Program Description

In this interdisciplinary program, we will focus on personal and cultural explorations of the dynamic psyche. We’ll explore consciousness by examining personal belief systems, dreams and memories. One of our goals will be to understand the relationship between personal and collective consciousness. Another goal will be to collaboratively and individually integrate what we know about the creative, spiritual and scientific elements of the psyche.

We will explore the intricate and complex dynamics of our personal and cultural psyche by examining the following questions. What is the psyche, what is consciousness, and what are their properties and dynamics? What impacts do our memories, dreams and beliefs have on our consciousness? Is our personal consciousness influenced by cultural consciousness or vice versa? Are there different types of consciousness? What are the relationships among the conscious psyche, the unconscious, and personal beliefs in constructing our sense of self? How do our beliefs structure our experience individually and en masse?

During fall quarter, we’ll build a foundation for our year-long study by examining theoretical and historical perspectives of identity construction, depth psychology, and belief systems and their relationships to conscious and unconscious mental processes. Our texts will include Jung’s autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections, and the journal Scientific American Mind. During winter quarter, we’ll use this base to provide a foundation for a more in-depth analysis and interpretation of our personal and cultural memories, dreams, and beliefs and their relationship to emotions. These topics will be examined from a research perspective. One of our texts will be Van de Castle’s Our Dreaming Mind. We’ll study mindfulness teachings. In spring quarter, students will choose to work extensively with one of the faculty on more in-depth studies. Possible areas of exploration in spring quarter include psychology of dreams, culture and construction of self, memories and psychological disorders, beliefs and empowerment, Progoff in-depth journal work, and meditation theory and practice.

Students are expected to attend every program activity on time and fully prepared to participate. This is a full-time program (16 credits/quarter for three quarters) and students will be expected to work efficiently for a minimum of 40 hours each week (including class time). Activities will include lectures, seminar discussions, workshops, film critiques and self-reflective learning activities. Students will also be expected to keep a personal log of hours spent on academic activities, participate actively in seminar discussions, work in small groups, complete papers, take exams, and give presentations to the class. Be prepared to explore challenging and unfamiliar ideas in a cooperative and friendly manner.

Fields of Study: consciousness studies and psychology

Preparatory for studies or careers in psychology, social and human services, cultural studies and consciousness studies.