Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexually as

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

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Garrison Institute Biannual Report
by Marc Weiss / Executive Director
Garrison Institute


The Garrison Institute’s tagline “Timeless Wisdom, Timely Action,” evokes both dimensions of our work, from eternal truths to current events. It’s about inwardness – tuning in and discovering what is unchanging and most fundamentally human through contemplative practice. It’s equally about outwardness – reaching out, deeply engaging with the world here and now, and applying what is skillful and effective to meet the needs of our time.

2016 and 2017 were quite a time. They were years of historic change and disruption, stress, and distress. But as many wisdom traditions teach, that’s impermanence; it’s endemic, always with us one way or another. Recognizing and working with that basic truth is the gateway to relieving suffering.

So it proved for us. As you’ll read in this biannual report, 2016 and 2017 also brought historic opportunities to pursue our mission of building a more compassionate and resilient future for all.

Our work has never been more relevant or more in demand. It speaks to a widely felt need to meet rising fears and crises with wisdom and compassion, groundedness and connectedness.

Starting at the end of 2016, we saw attendance at Garrison Institute retreats and events swell significantly. As division and polarization deepened in our culture, we focused on building community, compassion, resilience, and renewal, both in our own region and across the country. We got strategic about extending our reach to match the growing need, finding new venues and partners beyond our walls, and leveraging national and even global impacts.

For example, as conflicts, climate change and natural disasters intensified around the world, we tripled the number of trainings offered by our Contemplative-Based Resilience (CBR) Project, which helps humanitarian aid workers cope with the stress of serving those in need. As the refugee crisis engulfed the Middle East, we established CBR trainings in Amman, Jordan, enabling us to help aid workers deployed in Syria and throughout the region.

The following pages give a brief overview of what we did in this consequential time in history, how we did it, and how it helped further our mission. To say we’re proud of these achievements is true, but “grateful” would be nearer the mark. We’re thankful to be in a position to make a difference , and we appreciate how lucky we are to be part of a vital and growing community of like-minded people and organizations working with us towards a better future.

With gratitude,

Marc Weiss / Executive Director


Tuning In

Headquartered in a former monastery on the banks of the Hudson River, which we reimagined and reshaped as “a monastery for the 21st century” – diverse, inclusive, welcoming, and relevant – each year, the Garrison Institute offers refuge, reflection, and restoration for thousands of people from all walks of life.


All our activities share a common thread of doing “inner work” and tuning into inner experience in order to animate our “outer work” and conceive new possibilities for the world around us.

We bring together teachers, students, practitioners, and innovators in the fields of contemplative practices, science, the arts, technology, social justice and environmental advocacy. Through a rich array of contemplative-based retreats and gatherings, together we explore diverse wisdom traditions and contemporary ideas, seeking to deepen spiritual practices, cultivate inner resources, build compassion and resilience, reframe our relationship with the natural world and with technology, and prepare us to work effectively for a more just, loving, and sustainable world.

We offer specially designed trainings for people working in such fields as social work, education, humanitarian aid, and the non-profit sector.
We also host private meetings and retreats for businesses and institutions, working with them to design their retreat experience, and drawing on our network of renowned teachers, experts, innovators, and authors to speak and facilitate.

In 2016 and 2017, we offered a total of 240 diverse retreats, workshops, symposia, and gatherings at the Garrison Institute, in a wide variety of formats, exploring everything from affordable housing to Zen Buddhism. Nearly all entailed some component of contemplative or mindfulness practice.

Some addressed what we call “Transformational and Contemplative Ecology,” growing and convening our network of climate, sustainability, spiritual and community leaders to re-conceive our relationship with the natural world and help make environmental advocacy more effective. For example, in 2016 Joanna Macy led a retreat on “Rainer Maria Rilke and the Force of the Storm.” Macy’s “Work that Reconnects” trainings have empowered environmental activists and scientists worldwide, drawing on Buddhist teachings, systems theory and the deep ecological visions of poets like Rilke, whom Macy and Anita Barrows translated, and who foresaw the disruptions of our time over a century ago. You can watch Macy introducing the retreat here.

Joanna Macy on Rainer Maria Rilke, Garrison Institute

Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God; poems by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy; Riverhead Books (1996); ISBN 1-59448-156-3

One such rather influential interpretation [coming out of the modern gnostic foundation] could be found in the George circle. This so called 'cosmic circle' took shape in the Schwabing quarter of Munich at the end of the nineteenth century, around the figure and poetry of Stefan George. Among its core members were Karl Wolfskehl (1869-1948), Friedrich Gundolf (1880-1931), Hans Busse (1867-1914), Friedrich Huch (1873-1913), Franziska Reventlov (1871-1918), Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), Alfred Schulter and Ludwig Klages.

-- Modern Gnosis and Zionism: The Crisis of Culture, Life Philosophy and Jewish National Thought, by Yotam Hotam

Another woman who experienced Freda's ability to break down barriers to get what she wanted was Joanna Macy, renowned American environmentalist, teacher, and author. She was living in Delhi with her husband Francis Underhill Macy], who was working for the Peace Corps, when Freda came to visit.

"I remember I opened the door and she stood there in her maroon clothes, greeting me as if somehow I and not she were the guest. I loved the way that touch of the Raj blended so paradoxically and superbly with the monk's garb she wore. She had come because she wanted my husband to release a particular person in the Peace Corps to work for her in Dalhousie. 'I shall speak to my friend Mr. B in the Cabinet,' Mummy said with a smile. 'When do you think we can expect him?' It was the marriage of serenity and sheer nerve. She was English in the way only the English can be. She had implicit authority," Macy said.

Later, Macy went to Dalhousie to help settle Khamtrul Rinpoche, a high lama who had escaped from Tibet with a huge number of followers, including monks and a large community of accomplished artists and craftspeople. She took the opportunity to take teachings from Freda at a small class for Westerners she had organized in Dalhousie. Macy also undertook a silent retreat under Freda's direction, and today acknowledges Freda's influence on her spiritual life.

"What she had to say had a lucidity and simplicity about it. I can't accept any teachings if there is a false note -- if it is not coming from a person's wholeness and integrity, if what they are saying merely comes from what has been heard or read. With Freda I was able to drink it in. It was coming from beyond."

"I don't know how realized she was. I didn't go into those areas. She told me something about her mystical experience in Burma. She said she came out onto the street and saw everything in the world lit up as though from within. She did not go into a featureless expanse -- but the ordinary world was transformed for her.

"She also taught me from her actions. I never heard her say a mean thing about anyone. She was always thinking of others, writing to people all the time, trying to get others what they needed. And it was done with such affection. She constantly had a folder in her lap, and whenever she had a minute, she'd write a note to someone.

"Mummy was wonderful for me to a very high degree," Macy continued. "First of all, she was important because she was a woman. I am grateful to someone who understood the teachings and practice, and that it was a woman in a tradition that is quite male dominated. That was not by choice -- it was sheer good luck. I was not consciously being a feminist, but I knew and I trusted her. She had a love of the Dharma and used it in a bold, brave way. When I first approached her for teachings, she replied, 'Yes, of course, my dear, I will be delighted. That is just the thing.' I sensed she had just been waiting for me to ask.

"Although she had reverence for the tradition, she did not present me with any overlay of doctrine or view. Nor did she start me off as the lamas would have done, with the Vajrayana (the Buddhism exclusive to Tibet). Instead, she wanted me to recapitulate her own journey, starting with the Theravada buddhism she had learned in Rangoon. For me this was quite marvelous. It acquainted me with the early teachings of the Buddha and disciplined my mind in a way of following empirically my own experience in the immediate arising of mental and physical phenomena in my own body and mind. 'Bare attention -- just watch the thoughts. Know you are thinking, thinking. Get the "I" out of it," Mummy instructed. This allowed me later on in graduate school to approach the early teachings without any filter, with tremendous respect and curiosity for what the Buddha was saying. During my retreat I was in torment yet fascinated watching my own mind.

"She was trying to bring me right up to Tibetan practice. She kept talking about Trungpa, whom she loved very much. 'Wait till you meet him,' she said. When Trungpa came to the States, I thought, 'Now I'll graduate to a Tibetan practice,' but I stayed with the Vipassana I'd learned from Mummy.

"What Mummy did not do for me, however, was to model the social significance of the Buddha's teachings for our times, which is what I had become very focused on. 'Engaged Buddhism,' as it's called. To me Buddhism frees us to act for social and ecological survival, what needs to be done for a just and sustainable society. This wasn't of interest to Mummy."

-- The Revolutionary Life of Freda Bedi, by Vicki Mackenzie



We also focused on “Transformational Leadership,” forming partnerships with businesses and institutions that seek to help their leaders build a more mindful, compassionate, mission-driven organizational culture amid intense volatility and change. To that end, we hosted successful corporate retreats for organizations ranging from Kickstarter to the Global Impact Investing Network. In 2017, we reached out to businesses and organizations and invited them to collaborate on transformational leadership work. As a result, we will be working with more businesses in 2018, exploring best practices for bringing mindfulness and compassion to the workplace and strategies for nurturing the growth of the transformational leadership movement.

Some of our events and workshops explored the arts as ways of deepening our sense of connectedness and shared humanity, analogous in that sense to spirituality and contemplative practice. In 2016, the Sufi musical group Riyaaz Qawwali gave a concert coupled with a talk by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan on music and sound as a devotional practice in the Sufi tradition. Eve Ensler’s play “Extraordinary Measures,” which deals with the dying process, was performed at the Institute as part of the 2016 Buddhist Contemplative Care Symposium. Meredith Monk led a 2017 workshop at the Institute on “Voice as Practice,” and gave a public concert and talk on art and spiritual practice.

Joanna Macy - Choosing Life | Bioneers
We open our heart-mind to behold and give shape to our world, to let our hearts be a mirror to the world....

Carl Jung believed that the core of each life is a question that that life, that person, must pursue, and is fortunate if he or she discovers it. Well, I know what the question was ... the question was how to be fully present to my world, present enough to enjoy it and be useful, while at the same time knowing that my species, we human species, are progressively destroying this world. Wow! That splits you right down the middle and puts you back together again, over and over again. It has asked me to keep my eyes and heart open to what I see happening, to unblock the feedback loops, and help others do it too, to speak the truth...

I wanted to dedicate the minutes of my talk with you to Edward Snowden, and to Chelsea Manning, and to countless others of our brothers and sisters who are helping us see what really is going on, breaking down the walls of secrecy! Because it is only when we are able to see our world and touch it that we can be part of its self-healing....

In 1953, he [Francis Underhill Macy] married Joanna Rogers, who embraced her husband's activism and remained his compatriot for life. He began working for the Russian-language station Radio Liberty, which was based in Munich, at the height of the Cold War. He worked for the U.S. Information Service, which sent American citizen diplomats around the world to talk to people about American values and democracy.

-- Francis Underhill Macy - improved Russia relations, by Peter Fimrite

Ramparts magazine and The New York Times published articles in 1967 exposing the radios' ties to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

-- Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond (review), by Malcolm Byrne

The prominence of the USIA is significant, since this is an agency with a long track record in political and psychological operations. It was created by the Eisenhower administration in 1953 as an agency within the NSC at the recommendation of a top-secret report issued by the President's Committee on International Information Activities. Its explicit purpose was to conduct propaganda, political and psychological operations abroad in conjunction with CIA activities.41 A National Security Action Memo in 1962 stipulated coordination among the USIA, the AID, the CIA, the Pentagon, and the State Department in waging political warfare operations, including civic action, economic and military aid programs.

-- Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization, U.S. Intervention, and Hegemony, by William I. Robinson

To see my world as lover and self, to not be afraid of the suffering, and not being afraid, can get my heart-mind kind of bruised and banged up a little bit. That's what the time we're in seems to call for. And so the times of welcoming the world in a heart and mind have brought such adventures....

So this question opens me up, and opens us all up. And I turn to Rilke again, "I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world." ...

I've been circling around God, that primordial tower, I've been circling for thousands of years, and I still don't know. Am I a vulcan, a storm, or a great song? Same for you! That's the same for you! I've learned that in my deep ecology. Friends, as we tell the truth of what we feel and know is happening, as we let others speak through us, other life forms, the life in us is so big, it cannot be reduced to one social role, to one curriculum vitae. Our roots go back, back, back to the beginnings of life. You know that. To the first splitting and spinning of the stars. And all of that journey forward, our human journey, and those before us, have brought us to this point. And we can be so grateful, I am so grateful to be alive now. Because, for life to continue, well, that means -- and you know it in your heart, and that's why you're here at Bioneers, and that's why Kenny Ausubel and Nina Simons are so faithful in bringing it -- that we have to make a giant step in our consciousness. We have to make real what we dream and know and intuit: That we are one planet people. And we can only be one planet people if we honor all our differences. That we belong to one living sacred body of earth. And when we get that, my brothers and sisters, when we really get that, we'll be able to achieve the ongoing singing of the song of life. Isn't that so?! ...

Rilke said toward the end of his life, in a sonnet to Orpheus ... "Quiet friend who has come so far, feel how your breathing makes more space around you." And then he says, "Let this darkness be a bell-tower, and you the bell, and as you ring, what batters you becomes your strength!" Ho, ho! Get that! Then you realize that you're made for change.

And I love it that systems thinking helps us see that, with positive feedback loops, where the change is so great that the old values, and the old norms, and the old self-images, the old worries and feuds, don't fit anymore. And that you have to die to the old forms, and resurrect in a larger self, wider rings....

The word is "positive disintegration." Because you are having to die to images and concepts of yourself that are simply too small. That there is something so big that wants to happen through us. And that we MUST allow it to happen through us if we want life to continue on this planet. Because the engines of destruction are strong!

Riyaaz Qawwali
"Religiously, we're Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs, agnostics, atheists."...And that's the ethos that informs their music. They weave songs and texts from Hinduism and Sikhism into the Muslim material. Sonny says that there is plenty of precedent within qawwali for mixing ideas from different faiths within one song. He points to one older verse as an example.

"'Mandir, masjid yeh maikhane, koi yeh maane koi wo maane,'" Sonny says. "Mandir, a [Hindu] temple. Masjid, a mosque. Maikhana, which is a bar! So it's an interesting piece of poetry, I think! It's saying, 'Some people believe in this [Hindu] deity of Ram, some people do their bowing of head in the masjid, and some people bow their heads to a maikhana! Some believe in this, some believe in that.' But then, if everyone is just believing in something, we're forgetting Your [God's] identity, because we're interested more in the differences."...

At its heart, qawwali is ecstatic music. It was born in the religious practices of Sufi Islam in South Asia. Sufis seek a mystical, personal connection with God. They often use joyous, ecstatic music as a conduit for that experience....

And they hope that that joy transcends religion.

-- Deep In The Heart Of Texas, Muslim Music Blossoms, by Anastasia Tsioulcas

A Lecture with Sufi Scholar and Teacher Pir Zia Inayat-Khan

[Hal Roth, Professor of religious studies and the Director of the Contemplative Studies Initiative at Brown University] My name is Hal Roth, and I direct the contemplative studies initiative and concentration. Some of you, of course, know about contemplative studies, but perhaps some of you do not. So I'd like to say a few words before introducing our speaker for this evening. In contemplative studies we look at human contemplative practices and experiences across cultures and across traditions. And we approach them from humanistic, scientific and artistic perspectives. We have developed a particularly unique form of pedagogy. We call it integrative contemplative pedagogy. And with that, we look at these contemplative practices in their contexts. We look at them from third person points of view that we find throughout the university, looking at history and philosophy and a variety of other factors. We also look at them from what we call critical first person perspectives. In critical first person perspectives we actually teach students direct experience of contemplative techniques in the classroom. We ask them to learn the contemplative practices, they read about what the cognitive frameworks, what the philosophical frameworks are for those practices, but we do not ask them to believe in the truth of those cognitive frameworks. That's something that students are encouraged to do on their own. To test out empirically in the lab of their bodies-minds....

[Professor __] Our esteemed guest's grandfather, Hazrat Inayat Khan, who was born in 1882, visited the U.S. from 1910-1912, and then again in the 1920s for a lecture tour which included a stop at Columbia University, and a musical performance there as well. So your being here tonight is part of a long tradition that is more than a century old. Hazrat Inayat Khan founded the Sufi order of the West in 1914, and this coincided with an important moment in American history that also included arrival on American shores of a number of Sufi movements ...

Our guest, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, who was born in 1971 took over leadership of the organization, in guiding sufi communities in north and south America, Europe, the Middle East, and even in the South Pacific in traditions that connect contemplative wisdom from various strains of mystical thinking, but also just contemplative traditions, and helping to link them with solutions to problems that contemporary society faces with emphasis on responding to urgent social challenges of the day.

The spirit of our guest's grandfather, who arrived in the U.S. at a time which, in his own words, "the time was not yet ripe" for the message that he brought is in many ways still with us today. Hazrat Inayat Khan remarked on the pace and busyness of life in America, was critical of the superficiality with which many approached spiritual teachings from abroad, and was sensitively attuned to the racism suffered particularly by African-Americans. And he wrote that he felt kinship as an Indian with brown skin who at times was also looked upon with contempt.

Sadly, we are now in at another important moment in the history of the relationship between the broad and vast tradition that is Islam and the United States. The social challenges of that era are in many ways still with us, and have even been exceeded. We are in a period of disenchantment with Islam, both from within the Islam community and without. The message of universal Sufism, based on the unity of all people and religions, and the spiritual guidance that is present in all people and places, still has apparently a lot of work to do and much to offer us. To enliven and reanimate the spirit of the vast tradition called Islam whose vibrance has recently been threatened by the politicized and violent manifestations of that tradition that receive so much attention these days, whether in the form of brutality of militants or in the dry and litigious exclusive and absolutist claims of Saudi Wahhabism.

Also in the first decades of the 21st century, the orientalist A.J. Wensinck opined that if not for the flourishing of Sufism, of what is sometimes called the mystical tradition of Islam, even though that is an oversimplification, the Muslim religion would have become a lifeless form." That was in a book that was published in 1932 called "The Muslim Creed." ... At a time in which religion is experiencing a revival, it is also undergoing tremendous change, and needs uniting impulses that can speak to global audiences and address the urgent social, political, and environmental challenges that today feel more pressing than ever....


[Pir Zia Inayat-Khan] And this has led me to re-read a book which belongs to the great literature of the middle ages, the literature of the grail legends, and particularly to reexamine a work of the grail genre which emerged just after the unsuccessful 4th Crusade, when Europe was in a state of deep despondency because of the failure of that Crusade, the failure of this effort to reclaim Jerusalem, which had captured the imagination of Christendom, and then which fell flat, leading to a sense of impotence and cultural hopelessness.

Well, then came Wolfram von Eschenbach’s great interpretation of the Parsifal [Parzival] legend. And as we know, there have been a number of versions of that legend. The earlier one of Chrétien de Troyes' most notably. But Wolfram’s version adds an extremely important element, which is the backstory.

Now Parsifal by then was very well known as the grail hero, the champion who at last attains the grail after years of searching. But what Wolfram shows us is that Parsifal had a brother, a half-brother. And he learned this from a bard named Kyot of Provence who himself is said to have learned it from a discarded Arabic manuscript in Toledo, which was the work of a certain Flegatonis, who was known to be an astrologer, a mystic apparently, quite possibly a Sufi.

So this hidden story of the grail reveals that the father of Parsifal [Gahmuret], before Parsifal was born, had gone to Baghdad, and there had served the Caliph of Baghdad. So this quintessential Christian knight had been in the service of a Muslim king, and on further adventures had gone on to Africa to the kingdom of Zazamank, and there had rescued the queen [Herzeloyde]. And upon rescuing her, the two fell in love and were married and had a child. But this Ajevan prince was one to roam. He was never happy to put down roots, so he left his new wife and child and went on his way, returned to Europe, and there married again. And his Christian wife also bore him a child. And subsequently he died in an attempt, actually, returning to Baghdad. To defend Baghdad he died there.

So he left two children. The child born to the Christian mother was Parsifal. But he had this prior son, of which Christendom was completely unaware until Wolfram brought forth this story. And this son was named Firifis. He was notable for his partly colored skin. He was half black and half white, in patches. And eventually, when he grew up, he went in search of his father. And in the course of some adventures, he came across Parsifal in a glade.

Now Parsifal had been seeking the grail for 4-1/2 years precisely, because he had once encountered the grail castle and had been shown the grail, and was dazzled. But he failed to answer the right question. So the grail withdrew, the castle disappeared, and he was left in a state of utter frustration and sought frantically to recover that ultimate experience. So it was in the midst of this ongoing quest that he came across a Saracen knight. Now that word “Saracen” was the word used in those times to refer to the Muslims, or Arabs. Although etymologically it really should be traced back to another root. In the mythology, the legends, it’s traced to the island Saras…. And that island was known as the island of the grail. It was the island to which Gallahad brought back the grail after he attained it.

So here was a Saracen knight confronting a Christian knight, and they fell at each other swinging and clanging their swords, and at last Parsifal’s sword broke in two. So he was rendered helpless. And Firifis had the upper hand. He could have dealt the final blow, but instead he practiced Futuwwa, or Sufi chivalry. He sheathed his sword. He didn’t take advantage of his advantage, and the two sat down to talk. They removed their helmets, and Parsifal asked, “Who are you?” He said, “I am Firifis, the Ajevan.” He said, “How could you be an Ajevan? I am Parsifal. I am the Ajevan.” And so they got to talking, and realized at last they had the same father. Just as soon as that realization came, Parsifal took Firifis to Arthur’s camp, and he was warmly welcomed there. He was made a knight of the round table. And then came Kundry with the message that they were called to the Grail Castle.

And so this quest, which Parsifal had pursued for so long now reached its conclusion. And why did it reach this conclusion? Because the two brothers were united.

Now, there is significance in this story. And it is significant that it came at the end of the 4th crusade. Why? Because here is shown the moral: that the grail which symbolizes attainment, the grail that symbolizes salvation, is found in the reconciliation of two lives of the Abrahamic prophetic family. That is to say, that salvation which was sought by a conquest of the holy lands, needs to be redirected toward a process of reconciliation and spiritual reunification. That is what this version which draws upon the backstory shows.

And so it’s a version that evokes a kind of chivalry which is common to all three of these civilizations. And it’s a chivalry that’s traced back to the Prophet Abraham. The Sufi text refers specifically to Abraham as the founder of chivalry.

So we have chivalry understood in Suffism as the myth of Parsifal. Parsifal, upon attaining the grail, becomes the new grail keeper and Firifis is married to the maiden who is the holder of the grail. So there is a triumphal conclusion. And that conclusion is a piece of evidence, which together with the evidence of Futuwwa in Sufism, points to an understanding that was held by some in the middle ages, and which has been elaborated, and explored in great detail, in the Sufi texts, that there exists a tradition of ethical excellence and spiritual kinship between the people of the Abrahamic family despite the political differences between the empires that determine the fate of these peoples.

Other Garrison Institute activities support what we call “Movements of the Spirit,” identifying diverse communities of spiritual practice, building an interdisciplinary community around them and designing spiritually grounded, civil dialogues among them that can cut across political divides. Spiritual frameworks shape our sense of perspective, morality, meaning, and purpose, and are a deep part of our common bond. We believe that reaffirming them is key to overcoming polarization and divisiveness we’re now experiencing, and reweaving our frayed social fabric.

