Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness Course Descriptions
PARP 6004: Introduction to Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness (1 unit)
This course is a required introduction for all master’s and doctoral PCC students in their first year of coursework. The purpose of the course is twofold: First, it allows students to become familiar with the scholarly work and worldview of the core PCC faculty, each of whom presents the key ideas and insights that he or she most wishes to emphasize as his or her contribution to the academic content and larger vision of the PCC program. Second, students meet each other at a critical time and gain a sense of their cohort and the PCC community. Each of the six PCC faculty members assumes responsibility for one of the six classes. The course includes lecture, discussion, and some experiential exercises.
PARP 6110: Cosmological Powers (3 units)
The universe uses a variety of processes, laws, and powers, such as the electromagnetic interaction, the second law of thermodynamics, and gravity. These are the fundamental activities of the universe that have given rise to all the complex beings throughout 14 billion years of evolution. The human being, from this perspective, is a new, holistic blending of these processes and powers. This course examines the way in which humanity can be understood as a “hominized” form of cosmological processes.
PARP 6225: Synchronicity and Its Implications (2 units)
If synchronicity is real, the universe must be very different from what is assumed by the conventional scientific understanding. This course investigates the implications of accepting the reality of synchronicity and the role it has come to play in the psychological and spiritual life of our time. The course begins with a discussion of C. G. Jung’s original formulation of the issue, including how that differed from the approach he actually adopted in his own life and practice, and then examines the various theoretical explanations that have been proposed by scientists, philosophers, and depth psychologists.
PARP 6270: Asian Spiritual Masters (3 units)
A companion course to Western Spiritual Masters, this course studies 20th-century spiritual teachers and activists rooted in Asian spiritual traditions. The first half of the course introduces Indian/neo-Hindu ideals and focuses on M. K. Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo, and Haridas Chaudhuri. The second half introduces Buddhist ideals and focuses primarily on His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and secondarily on Joanna Macy and other Buddhist activists who exemplify the path of wisdom and compassion.
PARP 6285: Modern Western Esotericism: Theosophy and Anthroposophy (3 units)
This course focuses on the biographies, teachings, and influence of three great spiritual-esoteric teachers of the late 19th and 20th centuries: Madame Blavatsky (H.P.B.) and theosophy, Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy, and C. G. Jung and archetypal psychology. This course also explores archetypal-astrological perspectives so as to uncover a deeper understanding of these three figures and the times in which they lived.
PARP 6315: The Epic of the Universe (3 units)
This course covers the central ideas and discoveries of the evolution of the universe. This empirically based narrative is a cosmological epic, an account of how things came to be and of how the human fits into the cosmos. The importance of a new, transcultural epic is difficult to overestimate, for this is a story with relevance for peoples throughout the planet and can serve as the basis for a single, multivalent human community. The focus here is on the early parts of the universe, the birth of the cosmos, the development of galaxies, and the origin and
development of stars.
PARP 6388: Toward 2012: An Interdisciplinary Exploration (3 units)
This course will investigate from a variety of disciplinary perspectives (history, philosophy, social theory, astronomy, design science, religious studies, psychology, esotericism, anthropology, cognitive science, etc.) the recent emergence in our culture of a collective focus on the year 2012 as a symbolic threshold of transformation. In addition to learning the facts about the influential phenomenon of the “2012 meme,” students will acquire an appreciation of how and why a multidisciplinary approach is essential for fully understanding any complex human phenomenon, and will also gain practice in balancing respect and critique when engaged in dialogue about one’s own culture and beliefs.
PARP 6391: The Alchemy of Permaculture (3 units)
This 10-day off-site residential field course investigates the psychocultural origins of the planetary crisis and pursues direct practical solutions to it. Utilizing the ethic and practice of deep ecology and permaculture, we aim to envision, create, and live a sustainable way of being, and, most important, explore a playful and joyous kinship with the wild and natural world. Readings include selections by E. O. Wilson on the ecological crisis, C. G. Jung, and a variety of readings on permaculture and deep ecology.
PARP 6500: A History of Western Worldviews I: From the Greeks to the Enlightenment (3 units)
Drawing on defining classic texts, this course engages some of the foundational perspectives characteristic of Western thought and culture. Beginning with the ancient Greek worldview and proceeding through the Judeo-Christian to the modern, lectures emphasize the deeper significance and continuing relevance of the ideas under review. This course provides essential background for many of the specialized PCC courses and is highly recommended for students lacking a strong familiarity with the history of Western thought.
