It’s that time of year again: the annual online course, Seeing Through the World, is launching March 7, 2023.
Previous classes were always a mix of pre-recorded lessons and live Q&A sessions. This year, I’ve decided to go with a completely fresh start. The lessons are recorded live on Zoom each week, with the last 35-40 minutes allotted for Q&A. We’re also going with weekly sessions instead of bi-weekly, creating a more intentional and focused semester.
This is the format I used for Fall 2022’s Fragments course, which I felt went over really well, so I’m looking forward to a more engaged and fresh learning experience with STTW students.
Unlike previous years, we won’t be focusing on a deliberate, chapter-to-chapter read-through of Ever-Present Origin. Selected readings will be suggested, but the idea is to translate the text into an oratory experience — distillations of the text imparted through the live lectures, with the recommended readings as portals for further investigation. I’m inspired by the rhetorical art of the lecture which, in these days, is often dismissed in favor of a more participatory ethos. There’s certainly nothing wrong with the latter, but I’ve come to appreciate the former as a valuable performative art. If the act of writing is the art of discovering what we think, then the art of lecturing is also a creative process. It favors the activity of connection-making, and spontaneity of insight: the lecture is an art of doing philosophy.
I still agree with William Irwin Thompson that reading Ever-Present Origin is the kind of experience that can change one’s life, and hearing from students who have taken the class these past four years, it continues to be true. But I also recognize that, more often than not, many students are daunted by the challenge of reading such a dense—if magisterial—mid-century philosophical text. Cover-to-cover. Many simply don’t have the time to do it.
So, yes, reading will continue to be encouraged, but not necessary to follow along with the class. The lectures themselves are designed to distill important principles and insights from the text, and serve as portals and scaffolding for deeper reading.
The participatory element is, of course, important too. Last year’s class experimented with participatory sessions where students could host their own Zoom calls and explore the structures of consciousness through art, readings, and performance. This year will be a bit more focused: alongside the weekly Tuesday lessons there will be complementary collective presencing sessions, hosted by integral facilitators (alumni from the class) each Thursday. These, too, are designed to be experiential sessions with the intention to feel into and integrate the structures of consciousness as lived experience. The community that had initially sprung up around reading Gebser and Seeing Through the World is now bearing some of its first fruit. I’m inspired, and grateful, to see Gebser-inspired practice groups begin to organize weekly, and I’m intuiting that they will be a wonderful component of 2023’s course experience.
If you haven’t taken the course in a few years, then this might be a very good time to jump back in. See you in class next month.
See the course registration page for more information. Student registration rates available.