Our work has touched a nerve. As we told The Wall Street Journal, the Institute experienced a significant uptick in attendance at the end of 2016 and into 2017. With retreats like Tara Brach and Jonathan Foust’s “Mindfulness and Compassion Practices that Release the Trance of Fear” or Jack Kornfield’s “Loving Awareness, Wisdom, and Compassion in Tough Times,” and our first evening salon in New York City’s Judson Memorial Church on “(Mis)Information Overload: Living in Truth in a Post-Truth Age,” we spoke to a growing need for reconnecting with ourselves and one another, cultivating compassion and resilience, and staying present in challenging times.

Our impact has grown along with the need. In 2016 and 2017, almost 12,000 people came to the Garrison Institute (a total of over 65,000 since we opened our doors in 2003).

We also reached thousands more by collaborating with various partners, and conducting offsite activities, trainings, and events, from New York City to Amman, Jordan.

“Being able to deepen my practice has revolutionized my relationship to myself and others. It’s transformed my life, and I’m extremely grateful. Garrison has helped me connect my inner journey with my work with nonprofits that are making a real difference in people’s lives.”

-- Retreat Participant



Reaching Out

For many thousands of people, the Garrison Institute has been a kind of sanctuary for inner exploration and renewal, but one founded with the intention of facilitating deep engagement with the world and addressing the most pressing challenges of our time. Those who come through our doors experience the transformative power of contemplation, then go back into the world better equipped to relieve suffering, foster compassion, and help build a better future. In 2016 and 2017, we intensified our focus on what happens beyond the walls of the Institute, and leveraged tangible regional, national, and global impacts.

We held some 40 events in New York City featuring compelling speakers and teachers such as “How Does Spiritual Practice Lead to Social Activism?” with Rabbi Rachel Cowan and Zen priest Norman Fischer at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, or “On Wisdom and Being” with Krista Tippett and Andrew Zolli at the 92nd Street Y, or “America’s Mindfulness Movement” with Daniel Goleman, Richard Davidson, and Jon Kabat- Zinn at the New York Society for Ethical Culture.

Our NYC events helped us reach new audiences and connect with new communities of practice. As part of our Movements of the Spirit work, we’re intentionally expanding our network of these communities across the US and internationally and finding new ways to engage with them. In 2017, we undertook the formation of a Garrison Institute Leadership Council composed of influencers in their 40s and younger who represent the current and next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders. They help us expand our outreach, and keep our content and programing cutting-edge.

Our Transformational Leadership work bore fruit regionally, nationally and beyond. For example, we partnered with the Good Work Institute (GWI), an independent non-profit launched by the online retailer Etsy, on its 2016 Hudson Valley (HV) Fellowship. GWI’s HV fellows are drawn from local businesses, community and nonprofit organizations, and government. They work to build “compassionate, regenerative, and equitable communities in the Hudson Valley and around the world.” When the Institute hosted a retreat for them, we found GWI’s mission was aligned with ours, and we decided to work more closely together. Members of our staff participated in the fellowship program, and Garrison Institute and GWI jointly organized an event on “Business as a Force for Good” with Daniel Goleman. We’re planning further joint events in the future.



In 2017, we formed a partnership with Mindful Leader, organizers of the annual Mindful Leadership Summit in Washington, DC, the world’s largest gathering dedicated to mindfulness and compassion in the workplace. The Summit is growing exponentially, attracting thousands of leaders from around the world, and our partnership with Mindful Leader has given our transformational leadership work a national and global platform.

In 2016 and 2017, we expanded our offerings and broadened the focus of our Care for the Caregivers activities. They provide unique contemplative-based trainings for people who care for others, whether in their families or communities, or in the helping professions – teaching, healthcare, end-of-life care, humanitarian aid, social justice and more.

Nearly half of teachers report feeling chronically stressed, and 30 – 40% leave the profession within their first five years. Our CARE for Teachers and Mindful Schools trainings give teachers self-care tools and contemplative skills to cope with stress, avoid burnout, and reanimate their teaching, so they and their students can flourish. Covered by NPR in 2016 and The New York Times in 2017, CARE for Teachers has attracted national recognition and growing demand. To help meet it, we’ve licensed the CARE for Teachers training, and it’s now part of the national organization CREATE for Education.

“The retreat was life-changing for me: profound, grounding and illuminating. My work is rewarding, but I can feel bleak at times. Truly nourishing self-care helps make my activism sustainable long-term.”

-- Retreat Participant




79% of humanitarian aid workers report having experienced mental health problems themselves. Deployed in some of the world’s most difficult environments, their work is stressful, dangerous, and puts them at risk for primary and secondary trauma, PTSD and burnout. The strain is growing along with climate change, protracted conflicts and the refugee crisis. Our Contemplative-Based Resilience (CBR) Project helps aid workers counter the physical and psychological effects of chronic stress and exposure to trauma, so they can continue and thrive in their lifesaving work.

In 2016, we brought CBR to the Middle East for the first time, establishing operations in Amman, Jordan and holding the first CBR training there, which enabled us to have an impact on the Syrian refugee crisis. In 2017, we developed partnerships with more aid agencies, which sent their staffs to be trained, and we tripled the number of CBR trainees over 2016. 70% of them were women. In addition to Jordan and Syria, CBR trainees are now working in Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories and beyond. You can read about CBR’s outcomes in detail in the summer 2017 issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review.

CBR techniques designed for humanitarian aid workers and human rights defenders can also be adapted for social workers and others who do vital but stressful work that exposes them to trauma. In 2017, we held our first CBR training for people working in the affordable housing sector in the U.S. We’re also planning CBR trainings for leaders of non-profits who work with and advocate for women.

Another way we extend the reach of our work beyond our walls is through thought leadership and communications. The Garrison Institute has built a wide, world-class network of teachers, writers, thinkers and innovators who are leaders and luminaries in their fields, and who help further our mission and carry our message. In addition to featuring them in our events, we’re publishing their ideas in a wealth of online blog posts and videos and our annual print anthology Lineages, enabling us to reach more communities and wider audiences. People in over 200 countries are now reading and sharing our content and visiting our website.


Giving Thanks

The Garrison Institute is a community of people working together towards positive social change. Our funders and supporters not only make our work possible, they are an integral part of it. They actively participate in our community, working with us in many different ways towards our shared goal of a more compassionate, resilient future. From Friends of the Garrison Institute and individual donors to major grant-making organizations and corporate sponsors, partnerships and in-kind support, we’re incredibly fortunate to be part of a vital, engaged, collaborative circle of people and organizations.

We’re deeply thankful for and mindful of their contributions and colleagueship, and so are the people who participate in our retreats and gatherings. To see them express it in their own heartfelt words and images, click here.

Scholarships Extend Our Reach

Generous support from our donors funds scholarships to make our retreats and workshops accessible to more people. We gave over $200,000 in scholarships, awarding 256 in 2016 and 283 in 2017.

New support in 2016 and 2017 funded scholarships for people in specific professional fields and for specific retreats. The Angell Foundation, which promotes “high-impact programs that help people empower themselves,” underwrote scholarships for educators, healthcare workers and frontline workers to attend Garrison Institute events. It also funded scholarships for specific Garrison Institute retreats in the humanities.

The Hemera Foundation’s Contemplative Fellowships for educators and health care professionals and its Tending Space Fellowship Program for artists funded scholarships for people in these fields to attend our retreats and workshops.







Lisette Cooper
Ruth Cummings
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Rachel Gutter, Board Co-Chair
Paul Hawken
Will Rogers
Diana Calthorpe Rose
Jonathan F. P. Rose, Board Co-Chair
Sharon Salzberg
Dan Siegel
Monica Winsor


Dan Goleman
Michael Lerner, MD
Peter Senge
Frederick B. (Bart) Harvey III
Betsy Taylor
Mary Evelyn Tucker


Marc Weiss, Executive Director
Jeanne Johnson, Deputy Managing Director, People and Operations
Jane Kolleeny, Retreats and Business Development Director
Amanda Sherlip, Director of Development

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Our Funders

The Garrison Institute is profoundly grateful for the support of its many funders, whose vision and generosity make our scholarships, retreats, workshops, events, and operations possible.


OUR FOUNDERS: David & Lynn Angell

-- Who We Are, by Angell Foundation

He married Lynn Edwards on August 14, 1971. Soon after Angell entered the U.S. Army upon graduation and served at the Pentagon until 1972 ... Angell and his wife Lynn both died heading home from their vacation on Cape Cod aboard American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to hit the World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks.[2]

-- David Angell, by Wikipedia

Using documentation from press reports, Woody Box and Nico Haupt have concluded that two distinct aircraft took off from Boston on the morning of September under the designation of American Flight 11. "Where did Flight 11 start?," writes Box. "There are two answers: Gate 26 and Gate 32. And both answers resist any attempt to refute them." American 11's departure was regularly scheduled for 7:45 AM from Terminal B, Gate 32 of Boston's Logan Airport. This was American 11's departure gate on 9/11, as shown in a transcript of radio communications between American 11 and the Logan tower published in the New York Times: "7:45:48 -- Ground Control 1: American eleven heavy Boston ground gate thirty two you're going to wait for a Saab to go by then push back" (New York Times, October 16, 2001) But many press reports indicate that passengers on American 11 embarked at Gate 26 (Washington Post, September 15, 2001, and other newspapers) Gate 26 is located in another wing of Terminal B, and is about 1000 feet away from Gate 32. Gate 26 is the majority view.

One paper, the Boston Globe, mentioned both gates on successive days. In an extra of the Boston Globe published on September 11, we find: "One airport employee, who asked not to be identified, said the American flight left on time from Gate 32 in Terminal B, and that nothing unusual was apparent." One day later, in the Boston Globe article entitled "Crashes in NYC had grim origins at Logan", we read: "The American flight left from Gate 26 in Terminal B, and the United flight from Gate 19 in Terminal C. One airport employee said nothing unusual was apparent when the American flight left." Was this the same employee as the day before? The Gate 26 flight pushed back later than its scheduled departure time of 7:45 AM.

Was one of these two flights a dummy flight, a decoy being used in one of the live fly hijacking exercises described above? Did its unannounced presence contribute even more to the confusion that reigned in US airspace on the morning of 9/11? Or was there some other, more devious purpose?

-- 9/11 Synthetic Terror Made in USA, by Webster Griffin Tarpley

Cotsen “had a lot of money and the will to do something beautiful with it,” said Judith Johnson, the founding and former executive director of the Cotsen Foundation for the Art of Teaching.

-- Lloyd Cotsen, the multimillionaire soap salesman who became an elite L.A. philanthropist, dies at 88, by Steve Marble, L.A. Times

The Nathan Cummings Foundation is a multigenerational family foundation, rooted in the Jewish tradition of social justice, working to create a more just, vibrant, sustainable, and democratic society. We partner with social movements, organizations and individuals who have creative and catalytic solutions to climate change and inequality.

Our Founder

Nathan Cummings was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, in 1896. He moved from impoverished beginnings to great success by hard work, entrepreneurial genius and a willingness to take risks. In 1939, he purchased the C.D. Kenny Company of Baltimore, a small wholesale distributor of canned foods, coffee, tea and spices. That was the beginning of the international company that was known as the Sara Lee Corporation. For three decades, he personally guided the growth of the company. He retired from active management in 1968 to pursue philanthropic interests.

-- Our Legacy, by the Nathan Cummings Foundation

Human Rights ... Environment... Arts and Culture... Animal Welfare ... Education... Science... Foreign and/or Defense Policy... Veterans... Underserved Youth...

-- Donner Foundation, by The William H. Donner Foundation, Inc.

In creating Union Steel Company, Donner received financial backing from Henry Clay Frick, Andrew W. Mellon, and Richard B. Mellon, in addition to Donner's own funds....

In 1932, Donner turned his attention to philanthropy, with a special interest in cancer research. ...

In 1993, the conservative American Donner heirs who control the foundation changed its primary focus to that of supporting conservative research.

From 1993 to 1999, under the leadership of executive directors Devon Gaffney Cross and then Patrick Luciani, the foundation provided the seed money to start several conservative Canadian think-tanks and publications, and became the "lifeblood of conservative research" in Canada.

In 1999, the American Donner heirs who control the foundation began donating more of its money to land and wildlife conservation, international development, medical research and the arts, reducing funding of conservative research (though it is still one of the most generous benefactors to the right in Canada

-- William Donner, by Wikipedia

Ettinger Foundation
Location: NEW YORK, NY
Tax ID: 06-6038938
Tax-Exempt Status: 501(c)(3)-PF
Budget (2015): Revenue: $3,581,950
Expenses: $765,435
Assets: $11,560,068
Formation: 1950
Founders: Richard Prentice Ettinger and Elsie P. Ettinger

The Ettinger Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) private, non-operating foundation founded in 1950. The foundation, founded by the late Prentice-Hall textbook publishing house co-founder Richard P. Ettinger, provides grants to environmentalist groups and other progressive nonprofits.

In 2015, the foundation reported $11,560,068 in total assets to the Internal Revenue Service.[1]


According to the Center for Organizational Research and Education, the Ettinger Foundation donated $32,900 in 2005 to the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmentalist “science advocacy” organization. In the same year, it gave $25,500 to the Natural Resources Defense Council, “one of the largest and most well-funded environmental activist organizations in the United States.”[2]

The Foundation’s smaller contributions include a $15,000 donation to radical environmental activist group Greenpeace and $8,000 to the Sierra Club,[3] a 125-year-old nonprofit organization known for lobbying against the use of coal and other forms of affordable energy.[4]

Associated Organizations

Richard P. Ettinger, co-founder of textbook publisher Prentice-Hall and his wife, Elsie P. Ettinger, also founded The Educational Foundation of America (EFA).[5] The same address in Westport, CT is listed for the EFA and the Ettinger Foundation.[6]

On its website, the EFA claims “promoting environmental preservation and conservation” is a focal point of its funding. Since it was established in 1959, the foundation has donated $295,000 to the Sierra Club and $1,920,000 to the Natural Resources Defense Council.[7]

References Accessed May 30, 2017. ... ION%20INC/.
“Ettinger Foundation.” Activist Facts. Accessed May 24, 2017. ... oundation/.
“Ettinger Foundation.” Activist Facts. Accessed May 24, 2017. ... oundation/.
Holden, Emily. E&E News. Wednesday, April 12, 2017. “ENERGY TRANSITIONS: Coal lobby says it is exploring building new U.S. plant.” Accessed May 30, 2017.
“Our History.” The Educational Foundation of America. April 15, 2013. Accessed May 31, 2017.
“Educational Foundation of America.” Activist Facts. Accessed May 24, 2017. ... ofAmerica/
“Educational Foundation of America.” Activist Facts. Accessed May 24, 2017. ... ofAmerica/

-- Ettinger Foundation, by Influence Watch




Our Funders


-- Castle Rock, the Garrison home of Douglas and Sarah Banker

DAVID & SUSAN ROCKEFELLER [David Rockefeller's son and wife]
MELISSA & ROBERT SOROS [Billionaire George Soros's son and wife]

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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:08 pm

Part 1 of 3

Alfred North Whitehead
by Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
First published Tue May 21, 1996; substantive revision Tue Sep 4, 2018

Theodor Herzl Rome was born in Worcester, MA, in 1914, and began painting there as a child. He studied philosophy and aesthetics under Alfred North Whitehead, David Prall, and Harry Wolfson at Harvard, where he graduated at the top of his class in 1937. In his early twenties he spent a year in the Middle East, studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and traveling through Persia sketching and making watercolors, as well as a summer sailing around the Mediterranean with a crew that included two classmates with Maine connect ...

-- Theodor Rome (1914-1965), by AskART


Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947) was a British mathematician and philosopher best known for his work in mathematical logic and the philosophy of science. In collaboration with Bertrand Russell, he co-authored the landmark three-volume Principia Mathematica (1910, 1912, 1913). Later, he was instrumental in pioneering the approach to metaphysics now known as process philosophy.

Although there are important continuities throughout his career, Whitehead’s intellectual life is often divided into three main periods. The first corresponds roughly to his time at Cambridge from 1884 to 1910. It was during these years that he worked primarily on issues in mathematics and logic. It was also during this time that he collaborated with Russell. The second main period, from 1910 to 1924, corresponds roughly to his time at London. During these years Whitehead concentrated mainly on issues in physics, the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of education. The third main period corresponds roughly to his time at Harvard from 1924 onward. It was during this time that he worked primarily on issues in metaphysics.

1. Life and Works

The son of an Anglican clergyman, Whitehead graduated from Cambridge in 1884 and was elected a Fellow of Trinity College that same year. His marriage to Evelyn Wade six years later was largely a happy one and together they had a daughter (Jessie) and two sons (North and Eric). After moving to London, Whitehead served as president of the Aristotelian Society from 1922 to 1923. After moving to Harvard, he was elected to the British Academy in 1931. His moves to both London and Harvard were prompted in part by institutional regulations requiring mandatory retirement, although his resignation from Cambridge was also done partly in protest over how the University had chosen to discipline Andrew Forsyth, a friend and colleague whose affair with a married woman had become something of a local scandal.

In addition to Russell, Whitehead influenced many other students who became equally or more famous than their teacher, examiner or supervisor himself. For example: mathematicians G. H. Hardy and J. E. Littlewood; mathematical physicists Edmund Whittaker, Arthur Eddington, and James Jeans; economist J. M. Keynes; and philosophers Susanne Langer, Nelson Goodman, and Willard van Orman Quine. Whitehead did not, however, inspire any school of thought during his lifetime, and most of his students distanced themselves from parts of his teachings that they considered anachronistic. For example: Whitehead’s conviction that pure mathematics and applied mathematics should not be separated, but cross-fertilize each other, was not shared by Hardy, but seen as a remnant of the fading mixed mathematics tradition; after the birth of the theories of relativity and quantum physics, Whitehead’s method of abstracting some of the basic concepts of mathematical physics from common experiences seemed antiquated compared to Eddington’s method of world building, which aimed at constructing an experiment matching world from mathematical building blocks; when, due to Whitehead’s judgment as one of the examiners, Keynes had to rewrite his fellowship dissertation, Keynes raged against Whitehead, claiming that Whitehead had not bothered to try to understand Keynes’ novel approach to probability; and Whitehead’s main philosophical doctrine—that the world is composed of deeply interdependent processes and events, rather than mostly independent material things or objects—turned out to be largely the opposite of Russell’s doctrine of logical atomism, and his metaphysics was dispelled by the logical positivists from their dream land of pure scientific philosophy.

A short chronology of the major events in Whitehead’s life is below.

1861 Born February 15 in Ramsgate, Isle of Thanet, Kent, England.
1880 Enters Trinity College, Cambridge, with a scholarship in mathematics.
1884 Elected to the Apostles, the elite discussion club founded by Tennyson in the 1820s; graduates with a B.A. in Mathematics; elected a Fellow in Mathematics at Trinity.
1890 Meets Russell; marries Evelyn Wade.
1903 Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society as a result of his work on universal algebra, symbolic logic, and the foundations of mathematics.
1910 Resigns from Cambridge and moves to London.
1911 Appointed Lecturer at University College London.
1912 Elected President of both the South-Eastern Mathematical Association and the London branch of the Mathematical Association for the year 1913.
1914 Appointed Professor of Applied Mathematics at the Imperial College of Science and Technology.
1915 Elected President of the Mathematical Association for the two-year period 1915–1917.
1921 Meets Albert Einstein.
1922 Elected President of the Aristotelian Society for the one-year period 1922–1923.
1924 Appointed Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University.
1931 Elected a Fellow of the British Academy.
1937 Retires from Harvard.
1945 Awarded Order of Merit.
1947 Dies December 30 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
More detailed information about Whitehead’s life can be found in the comprehensive two-volume biography A.N. Whitehead: The Man and His Work (1985, 1990) by Victor Lowe and J.B. Schneewind. Paul Schilpp’s The Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead (1941) also includes a short autobiographical essay, in addition to providing a comprehensive critical overview of Whitehead’s thought and a detailed bibliography of his writings.

Other helpful introductions to Whitehead’s work include Victor Lowe’s Understanding Whitehead (1962), Stephen Franklin’s Speaking from the Depths (1990), Thomas Hosinski’s Stubborn Fact and Creative Advance (1993), Elizabeth Kraus’ The Metaphysics of Experience (1998), Robert Mesle’s Process-Relational Philosophy (2008), and John Cobb’s Whitehead Word Book (2015). Recommendable for the more advanced Whitehead student are Ivor Leclerc’s Whitehead’s Metaphysics (1958), Wolfe Mays’ The Philosophy of Whitehead (1959), Donald Sherburne’s A Whiteheadian Aesthetics (1961), Charles Hartshorne’s Whitehead’s Philosophy (1972), George Lucas’ The Rehabilitation of Whitehead (1989), David Griffin’s Whitehead’s Radically Different Postmodern Philosophy (2007), and Steven Shaviro’s Without Criteria (2009). For a chronology of Whitehead’s major publications, readers are encouraged to consult the Primary Literature section of the Bibliography below.

Attempts to sum up Whitehead’s life and influence are complicated by the fact that in accordance with his instructions, all his papers were destroyed following his death. As a result, there is no nachlass, except for papers retained by his colleagues and correspondents. Even so, it is instructive to recall the words of the late Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Felix Frankfurter:

From knowledge gained through the years of the personalities who in our day have affected American university life, I have for some time been convinced that no single figure has had such a pervasive influence as the late Professor Alfred North Whitehead. (New York Times, January 8, 1948)

Today Whitehead’s ideas continue to be felt and are revalued in varying degrees in all of the main areas in which he worked. A critical edition of his work is currently in the process of being prepared. A first volume, containing student notes of lectures given by Whitehead at Harvard in the academic year 1924–1925, has already been published by Edinburgh University Press in 2017, and more volumes are on their way.

2. Mathematics and Logic

Whitehead began his academic career at Trinity College, Cambridge where, starting in 1884, he taught for a quarter of a century. In 1890, Russell arrived as a student and during the 1890s the two men came into regular contact with one another. According to Russell,

Whitehead was extraordinarily perfect as a teacher. He took a personal interest in those with whom he had to deal and knew both their strong and their weak points. He would elicit from a pupil the best of which a pupil was capable. He was never repressive, or sarcastic, or superior, or any of the things that inferior teachers like to be. I think that in all the abler young men with whom he came in contact he inspired, as he did in me, a very real and lasting affection. (1956: 104)

By the early 1900s, both Whitehead and Russell had completed books on the foundations of mathematics. Whitehead’s 1898 A Treatise on Universal Algebra had resulted in his election to the Royal Society. Russell’s 1903 The Principles of Mathematics had expanded on several themes initially developed by Whitehead. Russell’s book also represented a decisive break from the neo-Kantian approach to mathematics Russell had developed six years earlier in his Essay on the Foundations of Geometry. Since the research for a proposed second volume of Russell’s Principles overlapped considerably with Whitehead’s own research for a planned second volume of his Universal Algebra, the two men began collaboration on what eventually would become Principia Mathematica (1910, 1912, 1913). According to Whitehead, they initially expected the research to take about a year to complete. In the end, they worked together on the project for a decade.

