Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:49 am

William Irwin Thompson
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 6/17/20

William Irwin Thompson on Brooklyn Bridge, 1996

William Irwin Thompson (born 16 July 1938) is known primarily as a social philosopher and cultural critic, but he has also been writing and publishing poetry throughout his career and received the Oslo International Poetry Festival Award in 1986. He describes his writing and speaking style as "mind-jazz on ancient texts". He is the founder of the Lindisfarne Association.


Thompson was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Los Angeles, California. Thompson received his B.A. at Pomona College and his Ph.D. at Cornell University. He was a professor of humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and then at York University in Toronto, Ontario. He has held visiting appointments at Syracuse University, the University of Hawaii, the University of Toronto and the California Institute of Integral Studies.

California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) is a private, non-profit university founded in 1968 and based in San Francisco, California. As of 2020, it operates in two locations; the main campus near the confluence of the Civic Center, SoMa, and Mission districts, and another campus for the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Potrero Hill neighborhood. CIIS has a total of 1,510 students and 80 core faculty members.

CIIS consists of four schools: the School of Professional Psychology & Health, the School of Consciousness and Transformation (mainly humanities subjects), the School of Undergraduate Studies, and the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM). ACTCM became the fourth school after merging with CIIS on July 1, 2015.

The institute offers interdisciplinary and cross-cultural graduate studies in psychology, counseling, philosophy, religion, cultural anthropology, transformative studies and leadership, integrative health, women's spirituality, and community mental health.[7] Many courses combine mainstream academic curriculum with a spiritual orientation, including influences from a broad spectrum of mystical or esoteric traditions. Although the Institute has no official spiritual path, some of its historical roots lie among followers of the Bengali sage Sri Aurobindo.

-- California Institute of Integral Studies, by Wikipedia

In 1973, he left academia to found the Lindisfarne Association. The Association, which he led from 1972 to 2012, was a group of scientists, poets, and religious scholars who met in order to discuss and to participate in the emerging planetary culture.[1] Thompson lived in Switzerland for 17 years. He describes a recent work, Canticum Turicum in his 2009 book, Still Travels: Three Long Poems, as "a long poem on Western Civilization that begins with folktales and traces of Charlemagne in Zurich and ends with the completion of Western Civilization as expressed in Finnegans Wake and the traces of James Joyce in Zurich."

Thompson is a Founding Mentor to the private K-12 Ross School in East Hampton, New York. In 1995, with mathematician Ralph Abraham, he designed a new type of cultural history curriculum based on their theories about the evolution of consciousness.[2] Thompson currently resides in Portland, Maine.


Thompson did his Master's Essay at Cornell on applying the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead to poetry; he did his doctoral dissertation on the Easter Rising in Dublin 1916. While serving on the faculty at MIT in the 1960s, Thompson met famed media ecologist Marshall McLuhan, who would influence Thompson's writings on cultural history. Thompson engages a diverse set of traditions, including the Swiss cultural historian Jean Gebser, the Vedic philosopher Sri Aurobindo Ghose, the autopoetic epistemology of Francisco Varela, the endosymbiotic theory of evolution of Lynn Margulis, the Gaia Theory of James Lovelock, the complex systems thought of Ralph Abraham, the novels of Thomas Pynchon, and the daimonic transmissions of mystic David Spangler.


Performance is central to Thompson's approach. Performances either open new horizons for the future or close them down, and should be judged on that basis. Thompson thought that with the emergence of the integral era and its electronic media expressions that a new mode of discourse was required. He sought "to turn non-fiction into a work of art on its own terms. Rather than trying to be a scholar or a journalist writing on the political and cultural news of the day, I worked to become a poetic reporter on the evolutionary news of the epoch".[3] He espoused the notion that one must express an integral approach not just in content but in the very means of expressing it. Thompson did this in the way he approached teaching: "The traditional academic lecture also became for me an occasion to transform the genre, to present not an academic reading of a paper, but a form of Bardic performance–not stories of battles but of the new ideas that were emerging around the world...The course was meant to be a performance of the very reality it sought to describe".[4]

"Wissenskunst" (literally, "knowledge-art") is a German term that Thompson coined to describe his own work. Contrasting it with Wissenschaft, the German term for science, Thompson defines Wissenskunst as "the play of knowledge in a world of serious data-processors."

As fiction and music are coming closer to reorganizing knowledge, scholarship is becoming closer to art. Our culture is changing, and so the genres of literature and history are changing as well. In an agricultural-warrior society, the genre is the epic, an Iliad. In an industrial-bourgeois society, the genre is the novel, a Moll Flanders. In our electronic, cybernetic society, the genre is Wissenkunst: the play of knowledge in a world of serious data-processors. The scholarly fictions of Jorge Luis Borges, or the reviews of non-existent books by Stanislaw Lem, are examples of new art forms of a society in which humanity live, not innocently in nature nor confidently in cities, but apocalyptically in a civilization cracking up to the universe. At such a moment as this the novelist becomes a prophet, the composer a magician, and the historian a bard, a voice recalling ancient identities.[5]


The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light

In his acclaimed 1981 work The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light: Mythology, Sexuality and the Origins of Culture, Thompson criticized what he considers the hubristic pretensions of E. O. Wilson's sociobiology, which attempted to subsume the humanities to evolutionary biology.[6] Thompson then reviewed and critiqued the scholarship on the emergence of civilization from the Paleolithic to the historical period. He analyzed the assumptions and prejudices of the various anthropologists and historians who have written on the subject, and attempted to paint a more balanced picture. He described the task of the historian as closer to that of the artist and poet than to that of the scientist.

Because we have separated humanity from nature, subject from object, values from analysis, knowledge from myth, and universities from the universe, it is enormously difficult for anyone but a poet or a mystic to understand what is going on in the holistic and mythopoeic thought of Ice Age humanity. The very language we use to discuss the past speaks of tools, hunters, and men, when every statue and painting we discover cries out to us that this Ice Age humanity was a culture of art, the love of animals, and women.[7]

Thompson sees the Stone Age religion expressed in the Venus figurines, Lascaux cave paintings, Çatal Hüyük, and other artifacts to be an early form of shamanism. He believes that as humanity spread across the globe and was divided into separate cultures, this universal shamanistic Mother Goddess religion became the various esoteric traditions and religions of the world. Using this model, he analyzed Egyptian mythology, Sumerian hymns, the Epic of Gilgamesh, the cult of Quetzalcoatl, and many other stories, myths, and traditions. Thompson often refers to Kriya yoga and Yoga Nidra throughout these analyses, and this seems to be the spiritual tradition with which he is most comfortable.

Coming Into Being

In his 1996 work Coming into Being: Artifacts and Texts in the Evolution of Consciousness, Thompson applied an approach that was similar to his 1981 book to many other artifacts, cultures and historical periods. A notable difference, however, is that the 1996 work was influenced by the work of cultural phenomenologist Jean Gebser. Works and authors analyzed include the Enuma Elish, Homer, Hesiod, Sappho, the Book of Judges, the Rig Veda, Ramayana, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and the Tao Te Ching. Thompson analyzed these works using the vocabulary of contemporary cognitive theory and chaos theory, as well as theories of history. An expanded paperback version was released in 1998.

The phrase "Coming into being" is a translation of the Greek term gignesthai, from which the word genesis is derived.[8]

Self and Society

In his 2004 book Self and Society: Studies in the Evolution of Consciousness, and in collaboration with the mathematician Ralph Abraham, Thompson related Gebser's structures to periods in the development of mathematics (arithmetic, geometric, algebraic, dynamical, chaotic) and in the history of music.



The Lindisfarne Fellows House in Crestone, Colorado

Thompson considers James Joyce's stylistically experimental novel Finnegans Wake to be "the ultimate novel, indeed, the ultimate book," and also to be the climactic artistic work of the modern period and of the rational mentality. Thompson is fascinated by Los Angeles, where he grew up, and Disneyland, which he considers to be LA's essence. He has also written a book-length treatment of the Easter Rising of 1916.

Thompson has critiqued postmodern literary criticism, artificial intelligence, the technological futurism of Raymond Kurzweil, the contemporary philosophy of mind theories of Daniel Dennett and Paul Churchland, and the astrobiological cosmogony of Zecharia Sitchin.


Thompson's second book, At the Edge of History was reviewed in The New York Times by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt in March 1971.[9]

Thompson's 1974 Passages About Earth was reviewed in Time. The reviewer wrote:

From ample but largely gloomy evidence of rapid social change — future shock, ecological disruption, population explosion, proliferation of information — Thompson draws a startling conclusion: "We are the climactic generation of human cultural evolution." Man, he asserts, will now either slide back into a new Dark Age or evolve into a higher, more spiritual being.

