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 in conjunction with the series. A selection of our faculty will be presenting in a webinar format, 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


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 Man”

With Pierre Grimes, Ph.D.

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


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”

Saturday, March 11th, 2017:

“The Soul’s Journey”

With Richard Geldard, Ph.D.

Webinar (Online only)10:30am-12:00pm Pacific-Time


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:

 “Consciousness and Crop Circle Manifestations in the Fields: Exploring Entanglement & Telepathy

With Shawn Randall, M.A.

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


A vast consciousness field of multidimensional awareness and mystical cocreation is slowly coming into being globally; and crop circles are a part of it. Crop circles are designs imprinted (swirled flat to the ground) in fields and appearing for decades now. First primarily in England, they now have appeared in over 70 countries worldwide. The majority of crop formations originate from an unknown intelligence of great magnitude.

We can see with our own eyes that specific crop circles are  demonstrating human telepathy with the nonhuman intelligence many call the Circlemakers. This lecture will highlight several documented cases of human telepathic entanglement with the Circlemakers.

How does this happen? What does this mean? What is this indicating about the evolution of human consciousness?

Shawn Randall, M.A.  is a metaphysical author and teacher of personal and spiritual development who has been experiencing the crop circles since 1992. Her Masters Thesis “Crop Circles: Opening a Non-local window and Evolving consciousness” explores her extensive research into the phenomenon. She is a student of the interactive nature of the crop circle phenomenon pertaining to human consciousness and its relationship to transcendent realms. As a full trance channel and channeling teacher for 3 decades she finds common ground in these arenas of interconnected transpersonal consciousness.

Saturday, May 13th, 2017:

“Rebirth, Reincarnation & Transmigration: An Overview”

With James Santucci, Ph.D.

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


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.

Webinar (Online only)10:30am-12:00pm Pacific-Time

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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 the Age of Irony

With Greg Salyer, Ph.D.

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

After September 11, 2001, some commentators claimed that it was the “end of irony.” Little did we know it was in fact the beginning of a resurgence of irony through “hyperreality,” satire, and parody. In this presentation Professor Salyer explores the history of meaning-making from the ancient world to the present and shows how irony is always at the center of our efforts to understand the world and ourselves.

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 Dean of Students at 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.

Webinar (Online only)10:30am-12:00pm Pacific-Time


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


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.


  • 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.



MLA Style Guide


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.



A Letter From the Dean




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.


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



The Road Before You


A onetime protégé to Science of Mind founder Ernest Holmes, Obadiah Harris has lived a life deeply interwoven with the history of New Thought. An accomplished university administrator and now president of the University of Philosophical Research, Dr. Harris is a living link between the Pentecostal tradition of his youth and Science of Mind, which he learned directly from Ernest Holmes. Here we present Mitch Horowitz’s historical introduction to Dr. Harris’s recent book, The Simple Road, in which Mitch highlights several intriguing aspects of New Thought history.  


The book you are about to read could save your life. That is not some maudlin claim. I know it as fact – because it helped save mine.

Its author, Obadiah Harris, a university administrator, scholar of religion, and lifelong seeker, says little about himself. He makes hardly a personal reference throughout this book. So, before getting into what you will discover in this work – and defending the claim I make above – I will say something about the man behind it. Understanding the author and his background will illuminate how he reached his conclusions, and what they may hold for you…

See the full article here.


Finding a Working Philosophy

Writing in a private journal over seventy years ago, the literary critic Alfred Kazin said, “More and more, it is clear to me that what I suffer from is the lack of a working philosophy, of a strong central belief, of something outside to which my ‘self’ can hold and, for once, forget its ‘self.’”

