spring, 2006-07

Awareness is that state in which the consciousness subsides into itself.
-Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

5/30 Faculty evaluation templates available now.
5/18 Week 9 assignments changed. See week-by-week page.

The modern university is based on a rupture, effected a millennium ago, between head and heart. This institution—the one in which we meet as teachers and students—is devoted almost exclusively to the technical and critical disciplines. Ascetic disciplines were left in the proverbial dust. Secularization rendered proverb and metaphor, even language itself, disenfleshed and idolatrized. Our task in this program is to become deeply aware of the devastation caused by this rupture, this loss. Because of what has been betrayed, we dare not simply imagine an alternative form of education, much less another new institution, devoted to the healing of this rupture or the recovery of any loss. Instead, we will, through disciplined, mutually supportive inquiry, become mindful of what we scholars participate in, here and now.

An overarching program inquiry for the year is the relationship between "thick description" and "reality." When careful, accurate, effective description (of thinking, of "meetings" in seminars or "meetings" with books, of research) gets added to affects, we tend to call that art; when thick description gets added to effects, we call that reality. We want to explore the relationship between thick description (and its affects and effects) and increased awareness. Is this relationship between what we perceive as reality/art and increased awareness natural? Supernatural? Cultural? Historical? Evolutionary?

All students will have the chance to do an independent project: work on a research project of their choice, conduct field studies, travel, extensive community service, take a 2-4 credit class separate from "Awareness," or engage in sport: “When you’re talking about surfing, the more you say, the worse off you are" (Chris Carter). Awareness 2006-07 is specifically designed to support pilgrimages.

For notes to prospective students from previous "Awareness" students click here.

Sarah Williams & Bill Arney, faculty

maintained by: Bill Arney