Which way will we go? The author opts for evolution. While such optimism is as welcome as it is rare these days, it is largely based on mysticism and intimations of a "new planetary culture," which Thompson shares with Philosopher Teilhard de Chardin and Science-Fiction Writer Arthur C. Clarke. This is thin epistemological ice even for a skater as fast as Thompson. Indeed, incredulous readers may drop the book after the first reference to "our lost cosmological orientation." That would be a mistake. Agree with it or not, Passages is always fascinating, a magical mystery tour of man's potential.[10]

Thompson's 1981 book The Time Falling Bodies Take To Light: Mythology, Sexuality, and the Origins of Culture was reviewed in the New York Times Book Review by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt. Lehmann-Haupt concluded:

In The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light, William Irwin Thompson has gone part of the way toward rescuing mysticism from its Western friends. But only part of the way.[11]

In his book 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, Daniel Pinchbeck referred to Thompson as a cultural critic, a mystic, a practicing yogi,[12] "one of the few modern intellectuals to appreciate Steiner's work",[13] and

one of a small number of original thinkers who not only understands our present impasse but realizes it is not the whole story. Something else is taking place as well— a sidereal movement of consciousness returning us to levels of awareness denied and repressed by the materialist thrust of our current civilization. Essential in this process, according to Thompson, is a change in our understanding of myth. We can change "from a postmodern sensibility in which myth is regarded as an absolute and authoritarian system of discourse to a planetary culture in which myth is regarded as isomorphic, but not identical to scientific narratives."[14]

Selected works

• "The Language of "Finnegans Wake" The Sewanee Review Vol. 72, No. 1 (Winter, 1964), pp. 78–90[15]
• "Collapsed universe and structured poem: An essay in Whiteheadian criticism" (thesis), College English, October 1966
• The Imagination of an Insurrection: Dublin, Easter 1916: A Study of an Ideological Movement, 1967
• At the Edge of History: Speculations on the Transformation of Culture, 1971
• "The Individual as Institution: The Example of Paolo Soleri." Harper's, 1972
• Passages about Earth: An Exploration of the New Planetary Culture, 1974
• Evil and World Order, 1976
• Darkness and Scattered Light, 1978
• The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light: Mythology, Sexuality and the Origins of Culture, 1981, 2001 ISBN 0-312-80512-8
• From Nation to Emanation: Planetary Culture and World Governance, 1982
• Blue Jade from the Morning Star: An Essay and a Cycle of Poems on Quetzalcoatl, 1983
• Pacific Shift, 1986
• Gaia, A Way of Knowing, 1988 (editor)
• Selected Poems, 1959-1980, 1989
• Imaginary Landscape: Making Worlds of Myth and Science, 1989
• Gaia Two: Emergence, The New Science of Becoming, 1991 (editor)
• Islands Out of Time: A Memoir of the Last Days of Atlantis: A Novel, 1990
• Reimagination of the World: A Critique of the New Age, Science, and Popular Culture (with David Spangler), 1991
• The American Replacement of Nature: The Everyday Acts and Outrageous Evolution of Economic Life, 1991 ISBN 0-385-42025-0
• Worlds Interpenetrating and Apart: Collected Poems, 1959-1995, 1997
• Coming into Being: Artifacts and Texts in the Evolution of Consciousness, 1996, 1998 ISBN 0-312-17692-9
• Transforming History: A Curriculum for Cultural Evolution, 2001 & 2009. ISBN 978-1-58420-069-7
• Self and Society: Studies in the Evolution of Culture, 2004 & 2009, ISBN 0-907845-82-7; ISBN 978-1-84540-133-7.
• A Diary of Sorts and Streets, Poems, 2007 (Onteros Press: P. O. Box 5720, Santa Fe NM 87502) ISBN 978-1-4243-2271-8
• Still Travels: Three Long Poems, (Wild River Books: Princeton, NJ, 2009).ISBN 978-0-557-07882-0
• Beyond Religion: The Culture Evolution of the Sense of the Sacred from Shamanism to Post-Religious spirituality (Lindisfarne Books: Great Barrington, MA, 2013) ISBN 978-1-58420-151-9
• Nightwatch and Dayshift: Poems 2007-2014 (Wild River Books, Stockton, NJ). ISBN 9780983918899


1. Philip Herrera, "Waiting For Godlings", Time Monday, April 08, 1974
2. "Founding Mentor William Irwin Thompson Visits"
3. Thompson, "The Cultural Phenomenology of Literature", 89 Archived2006-09-06 at the Wayback Machine
4. Thompson, "The Cultural Phenomenology of Literature", 89-90 ... dfArchived 2006-09-06 at the Wayback Machine
5. The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light: Mythology, Sexuality and the Origins of Culture, 4
6. Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher, The Time Falling Bodies take to Light: Mythology, sexuality and the Origins of Culture- review. New York Times. 1981. ... times.html
7. The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light, 102
9. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, "History as Science-Fiction", March 19, 1971 New York Times
10. Philip Herrera,"Waiting For Godlings", Time Monday, April 08, 1974
11. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt review of The Time Falling Bodies Take To Light. Mythology, Sexuality, and the Origins of Culture. January 22, 1981 [1]
12. Daniel Pinchbeck, 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, p8 Penguin Group, 2007 ISBN 1-58542-592-3, ISBN 978-1-58542-592-1
13. Pinchbeck, p140
14. Pinchbeck, p8
15. The Language of "Finnegans Wake"

External links

• The Evolution of William Irwin Thompson Cultural Historian a 2006 essay by Joy E. Stocke
• The Science of Myth, an interview.
• Audio cassette sales of Thompson's lectures
• Thompson's Curriculum Vitae

By Thompson


• Foreword to Canticum, Turicum, 2005
• [permanent dead link] "This Time, Let's Build a New Venice and Not Another New Orleans" and "The Need for a Tricameral Legislature", 2005[dead link]:wq
• "The Case for Teaching Geometry before Algebra", 2005 (PDF file)[dead link]
• "Al Qaeda, the Neocons, and the Transition from Nation-State to Noetic Polity (RTF file)
• "The Borg or Borges?" (PDF file), 2003
• "The Cultural Phenomenology of Literature", 2002
• "Studies in the Evolution of Culture" (Introduction to Self and Society) (PDF file), 2002
• "The Evolution of the Afterlife" (PDF file), 2002
• "Speculations on the City and the Evolution of Consciousness", 2000 (PDF file)
• The Ross School Supplemental webpages by Ralph Herman Abraham and William Irwin Thompson
• ""The Four Cultural Ecologies of the West"". Archived from the original on August 29, 2000. Retrieved November 21, 2005., 1998
• "Nine Theses For A Gaia Politique", 1986
• "It's Already Begun: The Planetary Age is an unacknowledged daily reality", 1986
• "The Metaindustrial Village: A possible future encapsulates history...and moves beyond", 1983


• "Still Travels" Wild River Review, 2007
• Canticum, Turicum, 2006
• "Cambridge Rant"
• [permanent dead link] "The Lessons of History" a poem-essay
• [permanent dead link] "Sunset at Point Lobos", 1964
• "The Death of Neda", 2009
• "Vade-Mecum Angelon", 2010

About Thompson

• The Gaian Politics of Lindisfarne’s William Irwin Thompson by Ralph Peters, 2002
• "Wiliam Irwin Thompson" by Grant Schuyler
• "Coming Into Being: A Reader's Journal" by Bobby Matherne, 1997
• [permanent dead link] Booklist review of Coming into Being by Patricia Monaghan
• Union of Int'l Associations' Global Strategies Project "Patterns of alternation: toward an enantiomorphic policy"
• NYT review of The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, January 22, 1981
• Encyclopedia Barfieldiana entry on Thompson
• Lindisfarne Cafe Memoir:
o LINDISFARNE CAFE - MEMOIR - Building a Dream - PART ONE: Lindisfarne in Crestone, Colorado, 1979-1997
o LINDISFARNE CAFE - MEMOIR - Building a Dream/The Shadow Side PART TWO: Lindisfarne in Crestone, Colorado, 1979-1997
o LINDISFARNE CAFE - MEMOIR - Building a Dream/The Cathedral PART THREE: Lindisfarne in Crestone, Colorado, 1979-1997
o LINDISARNE CAFE - MEMOIR - Conclusion: The Economic Relevance of Lindisfarne


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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:09 am

Lindisfarne Association
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 6/17/20

In the 1980’s, numerous projects were sponsored by the United Nations to promote notions of a universal religion[/b] and global citizenship, such as World Healing Day, World Instant of Cooperation, World Peace Day, Annual Global Mind Link, Human Unity Conference, World Conference on Religion and Peace, Provisional World Parliament. In 1995, the UN asked the Temple of Understanding, founded by Bailey’s Lucis Trust, to host the 50th Anniversary of its founding, and to organize two inter-faith services. The Temple of Understanding is located in Manhattan’s historic Cathedral of St. John the Divine, dedicated to St. John, traditionally revered by Freemasons according to the Johannite creed. The completion of the cathedral was such a prized accomplishment for the Freemasons that it was featured on the front page of Masonic World of March 1925. The Cathedral is replete with occult symbolism and often features unusual performances.

The presiding bishop of the cathedral was the bisexual Bishop Paul Moore, whose family were heirs to the Nabisco company fortune, and as a priest in Indianapolis he gave Jim Jones’s People’s Temple cult its start. Having been dormant for several years, the Temple of Understanding was revived at the cathedral in 1984 at a ceremony presided over by Moore and the Dalai Lama. While the chairman of the Temple was Judith Dickerson Hollister, those involved with its founding included: Dame Margaret Mead, Robert Muller, who had been involved as well with the Lucis Trust, and Winifred McCulloch, leader of the New York-based Teilhard de Chardin Society.

The Cathedral also houses the Lindisfarne Center, founded in 1972 with funding from Laurance Rockefeller, brother to David Rockefeller, by cultural historian William Irwin Thompson, a former professor of humanities from MIT and Syracuse University. Lindisfarne functioned as a sponsor of New Age events and lectures, as well as a think tank and retreat, similar to the Esalen Institute, with which it shared several members, like Gregory Bateson and Michael Murphy. Their aim is participate in the emerging planetary consciousness, or Noosphere. In addition to Teilhard de Chardin, Thompson is influenced by Alfred North Whitehead, Rudolf Steiner, Sri Aurobindo and Marshall McLuhan, the Canadian philosopher of communication theory, who is also celebrated in Ferguson’s The Aquarian Conspiracy. Lindisfarne has also been supported by the Lilly Endowment, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Rockefeller Foundation, and lists among its faculty members Amory Lovins, Gaia theory biologist James Lovelock, and Luciferian adept and New Age author David Spangler. Lindisfarne was founded in 1972 by New Age philosopher William Irwin Thompson, a former professor of humanities from MIT and Syracuse University. Thompson said: “We have now a new spirituality, what has been called the New Age movement. The planetization of the esoteric has been going on for some time… This is now beginning to influence concepts of politics and community in ecology… This is the Gaia [Mother Earth] politique… planetary culture.” Thompson further stated that, the age of “the independent sovereign state, with the sovereign individual in his private property, [is] over, just as the Christian fundamentalist days are about to be over.”[4]

Held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the Temple called together leaders of the world’s religions to offer prayers, and invited the world’s leading artists to perform music, poetry and dance. In 1997 and 1998, with the Interfaith Center of New York, the Temple of Understanding held an Interfaith Prayer Service at St. Bartholomew Church to pray for the work of the General Assembly and the Secretary General of the UN [United Nations].
It was also at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine that the controversial “Islamic feminist” preacher named Amina Wadud led a Muslim Friday prayer in 2005, breaking with the tradition of having only male Imams, and conducted without the traditional separation between male and female sections.

