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Touching the Void: An exploration of the Perennial Philosophy

October 8, 15 & 22, 7 - 9 pm
Dana Sawyer
C. G. Jung Center
183 Park Row, Brunswick, ME
Members, $55; Non-members, $65
This lecture series offers an exploration of Aldous Huxley’s theory that there is a common set of insights at the core of every religion and yet beyond all religion. He termed the experience of this core the “unitive knowledge” of our spiritual oneness with all reality.  In these lectures, Prof. Sawyer offers not only a set of overviews of the perennial philosophy (drawn from the perspectives of philosophy, psychology, mythology and religion) but also a series of experiential exercises (at the end of each lecture) designed to give glimpses of the “unitive knowledge.” Topics covered include:  the nature of Truth as an experience; the limits of science for knowing Truth; the importance of improved traits of behavior over altered states of consciousness; the importance of metaphysics in philosophy; the dangers of materialism; and the viability of mystical experience.
Prof. Sawyer offers insights from two of the leading proponents of the perennial philosophy, Huston Smith (author of The World’s Religions) and Joseph Campbell (author of The Power of Myth).  What is the difference between spirituality and religion? What is the relationship between Campbell’s “mono-myth” and the perennial philosophy?  What is the relationship between organized religion and the perennial philosophy?  Is religion necessary or even viable?  Should religious scriptures be interpreted literally?  Is there a difference between exoteric and esoteric religion?  These and other questions, as well as the works of Abraham Maslow, Stanislav Grof, and Ken Wilber, will be discussed.