According to Whitehead—inspired by Hermann Grassmann—mathematics is the study of pattern:

mathematics is concerned with the investigation of patterns of connectedness, in abstraction from the particular relata and the particular modes of connection. (1933 [1967: 153])

In his Treatise on Universal Algebra, Whitehead took a generalized algebra—called ‘universal algebra’—to be the most appropriate tool for this study or investigation, but after meeting Giuseppe Peano during the section devoted to logic at the First International Congress of Philosophy in 1900, Whitehead and Russell became aware of the potential of symbolic logic to become the most appropriate tool to rigorously study mathematical patterns.

With the help of Whitehead, Russell extended Peano’s symbolic logic in order to be able to deal with all types of relations and, consequently, with all the patterns of relatedness that mathematicians study. In his Principles of Mathematics, Russell gave an account of the resulting new symbolic logic of classes and relations—called ‘mathematical logic’—as well as an outline of how to reconstruct all existing mathematics by means of this logic. After that, instead of only being a driving force behind the scenes, Whitehead became the public co-author of Russell of the actual and rigorous reconstruction of mathematics from logic. Russell often presented this reconstruction—giving rise to the publication of the three Principia Mathematica volumes—as the reduction of mathematics to logic, both qua definitions and qua proofs. And since the 1920s, following Rudolf Carnap, Whitehead and Russell’s project as well as similar reduction-to-logic projects, including the earlier project of Gottlob Frege, are classified under the header of ‘logicism’.

However, Sébastian Gandon has highlighted in his 2012 study Russell’s Unknown Logicism that Russell and Whitehead’s logicism project differed in at least one important respect from Frege’s logicism project. Frege adhered to a radical universalism, and wanted the mathematical content to be entirely determined from within the logical system. Russell and Whitehead, however, took into account the consensus, or took a stance in the ongoing discussions among mathematicians, with respect to the constitutive features of the already existing, ‘pre-logicized’ branches of mathematics, and then evaluated for each branch which of several possible types of relations were best suited to logically reconstruct it, while safeguarding its topic-specific features. Contrary to Frege, Whitehead and Russell tempered their urge for universalism to take into account the topic-specificity of the various mathematical branches, and as a working mathematician, Whitehead was well positioned to compare the pre-logicized mathematics with its reconstruction in the logical system.

For Russell, the logicism project originated from the dream of a rock-solid mathematics, no longer governed by Kantian intuition, but by logical rigor. Hence, the discovery of a devastating paradox—later called ‘Russell’s paradox’—at the heart of mathematical logic was a serious blow for Russell, and kicked off his search for a theory to prevent paradox. He actually came up with several theories, but retained the ramified theory of types in Principia Mathematica. Moreover, the ‘logicizing’ of arithmetic required extra-logical patchwork: the axioms of reducibility, infinity, and choice. None of this patchwork could ultimately satisfy Russell. His original dream evaporated and, looking back later in life, he wrote: “The splendid certainty which I had always hoped to find in mathematics was lost in a bewildering maze” (1959: 157).

Whitehead originally conceived of the logicism project as an improvement upon his algebraic project. Indeed, Whitehead’s transition from the solitary Universal Algebra project to the joint Principia Mathematica project was a transition from universal algebra to mathematical logic as the most appropriate symbolic language to embody mathematical patterns. It entailed a generalization from the embodiment of absolutely abstract patterns by means of algebraic forms of variables to their embodiment by means of propositional functions of real variables. Hardy was quite right in his review of the first volume of Principia Mathematica when he wrote: “mathematics, one may say, is the science of propositional functions” (quoted by Grattan-Guinness 1991: 173).

Whitehead saw mathematical logic as a tool to guide the mathematician’s essential activities of intuiting, articulating, and applying patterns, and he did not aim at replacing mathematical intuition (pattern recognition) with logical rigor. In the latter respect, Whitehead, from the start, was more like Henri Poincaré than Russell (cf. Desmet 2016a). Consequently, the discovery of paradox at the heart of mathematical logic was less of a blow to Whitehead than to Russell and, later in life, now and again, Whitehead simply reversed the Russellian order of generality and importance, writing that “symbolic logic” only represents “a minute fragment” of the possibilities of “the algebraic method” (1947 [1968: 129]).

For a more detailed account of the genesis of Principia Mathematica and Whitehead’s place in the philosophy of mathematics, cf. Smith 1953, Code 1985, Grattan-Guinness 2000 and 2002, Irvine 2009, Bostock 2010, Desmet 2010, N. Griffin et al. 2011, N. Griffin & Linsky 2013.

Following the completion of Principia, Whitehead and Russell began to go their separate ways (cf. Ramsden Eames 1989, Desmet & Weber 2010, Desmet & Rusu 2012). Perhaps inevitably, Russell’s anti-war activities and Whitehead’s loss of his youngest son during World War I led to something of a split between the two men. Nevertheless, the two remained on relatively good terms for the rest of their lives. To his credit, Russell comments in his Autobiography that when it came to their political differences, Whitehead

was more tolerant than I was, and it was much more my fault than his that these differences caused a diminution in the closeness of our friendship. (1956: 100)

3. Physics

Even with the publication of its three volumes, Principia Mathematica was incomplete. For example, the logical reconstruction of the various branches of geometry still needed to be completed and published. In fact, it was Whitehead’s task to do so by producing a fourth Principia Mathematica volume. However, this volume never saw the light of day. What Whitehead did publish were his repeated attempts to logically reconstruct the geometry of space and time, hence extending the logicism project from pure mathematics to applied mathematics or, put differently, from mathematics to physics—an extension which Russell greeted with enthusiasm and saw as an important step in the deployment of his new philosophical method of logical analysis.

At first, Whitehead focused on the geometry of space.

When Whitehead and Russell logicized the concept of number, their starting point was our intuition of equinumerous classes of individuals—for example, our recognition that the class of dwarfs in the fairy tale of Snow White (Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, Dopey) and the class of days in a week (from Monday to Sunday) have ‘something’ in common, namely, the something we call ‘seven.’ Then they logically defined (i) classes C and C′ to be equinumerous when there is a one-to-one relation that correlates each of the members of C with one member of C′, and (ii) the number of a class C as the class of all the classes that are equinumerous with C.

When Whitehead logicized the space of physics, his starting point was our intuition of spatial volumes and of how one volume may contain (or extend over) another, giving rise to the (mereo)logical relation of containment (or extension) in the class of volumes, and to the concept of converging series of volumes—think, for example, of a series of Russian dolls, one contained in the other, but idealized to ever smaller dolls. Whitehead made all this rigorous and then, crudely put, defined the points from which to further construct the geometry of space.

There is a striking resemblance between Whitehead’s construction of points and the construction of real numbers by Georg Cantor, who had been one of Whitehead and Russell’s main sources of inspiration next to Peano. Indeed, Whitehead defined points as equivalence classes of converging series of volumes, and Cantor defined real numbers as equivalence classes of converging series of rational numbers. Moreover, because Whitehead’s basic geometrical entities of geometry are not (as in Euclid) extensionless points but volumes, Whitehead can be seen as one of the fathers of point-free geometry; and because Whitehead’s basic geometrical relation is the mereological (or part-whole) relation of extension, he can also be seen as one of the founders of mereology (and even, when we take into account his later work on this topic in part IV of Process and Reality, of mereotopology).

“Last night”, Whitehead wrote to Russell on 3 September 1911,

the idea suddenly flashed on me that time could be treated in exactly the same way as I have now got space (which is a picture of beauty, by the bye). (Unpublished letter kept in The Bertrand Russell Archives at McMaster University)

Shortly after, Whitehead must have learned about Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity (STR) because in a letter to Wildon Carr on 10 July 1912, Russell suggested to the Honorary Secretary of the Aristotelian Society that Whitehead possibly might deliver a paper on the principle of relativity, and added: “I know he has been going into the subject”. Anyhow, in the early years of the second decade of the twentieth century, Whitehead’s interest shifted from the logical reconstruction of the Euclidean space of classical physics to the logical reconstruction of the Minkowskian space-time of the STR.

A first step to go from space to space-time was the replacement of (our intuition of) spatial volumes with (our intuition of) spatio-temporal regions (or events) as the basis of the construction (so that, for example, a point of space-time could be defined as an equivalence class of converging spatio-temporal regions). However, whereas Whitehead had constructed the Euclidean distance based on our intuition of cases of spatial congruence (for example, of two parallel straight line segments being equally long), he now struggled to construct the Minkowskian metric in terms of a concept of spatio-temporal congruence, based on a kind of merger of our intuition of cases of spatial congruence and our intuition of cases of temporal congruence (for example, of two candles taking equally long to burn out).

So, as a second step, Whitehead introduced a second relation in the class of spatio-temporal regions next to the relation of extension, namely, the relation of cogredience, based on our intuition of rest or motion. Whitehead’s use of this relation gave rise to a constant k, which allowed him to merge spatial and temporal congruence, and which appeared in his formula for the metric of space-time. When Whitehead equated k with c2 (the square of the speed of light) his metric became equal to the Minkowskian metric.

Whitehead’s most detailed account of this reconstruction of the Minkowskian space-time of the STR was given in his 1919 book, An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Natural Knowledge, but he also offered a less technical account in his 1920 book, The Concept of Nature.

Whitehead first learned about Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity (GTR) in 1916. He admired Einstein’s new mathematical theory of gravitation, but rejected Einstein’s explanation of gravitation for not being coherent with some of our basic intuitions. Einstein explained the gravitational motion of a free mass-particle in the neighborhood of a heavy mass as due to the curvature of space-time caused by this mass. According to Whitehead, the theoretical concept of a contingently curved space-time does not cohere with our measurement practices; they are based on the essential uniformity of the texture of our spatial and temporal intuition.

In general, Whitehead opposed the modern scientist’s attitude of dropping the requirement of coherence with our basic intuitions, and he revolted against the issuing bifurcation of nature into the world of science and that of intuition. In particular, as Einstein’s critic, he set out to give an alternative rendering of the GTR—an alternative that passed not only what Whitehead called “the narrow gauge”, which tests a theory’s empirical adequacy, but also what he called “the broad gauge”, which tests its coherence with our basic intuitions.

In 1920, first in a newspaper article (reprinted in Essays in Science and Philosophy), and then in a lecture (published as Chapter VIII of Concept of Nature), Whitehead made public an outline of his alternative to Einstein’s GTR. In 1921, Whitehead had the opportunity to discuss matters with Einstein himself. And finally, in 1922, Whitehead published a book with a more detailed account of his alternative theory of gravitation (ATG)—The Principle of Relativity.

According to Whitehead, the Maxwell-Lorentz theory of electrodynamics (unlike Einstein’s GTR) could be conceived as coherent with our basic intuitions—even in its four-dimensional format, namely, by elaborating Minkowski’s electromagnetic worldview. Hence, Whitehead developed his ATG in close analogy with the theory of electrodynamics. He replaced Einstein’s geometric explanation with an electrodynamics-like explanation. Whitehead explained the gravitational motion of a free mass-particle as due to a field action determined by retarded wave-potentials propagating in a uniform space-time from the source masses to the free mass-particle.

It is important to stress that Whitehead had no intention of improving the predictive content of Einstein’s GTR, only the explanatory content. However, Whitehead’s replacement of Einstein’s explanation with an alternative explanation entailed a replacement of Einstein’s formulae with alternative formulae; and these different formulae implied different predictions. So it would be incorrect to say that Whitehead’s ATG is empirically equivalent to Einstein’s GTR. What can be claimed, however, is that for a long time Whitehead’s theory was experimentally indistinguishable from Einstein’s theory.

In fact, like Einstein’s GTR, Whitehead’s ATG leads to Newton’s theory of gravitation as a first approximation. Also (as shown by Eddington in 1924 and J. L. Synge in 1952) Einstein’s and Whitehead’s theories of gravitation lead to an identical solution for the problem of determining the gravitational field of a single, static, and spherically symmetric body—the Schwarzschild solution. This implies, for example, that Einstein’s GTR and Whitehead’s ATG lead to the exact same predictions not only with respect to the precession of the perihelion of Mercury and the bending of starlight in the gravitational field of the sun (as already shown by Whitehead in 1922 and William Temple in 1924) but also with respect to the red-shift of the spectral lines of light emitted by atoms in the gravitational field of the sun (contrary to Whitehead’s own conclusion in 1922, which was based on a highly schematized and soon outdated model of the molecule). Moreover (as shown by R. J. Russell and Christoph Wassermann in 1986 and published in 2004) Einstein’s and Whitehead’s theories of gravitation also lead to an identical solution for the problem of determining the gravitational field of a single, rotating, and axially symmetric body—the Kerr solution.

Einstein’s and Whitehead’s predictions become different, however, when considering more than one body. Indeed, Einstein’s equation of gravitation is non-linear while Whitehead’s is linear; and this divergence qua mathematics implies a divergence qua predictions in the case of two or more bodies. For example (as shown by G. L. Clark in 1954) the two theories lead to different predictions with respect to the motion of double stars. The predictive divergence in the case of two bodies, however, is quite small, and until recently experimental techniques were not sufficiently refined to confirm either Einstein’s predictions or Whitehead’s, for example, with respect to double stars. In 2008, based on a precise timing of the pulsar B1913+16 in the Hulse-Taylor binary system, Einstein’s predictions with respect to the motion of double stars were confirmed, and Whitehead’s refuted (by Gary Gibbons and Clifford Will). The important fact from the viewpoint of the philosophy of science is not that, since the 1970s, now and again, a physicist rose to claim the experimental refutation of Whitehead’s ATG, but that for decades it was experimentally indistinguishable from Einstein’s GTR, hence refuting two modern dogmas. First, that theory choice is solely based on empirical facts. Clearly, next to facts, values—especially aesthetic values—are at play as well. Second, that the history of science is a succession of victories over the army of our misleading intuitions, each success of science must be interpreted as a defeat of intuition, and a truth cannot be scientific unless it hurts human intuition. Surely, we can be scientific without taming the authority of our intuition and without engaging in the disastrous race to disenchant nature and humankind.

For a more detailed account of Whitehead’s involvement with Einstein’s STR and GTR, cf. Palter 1960, Von Ranke 1997, Herstein 2006 and Desmet 2011, 2016b, and 2016c.

4. Philosophy of Science

Whitehead’s reconstruction of the space-time of the STR and his ATG make clear (i) that his main methodological requirement in the philosophy of science is that physical theories should cohere with our intuitions of the relatedness of nature (of the relations of extension, congruence, cogredience, causality, etc.), and (ii) that his paradigm of what a theory of physics should be like is the Maxwell-Lorentz theory of electrodynamics. And indeed, in his philosophy of science, Whitehead rejects David Hume’s “sensationalist empiricism” (1929c [1985: 57]) and Isaac Newton’s “scientific materialism” (1926a [1967: 17]). Instead Whitehead promotes (i) a radical empiricist methodology, which relies on our perception, not only of sense data (colors, sounds, smells, etc.) but also of a manifold of natural relations, and (ii) an electrodynamics-like worldview, in which the fundamental concepts are no longer simply located substances or bits of matter, but internally related processes and events.

“Modern physical science”, Whitehead wrote,

is the issue of a coordinated effort, sustained for more than three centuries, to understand those activities of Nature by reason of which the transitions of sense-perception occur. (1934 [2011: 65])

But according to Whitehead, Hume’s sensationalist empiricism has undermined the idea that our perception can reveal those activities, and Newton’s scientific materialism has failed to render his formulae of motion and gravitation intelligible.

Whitehead was dissatisfied with Hume’s reduction of perception to sense perception because, as Hume discovered, pure sense perception reveals a succession of spatial patterns of impressions of color, sound, smell, etc. (a procession of forms of sense data), but it does not reveal any causal relatedness to interpret it (any form of process to render it intelligible). In fact, all “relatedness of nature”, and not only its causal relatedness, was “demolished by Hume’s youthful skepticism” (1922 [2004: 13]) and conceived as the outcome of mere psychological association. Whitehead wrote:

Sense-perception, for all its practical importance, is very superficial in its disclosure of the nature of things. … My quarrel with [Hume] concerns [his] exclusive stress upon sense-perception for the provision of data respecting Nature. Sense-perception does not provide the data in terms of which we interpret it. (1934 [2011: 21])

Whitehead was also dissatisfied with Newton’s scientific materialism,

which presupposes the ultimate fact of an irreducible brute matter, or material, spread through space in a flux of configurations. In itself such a material is senseless, valueless, purposeless. It just does what it does do, following a fixed routine imposed by external relations which do not spring from the nature of its being. (1926a [1967: 17])

Whitehead rejected Newton’s conception of nature as the succession of instants of spatial distribution of bits of matter for two reasons. First: the concept of a “durationless” instant, “without reference to any other instant”, renders unintelligible the concepts of “velocity at an instant” and “momentum at an instant” as well as the equations of motion involving these concepts (1934 [2011: 47]). Second: the concept of self-sufficient and isolated bits of matter, having “the property of simple location in space and time” (1926a [1967: 49]), cannot “give the slightest warrant for the law of gravitation” that Newton postulated (1934 [2011: 34]). Whitehead wrote:

Newton’s methodology for physics was an overwhelming success. But the forces which he introduced left Nature still without meaning or value. In the essence of a material body—in its mass, motion, and shape—there was no reason for the law of gravitation. (1934 [2011: 23])

There is merely a formula for succession. But there is an absence of understandable causation for that formula for that succession. (1934 [2011: 53–54])

“Combining Newton and Hume”, Whitehead summarized,

we obtain a barren concept, namely, a field of perception devoid of any data for its own interpretation, and a system of interpretation devoid of any reason for the concurrence of its factors. (1934 [2011: 25])

“Two conclusions”, Whitehead wrote,

are now abundantly clear. One is that sense-perception omits any discrimination of the fundamental activities within Nature. … The second conclusion is the failure of science to endow its formulae for activity with any meaning. (1934 [2011: 65])

The views of Newton and Hume, Whitehead continued, are “gravely defective. They are right as far as they go. But they omit … our intuitive modes of understanding” (1934 [2011: 26]).

In Whitehead’s eyes, however, the development of Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism constituted an antidote to Newton’s scientific materialism, for it led him to conceive the whole universe as “a field of force—or, in other words, a field of incessant activity” (1934 [2011: 27]). The theory of electromagnetism served Whitehead to overcome Newton’s “fallacy of simple location” (1926a [1967: 49]), that is, the conception of nature as a universe of self-sufficient isolated bits of matter. Indeed, we cannot say of an electromagnetic event that it is

here in space, and here in time, or here in space-time, in a perfectly definite sense which does not require for its explanation any reference to other regions of space-time. (1926a [1967: 49])

The theory of electromagnetism “involves the entire abandonment of the notion that simple location is the primary way in which things are involved in space-time” because it reveals that, “in a certain sense, everything is everywhere at all times” (1926a [1967: 91]). “Long ago”, Whitehead wrote, Faraday already remarked “that in a sense an electric charge is everywhere”, and:

the modification of the electromagnetic field at every point of space at each instant owing to the past history of each electron is another way of stating the same fact. (1920 [1986: 148])

The lesson that Whitehead learned from the theory of electromagnetism is unambiguous:

The fundamental concepts are activity and process. … The notion of self-sufficient isolation is not exemplified in modern physics. There are no essentially self-contained activities within limited regions. … Nature is a theatre for the interrelations of activities. All things change, the activities and their interrelations. … In the place of the procession of [spatial] forms (of externally related bits of matter, modern physics) has substituted the notion of the forms of process. It has thus swept away space and matter, and has substituted the study of the internal relations within a complex state of activity. (1934 [2011: 35–36])

But overcoming Newton was insufficient for Whitehead because Hume “has even robbed us of reason for believing that the past gives any ground for expectation of the future” (1934 [2011: 65]). According to Whitehead,

science conceived as resting on mere sense-perception, with no other sources of observation, is bankrupt, so far as concerns its claims to self-sufficiency. (1934 [2011: 66])

In fact, science conceived as restricting itself to the sensationalist methodology can find neither efficient nor final causality. It “can find no creativity in Nature; it finds mere rules of succession” (1934 [2011: 66]). “The reason for this blindness”, according to Whitehead, “lies in the fact that such science only deals with half of the evidence provided by human experience” (1934 [2011: 66]).

Contrary to Hume, Whitehead held that it is untrue to state that our perception, in which sense perception is only one factor, discloses no causal relatedness. Inspired by the radical empiricism of William James and Henri Bergson, Whitehead gave a new analysis of perception. According to Whitehead, our perception is a symbolic interplay of two pure modes of perception, pure sense perception (which Whitehead ultimately called “perception in the mode of presentational immediacy”), and a more basic perception of causal relatedness (which he called “perception in the mode of causal efficacy”). According to Whitehead, taking into account the whole of our perception instead of only pure sense perception, that is, all perceptual data instead of only Hume’s sense data, implies also taking into account the other half of the evidence, namely, our intuitions of the relatedness of nature, of “the togetherness of things”. He added:

the togetherness of things involves some doctrine of mutual immanence. In some sense or other … each happening is a factor in the nature of every other happening. (1934 [2011: 87])

Hume demolished the relatedness of nature; Whitehead restored it, founded the “doctrine of causation … on the doctrine of immanence”, and wrote: “Each occasion presupposes the antecedent world as active in its own nature. … This is the doctrine of causation” (1934 [2011: 88–89]).
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Whitehead also noticed that, in a sense, physicists are even more reductionist than Hume. In practice they rely on sense data, but in theory they abstract from most of the data of our five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch) to focus on the colorless, soundless, odorless, and tasteless mathematical aspects of nature. Consequently, in a worldview inspired not by the actual practices of physicists, but by their theoretical speculations, nature—methodologically stripped from its ‘tertiary’ qualities (esthetical, ethical, and religious values)—is further reduced to the scientific world of ‘primary’ qualities (mathematical quantities and interconnections such as the amplitude, length, and frequency of mathematical waves), and this scientific world is bifurcated from the world of ‘secondary’ qualities (colors, sounds, smells, etc.). Moreover, the former world is supposed, ultimately, to fully explain the latter world (so that, for example, colors end up as being nothing more than electromagnetic wave-frequencies).