The Temple of Understanding promotes the “Interfaith Movement” with its centennial celebration of the World’s Parliament of Religions. The first Parliament of World Religions Conference, as a successor to the first Parliament of World Religions Conference, in effect the Theosophical Congress, gathered in Chicago in 1883. It had been founded by Reverend Dr. John Henry Barrows, according to whom, “The best religion must come to the front, and the best religion will ultimately survive, because it will contain all that is true in all the faiths.”[5] The Parliament was dominated by Theosophists, such as Annie Besant, Dharmapala and the Hindu universalist Vivekananda who, in his famous speech, called for an end to religious conversions, and instead for each to "assimilate the spirit of the other," and said, "The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor a Hindu or a Buddhist to become a Christian. But each religion must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve its own individuality and grow according to its own law of growth."[6]

-- Parliament of [the] World Religions, by David Livingstone

The WICCA cult came to the surface early during the post-war period, as a legalized association for the promotion of witchcraft. It is the leading publicly known international association of witches in the world today. In the United States, WICCA's outstanding sponsor is the New York Anglican (Episcopal) diocese, under Bishop Paul Moore. Officially, New York's Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Divine has promoted the spread of WICCA witchery through its Lindisfarne center. The late Gregory Bateson conducted such an operation out of the Lindisfarne center during the 1970s. No later than the 1970s, and perhaps still today, the crypt of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, is the headquarters for solemn ceremonies of the British (Venerable) Order of Malta. Key figures, such as Gregory Bateson's former spouse, Dame Margaret Mead, associated with that British order, have been associated with projects in support of the Satanist "Age of Aquarius" cause.

-- Real History of Satanism, by Lyndon LaRouche

Critchlow, Keith. "The Platonic Tradition on the Nature of Proportion," in Lindisfarne Letter 10.

Lawlor, Robert. "Ancient Temple Architecture," in Lindisfarne Letter 10.

Lindisfarne Letter No. 10, "Geometry and Architecture." West Stockbridge, MA, Lindisfarne Press, 1980.

Macaulay, Anne. "Apollo: The Pythagorean Definition of God," in Lindisfarne Letter 14.

Lawlor, Robert. "Pythagorean Number as Form, Color and Light," in Lindisfarne Letter 14.

Zajonc, Arthur G. "The Two Lights," in Lindisfarne Letter 14.

-- The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library, Compiled and Translated by Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie, with additional translations by Thomas Taylor and Arthur Fairbanks, Jr.

Lectures on Divine Humanity, Peter Zouboff (transl.), Boris Jakim (ed.) (Hudson, New York: Lindisfarne press, 1995)

Bulgakov, Sergei, Sophia the Wisdom of God: An Outline of Sophiology, Rev. Patrick Thompson, Rev. O. Felding Clarke, and Xenia Braitevitc (transl.) (1st publ. 1937: Hudson, New York: Lindisfarne Press, I993)

-- History, Sophia and the Russian Nation: A Reassessment of Vladimir Solov'ev's Views on History and His Social Commitment, by Manon de Courten

The Lindisfarne chapel in Crestone, Colorado

The Lindisfarne Association (1972–2012) was a nonprofit foundation and diverse group of intellectuals organized by cultural historian William Irwin Thompson for the "study and realization of a new planetary culture".

It was inspired by the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead's idea of an integral philosophy of organism [Process Philosophy], and by Teilhard de Chardin's idea of planetization.[1]

Process philosophy — also ontology of becoming, processism, or philosophy of organism — identifies metaphysical reality with change. In opposition to the classical model of change as illusory (as argued by Parmenides) or accidental (as argued by Aristotle), process philosophy regards change as the cornerstone of reality—the cornerstone of being thought of as becoming.

Since the time of Plato and Aristotle, some philosophers have posited true reality as "timeless", based on permanent substances, while processes are denied or subordinated to timeless substances. If Socrates changes, becoming sick, Socrates is still the same (the substance of Socrates being the same), and change (his sickness) only glides over his substance: change is accidental, whereas the substance is essential. Therefore, classic ontology denies any full reality to change, which is conceived as only accidental and not essential. This classical ontology is what made knowledge and a theory of knowledge possible, as it was thought that a science of something in becoming was an impossible feat to achieve.

Philosophers who appeal to process rather than substance include Heraclitus, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Henri Bergson, Martin Heidegger, Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, Alfred North Whitehead, Thomas Nail, Alfred Korzybski, R. G. Collingwood, Alan Watts, Robert M. Pirsig, Roberto Mangabeira Unger, Charles Hartshorne, Arran Gare, Nicholas Rescher, Colin Wilson, Jacques Derrida, Tim Ingold, Bruno Latour, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Gilles Deleuze. In physics, Ilya Prigogine distinguishes between the "physics of being" and the "physics of becoming". Process philosophy covers not just scientific intuitions and experiences, but can be used as a conceptual bridge to facilitate discussions among religion, philosophy, and science.

-- Process philosophy, by Wikipedia


Thompson conceived the idea for the Lindisfarne association while touring spiritual sites and experimental communities around the world. The Lindisfarne Association is named for Lindisfarne Priory—a monastery, known for the Lindisfarne Gospels, founded on the British island of Lindisfarne in the 7th century.

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne,[3] commonly known as either Holy Island[4] or Lindisfarne,[5] is a tidal island off the northeast coast of England, which constitutes the civil parish of Holy Island in Northumberland.[6] Holy Island has a recorded history from the 6th century AD; it was an important centre of Celtic Christianity under Saints Aidan of Lindisfarne, Cuthbert, Eadfrith of Lindisfarne and Eadberht of Lindisfarne. After the Viking invasions and the Norman conquest of England, a priory was reestablished. A small castle was built on the island in 1550...

Lindisfarne Priory

The monastery of Lindisfarne was founded circa 634 by Irish monk Saint Aidan, who had been sent from Iona off the west coast of Scotland to Northumbria at the request of King Oswald.

Rinpoche: "Johnny, have you ever been to Iona?"

Johnny: "Iona! You mean the island in Scotland? No, Sir."

Rinpoche: "You should go there after I die."

Johnny (alarmed): "You are not going to die!"

Rinpoche (reassuringly): "No, of course not; we will grow old together. Perhaps sometime you could go to Iona and read the Sadhana of Mahamudra in the cathedral."

Johnny: "Why?"

Rinpoche: "The air is very clear there. You will like it."

Johnny: "Okay, Sir. I'll do it."

Rinpoche: "Great! Let's drink to that."

They both drank sake.

In the summer of 2002 Johnny read the Sadhana of Mahamudra in the cathedral watchtower next to Saint Columba's shrine on the island of Iona. I realized again: Rinpoche manifested as Saint Columba and Johnny as Diarmait, his servant.

-- The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perks

The priory was founded before the end of 634 and Aidan remained there until his death in 651.[38] The priory remained the only seat of a bishopric in Northumbria for nearly thirty years.[38] Finian (bishop 651–661) built a timber church "suitable for a bishop's seat".[39] St Bede, however, was critical of the fact that the church was not built of stone but only of hewn oak thatched with reeds. A later bishop, Eadbert, removed the thatch and covered both walls and roof in lead.[40] An abbot, who could be the bishop, was elected by the brethren and led the community. Bede comments on this:

And let no one be surprised that, though we have said above that in this island of Lindisfarne, small as it is, there is found the seat of a bishop, now we say also that it is the home of an abbot and monks; for it actually is so. For one and the same dwelling-place of the servants of God holds both; and indeed all are monks. Aidan, who was the first bishop of this place, was a monk and always lived according to monastic rule together with all his followers. Hence all the bishops of that place up to the present time exercise their episcopal functions in such a way that the abbot, who they themselves have chosen by the advice of the brethren, rules the monastery; and all the priests, deacons, singers and readers and other ecclesiastical grades, together with the bishop himself, keep the monastic rule in all things.[41]

Lindisfarne became the base for Christian evangelism in the North of England and also sent a successful mission to Mercia. Monks from the Irish community of Iona settled on the island. Northumbria's patron saint, Saint Cuthbert, was a monk and later abbot of the monastery, and his miracles and life are recorded by the Venerable Bede. Cuthbert later became Bishop of Lindisfarne. An anonymous life of Cuthbert written at Lindisfarne is the oldest extant piece of English historical writing. From its reference to "Aldfrith, who now reigns peacefully" it must date to between 685 and 704.[42] Cuthbert was buried here, his remains later translated[c] to Durham Cathedral (along with the relics of Saint Eadfrith of Lindisfarne). Eadberht of Lindisfarne, the next bishop (and saint) was buried in the place from which Cuthbert's body was exhumed earlier the same year when the priory was abandoned in the late 9th century.

Cuthbert's body was carried with the monks, eventually settling in Chester-le-Street before a final move to Durham. The saint's shrine was the major pilgrimage centre for much of the region until its despoliation by Henry VIII's commissioners in 1539 or 1540. The grave was preserved, however, and when opened in 1827 yielded a number of remarkable artefacts dating back to Lindisfarne. The inner (of three) coffins was of incised wood, the only decorated wood to survive from the period. It shows Jesus surrounded by the Four Evangelists. Within the coffin was a pectoral cross 6.4 centimetres (2.5 in) across made of gold and mounted with garnets and intricate tracery. There was a comb made of elephant ivory, a rare and expensive item in Northern England. Also inside was an embossed silver covered travelling altar. All were contemporary with the original burial on the island. When the body was placed in the shrine in 1104 other items were removed: a paten, scissors and a chalice of gold and onyx. Most remarkable of all was a gospel (known as the St Cuthbert Gospel or Stonyhurst Gospel from its association with the college). The manuscript is in an early, probably original, binding beautifully decorated with deeply embossed leather.[43]

Following Finian's death, Colman became Bishop of Lindisfarne. Up to this point the Northumbrian (and latterly Mercian) churches had looked to Lindisfarne as the mother church. There were significant liturgical and theological differences with the fledgling Roman party based at Canterbury. According to Stenton: "There is no trace of any intercourse between these bishops [the Mercians] and the see of Canterbury".[44] The Synod of Whitby in 663 changed this. Allegiance switched southwards to Canterbury and thence to Rome. Colman departed his see for Iona and Lindisfarne ceased to be of such major importance.

