Globalization and Planetary Initiation

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Back to 2007 seminar, Science and Meaning
Here are the first two seminars in the series on Jung and Western Civilization. They were given at the Pierian Spring Academy, Sarasota, Winter 2004 and 2005.

This is an on-going seminar series on gene-culture co-evolution, an interdisciplinary study of human nature combining neuroscience, psychology, anthropology, genetics, and ecology. Each of the first three seminars offers specific aspects of our global cultural transformation and may be taken without having taken the preceding seminars; the fourth, "The March of Folly" is however only open to those who've taken one of the other three seminars. For your information, the last syllabus follows the week-by-week syllabus of the 2007 twelve-week session of "Science and Meaning." All are based on the following hypothesis:

Globalization is a planetary initiation for our species to make a qualitative leap in evolutionary consciousness. Persecuted underground by the Inquisition, Western esoteric tradition nonetheless can be understood as the symbolic language of a mutation that the brain acquired 100,000 years ago -- the neocortex. To make this leap to truly human values, we must integrate the meaning of Science with that of our traditions thus using both cognitive modes of our bicameral brain to comprehend this new stage in human evolution.

Planetary Initiation: the Introvert's Worldview of Globalization

This is the week-by-week syllabus for the second yearly seminar of January 7, to March 25, 2005. Please see below for the syllabus of the first seminar, given Jan--March, 2004.

"Planetary Initiation" approaches Globalization from the esoteric or "introverted" point of view of the effects of global cultural change on self-actualizing people and delves into the experiential spiritual exercises of East and West, using Jungian Psychology as a cultural framework for Western understanding. C. G. Jung discovered what he called "the missing link" between the Western Spiritual tradition and the world view of Science; it is the process of human development across the lifespan, an unfolding of archetypal consciousness that Jung called "Individuation." It was passed into common culture by one of his American analysands who codified his psychology into the Twelve Steps.

The five-or-so generations alive today are living through a passage between two worlds. We see the change in the environment, we know the difference in our culture, we understand the clash between terrorism and globalization, but how do we take the opportunity and the risk to do what needs to be done -- as well as what we were born to do? Today's "Senior generation" is pioneering a new form of retirement in which we create the work of our life purpose -- to address this 21st-century reality.

This seminar is the esoteric side of the seminar on Globalization, which was offered at the Pierian Spring Academy, January through March 2004, and at the Senior Academy, USF, in the Fall of 2002. (For the syllabus of the Globalization course, please see below).

Syllabus

Planetary Initiation: Global Culture Shock and Conscious Aging
a seminar on Jung and Western Civilization

is offered at the Pierian Spring Academy winter session 2005, Jan. 7, -- March 25, 2005, Friday, 11:30 a.m.--1:30 p.m.

Please order Andrew Kimbrell's tape on "Technology and the Sacred." I'll look for a link for you to order it directly from the E. F. Schumacher Society or from Kimbrell's own web site and post it here, ASAP. No reading is actually required, only suggested, but please watch Bill Moyers' Now on PBS Friday evening, to stay current with globalization topics.

For those of you who have not taken the "extraverted" or "objective" half of this course, "Globalization -- Living in the stillpoint of the Cultural Cyclone," I would heartily recommend you read any or all of E. F. Schumacher:

Small is Beautiful
and/or Good Work
and/or A Guide for the Perplexed.

As a point of departure for this sequel seminar, please read: "Democracy in the Balance: How do we nurture the healing side of religion over the killing side? How do we protect the soul of democracy against bad theology in service of an imperial state?" copyright 2004 by Bill Moyers, keynote address before Call to Renewal Pentecost 2004 conference, Washington, D.C. Mr. Moyers needs no introduction as a journalist, but you may not know that he is M. Div. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. This article and the introduction by Karen Armstrong to Battle for God, are "must read" to engage creatively in this seminar! If the article is no longer posted on the Sojourners Faith, Politics, Culture web site given above, then it is available here as fair use for educational purposes.