PARP 6506 The Great Turning (2 units)
This intensive is devoted to facilitating the “Great Turning,” that is, the shift toward a life-sustaining society and a culture in harmony with the long-term interests of the wider Earth community. Through experiential exercises, lectures, and dialogue, students will gain insight into such topics as deep time, ecological guardianship, and the systems view of life.
PARP 6522: Science, Ecology, and Contested Knowledge(s) (3 units)
Using frameworks from science and technology studies (STS) and sociology, this course explores the construction of scientific and ecological knowledge through social processes, paradigms, and institutions. We will then compare the dominant forms of scientific knowledge about the natural world with countervailing epistemological understandings, such as situated knowledge, indigenous knowledge, citizen science, and traditional ecological knowledge, examining the ways that the social construction of knowledge shapes our understanding of the natural world.
PARP 6523: Environmental Ethics (3 units)
This course surveys ethical approaches to the natural environment, with particular focus on the American context. We will trace the ways that the natural environment has been theorized over time, and the ethical approaches that derive from various views of the natural environment. The goal of the course is for students to construct, articulate, and argue for their own theoretically rigorous environmental ethics.
PARP 6525: Perspectives on Integral Ecology (3 units)
This course is considered foundational for those in the Integral Ecology track in PCC, whose mission is to study the complex character of the Earth community, the factors that threaten it, and possibilities for a better way forward (see www.ciis.edu/pcc/integralecology.php). Following a review of the state of the Earth, lectures and dialogue will engage such topics as Gaia Theory, the relation of ecology to religious and philosophical worldviews, the spectrum of eco-activism, and theoretical alternatives for a more integral approach to ecology.
PARP 6538: Krishna, Buddha, and Christ (3 units)
This course provides an opportunity for students to deepen their relationship to Krishna, to Buddha, and to Christ. To this end, the course includes a study of the Bhagavad Gita according to Sri Aurobindo; His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Tibetan Buddhism and in dialogue with Catholic contemplatives; a Jungian interpretation of Christ as a symbol of the Self; and Rudolf Steiner’s lectures on esoteric relationships among Krishna, Buddha, and Christ.
PARP 6540: A History of Western Worldviews II: From the Romantics to the Postmodern (3 units)
This course continues the examination of the modern and postmodern Western perspectives begun in A History of Western Worldviews I. Beginning with Romanticism and the pivotal contributions of Hegel, the course goes on to consider such movements as transcendentalism, depth psychology, feminism, pragmatism, and ecology, as well as the implications of the new science. Some of the figures treated include Emerson, Nietzsche, James, Jung, Buber, Whitehead, Evelyn Fox Keller, and Catherine Keller.
PARP 6542: The Archetypal Structure of Western Religion (3 units)
This course will investigate the archetypal patterns underlying the formation of Western religious mythology from the Neolithic age to the conclusion of the biblical period. The course will focus on the complex interaction between (1) the evolution of self-reflective consciousness— which, according to C. G. Jung, is the hidden dynamic that produced the foundational religious mythologies of the West—and (2) the alienation of Western culture from the natural world, which in Jung’s view has in modern times reached such crisis levels that it threatens the very integrity of the Earth’s living systems. The goal of the course will be to explore the extent to which an understanding of the archetypal structure of Western religious mythology can help us today in formulating effective responses to the unconscious processes that are putting the health of the Earth at risk, and in creating instead a culture that is in harmony with the living world on which our well-being depends.
PARP 6557: A Cosmological Perspective on the Modern World (3 units)
This class begins with a cosmological examination of the current evolutionary crisis now unfolding on our planet. We then open up to a larger temporal horizon, and place the current crisis in relation to Gebser’s Mutations of Consciousness. Finally, we look ahead and get a glimpse of the unfolding Integral/Aperspectival Civilization—its metaphysics, its cosmology, and its technology.
PARP 6582: Art, Psyche, and Cosmos (3 units)
This course explores deeper understandings of major works of art through the insights of depth psychology and archetypal astrology. In turn, we will study how such works of art can illuminate deeper aspects of the human psyche. The multimedia-illustrated lectures offer the opportunity to compare insights of different schools of depth psychology and to clarify fundamental principles of both psychological and archetypal astrological analysis.
