_Divine

The tradition of Advent translates directly in Latin to “coming,” specifically in this season to the four Sundays preceding the arrival of baby Jesus as written in the Bible all those winters ago. In celebration of this tradition, UPR President Dr. Obadiah Harris has compiled four essays reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas, as a small booklet titled The Birth of Christ available online as both an e-book and pamphlet.

UPR would like to share each essay every Sunday preceding Christmas with our students and online community as a gift this year. The first of these essays titled, Born Divine, is available here below:

 


 

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.

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Thanksgiving

 

On this Thanksgiving, the greatest gift for which we can express gratitude is the certainty of the advent of a larger spiritual existence that is leading the earth to the oneness of mankind, to a divine age on earth. It is this that makes the future of mankind one of joy and not sorrow. It is this which enables us at this Thanksgiving Day to look to the days ahead no with foreboding but assurance. God will say to us as He did through Moses to the ancient Hebrews after he had brought them out of slavery in Egypt: You have seen how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you unto myself. (Exodus 10:3)

That is the vision of America that has justified the hopes of our forefathers, and of which our nation stands as a living and enduring example. Hundreds of years ago on these shores they reverently thanked God on this holiday for preserving them and the liberty for which they crossed the stormy seas to a new and more bountiful land. We thank God that He has preserved us in liberty to this very hour. Through God’s grace may this spiritual vision re-cross the seas from these American shores to the ends of the earth.

Obadiah Harris 

MLA Style Guide

MLA_Banner

For both our Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree programs, UPR students will now be expected to use the Modern Language Association (MLA) style guide for all written assignments rather than the American Psychological Association (APA) style. The MLA is the style guide more applicable for our programs. All new students must refer to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 8th Edition as they develop papers and/or the Master’s thesis. Currently enrolled students have an option to continue with the APA style or may adopt to the MLA style. Students may also find a link to the MLA style guide in the UPR Research Toolkit.

 

 

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.

A Letter From the Dean

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From the President:

I would like to welcome and introduce you to a new professor and administrator at our university.  He is Dr. Greg Salyer who will also serve as Dean of Students. He comes to us with a Ph.D. in Literature and Religious Studies from Emory University. His experience includes many years working in higher education administration – most recently Dr. Salyer developed an undergraduate program at Boston University. He is totally at home at UPR where integral philosophy and wisdom literature are emphasized with all programs. He is comfortable with online coursework as he has a decade of teaching experience using this format.

We are delighted to have Dr. Salyer with us. You will enjoy him too.

Obadiah Harris, Ph.D.

President

University of Philosophical Research

 

Greg_SalyerDear Students, Friends, and Faculty at the University of Philosophical Research,

I tend to interpret my life in terms of literature, especially mythology. When I think of my professional journeys, I always think of Odysseus, Homer’s reluctant hero who travels far and experiences much. It’s been a fascinating journey with not a few gods and monsters along the way. I’m pleased to add the University of Philosophical Research to this trek, where it feels as if I have come home.

My journey has included numerous teaching and administrative positions from small liberal arts colleges to major research universities. I have written and presented on a variety of topics in literature, philosophy, and religion. My first online course was in 2000, and I have taught online in one form or another since then. It is a fascinating time in higher education, and I look forward to being a part of UPR and its contributions to new and vital ways of learning wisdom.

And I look forward to learning from and with you. Already, I have seen that the UPRS community is unique. Competencies and credentialing are important, and we certainly celebrate both. More important than those, however, is wisdom, which is your goal (and mine). Wisdom is the story behind every story, the presence behind every argument, and the alpha and omega of life itself. I congratulate you on choosing to seek wisdom and to do so along this unique and communal path that is the University of Philosophical Research. It is my great pleasure to join you.

 

Greg Salyer, Ph.D.

Dean of Students

The University of Philosophical Research

 

 

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.  