Whitehead spoke of the “bifurcation of nature into two systems of reality” (1920 [1986: 30]) to denote the strategy—originating with Galileo, Descartes, Boyle and Locke—of bifurcating nature into the essential reality of primary qualities and the non-essential reality of “psychic additions” or secondary qualities, ultimately to be explained away in terms of primary qualities. Whitehead sided with Berkeley in arguing that the primary/secondary distinction is not tenable (1920 [1986: 43–44]), that all qualities are “in the same boat, to sink or swim together” (1920 [1986: 148]), and that, for example,

the red glow of the sunset should be as much part of nature as are the molecules and electric waves by which men of science would explain the phenomenon. (1920 [1986: 29])

Whitehead described the philosophical outcome of the bifurcation of nature as follows:

The primary qualities are the essential qualities of substances whose spatio-temporal relationships constitute nature. … The occurrences of nature are in some way apprehended by minds … But the mind in apprehending also experiences sensations which, properly speaking, are qualities of the mind alone. These sensations are projected by the mind so as to clothe appropriate bodies in external nature. Thus the bodies are perceived as with qualities which in reality do not belong to them, qualities which in fact are purely the offspring of the mind. Thus nature gets credit which should in truth be reserved for ourselves: the rose for its scent: the nightingale for his song: and the sun for his radiance. The poets are entirely mistaken. They should address their lyrics to themselves, and should turn them into odes of self-congratulation on the excellency of the human mind. Nature is a dull affair, soundless, scentless, colourless; merely the hurrying of material, endlessly, meaninglessly. (1926a [1967: 54])

“The enormous success of the scientific abstractions”, Whitehead wrote, “has foisted onto philosophy the task of accepting them as the most concrete rendering of fact” and, he added:

Thereby, modern philosophy has been ruined. It has oscillated in a complex manner between three extremes. There are the dualists, who accept matter and mind as on an equal basis, and the two varieties of monists, those who put mind inside matter, and those who put matter inside mind. But this juggling with abstractions can never overcome the inherent confusion introduced by the ascription of misplaced concreteness to the scientific scheme. (1926a [1967: 55])

Whitehead’s alternative is fighting “the Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness”—the “error of mistaking the abstract for the concrete”—because “this fallacy is the occasion of great confusion in philosophy” (1926a [1967: 51]). The fallacy of misplaced concreteness is committed each time abstractions are taken as concrete facts, and “more concrete facts” are expressed “under the guise of very abstract logical constructions” (1926a [1967: 50–51]). This fallacy lies at the root of the modern philosophical confusions of scientific materialism and progressive bifurcation of nature. Indeed, the notion of simple location in Newton’s scientific materialism is an instance of the fallacy of misplaced concreteness—it mistakes the abstraction of in essence unrelated bits of matter as the most concrete reality from which to explain the relatedness of nature. And the bifurcating idea that secondary qualities should be explained in terms of primary qualities is also an instance of this fallacy—it mistakes the mathematical abstractions of physics as the most concrete and so-called primary reality from which to explain the so-called secondary reality of colors, sounds, etc.

In light of the rise of electrodynamics, relativity, and quantum mechanics, Whitehead challenged scientific materialism and the bifurcation of nature “as being entirely unsuited to the scientific situation at which we have now arrived”, and he clearly outlined the mission of philosophy as he saw it:

I hold that philosophy is the critic of abstractions. Its function is the double one, first of harmonising them by assigning to them their right relative status as abstractions, and secondly of completing them by direct comparison with more concrete intuitions of the universe, and thereby promoting the formation of more complete schemes of thought. It is in respect to this comparison that the testimony of great poets is of such importance. Their survival is evidence that they express deep intuitions of mankind penetrating into what is universal in concrete fact. Philosophy is not one among the sciences with its own little scheme of abstractions which it works away at perfecting and improving. It is the survey of the sciences, with the special object of their harmony, and of their completion. It brings to this task, not only the evidence of the separate sciences, but also its own appeal to concrete experience. (1926a [1967: 87])

Clearly Whitehead’s philosophy was influenced by electrodynamics and relativity, but is it correct to claim that it was influenced by quantum mechanics? Charles Hartshorne writes:

When Whitehead came to Harvard in 1924 he felt obliged to spend his time reading and teaching philosophy, rather than the theoretical physics he had been teaching in London, after teaching mathematics at Cambridge. Consequently his knowledge of physics began to be out of date. Although he had seen Heisenberg’s famous article of 1927 on the Uncertainty Principle (I know because … I showed it … to Whitehead), there is no evidence that he seriously reacted to the controversy about the “Copenhagen interpretation” … (2010: 28)

Even though Whitehead did not react in his writings to the Copenhagen interpretation, he was up to date with respect to the older quantum mechanics (of Planck, Einstein and Bohr), and his philosophy foreshadows some of its present day interpretations. Whitehead was as familiar with Jeans’ Report on Radiation and the Quantum-Theory (1914) as with Eddington’s Report on the Relativity Theory of Gravitation (1918), and prior to his departure to Harvard, on 12 July 1924, Whitehead chaired a symposium—“The Quantum Theory: How far does it modify the mathematical, the physical, and the psychological concepts of continuity?”—which was part of a joint session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Society. Today, for example, Carlo Rovelli’s relational interpretation of the theory of quantum mechanics is strikingly Whiteheadian:

In the world described by quantum mechanics there is no reality except in the relations between physical systems. It isn’t things that enter into relations but, rather, relations that ground the notion of “thing”. The world of quantum mechanics is not a world of objects: it is a world of events. Things are built by the happenings of elementary events: as the philosopher Nelson Goodman wrote in the 1950s, in a beautiful phrase, “An object is a monotonous process.” A stone is a vibration of quanta that maintains its structure for a while, just as a marine wave maintains its identity for a while before melting again into the sea. … We, like waves and like all objects, are a flux of events; we are processes, for a brief time monotonous … (2017: 115–116)

And Rovelli adds that in the speculative world of quantum gravity:

There is no longer space which contains the world, and no longer time during the course of which events occur. There are elementary processes … continuously interact[ing] with each other. Just as a calm and clear Alpine lake is made up of a rapid dance of a myriad of minuscule water molecules, the illusion of being surrounded by continuous space and time is the product of a long-sighted vision of a dense swarming of elementary processes. (2017: 158)

For more details on Whitehead’s philosophy of science, cf. Hammerschmidt 1947, Lawrence 1956, Bright 1958, Palter 1960, Mays 1977, Fitzgerald 1979, Plamondon 1979, Eastman & Keeton (eds) 2004, Bostock 2010, Athern 2011, Deroo & Leclercq (eds) 2011, Henning et al. (eds) 2013, Segall 2013, McHenry 2015, Desmet 2016d, Eastman & Epperson & Griffin (eds) 2016.

5. Philosophy of Education

While in London, Whitehead became involved in many practical aspects of tertiary education, serving as President of the Mathematical Association, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Chairman of the Academic Council of the Senate at the University of London, Chairman of the Delegacy for Goldsmiths’ College, and several other administrative posts. Many of his essays about education date from this time and appear in his book, The Aims of Education and Other Essays (1929a).

At its core, Whitehead’s philosophy of education emphasizes the idea that a good life is most profitably thought of as an educated or civilized life, two terms which Whitehead often uses interchangeably. As we think, we live. Thus it is only as we improve our thoughts that we improve our lives. The result, says Whitehead, is that “There is only one subject matter for education, and that is Life in all its manifestations” (1929a: 10). This view in turn has corollaries for both the content of education and its method of delivery.

(a) With regard to delivery, Whitehead emphasizes the importance of remembering that a “pupil’s mind is a growing organism … it is not a box to be ruthlessly packed with alien ideas” (1929a: 47). Instead, it is the purpose of education to stimulate and guide each student’s self-development. It is not the job of the educator simply to insert into his students’ minds little chunks of knowledge.

Whitehead conceives of the student’s educational process of self-development as an organic and cyclic process in which each cycle consists of three stages: first the stage of romance, then the stage of precision, and finally, the stage of generalization. The first stage is all about “free exploration, initiated by wonder”, the second about the disciplined “acquirement of technique and detailed knowledge”, and the third about “the free application of what has been learned” (Lowe 1990: 61). These stages, continually recurring in cycles, determine what Whitehead calls “The Rhythm of Education” (cf. 1929a: 24–44). In the context of mathematics, Whitehead’s three stages can be conceived of as the stage of undisciplined intuition, the stage of logical reasoning, and the stage of logically guided intuition. By skipping stage one, and never arriving at stage three, bad math teachers deny students the major motivation to love mathematics: the joy of pattern recognition.

That education does not involve inserting into the student’s mind little chunks of knowledge is clear from the description of culture that Whitehead offers as the opening of the first and title essay of The Aims of Education:

Culture is activity of thought, and receptiveness of beauty and humane feeling. Scraps of information have nothing to do with it. (1929a: 1)

On the contrary, Whitehead writes,

we must beware of what I call ‘inert ideas’—that is to say, ideas that are merely received into the mind without being utilized, or tested, or thrown into fresh combinations, (1929a: 1–2)

and he holds that “education is the acquisition of the art of the [interconnection and] utilization of knowledge” (1929a: 6), and that ideas remain disconnected and non-utilized unless they are related

to that stream, compounded of sense perceptions, feelings, hopes, desires, and of mental activities adjusting thought to thought, which forms our life. (1929a: 4)

This point—the point where Whitehead links the art of education to the stream of experience that forms our life—is the meeting point of Whitehead’s philosophy of education with his philosophy of experience, which is also called: ‘process philosophy.’

According to Whitehead’s process philosophy, the stream of experience that forms our life consists of occasions of experience, each of which is a synthesis of many feelings having objective content (what is felt) and subjective form (how it is felt); also, the synthesis of feelings is not primarily controlled by their objective content, but by their subjective form. According to Whitehead’s philosophy of education, the attempt to educate a person by merely focusing on objective content—on inert ideas, scraps of information, bare knowledge—while disregarding the subjective form or emotional pattern of that person’s experience can never be successful. The art of education has to take into account the subjective receptiveness and appreciation of beauty and human greatness, the subjective emotions of interest, joy and adventure, and “the ultimate motive power” (1929a: 62), that is, the sense of importance, values and possibilities (cf.1929a: 45–65).

(b) With regard to content, Whitehead holds that any adequate education must include a literary component, a scientific component, and a technical component.

According to Whitehead:

Any serious fundamental change in the intellectual outlook of human society must necessarily be followed by an educational revolution. (1929a: 116)

In particular, the scientific revolution and the fundamental changes it entailed in the seventeenth and subsequent centuries have been followed by an educational revolution that was still ongoing in the twentieth century. In 1912, Whitehead wrote:

We are, in fact, in the midst of an educational revolution caused by the dying away of the classical impulse which has dominated European thought since the time of the Renaissance. … What I mean is the loss of that sustained reference to classical literature for the sake of finding in it the expression of our best thoughts on all subjects. … There are three fundamental changes … Science now enters into the very texture of our thoughts … Again, mechanical inventions, which are the product of science, by altering the material possibilities of life, have transformed our industrial system, and thus have changed the very structure of Society. Finally, the idea of the World now means to us the whole round world of human affairs, from the revolutions of China to those of Peru. … The total result of these changes is that the supreme merit of immediate relevance to the full compass of modern life has been lost to classical literature. (1947 [1968: 175–176])

Whitehead listed the scientific and industrial revolutions as well as globalization as the major causes for the educational reforms of the nineteenth and twentieth century. These fundamental changes indeed implied new standards for what counts as genuine knowledge. However, together with these new standards emerged a romantic anxiety—the anxiety that the new standards of genuine knowledge, education, and living might impoverish human experience and damage both individual and social wellbeing. Hence arose the bifurcation of culture into the culture of “natural scientists” and the culture of “literary intellectuals” (cf. Snow 1959), and the many associated debates in the context of various educational reforms—for example, the 1880s debate in Victorian England, when Whitehead was a Cambridge student, between T. H. Huxley, an outspoken champion of science, defending the claims of modern scientific education, and Matthew Arnold, a leading man of letters, defending the claims of classical literary education.

As for Whitehead, in whom the scientific and the romantic spirit merged, one cannot say that he sided with either Huxley or Arnold. He took his distance from those who, motivated by the idea that the sciences embody the ultimate modes of thought, sided with Huxley, but also from those who, motivated by conservatism, that is, by an anachronistic longing for a highly educated upper class and an elitist horror of educational democratization, sided with Arnold (cf. 1947 [1968: 23–24]). Next to not taking a stance in the debate on which is the ultimate mode of thought, the scientific or the literary, hence rejecting the antithesis between scientific and literary education, Whitehead also rejected the antithesis between thought and action (cf. 1947 [1968: 172]) and hence, between a liberal, that is, mainly intellectual and theoretical, education, and a technical, that is, mainly manual and practical, education (cf. 1929a: 66–92). In other words, according to Whitehead, we can identify three instead of two cultures but, moreover, we must refrain from promoting any one of these three at the expense of the other two. He writes:

My point is, that no course of study can claim any position of ideal completeness. Nor are the omitted factors of subordinate importance. The insistence in the Platonic culture on disinterested intellectual appreciation is a psychological error. Action and our implication in the transition of events amid the inevitable bond of cause to effect are fundamental. An education which strives to divorce intellectual or aesthetic life from these fundamental facts carries with it the decadence of civilisation. (1929a: 73)

Disinterested scientific curiosity is a passion for an ordered intellectual vision of the connection of events. But the … intervention of action even in abstract science is often overlooked. No man of science wants merely to know. He acquires knowledge to appease his passion for discovery. He does not discover in order to know, he knows in order to discover. The pleasure which art and sciences can give to toil is the enjoyment which arises from successfully directed intention. (1929a: 74)

The antithesis between a technical and a liberal education is fallacious. There can be no technical education which is not liberal, and no liberal education which is not technical: that is, no education which does not import both technique and intellectual vision. (1929a: 74)

There are three main methods which are required in a national system of education, namely, the literary curriculum, the scientific curriculum, the technical curriculum. But each of these curricula should include the other two … each of these sides … should be illuminated by the others. (1929a: 75)

For more details and an extensive bibliography on Whitehead’s philosophy of education, cf. Part VI of Volume 1 of the Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought (Weber & Desmond 2008: 185–214).

6. Metaphysics

Facing mandatory retirement in London, and upon being offered an appointment at Harvard, Whitehead moved to the United States in 1924. Given his prior training in mathematics, it was sometimes joked that the first philosophy lectures he ever attended were those he himself delivered in his new role as Professor of Philosophy. As Russell comments, “In England, Whitehead was regarded only as a mathematician, and it was left to America to discover him as a philosopher” (1956: 100).

A year after his arrival, he delivered Harvard’s prestigious Lowell Lectures. The lectures formed the basis for Science and the Modern World (1926). The 1927/28 Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh followed shortly afterwards and resulted in the publication of Whitehead’s most comprehensive (but difficult to penetrate) metaphysical work, Process and Reality (1929c). And in the Preface of the third major work composing his mature metaphysical system, Adventures of Ideas (1933), Whitehead stated:

The three books—Science and The Modern World, Process and Reality, Adventures of Ideas—are an endeavor to express a way of understanding the nature of things, and to point out how that way of understanding is illustrated by … human experience. Each book can be read separately; but they supplement each other’s omissions or compressions. (1933 [1967: vii])

Whitehead’s philosophy of science “has nothing to do with ethics or theology or the theory of aesthetics” (1922 [2004: 4]). Whitehead in his London writings was “excluding any reference to moral or aesthetic values”, even though he was already aware that “the values of nature are perhaps the key to the metaphysical synthesis of existence” (1920 [1986: 5]). Whitehead’s metaphysics, on the contrary, not only take into account science, but also art, morals and religion. Whitehead in his Harvard writings did not exclude anything, but aimed at a “synoptic vision” (1929c [1985: 5]) to which values are indeed the key.

In his earlier philosophy of science, Whitehead revolted against the bifurcation of nature into the worlds of primary and secondary qualities, and he promoted the harmonization of the abstractions of mathematical physics with those of Hume’s sensationalist empiricism, as well as the inclusion of more concrete intuitions offered by our perception—our intuitions of causality, extension, cogredience, congruence, color, sound, smell, etc. Closely linked to this completion of the scientific scheme of thought, Whitehead developed a new scientific ontology and a new theory of perception. His scientific ontology is one of internally related events (instead of merely externally related bits of matter). His theory of perception (cf. Symbolism: its Meaning and Effect) holds that our perception is always perception in the mixed mode of symbolic reference, which usually involves a symbolic reference of what is given in the pure mode of presentational immediacy to what is given in the pure mode of causal efficacy:

symbolic reference, though in complex human experience it works both ways, is chiefly to be thought of as the elucidation of percepta in the mode of causal efficacy by … percepta in the mode of presentational immediacy. (1929c [1985: 178])

According to Whitehead, the failure to lay due emphasis on the perceptual mode of causal efficacy implies the danger of reducing the scientific method to Hume’s sensationalist empiricism, and ultimately lies at the basis of the Humean failure to acknowledge the relatedness of nature, especially the causal relatedness of nature. Indeed, “the notion of causation arose because mankind lives amid experiences in the mode of causal efficacy” (1929c [1985: 175]). According to Whitehead, “symbolic reference is the interpretative element in human experience” (1929c [1985: 173]), and “the failure to lay due emphasis on symbolic reference … has reduced the notion of ‘meaning’ to a mystery” (1929c [1985: 168]), and ultimately lies at the basis of Newton’s failure to give meaning to his formulae of motion and gravitation.

In his later metaphysics, Whitehead revolted against the bifurcation of the world into the objective world of facts (as studied by science, even a completed science, and one not limited to physics, but stretching from physics to biology to psychology) and the subjective world of values (aesthetic, ethic, and religious), and he promoted the harmonization of the abstractions of science with those of art, morals, and religion, as well as the inclusion of more concrete intuitions offered by our experience—stretching from our mathematical and physical intuitions to our poetic and mystic intuitions. Closely linked to this completion of the metaphysical scheme of thought (cf. Part I of Process and Reality), Whitehead refined his earlier ontology, and generalized his earlier theory of perception into a theory of feelings. Whitehead’s ultimate ontology—the ontology of ‘the philosophy of organism’ or ‘process philosophy’—is one of internally related organism-like elementary processes (called ‘actual occasions’ or ‘actual entities’) in terms of which he could understand both lifeless nature and nature alive, both matter and mind, both science and religion—“Philosophy”, Whitehead even writes, “attains its chief importance by fusing the two, namely, religion and science, into one rational scheme of thought” (1929c [1985: 15]). His theory of feelings (cf. part III of Process and Reality) claims that not only our perception, but our experience in general is a stream of elementary processes of concrescence (growing together) of many feelings into one—“the many become one, and are increased with one” (1929c [1985: 21])—and that the process of concrescence is not primarily driven by the objective content of the feelings involved (their factuality), but by their subjective form (their valuation, cf. 1929c [1985: 240]).

Whitehead’s ontology cannot be disjoined from his theory of feelings. The actual occasions ontologically constituting our experience are the elementary processes of concrescence of feelings constituting the stream of our experience, and they throw light on the what and the how of all actual occasions, including those that constitute lifeless material things. This amounts to the panexperientialist claim that the intrinsically related elementary constituents of all things in the universe, from stones to human beings, are experiential. Whitehead writes: “each actual entity is a throb of experience” (1929c [1985: 190]) and “apart from the experiences of subjects there is nothing, nothing, nothing, bare nothingness” (1929c [1985: 167])—an outrageous claim according to some, even when it is made clear that panexperientialism is not the same as panpsychism, because “consciousness presupposes experience, and not experience consciousness” (1929c [1985: 53]).

The relational event ontology that Whitehead developed in his London period might serve to develop a relational interpretation of quantum mechanics, such as Rovelli’s (cf. supra) or one of the many proposed by Whitehead scholars (cf. Stapp 1993 and 2007, Malin 2001, Hättich 2004, Epperson 2004, Epperson & Zafiris 2013). But then this ontology has to take into account the fact that quantum mechanics suggests that reality is not only relational, but also granular (the results of measuring its changes do not form continuous spectra, but spectra of discrete quanta) and indeterminist (physicists cannot predetermine the result of a measurement; they can only calculate for each of the relevant discrete quanta, that is, for each of the possible results of the measurement, the probability that it becomes the actual result).

In Whitehead’s London writings, the granular or atomic nature of the events underlying the abstractions of continuous space-time and continuous electromagnetic and gravitational fields is not made explicit. In his Harvard writings, however, “the mysterious quanta of energy have made their appearance” (1929c [1985: 78]), “the ultimate metaphysical truth is atomism” (1929c [1985: 35]), and events are seen as networks (or ‘societies’) of elementary and atomic events, called ‘actual occasions’ or ‘actual entities.’ Whitehead writes:

I shall use the term ‘event’ in the more general sense of a nexus of actual occasions … An actual occasion is the limiting type of an event with only one member. (1929c [1985: 73])

Each actual occasion determines a quantum of extension—“the atomized quantum of extension correlative to the actual entity” (1929c [1985: 73])—and it is by means of the relation of extensive connection in the class of the regions constituted by these quanta that Whitehead attempted to improve upon his earlier construction of space-time (cf. Part IV of Process and Reality).

The atomicity of events in quantum mechanics dovetails with the atomicity of the stream of experience as conceived by William James, hence reinforcing Whitehead’s claim that each actual entity is an elementary process of experience. Whitehead writes:

The authority of William James can be quoted in support of this conclusion. He writes: “Either your experience is of no content, of no change, or it is of a perceptible amount of content or change. Your acquaintance with reality grows literally by buds or drops of perception. Intellectually and on reflection you can divide these into components, but as immediately given, they come totally or not at all”. (1929c [1985: 68])

Whitehead’s conclusion reads: “actual entities are drops of experience, complex and interdependent” (1929c [1985: 18]), and he expresses that reality grows by drops, which together form the extensive continuum, by writing: “extensiveness becomes, but ‘becoming is not itself extensive”, and “there is a becoming of continuity, but no continuity of becoming” (1929c [1985: 35]).

In Whitehead’s London writings, he aims at logically reconstructing Einstein’s STR and GTR, which are both deterministic theories of physics, and his notion of causality (that each occasion presupposes the antecedent world as active in its own nature) does not seem to leave much room for any creative self-determination. In his Harvard writings, however, Whitehead considers deterministic interaction as an abstract limit in some circumstances of the creative interaction that governs the becoming of actual entities in all circumstances, and he makes clear that his notion of causality includes both determination by the antecedent world (efficient causation of past actual occasions) and self-determination (final causation by the actual occasion in the process of becoming). Whitehead writes:

An actual entity is at once the product of the efficient past, and is also, in Spinoza’s phrase, causa sui. Every philosophy recognizes, in some form or other, this factor of self-causation. (1929a: 150)

Again: “Self-realization is the ultimate fact of facts. An actuality is self-realizing, and whatever is self-realizing is an actuality” (1929a: 222).

Introducing indeterminism also means introducing potentiality next to actuality, and indeed, Whitehead introduces pure potentials, also called ‘eternal objects,’ next to actual occasions:

The eternal objects are the pure potentials of the universe, and the actual entities differ from each other in their realization of potentials. (1929c [1985: 149])

Eternal objects can qualify (characterize) the objective content and the subjective form of the feelings that constitute actual entities. Eternal objects of the objective species are pure mathematical patterns: “Eternal objects of the objective species are the mathematical Platonic forms” (1929c [1985: 291]). An eternal object of the objective species can only qualify the objective content of a feeling, and “never be an element in the definiteness of a subjective form” (idem). Eternal objects of the subjective species, on the other hand, include sense data and values.

A member of the subjective species is, in its primary character, an element in the definiteness of the subjective form of a feeling. It is a determinate way in which a feeling can feel. (idem)

But it can also become an eternal object contributing to the definiteness of the objective content of a feeling, for example, when a smelly feeling gives rise to a feeling of that smell, or when an emotionally red feeling is felt by another feeling, and red, an element of the subjective form of the first feeling, becomes an element of the objective content of the second feeling.

