About the Programs
Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness (PCC) graduate programs are dedicated to re-imagining the human species as a mutually enhancing member of the Earth community.
At the heart of the PCC programs is a focus on knowledge that is transformative—of ourselves and of our civilization. The programs attract intellectually engaged people who are in varying degrees dismayed by what they see happening in industrial societies and who are striving to find meaningful ways to develop their gifts to serve the future of the world.
Inspired by Alfred North Whitehead's view that the function of the university is to enable the future to appear, first in conceptual thought, PCC faculty and graduate students hold in mind three fundamental goals:
- To open our consciousness, through learning and imagination, to those creative and evolutionary energies suffusing the Earth, the universe, and the deep psyche that will enable us to participate fully in the regeneration of human communities and their enveloping life systems.
- To analyze the current devastation of planetary life and to strive to liberate ourselves and our communities from the underlying causes of alienation, consumerism, militarism, androcentrism, and unsustainable modes of life.
- To draw from the deep wells of philosophical and religious wisdom together with other scholarly and scientific insights in order to bring forth a profound vision of a vibrant planetary era.
Scientists, scholars, and visionaries recognize that the Earth community is facing an unprecedented evolutionary challenge, the most severe degradation of life in the last 65 million years.
This multifaceted crisis requires a fundamental reorientation of our civilization, one in which a compassionate humanity becomes a mutually enhancing presence within Earth’s complex systems of life. Cultural historian Thomas Berry has called this task "the Great Work."
The PCC master's and doctoral programs are committed to shaping the leadership necessary for profound, progressive transformation of social institutions and individual consciousness. Drawing upon some of the most powerful ideas of Western intellectual and spiritual traditions, together with insights from Asian spiritual philosophies and indigenous world views, the faculty has constructed a multidisciplinary course of study to help accelerate each student’s journey into his or her particular leadership role within this work:
To free philosophy from its contemporary commitments—narrowly analytic, reductionist, and cosmologically alienated—and revive the original essence of Western philosophy as the love of wisdom.
Philosophy in PCC explores new ways of thinking and being that are both visionary and pragmatic, and resist the paradigm of fragmentation that continues to dominate Western thought and culture.
To pursue a multidisciplinary study of cosmology with a focus on the evolutionary unfolding of the universe and the Earth community.
Cosmology in PCC includes reflection on the discoveries of the natural sciences as well as cosmological and ecological perspectives emerging in contemporary culture, including especially the arts and religion.
To explore the inner worlds of consciousness and the deep psyche, particularly by research concerning archetypal structures and their formative expression in individual lives and culture.
Consciousness studies in PCC focuses on transpersonal and Jungian psychology, the evolution of consciousness, Western esotericism, and new paradigm studies.
In the last several years, the PCC faculty and students have collaborated in creating a strong emphasis on integral ecology.
THE INTEGRAL ECOLOGY TRACK:
Integral Ecology: Education for a Whole Earth
The Integral Ecology track focuses on ecology in the context of the transdisciplinary vision of philosophy, cosmology, and consciousness that characterizes the PCC program as a whole. The word "integral" suggests that ecology is relevant to the full range of human knowledge and action.
Integral Ecology includes the study of the natural and human sciences as well as the world’s spiritual traditions. In the end, the perspectives studied and developed within the PCC community are tested in the fire of one’s own experience.
PCC offers students a challenging and supportive learning community in which to find their voice and vision as leaders.Study the complex character of the Earth community, the factors that threaten it, and possibilities for a better way forward.
- Explore some of the vital links between ecology and such fields as philosophy, religion, psychology, and cosmology.
- Learn strategies for a sustainable future in a creative community of planetary citizens.
The gravity and complexity of the global ecological crisis calls for an integral approach to ecology. At a minimum, such an approach would broaden and deepen the study of ecology through active engagement with the humanities and social sciences.
In its more fully realized sense, the word integral here suggests that ecology is relevant to the full range of human knowledge and action. At the same time, an integral ecology must draw from the whole spectrum of human inquiry: from the sciences (human, social, and natural), from the world's spiritual traditions (Asian, Western, and indigenous), from collective wisdom, and from the insights of individual experience.
Students in the Integral Ecology track focus on ecology in the context of the transdisciplinary vision of philosophy, cosmology, and consciousness that characterizes the PCC program as a whole.
Central to this vision is the recognition that the key factor determining the health of the Earth's biosphere is the behavior of human beings, and therefore many of the most important issues in the study of a truly integral ecology lie in the areas of human thought, psychology, and culture.
The search for solutions to ecological problems must include as a central concern the transformation of human conceptual, psychological, and cultural patterns that have become an imminent danger to the health of the entire Earth community, as well as the cultivation of new structures of human experience and action that are more harmoniously aligned with the natural world and the larger cosmic order within which we dwell.
Faculty and students in the PCC Integral Ecology track explore together questions such as:
- What does it mean to say an ecosystem is healthy?
- What is the nature of the human? Is the human a viable species?
- Does the Earth have a "purpose"? Is there such a thing as a cosmological ecology?
- How do myths and symbols affect our attitude to the natural world?
- Do the world's religions and esoteric traditions have a contribution to make to the task of restoring ecological balance?
- Why are our philosophies divorced from the Earth?
- What kinds of direct experience and engagement with nature could help us become more aware and effective in dealing with the planetary emergency?
- What roles do gender and sexuality play in the psychological and cultural dynamics of our ecological situation?
- What is the relationship between ecology and social justice?
SELECTING THE INTEGRAL ECOLOGY TRACK
Any PCC student can elect to adopt a track in Integral Ecology, but doing so alters the curriculum requirements.