PARP 6584: Comic Genius: A Multidisciplinary Approach (3 units)
In this three-weekend intensive, we will explore the nature of comedic creativity from several overlapping perspectives: cultural history, biography, depth psychology, archetypal astrology, performance, and writing. We will examine the complex role that comedy plays in cultural life, from broad popular entertainment to subversive social critique, and its unusual capacity to express archetypal complexes, both individual and collective, in ways that articulate otherwise suppressed energies and tensions. Films will be assigned in advance and clips of individual performances viewed in class as a basis for the analysis. The focus will be on major figures in the history of modern comedy, beginning with Chaplin, Keaton, W. C. Fields, and the Marx Brothers, and including Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Woody Allen, Lily Tomlin, Monty Python, Robin Williams, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert.
PARP 6743 and 6744: Hill of the Hawk I and II (1 unit each)
These two courses will take place on the Hill of the Hawk, an inspiring farm and retreat center between Route 1 and the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur. The surrounding farmland and coast will provide students with a context for the content of the course over the weekend intensive. The course will be a study of David Abram’s ecophilosophy, Rudolf Steiner and Goethe, Waldorf principles, and Spatial Dynamics (conscious movement). Students will learn from the land, lectures, and discussion. Both of these one-weekend, one-credit courses are independent of each other but are also continuous.
PARP 6746: The Earth Journey (3 units)
The nation-state is now understood to be too restrictive to serve the needs of our multicultural, planetary world. The new context is Earth, the matrix for every culture and nation. This course covers the evolutionary journey of Earth from molten matter to our present time. Topics explored include the dynamics of Earth in the shaping of the continents, the birth of life, and the appearance and functioning of the human groups. The course includes speculations on the emerging role of humanity as a partner with the other fundamental components of Earth.
PARP 6748: Nature and Eros (2 units)
Nature and Eros takes the form of an intensive retreat and employs an integral educational process, including the conceptual, the emotional, the experiential, and the intuitive, in order to embrace Nature as the multidimensional matrix, not only of our bodies, minds, and souls, but
of our civilization as well. In the course, participants live together for five days in a distinct natural setting: forest, ocean, wetlands, mountain, or desert.
PARP 6754: Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy (3 units)
This course is an introduction to the spiritual-scientific research of Rudolf Steiner, the 20th-century esoteric-spiritual clairvoyant and initiate, and to anthroposophy, the esoteric discipline intended, in Steiner’s words, “to lead the spiritual in the individual to the spiritual in the Universe.” Readings in this course include Steiner’s writings anthologized in Steiner—An Introduction; a reading and discussion of Steiner’s foundational text for spiritual practice; and books on the implications and applications of Steiner’s insights and method for the attainment of higher knowledge.
PARP 6821: Archetypal Process: Whitehead, Jung, and Hillman (3 units)
Two key figures in the 20th century’s engagement with the intersection of philosophy, cosmology, and consciousness were Alfred North Whitehead and C. G. Jung. This course offers an overview of their work, grounded in entirely different disciplines but approaching the same mystery. The final part of the course is devoted to Archetypal Process, based on a 1983 conference that was perhaps the fullest academic anticipation of the concerns and themes that later came to inspire the transdisciplinary focus of the PCC program.
PARP 6898: Proposal Writing I: Beginning (1 unit) (offered only in fall semester)
This is the first course in a two-semester series that will serve as both foundation and framework for doctoral students in the process of developing their dissertations, including the personal and professional factors determining the choice of a dissertation topic, the précis, and the proposal. It is hoped that students will take away from the course a sense that the dissertation process is both manageable and mysterious as we come together in community to support each other through what for most doctoral students is the penultimate challenge of their academic lives.
PARP 6899: Proposal Writing II: Completing (1 unit) (offered only in spring semester)
This is the second course in a two-semester series that will serve as a framework for doctoral students in the process of developing and completing their dissertations. Instead of a flat treatment of an academic requisite, this course layers Logos, by focusing on the logistics of the dissertation process and product; with Psyche, by focusing on the influence of the researcher’s psychology on the research; and Eros, by focusing on our passionate engagement with the work we are called to do.
