UPR on Campus: The Meanings of America: The Future Nation

future

Thank You and Goodbye from President Emeritus Obadiah Harris

obadiahharrisTo our UPR/PRS Board members, faculty, students, staff and friends, its time for me to extend a fond farewell.

I came to PRS in 1992 at a turbulent time of transition. Manly P. Hall had passed away, and the board was seeking new leadership. I accepted the position of President and started working on the next phase of evolution for PRS, which included the development of the University of Philosophical Research —an accredited, non-profit, online wisdom school.

Now it is time for me to transition into the next phase of my life. Most recently I have lost my dear wife and life partner, Jeanne, who worked tirelessly with me over the years at PRS/UPR. Without her and a supportive board, faculty, and staff, the accomplishments over the past 25 years would not have been possible.

As I move into retirement, I give much thanks to the PRS/UPR Board of Directors: Walter Hansell, James Callahan, Don De Francisco, William Garlington and John Pillsbury. I also give thanks to our gifted faculty for providing the quality of coursework that supports our wisdom school to students all over the world.

I also must acknowledge the PRS/UPR administrative staff who demonstrate their devotion to the mission of this institution everyday and without whom we could not deliver our courses, our books, and all the many activities and events that are accomplished daily here online and on campus. Much appreciation and love I extend to Roger Rodriguez, Aster Tsegay, John Chase, Frank Sabia, Kelly Carmena, Sharon Lineker, Matthew Taylor, Greg and Cathy Willis.

I am confident that under the new leadership of Dr. Greg Salyer, PRS/UPR will continue to grow and flourish. He shares the vision and mission of this institution and has the skills and experience to move forward with our goals which include expanding our programs.

I look forward to the publication by Tarcher Penguin of my new book The Aim of Life to be available this fall. And I hope to hear from many of you by phone and/or email. I can be reached by email at Obadiahsharris@gmail.com.

With thanks and gratitude,

Obadiah

Hello from President Greg Salyer, Ph.D.

uprprofile200A little over a year ago, I wrote President Harris and asked if I could be a part of this amazing institution, one that I had only then discovered. It was a Tuesday, and he asked me to come in and speak with him that Thursday. By the following Monday I was teaching a graduate class and directing two theses. Obadiah has wisdom and an uncanny intuition about people. That he would trust me to teach at this hallowed institution made me want to teach especially well—for him and for the legacy of Manly P. Hall. That he now supports me as his successor humbles and inspires me. Thank you, Obadiah, for your wisdom, grace, and trust. You will always be with us here as we continue this profound work.

As I noted in my Dean’s message last fall, my experience in higher education is broad and deep. I have been teaching online in one form or another since 2000, and I have taught at small colleges, regional state universities, and an international research university. At all of these institutions, I have been an administrator in one way or another, whether it was chairing a department, directing a program, or creating a new initiative. My scholarship and teaching are also broad and deep and cross disciplinary boundaries in literature, philosophy, religious studies, and American studies. I have had a fascinating journey in higher education to this point, but becoming President of the University of Philosophical Research and the Philosophical Research Society is beyond my wildest and highest dreams. It is a sacred calling to me, and I will discharge my duties in that light.

The future is bright here. That is not idle speculation because I know what he have in UPR/PRS. We have the legacy of one of the great scholars and teachers of the twentieth century in Manly P. Hall. We have the initiative and momentum of President Emeritus Obadiah Harris who created an online wisdom school before schools were really even thinking of online education. We also have the most supportive and invested board of directors I have seen in my time in higher education. Finally, we have a staff that is dedicated, determined, and eager to advance UPR/PRS to the next stage of its development. I want to especially thank the board and the staff for making this the easiest decision I have ever had to make about a position. I have no doubts about our ability to succeed, and that is because of you.

As I look back upon my and professional journey, I think often of Odysseus, that reluctant traveler who wanted only to get home and who experienced strange gods and dangerous monsters along the way. This place, both sacred and familiar, feels like a good place to both rest from the journey and to do some good work. It feels like home. I hope it does to all seekers of wisdom, and we will all work to make it safe and rewarding place for you. As for the future, I think of the Good, Gray Poet, Walt Whitman, who wrote:

Of the progress of the souls of men and women along the grand roads of the universe, all other progress is the needed emblem and sustenance.
Forever alive, forever forward,
Stately, solemn, sad, withdrawn, baffled, mad, turbulent, feeble, dissatisfied,
Desperate, proud, fond, sick, accepted by men, rejected by men,
They go! they go! I know that they go, but I know not where they go,
But I know that they go toward the best—toward something great.
“Song of the Open Road”

We go—toward the best, toward something great.

