December 16th 2005 – Mid-Winter Celebration
On Friday, December 16th at 8pm, we shall be having our mid-winter celebration The Ever-returning Light, a celebration of the human psyche`s capacity to manifest dreams.
Our interior world impinges on physical reality. Most of us use imagination as a means of escape or fantasy. But it is our greatest asset; because in a deep way, we become what we imagine ourselves to be.
Midwinter points us to the affirming power of Hope. Hope is real, and it manifests as perseverance, sometimes against great odds. But, all that is truly \’human\’ – in our cultures and ourselves – is the result of perseverance, born of Hope.
Dream the right dreams, then dance your dreams awake! On this night let us engage with what our Souls really desire! Let us fearlessly dance with the Self. Because this is the magic of Midwinter: beneath a dark, locked and frozen landscape – grace and wonder is just waiting to burst forth!
Become your own Christmas Tree and gift yourself with Love.
The evening will be lead by Dr. David Goddard, a Teacher and author, Lineage-holder of the Western Esoteric Tradition, trained by the spiritual master Z`ev ben Shimon Halevi. David specialises in the practical applications of the Qabalah, Alchemy and Theurgy (Transcendental Magic).
15th November 2005
Hardin Tibbs: From Global Crisis to a New Civilisation
The present global situation is highly complex and rapidly shifting. Global issues and problems are combining to form a multidimensional global crisis. But hidden within what may seem a doomed situation are seeds of hope. We know we have potential solutions in our grasp, but what will it take for us to apply them? In a sense, technology lies at the heart of the problem, both presenting a challenge and as a possible springboard for true development. It continues to advance very rapidly, but at the same time it exerts an unconscious restrictive influence on our thinking. If we fail to master it, inwardly and outwardly, it will drag us down. But mastery ultimately requires us to open up to a new conception of reality arising from a fusion of scientific and spiritual insight. This latent reframing can therefore be understood as the epicentre or seed point of a new civilisation hidden within our current global crisis. If the seed germinates, it will transform both science and faith — something the world urgently needs now — and will put us at the threshold of a new global culture of hope. This presentation explores the big-picture future, joining the dots between global crisis, technological acceleration, and spiritual development, to create a plausible scenario of hope for humanity.
Hardin Tibbs is a management consultant with extensive international experience. He runs a UK-based management consulting firm, and is an individual Network Member of Global Business Network (GBN), a futures research firm in California. Hardin specializes in long range thinking and strategy development, and is an experienced scenario planner. In addition to his strategy work, Hardin has made significant contributions on issues involving technology and environment, and he is the author of an influential 1991 paper defining industrial ecology, a new approach to industrial sustainability.
Several popular non-fiction books have featured his work, including: Biomimicry by Janine Benyus, The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken, Out of Control by Kevin Kelly, and The Millenium Whole Earth Catalog edited by Howard Rheingold. Hardin`s writing about industrial ecology is used as teaching material at several universities, including Harvard University, and the conceptual framework he advanced has been adopted in work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Previously, he was a senior consultant with GBN. He then lived and worked in Australia for several years before returning to the UK in 2001. Prior to joining GBN, he was a consultant at Arthur D. Little, Inc., an international management, technology and environmental consulting firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A typical engagement there involved work on the design of a hand-held instrument for use by suited astronauts on the NASA space station.
13th October 2005
Roderick Main: The Social Motivation of C. G. Jung’s Critique of Scientific Rationalism
Throughout his career, C. G. Jung consistently claimed to be a scientist or empiricist. However, he also repeatedly criticised the dominant science of his day for its one-sided rationalism. This critical position received its fullest expression in his theory of synchronicity (acausal connection through meaning), which constitutes a direct challenge to the very foundations of modern western science. In this talk, I will explore the nature of Jung’s critique and its motivation in his profound concern for the social and political situation of the modern world. I will look first at Jung’s diagnosis of modernity, then at his understanding and general analytical psychological critique of scientific rationalism, and finally at the contribution of his concept of synchronicity to this critique.