In 735 the northern ecclesiastical province of England was established with the archbishopric at York. There were only three bishops under York: Hexham, Lindisfarne and Whithorn whereas Canterbury had the twelve envisaged by St Augustine.[45] The Diocese of York encompassed roughly the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire. Hexham covered County Durham and the southern part of Northumberland up to the River Coquet and eastwards into the Pennines. Whithorn covered most of Dumfries and Galloway region west of Dumfries itself. The remainder, Cumbria, northern Northumbria, Lothian and much of the Kingdom of Strathclyde formed the diocese of Lindisfarne.[46]

In 737 Saint Ceolwulf of Northumbria abdicated as King of Northumbria and entered the Prior at Lindisfarne. He died in 764 and was buried alongside Cuthbert. In 830 his body was moved to Norham-upon-Tweed and later his head was translated to Durham Cathedral.[47]

Lindisfarne Gospels

At some point in the early 8th century, the famous illuminated manuscript known as the Lindisfarne Gospels, an illustrated Latin copy of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, was made probably at Lindisfarne and the artist was possibly Eadfrith, who later became Bishop of Lindisfarne. It is also speculated that a team of illuminators and calligraphers (monks of Lindisfarne Priory) worked on the text however, their identities are unknown. Sometime in the second half of the 10th century a monk named Aldred added an Anglo-Saxon (Old English) gloss to the Latin text, producing the earliest surviving Old English copies of the Gospels. Aldred attributed the original to Eadfrith (bishop 698–721). The Gospels were written with a good hand, but it is the illustrations done in an insular style containing a fusion of Celtic, Germanic and Roman elements that are truly outstanding. According to Aldred, Eadfrith's successor Æthelwald was responsible for pressing and binding it and then it was covered with a fine metal case made by a hermit called Billfrith.[44] The Lindisfarne Gospels now reside in the British Library in London, somewhat to the annoyance of some Northumbrians.[48] In 1971 professor Suzanne Kaufman of Rockford, Illinois presented a facsimile copy of the Gospels to the clergy of the island.

-- Lindisfarne, by Wikipedia

Advertising executive Gene Fairly had just left his position at Interpublic Group of Companies and begun studying Zen Buddhism when he read a review of Thompson's At the Edge of History in the New York Times. Fairly visited Thompson at York University in Toronto to discuss forming a group for the promotion of planetary culture. Upon returning to New York he raised $150,000 from such donors as Nancy Wilson Ross and Sydney and Jean Lanier. Support from these donors served as an entrée to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.[2]

Incorporation and first years in New York

Lindisfarne was incorporated as a non-profit educational foundation in December 1972. It began operations at a refitted summer camp in Southampton, New York on August 31, 1973.[3]

From 1974–1977 Lindisfarne held an annual conference "to explore the new planetary culture" with the following themes:[4]

• Planetary Culture and the New Image of Humanity, 1974
• Conscious Evolution and the Evolution of Consciousness, 1975
• A Light Governance for America: the Cultures and Strategies of Decentralization, 1976
• Mind in Nature, 1977

Earth's answer : explorations of planetary culture at the Lindisfarne conferences (1977) reprints some of the lectures given at the 1974 and 1975 conferences.

The Lindisfarne Association was first based in Southampton, New York in 1973 and then in Manhattan at the Church of the Holy Communion and Buildings which was leased to Lindisfarne from 1976–1979.

Move to Crestone and formation of other branches

As Lindisfarne began to run low on funding, it faced the loss of its lease on the Church of the Holy Communion. At a conference at the New Alchemy Institute in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Petro-Canada CEO and United Nations official Maurice Strong offered to donate land from his ranch in Crestone, Colorado. Thompson chose 77 acres of land near Spanish Creek—self-reportedly because his "Irish Druid Radar" had gone off while driving past—where Lindisfarne began to construct new buildings for its purposes.[5]

Today the Lindisfarne Fellows House, the Lindisfarne Chapel, and the Lindisfarne Mountain Retreat are under the ownership and management of the Crestone Mountain Zen Center.[6] Lindisfarne has functioned variously as a sponsor of classes, conferences, and concerts and public lectures events, and as a think tank and retreat, similar to the Esalen Institute in California. Lindisfarne functioned as a not-for-profit foundation until 2009; the Lindisfarne Fellowship continued to hold annual meetings until 2012. It is no longer an active organization.

In addition to its facility in Crestone (the "Lindisfarne Mountain Retreat"), three other branches of the organization were formed:[7]

• a headquarters in New York City at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine;
• the Lindisfarne Press was established in Stockbridge, Massachusetts; and
• the Lindisfarne Fellows House was opened at the San Francisco Zen Center.

Goals and doctrine

The Lindisfarne doctrine is closely related to that of its founder, William Thompson. Mentioned as part of the Lindisfarne ideology are a long list of spiritual and esoteric traditions including yoga, Tibetan Buddhism, Chinese traditional medicine, Hermeticism, Celtic animism, Gnosticism, cabala, geomancy, ley lines, Pythagoreanism, and ancient mystery religions.[8]

The group placed a special emphasis on sacred geometry, defined by Thompson as "a vision of divine intelligence, the logos, revealing itself in all forms, from the logarithmic spiral of a seashell to the hexagonal patterns of cooling basalt, from the architecture of the molecule to the galaxy."[9] Rachel Fletcher, Robert Lawlor, and Keith Critchlow lectured at Crestone on the application of sacred geometry, Platonism, and Pythagoreanism to architecture.[10] The exemplar of these ideas is the Grail Chapel in Crestone (also known as Lindisfarne Chapel), which is built to reflect numerous basic geometrical relationships.[11]

Lindisfarne's social agenda was exemplified by the "meta-industrial village", a small community focused on subsistence and crafts while yet connected to a world culture. All members of a community might participate in essential tasks such as the harvest. (Thompson has speculated that in the United States, 40% of the population could work at agriculture, and another 40% in social services.) The villages would have a sense of shared purpose in transforming world culture. They would combine "the four classical economies of human history, hunting and gathering, agriculture, industry, and cybernetics", all "recapitulated within a single deme."[12]

(The "Meadowcreek Project" in Arkansas, begun in 1979 by David and Wilson Orr, was an effort to actualize a meta-industrial village as envisioned by the Lindisfarne Association. This project received funding from the Ozarks Regional Commission, the Arkansas Energy Department, and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.)[13][14]

The villages would be linked together by an electronic information network (i.e., what today we call the internet). Thompson called for a counter-cultural vanguard "which can formulate an integral vision of culture and maintain the high standards of that culture without compromise to the forces of electronic vulgarization." [15]

According to the Lindisfarne Association website, Lindisfarne's fourfold goals are:

1. The Planetization of the Esoteric
2. The realization of the inner harmony of all the great universal religions and the spiritual traditions of the tribal peoples of the world.
3. The fostering of a new and healthier balance between nature and culture through the research and development of appropriate technologies, architectural settlements and compassionate economies for meta-industrial villages and convivial cities.
4. The illumination of the spiritual foundations of political governance through scholarship and artistic communications that foster a global ecology of consciousness beyond the present ideological systems of warring industrial nation-states, outraged traditional societies, and ravaged lands and seas.

Thompson has also stated the United States has a unique role to play in the promotion of planetary culture because people from all over the world mingle there.[16]

Lindisfarne sought to spread its message widely, through a mailing list and through book publications of the Lindisfarne press.[17]

Journalist Sally Helgesen, after a visit in 1977, criticized Lindisfarne as confused pseudo-intellectuals, citing for example their attempt to build an expensive fish "bioshelter" while overlooking a marsh with fish in it.[18]


Members of the Lindisfarne Fellowship have included, among others:

• ecological philosopher David Abram
• mathematician Ralph Abraham
• Zentatsu Richard Baker[19]
• anthropologist Gregory Bateson[20]
• anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson[7]
• poet Wendell Berry[21]
• geometer and art historian Keith Critchlow
• international law specialist Richard Falk[7]
• physicist David Ritz Finkelstein
• Zen Buddhist Joan Halifax-Roshi
• economist Hazel Henderson
• ecologist Wes Jackson
• poet Jane Hirshfield
• political scientist Merle Lefkoff
• scientist James Lovelock
• physicist and "soft energy" advocate Amory Lovins[7]
• biologist Stuart Kauffman
• biologist Lynn Margulis
• dean James Parks Morton
• author Michael Murphy
• philosopher/author John Michell
• dancer/anthropologist Natasha Myers
• spiritual teacher David Spangler
• religious scholar Elaine Pagels
• poet Kathleen Raine[7]
• writer Dorion Sagan
• economist E. F. Schumacher[22]
• astronaut Rusty Schweickart[7][19]
• poet Gary Snyder
• United Nations undersecretary Maurice Strong[7]
• architect Paolo Soleri[19]
• monk David Steindl-Rast[19]
• publisher/editor Joy Stocke
• physician/scientist/contemplative Neil Theise
• philosopher Evan Thompson
• biologist John Todd
• writer Nancy Jack Todd
• cognitive psychologist Rebecca Todd
• architect Sim Van der Ryn
• philosopher/biologist Francisco Varela[20]
• banker Michaela Walsh
• composer Paul Winter
• physicist/contemplative Arthur Zajonc
• composer Evan Chambers
• Sufi Pir Zia Inayat-Khan

Current status

The Lindisfarne Association disbanded as a not-for-profit institution in 2009. The Lindisfarne Fellows continued to meet once a year up to 2012 at varying locations as an informal group interested in one another's creative projects.


1. Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher (January 22, 1981). "Books Of The Times: Review of THE TIME FALLING BODIES TAKE TO LIGHT. Mythology, Sexuality, and the Origins of Culture". New York Times. Retrieved November 13, 2015. In the meantime, Mr. Thompson has become the founding director of the well-known Lindisfarne Association, which his biographical blurb describes as 'a contemplative education community devoted to the study and realization of a new planetary culture.'
2. Helgesen (1977), p. 84. "Fairly went back to New York to use his connections to raise money for the project. He says he stirred the interest of Nancy Wilson Ross at the Asia Society; Mrs. Stanley Young, a wealthy woman interested in Zen Buddhism; and Jean and Sidney Lanier, hiers of the poet and funders of the now-defunct Finca La Folenca. a mini-Esalen in Southern France where the Laniers had established themselves as unofficial gurus. Mrs. Lanier is known in fund-seeking circles as a key to the Rockefeller Brothers fund, so that door was opened, and between these groups Fairly says he put together $150,000 to set things going." See poet Sidney Lanier (1842–1881); and the Asia Society, founded 1956 by John D. Rockefeller III.
3. Collins (1982), p. 23.
4. Collins (1982), pp. 23–24.
5. Collins (1982), pp. 24–25, 43–44.
6. "The Lindisfarne Tapes". Schumacher Center for a New Economics. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
7. Redenius (1985), p. 254.
8. Collins (1982), pp. 14–18. 34–35.
9. William Irwin Thompson, Darkness and Scattered Light (1978), p. 138; quoted in Collins (1982), pp. 21–22.
10. Collins (1982), p. 52–53.
11. Collins (1982), pp. 55–106.
12. Collins (1982), pp. 127–131.
13. Collins (1982), pp. 134–136.
14. "The Meadowcreek Project: A Model of Sustainability in the Ozarks", Mother Earth News, March/April 1982.
15. William Irwin Thompson, Darkness and Scattered Light (1978), pp. 71–72; quoted in Collins (1982), p. 113; and Collins pp. 118–122.
16. Redenius (1985), p. 256.
17. Redenius (1985), p. 255.
18. Helgesen (1977), p. 82.
19. Collins (1982), p. 161.
20. Collins (1982), p. 28.
21. Collins (1982), p. 118.
22. Collins (1982), p. 117.


• Collins, Jeffrey Hale. Lindisfarne: Toward the Realization of Planetary Culture. PhD dissertation, University of Texas at Arlington, accepted December 1982.
• Helgesen, Sally. "Visions of Futures Past". Harper's, March 1977.</ref>
• Redenius, Charles. "The Lindisfarne Association: An Exemplary Community of the New Planetary Culture". Journal of General Education, 37(3), 1985.
See also William Irwin Thompson, "Afterword" to DARKNESS AND SCATTERED LIGHT (New York: Doubleday, 1978), 181–183.

External links

• Lindisfarne Association website at; Internet Archived version)
• 2007 Symposium Notes from the Wild River Review
• Lindisfarne Tapes (lecture recordings): index at Schumaker Center for a New Economics; search results from the Internet Archive
• Thompson's memoir articles at Wild River Review relating to Lindisfarne (including photographs):
o Pilgrimage to Lindisfarne 1972
o The Founding of the Lindisfarne Association in New York, 1971-73, Part One
o The Founding of the Lindisfarne Association in New York, 1971-73 – Part Two
o "Building a Dream – Part One: Lindisfarne in Crestone, Colorado, 1979-1997"
o Building a Dream, The Shadow Side: Lindisfarne in Crestone, Colorado, 1979-1997, Part Two
o Building a Dream/The Cathedral Part Three: Lindisfarne in Crestone, Colorado, 1979-1997
• Julia Rubin, "Colorado Site Called 'a Place of Power' : Spiritualists, Environmentalists Find Haven in the Baca", Los Angeles Times, 20 August 1989.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Alfred North Whitehead
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 6/17/20

Alfred North Whitehead, OM FRS FBA
Born: 15 February 1861, Ramsgate, England
Died: 30 December 1947 (aged 86), Cambridge, Massachusetts, US
Alma mater: Trinity College, Cambridge
Era: 20th-century philosophy
Region: Western philosophy
School: Analytic philosophy (early); Process philosophy; Process theology
Institutions: Imperial College London; Harvard University
Academic advisors: Edward Routh[1]
Doctoral students: Raphael Demos Charles Hartshorne Susanne Langer W. V. O. Quine Bertrand Russell Gregory Vlastos Paul Weiss
Main interests: Metaphysics mathematics
Notable ideas: Process philosophy; Process theology
Influences: Aristotle[2] Gregory Bateson Henri Bergson[3] Francis Herbert Bradley[4]J ohn Dewey[3] David Hume[2] William James[3] Immanuel Kant[5] Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz[6] John Locke[5] Isaac Newton[6] Plato[2] George Santayana[6]
Influenced: James Luther Adams Wilfred Eade Agar[7] David Bohm[7] C. D. Broad[8] Milič Čapek[7] Donald Davidson[9] Gilles Deleuze[10] Susanne Langer[11] Ervin László[12] Maurice Merleau-Ponty[8] F. S. C. Northrop[11] Talcott Parsons,[13] Ilya Prigogine,[8] W. V. O. Quine[14] Bertrand Russell[6] B. F. Skinner[15] Wolfgang Smith[16] John Lighton Synge[7] Jules Vuillemin[8] Conrad Hal Waddington[7] Michel Weber[17] Sewall Wright[18] Eric Voegelin[19] Ken Wilber[20]

Alfred North Whitehead OM FRS FBA (15 February 1861 – 30 December 1947) was an English mathematician and philosopher. He is best known as the defining figure of the philosophical school known as process philosophy,[21] which today has found application to a wide variety of disciplines, including ecology, theology, education, physics, biology, economics, and psychology, among other areas.

In his early career Whitehead wrote primarily on mathematics, logic, and physics. His most notable work in these fields is the three-volume Principia Mathematica (1910–1913), which he wrote with former student Bertrand Russell. Principia Mathematica is considered one of the twentieth century's most important works in mathematical logic, and placed 23rd in a list of the top 100 English-language nonfiction books of the twentieth century by Modern Library.[22]

Beginning in the late 1910s and early 1920s, Whitehead gradually turned his attention from mathematics to philosophy of science, and finally to metaphysics. He developed a comprehensive metaphysical system which radically departed from most of western philosophy. Whitehead argued that reality consists of processes rather than material objects, and that processes are best defined by their relations with other processes, thus rejecting the theory that reality is fundamentally constructed by bits of matter that exist independently of one another.[23] Today Whitehead's philosophical works – particularly Process and Reality – are regarded as the foundational texts of process philosophy.

Whitehead's process philosophy argues that "there is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have consequences for the world around us."[23] For this reason, one of the most promising applications of Whitehead's thought in recent years has been in the area of ecological civilization and environmental ethics pioneered by John B. Cobb.[24][25]


Childhood, education

Whewell's Court north range at Trinity College, Cambridge. Whitehead spent thirty years at Trinity, five as a student and twenty-five as a senior lecturer.

Alfred North Whitehead was born in Ramsgate, Kent, England, in 1861.[26] His father, Alfred Whitehead, was a minister and schoolmaster of Chatham House Academy, a school for boys established by Thomas Whitehead, Alfred North's grandfather.[27] Whitehead himself recalled both of them as being very successful schools, but that his grandfather was the more extraordinary man.[27] Whitehead's mother was Maria Sarah Whitehead, formerly Maria Sarah Buckmaster. Whitehead was apparently not particularly close with his mother, as he never mentioned her in any of his writings, and there is evidence that Whitehead's wife, Evelyn, had a low opinion of her.[28]

Whitehead was educated at Sherborne School, Dorset, one of the best public schools in the country.[29] His childhood was described as over-protected,[30] but when at school he excelled in sports and mathematics[31] and was head prefect of his class.[32]

In 1880, Whitehead began attending Trinity College, Cambridge, and studied mathematics.[33] His academic advisor was Edward Routh.[1] He earned his BA from Trinity in 1884, and graduated as fourth wrangler.[34]


Elected a fellow of Trinity in 1884, Whitehead would teach and write on mathematics and physics at the college until 1910, spending the 1890s writing his Treatise on Universal Algebra (1898), and the 1900s collaborating with his former pupil, Bertrand Russell, on the first edition of Principia Mathematica.[35] He was a Cambridge Apostle.[36]

In 1890, Whitehead married Evelyn Wade, an Irish woman raised in France; they had a daughter, Jessie Whitehead, and two sons, Thomas North Whitehead and Eric Whitehead.[32] Eric Whitehead died in action at the age of 19, while serving in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I.[37] Alfred's brother Henry became Bishop of Madras, and wrote the closely observed ethnographic account Village Gods of South-India (Calcutta: Association Press, 1921), which is still of value today.

Bertrand Russell in 1907. Russell was a student of Whitehead's at Trinity College, and a longtime collaborator and friend.

