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Globalization (2004 seminar) and Planetary Initiation (2005 seminar) Syllabi.

Below the syllabus for the 2007 seminar, you will find that for the 2006 seminar, "Science and Meaning" for the ideas which the 2007 seminar applies to justice and health as the creative power of civilization and individual citizens.

2007 Seminar -- What Ever's Happening to US ?
Justice, Science, Art, and Health in a House Divided

-- please register at the web site of the Pierian Spring Academy, Sarasota, Winter 2007 Seminar meets on Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., beginning January 12, 2007.

2007 Seminar: "What Ever's Happening to US ?
Justice, Science, Art, and Health in a House Divided" is the fourth in the seminar series on gene-culture co-evolution, an interdisciplinary study of human nature and social order. We begin with Plato's Republic to conduct our dialogues on the State of the Union as it affects the health of civilization and of the individual citizen. Please see the film on the State of the Planet: Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," before the first seminar.

Each seminar offers specific aspects of our global cultural transformation and may be taken without having taken the preceding seminars. For your information, you can see the two syllabi from the seminars on Globalization and Planetary Initiation here. All four are based on the following hypothesis: Globalization is a planetary initiation for our species to make a qualitative leap in evolutionary consciousness. This kind of leap starts from a world splitting into opposites that contain both danger and opportunity, both elements of the Chinese glyph for their word "crisis." The cultural divide between our traditions and science is at the basis of Globalization. It is a false perception of the meaning of both, due to the nature of our own bicameral brain.

Edward Wilson challenges Western Civilization to overcome the split, which is endangering us – just as one of the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia is an inability to respond appropriately to danger – by asking the essential question in Consilience: the Unity of Knowledge:

There is only one way to unite the great branches of learning and end the culture wars. It is to view the boundary between the scientific and literary cultures not as a territorial line but as a broad and mostly unexplored terrain awaiting cooperative entry from both sides. . . What, in final analysis, joins the deep, mostly genetic history of the species as a whole to the more recent cultural histories of its far-flung societies?
[Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, Vintage books, 1999, p. 137] I highly recommend reading Chapter 3 of this book.

Recommended Readings appear throughout the following week-by-week dialogue descriptions. None are "assigned" but it would be certainly helpful to the discussion if you are interested in reading them. Our dialogues begin from "An Inconvenient Truth" -- the scientific analysis presented by Al Gore of the state of health of our planet. I also recommend the TV video series of the 1970s (if you can find it) "Meeting of Minds 1--4" The Television Scripts by Steve Allen (ISBN 550-4, ISBN 565-2, ISBN 566-0, ISBN 567-9 -- these are four volumes of scripts published by Prometheus Books). Check to see whether the Selby Library ordered it for their collection, as I requested.

What is certainly available currently at the PBS web site is "How Art Made the World," a series telecast in the summer of 2006. We will show a segment of one program on art and healing in the first meeting of our seminar. Another series, "Healing and the Mind," by Bill Moyers, is available on audio tapes (Doubleday production, ISBN 0-553-47134-1), ordered for this seminar at Sarasota News and Books, corner of Main Street and Palm Avenue, where you also receive a PSA discount.

Here are other books that can inform us of the cultural upheaval affecting public health in our time:

Plato’s Republic. Any edition you have available; I use Edith Hamilton’s.
The March of Folly : From Troy to Vietnam, Barbara W. Tuchman, 1984
American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century, Kevin Phillips, Viking, 2006
The Spiritual Universe: How Quantum Physics Proves the Existence of the Soul, Wolf, Fred Alan. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996 (0-684-81200-2). DDC: 128.
C. P. Snow, The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution, NY: Cambridge UP, 1959.
Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity, Stephen Toulmin, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1990.
Philosophy and Social Hope, Richard Rorty, NY: Penguin books, 1999.

For basic understanding of Economics, there is no better book than Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, by E. F. Schumacher.
The E. F. Schumacher Society in Great Barrington, MA 01230, has a tape of a lecture given there by Andrew Kimbrell, a DC attorney who argues environmental cases before the Supreme Court, "Technology and the Sacred." He refers to an essay in Henry Adams' biography on "The Virgin and the Dynamo," contrasting the symbols that evoked awe in the medieval mind to what we tritely call awesome to our modern mind. Here is the turning to the post-modern way that is at the heart of "the two cultures and the scientific revolution."

I also recommend keeping up with Scientific American articles on Neuroscience.

In discussing health, no seminar can be complete without the most essential role of food as our best medicine -- there is, of course, a book by that name. There are far too many books to mention here, and we must be aware of the choices we make in eating: The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, takes this approach to such fundamental awareness. I think of our first chakra -- the entire digestive tract from mouth to anus -- as the foundation of bodily health because health itself is an energy field and the quality of fuel to energize the body also heals it.

Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, has two books, Prescription for Nutritional Healing and Prescription for Herbal Healing, (the former has co-author James F. Balch, MD) Avery Books (Penguin Putnam), indispensable to take responsibility for your health maintenance.

Apparently, this report, (essential to the previous seminar topic, “Arts in Healthcare”) is unavailable to the public: “Creativity and Aging Study: The Impact of Professionally Conducted Cultural Programs on the Health of Older Adults” presented by Gene Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Center on Aging Health and Humanities, George Washington University, and Jeanne Kelly, Director, Levine School of Music.  See if you can find Gene Cohen, The Creative Age: Awakening Human Potential in the Second Half of Life.

For more information on the study, you may wish to visit and follow links from the NEA web page, http://www.nea.gov/resources/Accessibility/aa/present.html

The Essential Questions for the dialogues of this seminar concern the cultural upheaval, which is affecting public health, and effecting the rapid rise and fall of American Civilization in our lifetime.

Week 1 January 12, 2007: Why do civilizations rise and fall?

Dialogue: 

The Ancient Greeks believed that the health of the individual and the health of the State were actively reciprocal.  We would have to review much of ancient culture to understand if their meaning to the scientific world view could be translated as an energy field.  In order to build upon the seminar series, our point of departure is our understanding of “energy field” and “zeitgeist” from last year’s seminar on E. O. Wilson’s Consilience:  the Unity of Knowledge.  That is, we shall accept this Greek concept as axiomatic and test it with our premise that consciousness is energy and any psychology and/or neuroscience must follow the laws of the Physics of Light.

Discussion: “How Art Made the World” part I (Shamanic Healing and Cave Paintings)  – the PBS series telecast in June and July 2006. We will show a portion of the first episode showing the connection between the earliest cave paintings and shamanic visions of healing. and much of the PBS documentary on “Fractals”

Week 2: January 19:  American Civilization and the culture of “Public Relations” or Advertising and “Entertainment” (the principal sources of sustenance for artists)

Gibbon’s theory of the Arts as a mirror of the quality of civilization (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire).

The masters of the Roman world surrounded their throne with darkness, concealed their irresistible strength, and humbly professed themselves the accountable ministers of the senate, whose supreme decrees they dictated and obeyed. . . .  [They] disdained that pomp and ceremony that might offend their countrymen . . .  In all the offices of life they affected to confound themselves with their subjects, and maintained with them an equal intercourse of visits and entertainments. . . .

 

Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom. Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire[1]

Dialogue: 

  • What is quality?
  • What is healing?
  • What is a cure?
  • What is Art?
  • What is creativity?

“Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more seriously reflection concentrates upon them, the starry heaven above me, and the moral law within me. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

Parallel planes of “reality” – definition of terms:  is consciousness an artifact of matter (or vice versa) or are they inter-convertible?

  • How is it that reconciliation between Science and the Humanities is coming first in Medicine?
  • The history of what we now call “rational medicine” – simply cause-and-effect epidemiology and care – actually began in Ancient Greece. What was the art of medicine before the break that split our society in the Middle Ages?

If you can, please look over for Week 2 any of the following:

Chapter 7, Plato's Republic:  the dialogue on justice turns to economic organization as the lowest storey in the structure of civilization, which is the edifice to higher needs.  Luxury, it is proposed, entails unhealthy elements that cause society “morbid inflammation.”  For genuine culture to nourish the individual soul with what Epictetus centuries later defined as Happiness ("the full use of one's powers along lines of excellence in a life affording scope") then “luxurious excess,” Socrates says, “must be purged from the social body.”

You may prefer to read the preface and chapter 1 of Toulmin's Cosmopolis.  Interestingly, the Greek words for "world" and "state" are now being applied to our "world-class" cities, which give us "civilization."

Or perhaps you prefer to read the chapter on Vietnam from The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam, Barbara W. Tuchman, 1984

Or, simply, order Steve Allen's "Meeting of the Minds" 1979 television series featuring his "interview" with Plato and Socrates.

Week 3 – January 26, American Civilization – “A House Divided”

C. P. Snow, The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution, NY: Cambridge UP, 1959.

Discussion Topic: Last year’s seminar on Science and Meaning explored the body-mind split in Western Civilization, which became entrenched with the Enlightenment and which, as Wilson describes in his ground-breaking book, Consilience, is the cause of our present culture wars. [E. O. Wilson, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, Chapter 3, The Enlightenment]

Let's see if we can find this book and check it out for good science (by checking this author's credentials): Wolf, Fred Alan. The Spiritual Universe: How Quantum Physics Proves the Existence of the Soul. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996 (0-684-81200-2). DDC: 128.