Whitehead’s concept of self-determination cannot be disjoined from his idea that each actual entity is an elementary process of experience, and hence, according to Whitehead, it is relevant both at the lower level of indeterminist physical interactions and at the higher level of free human interactions. Indeed, each actual entity is a concrescence of feelings of the antecedent world, which do not only have objective content, but also subjective form, and as this concrescence is not only determined by the objective content (by what is felt), but also by the subjective form (by how it is felt), it is not only determined by the antecedent world that is felt, but also by how it is felt. In other words, each actual entity has to take into account its past, but that past only conditions and does not completely determine how the actual entity will take it into account, and “how an actual entity becomes constitutes what that actual entity is” (1929c [1985: 23]).

How does this relate to eternal objects? How an actual entity takes into account its antecedent world involves “the realization of eternal objects [or pure potentials] in the constitution of the actual entity in question” (1929c [1985: 149]), and this is partly decided by the actual entity itself. In fact, “actuality is the decision amid potentiality” (1929c [1985: 43]). Another way of stating the same is that “the subjective form … has the character of a valuation” and

according as the valuation is a ‘valuation up’ or ‘a valuation down,’ the importance of the eternal object [or pure potentials] is enhanced, or attenuated. (1929c [1985: 240–241])

According to Whitehead, self-determination gives rise to the probabilistic laws of science as well as human freedom. We cannot decide what the causes are of our present moment of experience, but—to a certain extent—we can decide how we take them into account. In other words, we cannot change what happens to us, but we can choose how we take it. Because our inner life is constituted not only by what we feel, but also by how we feel what we feel, not only by objective content, but also by subjective form, Whitehead argues that outer compulsion and efficient causation do not have the last word in our becoming; inner self-determination and final causation do.

Whitehead completes his metaphysics by introducing God (cf. Part V of Process and Reality) as one of the elements to further understand self-determination (and that it does not result in chaos or mere repetition, but promotes order and novelty) and final causation (and that it ultimately aims at “intensity of feeling” (1929c [1985: 27]) or “depth of satisfaction” (1929c [1985: 105])). According to Whitehead: “God is the organ of novelty” and order (1929c [1985: 67]);

Apart from the intervention of God, there could be nothing new in the world, and no order in the world. The course of creation would be a dead level of ineffectiveness, with all balance and intensity progressively excluded by the cross currents of incompatibility; (1929c [1985: 247])

and “God’s purpose in the creative advance is the evocation of intensities” (1929c [1985: 105]). Actually, this last quote from Process and Reality is the equivalent of an earlier quote from Religion in the Making—“The purpose of God is the attainment of value in the world” (1926b [1996: 100])—and a later quote from Adventures of Ideas—“The teleology of the Universe is directed to the production of Beauty” (1933 [1967: 265]). Each actual occasion does not only feel its antecedent world (its past), but God as well, and it is the feeling of God which constitutes the initial aim for the actual occasion’s becoming—“His [God’s] tenderness is directed towards each actual occasion, as it arises” (1929c [1985: 105]). Again, however, the actual occasion is “finally responsible for the decision by which any lure for feeling is admitted to efficiency” (1929c [1985: 88]), even if that lure is divine. In other words, each actual occasion is “conditioned, though not determined, by an initial subjective aim supplied by the ground of all order and originality” (1929c [1985: 108]).

For more details on Whitehead’s metaphysics, cf. the books listed in section 1 as well as Emmet 1932, Johnson 1952, Eisendrath 1971, Lango 1972, Connelly 1981, Ross 1983, Ford 1984, Nobo 1986, McHenry 1992, Jones 1998, and Basile 2009.

7. Religion

As Whitehead’s process philosophy gave rise to the movement of process theology, most philosophers think that his take on religion was merely positive. This commonplace is wrong. Whitehead wrote:

Religion is by no means necessarily good. It may be very evil. (1926b [1996: 17])

In considering religion, we should not be obsessed by the idea of its necessary goodness. This is a dangerous delusion. (1926b [1996: 18])

Indeed history, down to the present day, is a melancholy record of the horrors which can attend religion: human sacrifice, and in particular, the slaughter of children, cannibalism, sensual orgies, abject superstition, hatred as between races, the maintenance of degrading customs, hysteria, bigotry, can all be laid at its charge. Religion is the last refuge of human savagery. The uncritical association of religion with goodness is directly negatived by plain facts. (1926b [1996: 37])

This being said, Whitehead didn’t hold that religion is merely negative. To him, religion can be “positive or negative, good or bad” (1926b [1996: 17]). So after highlighting that the necessary goodness of religion is a dangerous delusion in Religion in the Making, Whitehead abruptly adds: “The point to notice is its transcendent importance” (1926b [1996: 18]). In Science and the Modern World, Whitehead expresses this transcendent importance of religion as follows:

Religion is the vision of something which stands beyond, behind, and within, the passing flux of immediate things; something which is real, and yet waiting to be realized; something which is a remote possibility, and yet the greatest of present facts; something that gives meaning to all that passes, and yet eludes all apprehension; something whose possession is the final good, and yet is beyond all reach; something which is the ultimate ideal, and the hopeless quest. (1926a [1967: 191–192])

And after pointing out that religion is the last refuge of human savagery in Religion in the Making, Whitehead abruptly adds: “Religion can be, and has been, the main instrument for progress” (1926b [1996: 37–38]). In Science and the Modern World this message reads:

Religion has emerged into human experience mixed with the crudest fantasies of barbaric imagination. Gradually, slowly, steadily the vision recurs in history under nobler form and with clearer expression. It is the one element in human experience which persistently shows an upward trend. It fades and then recurs. But when it renews its force, it recurs with an added richness and purity of content. The fact of the religious vision, and its history of persistent expansion, is our one ground for optimism. (1926a [1967: 192])

With respect to the relationship between science and religion, Whitehead’s view clearly differs from Stephen Jay Gould’s view that religion and science do not overlap. Gould wrote:

The lack of conflict between science and religion arises from a lack of overlap between their respective domains of professional expertise—science in the empirical constitution of the universe, and religion in the search for proper ethical values and the spiritual meaning of our lives. (1997)

Whitehead, on the contrary, wrote: “You cannot shelter theology from science, or science from theology” (1926b [1996: 79]). And: “The conflict between science and religion is what naturally occurs in our minds when we think of this subject” (1926a [1967: 181]).

However, Whitehead did not agree with those who hold that the ideal solution of the science-religion conflict is the complete annihilation of religion. Whitehead, on the contrary, held that we should aim at the integration of science and religion, and turn the impoverishing opposition between the two into an enriching contrast. According to Whitehead, both religion and science are important, and he wrote:

When we consider what religion is for mankind, and what science is, it is no exaggeration to say that the future course of history depends upon the decision of this generation as to the relation between them. (1926a [1967: 181])
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Part 3 of 3

Whitehead never sided with those who, in the name of science, oppose religion with a misplaced and dehumanizing rhetoric of disenchantment, nor with those who, in the name of religion, oppose science with a misplaced and dehumanizing exaltation of existent religious dogmas, codes of behavior, institutions, rituals, etc. As Whitehead wrote: “There is the hysteria of depreciation, and there is the opposite hysteria which dehumanizes in order to exalt” (1927 [1985: 91]). Whitehead, on the contrary, urged both scientific and religious leaders to observe “the utmost toleration of variety of opinion” (1926a [1967: 187]) as well as the following advice:

Every age produces people with clear logical intellects, and with the most praiseworthy grip of the importance of some sphere of human experience, who have elaborated, or inherited, a scheme of thought which exactly fits those experiences which claim their interest. Such people are apt resolutely to ignore, or to explain away, all evidence which confuses their scheme with contradictory instances. What they cannot fit in is for them nonsense. An unflinching determination to take the whole evidence into account is the only method of preservation against the fluctuating extremes of fashionable opinion. This advice seems so easy, and is in fact so difficult to follow (1926a [1967: 187]).

Whitehead’s advice of taking the whole evidence into account implies taking the inner life of religion into account and not only its external life:

Life is an internal fact for its own sake, before it is an external fact relating itself to others. The conduct of external life is conditioned by environment, but it receives its final quality, on which its worth depends, from the internal life which is the self-realization of existence. Religion is the art and the theory of the internal life of man, so far as it depends on the man himself and on what is permanent in the nature of things.

This doctrine is the direct negation of the theory that religion is primarily a social fact. Social facts are of great importance to religion, because there is no such thing as absolutely independent existence. You cannot abstract society from man; most psychology is herd-psychology. But all collective emotions leave untouched the awful ultimate fact, which is the human being, consciously alone with itself, for its own sake.

Religion is what the individual does with his own solitariness. (1926b [1996: 15–16])

Whitehead’s advice also implies the challenge to continually reshape the outer life of religion in accord with the scientific developments, while remaining faithful to its inner life. When taking into account science, religion runs the risk of collapsing. Indeed, while reshaping its outer life, religion can only avoid implosion by remaining faithful to its inner life. “Religions commit suicide”, according to Whitehead, when do they not find “their inspirations … in the primary expressions of the intuitions of the finest types of religious lives” (1926b [1996: 144]). And he writes:

Religion, therefore, while in the framing of dogmas it must admit modifications from the complete circle of our knowledge, still brings its own contribution of immediate experience. (1926b [1996: 79–80])

On the other hand, when religion shelters itself from the complete circle of knowledge, it also faces “decay” and, Whitehead adds, “the Church will perish unless it opens its window” (1926b [1996: 146]). So there really is no alternative. But that does not render the task at hand any easier.

Whitehead lists two necessary, but not sufficient, requirements for religious leaders to reshape, again and again, the outer expressions of their inner experiences: First, they should stop exaggerating the importance of the outer life of religion. Whitehead writes:

Collective enthusiasms, revivals, institutions, churches, rituals, bibles, codes of behavior, are the trappings of religion, its passing forms. They may be useful, or harmful; they may be authoritatively ordained, or merely temporary expedients. But the end of religion is beyond all this. (1926b [1996: 17])

Secondly, they should learn from scientists how to deal with continual revision. Whitehead writes:

When Darwin or Einstein proclaim theories which modify our ideas, it is a triumph for science. We do not go about saying that there is another defeat for science, because its old ideas have been abandoned. We know that another step of scientific insight has been gained.

Religion will not regain its old power until it can face change in the same spirit as does science. Its principles may be eternal, but the expression of those principles requires continual development. This evolution of religion is in the main a disengagement of its own proper ideas in terms of the imaginative picture of the world entertained in previous ages. Such a release from the bonds of imperfect science is all to the good. (1926a [1967: 188–189])

In this respect, Whitehead offers the following example:

The clash between religion and science, which has relegated the earth to the position of a second-rate planet attached to a second-rate sun, has been greatly to the benefit of the spirituality of religion by dispersing [a number of] medieval fancies. (1926a [1967: 190])

On the other hand, Whitehead is well aware that religion more often fails than succeeds in this respect, and he writes, for example, that both

Christianity and Buddhism … have suffered from the rise of … science, because neither of them had … the requisite flexibility of adaptation. (1926b [1996: 146])

If the condition of mutual tolerance is satisfied, then, according to Whitehead: “A clash of doctrines is not a disaster—it is an opportunity” (1926a [1967: 186]). In other words, if this condition is satisfied, then the clash between religion and science is an opportunity on the path toward their integration or, as Whitehead puts it:

The clash is a sign that there are wider truths and finer perspectives within which a reconciliation of a deeper religion and a more subtle science will be found. (1926a [1967: 185])

According to Whitehead, the task of philosophy is “to absorb into one system all sources of experience” (1926b [1996: 149]), including the intuitions at the basis of both science and religion, and in Religion in the Making, he expresses the basic religious intuition as follows:

There is a quality of life which lies always beyond the mere fact of life; and when we include the quality in the fact, there is still omitted the quality of the quality. It is not true that the finer quality is the direct associate of obvious happiness or obvious pleasure. Religion is the direct apprehension that, beyond such happiness and such pleasure remains the function of what is actual and passing, that it contributes its quality as an immortal fact to the order which informs the world. (1926b [1996: 80])

The first aspect of this dual intuition that “our existence is more than a succession of bare facts” (idem) is that the quality or value of each of the successive occasions of life derives from a finer quality or value, which lies beyond the mere facts of life, and even beyond obvious happiness and pleasure, namely, the finer quality or value of which life is informed by God. The second aspect is that each of the successive occasions of life contributes its quality or value as an immortal fact to God.

In Process and Reality, Whitehead absorbed this dual religious intuition in terms of the bipolar—primordial and consequent—nature of God.

God viewed as primordial does not determine the becoming of each actual occasion, but conditions it (cf. supra—the initial subjective aim). He does not force, but tenderly persuades each actual occasion to actualize—from “the absolute wealth of potentiality” (1929: 343)—value-potentials relevant for that particular becoming. “God”, according to Whitehead, “is the poet of the world, with tender patience leading it by his vision of truth, beauty, and goodness” (1929c [1985: 346]).

“The ultimate evil in the temporal world”, Whitehead writes,

lies in the fact that the past fades, that time is a “perpetual perishing.” … In the temporal world, it is the empirical fact that process entails loss. (1929c [1985: 340])

In other words, from a merely factual point of view, “human life is a flash of occasional enjoyments lighting up a mass of pain and misery, a bagatelle of transient experience” (1926a [1967: 192]). According to Whitehead, however, this is not the whole story. On 8 April 1928, while preparing the Gifford Lectures that became Process and Reality, Whitehead wrote to Rosalind Greene:

I am working at my Giffords. The problem of problems which bothers me, is the real transitoriness of things—and yet!!—I am equally convinced that the great side of things is weaving something ageless and immortal: something in which personalities retain the wonder of their radiance—and the fluff sinks into utter triviality. But I cannot express it at all—no system of words seems up to the job. (Unpublished letter archived by the Whitehead Research Project)

Whitehead’s attempt to express it in Process and Reality reads:

There is another side to the nature of God which cannot be omitted. … God, as well as being primordial, is also consequent … God is dipolar. (1929c [1985: 345])

The consequent nature of God is his judgment on the world. He saves the world as it passes into the immediacy of his own life. It is the judgment of a tenderness which loses nothing that can be saved. (1929c [1985: 346])

The consequent nature of God is the fluent world become ‘everlasting’ … in God. (1929c [1985: 347])

Whitehead’s dual description of God as tender persuader and tender savior reveals his affinity with “the Galilean origin of Christianity” (1929c [1985: 343]). Indeed, his

theistic philosophy … does not emphasize the ruling Caesar, or the ruthless moralist, or the unmoved mover. It dwells upon the tender elements in the world, which slowly and in quietness operate by love. (idem)

One of the major reasons why Whitehead’s process philosophy is popular among theologians, and gave rise to process theology, is the fact that it helps to overcome the doctrine of an omnipotent God creating everything out of nothing. This creatio ex nihilo doctrine implies God’s responsibility for everything that is evil, and also that God is the only ultimate reality. In other words, it prevents the reconciliation of divine love and human suffering as well as the reconciliation of the various religious traditions, for example, theistic Christianity and nontheistic Buddhism. In yet other words, the creatio ex nihilo doctrine is a stumbling block for theologians involved in theodicy or interreligious dialogue. Contrary to it, Whitehead’s process philosophy holds that there are three ultimate (but inseparable) aspects of total reality: God (the divine actual entity), the world (the universe of all finite actual occasions), and the creativity (the twofold power to exert efficient and final causation) that God and all finite actual occasions embody. The distinction between God and creativity (that God is not the only instance of creativity) implies that there is no God with the power completely to determine the becoming of all actual occasions in the world—they are instances of creativity too. In this sense, God is not omnipotent, but can be conceived as “the fellow-sufferer who understands” (1929c [1985: 351]). Moreover, the Whiteheadian doctrine of three ultimates—the one supreme being or God, the many finite beings or the cosmos, and being itself or creativity—also implies a religious pluralism that holds that the different kinds of religious experience are (not experiences of the same ultimate reality, but) diverse modes of experiencing diverse ultimate aspects of the totality of reality. For example:

One of these [three ultimates], corresponding with what Whitehead calls “creativity”, has been called “Emptiness” (“Sunyata”) or “Dharmakaya” by Buddhists, “Nirguna Brahman” by Advaita Vedantists, “the Godhead” by Meister Eckhart, and “Being Itself” by Heidegger and Tillich (among others). It is the formless ultimate reality. The other ultimate, corresponding with what Whitehead calls “God”, is not Being Itself but the Supreme Being. It is in-formed and the source of forms (such as truth, beauty, and justice). It has been called “Amida Buddha”, “Sambhogakaya”, “Saguna Brahman”, “Ishvara”, “Yaweh”, “Christ”, and “Allah”. (D. Griffin 2005: 47)

[Some] forms of Taoism and many primal religions, including Native American religions […] regard the cosmos as sacred. By recognizing the cosmos as a third ultimate, we are able to see that these cosmic religions are also oriented toward something truly ultimate in the nature of things. (D. Griffin 2005: 49)

The religious pluralism implication of Whitehead’s doctrine of three ultimates has been drawn most clearly by John Cobb. In “John Cobb’s Whiteheadian Complementary Pluralism”, David Griffin writes:

Cobb’s view that the totality of reality contains three ultimates, along with the recognition that a particular tradition could concentrate on one, two, or even all three of them, gives us a basis for understanding a wide variety of religious experiences as genuine responses to something that is really there to be experienced. “When we understand global religious experience and thought in this way”, Cobb emphasizes, “it is easier to view the contributions of diverse traditions as complementary”. (D. Griffin 2005: 51)

8. Whitehead’s Influence

Whitehead’s key philosophical concept—the internal relatedness of occasions of experience—distanced him from the idols of logical positivism. Indeed, his reliance on our intuition of the extensive relatedness of events (and hence, of the space-time metric) was at variance with both Poincaré’s conventionalism and Einstein’s interpretation of relativity: his reliance on our intuition of the causal relatedness of events, and of both the efficient and the final aspects of causation, was an insult to the anti-metaphysical dogmas of Hume and Russell; his method of causal explanation was also an antipode of Ernst Mach’s method of economic description; his philosophical affinity with James and Bergson as well as his endeavor to harmonize science and religion made him liable to the Russellian charge of anti-intellectualism; and his genuine modesty and aversion to public controversy made him invisible at the philosophical firmament dominated by the brilliance of Ludwig Wittgenstein.

At first—because of Whitehead’s Principia Mathematica collaboration with Russell as well as his application of mathematical logic to abstract the basic concepts of physics—logical positivists and analytic philosophers admired Whitehead. But when Whitehead published Science and the Modern World, the difference between Whitehead’s thought and theirs became obvious, and they grew progressively more dissatisfied over the direction in which Whitehead was moving. Susan Stebbing of the Cambridge school of analysis is only one of many examples that could be evoked here (cf. Chapman 2013: 43–49), and in order to find a more positive reception of Whitehead’s philosophical work, one has to turn to opponents of analytic philosophy such as Robin George Collingwood (for example, Collingwood 1945). The differences with logical positivism and analytic philosophy, however, should not lead philosophers to neglect the affinities of Whitehead’s thought with these philosophical currents (cf. Shields 2003, Desmet & Weber 2010, Desmet & Rusu 2012, Riffert 2012).

Despite signs of interest in Whitehead by a number of famous philosophers—for example, Hannah Arendt, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Gilles Deleuze—it is fair to say that Whitehead’s process philosophy would most likely have entered oblivion if the Chicago Divinity School and the Claremont School of Theology had not shown a major interest in it. In other words, not philosophers but theologians saved Whitehead’s process philosophy from oblivion. For example, Charles Hartshorne, who taught at the University of Chicago from 1928 to 1955, where he was a dominant intellectual force in the Divinity School, has been instrumental in highlighting the importance of Whitehead’s process philosophy, which dovetailed with his own, largely independently developed thought. Hartshorne wrote:

The century which produced some terrible things produced a scientist scarcely second in genius and character to any that ever lived, Einstein, and a philosopher who, I incline to say, is similarly second to none, unless it be Plato. To make no use of genius of this order is hardly wise; for it is indeed a rarity. A mathematician sensitive to so many of the values in our culture, so imaginative and inventive in his thinking, so eager to learn from the great minds of the past and the present, so free from any narrow partisanship, religious or irreligious, is one person in hundreds of millions. He can be mistaken, but even his mistakes may be more instructive than most other writers’ truth. (2010: 30)

After mentioning a number of other theologians next to Hartshorne as part of “the first wave of … impressive Whitehead-inspired scholars”, Michel Weber—in his Introduction to the two-volume Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought—writes:

In the sixties emerged John B. Cobb, Jr. and Shubert M. Ogden. Cobb’s Christian Natural Theology remains a landmark in the field. The journal Process Studies was created in 1971 by Cobb and Lewis S. Ford; the Center for Process Studies was established in 1973 by Cobb and David Ray Griffin in Claremont. The result of these developments was that Whiteheadian process scholarship has acquired, and kept, a fair visibility … (Weber & Desmond 2008: 25)

Indeed, inspired mainly by Cobb and Griffin, many other centers, societies, associations, projects and conferences of Whiteheadian process scholarship have seen the light of day all over the world—nowadays most prominently in the People’s Republic of China (cf. Weber & Desmond 2008: 26–30). In fact, Weber himself has created in 2001 the Whitehead Psychology Nexus and the Chromatiques whiteheadiennes scholarly societies, and he has been the driving force behind several book series, one of which—the Process Thought Series—includes the already mentioned Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought, in which 101 internationally renowned Whitehead scholars give an impressive overview of the 2008 status of their research findings in an enormous variety of domains (cf. The Centre for Philosophical Practice [Other Internet Resources, OIR] and Armour 2010). Missing in the Handbook, however, are most Whitehead scholars reading Whitehead through Deleuzian glasses—especially Isabelle Stengers, whose 2011 book, Thinking with Whitehead, cannot be ignored. The Lure of Whitehead, edited by Nicholas Gaskill and A. J. Nocek in 2014, can largely remedy that shortcoming. Important for Whitehead scholarship, next to the many book series initiated by Weber, are the older SUNY Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought, the recent Contemporary Whitehead Studies and the Critical Edition of Whitehead (cf. Whitehead Research Project [OIR]) as well as the new Toward Ecological Civilization Series (cf. Process Century Press [OIR]). In the Series Preface of the latter series, John Cobb writes:

We live in the ending of an age. But the ending of the modern period differs from the ending of previous periods, such as the classical or the medieval. The amazing achievements of modernity make it possible, even likely, that its end will also be the end of civilization, of many species, or even of the human species. At the same time, we are living in an age of new beginnings that give promise of an ecological civilization. Its emergence is marked by a growing sense of urgency and deepening awareness that the changes must go to the roots of what has led to the current threat of catastrophe.

In June 2015, the 10th Whitehead International Conference was held in Claremont, CA. Called “Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization”, it claimed an organic, relational, integrated, nondual, and processive conceptuality is needed, and that Alfred North Whitehead provides this in a remarkably comprehensive and rigorous way. We proposed that he could be “the philosopher of ecological civilization”. With the help of those who have come to an ecological vision in other ways, the conference explored this Whiteheadian alternative, showing how it can provide the shared vision so urgently needed.

