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Consciousness and Paradigm Shift

Consciousness and Paradigm Shift

It was in 1962 that the philosopher Thomas Kuhn wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and the term “paradigm shift” first appeared. Kuhn used the term to describe the monumental scientific revolution instigated by Albert Einstein’s theories and the subsequent development of quantum mechanics. The dramatic shift away from Newtonian physics into this new paradigm effectively changed the world. In addition to paradigm shift, Kuhn also popularized the term incommensurable, which means that two competing theories cannot be reconciled.

In our own time, the problem of the nature of consciousness may also be facing a paradigm shift and certain incommensurability. After decades of study and countless books and papers trying to explain consciousness as a function of brain chemistry, we are no closer to defining and accepting the nature of consciousness as an epiphenomenon of evolution. As Einstein himself said, how is it that human beings are able to discover and formulate equations for the laws of the universe when such a skill has no evolutionary advantage for doing so? Some more universal connection must be at work.
Another answer to that question comes from ancient sources in the wisdom tradition.

Stated simply, consciousness is an essential attribute of the universe itself and permeates space/time along with matter, dark matter and dark energy. This theory of the presence of a universal consciousness, which all living things have access to, is becoming in our own time a viable theory in a broad range of disciplines. Including cosmology, philosophy, psychology, religion, and physics.

Great minds, like Einstein, Bohr, Schrodinger in physics; Plato, Plotinus, Spinoza in philosophy, the great sages of the Eastern sacred texts; and now more contemporary writers and thinkers, are postulating this theory of consciousness as a serious alternative to brain chemistry. And of course the theory is incommensurate with materialism and biology.

One such contemporary advocate of this potential paradigm shift is Ervin Laszlo, the Hungarian philosopher, scientist, and systems theorist, who has been studying what he terms “quantum consciousness.” László’s 2004 book, Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything, develops his theory in broad terms, including cosmology, physics, and Eastern traditions as a means of defining what Ken Wilbur calls the integral operating system. Laszlo’s most recent book (2014) is entitled The Immortal Mind and he has taken Kuhn one step further by coining the term Macroshift to suggest the coming revolution in thinking.

That we are now beyond the point of labeling a theory of universal consciousness the product of delusional imagination should be obvious, given the quality of work being disseminated. Whether or not we are in the midst of a paradigm shift, however, will no doubt await a major shift in consciousness, because it is also true that testing such a theory in the lab is incommensurate. There’s the rub.

Professor Richard Geldard

New B.A. Course Enrollment Options

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UPR is pleased to announce the commencement of our newly approved Bachelor of Arts Completion Program this Fall Quarter and we welcome our first undergraduate students to the UPR community!

In order to make our courses available to the maximum number of students, UPR has decided to offer all courses as listed in UPR’s Bachelor of Arts Completion Program with the following additional study options (please refer to the diagram below for tuition details):

  • We will be offering access to lectures for two of our courses: PHI 201- Introduction to Philosophy and REL 201- Introduction to World Religions on a non-credit basis for a limited time free of cost. Students will be able to communicate with the instructor at the instructor’s discretion.
  • Most courses listed in the undergraduate program will now be available to everyone for audio/video and quiz access for a certificate of completion at 50% of our enrollment price ($250). Students will have access, at the instructor’s discretion, for questions and discussions limited to course content.
  • All courses as listed in the undergraduate program will now be available for full course credit to all undergraduate level students without enrollment into the B.A. Program. Please note that the credits received from this option can be applied to the B.A. Completion degree at UPR within a 4-year timeframe.
  • All courses are now available for full course credit with enrollment into the Bachelor’s Completion Program.
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Please see:

Please call UPR (323-663-2167 x 112) for enrollment details.

Fall Quarter Begins October 27th

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Fall Quarter Begins October 27th!

 

As the air gets cooler here in Los Angeles, UPR begins to gear up for the upcoming Fall Quarter. This year, we have a wide selection of exciting courses to be offered in both of our graduate and undergraduate programs.

With the Fall season comes change and the opportunity for personal harvest, reflection and growth. We are looking forward to the new quarter and welcome all the new faces and intellects that will be joining us!