 

The following paragraphs are a summary of the crucial discussion from last year’s seminar, which we apply this year to Western Medicine:

"The Ionian Enchantment" – the search for the unity of Knowledge is the heroic quest of the Western scientist since Thales of Miletus – a 6th century B.C. philosopher considered by Aristotle to be the founder of the physical sciences. Goethe summed up this quest of the Western Scientist in Faust, who sold his soul to the devil to understand the mystery joining consciousness to the body. Today, Science is describing it as an "emergent property" from the machinery of the body, like the "wetness" of water from the unique angular polarity of the bond between the two hydrogen and one oxygen atoms that compose it.

Wilson describes consciousness (Cs) as an emergent property (Consilience (pp. 94b—95m); life as machine (99b, 102— 3)

"Scientists have been charged with conquering cancer, genetic disease, and viral infection, all of which are cellular disorders, . . . " (101)

 

Question: what if our “cellular disorders” are due to our consciousness that “unlimited growth” is the foundation for our lifestyle?

 

In angry defiance of the success of science (but not in defiance of the consumption of its technological products!), "conservative" political extremists today want to teach evolution by design. If culture is a product of our genome, then this clash is also a product of human cognition.

Q: What can we understand from this gene-culture approach to science and meaning?

Q: What is the relation between science and the humanities, and how is it important for human welfare?

Week 4 – February 2: The relationship of work and health and creativity.

 E. F. Schumacher’s theory of Good Work; Nietzsche on the Apollonnian and Dyonisian cultures  

Dialogue Ideas:

The organic necessity of the human being should flow into spontaneous action
and spontaneous awareness, consciousness.  But the moment man became aware of himself he made a picture of himself, and began to live from that picture: that is, from without inwards. This is truly the reversal of life.   D.H. Lawrence

 

Definitions:

§         medicine of the science of healing and illness (e.g., gene regulation, artificial prosthetic transplants/implants) and Epidemiology: from infectious disease to degenerative disease – the world of Nature to the world of human dominance. and social issues from epidemiology) in relationship to the human condition 

§         medicine of “animism

§         medicine of energy

 

 

Weeks 5 and 6 – February 9 and Feb. 16:  The Mind and Bodily Health

 

§         Energy – Creativity and Healing power

§         The Arts and Their Interpretation as a Transformation Process in Healing

 

Dialogue Idea:  We will look into the work of Swiss pediatrician Susanne Bach, interpreting the art of children in oncology units.  

 

How does this fit with the scientific belief:  " . . . every mental process has a physical grounding and is consistent with the natural sciences." (Wilson, Consilience, p. 105)

 

Problems cannot be solved at the same level of consciousness that created them. Albert Einstein

 

Dialogue Idea:

As we saw in the documentary on Fractals, psychology and brain (neuro) science must be based in the physics of light/electromagnetism. We see the language of our body’s metabolic processes in symbolic imagery. This is the connection between healing and art – a language of symbols from which Hippocrates and his healing priesthood diagnosed illness and prescribed remedies.

 

Note, however, Wilson’s interpretation of the scientific world view of this phenomenon:

§          "language and its symbol-based product, culture …Intelligence and culture … the last of the four great steps in the overall history of life" (107 t,b)

§         description of brain (115, 117 patterns/meaning)

§         The capacity of remembrance by the manipulation of symbols is a transcendent achievement for an organic machine. It has authored all of culture."(121 b)

§         What is emotion? It is the modification of neural activity that animates and focuses mental activity." (123 m) Plato: movement is the essence of the soul.

Week 7 – February 23, 2007: From Genes to Culture

Discussion: We have defined making the Arts as imagery, language, music and ritual movement that bring emotion and cognition together into a creative leap in consciousness, which defines humanism. The Greeks called this process “mythos” and it is a cognitive function of the bicameral brain. It is the distinctly human part of the genetic code that separates our species from others.

 

Wilson makes the following observation, which does not take into account the body of work of C. G. Jung:

. . . two domains … the scientific and literary cultures … Apollonian law to Dionysian spirit, prose to poetry, left cortical hemisphere to right, the line between the two domains can be easily crossed back and forth, but no one knows how to translate the tongue of one into that of the other.”

 

In fact, C. G. Jung cracked the code of metaphorical language he called “archetypes” before the great advance in Genetics of the last five decades. He said that his psychology would one day be validated by Science, but few realize that it has been.  And so, Wilson continues from this erroneous statement to conclude the following, which is, in fact, the problem of the split culture of the West and, as such, manifests as collective schizophrenic behavior in social policy:

“ … the division between the two cultures is a perennial source of misunderstanding and conflict.

‘ This polarization is sheer loss to us all, ‘ wrote C. P. Snow in his defining 1959 essay The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. ‘ to us as people, and to our society. It is at the same time practical and intellectual and creative loss ‘.” (136—7) and on (137 m, b throughout 138, beginning)

 

Even though the World Health Organization has the mandate of the 191 members of the United Nations to address the health of humanity, eighty percent of the world’s population does not use western scientific medicine, but uses instead what we call “energy” or “animism/” The essential question raised by E. O. Wilson, which we are applying in this seminar to the art of medicine and the cultural health of civilization:

. . . human behavior is transmitted by culture. … question … how … interact ... across all societies to create the commonalities of human nature.