Cobb refers to the tenth of the bi-annual International Whitehead Conferences, which are sponsored by the International Process Network. The International Whitehead Conference has been held at locations around the globe since 1981. This is an important venture in global Whiteheadian thought, as key Whiteheadian scholars from a variety of disciplines and countries come together for the continued pursuit of critically engaging a process worldview.


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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sat Aug 24, 2019 2:26 am

Christopher Dill, Petitioner v. The People of the State of Colorado, Respondent
by Supreme Court of Colorado
November 25, 1996



927 P.2d 1315 (1996)
Christopher DILL, Petitioner,
The PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Respondent.
No. 95SC363.
Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc.

November 25, 1996.
Rehearing Denied December 16, 1996.
1316*1316 David F. Vela, Colorado State Public Defender, Thomas M. Van Cleave, III, Deputy State Public Defender, Denver, for Petitioner.

Gale A. Norton, Attorney General, Stephen K. ErkenBrack, Chief Deputy Attorney General, Timothy M. Tymkovich, Solicitor General, John Daniel Dailey, Deputy Attorney General, Robert Mark Russel, First Assistant Attorney General, Robert M. Petrusak, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Enforcement Section, Denver, for Respondent.

Justice LOHR delivered the Opinion of the Court.

The Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of conviction of Christopher Dale Dill (defendant) entered on a jury verdict finding him guilty of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust.[1] People v. Dill, 904 P.2d 1367 (Colo.App.1995). We granted certiorari to determine whether the court of appeals was correct in holding that the trial court properly denied the defendant's motion for discovery of any notes and reports made by a psychologist during or resulting from meetings with the alleged victim (the child). See Dill, 904 P.2d at 1371. We affirm the judgment of the court of appeals.


On March 6, 1992, the defendant was charged by information in Larimer County District Court with the class 3 felony of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust. See § 18-3-405(1),(2)(b), 8B C.R.S. (1986). The charge was based on an incident that occurred between June 1, 1988, and July 4, 1988.

At the time of the alleged assault, the child was six and one-half years old. She lived in Loveland with her mother, brother, and stepbrother. The defendant was staying with the family on weekends and was the biological father of the stepbrother.

The child testified at trial that the assault occurred late one weekend night when she went into the living room of the family apartment to lie on the couch. The defendant was in the living room. According to the child, the defendant laid down on the couch beside her and sexually assaulted her. The defendant then warned the child not to tell anyone or he might hurt her or her family. The child did not tell anyone about the assault at the time.

The child and her mother testified that the child first told her mother of the assault early in 1992 during a conversation precipitated by the child's attendance at a school assembly. The mother reported the matter to the Loveland Police Department and took the child for a medical examination, the results of which indicated that she had been subjected to sexual penetration some time in the past.

On January 18, 1992, the mother took the child to a child psychologist to evaluate the child's report of sexual abuse. The psychologist talked with the mother and child for about ninety minutes on that occasion to establish rapport with the child. At that meeting, the psychologist referred generally to the sexual assault allegations but did not ask the child for specific information. On January 24, 1992, the psychologist met with 1317*1317 the child alone for about ninety minutes. During that meeting, which the psychologist tape-recorded, the child made several statements describing the sexual assault by the defendant in 1988. On the basis of information obtained in those two meetings, the psychologist prepared a written report dated February 24, 1992. She delivered both the written report and the tape recording of the January 24 interview to the Loveland Police Department. Thereafter, the psychologist met with the child from time to time for therapeutic purposes.

Prior to trial, defense counsel filed a Motion to Disclose Identity of and Information from Professionals, which included a request for disclosure of any information resulting from the initial meeting and any later contacts of the child with the psychologist. The motion also sought disclosure of notes, reports, and statements of the child generated by contacts with any therapist, alleging that "[a]ny therapist who is currently seeing [the child] has information that is potentially exculpatory in the form of statements by the victim and in the form of suggestions and reinforcement that have been given to the victim in the course of therapy." Prior to a hearing on the motion, the prosecution provided the defense with a copy of the psychologist's February 24 report and a partial transcript of the tape of the January 24 interview. The prosecution did not provide any notes or other materials from the January 18 interview or from the therapy sessions.[2] The court heard argument on the motion, during which defense counsel contended that any privilege attaching to the child's statements to the psychologist had been waived or, in the alternative, that the materials should be reviewed in camera by the court to search for inconsistent statements or any other information to which the defense was constitutionally entitled. The court granted discovery of material from the January 24 interview, "which basically was to assist the Loveland PD," but denied discovery of material from further interviews "that appear to the Court to have been therapeutic." The court made no specific mention of the January 18 interview.

On November 4, 1992, defense counsel moved to exclude the testimony of the psychologist, based in part upon alleged discovery violations. The defendant asserted that none of the psychologist's notes produced during the course of her ongoing therapeutic relationship with the child had been provided to the defense and that without such notes defense counsel could not fully cross-examine the psychologist, "especially on the issue of whether or not [the child] suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder." After hearing argument, in which defense counsel asserted the right to disclosure of all of the psychologist's notes concerning all meetings with the child, the court denied the motion without elaboration.

At trial, the psychologist testified to statements made by the child in the course of the January 24 interview concerning the sexual assault and expressed the opinion, as an expert in child psychology, that the child was experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, the mother, the Loveland Police Department detective who interviewed the child, and the doctor who examined her testified to statements made to them by the child, describing the sexual assault. The child also testified to the assault. Although the child's out-of-court statements and her testimony at trial were consistent as to the location and circumstances of the assault and the identity of the assailant, the degree of detail concerning the assault varied among the different accounts.

The defendant testified on his own behalf and denied that he had ever assaulted the child. The defendant also presented evidence from a psychologist, qualified as an expert in the fields of mental health and sexual abuse, that he did not exhibit the majority of the characteristics accepted as traits usually demonstrated by sexual offenders, and friends offered testimony that commission of the offense was inconsistent with the defendant's character.

1318*1318 At the conclusion of the trial, the jury found the defendant guilty as charged. The trial court entered judgment sentencing the defendant to ten years imprisonment. On appeal, the Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of conviction. Dill, 904 P.2d at 1370, 1375. In doing so, the court rejected the defendant's argument that "the trial court erred in refusing to allow [the defendant] to examine the psychologist's notes and reports during her initial [January 18, 1992] and ongoing counseling sessions with the victim." Id. at 1371. The court noted that the defendant had received a copy of the psychologist's formal report and the notes used to prepare it and held that the child had not waived the psychologist-client privilege, § 13-90-107(1)(g), 6A C.R.S. (1987),[3] which protected communications between the child and the psychologist during ongoing therapeutic counseling sessions. The court of appeals also held that section 19-3-311(1), 8B C.R.S. (1996 Supp.), which abrogates the psychologist-client privilege as to communications between a victim and a psychologist that are the basis for a required report of child abuse under section 19-3-304, 8B C.R.S. (1996 Supp.), "does not concern communications relating to ongoing treatment of the victim." Dill, 904 P.2d at 1371. We granted certiorari to determine "[w]hether the trial court erred in refusing to allow discovery of [the psychologist's] notes and reports with respect to her meeting with the victim."


At the outset, it is important to identify the materials as to which the defendant asserts that he was erroneously denied access. The record is clear that the psychologist based her February 24, 1992, written report on both the initial January 18, 1992, interview and the January 24, 1992, interview. Well before trial, the defendant received the written report, as well as the psychologist's notes on the January 24 interview and a partial transcript of a tape recording of that interview. The prosecution also offered the defendant access to the tape recording during a pretrial hearing.

The record is also clear that the psychologist did not prepare an additional report based solely on the January 18 interview. The record does not establish whether the psychologist made notes at the January 18 interview or preserved a record of that interview in any other form. If materials from the January 18 interview exist, they were not provided to the defendant. In addition, the defendant was not provided with any materials relating to the therapy sessions attended by the child and the psychologist after January 24, 1992. It is these two groups of materials to which the defendant asserts he was wrongfully denied access in pretrial discovery proceedings.


We first address whether any notes taken by the psychologist during her initial interview with the child and her mother, held on January 18, 1992, should have been disclosed to the defendant. We hold that this issue has not been appropriately preserved for appellate review and that in any event the record does not indicate that the defendant was prejudiced by the inability to review any such notes.

Communications between a psychologist and a client in the course of professional employment are statutorily privileged. This privilege is delineated in section 13-90-107, which provides in relevant part as follows:

(1) There are particular relations in which it is the policy of the law to encourage confidence and to preserve it inviolate; therefore, a person shall not be examined as a witness in the following cases:
(g) A licensed psychologist[[4]] shall not be examined without the consent of his client 1319*1319 as to any communication made by the client to him or his advice given thereon in the course of professional employment....
§ 13-90-107(1)(g), 6A C.R.S. (1987).

A psychologist, however, "who has reasonable cause to know or suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect... shall immediately report or cause a report to be made of such fact to the county department [of social services] or local law enforcement agency." §§ 19-3-304(1), -304(2)(p), 8B C.R.S. (1996 Supp.). Section 19-3-311 provides that the psychologist-client privilege does not apply to any communication that is the basis for a report under section 19-3-304, 8B C.R.S. (1996 Supp.). Section 19-3-311 states:

(1) The incident of privileged communication between patient and physician, between patient and registered professional nurse, or between any person licensed pursuant to article 43 of title 12, C.R.S., or certified school psychologist and client, which is the basis for a report pursuant to section 19-3-304, shall not be a ground for excluding evidence in any judicial proceeding resulting from a report pursuant to this part 3. In addition, privileged communication shall not apply to any discussion of any future misconduct or of any other past misconduct which could be the basis for any other report under section 19-3-304.
§ 19-3-311(1), 8B C.R.S. (1996 Supp.).

In the present case, the psychologist testified that the purpose of the January 18 and January 24 interviews was for a therapeutic evaluation of the child. The psychologist explained that such an evaluation addresses whether the child was sexually abused, if so by whom, and how the child has dealt with the experience. The psychologist relied upon both the January 18 and January 24 interviews in preparing a written psychological report, which was provided to law enforcement authorities. The report included the child's statements describing the sexual assault and identifying the defendant as the perpetrator. At trial, the psychologist testified that her opinion, expressed in her report and in her testimony, that the child suffered from post traumatic stress disorder was based upon the two initial meetings with the child. Under these circumstances, we conclude that any psychologist-client privilege that may otherwise have been applicable with respect to the communications between the child and the psychologist during the January 18 and January 24 meetings was abrogated under section 19-3-311.

The evidence is clear that the only report made by the psychologist was the one dated February 24, 1992, based on the interviews of January 18 and 24 of that year. The prosecution provided the defense with copies of that report and a partial transcript of the January 24 interview. The prosecution also offered the defense access to the audiotape of the January 24 interview at a motions hearing prior to trial. The only materials from the initial interviews not provided to the defense were any notes taken by the psychologist at the January 18 interview. The defendant asserts that any such notes should have been provided to him under Crim. P. 16. However, notwithstanding opportunities to inquire into the existence of such notes at pretrial motions hearings, defense counsel did not seek such information, and the record does not disclose whether the psychologist made such notes. Under these circumstances, the defendant has not properly preserved this issue for review. See Moses v. Diocese of Colo., 863 P.2d 310, 319 n. 10 (Colo.1993) (with few exceptions, issues not properly preserved in the trial court may not be asserted on appeal), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 114 S.Ct. 2153, 128 L.Ed.2d 880 (1994); Denver Decorators, Inc. v. Twin Teepee Lodge, Inc., 163 Colo. 343, 348, 431 P.2d 8, 10 (1967) ("`As a general rule, in order to preserve for review an objection to the exclusion of evidence, a pertinent and proper question must be asked ....'") (emphasis added) (quoting 4 C.J.S. Appeal and Error § 291).

1320*1320 Moreover, the record does not suggest that the defendant was prejudiced by lack of access to any notes from the January 18 interview. The psychologist testified that the sexual assault at issue was discussed only in a very general way at the first meeting. She testified that the meeting was used to develop rapport with the child and to put her at ease. The psychologist prepared a report based on both interviews, and this report was provided to the defense. Under these circumstances, and particularly in view of the prosecutor's obligation under Crim. P. 16 to provide such notes in the prosecution's possession,[5] and the absence of any indication that this obligation was not satisfied, we do not believe that reversal is required to provide the defendant yet another opportunity to inquire whether such notes exist. Cf. People v. Alonzi, 40 Colo.App. 507, 511-12, 580 P.2d 1263, 1267 (1978) (denial of motion for judgment of acquittal sustained where undercover agent had destroyed notes of initial telephone conversation with defendant but prosecution provided defendant with tape recordings of six subsequent conversations between the agent and the defendant, as well as a report based on all the conversations), aff'd, 198 Colo. 160, 597 P.2d 560 (1979).

For the foregoing reasons, we hold that reversal is not required to provide the defendant another opportunity to inquire into the existence of the psychologist's notes from the January 18 meeting with the child.


We next address whether notes taken by the psychologist during therapy sessions with the child subsequent to the January 24, 1992, interview should have been provided to the defense. We hold that such disclosure was not required.

The psychologist's testimony makes clear that her February 24, 1992, written report was based solely on the January 18 and January 24 evaluation sessions. Thereafter, the psychologist met with the child periodically to provide therapy to assist the child in coming to terms with the sexual assault. The child's communications with the psychologist during those sessions were subject to the psychologist-client privilege under section 13-90-107(1)(g). The defendant, however, contends that the trial court erroneously denied discovery of any notes made by the psychologist during those sessions. The defendant argues that the privilege was abrogated, and predicates that contention on three bases: (1) construction of section 19-3-311 to effect a waiver of the psychologist-client privilege, (2) actual waiver of the privilege by the child, and (3) a constitutional right to discovery that overrides the privilege. We address these arguments in the order listed.


We are not persuaded that section 19-3-311 should be construed to abrogate the privilege for communications between the psychologist and the child during the therapy sessions following the psychologist's report of child abuse under section 19-3-304. The psychologist satisfied her obligation to report child abuse in this case by providing her written report to the local law enforcement agency. See § 19-3-304, 8B C.R.S. (1996 Supp.). The report was based solely on the January 18 and January 24 interviews. Only those interviews, therefore, provided an "incident of privileged communication"[6] that "is the basis for a report pursuant to section 19-3-304," and were therefore not protected by the psychologist-client privilege from use in evidence in the defendant's trial. See § 19-3-311(1), 8B C.R.S. (1996 Supp.).

The defendant, however, argues that section 19-3-311 totally abrogates the psychologist-client privilege if a psychologist makes a section 19-3-304 report that leads to legal proceedings. He predicates that proposed construction on the final sentence of section 19-3-311, which negates the privilege as to 1321*1321 "any discussion of any future misconduct or of any other past misconduct which could be the basis for any other report under section 19-3-304." § 19-3-311(1), 8B C.R.S. (1996 Supp.). "[O]ther past misconduct which could be the basis for any other report under section 19-3-304," however, plainly relates to misconduct other than that which was the basis for the "report pursuant to section 19-3-304" first referred to in section 19-3-311. In construing a statute, we must give effect to the intent of the General Assembly. Farmers Group, Inc. v. Williams, 805 P.2d 419, 422 (Colo.1991). "[W]e must choose a construction that serves the purpose of the legislative scheme, and must not strain to give language other than its plain meaning, unless the result is absurd." Id. (quoting Colorado Dep't of Social Servs. v. Board of Comm'rs, 697 P.2d 1, 18 (Colo.1985)). Applying these principles we construe section 19-3-311 to abrogate the psychologist-client privilege for only those communications upon which a report required by section 19-3-304 is based. Later communications between the psychologist and the client relating to the same incident that occasioned the earlier report are not subject to statutory waiver of the privilege under section 19-3-311. Cf. People v. District Court, 743 P.2d 432, 435 (Colo.1987) (a statute eliminating the physician-patient and husband-wife privileges in prosecutions for sexual offenses did not eliminate other statutory privileges because "[i]f the General Assembly had intended [the statute] to eliminate all statutory privileges ... it could have used the broad language required to express that intent.") (internal citation omitted).

Our construction of section 19-3-311 is bolstered by the strong public policy that we have recognized promoting psychotherapy for sexual assault victims. See People v. District Court, 719 P.2d 722, 726-27 (Colo. 1986) ("[T]he purpose of the statutory psychologist-patient privilege is to aid in the effective diagnosis and treatment of mental illness by encouraging the patient to fully disclose information to the psychologist without fear of embarrassment or humiliation caused by disclosure of such confidential information."). For that reason, prior to enactment of section 19-3-311 we stated that "the only basis for authorizing a disclosure of the confidential information is an express or an implied waiver." Id. at 727 (quoting Clark v. District Court, 668 P.2d 3, 9 (Colo. 1983)).

The legislative declaration for the Child Protection Act of 1987, §§ 19-3-301 to -316, 8B C.R.S. (1996 Supp.), of which section 19-3-311 is a part, provides further support for our construction of section 19-3-311. The legislative declaration provides that in adopting that act, "it is the intent of the general assembly to protect the best interests of the children of this state and to offer protective services in order to prevent any further harm to a child suffering from abuse." § 19-3-302, 8B C.R.S. (1996 Supp.). In view of the fact that the psychologist-client privilege is also designed to encourage a patient to seek counseling with the assurance that all communications will be kept confidential, see People v. District Court, 719 P.2d at 726, a conclusion that section 19-3-311 negates the psychologist-client privilege for post-report therapeutic communication would be inconsistent with the legislature's intent to shield a child victim from further harm. We therefore agree with the court of appeals that "the victim's psychologist-patient privilege afforded to her by § 13-90-107(1)(g) was not abrogated by statute with respect to ongoing treatment," and that the trial court did not err in denying discovery of the psychologist's notes with respect to ongoing treatment sessions with the child. Dill, 904 P.2d at 1371.[7]


The defendant argues that the child impliedly waived the psychologist-client privilege for all purposes by permitting the 1322*1322 psychologist to testify at trial about the diagnosis that the child suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and by turning over to the defense the psychologist's written report, and notes from the January 24 evaluation session. These acts, according to the defendant, constituted an injection of the child's mental condition into the case and hence waived any claim of psychologist-client privilege. Cf. Clark, 668 P.2d at 10 (injection of a privilege-holder's mental condition into proceedings as a basis of a claim or affirmative defense waives the privilege with respect to communications with professionals concerning such condition). We disagree.

The record is clear that the psychologist based her opinion concerning post-traumatic stress disorder solely on the January 18 and January 24, 1992, evaluation sessions. Communications in those sessions and notes and reports based on such communications were not privileged by reason of the statutory abrogation of the privilege by section 19-3-311. See supra at 1320-21. Therefore, the use of these materials by the prosecution did not require any waiver, express or implied, by the child.[8]


We next address the issue of whether the United States Supreme Court's decision in Pennsylvania v. Ritchie, 480 U.S. 39, 107 S.Ct. 989, 94 L.Ed.2d 40 (1987), requires that we reexamine our holding in People v. District Court, 719 P.2d 722 (1986), concerning a defendant's right of access to a victim's post-assault psychotherapy records. In that case we held that

where ... the victim has not waived the [psychologist-client] privilege afforded her by section 13-90-107(1)(g), the defendant is not entitled to examine the victim's post-assault psychotherapy records or to have the trial court review such records in camera on the basis that the records might possibly reveal statements of fact that differ from the anticipated testimony of the victim at trial.
People v. District Court, 719 P.2d at 727. We rejected the defendant's argument that some access to the victim's therapy records was required under the Confrontation Clauses of the United States and Colorado constitutions. Id. at 726-27. Noting Colorado's strong public policy interest in encouraging sexual assault victims to obtain psychotherapy, we stated that absent waiver or a "particularized factual showing ... that access to the privileged communications of the victim is necessary for the effective exercise of [the] right of confrontation," it is error even for the trial court to review such communications in camera. Id. at 727.

A year after we decided People v. District Court, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Ritchie. In that case, Ritchie was charged with various sexual offenses against his thirteen-year-old daughter. Ritchie, 480 U.S. at 43, 107 S.Ct. at 994. During pretrial discovery, Ritchie sought access to the file of a Pennsylvania agency ("CYS"), which had investigated the charges and other reports of alleged abuse. Id. The agency refused to turn over the file, arguing that the information contained therein was privileged under a Pennsylvania statute. Id.

At the outset of its opinion, the Supreme Court rejected Ritchie's argument that his lack of access to the file would interfere with his right effectively to cross-examine his daughter under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment. Id. at 51-54, 107 S.Ct. at 998-1000. The Court stated, much as we had stated in People v. District Court, that the Confrontation Clause only guarantees an opportunity for effective cross-examination, not access to every possible source of information relevant to cross-examination. Id. at 53-54, 107 S.Ct. at 999-1000.

1323*1323 Although the Court found no Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause violation, it held that Ritchie's due process right to a fair trial required that the CYS file be subject to the trial court's in camera review.[9] Id. at 60, 107 S.Ct. at 1002-03. In reaching this decision, the Court noted that "[i]t is well settled that the government has the obligation to turn over evidence in its possession that is both favorable to the accused and material to guilt or punishment." Id. at 57, 107 S.Ct. at 1001 (citing United States v. Agurs, 427 U.S. 97, 96 S.Ct. 2392, 49 L.Ed.2d 342 (1976); Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 1196-97, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963)). "`Evidence is material only if there is a reasonable probability that, had the evidence been disclosed to the defense, the result of the proceeding would have been different. A "reasonable probability" is a probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome.' " Ritchie 480 U.S. at 57, 107 S.Ct. at 1001 (quoting United States v. Bagley, 473 U.S. 667, 682, 105 S.Ct. 3375, 3383-84, 87 L.Ed.2d 481 (1985) (opinion of Blackmun, J.) and citing id. at 685, 105 S.Ct. at 3385 (White, J., concurring in part and concurring in the judgment)).

The Court then observed that there is a strong public interest in protecting the type of sensitive information to be found in the CYS records, but noted that the Pennsylvania legislature itself had provided that such information is to be disclosed in certain circumstances, including when CYS is directed by court order to do so. Ritchie, 480 U.S. at 58, 107 S.Ct. at 1001-02. The Court concluded that under Pennsylvania law, "[i]n the absence of any apparent state policy to the contrary, we therefore have no reason to believe that relevant information would not be disclosed when a court of competent jurisdiction determines that the information is `material' to the defense of the accused." Id.

The Court, however, disagreed with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's holding that defense counsel must be allowed to examine all of the confidential information, both relevant and irrelevant, and present arguments in favor of disclosure. Id. at 59, 107 S.Ct. at 1002. The Court noted that where the defendant makes only a general request for exculpatory material under Brady, "it is the State that decides which information must be disclosed. Unless defense counsel becomes aware that other exculpatory evidence was withheld and brings it to the court's attention, the prosecutor's decision on disclosure is final." Id. (footnote omitted). The Court therefore held that the defendant's interest and that of the state "in ensuring a fair trial can be protected fully by requiring that the CYS files be submitted only to the trial court for in camera review." Id. at 60, 107 S.Ct. at 1003. That procedure, the Court determined, is required to avoid unnecessarily sacrificing the state's "compelling interest" in protecting its child-abuse information and to prevent "a seriously adverse effect on Pennsylvania's efforts to uncover and treat abuse." Id. Such an effect might well result if a child does not "have a state-designated person to whom he may turn ... with the assurance of confidentiality," or if relatives and neighbors who suspect abuse are not offered confidentiality in presenting their information. Id. at 60-61, 107 S.Ct. at 1002-03.