To browse our Fall Course Offerings, take a look at the links provided below:

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Fall Quarter Graduate Courses:

3rd QUARTER – FALL: October 27, 2014 -to- January 4, 2015

PHI 503 – The Birth of Consciousness in Early Greek Thought

PHI 513 – Mind in the Cosmos: The Evolution of Consciousness

PHI 514 – Determinism, Reductionism and Final Causes in Physics

REL 522 – Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita

PSY 503 – Self Regulation: Foundation of Human Potential

PSY 512 – Mythic Stories in Depth Psychology

PSY 515 – Tarot and Transformation

PSY 531 – Psi Research 

Fall Quarter Undergraduate Courses:

3rd QUARTER – FALL: October 27, 2014 -to- January 4, 2015

PHI 201 - Introduction to Philosophy

PSY 201 - Self-Regulation and Human Potential

CUL 206 – The Art of the Essay

REL 201 – Introduction to Religions of the World

Undergraduate Applications for Fall Quarter Due Monday, October 1st

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The Bachelor’s program offered by UPR is for those seeking to acquire a broad-based education in the Liberal Arts.  The program focuses on four main subject areas: Philosophy, Psychology, Culture and Religion. The university is an advanced educational institution and as such, prospective students must have completed an Associate of Arts degree or its equivalent of 90 quarter credits or 60 semester credits of lower division undergraduate study with a minimum GPA of 2.0.  The Bachelor of Arts degree requires a total of 180 quarter credits for completion.

Undergraduate students at UPR will need to complete 90 quarter credits of upper division coursework distributed over the four core areas of study (Philosophy, Psychology, Religion and Culture). Common themes across the curriculum will include: society and politics, science and technology, anthropology and cosmology, history and the creative arts, critical thinking, reading and writing skills. Focusing on the development of analytic and creative skills, this program underlines intersections among the selected academic disciplines so as to be cross-cultural, cross-temporal and contemporary.

 

The UPR Fall Quarter Begins October 27th.

 

Please send all application materials to:

The University of Philosophical Research

Admissions Office

3910 Los Feliz Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA. 90027

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Helpful Links:

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The Left Hand of God

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In the year 1778, three years before his death, the philosopher and writer Gotthold Lessing was arguing in a series of articles with the chief pastor of Hamburg, Germany, over the pastor’s narrow-minded orthodoxy. At one point, Lessing articulated the following spiritual position:

“If God were to hold out all Truth in his right hand, and in his left just the active search for it, I should humbly take the left hand.”

Shocking though this sentiment appeared at the time, even in the midst of the Enlightenment, Lessing’s sentiment reveals important positions both psychological and philosophical. I would argue that the statement also reflects the fundamental axiom of this university: the active search for the truth of reality from the position of self-reflective inquiry.

This position holds that the truth of reality is ultimately unknowable in this life, which makes any dogmatic position flawed, or at best, fragmentary by definition. The late philosopher Eric Voegelin once warned those who search for the truth of reality to be wary of what he called a “premature satisfaction,” the tendency of some seekers to settle along the way for some seemingly definitive truth.

And why is a premature satisfaction to be avoided? It is because what truly distinguishes a human being from other species is our capacity for personal inquiry into the nature of reality. Other creatures display intelligence and learning but not the capacity for reflecting on what is learned or experienced. This means that if we settle for that premature satisfaction, we lose the capacity for reflective inquiry and are, in fact, no longer fully human.

Lessing lived by his left-handed choice in his own writing. As a playwright his version of Faust described one who justifies before God a human being devoid of evil, one who pursues truth for himself. His interpretation served as an inspiration for Goethe’s own version of Faust, a work which was instrumental in the development of Idealism.

As a teacher I look in student writing for any sign of the active and humble search for the truth. It is a sure sign of a human being, one who is unlikely to settle for a premature satisfaction or what can also be termed a falling away from what makes us truly human in the first place.

 


 

Richard Geldard Ph.D.

PhD, Dramatic Literature and Classics, Stanford University. UPR Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Full time Professor at UPR, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, Yeshiva University Doctoral Faculty, Pacifica Graduate Institute Author of ten books on Early Greek philosophy and the thought of Ralph Waldo Emerson [www.rgbooks.com]

Commencement Wisdom from UPR’s Dean of Undergraduate Studies

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Commencement Wisdom on the Road

On college and university campuses across the country this spring we have heard endless commencement speakers urge young graduates not to be afraid to fail, this being the advice de jour for an economy in which jobs are scarce and opportunities in short supply. Take chances they are told, but don’t despair. The advice may be sensible but the effect is depressing, spoiling the mood of what should be a significant milestone, a real passage on the journey. So, what would be a more encouraging message?