 The western scientific worldview of the rest of human culture, including our own non-scientific culture, is cited by Wilson; how people in pre-literate culture reason and have likely reasoned throughout evolutionary time. These qualities have been summarized by C. R. Hallpike in The Foundations of Primitive Thought, as follows:

 

intuitive and dogmatic, bound up with specific emotional relationships rather than physical causality, preoccupied with essences and metamorphosis, opaque to logical abstraction or arrays of the hypothetically possible, prone to use language for social interaction rather than as a conceptual tool, limited in quantification mostly to rough images of frequency and rarity, and inclined to view mind as stemming partly from the environment and able to project back out into it, so that words become entities with power unto themselves." (226 b)

 

Here is the central concept of this seminar and of the lecture I am giving Feb. 5:

 

The next step in the merging of Psychology and Neuroscience is to formulate the laws of consciousness according to the physics of light and energy.  Humanity is in the passage between two qualium levels, gathering energy to make the leap but falling back to a qualitatively different consciousness, a regression to an earlier stage in development, while giving off the energy of our brief enlightenment at the peak of the trajectory of a civilization.

Civilization after civilization has gathered the energy to make the leap imposed upon our species by the mutation of our brain – and has failed and fallen back, giving off its light in a brief flowering of culture.  As a species, we are caught in a maelstrom of cultural fronts, between the outer-world knowledge of scientific materialism and the inner world knowledge of atrophied cultural meanings, from which we must find the transcendent function of the Tao – the healing flow of the evolutionary life-force – the Way of all Nature.

When light is amplified by stimulated emission radiation we get the power of the  (LASER) – when wavelengths come into phase, aligning the peaks and the troughs, the energy is amplified.  When people come together in harmony, we can make a qualitative leap in consciousness beyond the power of awareness of any single individual – we can also dampen each other’s awareness – canceling out the peaks and troughs.  And worse, when the troughs are amplified, we can get mob rule.

This is the esoteric meaning of one of the axioms of Pythagoras, “the lesser never comprehends the greater.”   It applies to consciousness, as well as to quantities.      



 

 

Science and Meaning
Syllabus for the Winter 2006 Seminar

Science and Meaning: Jung and Western Civilization

Why do civilizations rise and fall? Why do we have a body/mind split in Western Civilization? Why is there a resurgence of fundamentalism opposing the scientific world view? Why is Globalization swinging between the extremes of Planetary Initiation of a civilization of abundance for a transnational world-class and Apocalypse for a global Third World? We continue to seek answers to these questions in this interdisciplinary series on Western Civilization from a Jungian perspective. Science and Meaning as two complementary ways of knowing will formulate the starting hypothesis for this year's seminar.

For the last five hundred years, Western Civilization has been in a developmental stage that parallels the five centuries before Christ. Our hypothesis is that during these two parallel periods, the social order of the West has struggled between two stages of cultural maturation represented by democratic republics and autocratic empires. This back and forth motion is a function of the collective energy – or life force – of the people who make up any society. The implications of this collective energy – as embedded in human consciousness through what we call "character" – will be interpreted in relation to the rise and fall of civilization. The physics of light and energy can inform us of how the internal laws work within the collective consciousness we call culture.

We will read Edward O. Wilson's Consilience, using the twelve chapters as the starting point, week-by-week, for our twelve sessions; we will also refer to selections from Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and Jacques Barzun's From Dawn to Decadence (particularly the last chapter), in order to recognize the character and characteristics of a peoplelosing energy and consciousness. Using various readings from Jung, especially, Answer to Job and his autobiograpyMemories, Dreams, Reflections, we will consider what scientists like Edward Wilson are telling us about thefork in the road we have taken in our time.

Syllabus for the Winter 2006 Seminar
Science and Meaning:

Jung and Western Civilization

All three 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. In order to make the bridge cognitively, we need to use the "higher-order conceptual" language of each side of the brain.

The fundamental questions all three seminars (Globalization—the Extraverted Worldview; Planetary Initiation—the Introverted Worldview; Science and Meaning—the bridge) take up:

Why do civilizations rise and fall? Why do we have a body/mind split in Western Civilization? Why is there a resurgence of fundamentalism opposing the scientific worldview? Why is Globalization swinging between the extremes of Planetary Initiation of a civilization of abundance for a transnational world-class and Apocalypse for a global Third World?