 

Feeling Good: The Science of Well-Being

Feeling_Good_Review

Feeling Good: The Science of Well-Being: A Review by UPR Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Richard Geldard

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Some time ago now I was presented with a copy of this book , written by C. Robert Cloninger, M.D. I put it aside because I was both writing and teaching and had little time for reading. Also, I had to admit, the title “Feeling Good” was initially off-putting, even when followed by its much sturdier subtitle. And I suppose, also, I was feeling pretty good at the time. Then, as the sacred texts have it, it came to pass that I met the author, who was without question a person deeply endowed with wisdom and the kind of knowledge that was and is important to me. Our interaction over time as he visited family in our area took me back to the book, and I began reading in earnest.

Dr. Cloninger is a psychiatrist and geneticist noted for his research on the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual foundation of both mental health and illness. He holds the Wallace Renard Professorship of Psychiatry, is professor of psychology and genetics, and serves as director of the Sansone Family Center for Well-Being at Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to these impressive responsibilities, he is a student of self-aware consciousness, a field of study close to many at UPR and related institutions.

The book is a revealing account of Dr. Cloninger’s research into the treatment of mental disorders and his discovery that the traditional world of medical and psychological knowledge and research was inadequate to his desire to help both disturbed individuals but also to inform those regarded as well adjusted. As a result, his studies and readings in philosophy and consciousness research revealed a clear sense that there existed three distinct stages of self-aware consciousness which are key to true and lasting well-being.

 For example, as the author tells us in philosophy these three stages can be described by Hegel:

 The first stage is “immediate sensuous consciousness,” which is the determination of the physical and intuitive senses in the here-and-now, as is typical of ordinary states of self-centered thinking in people after the age of 4 years. The second stage is “consciousness of the reflected object,” which is an abstraction from time and place, as is typical of meditation and some mature idealistic states of dualistic thinking. The third stage is “consciousness of the object as that which is within itself, as living being or spiritual essence,” which is characteristic of contemplation and non-dualistic thinking. Such spiritual consciousness includes time and place without being limited to what is immediately present.

 For most adults who have explored questions of being and existence, stage two is a recognizable state, whereas stage three is normally achieved only through grace, disciplined spiritual work or initiatory experience. In this stage, insight into questions of who we are, what is the truth of being and how we achieve a genuine experience of wellbeing brings with it what Cloninger describes as illumination:

 In illumination, the subconscious [psyche or soul] is seen to be the presence (i.e., living being) of the individual, which exists inseparably within the universal unity of being. Therefore, only those who have experienced illumination would describe the gate to the subconscious as the Gate of God. The gate of the subconscious is recognized as the gate of the presence of living being in the third stage of self-aware consciousness.

From this point in this remarkable text, Cloninger fills out the experience described above by using as a reference the American Transcendentalists, or the Emerson Circle in the 1830s through the 1850s in Massachusetts and especially Concord. He goes there in order to learn and then teach us how to measure the extent and quality of their personal experience and how that translates to an elevated well-being among a group, a few of whom had reached the third stage of self-aware consciousness.

 The form of his investigation is unique in that he chooses what he calls a matrix of Conflicts in Human Thought (or Dualistic Consciousness). These planes, as he calls them, are as follows: Sexuality, Intention, Emotion, Intellect, and Spirit. What then takes place is an examination of these aspects or planes as a way to find clarity and to make advances in well-being.

In addition to form, the method of investigation is measurement, a numbering system from one through seven found within mind and body through meditation and sensory impression. One has to read the book in order to apply this method to the planes of consciousness experience.

This a book is for the serious student and seeker. It is encyclopedic in scope and yet also thoughtful and caring in expression and content. Personally, I will be keeping it close at hand as a reference as well as an encouragement.

geldard

Professor Richard G. Geldard

UPR Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Dramatic Literature and Classics, Stanford University. Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Yeshiva University, Doctoral Faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, and Author of ten books on Early Greek philosophy and the thought of Ralph Waldo Emerson (see www.rgbooks.com)

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