Introduction to General Education
Physical Sciences and Mathematics Courses
History and Social Sciences Courses
Arts and Humanities Courses
Alternative General Education Courses
INTRODUCTION TO GENERAL EDUCATION
Students enrolled in Akamai university Bachelor’s Programs must demonstrate completion of a total of 30 semester credits in general education competencies, including at least six credits in physical sciences and mathematics, the social sciences, and arts and humanities. The general education requirements assure students develop an understanding and appreciation of the social and culture differences and interdependency of the global community, and build an awareness of themselves as spiritual, social, and biological beings.
Physical Sciences and Mathematics (6 credits minimum)
Social Sciences (6 credits minimum)
Arts and Humanities (6 credits minimum)
PHYSICAL SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS
Through this competency, students build an understanding the physical environment. Courses from the following fields help fulfill this requirement: environmental science, health, nutrition and fitness, and other physical and biological sciences, mathematics, algebra, geometry, accounting, personal finance, computer science, statistics, or financial management.
Physical Sciences and Mathematics
Through this competency, students build an understanding of human culture. Courses from the following fields help fulfill this requirement: history, government, civilization, political science, human development, economics, business studies, administration, psychology, sociology, education, anthropology and other related subjects.
ARTS AND HUMANITIES
Through this competency, students build an understanding of effective communication. Courses from the following fields help fulfill this requirement: language studies, composition, literature, creative writing, music, philosophy, creative arts, performing arts, and other arts and humanities.
Arts and Humanities Courses
PHYSICAL SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS COURSES
SOCIAL SCIENCES COURSES
ARTS AND HUMANITIES COURSES
HUM 101: REMBRANT, HERALD OF OUR AGE( 3 credits)
What can you learn about yourself through Rembrandt?
Can you recall in your own development when you began to be more aware of yourself as separate from the world?
Have you experienced your own sense of yourself as the only one in the universe that can say "I am" to yourself?
What significance is there in these experiences?
Through studying Rembrandt's self portraits and other works (in particular The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp, The Return of the Prodigal Son, The Polish Rider, The Evangelist Matthew Inspired by the Angel), we will consider the development of his skills and consciousness through his career. His paintings and biography will be discussed in the context of the evolution of your own thought processes.
(See also Study Questions and the Gospel of John.)
HUM 102: Hesse and Jung – Gnosticism in Modern Form (3 credits)
The publication of hitherto unknown Gnostic manuscripts found at Nag Hammadi in Egypt has generated much scholarly interest and reawakened public curiosity about the gnostic religion. Gnosticism, a religious worldview, sees man’s soul as an alienated spark of heavenly light struggling in a hostile world of matter. Every individual has to be redeemed from this alienation by spiritual knowledge, gnosis, of his or her real nature and divinity. In fact, knowledge of God is, for the Gnostic, inseparable from knowledge of the Self. Gnosis is an intensely personal experience, in which the recognition of the divine light within becomes both self-realization and God-realization. Gnosticism flourished from the first to the fourth centuries A.D., but the Gnostic world-view has found expression since in religion, psychology, philosophy and literature, particularly in the novels of Hermann Hesse, and the writings of C.G. Jung, the Swiss psychologist. Gnosis means to know. Gnosticism was an ancient religion suppressed by the Catholic Church. The student will study Demian, by Hermann Hesse, The Gnostic Gospels, by Elaine Pagels and Memories, Dreams, Reflections, by Carl Jung to discover the nature of Gnosticism in both its ancient and modern forms. The student will learn not only about Gnosticism but be given profound insights about his or her own spiritual nature. Questions and thoughts follow the course guide which requires written responses. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. (Author and Instructor: Professor Andrew Flaxman)
HUM 103: THE DESTINY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN (3 credits)
Abraham Lincoln belongs to the very best that the United States has contributed to the furtherance of Humankind. What sort of man was required to heal the split in the national soul caused by the institutionalization of slavery in our Constitution? How can Lincoln's life be instructive in your own life? How does the crisis he faced relate to the world today? Lincoln was influenced by the life of Washington, the Bible and Shakespeare. What have been great influences on your life? Have you had experiences in your own life that you could describe as "predestined?" Do you know what Lincoln meant by his "Friend down inside' of himself?" The course has no pre-requisites except the ability to think and write in English. Anyone interested in history and wisdom will benefit a great deal from this course.
Required reading includes selections from Lincoln, by Carl Sandburg; Lincoln at Gettysburg, by Gary Wills, and Lincoln's Greatest Speech, the Second Inaugural, by Ronald C. White Jr.
HUM 104: THE SPIRITUAL SEARCH THROUGH LITERATURE (3 credits)
How do you think with your heart? What is success?
Can you experience real freedom? What is the value in becoming more aware of the details of your own creative process? Where does your inspiration come from? What does the concept of salvation mean to you? This course compares and contrasts the required reading, The Razor's Edge, by W. Somerset Maugham, The Last Barrier, by Reshad Feild, and your own thinking about spirit. HUM 104: $75
HUM 105: MOZART AND THE EVOLUTION OF WESTERN MUSIC (3 credits)
Can music give you more than merely arousing sensuality in yourself?
Can you relate melody, harmony and rhythm to your thinking, feeling and willing? Can you appreciate the interweaving of minor and major in Mozart's music? What different effect does the music have when the main key is minor rather than major? What music now popular do you think will not last?
Required Reading: Mozart, Marcia Davenport ...
Required Viewing: Mozart's The Magic Flute (video) ...
Required Listening: Mozart's String Quintet in G Minor (K516); Mozart's Piano concerto in A Major (k.488)
Mozart's The Magic Flute HUM 105: $75
HUM 106: SHAKESPEARE, DRAMA AND SELF-KNOWLEDGE (3 credits)
Can you answer Hamlet's question, "What is man?"
Do you agree with Hamlet's "To be or not to be?" soliloquy?
Do you think it is necessary to go through some sort of process of blindness (like King Lear or Gloucester) to awaken to self-knowledge? How many senses did you think you have before reading the lecture/guide on King Lear?
What is meant by a group sense? Students will read and/or view King Lear, Hamlet and The Tempest and relate these plays to various levels of self-knowledge.
HUM 106: $75
HUM 107: SCIENCE AND THE SPIRITUAL QUEST (3 credits)
What does the relationship between science and religion have to do with your personal life? Are there any scientific theories that you regard as final, true and unchanging? Are there different ways of experiencing time and space?
Is advanced science leading us towards spiritual science?
What does Eastern philosophy and Western science mean to you? Students will read The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra and The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav. The course will center on relating Eastern philosophy to modern physics. There will be a critical analysis of this analogy.
HUM 107: $75
HUM 108: JOB, OEDIPUS AND BLAKE: SELF-KNOWLEDGE, ANCIENT AND MODERN(3 credits)
How do you explain evil and suffering in the world? Do you believe that man's character is his fate? Do you accept the theory that unconscious memories can determine one's actions and behavior? Do you blame others or fate for your misfortunes? How do you reconcile Divinity with natural disasters such as the Hurricane Katrina of 2005?