Whereas, Science has found the symbolic language of the mathematics of Calculus to differentiate and also integrate the experience of the physical world (to parallel the scientific method of deduction and induction, analysis and synthesis), the Humanities have failed to establish a conceptual language for the symbolic function of the mythic reality of the psyche -- or simply the meaning by which we live. "Astonishingly, [the Enlightenment] failed," E. O. Wilson writes in Consilience (p. 15). This book traces the history of intellectual achievement and failure across the "unknown borderland" between Science and our academic/religious/aesthetic traditions (Humanities). But the key to symbolic "higher-order language" is found in C. G. Jung's 22 volumes. In them, he makes the parallel between the psychology of the individual and that of the collective. The goal of this seminar is to learn this archetypal, higher-order conceptual language of personal and collective consciousness in culture and apply it to the history of Western Civilization, as well as to the present "culture war" in the U. S.

Reading
Edward O. Wilson, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, NY: Random House, 1998. Vintage Books ISBN: 0-679-76867-X

Please read by Week 2, the first three chapters, then, one chapter for each of the following weeks. The quality of dialogues in this seminar depends on it! I am tape- recording the whole book for anyone who is challenged by sight or time and needs to listen to it—please ask me. If you miss a class get the tape from me.

If you want more or simply different Reading in the subject: C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, (ed. Aniela Jaffe). Princeton has published the collected work in the Bollingen series (pprbk and hard cover). If you know nothing about Jung's "analytical psychology," start with this.Symbols of Transformation (CW 5) and Psychological Types (CW 6), both from his early work, have had the most impact on the study of Psychology. The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious (CW 9, Part 1) is the key work to the conceptual language of symbolic and mythic Cs.

Answer to Job and On Nature and Synchronicity are relatively shorter books; the former develops Jung's theory of the cultural transformation in the Axial Age (800—200 BCE); the latter, his understanding of the interaction between our psyche and nature (archetype/genome). Jung also wrote Aion , a longer book on the death and resurrection of Western Civilization. You can get the picture from his autobiography. Freud is a much more lucid writer but has only one oar to row.

Read selections from Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and Jacques Barzun's From Dawn to Decadence (particularly the last chapter), for the history of character and characteristics of a people losing energy and consciousness.

To understand the real nature of the split between Freud and Jung, as well as the application of the scientific method to individual consciousness—the stated objective of Psychoanalysis, read A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein by John Kerr (Vintage Paperback ISBN: 0679735801—there's an excellent synopsis of the book on www.amazon.com.

Starting Hypothesis for Science & Meaning:

For the last five hundred years, Western Civilization has been in a developmental stage that parallels the five centuries before Christ (loosely, the Axial Agevis à vis the Renaissance).  Our hypothesis is that during these two parallel periods, the social order of the West has struggled between two stages of cultural maturation represented by democratic republics and autocratic empires.This back and forth motion is a function of the collective energy – or life force – of the people who make up any society. The implications of this collective energy – as embedded in human consciousness through what we call "character" – will be interpreted in relation to the rise and fall of civilization. The physics of light and energy can inform us of how the internal laws work within the collective consciousness we call culture.

What are scientists like Edward Wilson telling us about the fork in the road we have taken in our time?

Weeks 1 and 2: January 5 and 12, 2006:

Please read for Week 1: Consilience Chapter 1, The Ionian Enchantment and Chapter 2, The Great Branches of Learning.

Week 2: The Enlightenment.

Discussion Topic: "The Ionian Enchantment" – the search for the unity of Knowledge is the heroic quest of the Western scientist since Thales of Miletus – a 6th century B.C. philosopher considered by Aristotle to be the founder of the physical sciences. Goethe summed up this quest in Faust, who sold his soul to the devil to understand the mystery joining consciousness to the body. Today, Science is describing it as an "emergent property" from the machinery of the body, like the "wetness" of water from polarity of the bond of two hydrogen and one oxygen atoms that compose it.

In angry defiance of the success of science (but not in defiance of the consumption of its technological products!), "conservative" political extremists today want to teach evolution by design. If culture is a product of our genome, then this clash is also a product of human cognition.

Q: What can we understand from this gene-culture approach to science and meaning?

Q: What is the relation between science and the humanities, and how is it important for human welfare?

Daniel C. Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, published by Touchstone Books, is recommended reading for you who are interested in understanding our present religion of economics. Far from being a radical discontinuity, the theory of evolution is a fundamentally materialist world view that is genetically programmed into human nature—as is the acquisitive instinct.

Edward Wilson introduces Consilience: the Unity of Knowledge by observing: "Could Holy Writ be just the first literate attempt to explain the universe and make ourselves significant within it? Perhaps science is a continuation on new and better- tested ground to attain the same end. If so, then in that sense science is religion liberated and writ large. Such, I believe, is the source of the Ionian Enchantment: preferring a search for objective reality over revelation is another way of satisfying religious hunger. It is an endeavor . . . to save the spirit, not by surrender but by liberation of the human mind. Its central tenet, as Einstein knew, is the unification of knowledge. When we have unified enough certain knowledge, we will understand who we are and why we are here." Consilience, Wilson, Vintage Books, 1999, page 6.