Summary of the course: In the first of the three months of this seminar we start with the process of Jungian individuation, using archetypal myths and symbols to understand Western Civilization; in the second month, we discuss Kundalini Yoga to understand the seven stages of ego development in the lifespan; and in the third, we end with Buddhist mindfulness meditation and techniques from modern psychology to address Westerners' prolonged adaptive stress response to our times.

  • the transition between two world-views in Western Civilization, the traditional and the technological, is occuring within people and their cultures simultaneously
  • whereas Globalization is the outer world conflict between the fundamentalist world-view and the world-view representing Science, Humanism, and Liberal socio-economic policy, the human species as a whole is acquiring a new mutation in consciousness from the inner world point-of-view of the individual
  • the traditional wisdom of Earthian cultures holds archetypal meaning that speaks in a forgotten language to the common experience of this mutation, which has been happening since the brain acquired its present neurological capacity 100,000 years ago
  • Global Thinking for meaning, values, purpose, and creative fulfillment within a world-view that has been narrowly focused on the economic function of society requires a translation of this traditional language of our cultural beliefs to comprehend the meaning of a new stage in human evolution
  • the cyclone of meaning and values due to Globalization is an actual transformation to a new energy level of common consciousness, a "Planetary Initiation," defined by the masters of the major religious traditions and world literature, as well as by the hidden meaning of the vast new knowledge of Science.

 

Technology and the Sacred

Weeks 1 & 2 -- January 7, 14, 2005:

Suggested Reading:

E. M. W. Tillyard, The Great Chain of Being (this is a very short but essential book). Participants in the first half of the seminar, "Globalization," could not find this book in stores, but it may be in university libraries. Although all reading is suggested only, and you may attend the seminar without doing any, to be able to understand so that you may fully participate, I am giving essential reading suggestions. For the first session, then, please try to have read at least the prologue and first few chapters from Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God, Ballentine Books paperback.

  • Goal 1: To examine deeply the transition between two world-views in Western Civilization that Science has precipitated through technology, as well as the phenomenon that Armstrong describes, the resurgence at the end of the Twentieth Century of a fundamentalist and literal interpretation of the mythos (Greek for 'meaning') of traditional religion
  • Goal 2: To draw the parallel between this deep division in our outer world and the deep division in the inner world of the individual who is making this "qualitative leap" in awareness during one's life span

Discussion Topic: "The Great Chain of Being" was the common Western World View during the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, which served as a pre-disposition for what one author (Daniel C. Dennett) has called "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" (an excellent book to understand our present economic religion, by the way! Touchstone Books, publishers). Far from being a radical discontinuity, the theory of evolution is a fundamentally materialist world view that has always and everywhere been the "grain of sand in the oyster" from which the pearl of spirituality is made.

The human soul is torn between materialism and spirituality, and the meaning of religion (from the Latin religio) is to 'tie together' the inner world with the outer world; Yoga has the same meaning. As Armstrong points out, the ritual and ceremony of religious mythos is to cultivate the intuition and generate the consciousness of mystical vision.

What is the physiological connection between the brain and the ecstatic vision of Mysticism? Is there a physiological process of development in our consciousness that unfolds during our life span?

If you do not have time to read any of these books, please review the second half of my web page on Individuation, starting at, "Did you do the work you were born to do?" and also please read "discussion by the artist" of my "Triptych on Western Civilization."

 

Individuation: Wisdom in Aging

Weeks 3 & 4 -- January 21, 28, 2005:

C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections -- this is Jung's autobiography as told to Aniela Jaffe, who edited the material into this volume published in Princeton's Bollingen series of the complete works of Jung.

Whereas to get the most from this course, this too is essential reading, the following is only supplementary:
Modern Man in Search of a Soul

and/or The Transcendent Function (this is in Vol. 8, on Analytical Psychology and Religion

and/or Symbols of Transformation

  • Goal 3: Is there a physiological unfolding of the genetic encoding across the lifespan and what would be the implications of this new knowledge of genetics for the archetypal language of religion? Note, too, that those of you who are taking Robert Kelly's course at Pierian Spring, on the new science of Genetics, will find that Jung's archetypal theory is an amplification of the scientific concept of the "meme."
  • Goal 4: Can the "genetic code" give us the key to unfolding a conscious aging -- a kind of "soul's code"?

