It moves and moves not; It is far and likewise near. It is inside all this and It is outside all this. –Isa Upanishad
First meeting – Monday, 27 September 10:45 in Sem2, C1107
9.29.10 ENROLLED STUDENTS PLEASE SEE PROGRAM MOODLE WEBSITE: http://moodle.evergreen.edu/course/view.php?id=905
The “it” that defies definition in this 2nd century BCE sacred text has become an equally perplexing focus of secular study—a “question that towers above all others” according to Scientific American–in the contemporary life sciences. What is consciousness? Our inquiry will hold open this question within an intentional learning community for nine months as we explore dance as metaphor and practice for how mystics as well scholars, artists as well as scientists, experience the movement of consciousness.
If you want answers, especially answers that someone else can provide, this program isn’t for you. “If you want to think about consciousness, perplexity is necessary — mind-boggling, brain-hurting, I can’t bear to think about this stupid problem any more perplexity…” Furthermore, advises Susan Blackmore, “if you do not wish your brain to hurt (though of course strictly speaking brains cannot hurt because they do not have any pain receptors — and, come to think of it, if your toe, which does have pain receptors, hurts, is it really your toe that is hurting?), stop reading now or choose a more tractable problem to study.”
If you really want to inquire about your experience of the movement of consciousness this program is an invitation to explore its embodiment in relationship to Indian and Greek wisdom traditions. Specifically, we’ll practice Orissi dance, study our dreams as science and science as dream, and read postcolonial literature as manifestations of the dance of consciousness. Our work will include lectures, book seminars, films, workshops (dance and yoga), introspective journaling (dreams), and what an Evergreen faculty elder named “autobiomythography” in order to explore the multidimensional movements of consciousness. We’ll consider anew now mythic texts such as Gary Zukav’s The Dancing Wu-Li Masters and Fritjof Capra’s The Tao of Physics that bridge beliefs about East and West, mysticism and science, that have formed consciousness studies from fields of inquiry such as transpersonal psychology, ecofeminism, somatics, ecopsychology, neurobiology, and quantum physics. Capra, after inquiring into his experience while sitting by the ocean, wrote: “I ’saw’ cascades of energy coming down from outer space, in which particles were created and destroyed in rhythmic pulses; I ‘saw’ the atoms of the elements and those of my body participating in this cosmic dance of energy; I felt its rhythm and I ‘heard’ its sound, and at that moment I knew that this was the Dance of Shiva, the Lord of Dancers worshiped by the Hindus.”
Students should expect to work 40 hours per week and will benefit most from a full-year commitment. During the spring quarter students will have the opportunity to focus more intensely on specific program themes and practices from the fall and winter quarters by developing research projects, workshops, in-program internships, and individual studies. All students should expect to use intensely experiential methods to explore the dance of consciousness in a collaborative manner that creates and sustains a year-long intentional learning community.
Weekly Schedule (updated 9.29.10)
Monday 11 – 3:00
Tuesday 11:30 – 5:00
Thursday 11:00 – 2:30
Friday 11:00 – 2:00
Fall Program Texts (tentative): Dancing Wu Li Masters (Gary Zukav); Quantum Questions (Ken Wilber); Bombay, London, New York (Amitava Kumar); Interpreter of Maladies (Jhumpa Lahiri); The Odissi Dance Path Finder (Odissi Research Center); Zen and the Art of Archery (Eugene Herrigel); Neo-Classical Odissi Dance (Ratna Roy); Lost Masters (Linda Johnsen); Self Comes To Mind: Constructing The Conscious Brain (Antonio Damasio); The Least You Should Know About English:Writing Skills (Paige Wilson).
Major Areas of Study: consciousness studies, somatic studies, feminist theory, Orissi dance, philosophy, mythology, psychology, yoga and postcolonial literature.
Class Standing: This all-level program accepts up to 37% freshmen as well as supporting and encouraging those ready for advanced work.
Special Expenses: $50 per quarter for field trips and tickets; $300 for winter conference/retreat, tentatively with Anam Thubten Rinpoche, author of No Self No Problem.
NOTE: All students who register for Dance of Consciousness will receive a letter from the faculty by mid-September that will provide exact details regarding this program. Please do not purchase books before receiving this letter as it will specify the titles and exact editions of the books we’ll use.