Week 2 – January 13, Chapter 3: The Enlightenment.

The significance of this transition in Western thought, i.e., Science and Meaning as two complementary ways of knowing, is such that we should begin discussing it this second session and continue it for Week 3.

C. P. Snow, The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution, NY: Cambridge UP, 1959.

The following are page references (with t=top, m=middle, b=bottom) from the chapter reading in Consilience:

·         Condorcet and Kant: culture recapitulates individual development (21)

·         the "dark angelic flaw" – the W shadow (top=t 23) – Qs begin with section (22 to 24 )

·         Civ'ns rise and fall (bottom=b 24) patterns (25)

·         Bacon & scientific method conceived to oppose Nature (b 25)

·         "passion for synthesis" (27 b) psychology, creativity (28b-29t) to convey Kn (29b)

·         Why China did not invent scientific method (33)

·         Deism: change in "image of God" parallel to Enlightenment "collective UnCs" (34)

·         Fundamental Qs:One set of natural laws/values? Thoughts in mind of God?

·         Enlightenment: Science is Prometheus – Romanticism: it's Faust}Mythos (37)

·         Academic divisions of Kn (40b) Imago Dei (41 middle=m) Reductionism (41b)

·         Scientists "journeymen prospectors" – "intellectual energy" (41-3) The Split West

·         Postmodernism/poststructuralism (47) – the Humanities lose meaning (44 t&m)

Weeks 3 & 4 – January 20: The Enlightenment (chapter 3 cont.) Discussion Ideas: Francis Bacon formulated the transformation during his lifetime in Western cultural consciousness into the scientific method, yet he said at the end of his life: “My soul hath been a stranger in life’s pilgrimage.” Wilson says: Once we get over the shock of discovering that the universe was not made with us in mind, all the meaning the brain can master, and all the emotions it can bear, and all the shared adventure we might wish to enjoy, can be found by deciphering the hereditary orderliness that has borne our species through geological time and stamped it with the residues of deep history. Reason will be advanced to new levels, and emotions played in potentially infinite patterns. The true will be sorted from the false, and we will understand one another very well, the more quickly because we are all of the same species and possess biologically similar brains.” (p. 47)

and Feb. 2, The Natural Sciences (chapter 4) “Science is neither a philosophy nor a belief system. It is a combination of mental operations that has become increasingly the habit of educated people, a culture of illumination hit upon by a fortunate turn of history that yields the most effective way of learning about the real world ever conceived.” (49)

  • Q: The “unaided” (by technology from microscope to telescope) common senses of our ancestors “could never guess the nature of physical reality” . . . “mysticism . . . yielded zero.” (50—1) How did the Buddha “know” that the Universe expands and contracts and is uncomprehendingly large?
  • How did natural selection prepare the mind for civilization before civilization existed? (52) Einstein said: “The greatest mystery is that we may know the Universe and that it is comprehensible to us.” (active/passive Cs) The archetypal language of mathematics is an example. (53)
  • Q: 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."
  • Q: How does the personal genetic code (or the species’ “genome”) appear to our consciousness? The key to unfolding in conscious aging is the “archetypal” development -- a kind of "soul's code. "The “key” (an archetype!) to archetypal or symbolic language is that we perceive our genetic encoding through image (symbol), metaphor (carrying across), myth (meaning in narrative form).
  • “Nothing in science—nothing in life, for that matter—makes sense without theory. It is our nature [ital. added] to put all knowledge into context in order to tell a story [mythos], and to re-create the world by this means.” (56 b)
  • Definition of science (58 t); scientific method (59—60); science and meaning (61 b)
  • The Scientific Worldview (66—67, 70) the heart of consilience; learn by heart!

Weeks 5 & 6 – February 9, 2006: Ariadne’s Thread (the myth for Cs!) This chapter is where I depart from Wilson, due to my understanding of Jung. I think it is the weakest (a.k.a., most boring) chapter in the book.

Discussion: "The great adventure is now beginning to turn inward, toward ourselves. In the last several decades the natural sciences have expanded to reach the borders of the social sciences and humanities. There the principle of consilient explanation guiding the advance must undergo its severest test." (72)

·         "There is no center, only an immense number of end points . . ." (73)

·         The scientific method is called "reductionist" but understanding the material world is not just for human use – it is synthesizing meaning by induction for its application to our social survival – this is the imperative of natural selection!" – to dissect a phenomenon into its elements . . . is consilience by reduction. To reconstitute it, and especially to predict with knowledge gained by reduction how nature assembled it in the first place, is consilience by synthesis. (74 b)

·         Freud's conception of the unconscious, by focusing attention on hidden irrational processes of the brain, was a fundamental contribution to culture. . . . But it is mostly wrong. Freud's fatal error was his abiding reluctance to test his own theories . . then revise them to accommodate controverting facts.(81)

·         Brain's cellular-molecular events when dreaming (82) Wilson's science/meaning

·         Q: Why is psychosis induced when people are deprived of REM sleep?