Students will read Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles, the Book of Job, and Blake's Illustrations to the Book of Job. (See also Bible Study Guide.) HUM 108: $75
HUM 109: FROM MYTHS AND FAIRY TALES TO AUTOBIOGRAPHY (3 credits)
How do you think myths and fairy tales help us towards understanding ourselves? What is their value for children and what is their value for adults? Do you feel that you live up to your role as hero in your own biography?
What are your temptations and hindrances.? Can you die and still be alive? Required Reading: Mythology, Edith Hamilton
Fairy Tales, Grimm Pathfinders, Gail Sheehy HUM 109: $75
HUM 110: LOVE AS A PATH OF TRANSFORMATION (3 credits)
Can you see the levels of maturity in yourself - both past development and future potential?
Can you understand the difference between change, reform and transformation?
Have you experienced anything in yourself that you could equate or describe as your "Daimon"?
Have you experienced any process that you could call "Initiation"?
Have you ever experienced doing something out of pure love and freedom?
The Symposium, Plato
Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle
Gospel of St. John
(See also Bible Study.)
HUM 110: $75
HUM 111: DOSTOEVSKI: FREEDOM AND SELF-GOVERNMENT (3 credits)
In what ways are you equal to others? In what ways are you not?
How do your political views relate to these differences and similarities?
What are the differing qualities of liberty, equality and fraternity?
To what extent, if any, can a dictatorship be benevolent?
What is freedom?
The Liberty Bell Papers, Virginia Moore
The Grand Inquisitor, Dostoevski
Founding Brothers, Joseph J. Ellis
HUM 111: $75
HUM 112: ECONOMICS AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF RESPONSIBLE INDIVIDUALISM (3 credits)
Are you able to stand new and different thoughts?
Can you view economic issues without losing yourself in an either/or, right vs. left "mind set"? Can you transform this conflict creatively?
Does money really not die?
What has immortality to do with your own economic behavior?
Small Is Beautiful, E. F. Schumacher
Money and Freedom, Hans F. Sennholz
Reincarnation and Immortality, Rudolf Steiner
Money and the Meaning of Life, Jacob Needleman
HUM 201: LEONARDO, THE TURNING POINT (3 credits)
Leonardo da Vinci was always motivated through his observation of reality "to transcend the real," to provide for humans something beyond the materialistic. Everything he did was the expression of some inner reality and everything he made, either in art or science, expressed something more. Thus his whole life and work is one of the first modern examples of the spiritual scientist - the individual who can reunite religion, art and science in a modern, transformed way. Leonardo was not frustrated by the paradoxical unity of the spiritual and the mundane. In fact, he thrived on it; it was the basis of his work, the essence of his being and his great legacy to us. The student will become familiar with the art of Leonardo da Vinci with special emphasis on The Last Supper and Da Vinci's astrological depictions of the 12 Disciples. The focus of this course will be to discover the wisdom that underlies this great work of art. In light of the popularity of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, it might be interesting to take a special look at the figure of John, the Beloved Disciple. From the mural's recent restoration it is very clear that John is depicted in a very feminine way (as is Christ). This certainly does not mean that this figure represents Mary Magdalene. But it does indicate very much the feminine quality of Sophia (Wisdom), which in Christianity is related to the Holy Spirit and to the Mother of Jesus. Divine wisdom is the quality that both John and the Mother of Jesus possessed. It was also a quality that Mary Magdalene had. It is not hard to understand, therefore, that Leonardo would paint both Christ and John with distinctive female attributes.
Questions and thoughts follow the course guide which requires written response. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner.
(See also Study Questions and the Gospel of John.)
HUM 201: $75
HUM 202: THE HIDDEN WISDOM OF GOETHE (3 credits)
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) had by any measure one of the most profound minds of all time. His friend, the poet Schiller, said of Goethe that "Nature has endowed him more generously than anyone since Shakespeare." Although Goethe is well known as one of the world's foremost poets and dramatists, his place in science has been inadequately appreciated. Goethe developed the basic principles of morphology, the branch of biological science which deals with the form and structure of animals and plants. It was Goethe who is given credit for naming this science from the Greek word "morphe," meaning "form," and "logos," meaning "active principles of." While botanists and anatomists had been occupied in analysis, striving to distinguish separate parts, and give them distinct names, Goethe's poetic and philosophical mind urged him to seek the supreme synthesis, and reduce all diversities to a higher unity. His scientific research led to the discovery that all plants are variations of one primitive type, and that nearly all parts of a plant are variations or developments of the leaf. Goethe is to German culture as Shakespeare is to ours. The thrust of this course will be to become familiar with the life and philosophy of Goethe by reading his biography and selected aphorisms. Not only will the student gain a great understanding of the wisdom of Goethe, he or she will enhance spiritual self knowledge. Questions and thoughts follow the course guide which requires written response. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Instructor: Andrew Flaxman]
HUM 202: $75
HUM 203: BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, AMERICAN INITIATE (3 credits)
The end of June in 1787, found the Constitutional Convention, the meeting called to set the official course for the new nation, mired in disunity and indecision that threatened the whole project with failure. In one of the final public appearances of his life, Benjamin Franklin asked the delegates why they had not till then "once thought of humbly appealing to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understanding," and suggested daily prayers for the sessions. "The longer I live," he explained,
"The more convincing proofs I see of the Truth that God governs in the Affairs of Men. And if a Sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that "except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe, that, without his concurring Aid, we shall succeed in this political Building no better than the Builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our little, partial, local Interests, our Projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a Reproach and a Bye-word down to future Ages. And, what is worse, Mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate Instance, despair of establishing Government by human Wisdom, and leave it to Chance, War, and Conquest."
Benjamin Franklin was the most philosophical of the "founding fathers". This course will discuss his beliefs and his relationship to Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism. Students will read The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin along with a biography of Franklin. Questions and thoughts follow the course guide which requires written response. [Instructor: Andrew Flaxman]
HUM 203: $75
HUM 204B: THE BHAGAVAD GITA AND SELF-EDUCATION (3 credits)
The Bhagavad Gita, the "Song of the Lord" is considered the most important, the most influential and the most luminous of all the Hindu scriptures. The Gita ranks without question with the greatest of Humankind's artistic, philosophical and religious works. Gandhi based his daily life on the Gita from his 20s on. Any sincere spiritual seeker of whatever path or religion will gain a great deal from its study. One's own tradition can be greatly enhanced and better understood by the encounter of a very different age and mode of thought. These scriptures will confirm and strengthen the sense of truth and the feeling for truth with regard to the supersensible (Spiritual) world. Its 700 stanzas distill the finest in India's vast and varied Vedic culture. The Vedas (meaning gnostic knowledge) are believed by Hindus to be based on direct knowledge of God and stem from a very ancient oral tradition that even predates the beginnings of Egyptian civilization. Our purpose in this course is to look at the culmination of this wisdom in the Gita and recognize its usefulness to us today.