Driving down to New York on the Thruway, I spotted a bumper sticker that read LEARN TO LIVE, LIVE TO LEARN, and since I was stuck behind this SUV for a few miles, I got to thinking about this rather mundane message until it gradually seemed less and less banal.

First, it needed the word THEN in there. We learn to live and THEN we might be able to live to learn. And I thought about the graduate students that I have taught at UPR, many of whom were in mid-life and had careers, families, and rich experience learning how to live and were now devoting time to learn. And I thought about the coming undergraduate candidates coming into the new Completion Program who, I would imagine, are still learning to live, wanting to finish their BA and make their way in the world, those who have had to leave school to work, or who found their studies unrewarding for any number of good reasons.

Second, that sound bite does not adequately describe what it really means to live to learn. Once we get the first part, acquire the skills and experience to handle what life demands of us, and we master the skills of managing each day, month and year, and we learn what it means to be loving, responsible, and competent human beings, it may be time to use that knowledge and those skills to learn even deeper things: who we are, why we are here, and what, if anything, does this life mean.

The wisdom traditions assembled eighty years ago here in Los Angles by Manly Hall and others address these questions. And what is most significant about that founding and then later the establishment of a degree-granting program, was the inclusion of the word RESEARCH, which means to investigate carefully, to inquire systematically, to engage in the discovery of the truth of reality, and indeed, to learn to live.

And so it comes full circle. We learn to live, find time and opportunity to live to learn and if we’re fortunate, we learn to live more wisely. And if we’re truly fortunate, we can pass along what we have learned and how we have learned to a new generation. And lest we take ourselves too seriously we are brought into the moment behind that SUV by Woody Allen who said, “I know there’s another world, but I want to know how far it is from mid-town and how late it stays open.”

 

 

 

Richard Geldard Ph.D.

Dean of Undergraduate Studies, UPR

 

 

The Essence of Vedanta

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    1. God is all there is OR there is nothing but God.
    2. God is all being – all that can be sensed, all that can be imagined, all that cannot be imagined.
    3. God exists as the totality of Being, including the known, the unknown and the unknowable; God also exists in/as every instance of being.
    4. God perceives him/her/itself in different gradations of objectivity – leading to a continuum of Being with gradations of Consciousness. 
    5. God as Subject is absolute Consciousness. It is known as Brahman. The power by which it perceives itself is known as Maya. The forms of objective self-perception have relative consciousness and are thus forms of Ignorance.
    6. God as Object is Matter. All the gradations of consciousness leading to and including the Consciousness of Subject are latent in the Object, just as all the gradations of consciousness leading to and including the Inconscience of the Object are latent in the Subject.
    7. God as Subject evolves towards greater and greater material perfection; Matter as Object evolves towards greater and greater spiritual perfection. These two evolutions are in fact one perpetual motion machine, an involution-evolution.
    8. Consciousness implies Sentience and Will. 
    9. The sentience of God Consciousness is absolute Bliss. The sentience of relative consciousness is the duality of pleasure and pain.
    10. God is thus absolute Being, absolute Consciousness, absolute Bliss (Sacchidananda), absolute Subject (Paramatman).
    11. The will of God Consciousness is Divine Will. The will of relative consciousness is the duality of will-towards-consciousness and will-towards-unconsciousness. 
    12. Will-towards-Consciousness is called Good; will-towards-unconsciousness is called Evil.
    13. Each instance of being is nothing but Being; but depending on its gradation of consciousness, it is relatively ignorant, relatively happy-and-unhappy and relatively good-and-evil.
    14. God as absolute Being, absolute Consciousness, absolute Bliss, absolute Subject – is also absolute Instance or Individual (Purushottama).
    15. Thus, though each individual instance of being (jiva, purusha), depending on its gradation of consciousness, is relatively ignorant, relatively happy-and-unhappy and relatively good-and-evil; this is a form of self-perception by the absolute Instance or Individual (Purushottama). Absolute Individual is thus the truth of the individual in the relative field, but is not realized as such by it.
    16. Forms of self perception by the absolute Individual (Purushottama) which are conscious of their identity with the absolute Individual, that is, innately realize the absolute Individual as their truth, and thus are not ignorant, always happy and always Good are known as the Gods (devas).
    17. Forms of self perception by the absolute Individual (Purushottama) which are far from conscious of their identity with the absolute Individual, and thus are ignorant, unhappy and Evil are known as the Demons (asuras).
    18. Thus devas and asuras or Good and Evil archetypes are not Absolute realities or instances but relative realities or instances based on the Absolute’s self-perception in terms of gradations of Consciousness.
    19. The existence of relative archetypes of Good and Evil sets up a polarity which causes a churning of the space of relative consciousness. 
    20. Archetypal forms of self-perception by the Absolute Being as Individual are innate and unchanging ; but there may be forms of self-perception by the Absolute Individual that are evolutionary.
    21. Whereas archetypal individualities (devas and asuras) cannot change their quality of consciousness or will (good or evil), evolutionary individualities have freedom of quality of consciousness and will and hence can act upon their own content and quality of consciousness with their will – i.e. a will-towards-consciousness or a will-towards-unconsciousness.
    22. For evolutionary individualities, the degree of freedom of quality of consciousness and will is dependent on the degree of individuality – that is in the continuum of Being with gradations of Consciouness, relative beings/individualities that can establish relations of consciousness with the Absolute Being/Individual partake of an increasing freedom of the quality of consciousness and will in realizing Absolute Being/Individual as their truth.
    23. The relations of consciousness that relative being/individuals can establish with Absolute Being/Individual are relations of Being, Knowledge, Love and Power.
    24. Absolute Being/Individual is incomprehensible to any relative being/individual but can disclose itself evolutionarily, progressively stretching the capacity of the relative being/individual towards realizations of identity with it in Being, Knowledge, Love and Power.
    25. Any relative being/individuality can relate to the absolute Being/individuality through one or more of its modes: the Absolute Being/Person, the Cosmic Being/Person known through its manifestation as  he many gods, any individual being/person that has realized its identity with absolute Being/Person (yogi, guru), an individual incarnation of Absolute Being/Person (avatar) or an invocation to absolute Being/Person through any individual object or instance (archa).