·         It is quite possible the brain is predisposed to fabricate certain images . . . [that] may correspond to Freud's instinctual drives and to the archetypes of Jung…(85)

·         . . . the master unsolved problem of biology: how the hundred billion nerve cells of the brain work together to create consciousness." (89) W's summary

·         describes Cs as emergent property (94b—95m); life as machine (99b, 102— 3

·         "Scientists have been charged with conquering cancer, genetic disease, and viral infection, all of which are cellular disorders, . . . " (101) Q: what if due to our lifestyle?

and Feb. 10, The Mind

·         " . . . every mental process has a physical grounding and is consistent with the natural sciences." (105) I believe psychology and brain (neuro) science must be based in the physics of light/electromagnetism.

·         … the brain is a machine assembled not to understand itself, but to survive." (105)

·         "language and its symbol-based product, culture …Intelligence and culture … the last of the four great steps in the overall history of life" (107 t,b)

·         description of brain (115, 117 patterns/meaning)

·         What is lacking is … grasp of the emergent holistic properties of the neuron circuits, of cognition, the way the circuits process information to create perception and knowledge." (119m) "Cs consists of the parallel processing of …coding networks."

·         The capacity of remembrance by the manipulation of symbols is a transcendent achievement for an organic machine. It has authored all of culture."(121 b)

·         What is emotion? It is the modification of neural activity that animates and focuses mental activity." (123 m) Plato: movement is the essence of the soul.

·         Neuroscience definitions of mental activity:"What we call meaning is the linkage among the neural networks created by the spreading excitation that enlarges imagery and engages emotion." (125—6 to end of paragraph "…

·         … science explains feeling, while art transmits it." (127 b)

·         conclusion: "… there must be meaning." (135)

February 16, 2006: From Genes to Culture

This is the process of mythos as a cognitive function of the bicameral brain.

. . . two domains … the scientific and literary cultures … Apollonian law to Dionysian spirit, prose to poetry, left cortical hemisphere to right, the line between the two domains can be easily crossed back and forth, but no one knows how to translate the tongue of one into that of the other. … the division between the two cultures is a perennial source of misunderstanding and conflict. 'This polarization is sheer loss to us all,' wrote C. P. Snow in his defining 1959 essay The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. 'To us as people, and to our society. It is at the same time practical and intellectual and creative loss'" (136—7) and on (137 m, b throughout 138, beginning)

. . . human behavior is transmitted by culture. … question … how … interact ... across all societies to create the commonalities of human nature.

o        Q: What … joins the deep, mostly genetic history of the species ... to the more recent cultural histories of its far-flung societies? That, in my opinion, is the nub of the relationship between the two cultures. … the central problem …"

o        Gene-culture co-evolution as the mythic function of cognition – Jung: "Collective UnCs."

o        Q: "When did symbolic language arise, and exactly how did it ignite the exponentiation of cultural evolution?" (146 t)"Semantic memory … meaning by the connection of objects and ideas to other objects and ideas, either directly by their images held in episodic memory or by the symbols denoting the images.… brain [tends] to condense repeated episodes of a kind into concepts, … symbols."

o        How can anyone presume to speak of a gene that prescribes culture?The answer is that no serious scientist ever has. " (148 b) Jung has, but died 1961, before Genetics and DNA – his explanations of Psychology & Archetypes.

o        Physical origins of schizophtenia (156) – Jung's psychiatric expertise (156 m)

o        the 67 "universals of culture":Jung's Collective UnCs is the Genome. (160 and 163)

o        "Binary oppositions [i.e., splits] … are linked … into complex combinations by which cultures are assembled into integrated wholes." (167)Polarity of A/Ts.

o        Gene-culture co-evolution summary (171) Brain/meaning summary (177 b)

and Feb. 23, The Fitness of Human Nature.

When does a qualitative difference enter the epigenetic rules of consciousness and culture in order to create ethics (qualia levels of Cs) from mere mores (habitual ways of living)? What implications does this have on our evolution when we reach a qualitative discernment culturally?

Survival of the fittest but not of the best – altruism and self-sacrifice.

o        Epigenetic rules defined:"… the hereditary rules of mental development that bias cultural evolution in one direction as opposed to another, and thus connect the genes to culture. … the tendency to split continuously varying objects and processes into two discrete classes." (178)Q: What does this imply about the dominance of one and the same sex over the other?

o        The search for human nature can be viewed as the archeology of the epigenetic rules.

o        What culture does to the genes is the reason civilizations rise and fall. (182)

o        "Westermarck effect" spurns individuals with whom closely associated in childhood – genetic rule survived because avoided "lethal genes" of incest (189) When culture works against nature, has to be overthrown. Freud wrong (194—5) style='letter- spacing:-.4pt'>

o        Jung's definition of neurosis as "damaged instincts" and "always comes from legitimate suffering."