The Hero's Journey and the Mystic's Journey: Extraversion and Introversion

Discussion Topic: Jung made a strange discovery when an old manuscript on Alchemy fell into his hands: it seemed to give him the Western "symbols of transformation" he had seen his schizophrenic patients use in the Burgholzli Clinic of the University of Zurich. He called Alchemy "the missing link" between early Judeo-Christian tradition and modern psychology in Western Civilization.

Our scientific knowledge of the Universe has changed our former image of God as a man extrapolated into infinite power. And so we are turning toward our own creations and abdicating our place in the Great Chain of Being. Perhaps we are in love with the artificial intelligence of computers because it is a human creation and we are incapable of pondering the deep questions of the mystery of life and death. We ponder instead the new mythology of our creative artists, like Spielberg and Kubrick, which poses the questions we cannot answer for ourselves concerning the essence of our being projected onto the artificial intelligence we have created.

 

Finding Answers

Weeks 5 & 6 -- February 4, and 11, 2005:

Sylvia Nasar, A Beautiful Mind

  • Goal 5: by examining the "broken heart/mind" of a mathematical genius, Nobel laureate John Nash, can we translate the "symbols of transformation" of his life into a new Western Yoga?
  • Goal 6: To develop the capacity to understand complex issues and theoretical constructs in a simplified progression of "the Seven Stages" of ego development through the life span, corresponding to the seven "chakras" or endocrine gland system, as perceived through the mythos of Eastern Yoga.

Discussion Topic: The "Twelve Steps" have translated into modern terms the individuation process Jung rediscovered from Western Alchemy -- an "Imitation of Christ" hidden in esoteric symbols to escape persecution for heresy. We have also seen that we have abandoned the subjective cognitive function of the bicameral brain (as explained by Karen Armstrong in the first chapter of her book, The Battle for God), which is the formal inner knowing the Greeks called gnosis, to pursue the objective cognitive function of measurement in science and technology.

In these two seminar sessions, we carefully go through John Nash's biography, explaining his "breakdown" into "madness" as the intellectually precocious, but emotionally retarded, genius of a Thinking/Intuition cognitive type. We take an in-depth look at the teachings of Yoga, Buddhism, and Sufism in order to re-interpret the Odyssey of the Western mind.

 

Beyond Recovery -- Resurrection

Weeks 7 & 8 -- Febuary 18, 25, 2005:

  • Goal 7: Can we view world events as a kind of Initiation Process teaching us through all four cognitive functions and two attitudes (the bicameral brain) the union (yoga) of mythos and logos or of gnosis and science?
  • Goal 8: "What we do not integrate from the unconscious," Jung said, "casts itself outward as our fate." How does the modern mind do this?
Reading: Here is an interview from Democracy Now (introduced and linked to in this document), "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man," by John Perkins, who worked closely with the World Bank for twenty years to advance the economic interests of the US in the Third World, in a way that he saw completely differently after 9/11.

Discussion Topic: The "social objective" of our "collective consciousness," that is, our dominant culture and world view, is addiction to consumption -- the greatest treasure of goods ever produced. This one-sided glorification of the "sensate function" is creating addiction on all levels, physical/spiritual, emotional/mental.

We know the love affair that our country has with technology and its consumer goods has caused us to jilt the great tradition of Western Civilization. The first historian to record facts without psychological myth as parable to transmit meaning, Thucydides, warned future generations that the great civilization of Ancient Greece declined and fell in the short space of three generations because education became apprenticeship to the power structure of society.

What is the process of recovery, restoration, and redemption that leads to resurrection?

By now we should be having "free-for-all" open discussion!

 

Buddhist Mindfulness: Danger and Opportunity

Weeks 9 & 10, March 4, & March 11, 2005:

  • Goal 9: To use physiological and mental exercises to release the mind into a sheerness that allows the soul to come forward and reclaim our life purpose -- the reason we were born. To redeem Global Thinking to generate meaning, values, purpose, and creative fulfillment in a world-view that has been narrowly focused on the economic function of society
  • Goal 10: Learning to use the "Serpent Power" of Kundalini Yoga.