Roderick Main, Ph.D., is Lecturer in Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Essex, where he is Scheme Director of the MA in Jungian and Post-Jungian Studies. He is the editor of Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal (Routledge/Princeton, 1997) and author of The Rupture of Time: Synchronicity and Jung’s Critique of Modern Western Culture (Brunner-Routledge, 2004) and Revelations of Chance: Synchronicity as Spiritual Experience (SUNY, forthcoming).
27th September 2005
Soumira Basu: Occultism and Psychiatry: implications in clinical practice
The Mind`s direct power to effectuate changes in oneself or others or in the physical world has obvious limitations. This led to the seeking of occult knowledge by which dormant psychological powers could be harnessed to produce effects (like ‘healing’)that appeared magical. However, most spiritual teachers in India do not favour such practices as they distract seekers from real spiritual progress. Actually, there is a hierarchy of these hidden powers and forces. Ordinarily, ‘occultists’ work with powers at the lower end of the hierarchy. In India, many psychiatric patients consult such occultists believing that their illness has been caused by ‘hostile’ forces. Such ‘hostile’ forces may be subjective psychological formations that arise in the individual or in the cultural matrix or stimulated by ‘perceived’ ill-will of persons significant to the subject. In their attempt to ‘correct’, occultists unleash disruptive forces that can further endanger an unbalanced state. Working with these lower powers often make the occultists perverse and vindictive. Moreover, many cheats practice in the disguise of occultists exploiting the belief-structure of people. There are higher powers and forces at the other end of the occult hierarchy. This ‘higher’ occultism necessitates an experiential growth in consciousness and can provide transpersonal insights to enrich our intervention strategies.
In this presentation, Dr. Basu will cite examples of how those patients who are the ‘beau-ideal’ of occultists can be understood and managed in a clinical setting without dismantling their belief-structure and without compromising scientific treatment. This necessitates a metapsychological understanding of the structure and nature of the human being from a consciousness perspective.
Dr.Soumitra Basu is an Indian Psychiatrist who divides his working schedules every month between Calcutta and Pondicherry(both Indian cities about 2000 Kms apart).He has been developing paradigms on psychology, psychotherapy and health based on the consciousness perspective that emanates from Sri Aurobindo`s mystical insights. He writes extensively on this theme and conducts seminars and workshops at different parts of the world. He has authored a book on Integral Health, edits a new age health journal, Namah, for the Sri Aurobindo International Institute for Integral Health and Research at Pondicherry. He is a consultant to the mental health team at Auroville, the international township. He is also a faculty at the psychiatric social work course at an Indian university. He has set up a public charitable mental health trust named Mirravision Trust, registered at Pondicherry. This trust will sponsor an Institute for Integral Yoga Psychology at Pondicherry; collaborate with Auroville to set up a healing space for psychiatric care; carry out rehabilitation, educative and training services in mental health at different places of India and conduct seminars and workshops with like-minded individuals/groups at an international level.
August 16th 2005
M. G. Hocking: Ten dimensions — Towards a Theory of Everything
This talk is general, meant for all and does not require any specialist knowledge in science. It builds on recent convergence of modern physics (elementary particles & quarks) with religion (e.g. Buddhism-Hinduism & Judeo-Christian).
Over 100 years ago some remarkable ESP observations on elementary particles were recorded by Besant & Leadbeater.
In 1895 they described the existence of 10 spatial dimensions and described many features of elementary particles which correspond with modern quark string theory which now also postulates 10 spatial dimensions. Clearly, it is worth looking carefully at these early observations, especially as these were obtained by a very unusual method which may be the only way in which the internal fine structure of quarks and their groupings may ever be obtained, as they require magnifications far beyond any instrumental method of observation.
The method of ESP magnification used depends on raising Kundalini to activate the eyebrow or ‘third eye’ Chakra. Several others have confirmed their observations, e.g. G. Hodson.
By taking their observations as a starting point, the well-known equations of Special Relativity can be derived in just two lines, but without the two ad-hoc Principles of Relativity proposed by Einstein. Also, Schroedinger’s Equations can be simply derived in 3 lines from B&L’s observations. Both these derivations are published and will be presented at the talk.