 

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Debashish Banerji, author of book on Abanindranath Tagore

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DEBASHISH BANERJI, Ph.D.

Dean of Academic Affairs, University of Philosophical Research

Ph.D., Art History, University of California, Los Angeles.

Author of “The Alternate Nation of Abanindranath Tagore”

Author of “Seven Quartets of Becoming: A Transformative Yoga Psychology Based on the Diaries of Sri Aurobindo”

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In Celebration of Rabindranath Tagore

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In celebration of the great poet and artist, Rabindranath Tagore, and particularly today, his 154th birthday, let us reflect upon the great wisdom he could share with us:

 

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The Revised New Art Tarot Now Available

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To purchase your deck online please visit the following link

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The Fragments of Heraclitus

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In the second week of the Fall quarter, UPR’s graduate courses are unfurling beautifully and discourse has spurred between our fantastic student body and faculty.  Cross-temporal pursuits are of plenty at UPR and it seems to be only appropriate to recommend some of the great texts being offered in our autumnal coursework.

In Richard Geldard’s course, The Birth of Consciousness in Early Greek Thought, Heraclitus‘ Fragments begins the in-depth mapping of consciousness and its origins within the Western world.  Fragments is a collection of Heraclitus’ body of work, of which only fragments unfortunately remain for us to decipher.   A postmodernist long before the term was coined, Heraclitus and his thoughts revealed within Fragments show us glimpses into the continuance of the human experience and its origins in familiar, albeit ancient, time and situation.

In Fragments Heraclitus writes:

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Just as the river where I step
is not the same, and is,
so I am as I am not.

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People need not act and speak
as if they were asleep.

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Not to be quite such a fool
sounds good. The trick,
with so much wine
and easy company, is how.

 

Ephesus, Heraclitus’ home city, was an urbanized and bustling metropolis, its population spanned from the 10th Century B.C. to the 15th Century A.D.  It was a place where cultures, mythologies and beliefs were accumulated to such a point where they could be compounded and where identities could be constructed.  Much like a contemporary city such as Los Angeles, which can be perceived as a generator of modern-day pop culture (a product of appropriation and compounded identity), Ephesus faced similar postmodern and existentialist dilemmas that can give us perspective into our own times.

Dr. Geldard in his course offered this Fall, gives us an in-depth and thoughtful account of Heraclitus’ philosophy, providing for our students a perspective on the history of consciousness that is precious in the fractured histories of today.  A key to much of Western philosophical thought, from Plato to Nietzche and Heidegger, Heraclitus remains relevant today as he ever was.

 

Heraclitus large Check out Richard Geldard’s fantastic book on Heraclitus, which sheds light onto Heraclitus’ Fragments and continues the rumination of such a seminal philosophical text:  http://www.rgbooks.com/Remembering_Heraclitus.htm

 

 

 

 

 

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