Its implications for education have been overlooked in the West, for the most part. Students will read this "Song of God" in two different translations and compare it to How to Know Higher Worlds by Rudolf Steiner. The student will come away from this course not only with a great appreciation of the Gita, but a greatly enhanced spiritual self knowledge. Questions and thoughts follow the course guide which requires written response. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Instructor: Antonio T. De Nicolas]
HUM 204: $75
HUM 205: BEETHOVEN, THE SPIRIT OF PROMETHEUS (3 credits)
In Greek mythology, Prometheus was the demi-god who stole fire from Olympus and gave it (and with it the beginnings of civilization) to Humankind. Zeus was so angered by this theft that he had Prometheus chained to Mount Caucasus where a vulture tore at his liver every day. For thousands of years civilization's great benefactor suffered until Hercules killed the vulture and set Prometheus free. In a transformed manner Beethoven's life and music are a recapitulation of this archetypal story. Beethoven was able to capture the "music of the spheres" and bring it within the province of Humanity, just as Prometheus did with fire. In studying his music and life we actually attune ourselves to much broader issues: the essential spiritual nature of all music; the role of sacrifice and an altruistic motive in creativity; the relationship between suffering and achievement in the personality of the artist himself; how music can be used to spiritualize Humanity; and what kind of music does this. This course will focus on the revolutionary nature of Beethoven, his spiritual growth, and how his music relates to the modern ego. Students will read Beethoven by W.N. Sullivan and listen to the Hammerclavier Sonata, the Symphony no. 3 and the Quartet for Strings, opus 131 in c# minor. Using the inspirational approach to Beethoven, students will greatly enhance their appreciation of his music. Questions and thoughts follow the course guide which requires written response. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Instructor: Andrew Flaxman]
HUM 205: $75
HUM 206B: DANTE AND THE WAY OF SELF DISCOVERY (3 credits)
Dante Alighieri, the author of one of the world's great masterpieces, the Divine Comedy, was born in Florence, Italy in May 1265 and died in exile in Ravenna in 1321. To reach as many of his contemporaries as possible he wrote in the vernacular Italian rather than in Latin, the language of the Church and the educated. His great epic poem became immensely popular - with the invention of the printing press almost 400 Italian editions were published. Many great artists were inspired, including Botticelli, Michelangelo, Blake, Dore and composers Rossini, Schumann and List. There have been many notable translations into English including those by Longfellow, and in the 20th century, Dorothy L. Sayers. Although we learn these facts in school, how many of us know anything more about this great poem or understand it. In addition to being a great story, Dante's The Divine Comedy has important psychological and spiritual dimensions which can be appreciated today. Special attention will be paid to Paradiso as a description of self-actualization. Students will read this great masterpiece in its entirety.
Students will not only learn to appreciate this great masterpiece of Western Civilization, but he or she will learn much more about personal growth and spiritual development. The student will realize that this great poem can work as a meditation leading to great personal satisfaction and self-transformation. Questions and thoughts follow the course guide which requires written response. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Guide by John Saly]
(See also Baptism and Christening.)
HUM 206: $75
HUM 207: TRUTH AND SCIENCE (3 credits)
When we observe the sun rise from the East, watch it move across the sky and then see it set on the horizon to the West, what do our senses tell us? The sun has made a semi-circle around us and the earth. The earth appears motionless and the sun seems to move. How is it then that we, along with most other Human Beings, believe that, contrary to these simple observations, it is the earth that rotates around the sun, not the reverse? Also we have learned that the earth rotates itself on its axis and is not stationary. Related to this modern perception is that most of us believe that the world is spherical. It is taken as a joke now that anyone would think the earth is flat. How could people have every believed that the world had ends to it? It is very hard to put yourself into another person's mind. It is even harder when that person lived hundreds of years ago. But people used to be brought up with completely different beliefs about themselves and the world that also seemed to conform to common perception: A round world seemed to require some people to live upside down, which seemed totally absurd. The point to the above is that what we see with our senses is not necessarily what we believe. Conversely what we believe is not necessarily what we see, but very often we believe it anyway. The focus of this course will be to discover the relationship between truth and science. Through a review of the history of science students will be able to distinguish between theory, belief and knowledge. Insights will be offered concerning the nature of reality. Reading will consist of two books: Catching the Light by Arthur Zajonc and Quantum Questions by Ken Wilbur. Questions and thoughts follow the course guide which requires written response. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Andrew Flaxman]
HUM 207: $75
HUM 208: UNDERSTANDING THE MODERN EGO (3 credits)
Two souls, alas! Cohabit in my breast,/ A contract one of them desires to sever./ The one like a rough lover clings/ To the world with the tentacles of its senses;/ The other lifts itself to Elysian Fields/ Out of the mist on powerful wings Goethe, Faust I, Sc.2 (Louis MacNeice translation)
The soul is traditionally defined as the part of the Human Being that thinks, feels, and makes the body act. Many religions teach that in death the soul and the body become separated, and the soul lives forever. The word "spirit," although used very often as a synonym today for "soul," implies even more the immaterial part of man as distinct from the body. Beginning with the second half of the eighteenth century, the word "ego," meaning "I" in Latin, came to be used more and more by philosophers and psychologists to denote man's self, his individual being, so much so that one could characterize the last century and a half as the age of the ego. By use of the word ego rather than soul or spirit we have been able to obscure any sense that we are not merely our bodies and that we have a place in the "Elysian Fields." The ego has become only that part of us that "clings to the world with the tentacles of its senses." The words we use reflect our consciousness. Losing our sense of body, soul, and spirit, we now consider ourselves only that aspect immediately available to our conscious, bodily self-awareness. This loss of awareness of our other self has led to viewing man as an animal. The animal, with feelings but no self-conscious awareness, has no ego. In contrast, the Human Being has an ego which can view itself in a very limited manner if it so chooses. Students will be exposed to their own sense of self through two great pieces of literature: The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy. Emphasis will be on the dangers inherent in becoming stuck in the "lower self." Questions and thoughts follow the course guide which requires written response. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Guide by John Saly]
HUM 208: $75
HUM 209: TOWARD A NEW FORM OF CONSCIOUSNESS (3 credits)