Most people probably don’t ever approach the idea of finding a “working” philosophy, or for that matter a philosophy of any kind. Satisfied with the “self” that guides their thoughts and actions, they glide (or not) through life oblivious of the need or desire to know more about the nature of the life they are living. But at some point they may encounter a moment, a crisis, a serious bump in the road and ask, “Who am I? What am I to do with this life? Why am I here? At this point, like Kazin, we might start looking for what he called a working philosophy, a set of propositions, of questions and possible answers to those questions. What is interesting about what Kazin penned those many years ago is the complexity of the notion of finding something that the “self can hold…and then…forget its self.” That last thought is more complex than just grabbing hold of a philosophy and holding on to it like a life raft.

What can he mean by forgetting his self? One answer is to be found in the Perennial Philosophy, that thin thread of wisdom traditions that began when the first human beings discovered the very idea of a self, a personal identity that said, “I exist. I am an individual person, not like others, and I can think things, and I can choose what I do.” It is at this point that selfconsciousness is born, and that birth often results in a divided self, an inner and outer persona and was what Kazin was asking not to suffer from with its feelings of separation and conflict.

That sense of separation is often called the Fall of Man and is what traditional religions offer as relief through faith, devotions and feelings of safety from conflict. But sometimes these traditions may not satisfy or provide relief from what in Kazin’s time was called an existential crisis.

A true working philosophy is one which can be practiced, not just studied. It can be put to work for us and provide a sense of unity and clarity. It addresses our longings and crises, and the only allegiance it demands is consistent attention. The Wisdom Traditions here at UPR offer an opportunity for students to find a working philosophy through the study of a history of the human effort to find a personal set of values and examples of how some human beings have found a path that is life-enhancing.

The traditions are Eastern and Western, culturally diverse and intellectually stimulating. They address the physical, mental and spiritual nature of human existence in an expansive cosmos of great mystery and wonder, while at the same time providing the opportunity to acquire undergraduate and graduate degrees. And this year, with the support and coordination of our national accreditation partner, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) we are beginning work on a Doctoral program with a primary focus on the Wisdom Traditions within our dual programs of Consciousness Studies and Transformative Psychology.

Professor Richard Geldard, Consciousness 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)

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.  


Why Science Fiction?


Why Science Fiction?

by Mary-John Hart, instructor of
The Transcendent in Science Fiction

For the past 75 years, give or take a few, we humans have been experiencing radical change in ourselves, in the human-created realm, and in the life-world. This transformation has been occurring on both the macro and micro scales and has taken place from approximately 1950 to 2016. It is a product of exponential change in science and technology. The ripple effect caused by those developments is transforming how we are human in the world, how we imagine ourselves in the future, and how we understand our planet without which we cannot survive.

During this time, and as a reflection of this transformation, science fiction has evolved from a cult or fringe or pulp phenomenon to a powerful and dominant cultural force worldwide – witness the extraordinary response to the arrival of the latest “Star Wars” movie, which has shattered all previous box office records regardless of genre.

Just so far this century we have seen such films as “Artificial Intelligence” (2001), “Minority Report” (2002), “The Matrix Reloaded” (2003), “I, Robot” (2004), “Serenity” (2005), “Children of Men” (2006), “V for Vendetta” (2006), “The Man From Earth” (2007), “Wall-E” and “Hancock” (2008), “Star Trek,” “Avatar,” and “District 9” (2009), “Beyond the Black Rainbow” (2010), “Super 8” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), “Prometheus” and “The Hunger Games” (2012), “Gravity,” “Snowpiercer,” “Star Trek into Darkness,” and “Elysium” (2013), “Edge of Tomorrow, “Interstellar,” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (2014), “Ex Machina” and “The Martian” (2015). That’s just a sampling of what’s emerged so far. There is now even a cable TV station that deals exclusively with science fiction. Who knows what fan demand and genius will produce in the very near future?

This growth in the influence of and demand for ever more inventive and thrilling kinds of science fiction brings to mind questions for those of us who would study such things as soul and purpose and deep-meaning and God-by-many-names-and-in-many- forms. What are the implications for human life of this transformation with its intensifying acceleration? What is science fiction really about – as if any one person could answer a question about a field that is now so vast and multi-layered that no one person or institution or course or group of courses could possibly embrace it. Is science fiction about the past, the present, or the future?

