"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods"
(Scroll down for list of links)
Before I knew of the word philosophy I thought that I was terribly behind all the other kids in my class. After all, how could one possibly care about the superficiality of ones hair-do without first understanding the very nature of reality that stood behind the fact that there was a consciousness capable of caring, not to mention an arrangement of matter that enabled hair to do what it did in the '80's? Surely everyone else had figured all that out and was therefore entitled to ponder only the simplest of musings. I was only catching up, or so I thought.
Once I understood that there existed an entire field dedicated to understanding the underlying nature of reality, I eagerly ran down that path searching for new questions and ideas. One thing I found that deepened my passion for the field is that the very discipline of philosophy underlies all other areas of study and aspects of life. People make real decisions about their finances, sexuality, behavior, careers, etc. based on their beliefs about their world--in other words, their personal philosophy. Governments pass budgets, fund research (and only certain methods of research), draw boundaries, attack countries, manage (or fail to) their participation in environmental concerns based on their philosophy--on how they think about the world and what they think is real.
This "underlying framework" quality is why there are so many branches within the discipline: Philosophy of Science, Political Philosophy, Ethics, Philosophy of Physics, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Sex, Philosophy of Art, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of This, Philosophy of That, Philosophy with a side of Ranch Dressing, and so forth...
So it occurred to me that if I was so responsible for being the creator of all aspects of my reality, working to understand what an "I" is that is doing all this determining-of-reality was well worth my while. And in fact, has become my passion and focus. What is a "me"? What is an awareness? What is consciousness? And how, oh how, does it relate to the physical world? The suggestions resulting from this line of inquiry are revolutionary in the least.
In fact, this field called Consciousness Studies is so current that many of the major contributors to the field are still alive and teaching at major universities (unlike Philosophy's not completely undeserved reputation of being full of dead white guys). Many of the implications coming from the science (quantum theory) that relate mind and matter interactions has yet to be accepted at large, which is a predictable phase of a major paradigm shift. What we once considered to be real has disintegrated before our very eyes, and the new story is currently being pieced together. What an exciting time!
Below are several links, which will lead to several more links, that explore and provide education about Consciousness Studies.
The Institute of Noetic Sciences is an amazing non-profit organization dedicated to consciousness research and education, located in Petaluma, CA. IONS is an amazing hub of resources and professionals in the field.
Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona, Tucson, is another educational outlet well known for their conferences. You can also link to works of Stuart Hameroff from here.
Christian de Quincey is a philosophy professor at JFKU, former managing editor at IONS, author, and founder of The Visionary Edge.
Amit Goswami is an internationally acclaimed physics professor and author, most recently featured in the movie What the Bleep Do We Know? (see below).
Peter Russell is a lecturer, author, and teacher. In addition to his books, I highly recommend his two videos.
Dean Radin is the Laboratory Director at IONS, as well as an author and founder of the Consciousness Research Laboratory. Also check out the Boundary Institute and some of the links from there about Random Processes (related to the Global Consciousness Project).
John F. Kennedy University, which has campuses in the east bay, offers cutting-edge graduate programs in several disciplines, including Consciousness Studies. Just be aware that the program is life-changing and as profound as good therapy.
California Institute of Integral Studies, located in San Francisco, also offers graduate programs in several holistic fields. Specifically interesting is the program in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness.
The Philosophical Foundations of Physics at Columbia University is a program I don't have any first-hand knowledge about, but it is important to know that there are mainstream schools addressing the redefinition of reality.
Joel Barker's video Business of Paradigms is absolutely worth seeing. It works off of Thomas Kuhn's famous book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions with extremely poignant examples defining paradigms. If anybody shells out the $800+ bucks to buy the video, let me know so I can, uh, "borrow" it from you for an hour.
The Lucidity Institute is all about the author and researcher Stephen LaBerge's work. There are several articles about lucid dreaming and products available to help induce lucidity.
...and for some really geeky humor, I found this now non-existent web page of break-up lines for philosophers. For example:
Heisenberg: Our relationship is moving so fast, I don't know at what point it is any more.
(written by Alejandro)
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