Reading: Here is an article, you may read here under the "Fair Use" law for education: "Meditation May Bolster Brain Activity," by Jennifer Warren

Discussion Topic: The key, here, is not to think always about oneself, but to understand the function of "ego" as a conveyance in this world. I think that Westerners too often cannot step outside the center of the Universe at which the Self seems (I emphasize that word as it seems so to each of us) to be placed. As a consequence, we are a pathologically narcissistic society.

Eastern spirituality (Yoga) teaches the techniques, disciplining the mind through concentrating and meditating, to bring the flow of thinking to a halt so that the mind becomes sheer and transparent. Then we are able to lose the Self-centeredness and be in the universal Presence, the eternal now. It is this sheerness of mind that allows the intuition to take root in the Eternal Presence. When we can be there consistently (at least when not out in the world), all life is prayer -- not in the sense of a judging God looking over our shoulder -- but being in phase with the energy of creativity and healing. Note, too, that those of you who are taking Joan Enoch's course at Pierian Spring, on Consciousness and Healing, will find this theory is an amplification of the science of immunology. The sheerness of the Self allows you to see beyond your ego desires and needs in order to do this.

 

Initiation: The Alignment of Personal and Cosmic Consciousness

Week 11 & 12, March 18, 25, 2005:

  • Goal 11: Initiation and the "changing image of God/dess"
  • Goal 12: Rereading the history of Western Civilization in terms of Individuation and the genetic unfolding, personal and social, toward the One, the Intelligent, Loving Universe

Discussion: Using both introversion and extraversion to "re-cognize" the "world" as the psychic stuff of our collective consciousness (and unconscious).

Here is a memorial to one of my great spiritual teachers, Pir Vilayat Inahat Khan, Sufi Order of the West.

The following is the SYLLABUS for the first half of this course, the "extraverted" or "objective" view of Globalization:

The Stillpoint of the Global Cultural Cyclone

was offered at the Pierian Spring Academy winter session 2004, and the fall session 2002, of the Senior Academy, New College.

Nobel Laureate Physicist, Murray Gell Mann, believes that what is needed now is "Global Thinking," to understand the interactions of our social systems that are spontaneously forming a new global culture. We will use this kind of thinking to sweep the horizon to synthesize meaning and values from the clash of two cultural fronts: Science/Technology and Humanities/Tradition.

We are the generations pioneering the global culture that will be affecting many generations to come. As C. G. Jung said: "What we do not integrate from the Unconscious casts itself outward as our fate."

  • the transition between two world-views in Western Civilization, at the time of the founding of the United States, between agrarian and industrial economies that expressed violently in this country as a Civil War
  • the parallel in the deep division within our country preceding the National Tragedy, between the fundamentalist world-view and the world-view representing Science, Humanism, and Liberal socio-economic policy
  • the present shift to Information Technology and its economic and psychological impact upon populations, policy, culture, and environment.
  • Global Thinking for meaning, values, purpose, and creative fulfillment in a world-view that has been narrowly focused on the economic function of society
  • the slow death in the last generation of our great Western tradition as education has become apprenticeship to the economy and the responsibility of all citizens to claim this heritage as the foundation of democracy
  • the vision of American democracy as community action for a single economic class of normal "bell-shaped curve" distribution of income instead of the present two-class, "hourglass-shaped curves" distribution, which creates aristocracy from oligarchy.

 

Wisdom and Technology

Weeks 1 & 2 -- January 4, 11, 2004:

Suggested Reading:

E. M. W. Tillyard, The Great Chain of Being (this is a very short but essential book)

Any writings of Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and of the Founding Mothers' letters to them

Please order Andrew Kimbrell's tape on "Technology and the Sacred." No reading is actually required, only suggested, but please watch Bill Moyers' Now on PBS Friday evening to discuss globalization topics.
  • Goal 1: To examine deeply the transition between two world-views in Western Civilization at the time of the founding of the United States, the transition between agrarian and industrial economies, expressed violently in this country as a Civil War
  • Goal 2: To draw the parallel between the deep division in our country preceding the National Tragedy, between the fundamentalist world-view and the world-view representing Science, Humanism, and Liberal socio-economic policy

Discussion Topic: Like the Founding Parents at the time of the birth of the United States, we are living during a new technological revolution. The country, however, is a mature society. What is a mature society and what does this mean for the impact of this second technological revolution on our lives, culture, social and economic policy, and on the environment?