Author, N.K. Jemisin is quoted in “Wired” magazine, November 2015 (“War of the Words”, a highly recommended article): “Science fiction is not actually the literature of the future. It’s the literature of the present.” And, I would add, the “present is merely the most recent past. The article points to a pivotal issue that is quite heated in human culture at this time and has to do with what’s going on in gaming and technology between males and females and in science fiction between those who include in their work gender and societal issues (the so-called politically correct) and those who have no use or patience for such “correctness.” This debate is now also reflected in our current presidential election and concerns, at bottom, the past being absorbed into the present (or future). To conclude, science fiction is a place where our questions (however deep or shallow) concerning what it is to be human in what kind of brave new world can be asked though certainly not fully or permanently answered.

Mary-John Hart has her Ph.D. in Depth Psychology on the role of the image. She also has graduate work and teaching and administration experience in drama, and is an award winning science fiction writer, famous in her pesudonym Mary Staton for her book The Legend of Biel. In this course, she shares her depth psychological understanding of the structures of science fiction through the use of her own novel as an illustration.

Christian Mysticism: A Talk by Obadiah Harris


Our Christmas talk for this year reflects the history of the Christian Mysticism and its manifestation through a variety of outstanding seers throughout the ages. Traditionally they have been prosecuted and misunderstood. It is only after their lifetime are they genuinely appreciated. This would be a good time to reveal their lives and their teachings as well as other mystics, and to see if we can emulate their life and come to a deeper understanding of their teaching.

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. 

Winter Quarter Begins January 25th

In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer…. ~Albert Camus

With the days getting shorter and the nights colder, we are all beginning to feel winter creeping in. As we begin to wrap up 2015 we also begin to plan for the year to come. What new wisdom might it have in store for us? Where could such knowledge lead us? During this potent time, UPR wishes to invite you to join us this Winter Quarter on a one-of-a-kind educational journey.
This upcoming quarter we will be offering access to lectures for one of our undergraduate courses: REL 241 – Introduction to Indic Wisdom Literature on a non-credit basis free of cost. For more information on our undergraduate program and additional enrollment options, please visit the following link.
UPR's Winter Enrollment Deadline is Monday, January 11th, two weeks before the quarter is scheduled to begin on January 25th. If you have been thinking of enrolling into any of our programs or taking single courses, now is the time to contact us for more information and to begin your application process. Our offices are open M-F 10am-4pm Pacific time. Give us a call during these hours at 323.663.2167 or email us at info@uprs.edu and a university representative will be happy to assist you.


Here's what we're offering:

B.A. Courses

PHI 202 – Foundations of Greek Philosophy 
PSY 202 – Attention Mechanics
CUL 251 – The Transcendent in Science Fiction
REL 241 – Introduction to Indic Wisdom Literature*

*Offered this upcoming quarter on a non-credit basis free of cost. 

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: /undergraduate-academics/

The Power of Thanksgiving


The Power of Thanksgiving

On November 26th the people of our state and nation will join in celebrating a unique national holiday. One which is different from all others in dedication and in what it commemorates.

Except for the Thanksgiving holiday, all of our other national holidays are of a secular or temporal nature. New years day is an event of the calendar, July 4th memorializes our political independence, but Thanksgiving day alone is what might be called God's holiday for on that day only of all the holidays we render thanks to the Divine Spirit for the blessings that we enjoy.

In accordance with the Thanksgiving Day Proclamation issued by every president since George Washington, as President of the University of Philosophical Research and the Philosophical Research Society, and on behalf of its Board of Trustees and members and friends, I hereby tender our thanks to the Supreme Divine.

With that in mind let us look upon this coming sacred holiday and the power of thanksgiving in a new and deeper way. One which we hope will open the way to much to be thankful for in the years ahead.

