I. LIVING IN OUR COMMUNITIES: THE ECONOMY AND DIALOGUE
How Do We Turn the Economy Around?
Why does the economy seem to be collapsing? What can we do about it?
This one-hour talk ranges over the history of capitalism, showing how two opposite approaches to economics lead either to (a) inevitable crises or (b) prosperity. But these approaches represent strategies that we engage in everyday. Therefore, we can change them and thus the economy itself.
As classical Chinese philosophers wrote, by identifying the root of the problem, we can grow new trunks and branches. This talk shows how can we change our deep philosophies to guarantee our security and the prosperity of future generations.
The Art of Dialogue
When we talk, do we really talk to each other? How can dialogue lead to deeper relationships?
This one-hour talk covers the basics of dialogue, drawing on William Isaacs' recent dialogue study (‘Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together’) and on the work of Douglas Stone and his co-authors at the Harvard Negotiation Project (‘Difficult Conversations’). Marshall Rosenberg's ‘Nonviolent Communication’ as well as Rupert Ross' work with native peoples in Canada (‘Returning to the Teachings’) get special focus, showing how gentle and open communication can be.
For learning how to use language to build relationships and communities, this is the talk!
Beginning in 2009, famed futurist Eric Garland (author of 'Future, Inc.' and president of Competitive Futures, Inc.) and I began to give talks on where world societies are headed. Eric focused on trends, and I offered a philosophical and historical context. In this one-hour summary, I review what Eric and I presented in January and July of 2009 — about what a sane future may look like and how we may get there.
II. LIVING IN AN EXPANDED UNIVERSE:
INTUITION TRAINING, TIME AND PROPHECIES,
ENLIGHTENMENT, KARMA, DREAM INTERPRETATION,
ASTRAL TRAVEL, AND LIFE AFTER DEATH
How does intuition work? Can we train our intuition the way we train our intellects?
This one-hour talk explores new ideas about intuition and the brain. It then summarizes the different types of intuition and how each may be trained.
For combining intellect and intuition to get a bigger perspective, to see things more whole, this is the talk.
What is Karma?
How do we think about karma in the 21st century, and is this true to the original idea of karma? How does karma make us feel about ourselves?
In the context of destiny and empowerment, this talk clears up the confusion over karma. How we think about karma has been confused by Western notions of fate, sin, judgment, and flawed human nature. As a result, we end up with what India’s reformers of 2500 years ago called a cruel doctrine. And it makes us feel bad about ourselves and our lives.
This talk goes back to karma’s origins and offers a positive approach to ‘karmic’ living and acting in the world.
Life After Death
Is there life after death or not? Can we prove either position? And if there is life after death, what might it be like?
This one-hour talk surveys views about the afterlife: on one hand, the materialist position that nothing survives death, and on the other hand, the metaphysical position that at least some form of consciousness continues after death. It looks at the suggestive evidence for the latter (since by definition, no evidence exists for the former): near-death experiences, stories collected by researchers, and past lives retrieved during hypnotic regression.
Finally, the talk closes with a brief description, from cultures that take the afterlife seriously, of what we might experience if we live in (or die to) the next dimension.
Time, Prophecies, and Future-Seeing
Is 2012 the end of the world? How do we count time, and how do we think about it? What does the future portend?
This one-hour talk ranges over time issues, focusing initially on the Mayan calendar's much-discussed end of the 13th baktun in 2012. Time expectations such as those around 2012 show us how we think about the future, including how future-anxiety is created and can be reduced.
The talk ends by reviewing history’s most famous prophecies, including those for our immediate future. And there’s some good news there.
Dreams and Dream Interpretation
What are dreams, and what do they mean?
This talk takes a look at the history of dream interpretation, surveying the fascinating roles dreams have played in human life. It summarizes traditional ways of interpreting dreams, offering a short course on how each of us may work with our own dreams.
We know that things are working out as they should. We also know that we can use all the help we can get.
This one-hour talk looks at the big perspective that allows us to protect ourselves without feeling paranoid. Balancing big-picture optimism with here-and-now caution, we can use specific visualizations — several provided here — to feel more secure in our lives.
What is enlightenment? How do we know what an enlightened being is?
Taking a philosophical approach to an ancient subject, this one-hour talk focuses first on the obstacles to discussing enlightenment. Then it looks at what enlightenment may be.
Two teaser notes: enlightenment may not be the function of separate individuals (there may be no such thing as an enlightened person), and the process of moving toward enlightenment is not mysterious.
Astral Travel: Can We Park Our Bodies and Take a Trip?
What is astral travel, and what does it mean that we may be able to go out of our bodies?
Having an out-of-body experience (OOBE), or astral traveling, has been reported in cultures as far back as we have histories and all over the world. But it still sounds odd to those of us who do not consciously go out of our bodies regularly.
This talk takes a look at the phenomenon of OOBEs and some of the accounts that lead individuals and entire cultures to take astral travel very seriously.
III. SEEING A LARGER WORLD:
FINDING AND USING PHILOSOPHICAL TOOLS
Seeing through Enlightened Eyes: Atomism vs. Holism
One of the most important tools anyone can have to understand what’s going on in the world is that of worldviews. There are basically two different ways of looking at the world, and this talk summarizes those. The category of worldviews is the fundamental key to all clear thinking.
Thinking Clearly: Avoiding Logical Fallacies
Often, we feel frustrated in discussions. We may not seem to see something clearly. Or more often, our discussion partner says something that just seems off. But we cannot put our finger on why.
This talk explains common fallacies in reasoning and so offers us valuable tools for discussion. Being familiar with these fallacies enables us to think more clearly and not be confused by illogical arguments. And when it comes to thinking, this clarity is lots of fun.
Watching Processes Unfold: The Sevenfold Creative Order
Odd as it sounds, human processes follow a specific order, unfolding in seven stages (plus or minus two). If we know these, we can handle our projects and relationships (even romantic relationships) much more creatively.
For instance, this philosophical tool keeps us from being fooled when the challenge stage (stage 2) occurs between two people, which we often mistake for the end of a relationship.
And the sevenfold order helps us look ahead and strategize for future stages of any project.
Discovering Our Inner Brilliance: The Twelve Stages of the Mystic Path
What is mysticism? Are mystical experiences limited to a special few, or may any of us have such experiences?
Based on the book, ‘Love, Soul, and Freedom: Dancing with Rumi on the Mystic Path,’ this four-hour talk summarizes the stages of discovering our own ‘inner mystic.’ The special gems here are Rumi’s poems, many of which appear within the discussion of the mystic path.
Looking Down from Olympus: The Four Levels of Consciousness AND How Understanding and Action Evolve
Three simple thinking tools — the four levels of consciousness, the fourfold ‘cybernetic feedback’ order, and the spectrum of action — show us how understanding and behavior develop.
With these three (and the sevenfold order given in another talk), we can keep ourselves from being ‘dumbed down’ by one-dimensional analyses of our lives. As a result, we can engage more fully in both thought and action.
IV. TRAINING OUR SYMBOLIC CONSCIOUSNESS: SYMBOL SYSTEMS AND HOW THEY WORK
Quick Way to Learn the Basics of Psychological Astrology
Can learning astrology be fun? Over the years, many clients have requested astrology in an easy-to-learn format. While mastering any discipline takes years, most requests are for the basics only.
So, using the non-fatalistic approach of psychological astrology developed in the 20th Century, this talk offers a quick overview of an ancient art.