We are persuaded that the present case is distinguishable from Ritchie in certain critical respects. First, the information in question is not provided to a state agency. It is provided by the child to a treating psychologist for the purpose of treating the consequences of abuse. We have recognized that "the purpose of the statutory psychologist-patient privilege is to aid in the effective diagnosis and treatment of mental illness by encouraging the patient to fully disclose information to the psychologist without fear of embarrassment or humiliation caused by disclosure of such confidential information" and that "it is of paramount importance to assure a victim of a sexual assault that all records of any treatment will remain confidential unless otherwise directed by the victim." People v. District Court, 719 P.2d at 726-27. We have 1324*1324 observed as well that "[t]he knowledge that the alleged assailant would be entitled to discover these otherwise privileged documents could hamper a victim's treatment progress because of her unwillingness to be completely frank and open with the psychotherapist." Id. at 727. In sum, the information in question is not collected by the state, is disclosed only to a psychologist, and requires a higher level of confidentiality in order to achieve the open communication upon which successful therapeutic treatment depends.

Second, the legislative exception to the confidentiality provided by the psychologist-client privilege is relatively narrow. As earlier explained, supra at 1320-22, under section 19-3-311 the privilege does not extend to communications that provide the basis for a statutorily required report of child abuse under section 19-3-304. But, as we have construed the statute, see supra at 1320-21, this partial abrogation of the privilege does not extend to communications concerning the same incident of child abuse that occasioned the earlier report. If additional incidents of abuse are disclosed in communications between a psychologist and child during treatment, section 19-3-311 may require that the psychologist report such additional incidents, and the communications that generated such reports would not be privileged. See § 19-3-311(1), 8B C.R.S. (1996 Supp.). This partial abrogation of the privilege represents a legislative judgment that the importance of discovering and addressing child abuse justifies this limited intrusion on confidentiality.

In Ritchie, however, the statute included as one of the exceptions to confidentiality circumstances in which CYS was directed by court order to disclose information in its file. 480 U.S. at 57-58, 107 S.Ct. at 1001-02. Such an exception suggested the necessity for judicial inspection and evaluation of the contents of the CYS file to identify material information. See id. at 58, 107 S.Ct. at 1001-02. The exception to confidentiality created by section 19-3-311 is much narrower. It necessarily depends on the psychologist to report child abuse and does not contemplate judicial review of all the psychologist's notes to determine whether such report is required.[10] Accordingly, we are not persuaded that Ritchie requires an in camera inspection of a psychologist's notes of post-report therapeutic sessions with the child to ascertain whether information material to the defense might have been disclosed by the child.[11]

The facts of this case reinforce our conclusion that an in camera inspection of the psychologist's notes is not required here. The child's testimony at trial was consistent in all material respects with her statements to the psychologist in the January 24 interview. Although her account of the assault has varied somewhat in the degree of detail that she provided to the various witnesses who testified as to her pretrial statements, she has never suggested doubt about the fact of the assault, its location and circumstances, or the identity of the assailant. The defendant asserts nothing more than a desire to conduct a fishing expedition in the hope of discovering material exculpatory information that he has no reason to believe will be found. As we said in People v. District Court in assessing the right to examine such records for the purpose of effective cross-examination:

At the hearing below, the defendant argued that because the victim might have 1325*1325 told her therapist a different version of the events relating to the sexual assault than had been disclosed to police officials, access to the therapy records was necessary for full cross-examination of the victim. The vague assertion that the victim may have made statements to her therapist that might possibly differ from the victim's anticipated trial testimony does not provide a sufficient basis to justify ignoring the victim's right to rely upon her statutory privilege. In view of the strong policy embodied in the statute [recognizing the psychologist-client privilege], the limitation it imposes on the scope of cross-examination is justified.

719 P.2d at 726.[12] We concluded in People v. District Court by reemphasizing that:

There is a strong public policy interest in encouraging victims of sexual assaults to obtain meaningful psychotherapy. The defendant's constitutional right to confrontation is not so pervasive as to to [sic] place sexual assault victims in the untenable position of requiring them to choose whether to testify against an assailant or retain the statutory right of confidentiality in post-assault psychotherapy records.
Id. at 727.

We therefore reject the argument that Ritchie entitled the defendant to require the court to conduct an in camera examination of the notes of the psychologist taken during post-report therapy sessions with the child in a search for information relevant to the defense.


For the foregoing reasons, we affirm the judgment of the Colorado Court of Appeals.

[1] § 18-3-405(1), (2)(b), 8B C.R.S. (1986).

[2] At some point, the prosecution also provided the defense with notes taken by the psychologist at her January 24 interview with the child. The prosecution also observed at the hearing on the motion that the tape recording of the January 24 meeting was available to defense counsel.

[3] The statute recognizing the privilege refers to the parties as "psychologist" and "client," although the privilege is often referred to as the psychologist-patient privilege. See, e.g., Dill, 904 P.2d at 1371.

[4] The defendant asserts for the first time in this court that the privilege does not apply because the psychologist was not licensed. The evidence indicated that she has a doctorate in counseling psychology, pursued a post doctoral fellowship at the C. Henry Kempe Center at the University of Colorado Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, interned for a year at the Adams County Mental Health Center, was qualified by the court as an expert in the field of child psychology, and had testified as an expert in that field on approximately fifty prior occasions. Because this issue was not raised in the trial court, we decline to address it.

[5] See Crim. P. 16(a)(1)(III), 16(a)(2); People v. Diefenderfer, 784 P.2d 741, 753 (Colo.1989) ("[T]he prosecutor is obligated to give [the defendant]... reports, statements, etc., of experts it intends to use.")

[6] We assume for purposes of discussion that the psychologist-client privilege would have applied to the communication but for § 19-3-311. We need not resolve that issue for the purposes of this opinion.

[7] A psychologist may have an obligation to make a further report under section 19-3-311 should the psychologist obtain in the course of therapy information about the assault materially at variance with the psychologist's report under that section. In this case there is no suggestion of such a situation, for the child's trial testimony was consistent in all material respects with the information she provided to the psychologist in the January 18 and January 24, 1992, evaluation sessions.

[8] The court of appeals stated that only the holder of a privilege can waive it and, implicitly, that the child did not waive the privilege because it was the prosecution, not the child, that accomplished the acts that injected the child's mental condition into the case. See Dill, 904 P.2d at 1371. This overlooks the possibility of implied waiver in circumstances where the holder of the privilege, by words or conduct, consents to the disclosure of the privileged information. See People v. District Court, 719 P.2d at 725. We need not explore the issue of implied waiver, for here the acts relied on by the defendant to effect waiver related to the use of unprivileged material, which did not require the child's consent.

[9] The Court elected not to analyze Ritchie's claim under the Compulsory Process Clause framework because the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause established "a clear framework for review," and the Compulsory Process Clause "provides no greater protections in this area than those afforded by due process." Ritchie, 480 U.S. at 56, 107 S.Ct. at 1001.

[10] Section 19-3-304(1) provides that it is the reasonable suspicion of the psychologist (or other person listed under section 19-3-304(2)) which precipitates the requirement of a child abuse report. If the psychologist makes no such report, the psychologist-client privilege remains intact and no judicial inspection of a psychologist's notes is statutorily authorized.

[11] A construction of § 19-3-311 that allows judicial inspection of psychotherapy notes even where no child abuse report has been filed, aside from taxing judicial resources, would undermine the purposes of both the psychologist-client privilege and the Child Protection Act of 1987. A patient who has visited a psychologist for counseling would simply have no assurance that communications will not later be subject to examination. See e.g., People v. Foggy, 121 Ill.2d 337, 118 Ill.Dec. 18, 24, 521 N.E.2d 86, 92 (1988) (allowing a trial judge access to all counseling records of a sexual assault victim "would seriously undermine the valuable, beneficial services of those [rape crisis counseling] programs that are within the protection of the statute."), cert. denied, Foggy v. Illinois, 486 U.S. 1047, 108 S.Ct. 2044, 100 L.Ed.2d 628 (1988).

[12] Other jurisdictions have also required, post-Ritchie, that in order to overcome a therapist-client privilege, a defendant must make more than vague assertions that counseling sessions might contain communications with impeachment value. See Foggy, 118 Ill.Dec. at 23-24, 521 N.E.2d at 91-92 (in view of the strong policy in favor of confidentiality and the fact that the defendant had access to an "array" of unprivileged statements made by the witness, a general request for in camera inspection of counseling records was insufficient); Goldsmith v. State, 337 Md. 112, 651 A.2d 866, 876 (1995) ("[I]n assessing a defendant's right to privileged records, the required showing must be more than the fact that the records `may contain evidence useful for impeachment on cross-examination. This need might exist in every case involving an accusation of criminal sexual conduct.'") (quoting People v. Stanaway, 446 Mich. 643, 521 N.W.2d 557, 576 (1994), cert. denied, Michigan v. Caruso, ___U.S. ___, 115 S.Ct. 923, 130 L.Ed.2d 802 (1995)).
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sat Aug 24, 2019 2:37 am

Supporting Enlightened “Care and Conduct”
by Irene Vliegenthart
Shambhala Times
May 29, 2009



The Shambhala Care and Conduct document is based on the view that the Shambhala mandala is committed to creating enlightened society. As well, the members of the Shambhala community are inspired by the teachings to conduct themselves in a manner that brings forth the wisdom of enlightenment as part of a society where people naturally care for themselves and each other.

It happens in any society that misunderstandings cause conflicts between people. The wisdom of the Buddha families teaches us that people of the five families will experience life’s events in different ways. Meditation practice shows us clearly how clever we are at building emotions and concepts out of our experiences. Next, with the help of more or less strong emotions, we make our concepts known to others who may well have developed other ideas about the same occurrence or situation. Usually disagreements between people can be overcome by listening and talking to each other and reaching an understanding about each other’s point of view. But, as we all know, more serious differences of opinion can occur, followed by words and acts that hurt others.

“The Care and Conduct Process” has been developed to deal with and learn from such painful situations between people in the community. The process works with conflicts and complaints with a view of respecting the dignity of everyone involved.

The process of bringing a situation to the path applies to the person who caused distress as well as to the person on the receiving end. Much honesty, fearlessness and forgiving of self and other is asked of people going through the process, as well as compassionate understanding and mediation skills from the people who accompany the process. These issues obviously often take some time to resolve.

People to ask for help locally in dealing with conflicts or misbehavior can be your meditation instructor, a dekyong, a desung, the shambhala center director or anyone in a leadership position in your Shambhala centre whom you trust. Seriously inquiring about a situation with the right person is always better than looking the other way or putting the incident under the carpet.

If a problem cannot be resolved locally or if a complaint is made against a person holding a leadership position in Shambhala, the International Care and Conduct Panel will be asked to help. The panel consists of three people representing the three pillars of Shambhala: the church, the government and the Dorje Kasung. The current panel members are Acharya Dale Asrael, who recently replaced Acharya Christie Cashman; John Sennhauser, representing the government (Office of the Sakyong), who has been a member since the initiation of the panel; and Irene Vliegenthart, the Desung officer on the panel (she replaced the Desung General, Simon LaHaye, in 2005).

Being part of a care and conduct process means practicing the wisdom of the “Four Dharmas of Gampopa” constantly and closely. During such a process we practice to keep our mind awake or “one with the dharma.” And we ask, “May the path clarify confusion, and may confusion dawn as wisdom.” It is also a strong reminder of the slogan of level III of Shambhala Training: “We never give up on anybody.”


Right communication is the skillful means used in a process of bringing understanding where confusion reigns. In order to keep the lines of communication clear and not add to the weight and confusion of the process, everyone involved is asked to keep the meetings confidential. It is not helpful to receive too many opinions, and gossip can especially create confusion and difficulties in the process.


The practice of protecting the third jewel started in 1984 when Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche asked Dapon M, Dennis Southward in Boulder to start caring for sangha members in difficult situations. In 1995, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche empowered Simon La Haye as the Desung General on the Dorje Kasung Command Group and the International Care and Conduct Panel was instigated by president Reoch in 2002.

Signing a Code of Conduct

For some years now, participants have been asked to sign a code of conduct during the registration for larger Shambhala programs. This new and simple action has made the sangha aware that some rules are helpful in creating a space where people know how to fully take part and not be a nuisance to other participants. The other reason for signing the code is that Shambhala needs to operate within the laws of the hosting country.

Signing a code of conduct makes us aware that we need rules if we want to live together in the often heightened situations of programs where everyone depends on each other. The idea is to treat everyone in a way that respects their humanness and dignity. But because participants will all have different needs and opinions, general rules are laid down that fit particular teaching situations best.

Not accepting misbehavior and making sure it is brought forward to the right person needs to happen because we individually need to work with the dark corners of our minds. Together we should take care that our Shambhala centers are safe and healthy places for anybody who wants to come: women, men, children, teenagers, old dogs, new students–in short anyone who wants to connect to the vision of basic goodness.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sat Aug 24, 2019 2:44 am

“The Sakyong has something for you…”
by President Richard Reoch
October 31, 2009 – 10:00 am



Emily Sell, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s editor, recalls how the composition of the Treatise on Society and Organization occurred:

“I was just settling into an airplane ride when someone sat down in the seat beside me. It was Rinpoche. He had moved from first class to coach in order to dictate a letter to the President. I believe it may have been inspired by a conversation with Dapon Dennis Southward the night before. The next day, more dictation, read-alouds, and editing took place all over New York City, including in the tearoom of the Carlyle Hotel, with a number of different people. That evening Richard Reoch heard it for the first time.”

“The Sakyong has something for you,” Emily told me. We were in New York in the midst of his Turning the Mind into an Ally book tour. It was March 2003.

We were ushered into the rooms where the Sakyong was staying and I sat on the floor at his feet. After a short silence, he nodded to Emily and she began reading the Treatise on Society and Organization, which he had dictated to her the night before.

The treatise takes the form of a communication from the Sakyong to the President, offering a vision of how Shambhala society will take shape and giving his heart advice for achieving that. Although it was originally addressed to me, it is clearly meant as a vision and advice for all of us, since one of its central themes is that we are all responsible for the manifestation of Shambhala society.

The Sakyong first asked that the key elements of the treatise be read aloud to centre directors throughout the mandala, rather in the manner of giving them the traditional oral transmission that opens the path to study and practice of a text. This was done through a series of meetings and conference calls. It was then made available to centre directors and others in a pre-publication format. I am delighted that Shambhala Media is now formally publishing it online at the time of the Fourth Shambhala Congress which has as its theme “Exploring Community”.

Compassion is the golden thread that binds the tapestry of the treatise together. “As members of Shambhala society,” the Sakyong writes, “it is our constant responsibility to be generating compassion on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Compassion is our life blood.”

This the ground of the Sakyong’s vision. The Shambhala society he depicts is not another version of Utopia. Quite the opposite.

“To my mind,” he writes, “ in this society, imperfection is the fuel that allows us to generate genuine compassion…It is not a matter of who is right and wrong, or did what and when. Our responsibility is always to reflect back to see if the ember of bodhichitta is still burning in our hearts, for this is the flame that we proudly and gladly pass on to fellow sentient beings.”

The emphasis of the treatise is on Shambhala society, rather than the organizational infrastructure that delivers programming and services. He acknowledges the importance of caring for the organization, but the goal is to welcome newcomers into Shambhala society. “They will be welcomed into a community – rather than an organization,” he writes, “in which their own transformation and personal participation is a key element and building block for the entire endeavour.”

Many of the threads that run through the treatise reflect the earthy wisdom that has emerged at the previous Shambhala Congresses and that have led to the strong emphasis on community as the theme of this year’s Congress. Indeed, most of the major international working groups that have been established and form much of the fabric of the govering Sakyong’s Council arose from aspirations expressed at the Congresses. Their work is entirely in line with the Sakyong’s vision set out in the Treatise.

“There are many issues that we need to face from a societal point of view,” he writes. “These are human realities, and although we may wish that the organization could solve them, the solutions are rooted in the interaction between members of the society. Death, sickness, trauma and other critical junctures in people’s lives are events than can be supported and nurtured through advice and care by a society that is sensitive to its own members…Individuals need to know that in terms of whatever may be occurring in their lie, there are others who care and aspects of the society that will help them traverse their particular dilemma.”

Personally, I turn to the Treatise again and again for guidance. I carry it with me on my travels throughout the mandala. One of my deepest aspirations is that I could serve, in some way, to bring its wisdom more fully into being. I am thankful to Emily for editing the original and making it possible to have it online in this format. Making these heart instructions so much more accessible will enable all of us to refresh and deepen our everyday practice and understanding of the meaning of Shambhala.

Richard Reoch
President of Shambhala
October 2009

“This innate enlightened society and natural wish to communicate is demonstrated when we kiss.”

-- The Treatise on Enlightened Society, by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sat Aug 24, 2019 2:48 am

Jump the Gun
by Dan Peterson, Kadöm Desung Care and Conduct Officer
March 21, 2015 – 12:58 am



I turned on the AM radio while driving and was hooked. There was a shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School and five students were dead. The school was on lock-down and First Responders were on the scene, as well as local media.

Law enforcement officers went from classroom to classroom, securing portions of the large sprawling campus. Intermittently classes were released to run about a quarter mile across open fields, across a rural road to a small church, where parents were waiting to meet their children.

I have a friend who is a special education administrator at the Marysville School District. She contacted a few of us who have backgrounds in special education, developmental disabilities, and mental health to be at the High School to provide support on the first day it reopened after the shooting.

My wife asked what I would be doing by going in on the first day. I was very grateful to recall a Desung Training I desung1attended with Dapon H Simon La Haye. He said to drop all your tricks, all the expertise. It just gets in the way. To be truthful I couldn’t think of any tricks to bring to this tragedy – just a broken heart and a willingness to be present.

Marysville is about an hour’s drive north of Seattle. When the alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. it was raining and dark. Sometimes I wake from a quilted cocoon, and crawl into the morning cocoon of coffee, newspaper, and National Public Radio news. But this morning there was nothing familiar to crawl into.

In the early grey dawn I could see that Marysville homes and businesses were decked out with hand-made signs, some with flowers, ribbons or balloons attached. “We Love You, Marysville-Pilchuck”, “The Alumni Association Supports Our Students,” “Marysville Loves Our Students.” A quarter mile chain link fence bordering one side of the high school campus was completely covered by ribbons, flowers and signs. I later learned that community members and families who didn’t know what they could offer spent the weekend decorating the fence.

I parked and walked towards the main office to sign in. Busses were pulling up and letting out students. Each person arriving was greeted by more students waiting to give hugs, shake hands, and sometimes share tears. I had to pull myself together after witnessing this communal display of love and kindness before entering the school. I busied myself with signing in, getting a name tag, and greeting friends who were arriving to volunteer.

In Desung Training it is said that we are never off duty. Instead of writing about a school shooting, this account could just as well be about the fearless warrior opening the back door of the car and cleaning the papers and miscellany that accumulates there over time. Or about getting up at night to feed the baby, or kissing one’s partner before going to work.

During the shooting, which occurred in the school cafeteria, a first year teacher saw the gun, and saw the students being shot. She saw the young student with the gun raise the weapon and put it to his head. She ran towards him and yelled “No! Stop!”

I was assigned to sit in on several classes. Without a plan it was easy to make friends. I sat with a fellow and we colored in a thank you poster to send to Arlington High School. They had sent 1200 hand-written notes from each student to the students at Marysville-Pilchuck. Later I accompanied two students who had a job going from classroom to classroom to collect recycling. The school campus has a number of buildings with classrooms that let out into the outdoors rather than into interior hallways. As we walked from class to class I looked out at the fields surrounding the school. It was drizzling, and low mists came down to the damp ground. I was glad for the company of the two students, and I think they were happy to have me there as well. There was a palpable fear in that space between the buildings.

desung pinIn the last class the teacher read a story about a high school girl who lost her mother to cancer. The teacher wanted to use that as a springboard to discuss the school shooting. It was very difficult for several students. One student, who might be on the autism spectrum, raised his hand. He said “My friend is having a problem talking about this so I want to explain something. It is called ‘train of thought’. You started reading about death, and she thought about her friends who died in the cafeteria, and now she is crying. So one thought reminds her of something else, and that is called ‘train of thought’.”

Another student talked about being bullied, and how he has a dream that he can run faster than the wind to a hill in the distance where he has a hiding spot. Fantasies of being a wind runner, a martial arts expert, or packing a gun naturally come to mind when day-dreaming about life-threatening situation. David Whitehorn says that as Desung, which means ‘bliss protector’, we don’t really protect bliss. Bliss doesn’t need protection. What we protect is the capacity to experience basic goodness, protecting avenues so that we can remain open to each other. Our reactive fantasies shield us from a reality that might be just too vivid, however it helps to see them for what they are. Several students had a very difficult time discussing death, and I took them from class and walked with them down to the counseling center set up for students who needed a safe place to be.

The teacher then started a frank discussion about the incident. He said that when the lock-down was ordered, he discovered that he could not lock the classroom doors. He set up a curtain in the back of the room and had the students stay behind the curtain, while he stood by the door to hold it shut. The lock-down lasted four and a half hours, because the school had not updated the map of the campus to give to first responders, and several major changes had occurred on campus to accommodate growth in the last couple of years. Because of how long they were held in class a screen was set up in a corner of the classroom and a waste can with a plastic bag was set behind the screen to serve as a toilet. The shooting happened just before lunch, so the teacher opened up all the classroom treats to share as they waited.

As the discussion opened up the class became animated when they talked about seeing themselves on the news later that evening. They were filmed from a helicopter running from the school to the church. For the first time that day I heard some laughter as they teased the teacher, saying that they could recognize him running because of his bald head.

Our practices, teachings and teachers all work to soften and dissolve the barriers that separate us from others, from our world. I have condensed something Dapon M Dennis Southward said years ago at a Desung Training in Boston. It is something of a Desung slogan for me.

The war is over.
We are surrounded by the phenomenal world.
Our job is to surrender,
And to make offerings.

The next opportunity to learn more about the Desung view will occur April 10 – 12 in Tucson, Arizona. Desung Arm Commander Jan Jercinovic, Rupon and Dapon M Dennis Southward will be offering ‘Entering the Desung Path’. For more information go to: ... 45&cid=257

Dan Peterson has been a Dorje Kasung since 1980, and currently serves as a Desung Care and Conduct Officer. He lives in Ballard Heights in Seattle and works as a Mental Health Resource Manager for the State of Washington.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sat Aug 24, 2019 2:52 am

Today’s Command
by Kusung Dapon Noel McLellan
July 23, 2010 – 1:51 pm



Kusung Dapon Noel McLellan writes about What’s What and Who’s Who in the Dorje Kasung. Unless labeled, all photos courtesy of Christoph Schoenherr.


How Dare You
Be a tiger.
Lick the Wilkinson sword.
Join together with thunderbolt.
I am so proud to be one of the Kasung.