However, Besant & Leadbeater’s diagrams of atoms and molecules showed always an unexpected doubling of the structures, and also their molecules contained half-atoms ! E.g. hydrochloric acid, HCl, was seen as H½ClH½ ! These problems caused Besant & Leadbeater’s book to be set aside for many decades. I have given a simple explanation for this effect which removes this drawback.
Prof M.G. Hocking has researched this field for many years. He is with Imperial College (University of London) and works there in the field of physical chemistry.
July 21st 2005
Peter Fenwick: Approaching Death Experiences and Models of Dying
In our culture it is not cocktail party conversation to discuss what will happen when we die. Most of us prefer to ignore the one inevitable event of our life. Carers of the dying report several sets of phenomena that occur in the days preceding death. These are deathbed visions, when the dying person may report that dead relatives have visited them to help them through the dying process, deathbed coincidences, when close friends or relatives of the dying person say that they have been visited by, or somehow been made aware of, them at the moment of death. Carers also report other phenomena at the moment of death. These phenomena , taken in conjunction with the near death experience suggest that there may be a process to dying.
Dr. Peter Fenwick is a consultant neuropsychiatrist with honorary appointments at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, at Southampton Universtity and at Broadmoor Special Hospital. He has a special interest in states of consciousness and has run departments of Clinical Neurophysiology and Sleep Disorders.. He has collected a large number of accounts of both approaching death and near death experiences and together with Sam Parnia did the first prospective near death study on cardiac arrest survivors.
June 14th 2005
Mike King: Un-Paradigming Kuhn
Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolution, published in 1962, popularised the concept of the ‘paradigm shift’ and created in itself a paradigm for the understanding of science. In this talk Dr Mike King will expose the false arguments upon which Kuhn created this paradigm of scientific (mis)-understanding, and trace its historic origins to Kant. The exercise will however be more broadly aimed at kickstarting a discussion within the SMN about what we mean by ‘science’ and from there to its relationship with spirituality. The evening will be equally divided between the presentation of the argument and subsequent discussion.
Mike King PhD has four degrees from British Universities, spanning art, science and the spiritual, and is one of the Directors of the Scientific and Medical Network. He has published thirty five papers spanning his fields of interest and has exhibited his digital artworks in many countries. He is Director of the Centre for Postsecular Studies, and is on the steering group for the University for Spirit Forum. He won a Templeton award in 1999 for an essay on the theme:
Expanding Humanitys Vision of God.`
May 24th, 2005
Chris Clarke: Participation in Kosmos: both/and thinking in science and human experience
Chris will indicate, as a stimulus for discussion, how we have become estranged from the world through adopting a science and an education system rooted in subject/object duality, and how the rediscovery by science of quantum logic can play a part in easing the rediscovery of our connection with a ‘both/and’ universe.’
Chris Clarke was Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Southampton, working on Astrophysics with a little quantum theory until leaving in 1999 to work independently. His main enthusiasm is for Creation Centred Spirituality which he pursues through the organisation
April 19th, 2005
Jeremy Naydler: The Mystical Tradition of Ancient Egypt
Throughout the ancient world, Egypt was regarded as the source of a profound mystical wisdom. While there are many today who still share this view, the consensus of most Egyptologists is that most of the religious literature of ancient Egypt concerns funerary beliefs, and that no mystical tradition existed in ancient Egypt. Drawing on the Old Kingdom Pyramid Texts, and their probable ritual context, Jeremy Naydler will challenge this consensus, arguing that these texts and their accompanying rituals are very far from being simply funerary. Rather, they speak of initiatory experiences that are remarkably similar to those described in the literature of shamanism.
Jeremy Naydler, Ph.D., is author of Temple of the Cosmos: the Ancient Egyptian Experience of the Sacred (1996) and Shamanic Wisdom in the Pyramid Texts: the Mystical Tradition of Ancient Egypt (2005).
March 22nd, 2005
Max Velmans: Is the Brain in the World or the World in the Brain?