Are we reinventing philosophical arguments of the Founding Parents that were more eloquently expressed in their letters and documents and more deeply embedded in the long tradition of Western Civilization? Have we thrown the baby out with the bathwater in embracing a new technology and abandoning the Wisdom of Western Civilization?

 

Wisdom in Aging

Weeks 3 & 4 -- January 19, 25, 2004:

C. G. Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul

and/or The Transcendent Function

and/or (his autobiography) Memories, Dreams, Reflections

E. F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful

and/or Good Work

and/or A Guide for the Perplexed.

  • Goal 3: To assess the present shift to Information Technology. and its economic and psychological impact upon populations, policy, culture and environment.
  • To evaluate the effects of economically reallocated "human resources" for culture shock.and to know the differences and the boundary between the two work functions:

for community and civilized way-of-life as opposed to abundance of consumer goods

Discussion Topic: Our scientific knowledge of the Universe has changed our former image of God as a man extrapolated into infinite power. And so we are turning toward our own creations and abdicating our place in the Great Chain of Being. Perhaps we are in love with the artificial intelligence of computers because it is a human creation and we are incapable of pondering the deep questions of the mystery of life and death. We ponder instead the new mythology of our creative artists, like Spielberg and Kubrick, which poses the questions we cannot answer for ourselves concerning the essence of our being projected onto the artificial intelligence we have created.

 

Finding Answers

Weeks 5 & 6 -- January 18, 25, and February 1, and 8, 2004:

Peter de Rosa, Sex and Death: the Crisis in Christian Ethics

  • Goal 3 (cont.): To assess the present shift to Information Technology. and its economic and psychological impact upon populations, policy, culture and environment. To evaluate the effects of economically reallocated "human resources" for culture shock.and to know the differences and the boundary between the two work functions for community and civilized way-of-life and for abundance of consumer goods
  • Goal 4: To develop the capacity to understand complex issues and theoretical constructs in this Age of Confusion

Discussion Topic: The reason we have no answers is that we have abandoned the cognitive function of the bicameral brain, which is the formal inner knowing the Greeks called gnosis, to pursue the cognitive function of measurement in science and technology. The language of Western wisdom is atrophying and we are instead using the new language of our machines to express the two-dimensional language of the non-conceptual and material world of products.

 

Bringing them to the Generations following us

Weeks 7 & 8 -- Febuary 15, 22, 2004:

Gerald Heard, Pain, Sex, and Time

  • Goal 5: To become aware of the slow death in the last generation of our great Western tradition as education has become apprenticeship to the economy and to pursue the question of responsibility of all citizens to claim this heritage as the foundation of democracy

Discussion Topic: We know the love affair that our country has with technology has caused us to jilt the great tradition of Western Civilization. The first historian to record facts without psychological myth as parable to transmit meaning, Thucydides, warned future generations that the great civilization of Ancient Greece declined and fell in the short space of three generations because education became apprenticeship to the power structure of society.

By now we should be having "free-for-all" open discussion!

 

Danger and Opportunity

Weeks 9 & 10, March 1, & March 8, 2004:

Margaret Wheatley, The Self-Organizing Universe in Business

  • Goal 6: To use Global Thinking to generate meaning, values, purpose, and creative fulfillment in a world-view that has been narrowly focused on the economic function of society

 

The Rising Tide of Cosmic Consciousness

Week 11 & 12, March 15, 22, 2004:

Herbert Schiller, The Corporation and the Production of Culture

  • Goal 7: to see the forest for the trees and express the vision of American democracy in community action by restoring the single or middle-class society.