–Makkyi Rabjam Dorje Dradul of Mukpo

This poem by Chogyam Trungpa (here referred to as the Makkyi Rabjam Dorje Dradul) expresses the audacious and romantic energy of the Dorje Kasung tradition. Founded by Trungpa Rinpoche in conjunction with the 1974 visit of His Holiness Karmapa XVI, the Dorje Kasung continues today as the military pillar of the Shambhala mandala.

As a practice, Kasungship is a deep means of engagement with the path of warriorship, the bodhisattva vow, and the vajrayana lineage. The very embodiment of crazy wisdom, the Kasung utilize the forms of western military as a discipline of meditation-in-action and a way to embody compassion and to transmit the joyful, sharp edge of nowness. As an organization, the Dorje Kasung serves as protector of the teachers, the teachings, and the community. Much has been taught about the view of Kasungship and why it exists. For an introduction, go to For this article however, I would like to describe the Kasung mandala as it exists today and some aspects of our activities.

Kasung Dapon McLellan and Debbie Coats Rupon at the royal wedding. Photo courtesy of Marguerite Drescher.

Chain of Command

Central to the military model is the principle of chain of command. Chain of command simplifies communication and facilitates effective action. In a functional chain of command, each soldier knows whom she reports to, and discursive confusion is minimized. In the Dorje Kasung, the pinnacle of the chain of command is the Sakyong, who is the first kasung, and whose military title is Makkyi Rabjam, “Supreme Commander.” The Makkyi Rabjam receives the first ka, the command of the Rigdens.
Lady Diana Mukpo is also a paragon of the Dorje Kasung, and has been instrumental in providing guidance and overseeing many kasung gatherings and trainings. Her military title is Tönsung Wangmo, “Lady Protector of Benefit.”

Chain of command utilizes a system of ranks and posts. A kasung who holds “rank” is an officer, which signifies a level of experience, ability to carry responsibility, and embodiment of kasung dharma. The four primary ranks are dapon, which is somewhat equivalent to acharya, then rupon, kado, and khenchen. Posts, such as Regimental Commander and rusung, are specific roles carried out by individuals for a specific duration of time.

The Council of the Makkyi Rabjam

After the Makkyi Rabjam, the next kasung in the chain of command is the Makpön, who is the Commander of the Dorje Kasung, and chair of its highest command group, the Council of the Makkyi Rabjam. The current holder of this title is Jesse Grimes, who also represents the Dorje Kasung on the Kalapa Council. Makpon Grimes was appointed to this role in 2004.

The Council of the Makkyi Rabjam is also made up of the Kasung Acharya Mitchell Levy, Kusung Dapon Noel McLellan, Dapon E Don Winchell, Bonnie Hankin Rupon, and Debbie Coats Rupon.

The Dorje Kasung is made up of three Arms of service – Gesar, Kusung and Desung.

The Gesar Arm

The largest Arm is the Gesar, which works with container principle and security. Event guards for dharma teachings, including special operations like the Karmapa’s visit, fire safety, Centre guards, drivers, and personal guards for members of the Mukpo family, kasung who oversee the land center communities, and staffing all major programs, assemblies, and abhishekas are among the duties of the Gesar Arm. Bonnie Hankin Rupon is the Gesar Arm Commander and chair of the Gesar Operations Council, which consists of Robert Taylor Rupon, Bill Lynch Rupon, Ian McLaughlin Rupon, Jan Frans Sturmm Rupon, Jane Stevens, and Alexandra Milsom.

The Kusung Arm

The Kusung Arm works with service to the Mukpo family and the Kalapa Court. Kusung are the personal attendants of the Sakyong. “One gesture” is a basic principle of the Kusung, which means that at any time the Sakyong should be able to summon a kusung with one gesture – a word, a glance, or by touching his call button. Continuity Kusung travel with the Sakyong to maintain current service protocols and knowledge. The kusung work closely with the shabchi, who are the Sakyong Wangmo’s attendants, the shabdo who uphold the households, the machen, who are the cooks, and with the Gesar, who also serve at Court. The Kusung are commanded by Kusung Dapon Noel McLellan and the Kusung Command Council, which consists of Dapon White Mark Thorpe, Michael Fraund Rupon, Greg Wolk Kado, Dylan Smith Kado, Jim Torbert Kado, and Khenchen Nick Trautz.


The Desung Arm

The Desung Arm works with community wellbeing. Desung activity ranges from providing band-aids to assisting the Care and Conduct Committee with difficult issues. Needless to say, responsibility for health and wellbeing is shared by many groups in the mandala, and one might say, by every sangha member. The Desung aspire to assist, connect, encourage, or provoke any of these as needed, so that genuine care takes place. The Desung are commanded by Debbie Coats Rupon and the Desung Command Council, which includes Dapon H Simon LaHaye, Dapon M Dennis Southward, Irene Vliegenthart Rupon, David Whitehorn Rupon, Shari Vogler Rupon, and Kasung Laura Puts.

Regional Command

In all places where Shambhala is established, the Dorje Kasung are active. From the Council of the Makkyi Rabjam and the Command Councils of the three Arms, the chain of command continues at a regional level. Each of the eight regions around the globe has a Regional Commander for each of the three Arms, overseeing operations over a broad geographic area. Under them, other posts command smaller groups of kasung.


The Kasung possess a rich heritage of teachings from both Makkyi Rabjams and other officers, as well as formal meditation and meditation-in-action practices. These are presented through the formal kasung curriculum, through on the spot training, and at our land-based training intensives, Magyal Pomra Encampment, and for 10-16 year olds, Shambhala Sun Camp. These areas of enrichment are overseen by the Kasung Acharya Mitchell Levy and the Education and Training Corps, which includes Aaron Snyder Rupön, Renee Cowan Kadö, and Khenchen Andrew Sacamano.

Kasung at the 2008 Magyal Pomra Encampment

In the last decade or so, the increasing numbers of programs, the overall expansion of sangha activity around the globe, and the growth of the Mukpo family have exponentially increased the activity level of each of the Arms, and thus their need for leadership, training, and education. The mandala’s need for the Kasung has greatly intensified. Furthermore, the prevalence of war, natural disasters, and depression in the world beckon us to expand the unique vision and powerful methods of this tradition onto the world stage. In order to galvanize the energy of the leadership, assess the terrain, and ready ourselves to activate the command of the Makkyi Rabjam, we are planning a Dorje Kasung Command Conference for all leaders in the Dorje Kasung, to be held October 9-11 in Halifax.

How One Becomes a Kasung

The kasung path begins when one steps forward to serve, practice, or play, puts on the uniform, and gives it a try. There are many ways in, and no pre-requisites. One formally becomes a kasung by taking the one-year preliminary oath. After that, if there’s a connection, one may take the lifetime oath. Like the bodhisattva vow, the lifetime kasung oath deepens an aspiration – in this case the aspiration to safeguard the precious Three Jewels and the Kingdom of Shambhala. Over time, through a combination of lonesome duties, shared laughter, camaraderie, sweat, and practice, one begins to feel woven together with the dralas, with kasung mind, and with the Mukpo Clan.

Noel McLellan is a second generation Shambhala practitioner. He grew up in Boulder, CO where he attended Vidya Elementary School, and later Colorado University. In 1999 he served an 18 month tour of duty as continuity kusung to Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. In the Dorje Kasung he has also served as Sergeant, Rusung, and Chief of Staff in the Kusung. In 2004 he was appointed to the Council of the Makkyi Rabjam as Commander of the Kusung Arm, and in 2008 promoted to the rank of Kusung Dapon, senior officer of the Kalapa Court. He now lives in Halifax, NS with his wife Marguerite, 3 year old son Gabriel, and 4 month old daughter Esme. He teaches at the Shambhala School.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sat Aug 24, 2019 3:12 am

Treatise on Society and Organization
A communication from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche to Richard Reoch, President of Shambhala,
17 March 2003
©2003 Mipham J. Mukpo. All rights reserved. Online publication by Shambhala Media for the Fourth Shambhala Congress, 2009.




It is common these days to refer to Shambhala as an organization, yet we also talk about Shambhala society or enlightened society. The interplay between Shambhala as an organization and as a society is an interesting one, a key issue for us at this time. Organization, or society? This question may sound like a riddle, but it is actually a process of better understanding how to bring benefit at the most practical and sublime levels.

The basis of Shambhala society is exemplified by the word sangha, or gendun, “those who follow virtue.” The magical element that binds the words “society” and “enlightenment” into “enlightened society” is the wholehearted motivation by individuals to engage personally in a social transformation that will lead to the betterment of the society. Thus we are keen on the meaning that is hidden within the word “enlightenment”: to cleanse and purify, to generate and increase. Generating enlightened society begins with the willingness of individuals to look at their own habitual tendencies and take responsibility—first for purifying and cleansing their own outlook and action, and then for generating views and activities that are courageous and liberating. In other words, we must work to overcome our own self-absorption and our habitual reliance on anger, jealousy, and so forth to resolve our issues. Doing this will help us activate the compassion and wisdom necessary to lead a truly joyous and meaningful life.

Compassion and Virtue

As members of Shambhala society, it is our constant responsibility to be generating compassion on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Compassion is our life blood. It binds us. It is our Tao, our Way. Our thoughts, words, and actions all exude at the base a mind that is genuinely, truly revelling in compassion. In this way, our every action generates compassionate warmth. We are not idly waiting around for others to make mistakes—or for that matter, fearful of our own mistakes. We are willing to delve into our basic goodness, our compassion, and practice it in its many imperfect and infantile manifestations. As a budding society, we will no doubt be clumsy at how we tackle the practice of compassion and how we manifest it. But in my mind, in this society, imperfection is the fuel that allows us to generate genuine compassion.

It is not a matter of who is right or wrong, or who did what, and when. Our responsibility is always to reflect back to see if the ember of bodhichitta is still burning in our heart, for this is the flame that we proudly and gladly pass on to fellow sentient beings. This is how we practice the Shambhala teaching on the sixteen edicts of what creates Shambhala society, the final one being, “Expand your mind in the vision of the mahayana.”

What is paramount for mahayanists, and thus Shambhalians, is understanding the ebb and flow of virtue. Virtue is a stream that runs through our life, a river that is never blocked, but is always meandering. As practitioners, we can choose to drink from it at any time. What does it mean to be virtuous? It means that we understand karma. Essentially a society is the constant interplay of innumerable actions among its own members. Those actions produce constant reflections and results. Because this enlightened society is always striving to understand virtue, it does not ignore karma. Because we understand karma, we realize that we must conduct our own lives according to the principles of virtue. What does this entail? It means having wisdom, having knowledge, having prajna, having the perspective and hindsight to realize that we must abandon aggression. It means striving together to build a peaceful, harmonious society on the understanding that ill intent and animosity, whether toward fellow community members or the world at large, will only create further pain for ourselves and others. We cannot be cavalier in dealing with karma. Simply, within our own Shambhala community, we must now realize that the ongoing low level of aggression—in the form of jealousy, fixation, pride, and so forth—is the element that gnaws away and fundamentally weakens the foundation of society. The antidote is patience—patience with ourselves and patience with others. This understanding of community can fuel the mantra for our societal contemplation: How can we be nonaggressive, yet strong?

We need to self-reflect daily in order to see how we can purify attachment and fixation and cultivate generosity. This is the root of our activity as a community. We have many ways to help others: practicing health care; engaging in social action, business, or education; teaching and practicing meditation. If we as individuals begin to realize that this is our unified approach, the society that we’re referring to as “enlightened society” will have tremendous potency and synergy that will be available to all of us, as well as to the general community.

The Society and the Organization

It would be wonderful if we could refer to ourselves as “Shambhala society,” rather than as the “Shambhala organization.” There are many issues that we need to face from a societal point of view. These are human realities, and although we may wish that the organization could solve them, the solutions are rooted in the interaction between members of society. Death, sickness, trauma, and other critical junctures in people’s lives are events that can be supported and nurtured through advice and care by a society that is sensitive to its own members. Needless to say, our organization can provide specific practices or places to gather, but many personal or social dilemmas are inner struggles that need a social response, not out of duty, but because addressing issues, helping people, or even solving problems reflects the most natural response. We need to move in a direction where members feel supported. Individuals need to know that in terms of whatever may be occurring in their life, there are others who care and aspects of the society that will help them traverse their particular dilemma.

Right now, in order for individuals to feel part of our community, there is a feeling that one must be in the organization. Some people feel left out, because they don’t have an active role in the organization. We need to understand that working for the organization is not the only way to be an active part of the community. As opposed to being the defining principle in terms of how people regard themselves and their relationship with the community, the role of the organization should be to run the practicalities of the community. Simultaneously, we need to develop the organization to function as a support for a community that is building a society. Everybody in the community has an active role in developing Shambhala society.

So at this point we need to do two things: 1) move toward creating a community where everybody has a place based upon their own wishes, and 2) move toward creating an organization that is efficient and engaged. It should be simple, functional, and small, if need be. It should be grounded in the basic inspiration of organizing, supporting, and expanding a community in which people can dedicate themselves to building Shambhala society. Developing our view of what Shambhala society is and could be will no doubt involve an ongoing search and experimentation, rooted in these questions: Can the organization be a stem, and the society the flower? Can the organization be the bones, and the society the flesh and the heart?

To some degree we have expanded the organization simply to accommodate people’s wish to participate. Now that we are trying to realign the organization, the rub seems to be utilizing many people for few positions. The challenge is to simplify our organization. We need to shift our view, or more rightly, mature our view, so that we regard the organization as the support system for ourselves as a society in which we all have roles. When people retire from the organization or are released from their positions because of finances or other restrictions, we may feel that the organization is shrinking, and thus that the community is shrinking. So we need to develop a culture where there is no discrepancy between officially being on staff in the organization and being a member of the community participating in the myriad endeavours that it offers to contribute to Shambhala society.

Sometimes we feel that it is the organization’s responsibility to come up with a solution to a social problem. Obviously leaders within the organization can provide guidance, but in many respects the leadership is simply a conduit for communication. Ultimately it is the basic nature and intention of the community to help itself. In putting together programs, presenting practices, and providing places to meet, the organization and its leaders can help communicate social issues and concerns, but addressing them at the roots will take interaction between community members who have a deep desire to do so. They themselves will need to be willing to participate in a social transformation, not simply to require others to change their habits.

Occasionally, people feel that they have to leave our community in order to get help or even to find work, that somehow they can be better nourished outside the community than within it. Obviously purely by our numbers and our distribution around the globe, each little centre cannot provide everything for everyone. However, given our strength and our incredible diversity, we can try to encourage a feeling that within our community, much support is available. This requires encouraging a simple change of approach and attitude from our members, as opposed to having to reorganize in order to help people.

So as the president, your role is not just to coordinate the “organization,” but to look at the entire endeavour as a societal one. As a leader, you are not simply initiating change within a small group of people who are administrators; rather, you are responsible for the overall health of the community. This in the short term will be challenging simply in terms of view and understanding, because we need to be clear about it. Simply rearranging members of the organization will not result in any solution of the social issues.

The organization can deal with managing our practice centres, developing and administering curriculum, running the Dorje Kasung, and maintaining the Kalapa Court. We need individuals to commit themselves to work diligently, full- or part-time, for a certain number of years in these fields, so that they may in turn benefit the greater community. Thus many members of our community will be participating in the organization for periods of their lives, in a formal and practical role. Once they have fulfilled their particular duties, they continue their contribution by engaging in activities that inspire them within our community. They are no less connected or dedicated than before; they are simply shifting their focus. This is a crucial point, since individuals tend to think that once they’ve retired, they are no longer part of the organization, and therefore, they are no longer active within the community. The present reality is that thanks to some of the organizers, the community is, in fact, expanding. Those who have been responsible in part for that growth should feel enthusiasm and pride, even though they may not currently be part of the organization.

We need to loosen our minds around the edges so that we can adapt to the constant change to which we are all subjected. This moves us in the direction of self-confidence. Most of us base our connection to society on what our position is. Certain individuals may not feel like they have a position, because they perceive the situation to be one of “inner” and “outer.” Feeling dislocated from our seat within the society leads to fermentation of insecurity, doubt, resentment, and other disabling emotions. We must realize that we are looking at this from our own point of view. If we correlate organization and society too closely, then it will always feel like we are trying to stuff many things into a bag that is too small. There will also be a feeling that something is left out. The items in the bag will feel squeezed. They will feel the acuteness of being in or out of the bag.

One of the instrumental elements in your role as president will be to determine what it takes, in fact, to run and coordinate the workings of all the centres. What do the organization, the leadership, and the members of the community need to do in order to care for and nurture their respective centres—the physical spaces as well as the membership and its activities? Unless you put significant emphasis on answering this question, people will be looking to you as a leader to solve various issues, administrative as well as ideological. If you are able to determine what we need, which I am confident that you can, then that intention and spirit will be disseminated among the leaders of the community.

Then we can welcome newcomers to Shambhala society with the proper approach, understanding, and attitude. They will be welcomed into a community—rather than an organization—in which their own transformation and personal participation is a key element and building block for the entire endeavour. The organization is here to offer practices, programs, and teachers who can nurture the individual’s progress on the path, not to offer membership in an administrative mammoth where the goal is to be pigeonholed into a particular job or responsibility. Working in the organization proper is not the only game in town. This doesn’t mean that we become disperse, rather, that if we have healthy involvement, there will be an infusion of energy that will be felt by all.

Natural Hierarchy

By the same token, I have always encouraged both older and newer students to take initiative where they see fit, to jump in if it is truly beneficial, not to wait for the perfect conditions to come about, or for me to formally direct them or invite them to participate. It is not necessary for everyone to have specific instruction from me personally. When it rains, you don’t ask the clouds how to grow vegetables. You take the water and you grow vegetables. This is the notion of society. The role of the Sakyong is to provide space, to protect the space, so that the flowers can blossom. The sun does not pull the flowers up to the sky; the flowers grow, reaching toward heaven. If heaven is too close, the flowers will not exert themselves. Therefore the organization is necessary as the extension of the Sakyong’s ability to provide and protect the space.

The Sakyong is the centre of the Shambhala mandala. The centre of the mandala manifests as the Kalapa Court, the seat of the Sakyong and the heart of his government. The energy generated within the Court radiates outwards through the teachings, culture, and structure of the mandala. The energy that is generated toward the Kalapa Court is harnessed by the organization. It is not the role of the organization to dampen or suffocate. If it becomes too thick, its members tend to become complacent and irritated. When it can extend the energy of the Court as the basis of inspiration, the members of the community look in and around themselves for solutions, realizing their responsibility to motivate themselves and to communicate with others. This process is not simply one of administration, but also of education, since the curriculum must also reflect an understanding of the individual.

This is the primary teaching within the literature on natural hierarchy. Specifically, it means that yourself, as well as the rest of the leadership of the mandala, need to facilitate this dissemination of energy from the Kalapa Court. You must organize the mandala and extend communication in the most effective way. All the members of our community have strong virtues and diverse qualities. They need not base their situation upon whether they are participating as a member of these administrative groups. Those who are members should be functional, practical, and energetic individuals who have chosen to fully participate in and organize our community. But we need to wean ourselves away from thinking that if we are not in one of these groups, we have no real function in our organization. The more clearly we understand this, the more smooth the transition will be for the individuals leaving or entering administrative roles. Thus the society becomes healthy.

The nature of phenomena is change and fluctuation. When a rider has truly taken his seat, from a distance he seems steadfast in the saddle. However, to maintain this equilibrium, both horse and rider are balanced in a state of constant fluctuation. The relationship between the administration, the organization, and the society will likewise fluctuate.

Rather than specifying how we initiate these societal endeavours and inspirations, I leave it to you to disseminate this understanding and view, letting others know the importance and uniqueness of what we are doing—building a society. It is important that we all recognize that being involved at this point and engaging in socially enriching activities is part of the process. Rather than being handed the entire basket and its contents, we are learning how to pick fruits and vegetables and place them in our container of social initiative.

Shambhala in the World at Large

Needless to say we all live in a greater society, whether it is dominated by the local culture of North America, South America, or Europe. We may feel torn between two different cultures, that of Shambhala and that of the world in general. We must realize that because culture and society are created by conscious mind, they too are always subject to change and fluctuation. Even the general society is made up of many cultures, which are always changing. We ourselves are very much part of that general society—in a most important way. Because we see that all beings have basic goodness, we regard all beings to be part of Shambhala society. Those of us who are inspired by that approach gather together and try to extend the common bond we feel about conducting our lives based on goodness and virtue.

When our work takes us into dealings with practitioners from different traditions or people who are not on a meditative path, we must begin to dissolve the sense of being “in” or “out.” The essential difference between being “outside” and “inside” very much comes down to our deep understanding of mind and heart. It is not the water that tastes better in Shambhala, it is our mind that tastes better. That mind needs to be cultivated and shared. That is how we should extend ourselves in the greater world.

The point of relating to the greater world is to see the need for enlightened society. We experience the suffering of others, the struggle everyone goes through, and that inspires us to delve into the Shambhala Buddhist teachings, squeeze out their essence, and apply it to our lives. Then we can regard what we are doing as a personal contribution to the betterment of the world at large. The changes and contributions we make to society must be grounded in the perpetuation of bodhichitta. Within that context, from day to day, month to month, and year to year, we should review our actual activities toward creating enlightened society.

At times, we may seek from the greater world something we feel that we are missing from our community. This is a tricky proposition, because we can spend our energy chasing our tail, imagining some reward, when in reality we’re just being fooled by samsara, the setting sun. It may seem to be coated by wisdom, so we lick it, but again and again we are stung by the thorny underbrush. We must not underestimate the power of samsara, for samsara lures us into thinking that it holds something. We must recognize samsara and not be disheartened by it, but realize that as extremely special beings with a gift of wisdom and compassion, we need to offer our gift to others in whatever we do, in each moment of every day.

Basic Goodness and Bodhichitta

For us, every day is a process of honing and strengthening our understanding of goodness. We must constantly be vigilant in this. It is not sufficient just to mouth the word “goodness”; we must pound this word, extract the meaning, and eliminate all confusion and doubt from our understanding. This very act increases our joy in propagating the vision of Shambhala and weakens the force of the setting sun. We cannot fool ourselves into thinking that hearing the words once or twice, or contemplating them here and there, is sufficient. In that case surely the current of samsara will carry us away, and we will find ourselves old and scared.

Being engaged in the view of basic goodness and bodhichitta, we have much to offer. If we engage in the world without this intention, we are simply developing our fixation and attachment, and therefore only postponing our enlightenment. However, if we engage in the world with the view of basic goodness and bodhichitta, that approach will affect everything we do. Individuals will enter our programs knowing that they are being trained to uncover their tremendous gift as warrior-bodhisattvas inspired to dedicate their life, whatever they may engage in, to the betterment of society.

We therefore need to engender a genuine understanding that all individuals have a place in Shambhala society. There should not be a sense of outer and inner, but rather a sense of being included in the compassionate embrace of heaven and earth. With the inspiration and empowerment of heaven, we can take our seat in the society. When each of us develops this level of confidence and understanding, the society gains tremendous vitality and social transformation becomes possible. Thus there is a healthy relationship between the earthy virtues of both the organization and the society and the visionary principle of heaven. I believe that we are capable of producing such a situation, for it comes down to releasing and inspiring basic goodness wherever it may lie. When this happens, the natural interplay between society and organization creates the perfect dance, to the delight and benefit of all.
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