Have you ever sensed a power in yourself which seemed bigger than you are? Have you occasionally found yourself in a flow where everything seemed to be turning out just right - the lights turned green, the elevator doors opened just as you got there - the hands in the poker game kept coming up with full houses and royal flushes? Have you risen to some occasion, and performed some feat and then felt amazed - pleased, but like you didn't really do it - something in you just took over and did it through you? Have you experienced a moment of total awe and rapture looking at some panoramic view, and felt totally at peace, and at "one with life"? Likely you have had one, or all of these kinds of experiences. The well-known humanistic psychologist, Abraham Maslow referred to events like these as "peak experiences" - moments in life that stand out as notable in some very special way. I know I have had such experiences. Like me, you probably wished that your whole life could be like this - that you would always experience yourself and your life as powerful, blissful, flowing and magical! But alas - as happened for Cinderella at the stroke of twelve, the magic we experienced disappeared as quickly as it appeared, and once again, we found ourselves in our "tatters" - our everyday "normal" existence. The thrust of this course will be to understand the process of transforming our current "normal" state of consciousness to a healthy state of consciousness. Students will read Higher Creativity by Willis Harmon and Howard Rheingold, Mystics after Modernism by Rudolf Steiner, and From Normal to Healthy by Georg Kuhlewind. Thoughtful meditation suggestions are given. Questions and thoughts follow the course guide which ask for written response. This course requires no prior learning but does demand the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Instructor: Andrew Flaxman]
HUM 210: THINKING ABOUT THINKING (3 credits)
Here is a child-like riddle which can only be solved by a grown-up: What do we use most in daily life yet never see and barely, if ever, are aware of? As you try to puzzle this out, you are in fact automatically making use of just what the riddle is about - THINKING! And the way you see, or adjudge, or explain the rightness of that answer is through your THINKING about it! Only your THINKING can explain your own thinking - in fact, only your thinking can explain anything to you. And yet, our own thinking is one of the least understood aspects of ourselves. Very likely, the thinking we constantly use and on which we rely from opening our eyes in the morning to falling asleep at night, that very thinking which we identify with our own conscious self, our "State of mind," is what poses the greatest mystery to each of us, even to people who consider themselves experts on human nature. Moreover, if we are not conscious of what thinking really is or how it functions, we are in danger of under-using it, misusing it, and abusing it, thereby forsaking a fuller, more conscious life that could be ours. Popular wisdom in an old proverb calls attention to how urgent a matter is the quality of our thinking: "Sow a thought, reap a deed; Sow a deed, reap a habit; Sow a habit, reap a character; Sow a character, reap a destiny." Whether lucid, sloppy, penetrating, narrow, or confused, thinking can lead to what we do (DEEDS), how we live (HABITS), the kind of personality we develop (CHARACTER), and ultimately the very pattern of our biography (DESTINY). As we sow, or think, then so shall we reap! Our thinking has consequences, it seems: Man is not merely what he eats, as the earthy would have us believe, he is also what, and how, he thinks. Goethe once said that thinking about thinking would make one grow mad. Students will learn how to begin this process without going mad by reading Thinking about Thinking by Alan Howard and the novel The Place of the Lion by Charles Williams. Questions and thoughts follow the course guide which requires written response. There are questions following this lesson that require email responses. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Guide by Susan Lowndes]
(See also the Meaning of the Ten Commandments and Lord's Prayer.)
HUM 211: LEARNING FROM HISTORY (3 credits)
What can history teach us about the justification of violence? Barbara Tuchman, the late popular historian, was skeptical of our ability to learn from history. The epilogue of her book, The March of Folly, is entitled, "A Lantern on the Stern," suggesting that history can tell us of the follies of the past, but is not too helpful in leading us to a wiser future. Thucydides seems to be equally skeptical when he begins his great History of the Peloponnesian War by "hoping that his study will be judged useful by those who want to understand clearly the events which happened in the past and which (human nature being what it is) will be repeated in the future." Why do political leaders throughout history resort to violence and war so often even when it is contrary to their own enlightened self-interest? How is it that wisdom does not seem to prevail in decision making?
Today it is considered an axiom that history repeats itself. Does this mean that each of us has to repeat this same history? This course suggests that within the framework of recapitulation, it is possible and even compelling to use the lessons of history to help to transform human nature. Even though it appears that history repeats itself, human nature does not remain static. It is history itself that is the transforming tool of those who will learn from it. Perhaps the most important lesson that can be learned from history is when, if ever, is violence justified? "The lantern on the stern" can become a beacon to enlighten the path to a better future. To accomplish this we need a philosophy of history that will give us a framework upon which to make individual decisions and applications. Secondly, we need concrete examples from which we can learn about the folly of the resort to violence.
This course will attempt to provide a way to learn from history. Students will read History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, The Prince by Machiavelli, On Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau, and Letter from Birmingham City Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr. Questions and thoughts follow the course guide which requires written response. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Instructor: Andrew Flaxman]
HUM 212: THE PROFIT MOTIVE (3 credits)
What is it to profit? In a business sense it means to have revenues exceed costs and expenses. In general terms it means to gain, benefit or take advantage of. In all meanings there must be an accounting to know if there actually is a profit. In all accounting, the time element is fundamental. A business reports a profit or loss for a certain period of time, say for a quarter or for the year. It is very common to think you have made a profit for a certain period of time only to discover hidden costs and expenses later that completely reverse the picture. In the Bible the first use of the word profit meaning gain occurs in Genesis 37:26 when Judah argues against killing his brother Joseph by asking his brothers, "What will we profit by killing our brother and covering up his murder?" Instead his brothers sell Joseph to a group of traders traveling to Egypt for twenty pieces of silver. The concept of profit certainly begins on a very negative note. The true profit to this terrible transaction became apparent many years later when Joseph's family went to Egypt and found that their brother had become an overlord and was wiling and able to forgive and help his brothers. Profit in the Bible always included a moral and ethical dimension which greatly extended the time frame, even beyond physical life to include the impact on the soul. Throughout the Old Testament, the accumulation of profits was attacked as bad. For example, "Riches profit not in the day of wrath." (Proverbs 11:4) Ill-gotten gains are particularly sinful, such as, "Treasures of wickedness profit nothing." (Proverbs 10:2). As we know, over the centuries some very fundamental changes have occurred which have brought a social acceptability to profits and to the profit motive. Through a review of history from Biblical times to the present, this course provides an overview of profit from different perspectives. Students will read The Worldly Philosopher by Robert Heilbroner, The Servant as Leader by Robert K. Greenleaf and The Soul of Economies by Denise Breton and Christopher Largent. Questions and thoughts follow the course guide which requires written response. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Instructor: Andrew Flaxman]
HUM 301: A BRIDGE TO THE NEW WORLD: VAN GOGH AND MODERN ART (3 credits)
Together with Paul Cezanne, Georges Seurat, and Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh is considered one of the founders of modern art. Van Gogh's work is of an extremely personal sort. With the exception of his countryman Rembrandt, no other great artist has produced more self-portraits (more than 40). His landscapes, figures, interiors and still lifes are in a sense self-portraits as well. It was his method to fuse what he saw, and what he felt, as quickly as possible into statements that were revelations of himself. His artistic career lasted only 10 years and yet his output was astonishing: close to 1,700 of his works survive. During his lifetime he sold only one painting but today his paintings each sell for many millions of dollars. This course helps to explain his artistic greatness in a way that will help the student to see ourselves and the world anew.