Jesus said, “I thank thee O Father Lord in heaven and earth that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and has revealed them unto babes.” Let us look for that revelation and in doing so may we be as Paul who said, “Rejoice in the Lord always, have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication and with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God and the peace that passes all understanding will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.”

This Thanksgiving will be a far cry from that which the Wampanoag people and the colonists celebrated many years ago on the rock bound coasts of New England.

They did not feast on that first holiday in the midst of safety and comfort but in peril and hardship they offered thanks. At such a moment of drastic change and unfamiliarity, the Wampanoag people shared their resources and intuitive knowledge of the land with these early colonists. They possessed a knowledge that perceives God in all things and events and understands them as part of the Divine purpose. A knowledge that receives all happenings with love and joy and without rebellion as coming from God. And that in purity of deed all of its work and all that it has to do as an offering to God.

As religious dissenters, the colonists had undergone persecution in the old world and had come to the new determined to continue at all cost toward the spiritual goal they had set for themselves. In them, I believe, was a sense of selfless devotion to a great truth of the spirit, inner strength, and perseverance. Fundamental in their motivation was the guiding impulse of mankind, that impels him forward toward ever free and higher spiritual unfoldment and perfection. Not denying old and eternal truths but realizing them to an even larger extent in their lives and in world nature.

This was the rise of a great nation on the North American continent destined to lead humanity so that all human kind may enjoy the same free unfoldment of the spirit and may have all material blessings necessary to the wellbeing of the human race and the peace of the world.

If we are to be wise and provident and learn from the story of these early Americans, we too must have as they did a selfless devotion to an even greater truth of spirit and even greater reliance on the power of thanksgiving. If we can do this it will lead us not only to a free nation but to something yet greater, to a free world and a happy mankind. That new devotion which we should undertake today should not be for ourselves, but for all of human kind. Its purpose should be to carry out the divine will in the world. To bring about a spiritual transformation and to receive into our lives and into that of humanity a divine nature.

It is not for spiritual bliss alone, but for the realization of the kingdom of heaven on earth. The ideal that is closest to the heart of all peoples, the aim of the Messianic era of the Hebrews, the Divine Anunda, or Golden era of the Hindus. No mere external rearrangements alone, whether political, social or religious can bring this about, the change must be inner.

The state of the world will not change until human nature changes, until that rebirth occurs, until man becomes not an instrument of his ego but a realized soul. Not as some supernatural after death expectation, but as a spiritual fulfillment of the natural realm. In that great day all will have cause to be thankful for each man will then see himself in the selves of others and then in his own self and the Divine in all. This spiritually reborn man will have a greater knowledge, sympathy, power and self effectuation of the Divine Truth. He will be aware of and identified with the inner being of all men.

As man evolves towards spiritual liberation and identity with all others, he evolves toward spiritual oneness and the unity and harmony of mankind. It is this way that the change in human nature will come about. In this there will be reconciliation of all differences. The true equality in which all are children of God, an end to the clashes of the individual and communal egoism and abolishing of any imposition on the spirit, mind, or body.

And in its place the outstretched hand of love. Not by might nor power but by my spirit saith the Lord, not by the material armor of science, but by the spiritual armor of love shall we enter the joy of a new thanksgiving for all people. As Paul the apostle to the gentiles let us be the apostle to all men so that this thanksgiving may come into their lives. This is the thanksgiving and the table of that feast, the feast of the spirit spoken in the 23rd Psalm, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies, my cup runneth over surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Today, when we look upon humanity we see suffering, ignorant humanity torn apart by racial and religious barriers. We see materialistic nations, worshipping at the altars of science. We see wars and hear rumors of wars even to the annihilation of mankind. But when we look up, we see light breaking in the east, the dawning of a new day, and in the rosy hue of that new horizon, we see the form of a new kind of individual. Transformed perfected, clothed in a light from heaven, and deep in the silence of our souls we hear a voice saying, my dearly beloved, that person is you, the whole of human kind, transformed lifted up, made new. Let us look up and give thanksgiving for our redemption draws near.



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.