Weeks 9 & 10, March 2: The Social Sciences – society to mind to brain

(201) How the present academic worldview "Postmodernism" destroyed meaning

"Human minds do not create culture but are themselves the product of culture."

o        How culture derailed the modern world:204—6 … little effort to explain phenomena by webs of causation across adjacent levels of organization

o        how individual behavior originates from intersection of biology and environment (210)

o        cultural variations … [that] no longer contribute to health and well-being

o        evolution of economic systems (213) … "the means by which biological evolution influences culture … human nature, micro-to-macro transition, and the co-evolution of genes and culture—require the full traverse from …psychology ... to the brain sciences and genetics (222)

o        how people in pre-literate culture reason and have likely reasoned throughout evolutionary time. These qualities have been summarized by C. R. Hallpike in The Foundations of Primitive Thought, as follows:

intuitive and dogmatic, bound up with specific emotional relationships rather than physical causality, preoccupied with essences and metamorphosis, opaque to logical abstraction or arrays of the hypothetically possible, prone to use language for social interaction rather than as a conceptual tool, limited in quantification mostly to rough images of frequency and rarity, and inclined to view mind as stemming partly from the environment and able to project back out into it, so tha words become entities with power unto themselves." (226 b) But read on:(227 t)

and March 10: The Arts and Their Interpretation

Interpretation—channel of consilient explanation between science and art. (230)

o        Narrative of co-evolution and culture (237)

o        Thesis: works of art communicate feeling directly from mind to mind, with no intent to explain why … In this defining quality, the arts are the antithesis of science.(238)

o        Archetypes/Art – inborn rules of mental development. Genesis: Kn of Good & Evil true and beautiful (244—6)

o        Why certain images and narratives?Jung answers Qs raised pp. 250—1.

o        Kalahari hunters imagine … human thought projects outward from the body with a physical force."(257—8)

Week 11 & 12, March 17: Ethics and Religion

§         "Either ethical precepts, such as justice and human rights, are independent of human experience or else they are human inventions. … But the split is not … between religious believers and secularists.It is between transcendentalists, those who think that moral guidelines exist outside the human mind, and empiricists, who think them contrivances of the mind.(260—1)

§         The choice … will be the coming century's version of the struggle for men's souls.Moral reasoning will either remain centered in idioms of theology and philosophy, where it is now, or it will shift toward science-based material analysis. Where it settles will depend on which world view is proved correct, or at least which is more widely perceived to be correct.(262)

§         The Transcendentalist (264 ff.)

§         The Empiricist (266 ff)

§         outspoken heretics … are considered at best troublemakers and at worst traitors to the social order (269)True character arises from a deeper well than religion. … science … is the accumulation of humanity's organized, objective knowledge, the first medium devised able to unite people everywhere in common understanding.

§         … It is the base of a truly democratic and global culture. (269)

§         "Such a shift has … been occurring in Western cultures since the Enlightenment"

§         "The dark side to the inborn propensity to moral behavior is xenophobia. … old ethical codes were transformed into coercive regulations, always to the advantage of the ruling classes.About this time the idea of law-giving gods originated." (277)

§         When culture reverses survival advantage: (278 m)

§         282 is a challenge to transcendentalism that need not be as Wilson says.

and March 23: To What End?

§         all tangible phenomena, from … stars to … social institutions, are based on material processes that are ultimately reducible … to the laws of physics. (291)

§         Thanks to science and technology, access to factual knowledge … is destined to become global and democratic. … What then? The answer is clear: synthesis. We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important decisions wisely. (294) Western philosophy … left modern culture bankrupt of meaning."

§         … genetic evolution is about to become conscious and volitional, and usher in a new epoch in the history of life.…is natural selection still driving evolution?" (296)

§         Neutralize the elements of human nature in favor of pure rationality, and the result would be badly constructed, protein-based computers.

§         Why should a species give up the defining core of its existence, built by millions of years of biological trial and error?

§         What lifts this question above mere futurism is that it reveals so clearly our ignorance of the meaning of human existence in the first place." (303)

§         Over-population (308). Rwanda is a microcosm of the world."(315)

§         the “religion of economics” (318) bursting the illusion (319 b)

§         the legacy of the Enlightenment (325 t) … we are learning the fundamental principle that ethics is everything. (325 b)

§         The search for consilience might seem at first to imprison creativity. The opposite is true. … we will arrive at an existential conservatism … if we should surrender … our very meaning to a habit of careless discursion in the name of progress, imagining ourselves godlike and absolved from our ancient heritage, we will become nothing." (326)

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