Consciousness: Pathways to the Self
Fall 2014, Winter 2015 and Spring 2015 quarters
What is the relationship between our understanding of consciousness and our self-understanding? This yearlong, interdisciplinary program will provide an opportunity for students who are interested in doing intensive work on the nature of consciousness to cultivate self-awareness through challenging readings, written and expressive responses to program materials and self-reflection. We will examine our beliefs about the nature of reality from a variety of disciplinary viewpoints, including physics, music, psychology and philosophy. Prospective students should have a strong interest in the experiential study of relationships between reality and consciousness as well as college-level skills in reading, writing and pursuing research topics. Sincere effort and self-motivation will be essential for succeeding in this yearlong community learning process.
We will take an approach that welcomes and explores the complexity of many different views of consciousness as proposed by researchers, philosophers and spiritual leaders. We will read texts that cover many contemporary models of consciousness and we will examine topics from the basics of Jungian psychology through alternative areas of research, such as lucid dreaming and paranormal phenomena. Students will keep a structured journal of activities and practices that explores their developing understanding of the nature of consciousness. The fall quarter will include an overnight, off-campus retreat. During the winter and spring quarters we will integrate contemplative disciplines into our study as well as an in-depth study of dreams. This will include keeping a journal of experiences during contemplative practices and a dream journal. In spring, students will have the opportunity to pursue their interests in individually selected areas of activity for up to four credits.
This is an experiential and rigorous full-time program in which students will be expected to participate in all program activities and to document at least 40 hours of work per week being invested in program related activities.
Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies or careers in
Location and Schedule
Offered during: Day