In 1910, Whitehead resigned his senior lectureship in mathematics at Trinity and moved to London without first lining up another job.[38] After being unemployed for a year, Whitehead accepted a position as lecturer in applied mathematics and mechanics at University College London, but was passed over a year later for the Goldsmid Chair of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics, a position for which he had hoped to be seriously considered.[39]

In 1914 Whitehead accepted a position as professor of applied mathematics at the newly chartered Imperial College London, where his old friend Andrew Forsyth had recently been appointed chief professor of mathematics.[40]

In 1918 Whitehead's academic responsibilities began to seriously expand as he accepted a number of high administrative positions within the University of London system, of which Imperial College London was a member at the time. He was elected dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of London in late 1918 (a post he held for four years), a member of the University of London's Senate in 1919, and chairman of the Senate's Academic (leadership) Council in 1920, a post which he held until he departed for America in 1924.[40] Whitehead was able to exert his newfound influence to successfully lobby for a new history of science department, help establish a Bachelor of Science degree (previously only Bachelor of Arts degrees had been offered), and make the school more accessible to less wealthy students.[41]

Toward the end of his time in England, Whitehead turned his attention to philosophy. Though he had no advanced training in philosophy, his philosophical work soon became highly regarded. After publishing The Concept of Nature in 1920, he served as president of the Aristotelian Society from 1922 to 1923.[42]

Move to the US, 1924

In 1924, Henry Osborn Taylor invited the 63-year-old Whitehead to join the faculty at Harvard University as a professor of philosophy.[43]

During his time at Harvard, Whitehead produced his most important philosophical contributions. In 1925, he wrote Science and the Modern World, which was immediately hailed as an alternative to the Cartesian dualism that plagued popular science.[44] Lectures from 1927 to 1928, were published in 1929 as a book named Process and Reality, which has been compared to Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.[24]

The Whiteheads spent the rest of their lives in the United States. Alfred North Whitehead retired from Harvard in 1937 and remained in Cambridge, Massachusetts, until his death on 30 December 1947.[45]

The two-volume biography of Whitehead by Victor Lowe[46] is the most definitive presentation of the life of Whitehead. However, many details of Whitehead's life remain obscure because he left no Nachlass (personal archive); his family carried out his instructions that all of his papers be destroyed after his death.[47] Additionally, Whitehead was known for his "almost fanatical belief in the right to privacy", and for writing very few personal letters of the kind that would help to gain insight on his life.[47] Wrote Lowe in his preface, "No professional biographer in his right mind would touch him."[26]

Led by Executive Editor Brian G. Henning and General Editor George R. Lucas Jr., the Whitehead Research Project of the Center for Process Studies is currently working on a critical edition of Whitehead's published and unpublished works.[48] The first volume of the Edinburgh Critical Edition of the Complete Works of Alfred North Whitehead was published in 2017 by Paul A. Bogaard and Jason Bell as The Harvard Lectures of Alfred North Whitehead, 1924–1925: The Philosophical Presuppositions of Science.[49]

Mathematics and logic

In addition to numerous articles on mathematics, Whitehead wrote three major books on the subject: A Treatise on Universal Algebra (1898), Principia Mathematica (co-written with Bertrand Russell and published in three volumes between 1910 and 1913), and An Introduction to Mathematics (1911). The former two books were aimed exclusively at professional mathematicians, while the latter book was intended for a larger audience, covering the history of mathematics and its philosophical foundations.[50] Principia Mathematica in particular is regarded as one of the most important works in mathematical logic of the 20th century.

In addition to his legacy as a co-writer of Principia Mathematica, Whitehead's theory of "extensive abstraction" is considered foundational for the branch of ontology and computer science known as "mereotopology", a theory describing spatial relations among wholes, parts, parts of parts, and the boundaries between parts.[51]

A Treatise on Universal Algebra

In A Treatise on Universal Algebra (1898) the term universal algebra had essentially the same meaning that it has today: the study of algebraic structures themselves, rather than examples ("models") of algebraic structures.[52] Whitehead credits William Rowan Hamilton and Augustus De Morgan as originators of the subject matter, and James Joseph Sylvester with coining the term itself.[52][53]

At the time structures such as Lie algebras and hyperbolic quaternions drew attention to the need to expand algebraic structures beyond the associatively multiplicative class. In a review Alexander Macfarlane wrote: "The main idea of the work is not unification of the several methods, nor generalization of ordinary algebra so as to include them, but rather the comparative study of their several structures."[54] In a separate review, G. B. Mathews wrote, "It possesses a unity of design which is really remarkable, considering the variety of its themes."[55]

A Treatise on Universal Algebra sought to examine Hermann Grassmann's theory of extension ("Ausdehnungslehre"), Boole's algebra of logic, and Hamilton's quaternions (this last number system was to be taken up in Volume II, which was never finished due to Whitehead's work on Principia Mathematica).[56] Whitehead wrote in the preface:

Such algebras have an intrinsic value for separate detailed study; also they are worthy of comparative study, for the sake of the light thereby thrown on the general theory of symbolic reasoning, and on algebraic symbolism in particular ... The idea of a generalized conception of space has been made prominent, in the belief that the properties and operations involved in it can be made to form a uniform method of interpretation of the various algebras.[57]

Whitehead, however, had no results of a general nature.[52] His hope of "form[ing] a uniform method of interpretation of the various algebras" presumably would have been developed in Volume II, had Whitehead completed it. Further work on the subject was minimal until the early 1930s, when Garrett Birkhoff and Øystein Ore began publishing on universal algebras.[58]

Principia Mathematica

The title page of the shortened version of the Principia Mathematica to *56

Principia Mathematica (1910–1913) is Whitehead's most famous mathematical work. Written with former student Bertrand Russell, Principia Mathematica is considered one of the twentieth century's most important works in mathematics, and placed 23rd in a list of the top 100 English-language nonfiction books of the twentieth century by Modern Library.[22]

Principia Mathematica's purpose was to describe a set of axioms and inference rules in symbolic logic from which all mathematical truths could in principle be proven. Whitehead and Russell were working on such a foundational level of mathematics and logic that it took them until page 86 of Volume II to prove that 1+1=2, a proof humorously accompanied by the comment, "The above proposition is occasionally useful."[59]

Whitehead and Russell had thought originally that Principia Mathematica would take a year to complete; it ended up taking them ten years.[60] When it came time for publication, the three-volume work was so long (more than 2,000 pages) and its audience so narrow (professional mathematicians) that it was initially published at a loss of 600 pounds, 300 of which was paid by Cambridge University Press, 200 by the Royal Society of London, and 50 apiece by Whitehead and Russell themselves.[60] Despite the initial loss, today there is likely no major academic library in the world which does not hold a copy of Principia Mathematica.[61]

The ultimate substantive legacy of Principia Mathematica is mixed. It is generally accepted that Kurt Gödel's incompleteness theorem of 1931 definitively demonstrated that for any set of axioms and inference rules proposed to encapsulate mathematics, there would in fact be some truths of mathematics which could not be deduced from them, and hence that Principia Mathematica could never achieve its aims.[62] However, Gödel could not have come to this conclusion without Whitehead and Russell's book. In this way, Principia Mathematica's legacy might be described as its key role in disproving the possibility of achieving its own stated goals.[63] But beyond this somewhat ironic legacy, the book popularized modern mathematical logic and drew important connections between logic, epistemology, and metaphysics.[64]

An Introduction to Mathematics

Unlike Whitehead's previous two books on mathematics, An Introduction to Mathematics (1911) was not aimed exclusively at professional mathematicians, but was intended for a larger audience. The book covered the nature of mathematics, its unity and internal structure, and its applicability to nature.[50] Whitehead wrote in the opening chapter:

The object of the following Chapters is not to teach mathematics, but to enable students from the very beginning of their course to know what the science is about, and why it is necessarily the foundation of exact thought as applied to natural phenomena.[65]

The book can be seen as an attempt to understand the growth in unity and interconnection of mathematics as a whole, as well as an examination of the mutual influence of mathematics and philosophy, language, and physics.[66] Although the book is little-read, in some ways it prefigures certain points of Whitehead's later work in philosophy and metaphysics.[67]

Views on education

Whitehead showed a deep concern for educational reform at all levels. In addition to his numerous individually written works on the subject, Whitehead was appointed by Britain's Prime Minister David Lloyd George as part of a 20-person committee to investigate the educational systems and practices of the UK in 1921 and recommend reform.[68]

Whitehead's most complete work on education is the 1929 book The Aims of Education and Other Essays, which collected numerous essays and addresses by Whitehead on the subject published between 1912 and 1927. The essay from which Aims of Education derived its name was delivered as an address in 1916 when Whitehead was president of the London Branch of the Mathematical Association. In it, he cautioned against the teaching of what he called "inert ideas" – ideas that are disconnected scraps of information, with no application to real life or culture. He opined that "education with inert ideas is not only useless: it is, above all things, harmful."[69]

Rather than teach small parts of a large number of subjects, Whitehead advocated teaching a relatively few important concepts that the student could organically link to many different areas of knowledge, discovering their application in actual life.[70] For Whitehead, education should be the exact opposite of the multidisciplinary, value-free school model[69][71] – it should be transdisciplinary, and laden with values and general principles that provide students with a bedrock of wisdom and help them to make connections between areas of knowledge that are usually regarded as separate.

In order to make this sort of teaching a reality, however, Whitehead pointed to the need to minimize the importance of (or radically alter) standard examinations for school entrance. Whitehead writes:

Every school is bound on pain of extinction to train its boys for a small set of definite examinations. No headmaster has a free hand to develop his general education or his specialist studies in accordance with the opportunities of his school, which are created by its staff, its environment, its class of boys, and its endowments. I suggest that no system of external tests which aims primarily at examining individual scholars can result in anything but educational waste.[72]

Whitehead argued that curriculum should be developed specifically for its own students by its own staff, or else risk total stagnation, interrupted only by occasional movements from one group of inert ideas to another.

Above all else in his educational writings, Whitehead emphasized the importance of imagination and the free play of ideas. In his essay "Universities and Their Function", Whitehead writes provocatively on imagination:

Imagination is not to be divorced from the facts: it is a way of illuminating the facts. It works by eliciting the general principles which apply to the facts, as they exist, and then by an intellectual survey of alternative possibilities which are consistent with those principles. It enables men to construct an intellectual vision of a new world.[73]

Whitehead's philosophy of education might adequately be summarized in his statement that "knowledge does not keep any better than fish."[74] In other words, bits of disconnected knowledge are meaningless; all knowledge must find some imaginative application to the students' own lives, or else it becomes so much useless trivia, and the students themselves become good at parroting facts but not thinking for themselves.

Philosophy and metaphysics

Richard Rummell's 1906 watercolor landscape view of Harvard University, facing northeast.[75] Whitehead taught at Harvard from 1924 to 1937.

Whitehead did not begin his career as a philosopher.[26] In fact, he never had any formal training in philosophy beyond his undergraduate education. Early in his life he showed great interest in and respect for philosophy and metaphysics, but it is evident that he considered himself a rank amateur. In one letter to his friend and former student Bertrand Russell, after discussing whether science aimed to be explanatory or merely descriptive, he wrote: "This further question lands us in the ocean of metaphysic, onto which my profound ignorance of that science forbids me to enter."[76] Ironically, in later life Whitehead would become one of the 20th century's foremost metaphysicians.