Greg

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

 

The Problem of Consciousness

The Problem of Consciousness

Forty years ago, in 1977, the political philosopher Eric Voegelin published a book entitled Anamnesis, which is a Greek word meaning reminiscence, or remembering, and its meaning for Voegelin meant a remembrance of things past and even past lives. Voegelin was born in Germany in 1901, but brought up in Vienna, where he earned his doctorate at the university there and began to write books, several of which were critical of Nazi thinking and policy, and in 1938, he and his wife had to flee the SS to neutral Switzerland and then on to America, where he became a citizen in 1944 and where he would write and teach until his death in 1985.

At the beginning of Anamnesis, Voegelin said the following: “In 1943 I had arrived at a dead-end in my attempts to find a theory of man, society, and history that would permit an adequate interpretation of the phenomena in my chosen field of studies…and it became clear beyond a doubt that the center of a theory of politics had to be a theory of consciousness.” And from then on, the bulk of his work, now numbering some forty volumes, had that aim and general direction.

Therefore, it is not surprising that institutions like UPR would be attracted to this same field of study and that working to understand and to penetrate the mysteries of consciousness would become the focus of our studies. In my own journey, I encountered Voegelin’s work when he arrived at the Hoover Institution of War and Peace at Stanford, and one complex sentence from his work has become for me a focus of long-term study to this day.

Here it is: “When consciousness is experienced as an event of participatory illumination in the reality that comprehends the partners to the event, it has to be located, not in one of the partners, but in the comprehending reality; consciousness has a structural dimension by which it belongs, not to man in his bodily existence, but to the reality in which man, other partners in the community of being, and the participatory relations among them occur.”

As a university, UPR is a community of beings in which those interested in the problem of consciousness share similar insights related to reality, and because consciousness is complex, these shared experiences contribute to crucial knowledge and understanding. It is clear, then, that it takes a community of beings devoted to learning and knowing to share insights, reject false notions, and explore complexities, all in the name of what Voegelin calls “the comprehending reality.”

What we learn, of course, is that consciousness is not merely individual brain activity unique to each person or animal, but is rather a collective structure within experience in which we all participate. Here is how Voegelin defined it: “Consciousness is the existential tension toward the ground, and the ground is for all men the one and only divine ground of being.” For us in these times, our task is to explore study and confirm for ourselves if this definition is true and active in our lives, or as philosophers put it, if it is the case.

Richard Geldard, PhD

Professor of Consciousness Studies

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

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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

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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 

An Examined Life: In Search of the Ground of Being

 UPR is pleased to announce the publication of Dr. Richard Geldard’s newest book:

AN EXAMINED LIFE

In Search of the Ground of Being

Richard G. Geldard

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When Socrates famously said that the unexamined life was not worth having, his declaration begged the question what, then, was an examined life? And when his student Plato described the prisoners in the cave living an unexamined life, philosophy began to speak of a life lived consciously and reflectively rather than mechanically and habitually.

This book is part personal description of an examined life and part challenge to the reader to develop the means to awaken to a life lived consciously and reflectively. It was Henry Thoreau who set a high standard for the examined life when he wrote, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and to see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

That is the challenge, and the gifts to come are the rewards from the effort.

“Richard Geldard’s personal quest for a meaningful life has taken him all the way from the PreSocratics to Gurdjieff and back again, but the life-line tying it all together has for many years been the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Geldard is a serious philosophical reader of Emerson, and he is a gifted teacher and writer and thinker able to reach any good modern reader willing to give it a shot. Geldard’s deeply moving and unflinchingly personal account puts him in that small circle of important philosophical Emersonians that includes Stanley Cavell and George Kateb. This is a lovely book.” – Robert D. Richardson, author of Emerson: The Mind on Fire

Visit http://www.rgbooks.com/ to purchase this newest release.

 

Professor Richard Geldard, Ph.D. 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.

 

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