PARP 6900: Thesis/Dissertation Proposal Completion (0 units)
This course is taken after all coursework is completed. Students undertake the proposal writing in consultation with their thesis/dissertation mentor, meeting on a regular basis to discuss progress. This course may be taken for two semesters.
PARP 7001: Psyche and Cosmos I: Transpersonal Psychology and Archetypal Astrology (3 units)
This course examines the emerging understanding of the relationship between the human psyche and the cosmos, based on observed correlations between various psychological conditions and transformations and specific planetary positions. Topics include the extended cartography of the human psyche suggested by modern consciousness research and experiential therapies, analysis of birth charts and planetary transits, archetypal and perinatal patterns in art and culture, and the relevance of this evidence to both the larger tradition of depth psychology and the cultural emergence of a radically integrated worldview.
PARP 7002: Psyche and Cosmos II: Transits in Depth (Practicum) (3 units)
This seminar is a practicum designed to help students become skillful in the use of archetypal astrological methods of analysis for understanding the timing and character of a wide range of psychological conditions and biographical events. Classes will be devoted to detailed weekly analyses of one’s own personal transits as well as representative transits for significant cultural figures and their major biographical experiences. The course focuses on the archetypal dynamics of human life, expressed both psychologically and in external events, and reflected in the coinciding planetary alignments.
PARP 7007-01: American Philosophy (1 unit)
The first of five classes is devoted to a reading of Emerson’s Nature and a brief consideration of the biographies of a few of Emerson’s contemporaries given in Menand’s Metaphysical Club. The middle three classes are given to a study of the core writings of three classic American philosophers, Peirce, James, and Dewey, along with Menand’s thorough account of their entwined biographies. The last class is devoted to a discussion of essays on pragmatism in the second half of the 20th century.
PARP 7008-01: James Hillman and Archetypal Psychology: An Introduction (1 unit)
This brief course offers an introduction to the ideas of James Hillman, the principal founder of archetypal psychology and one of the most influential thinkers in contemporary psychology and culture. From its beginnings in the late 1960s, archetypal psychology has called for depth psychology to move beyond the consulting room to engage the larger cultural, historical, and ecological issues of our time.
PARP 7014: Planetary Crisis and Birth of the Diamond Soul (2 units)
This course will bring into dialogue two lines of inquiry that often appear separately in the literature: (1) reincarnation and the evolution of the soul, and (2) the dynamics of humanity’s collective transformation. Synthesizing these two perspectives takes us into the nuts and bolts of the evolutionary pivot the soul may be undergoing while the planet undergoes its collective transformation. Together we will examine the idea that the size and scale of the transformation taking place globally may be mirroring an equally profound shift taking place inside the soul.
PARP 7078: Teilhard and Steiner (3 units)
This is a one-semester, cotaught course on Teilhard de Chardin and Rudolf Steiner, with an emphasis on the evolution of consciousness and on spiritual epistemology. Steiner (1861–1925) was a comprehensive esotericist; Teilhard (1881–1955) was a mystic in the Roman Catholic tradition and a world-class paleontologist. They both wrote extensively on the evolution of consciousness, and they both exemplified and taught ways of attaining spiritual knowledge. The course will be half lecture and half discussion; both professors will participate in every class.
PARP 7079: The Mysticism of Swedenborg (1 unit)
In this weekend course we will explore the place of mysticism in Swedenborg’s thought, Swedenborg’s design of existence, and the relevance of Swedenborg’s revelation for today’s culture and our personal lives. We will use the modalities of presentation, discussion, and personal reflection. Time will be given for students to ask anything they ever wanted to know about Swedenborg, and also to have the opportunity to try on Swedenborg’s view of reality as a way of exploring both one’s relationship with the source of life itself and one’s place in the design of existence.
PARP 7105: Archetypes, Art, and Culture (3 units)
Informed by the insights of Jungian, archetypal, and transpersonal psychology, this course uses lecture presentations and works of music, film, and literature to explore and understand the meanings of the planetary archetypes in natal charts and transits. In turn, the archetypal
astrological perspective is used to illuminate and more deeply understand the deeper dimensions of major works of art and cultural epochs, from Beethoven’s symphonies and the French Revolution to Fellini, the Rolling Stones, and the 1960s.