At the end of the 1870's a movement begins which survives all the contempt, ridicule and hostility directed against it and soon swells to a powerful storm that sweeps away everything in its path. The age of the "isms" begins that supplant one another in dizzying succession (Impressionism, Neo-Impressionism, Pointillism, Symbolism, Expressionism, Fauvism, Futurism, Cubism, Surrealism and so on).
This course will also help students to understand what this is all about and to appreciate Van Gogh in particular as a bridge to a new level of self-conscious awareness. Assigned reading will be Art and Human Consciousness by Gottfried Richter. Students will study Van Gogh's paintings in depth. Questions and thoughts follow the course guide which require response. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Instructor: Andrew Flaxman]
(See also Study Questions and the Gospel of John.)
HUM 302: THINKING WITH THE HEART (3 credits)
Woody Allen has been quoted "It's very hard to get your heart and head together in life. In my case they're not even friendly." This course will focus on the obstacles to uniting thoughts with feelings and directions to overcome these difficulties.
Deeply ingrained in our minds is that the heart is a pump. Since primary school we have been barraged with pictures and TV advertisements showing the heart as a motor acting as a pressure or suction pump. News articles show pictures of the newest portable implant with headlines such as "A Boost for a Failing Pump." This organ appears to drive the blood through a system of tubes, the hollow muscle that brings about the pressure, the valves that mechanically prevent the backflow, the streaming from places of higher pressure to places of lower pressure. All of this activity clearly seems to speak for the heart as a mechanism, the task of which is to pump blood through the body. There is an oppressive multitude of data that shows the achievements of the heart considered as such and the physiological function of the circulation seems to be no problem at all. Since the heart has such obviously mechanical devices like the valves, what is wrong with this way of thinking that has produced such amazing medical successes? The common and accepted picture of the heart is nevertheless seriously incomplete as it pertains to healing and medical practices as well as for psychological and spiritual reasons: How can we heal ourselves or have feelings of love and courage with a purely mechanical heart? To a great extent we are what we think we are. We are missing significant truths important for our well-being when we maintain a simplistic image of anatomy and ourselves as Human Beings.
To be able to re-think the scientific world view of what the heart is students will read Meditations through the Rg Veda by Antonio T. de Nicolas and Enlivening the Chakra of the Heart by Florin Lowndes. These books are essential for anyone interested in the practice of meditation. Questions and thoughts follow the course guide which require response. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Instructor: Antonio T. de Nicolas]
(See also Bible Study, Love, Gospel of John, Ten Commandments, Baptism, Spiritual Science, Orthodox Religion.)
HUM 303: THE PHILANTHROPY OF CARNEGIE AND TOLSTOY (3 credits)
In the history of the world there has never been such an enormous gulf between extravagant wealth and great poverty. What should the attitude and responsibility be of the so very fortunate to the very unfortunate? What should our estate tax policy be? What should the attitude be towards all of us to each other, regardless of our social positions and wealth? This course about philanthropy is designed to help answer these questions and to help us to realize a greater sense of purpose and meaning in our own lives.
It would be difficult to find two personalities in greater contrast in their thought and feeling and in their standard of right and wrong than Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) and Leo Tolstoy (1825-1910). On the one hand is the famous influential writer and on the other the American millionaire, Carnegie. Why should these two differing personalities be compared? Just as Tolstoy, out of the depths of his soul, strives to solve the problems of life satisfactorily, even so Carnegie, in his own way, endeavors with a practical and intelligent outlook upon life, to reach guiding principles. We all embody the way we think. By penetrating the contrasting philosophies of Leo Tolstoy's Idealism with Andrew Carnegie's Realism students will be able to expand their own scope of humanitarianism. The course requires the reading of The Gospel of Wealth by Andrew Carnegie, the biography, Tolstoy by A.N. Wilson and The Kingdom of God is Within You by Tolstoy. Questions and thoughts follow the course guide which require response. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Instructor: Andrew Flaxman]
HUM 304: EDUCATION AND DEMOCRACY (3 credits)
No form of government is more dependent upon education than is democracy. Does it then follow that we must establish high standards and accountability for mass education? For education to remain free of governmental controls, new approaches to public education must be discovered and promoted. Furthermore, today's children are an endangered species. As a result of reductionism (the tendency to reduce everything to its lowest denomination), and the homogenization of the stages of human life, many children seem to have lost their childhood and been thrust into the confusing and chaotic world of adults. By assuming that children can assimilate a conceptual framework that was once considered fit only for adults, we have indeed turned children into "little adults" who (it would appear) can think logically, make decisions for themselves, and express precocious sexual desires. Deprived of the boundaries that once separated the "world of childhood" from the world of adulthood, these children of today are also capable of promiscuous sexual behavior and violence toward themselves and others on a scale never seen before. Is there any way for childhood to be regained? This course will help increase awareness of the issues involved. Students will read The Millennial Child by Eugene Schwartz, Educational Freedom for a Democratic Society by Ron Miller, ed., Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich and In Fear of Freedom by Jeffrey Kane. Questions and thoughts follow the course guide which require response This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Guide by Jeffrey Kane and Andrew Flaxman]
HUM 305: WALT WHITMAN: POET OF THE SUBLIME (3 credits)
What is meant by "The Sublime?" As the word, "Poetry," it is indefinable. Yet, one is able to talk about it. Involved are the essential, the eternal, the enduring. Involved are the words: Truth, Beauty, Goodness, the Divine, God, the Word, Spirit, Higher Consciousness, Vision, the Higher Self, the Virtues, Freedom, Individuality, Compassion, Love.
Is it possible to find all that expressed in the poetry of Walt Whitman? Yes! Whitman is celebrated as "The Poet of Democracy," yet the democracy which he envisioned was not what existed during his lifetime, nor does it exist in our own. It was not license, violence, cruelty, obscenity, corruption. Whitman dreamed of democratic individualism mingled with divine values. Walt Whitman was a seer and a prophet whose genius has not yet been wholly appreciated. Many of his readers are not aware that he is one of the great teachers of Humankind, nor that his poetry is an instrument for helping to bring about a transformation of consciousness in each individual, and thereby, a transformation of the whole Earth toward higher being. He recognized that in our age, which is the age striving to go beyond intellectualism, this could no longer be relegated to a special elite. The time had arrived when each single individual was capable of becoming a spiritually self conscious being. The guides on the journey to the spiritual self were to be the Poets (with a capital "P").
Students will read a biography of Whitman and a selection of his poems. Questions and thoughts follow the course guide which require response. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Guide by Daisy Alden]
(See also Bible Study, Love, Gospel of John, Ten Commandments, Baptism, Spiritual Science, Orthodox Religion.)
