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Professor Raymond Moody Returns for Upcoming Winter Quarter

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UPR welcomes back professor Raymond Moody, who coined the term “near death experiences” and will be teaching two courses this upcoming Winter quarter, along with his assistant and collaborator Lisa Smartt.

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PSY 432 – Near Death Experiences and Paranormal Phenomena

This course is an overview of extraordinary experiences related to death and dying. In connection, lectures bring to light critical weaknesses in the three traditional perspectives on the paranormal—parapsychology, “skeptical” scientism, and fundamentalist demonology—and propose a new theory of paranormal phenomena, rooted in ancient practices for facilitating the common experience of seeing spirits of deceased loved ones. The course will close with a prospectus for exciting future research that portends to shed light on the most fascinating enigma of all—the mystery of life after death. 

 

 

PHI202_coverPHI 202 – Foundations of Greek Philosophy

During a period of only two hundred and eighty years (600 to 320 BCE), a handful of Greek thinkers set the agenda for the Western intellectual and academic tradition that has followed. In that relatively short time, they formulated the basic concepts of grammar, truth and falsehood, material substance and force. They founded the university system that persists today and devised the first code of logic. They propounded a theory of evolution and the atomic theory of matter. But the early Greek philosophers did not separate the search for knowledge from the spiritual quest. This course sets ancient philosophy against its spiritual and paranormal background: oracular prophecies, out-of-body experiences, shamanic journeys into the other world, and evocation of the spirits of the deceased.

 

 

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Raymond A. Moody, Jr, M.D., Ph.D. | M.D., Medical College of Georgia, Ph.D., Philosophy, University of Virginia, specializing in logic, philosophy of language, and Ancient Greek philosophy. Author of Life After Life and other books about near-death experiences, alternate states of consciousness and paranormal phenomena. Dr. Moody was resident in psychiatry at University of Virginia Medical Center and has served as a professor of philosophy and psychology at various universities.

 

Feeling Good: The Science of Well-Being

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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.

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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)

Winter Quarter Invitation

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As 2014 comes to an end, we’re getting ready for our Winter quarter, which runs from January 26 – April 5, 2015. If you have been thinking of enrolling for any of our programs or taking single courses for the Bachelor’s completion, now is the time to apply. Application details may be found at the following link.
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If you’re interested in taking a single course at the BA level, check out our new options by clicking here. The application deadline is January 5th, 2015, but if you call before that, we may be able to extend that date for you. We have an exciting set of courses this quarter in both of our graduate programs and our newly opened BA completion program in Liberal Studies.
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Here’s what we’re offering:

Clicking in any of these will take you to the course page with a sample video. Further detail on the courses and faculty can be found at: http://www.uprs.edu/graduate-academics/
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More about these courses can be found here: 
http://www.uprs.edu/undergraduate-academics/undergraduate-courses/
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To view or download the undergraduate catalog, click here.
To view the graduate catalog, click here.
Our Admissions Staff is in the office Monday-Friday 10am-4pm (PDT) and happy to answer any questions you might have.

 

Born Divine

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The study of wisdom literature is not to look for facts but meaning. This talk by UPR President Dr. Obadiah Harris discusses the archetypes on which the birth of Jesus is constructed and identifies the meaning of every birth.
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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):

  • This upcoming quarter we will be offering access to lectures for one of our courses: REL 241 – Introduction to Indic Wisdom Literature 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) 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

 

 

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