Friday, May 16, 2014

Waking up with Sam Harris

Harris will be offering a lecture series and online course based on his upcoming book, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. A couple of descriptive excerpts:

"I will discuss a range of psychological insights that have traditionally been considered 'spiritual.' Although they tell us nothing about the origins of the cosmos, these experiences confirm some well-established truths about the human mind: Our conventional sense of self is an illusion; positive emotions, such as compassion and serenity, are teachable skills; and the way we think can profoundly influence our lives and the lives of others.

"There is no discrete 'I' or ego living like a Minotaur in the labyrinth of the brain. And the feeling that there is—the sense of being perched somewhere behind your eyes, looking out at a world that is separate from yourself—can be altered or entirely extinguished. Although such experiences of 'self-transcendence' are generally thought about in religious terms, there is nothing, in principle, irrational about them. From both a scientific and a philosophical point of view, they represent a clearer understanding of the way things are.

"A rational approach to spirituality seems to be what is missing from secularism—and from the lives of most people I meet. My goal in these talks, and in the online course, will be to offer a compelling and useful investigation of the human mind and to show how deepening our understanding of it can transform our experience of the world and our relationships with other human beings."

Also see his blog post on the new book called "the path between pseudo-spirituality and pseudo-science."

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