HUM 306: EMERSON, SPIRITUAL TEACHER (3 credits)
Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American transcendentalist, poet, essayist, and reformer has served as one of the founders of America's cultural heritage. But today he can also serve as a spiritual teacher, a guide to the intimate processes of awakening our slumbering organs of spiritual perception. In countless ways, including the example of his life, he showed that "the holy and mysterious sources of life" were available to anyone, at any hour of the day, who can "listen for the right word." Emerson taught that the harmony of one's own mind is the basis for inner development and self-transformation. As Emerson wrote in The Times, "There was never so great a thought laboring in the breasts of men as now. It almost seems as if what was aforetime spoken fabulously and hieroglyphaically was now spoken plainly, the doctrine, namely, of the indwelling Creator in man." It has been over one hundred and fifty years since the powerful, startling messages from his pen began to flow out of Concord, Massachusetts, to a small circle of devoted readers in America and England. After his death in 1882, American culture subsumed much of that power into the broader, pragmatic vision of individualism and expansionism, and the man who was once understood as the seer of a revolution in human self-recovery was more weakly read as America's beloved idealist. It is now way past the time to re-awaken to Emerson's great wisdom. This course emphases Emerson's teaching that we can attain an original relation to the universe and not have to rely on only the revelations and traditions of earlier generations. Students will read Spiritual Teachings of Emerson by Richard Geldard and Essays by Emerson. Following the course guide are questions and thoughts which require response. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Guide by Richard Geldard]
(See also Bible Study, Love, Gospel of John, Ten Commandments, Baptism, Spiritual Science, Orthodox Religion.)
HUM 307: THE ROOTS OF GENIUS: THOMAS EDISON AND HENRY FORD (3 credits)
In Roman mythology Genius was a guardian spirit. It was believed that every individual, family and city had its own spirit-guide. These were worshipped that they might bestow success and intellectual powers on devotees. Today we no longer pray to our Geniuses. Yet here lies the source of all the accomplishments of civilization and individuals.
What is a genius? According to modern usage, a genius is a person of great natural power of mind. What are these powers specifically? This mind would have a rich imagination, great intuitive abilities and a deep source of inspiration. These attributes would be coupled with an independent, unconventional nature. The person would most likely have a wide range of interests and be open to novel, complex and ambiguous stimuli in their surroundings.
The individual would have great love for what he or she is doing, so much so that the motivation would be much more powerful than just success, important as that might be. The genius often would want to be alone because that would provide the necessary space for creative activity.
This course is intended to help us to discover the spiritual nature of our genius by looking into the insights about reincarnation of two prominent geniuses of the past century, Thomas Alva Edison and Henry Ford. Students will read Edison: Inventing the Century by Neil Baldwin, Henry Ford, Ignorant Idealist by David Nye and Reincarnation: The Phoenix Fire Mystery by Head & Cranston. Questions and thoughts follow the course guide which require response. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Instructor: Andrew Flaxman]
HUM 308: ECONOMICS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY (3 credits)
More than any other subject, humanity's understanding of economic life stands in need of the wide perspective that the idea of evolution affords. It is essential, for example, to understand that economic life and economic science are in process of development, and that our perception of both alters with changes in our consciousness. Thus, what Adam Smith had to say needs to be seen in terms of his experience, his form of consciousness, and his moment in time. He had much to say that was very relevant, but by extrapolating his experience into a general theory he, or more particularly his followers, made a basic mistake. Economic life does not stay unchanged. It was different before Smith and has changed since. To distinguish between a point of view, however valid, and the totality of economics is one of the most important tasks we face. Sadly, the seemingly scientific terminology and methods of economics contradict this fact, in that they tend to seek and to use generalizations, rather than to remain merely descriptive and observational. In economics, the moment one moves from observation to theory one can get easily lost, because the way we think, rather than the way things are, is forever intervening, albeit without our noticing. This course discusses the requirements of this evolution of economic consciousness through the studying of Beyond the Market by Gaudenz Assenza, The Meaning of Work by Marjo Van Boeschoten and Rudolf Steiner, Economist by Christopher Houghton Budd.
The student will be expected to engage in a dialog with the instructor concerning new ways of thinking about economic life. Questions and assignments that require written responses follow the lecture/guide. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Guide by Christopher Budd, et.al.]
HUM 309: AN INTRODUCTION TO HOLISTIC EDUCATION (3 credits)
What is holistic education? What are the primary philosophies that distinguish it from traditional education? Who were the pioneers in holistic education? How and where are these ideas practiced today? Throughout the 200-year history of public schooling, a widely scattered group of critics have pointed out that the education of young Human Beings should involve much more than simply molding them into future workers or citizens. This course explores the ideas of Rousseau, the Swiss humanitarian Johann Pestalozzi, the American Transcendentalists Thoreau, Emerson and Alcott, the founders of "progressive" education--Francis Parker and John Dewey, and the pioneers Maria Montessori, Krishnamurti, Sri Aurobindo Ghose, Sazrat Inayat Khan, and Rudolf Steiner.
The course will attempt to demonstrate to the student that education which does not result in deep integration of thought, feeling, and outlook is useless. It will point out that many contemporary methods of teaching emphasize slavish conformity to mass values and overstress technique. For education to encourage the development of the true Human Being, the present mass education must be transformed into one that stresses self-knowledge and take place in a surrounding of freedom and love for the child.
This course will provide a penetrating inquiry into the nature and requirements of the kind of education which can lead to self-fulfillment and to world peace.
Questions and assignments that require written responses follow the lecture/guide. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Guide by Ron Miller]
HUM 310: THINKING BEYOND DARWIN (3 credits)
Charles Darwin was born in England in 1809 (on the same exact day and year as Abraham Lincoln). Along with Marx, Einstein and Freud he has had a great influence on the 20th century and is one of the founders of modern biology. After the publication in 1859 of his ground-breaking book, On the Origin of Species, the thought-world of humankind changed. Darwin refuted the common belief in the individual creation of each species. Instead people began to believe that all of life descended from a common ancestor, including by extension the human being. Darwin's theory challenged the prevailing assumptions of a God-created, purposeful spiritual world. He postulated that chance variation and natural selection alone bring forth the variety of life on earth.
Darwin's theory of evolution has had an enormous influence on the modern world, not all to Humankind's benefit. This course will critically examine the theory and point out the riches that lie beyond its simplistic strictures. Students will be exposed to a Goethean approach to evolutionary phenomena by reading Thinking Beyond Darwin by Ernst Michael Kranich and One Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought by Ernst Mayr. Questions and assignments that require written responses follow the lecture/guide. [Guide by Craig Holdrege]
HUM 311: SCIENCE, VALUES AND THE FUTURE LIFE (3 credits)
Modern natural science has, of course, evolved from a genuine search for truth. Its pioneers strove to transcend the subjective view of the world conveyed to them through their sense. Impressed by the objective nature of mathematics, they evolved in due course the reductionistic method we have today. (Reductionism in science is the tendency to reduce things to the smallest most basic level to provide a working explanation, something that others can work with and use.) It has become natural to equate scientific understanding with successful reductionistic explanation. Beyond mere satisfaction for the intellect, such explanations have given rise to novel technologies through which practically all realms of nature can be manipulated. This power of manipulation is cited as the strongest proof of the reductionistic doctrine.
