What does the course cover?
The course draws on some of the world’s great philosophic teachings. Topics include
The nature of wisdom
Self-discovery and self-knowledge
Different levels of awareness and wakefulness
The power of attention and the present moment
What it means to live justly
The nature of beauty
The light of reason
The nature of energy and how best to use energy
Finding unity in diversity
The desire for truth
There is no attempt to cover all philosophical systems, but there is plenty for anyone interested in the big questions of life and the world around us. The course includes ideas put forward by Socrates, Plato, Confucius, the Bible, Buddha, Epicurus, Emerson, Vivekananda and Maharaja Shri Shantananda Saraswati, a modern exponent of the philosophy of unity or Advaita.
The week-by-week synopsis is as follows:
Week 1. Why study philosophy? Philosophy and wisdom. The nature of wisdom. The wisdom within.
Week 2. Self discovery, Self knowledge. Who or what am I? What is my potential? How may I realise that potential?
Week 3. Different levels of awareness. What is our usual state of awareness? Are there greater levels of awareness? If so, how may we gain access to them?
Week 4. Living in the present moment, the now. What is the potential of the present moment? The relationship between attention and the present moment.
Week 5. What is justice and what is injustice? What does it mean to live justly, under the guidance of wisdom? Plato’s views.
Week 6. How to understand and use energy well and avoid misusing it.
Week 7. The light of reason. How can reason enrich our lives and the lives of those around us? Two practical exercises.
Week 8. What is beauty? What is its purpose? Where does it come from? Is there such a think as absolute beauty? Plato’s views.
Week 9. Finding unity in diversity, the common thread of life. What is the effect of being separated from unity?
Week 10.How does the desire for truth show itself? How may truth be sought?