PARP 7107: Advanced Seminar—Interpretation of Science (2 units)
This course is designed to give advanced students a sense of what science is, of how science operates, and of how to interpret the results of scientific research. The course will draw from diverse thinkers such as Jean Gebser, the ancient Greeks, Popper, Kuhn, and Alfred North Whitehead, among others. We will also explore the inception of an Integral/Aperspectival science in the emerging fields of parapsychology and the study of subtle worlds.
PARP 7134: Integral Cosmology: Sri Aurobindo and Whitehead (3 units)
Both Sri Aurobindo and Alfred North Whitehead made significant contributions to cosmological thought. Between them, they developed an integral cosmology in which consciousness, soul, and spirit are seen as intrinsic to the universe rather than as epiphenomenal. Taken together, their work outlines a story of evolution in which we can make sense of the current planetary crisis, including its economic and technological
PARP 7400: Psyche and Spirit: From the Psychology of Religion to Transpersonal Theory (3 units)
This course explores the relation of psyche to spirit—that is, to religion, spirituality, and spiritual philosophies and worldviews—through a consideration of the development that leads from classic representatives of the psychology of religion to the principal paradigms of contemporary transpersonal theory. Readings include primary texts, set in their appropriate contexts, by William James, C. G. Jung, Stanislav Grof, and Ken Wilber.
PARP 7665: Frontiers of Consciousness: A Deep Encounter with Women-Centered Cosmological Inquiry (3 units)
In this course, we will examine how our encounter with the consciousness and cosmologies of women, who have written themselves into being amid a landscape distorted by androcentric bias, might teach and transform us. These womanist/feminist voices offer our species profound wisdom, alluring us on our journey to wholeness as we seek to become more fully human. This will be an exploratory seminar, based primarily upon in-depth, dialogical inquiry into culturally diverse, women-authored texts that include the philosophical and theoretical as well as the autobiographical and fictional.
PARP 7701-01: Integrative Seminar (2 units) (offered only in spring semester)
This seminar provides an opportunity for PCC master’s students to create a portfolio documenting their course of study as it comes to a conclusion. All students will synthesize the various threads of their research as expressed in papers of enduring significance in a new essay to be presented to the class, and, after appropriate refinement, to an assembly of PCC faculty and students. In this seminar, students will address each other directly while the instructor provides crucial but minimal direction and instruction.
PARP 7811: Meister Eckhart: Christian Mystic (1 unit)
This course will immerse the student into the profound and rich mystical teaching of Meister Eckhart, the early-14th-century Dominican preacher and prophetic/mystical figure who was condemned a week after he died but whose work has influenced culture shakers from Karl Marx to Carl Jung. Probably the greatest mystical teacher of the West, he grounded his work in the wisdom traditions of Judaism and the Christian Gospels, but it overlaps with Buddhism and Hinduism and feminist theologies as well.
PARP 7900 Thesis/Dissertation Seminar (0 units)
This individual seminar is selected by students who have advanced to candidacy after proposal completion. Students work on their dissertation manuscript in close consultation with the dissertation committee.
PARP 8150: Advanced Seminar: Nietzsche’s Life and Work (3 units)
This advanced doctoral seminar explores the thought of Friedrich Nietzsche in its dramatic evolution over the course of his life. Most of his major works are covered, as well as a sampling and survey of the others. Our task is to enter into this extraordinary and immensely influential philosopher’s intellectual and spiritual world, engage his ideas in dialogue, and attempt to grasp their deeper contours and larger significance. This course is intended for doctoral students; master’s students need permission of the instructor.
PARP 9568: The Planetary Era: Toward a New Wisdom Culture (3 units)
This seminar considers the complex network of factors related to the birth and ongoing transformation of the Planetary Era. Drawing on the insights of such big-picture thinkers as Hegel and Jung, Karl Jaspers, and Teilhard de Chardin, or more recently of Ewert Cousins, Ken Wilber, and Edgar Morin, we seek to discern the deeper pattern of world history and the evolution of consciousness. Emphasizing the continuity among such traditions as Renaissance esotericism, Romanticism, the 1960s counterculture, and the New Paradigm, we participate in the creation of a wisdom culture worthy of the Planetary Era.
PARP 8799: Independent Study (1–3 units)
PARP 9600: Comprehensive Exam (0 units)