On the other hand, the growing problems of contemporary civilization have led to a call for holism. By taking the whole to be the sum of its parts, the reductionistic method has been leading humanity into chaos. Perhaps an objective science that takes the world apart only to reassemble it with the aid of ever faster computers does not lead to a rational view of the world after all? This course entails the studying of three books about holistic science: The Marriage of Sense & Thought - Imaginative Participation in Science by Stephen Edelglass, Georg Maier, Hans Gebert, and John Davy; Genetics & the Manipulation of Life by Craig Holdrege; and Insight - Imagination, The Emancipation of Thought and the Modern World by Douglas Sloan. These well written books all require great thoughtfulness. The student thereby will be introduced to an alternative approach to the scientific reductionism prevalent in the modern world. Questions and assignments that require written responses follow the lecture/guide. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Guide by Edelglass, Maier, Gebert and Davy]
HUM 312: EVIL AND WORLD ORDER (3 credits)
Is evil a natural defect in the Human Being, an imperfection which disappears by itself as the good increases? This is the position of many people who think that humans are born good and that it is the family and cultural environment that ruins this goodness. This position stems from thinkers such as Rousseau who believed that humans were naturally god and then corrupted by society. The opposing position stems from the religious conviction most pronounced in Calvin that humans are born stained with original sin and this evil has to be suppressed by strict ordinances and overcome by God's grace. There is, however, a third position that is not well known. This is that the Human Being is both good and evil and that Evil is a genuine power that controls our world by means of temptations. In order to combat it successfully, help must be obtained through a much higher degree of self-knowledge than ordinary consciousness brings. This attitude has been promoted by Gnostics throughout the ages, most recently by such educators as Krishnamurti and Rudolf Steiner. This course will help the student answer such questions as "How is it that when we try to do good we can often end up by creating greater evil?" "How do we make the world a better place?" "Is it possible that unenlightened people can transform the world?" The answers to these questions require a transformed thinking ability. To help us are some insights about Sophia (the Being of Wisdom) from the great Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov. He prophesized over 100 years ago that there would be a great conflagration in the Mid-east in the 21st century involving all of the world's peoples. Required readings are Solovyov's War, Progress and the End of History with his story of the Anti-Christ and Thompson's Evil and World Order. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Andrew Flaxman, Instructor]
HUM 401: FROM THE SEARCH FOR MEANING TO THE SOURCES OF MEANING: VIKTOR FRANKL AND RUDOLF STEINER (3 credits)
This course is based on reading two books which explore the meaning of life: Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) and Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path, by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). The life work of both authors leads us into the deepest recesses of the human soul in an attempt to answer questions about what it means to be human.
The question of meaning immediately raises the question of freedom. Can my life have any meaning if I am compelled to do the things I do? Many people accept life just the way it is. No questions. It could be argued that as a creature of nature, meaning lies in acting as naturally as possible. This leads to a completely deterministic view of life. In fact, Freud wrote, "The moment one inquires about the sense or value of life, one is sick" (quoted by Frankl in The Unheard Cry for Meaning). After all, even a cog in a machine plays a meaningful role in the working of the machine. Yes, but doesn't the meaning, in that case, belong to the machine? The cog is interchangeable, replaceable. There is no room for individual, personal meaning. As part in the machinery of nature we would simply be mechanical robots.
Similarly, it could be argued that the meaning of life refers to the mysterious and ultimately unknowable workings of a higher power. All is written in the stars. We live out the inexorable destiny the gods intended for us. Again, there would be no personal meaning. We would be marionettes dancing to strings pulled by the gods. If you feel satisfied with either of these views, it would be best if you do not take this course and went on with your life. These are perfectly understandable ways to look at the world. In fact, the majority of people fall into one camp or the other. There is an esoteric saying: "Dissatisfaction is the first step." Unless you have questions about the meaning of your particular life, the concepts elaborated by these two authors will remain empty abstractions for you. The words "question" and "quest" stem for the same root.
There are questions following this lesson that require email responses. This course requires no prior learning but does require the ability to think clearly and in an unprejudiced manner. [Guide by Paul Margulies]
(See also Bible Study, Love, Gospel of John, Ten Commandments, Baptism, Spiritual Science, Orthodox Religion.)
HUM 402: BUDDHISM AND SPIRITUAL SCIENCE (3 credits)
The entry of Buddhism into the stream of world history was a moment of profound change in the evolution of human consciousness. Not only did the religious tradition inspired by Siddartha Gautama (circa 560-480 BC) provide the world with a new understanding of the nature of human suffering, but in his realization of bodhi, or enlightenment, the historical Buddha made it possible for an earth-bound humanity to aspire to re-union with the spiritual world.
This course compares Buddhism with (Anthroposophy) Spiritual Science. From the standpoint of Anthroposophy, the events and processes of history contain meaning that materialistic readings of history inevitably overlook. Events generally understood as mere legends, myths, or anecdotes often conceal matters of great spiritual significance.
Students will study Rudolf Steiner's commentaries on the Gospel According to St. Luke which will bring an especially rich account of the relationship between Christ and Buddha. Steiner also shows us that the apparent discrepancies between the stories of Jesus' lineage and childhood found in Luke and the other synoptic gospels are not contradictions, but clues to a deeper, and radically new understanding of the incarnation of divinity in the person--or persons--of Jesus. The idea that there were two Jesus children in first- century Palestine would strike most Christians as shockingly heterodox, yet the awareness of these two boys and their respective soul-properties does much to explain the superficial differences in the gospels, and illuminates the role of Buddha and other exalted spirit beings in the formation of historical Christian consciousness. Although the fact is not acknowledged by either historians or religious scholars, the deeds of the Buddha and the Christ are directly related events in the evolution of human consciousness. Steiner's commentaries provide great insight into the nature of the relationship, and help contemporary students build vital bridges between history, religion and myth. Lecture/guide by Eric Cunningham, Professor of History, Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington
(See also Bible Study, Love, Gospel of John, Ten Commandments, Baptism, Spiritual Science, Orthodox Religion.)
HUM 403: HABITS OF MIND: PLATO'S REPUBLIC AND RUDOLF STEINER'S THEOSOPHY (3 credits)
Our American educational policy is primarily a theoretical exercise. The classics, the moderns, the contemporaries are dispensed in the classroom within an egalitarian wrapper of theory that levels all historical and cultural differences. To teach is to theorize, either in the heroic manner of the classics or in the indecisive manner of the contemporaries.
Antonio T. de Nicolas offers an alternative philosophy of education with an amazingly simple theory: Higher education in a free society must foster the habits of mind that enable individuals to perform free mental acts. Plato first identified these habits of the free mind in The Republic as the abstraction of images from external objects, the formation of opinion, and the diverse operations of both cognition and imagination. In other words, we must hold education responsible for training inner mental technologies, or skills, instead of transferring accumulations of facts, data, and information. Rudolf Steiner updates Plato's ideas in a way that shows the path to become a free individual.