The relation of consciousness to the physical world is one of the deepest puzzles facing science. Max Velmans argues that the consciousness/physical world relationship is puzzling because we have been thinking about it in an inappropriate way. He surveys evidence that what we normally think of as the physical world is a form of virtual reality projected by the brain that models the physical reality out there but is not identical to it. This provides a new way of resolving the ancient dualist versus reductionist debate about the nature of consciousness. If what we normally think of as the physical world is part of conscious experience, consciousness is neither separate from what is physical (as dualists claim) nor reducible to what is physical (as reductionists claim). But this raises another deep question: is this virtual, ‘physical’ reality actually out there in the world or is it really in the brain? In ways that are developed in his book Understanding Consciousness, he argues that Reflexive Monism resolves this question in a more natural, integrated way than either dualist or reductionist ways of thinking about the world.
Max Velmans is a Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London and is the author or editor of numerous books and papers on consciousness including Understanding Consciousness (Routledge/Psychology Press, 2000), The Science of Consciousness (Routledge, 1996), Investigating Phenomenal Consciousness (John Benjamins, 2000) and How Could Conscious Experiences Affect Brains? (Imprint, 2003). He is also science editor of the forthcoming Blackwell Companion to Consciousness (2005). Understanding Consciousness (2000) is a comprehensive summary of his theoretical work, and introduces ‘reflexive monism’, an alternative to both dualism and reductionism that is arguably consistent both with science and with common sense. He is a co-founder and current Chair of the Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society and has been involved in many other initiatives to foster consciousness studies.
February 22nd, 2005
Peter Moore: Where are the Dead and what are they Doing?
The aim of this talk is not so much to propose any kind of detailed answer to this question as to show that the question is a coherent one worthy of being asked. This view goes against the grain not only of current materialistic scepticism (about which something will also be said) but also of much religious thinking, both popular and academic. Detailed theories about life after death are rejected by materialists as too ‘spiritual’ and by religious people as too ‘materialistic’. People want to think of themselves and their loved ones as surviving, but tend to flinch from thinking about what survival might involve. In consequence the subject is abandoned to the generally undisciplined attentions of fringe science and New Age thought, which makes it even less palatable to the ‘respectable’ disciplines. Either we survive death in some form or we do not. If we do, then there must be somewhere we are and there must be something we are doing. Contemplating what this might involve is a challenge worth taking up.
Dr Peter Moore graduated from the University of Sheffield in 1967 with an Honours degree in French, English and Philosophy. Between 1967 and 1972 he taught and studied at the University of Lancaster, writing his doctoral thesis on comparative mysticism under the supervision of the late Professor Ninian Smart. Since 1972 he has been teaching courses in Religious Studies at the University of Kent at Canterbury, where he pioneered an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, as well as establishing (with a colleague, Dr Leon Schlamm) a taught MA programme in the Study of Mysticism and Religious Experience.
Dr Moore’s interests include: mysticism and religious experience; religion and parapsychology; sacred art and symbolism; the dialogue between religions; and questions of methodology in the study of religions. Contributions in all of these areas have been published in various books and learned journals. Most recently he has contributed a new entry on mysticism for the newly revised MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religion (2004).
January 25th, 2005
David Goddard: The Mystic Fire
The force harnessed by Eastern Yoga and Western Alchemy is the universally diffused radiant energy concentrated in our being. This talk will present the traditional techniques by which this is brought into the level of consciousness. The presentation will be illustrated with both oriental and occidental teachings and imagery.
Dr. David Goddard is a Teacher and Lineage-holder of the Western Esoteric Tradition. He was trained by the spiritual master Z`ev ben Shimon Halevi. David specialises in the practical applications of the Qabalah, Alchemy and Theurgy (Transcendental Magic). His teachings enable others to experience the reality of the Higher Worlds, and so awaken their latent bliss and compassion. He is also Director of The Pharos, an international School of the Soul, and a Director of the Kabbalah Society. David is the author of The The Tower of Alchemy, The Dragon-Treasure of Hermes, and The Sacred Magic of the Angels and his latest book Tree of Sapphires has just been published.