However, interest in metaphysics – the philosophical investigation of the nature of the universe and existence – had become unfashionable by the time Whitehead began writing in earnest about it in the 1920s. The ever-more impressive accomplishments of empirical science had led to a general consensus in academia that the development of comprehensive metaphysical systems was a waste of time because they were not subject to empirical testing.[77]

Whitehead was unimpressed by this objection. In the notes of one of his students for a 1927 class, Whitehead was quoted as saying: "Every scientific man in order to preserve his reputation has to say he dislikes metaphysics. What he means is he dislikes having his metaphysics criticized."[78] In Whitehead's view, scientists and philosophers make metaphysical assumptions about how the universe works all the time, but such assumptions are not easily seen precisely because they remain unexamined and unquestioned. While Whitehead acknowledged that "philosophers can never hope finally to formulate these metaphysical first principles,"[79] he argued that people need to continually re-imagine their basic assumptions about how the universe works if philosophy and science are to make any real progress, even if that progress remains permanently asymptotic. For this reason Whitehead regarded metaphysical investigations as essential to both good science and good philosophy.[80]

Perhaps foremost among what Whitehead considered faulty metaphysical assumptions was the Cartesian idea that reality is fundamentally constructed of bits of matter that exist totally independently of one another, which he rejected in favor of an event-based or "process" ontology in which events are primary and are fundamentally interrelated and dependent on one another.[81] He also argued that the most basic elements of reality can all be regarded as experiential, indeed that everything is constituted by its experience. He used the term "experience" very broadly, so that even inanimate processes such as electron collisions are said to manifest some degree of experience. In this, he went against Descartes' separation of two different kinds of real existence, either exclusively material or else exclusively mental.[82] Whitehead referred to his metaphysical system as "philosophy of organism", but it would become known more widely as "process philosophy."[82]

Whitehead's philosophy was highly original, and soon garnered interest in philosophical circles. After publishing The Concept of Nature in 1920, he served as president of the Aristotelian Society from 1922 to 1923, and Henri Bergson was quoted as saying that Whitehead was "the best philosopher writing in English."[83] So impressive and different was Whitehead's philosophy that in 1924 he was invited to join the faculty at Harvard University as a professor of philosophy at 63 years of age.[43]

Eckhart Hall at the University of Chicago. Beginning with the arrival of Henry Nelson Wieman in 1927, Chicago's Divinity School become closely associated with Whitehead's thought for about thirty years.[84]

This is not to say that Whitehead's thought was widely accepted or even well understood. His philosophical work is generally considered to be among the most difficult to understand in all of the western canon.[24] Even professional philosophers struggled to follow Whitehead's writings. One famous story illustrating the level of difficulty of Whitehead's philosophy centres around the delivery of Whitehead's Gifford lectures in 1927–28 – following Arthur Eddington's lectures of the year previous – which Whitehead would later publish as Process and Reality:

Eddington was a marvellous popular lecturer who had enthralled an audience of 600 for his entire course. The same audience turned up to Whitehead's first lecture but it was completely unintelligible, not merely to the world at large but to the elect. My father remarked to me afterwards that if he had not known Whitehead well he would have suspected that it was an imposter making it up as he went along ... The audience at subsequent lectures was only about half a dozen in all.[85]

Indeed, it may not be inappropriate to speculate that some fair portion of the respect generally shown to Whitehead by his philosophical peers at the time arose from their sheer bafflement. The Chicago theologian Shailer Mathews once remarked of Whitehead's 1926 book Religion in the Making: "It is infuriating, and I must say embarrassing as well, to read page after page of relatively familiar words without understanding a single sentence."[86]

However, Mathews' frustration with Whitehead's books did not negatively affect his interest. In fact, there were numerous philosophers and theologians at Chicago's Divinity School that perceived the importance of what Whitehead was doing without fully grasping all of the details and implications. In 1927 they invited one of America's only Whitehead experts, Henry Nelson Wieman, to Chicago to give a lecture explaining Whitehead's thought.[86] Wieman's lecture was so brilliant that he was promptly hired to the faculty and taught there for twenty years, and for at least thirty years afterward Chicago's Divinity School was closely associated with Whitehead's thought.[84]

Shortly after Whitehead's book Process and Reality appeared in 1929, Wieman famously wrote in his 1930 review:

Not many people will read Whitehead's recent book in this generation; not many will read it in any generation. But its influence will radiate through concentric circles of popularization until the common man will think and work in the light of it, not knowing whence the light came. After a few decades of discussion and analysis one will be able to understand it more readily than can now be done.[87]

Wieman's words proved prophetic. Though Process and Reality has been called "arguably the most impressive single metaphysical text of the twentieth century,"[88] it has been little-read and little-understood, partly because it demands – as Isabelle Stengers puts it – "that its readers accept the adventure of the questions that will separate them from every consensus."[89] Whitehead questioned western philosophy's most dearly held assumptions about how the universe works, but in doing so he managed to anticipate a number of 21st century scientific and philosophical problems and provide novel solutions.[90]

Whitehead's conception of reality

Whitehead was convinced that the scientific notion of matter was misleading as a way of describing the ultimate nature of things. In his 1925 book Science and the Modern World, he wrote that

There persists ... [a] fixed scientific cosmology 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. It is this assumption that I call "scientific materialism." Also it is an assumption which I shall challenge as being entirely unsuited to the scientific situation at which we have now arrived.[81]

In Whitehead's view, there are a number of problems with this notion of "irreducible brute matter". First, it obscures and minimizes the importance of change. By thinking of any material thing (like a rock, or a person) as being fundamentally the same thing throughout time, with any changes to it being secondary to its "nature", scientific materialism hides the fact that nothing ever stays the same. For Whitehead, change is fundamental and inescapable; he emphasizes that "all things flow."[91]

In Whitehead's view, then, concepts such as "quality", "matter", and "form" are problematic. These "classical" concepts fail to adequately account for change, and overlook the active and experiential nature of the most basic elements of the world. They are useful abstractions, but are not the world's basic building blocks.[92] What is ordinarily conceived of as a single person, for instance, is philosophically described as a continuum of overlapping events.[93] After all, people change all the time, if only because they have aged by another second and had some further experience. These occasions of experience are logically distinct, but are progressively connected in what Whitehead calls a "society" of events.[94] By assuming that enduring objects are the most real and fundamental things in the universe, materialists have mistaken the abstract for the concrete (what Whitehead calls the "fallacy of misplaced concreteness").[82][95]

To put it another way, a thing or person is often seen as having a "defining essence" or a "core identity" that is unchanging, and describes what the thing or person really is. In this way of thinking, things and people are seen as fundamentally the same through time, with any changes being qualitative and secondary to their core identity (e.g. "Mark's hair has turned gray as he has gotten older, but he is still the same person"). But in Whitehead's cosmology, the only fundamentally existent things are discrete "occasions of experience" that overlap one another in time and space, and jointly make up the enduring person or thing. On the other hand, what ordinary thinking often regards as "the essence of a thing" or "the identity/core of a person" is an abstract generalization of what is regarded as that person or thing's most important or salient features across time. Identities do not define people, people define identities. Everything changes from moment to moment, and to think of anything as having an "enduring essence" misses the fact that "all things flow", though it is often a useful way of speaking.

Whitehead pointed to the limitations of language as one of the main culprits in maintaining a materialistic way of thinking, and acknowledged that it may be difficult to ever wholly move past such ideas in everyday speech.[96] After all, each moment of each person's life can hardly be given a different proper name, and it is easy and convenient to think of people and objects as remaining fundamentally the same things, rather than constantly keeping in mind that each thing is different from what it was a moment ago. Yet the limitations of everyday living and everyday speech should not prevent people from realizing that "material substances" or "essences" are a convenient generalized description of a continuum of particular, concrete processes. No one questions that a ten-year-old person is quite different by the time he or she turns thirty years old, and in many ways is not the same person at all; Whitehead points out that it is not philosophically or ontologically sound to think that a person is the same from one second to the next.

John Locke was one of Whitehead's primary influences. In the preface to Process and Reality, Whitehead wrote: "The writer who most fully anticipated the main positions of the philosophy of organism is John Locke in his Essay."[5]

A second problem with materialism is that it obscures the importance of relations. It sees every object as distinct and discrete from all other objects. Each object is simply an inert clump of matter that is only externally related to other things. The idea of matter as primary makes people think of objects as being fundamentally separate in time and space, and not necessarily related to anything. But in Whitehead's view, relations take a primary role, perhaps even more important than the relata themselves.[97] A student taking notes in one of Whitehead's fall 1924 classes wrote that, "Reality applies to connections, and only relatively to the things connected. (A) is real for (B), and (B) is real for (A), but [they are] not absolutely real independent of each other."[98] In fact, Whitehead describes any entity as in some sense nothing more and nothing less than the sum of its relations to other entities – its synthesis of and reaction to the world around it.[99] A real thing is just that which forces the rest of the universe to in some way conform to it; that is to say, if theoretically a thing made strictly no difference to any other entity (i.e. it was not related to any other entity), it could not be said to really exist.[100] Relations are not secondary to what a thing is, they are what the thing is.