Students are required to read Habits of Mind, edited by de Nicolas and Theosophy, by Rudolf Steiner. The outcome of this course will be for students to become aware of their habits of mind so that they can transform these habits and become free human beings. The success of this course will be in the way students are able to free themselves from the "paradigm rigidity" which threatens to splinter modern life into endless points of view. This material should help students meet the concrete problems that modern society puts before us in ever great number.
Lecture/guide by Antonio T. de Nicolas, Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus SUNY
(See also Bible Study, Love, Gospel of John, Ten Commandments, Baptism, Spiritual Science, Orthodox Religion.)
HUM 404: THE ALCHEMY OF TRANSFORMATION (3 credits)
Alchemy is the ancient, primordial, sacred science of Nature. Present in all historical cultures from India and China in the East to the Abrahamic West and always adapting its practice to its context, its origins are lost in the depths of prehistory. In a sense, it is the primal cosmological revelation. In the Alchemical tradition, the highest goal a human being can aspire to is the fertilization, gestation, and birth of a higher person within the soul of the lower human personality. This second birth is known esoterically as the birth of the Spirit Embryo. The first birth is into a body of flesh. Given to us by nature working through our parents, the body of flesh is governed by the laws of nature and returns to nature when we die. This is the natural way of things. Alchemists, however, know of another birth, one that is, as Jung said, a work against nature (opus contra naturam). In the second birth a Spirit embryo is fertilized and then brought to term by the conscious work of the student. This Spirit Embryo is called the "I Being" by Rudolf Steiner, the "True Self" by Carl Jung, and "the parent who would never lie to us" by the Kahunas of Hawaii. These names all relate to different functions of a being who resides in human consciousness as if asleep and is awakened only by conscious acts of will and rhythmical practices.
To understand Alchemy the student will read The Seer's Handbook, by Dennis Klocek, and practice exercises suggested in this book. This special training is necessary so that the student can build organs of cognition that can function both in the sense world and in the hidden world of the spirit.
Lecture/guide by Dennis Klocek
HUM 405: AN ALTERNATIVE WAY TO RECOVER PREHISTORY (3 credits)
Why don't thoughtful people take the universal flood stories more seriously? In addition to the story of Noah in the Bible, virtually every ancient civilization has a similar tale. The usual scientific explanation of humanity is that humankind began 750,000 B.C. (give or take a few thousand years) with few earth inhabitants, escalating in the past two hundred years to billions of people. People who claim to take the Bible seriously do not consider any pre-Noah civilization, and certainly not lasting millions of years.
Before the turn of the last century, W. Elliot-Scott wrote a short book, Story of Atlantis and the Lost Lemuria. Included in this book are six maps of the world as it looked over great expanses of time before and after Atlantis and Lemuria were destroyed. Atlantis was located in the area that is now the Atlantic Ocean and Lemuria occupied what is now the Pacific Ocean. In 1904 the great Austrian educator-seer-philosopher Rudolf Steiner gave a series of lectures about the ability to see into this remote past. In great inner detail he presents the story of Atlantis, Lemuria, and the division of the sexes.
How many people lived in these remote times? Why is there not more evidence of this great population? Is it at all possible to recapture these times? How would we do this? What was humanity like before Eve when there was only one sex? If the Bible did not go into details about these civilizations, what is the purpose of us doing so, even if we could? This course addresses these questions in short lessons that accompany Steiner's book, Cosmic Memory - the story of Atlanitis, Lemuria, and the division of the sexes.
HUM 405: $75
HUM 406: LEADING WITH WISDOM: SPIRITUAL-BASED LEADERSHIP IN BUSINESS (3 credits)
This course is primarily based on the book with the same title as the course: Leading with Wisdom: Spiritual-based Leadership in Business (2007). Supplementary material can be found online. This supplementary material consists of the full length versions of the abridged and edited interviews presented in the book. All of us, at some time or other in our lives, face what one can refer to as personal-existential questions - inquiries dealing with our deepest identity: Who am I? Why am I here? What is a good life for me? What brings happiness? What is success? What are my obligations? In spite of their obvious significance, such questions tend to challenge us either early in our childhood or else in connection with a personal crisis; seldom are they part of our regular reflections.
Similar existential inquiry is clearly relevant at an organizational level: Who are we? Why are we here? What is a good life for us? What brings happiness to our organization? What is success for us? What are our responsibilities? This second set of questions is characterized by a similar characteristic; in spite of their obvious significance, they are seldom a matter of explicit concern for the leaders of our organizations. The course deals indirectly with both sets of questions. Its primary focus is on the experiences of business leaders who lead their organizations and themselves from a spiritual basis. The course is not structured in an academic or teaching mode. Rather, it is designed to stimulate reflection about the type of personal and organizational inquiries referred to above via 'story telling' - by presenting the reflections of 31 top leaders in business from 15 countries on six continents. These leaders have all agreed to be interviewed as to how they combine their search for 'fulfillment' in the external world of business with their search for 'fulfillment' in the internal world, where consciousness and conscience, rather than the demands of the market and shareholders, reign supreme. In other words, the course presents a framework for the student to reflect on how the individual experiences of these leaders from a wide variety of cultures, industries and belief systems relate to one's own experiences and context. The course has no prerequisites other that a sincere desire to expand one's awareness as to some of the most fundamental aspects of human activity - personal and organizational leadership.
HUM 407: THE ETHER (3 credits)
In this deeply divided and hostility-ridden era, despite the Internet and all our global communications and travel, is there something vitally missing from our awareness?
What is it that provides the coherence, meaning, wholeness and unity behind the endless diversity we presently experience as this apparently random and fragmented world?
Awareness of the Ether is now re-awakening all over the world in a wide variety of ways—scientific, artistic, spiritual and in the arena of personal well-being and responsibility. Here's a chance to gently attune your mind to this level of reality and reap the benefits of such an empowerment—without having to commit yourself to any kind of belief system or organization. For this course, no specialist knowledge is required—scientific or otherwise—only a willingness to think and look afresh, be prepared to unlearn a few old habits and ask searching questions.
HUM 408: ESCHATOLOGY AND THE END OF THE MODERN WORLD (3 credits)
By Dr. Eric Cunningham, Department of History, Gonzaga University
What will happen in the future to our world? Since all history is narrative, the quality of the narrative will in large measure determine the quality of the historical life that any civilization experiences. Modernization seems, by any interpretation, inadequate to describe the vast scope and multi-layered richness of human experience. This course argues that our current mode of thinking needs to be replaced by some more inclusive, more descriptive, more plausibly fulfilling narrative. Dr. Cunningham's outlook will be fruitful for students seeking to gain greater understanding of how the various epochs of human history unfold and it will provide the core of that new and more satisfying narrative of history that a humanity that sees itself on the brink of disaster so clearly needs.
No prior learning is necessary, only an inquiring and open mind. Required reading is Meaning in History by Karl Lowith; The Apocalypse of St. John by Rudolf Steiner; and The Far Future Universe: Eschatology from a Cosmic Perspective by George F.R. Ellis, editor.