Within and Beyond

A Discussion Series

Within and Beyond?  That doesn’t tell me much.

Would it help to add “one’s self” at the end?  No?  Then perhaps consider this.  Reality is rife with patterns – big ones, small ones, and most especially recurring ones.  We see them in the universe around us, and reflected in ourselves.  Or should that be the other way around?  Is it the reflection of our inner patterns that give rise to the structure of our universe?  Or are both secondary to something deeper and more mysterious?

Is this about art?  It doesn’t sound like art.

It would be more accurate to say that art is about this.  We’ll talk about the nature of the self, the connection between the self and the other selves around us, and ultimately the connection between the self and the universe.  And the role of art as the means of expressing, sharing, and making those connections.  We’ll talk about art as the purest expression of metaphor.  And we’ll eat cookies, because everything needs balance.

So what else is this about?

A lot of things, but perhaps the most central is consciousness, and its place in the grand design.  Over the past three or four decades some really interesting research has been done, scientific and engineering investigations, finding that the objective universe ain’t so objective as we have been led to believe.  We’ll share information about that, and explore the implications of those findings.  And we’ll eat healthy snacks too, because things don’t just balance on one axis.

What is a “Discussion Series”?

You may be familiar with the idea of a lecture series, where a group of people come together to listen to someone speak about a particular subject.  Great stuff.  For some subjects, however, it is not enough to passively listen.  For some subjects, the best thing to do is engage in dialog, to participate in an interactive, shared exploration.  This is one of those, so that’s what we want to do here.

So we just sit around and talk?

Well, no, not exactly.  The discussions will be led by someone who, while adamantly refusing to refer to himself as an “expert”, has spent over forty years spelunking these topics, and over a decade leading discussion groups as part of his profession.  There will be guest “discussioners” who will share their work and their insights, but specifically in a conversational context.  The whole point is to ensure that you, the attendee, have the choice and opportunity to actively share your own experiences and perspectives – or to listen quietly, if that’s more your thing.

Series Outline

Session 1 – As Above, So Below

  • The first session will look at the patterns of reality. We’ll talk about commonalities in the universe, from macroscopic to microscopic, and about archetypes that emerge as a common thread across personalities and cultures.  We’ll explore how such commonalities have been expressed (most often through art) and how they can be explained.  We’ll ask what they suggest about our own nature, and how we impact the universe.

Session 2 – Things Are Weirder Than They Seem

  • In the second session we will introduce participants to the work of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) Laboratory. We’ll talk about PEAR’s research, and their discoveries regarding the role of conscious intention on the behavior of machines and signals.  We’ll use some of the most exciting findings – such as the ability of intention to have an impact across not only space but forward and backward in time – to spark discussions regarding new ways of thinking about the universe around us.

Session 3 – Art as the Language of a Subjective Universe

  • The third session will examine the implications arising from the idea of a world in which our intentions have impact beyond our immediate selves. We’ll talk about global consciousness, and how one relates to things that are vastly different than one’s self.  We’ll talk about art as a language for communicating things too simple and too complex to be captured in words.

Session 4 – Social Implications of a Broader World View

  • In the closing session we will talk about relaxing the boundaries that define the self and the implications of large-scale interconnectedness. We’ll look at what it means that our intentions can affect others from perspectives of health and social responsibility.  We’ll complain about the current state of affairs, hypothesize what kinds of actions could produce worthwhile changes in our culture, and explore how art can be a mechanism for such changes.