It must be emphasized,[why?] however, that an entity is not merely a sum of its relations, but also a valuation of them and reaction to them.[101] For Whitehead, creativity is the absolute principle of existence, and every entity (whether it is a human being, a tree, or an electron) has some degree of novelty in how it responds to other entities, and is not fully determined by causal or mechanistic laws.[102] Of course, most entities do not have consciousness.[103] As a human being's actions cannot always be predicted, the same can be said of where a tree's roots will grow, or how an electron will move, or whether it will rain tomorrow. Moreover, inability to predict an electron's movement (for instance) is not due to faulty understanding or inadequate technology; rather, the fundamental creativity/freedom of all entities means that there will always remain phenomena that are unpredictable.[104]

The other side of creativity/freedom as the absolute principle is that every entity is constrained by the social structure of existence (i.e., its relations) – each actual entity must conform to the settled conditions of the world around it.[100] Freedom always exists within limits. But an entity's uniqueness and individuality arise from its own self-determination as to just how it will take account of the world within the limits that have been set for it.[105]

In summary, Whitehead rejects the idea of separate and unchanging bits of matter as the most basic building blocks of reality, in favor of the idea of reality as interrelated events in process. He conceives of reality as composed of processes of dynamic "becoming" rather than static "being", emphasizing that all physical things change and evolve, and that changeless "essences" such as matter are mere abstractions from the interrelated events that are the final real things that make up the world.[82]

Theory of perception

Since Whitehead's metaphysics described a universe in which all entities experience, he needed a new way of describing perception that was not limited to living, self-conscious beings. The term he coined was "prehension", which comes from the Latin prehensio, meaning "to seize".[106] The term is meant to indicate a kind of perception that can be conscious or unconscious, applying to people as well as electrons. It is also intended to make clear Whitehead's rejection of the theory of representative perception, in which the mind only has private ideas about other entities.[106] For Whitehead, the term "prehension" indicates that the perceiver actually incorporates aspects of the perceived thing into itself.[106] In this way, entities are constituted by their perceptions and relations, rather than being independent of them. Further, Whitehead regards perception as occurring in two modes, causal efficacy (or "physical prehension") and presentational immediacy (or "conceptual prehension").[103]

Whitehead describes causal efficacy as "the experience dominating the primitive living organisms, which have a sense for the fate from which they have emerged, and the fate towards which they go."[107] It is, in other words, the sense of causal relations between entities, a feeling of being influenced and affected by the surrounding environment, unmediated by the senses. Presentational immediacy, on the other hand, is what is usually referred to as "pure sense perception", unmediated by any causal or symbolic interpretation, even unconscious interpretation. In other words, it is pure appearance, which may or may not be delusive (e.g. mistaking an image in a mirror for "the real thing").[108]

In higher organisms (like people), these two modes of perception combine into what Whitehead terms "symbolic reference", which links appearance with causation in a process that is so automatic that both people and animals have difficulty refraining from it. By way of illustration, Whitehead uses the example of a person's encounter with a chair. An ordinary person looks up, sees a colored shape, and immediately infers that it is a chair. However, an artist, Whitehead supposes, "might not have jumped to the notion of a chair", but instead "might have stopped at the mere contemplation of a beautiful color and a beautiful shape."[109] This is not the normal human reaction; most people place objects in categories by habit and instinct, without even thinking about it. Moreover, animals do the same thing. Using the same example, Whitehead points out that a dog "would have acted immediately on the hypothesis of a chair and would have jumped onto it by way of using it as such."[110] In this way symbolic reference is a fusion of pure sense perceptions on the one hand and causal relations on the other, and that it is in fact the causal relationships that dominate the more basic mentality (as the dog illustrates), while it is the sense perceptions which indicate a higher grade mentality (as the artist illustrates).[111]

Evolution and value

Whitehead believed that when asking questions about the basic facts of existence, questions about value and purpose can never be fully escaped. This is borne out in his thoughts on abiogenesis, or the hypothetical natural process by which life arises from simple organic compounds.

Whitehead makes the startling observation that "life is comparatively deficient in survival value."[112] If humans can only exist for about a hundred years, and rocks for eight hundred million, then one is forced to ask why complex organisms ever evolved in the first place; as Whitehead humorously notes, "they certainly did not appear because they were better at that game than the rocks around them."[113] He then observes that the mark of higher forms of life is that they are actively engaged in modifying their environment, an activity which he theorizes is directed toward the three-fold goal of living, living well, and living better.[114] In other words, Whitehead sees life as directed toward the purpose of increasing its own satisfaction. Without such a goal, he sees the rise of life as totally unintelligible.

For Whitehead, there is no such thing as wholly inert matter. Instead, all things have some measure of freedom or creativity, however small, which allows them to be at least partly self-directed. The process philosopher David Ray Griffin coined the term "panexperientialism" (the idea that all entities experience) to describe Whitehead's view, and to distinguish it from panpsychism (the idea that all matter has consciousness).[115]


Henri Bergson

William James

John Dewey

"I am also greatly indebted to Bergson, William James, and John Dewey. One of my preoccupations has been to rescue their type of thought from the charge of anti-intellectualism, which rightly or wrongly has been associated with it." – Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality, preface.[3]
Whitehead's idea of God differs from traditional monotheistic notions.[116] Perhaps his most famous and pointed criticism of the Christian conception of God is that "the Church gave unto God the attributes which belonged exclusively to Caesar."[117] Here Whitehead is criticizing Christianity for defining God as primarily a divine king who imposes his will on the world, and whose most important attribute is power. As opposed to the most widely accepted forms of Christianity, Whitehead emphasized an idea of God that he called "the brief Galilean vision of humility":

It 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 operates by love; and it finds purpose in the present immediacy of a kingdom not of this world. Love neither rules, nor is it unmoved; also it is a little oblivious as to morals. It does not look to the future; for it finds its own reward in the immediate present.[118]

For Whitehead, God is not necessarily tied to religion.[119] Rather than springing primarily from religious faith, Whitehead saw God as necessary for his metaphysical system.[119] His system required that an order exist among possibilities, an order that allowed for novelty in the world and provided an aim to all entities. Whitehead posited that these ordered potentials exist in what he called the primordial nature of God. However, Whitehead was also interested in religious experience. This led him to reflect more intensively on what he saw as the second nature of God, the consequent nature. Whitehead's conception of God as a "dipolar"[120] entity has called for fresh theological thinking. The primordial nature he described as "the unlimited conceptual realization of the absolute wealth of potentiality,"[118] i.e., the unlimited possibility of the universe. This primordial nature is eternal and unchanging, providing entities in the universe with possibilities for realization. Whitehead also calls this primordial aspect "the lure for feeling, the eternal urge of desire,"[121] pulling the entities in the universe toward as-yet unrealized possibilities.

God's consequent nature, on the other hand, is anything but unchanging – it is God's reception of the world's activity. As Whitehead puts it, "[God] 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."[122] In other words, God saves and cherishes all experiences forever, and those experiences go on to change the way God interacts with the world. In this way, God is really changed by what happens in the world and the wider universe, lending the actions of finite creatures an eternal significance.

Whitehead thus sees God and the world as fulfilling one another. He sees entities in the world as fluent and changing things that yearn for a permanence which only God can provide by taking them into God's self, thereafter changing God and affecting the rest of the universe throughout time. On the other hand, he sees God as permanent but as deficient in actuality and change: alone, God is merely eternally unrealized possibilities, and requires the world to actualize them. God gives creatures permanence, while the creatures give God actuality and change. Here it is worthwhile to quote Whitehead at length:

"In this way God is completed by the individual, fluent satisfactions of finite fact, and the temporal occasions are completed by their everlasting union with their transformed selves, purged into conformation with the eternal order which is the final absolute 'wisdom.' The final summary can only be expressed in terms of a group of antitheses, whose apparent self-contradictions depend on neglect of the diverse categories of existence. In each antithesis there is a shift of meaning which converts the opposition into a contrast.

"It is as true to say that God is permanent and the World fluent, as that the World is permanent and God is fluent.

"It is as true to say that God is one and the World many, as that the World is one and God many.

"It is as true to say that, in comparison with the World, God is actual eminently, as that, in comparison with God, the World is actual eminently.

"It is as true to say that the World is immanent in God, as that God is immanent in the World.

"It is as true to say that God transcends the World, as that the World transcends God.

"It is as true to say that God creates the World, as that the World creates God ...

"What is done in the world is transformed into a reality in heaven, and the reality in heaven passes back into the world ... In this sense, God is the great companion – the fellow-sufferer who understands."[123]

The above is some of Whitehead's most evocative writing about God, and was powerful enough to inspire the movement known as process theology, a vibrant theological school of thought that continues to thrive today.[124][125]


For Whitehead the core of religion was individual. While he acknowledged that individuals cannot ever be fully separated from their society, he argued that life is an internal fact for its own sake before it is an external fact relating to others.[126] His most famous remark on religion is that "religion is what the individual does with his own solitariness ... and if you are never solitary, you are never religious."[127] Whitehead saw religion as a system of general truths that transformed a person's character.[128] He took special care to note that while religion is often a good influence, it is not necessarily good – an idea which he called a "dangerous delusion" (e.g., a religion might encourage the violent extermination of a rival religion's adherents).[129]

However, while Whitehead saw religion as beginning in solitariness, he also saw religion as necessarily expanding beyond the individual. In keeping with his process metaphysics in which relations are primary, he wrote that religion necessitates the realization of "the value of the objective world which is a community derivative from the interrelations of its component individuals."[130] In other words, the universe is a community which makes itself whole through the relatedness of each individual entity to all the others – meaning and value do not exist for the individual alone, but only in the context of the universal community. Whitehead writes further that each entity "can find no such value till it has merged its individual claim with that of the objective universe. Religion is world-loyalty. The spirit at once surrenders itself to this universal claim and appropriates it for itself."[131] In this way the individual and universal/social aspects of religion are mutually dependent.

Whitehead also described religion more technically as "an ultimate craving to infuse into the insistent particularity of emotion that non-temporal generality which primarily belongs to conceptual thought alone."[132] In other words, religion takes deeply felt emotions and contextualizes them within a system of general truths about the world, helping people to identify their wider meaning and significance. For Whitehead, religion served as a kind of bridge between philosophy and the emotions and purposes of a particular society.[133] It is the task of religion to make philosophy applicable to the everyday lives of ordinary people.

Influence and legacy

Isabelle Stengers wrote that "Whiteheadians are recruited among both philosophers and theologians, and the palette has been enriched by practitioners from the most diverse horizons, from ecology to feminism, practices that unite political struggle and spirituality with the sciences of education."[89] Indeed, in recent decades attention to Whitehead's work has become more widespread, with interest extending to intellectuals in Europe and China, and coming from such diverse fields as ecology, physics, biology, education, economics, and psychology. One of the first theologians to attempt to interact with Whitehead's thought was the future Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple. In Temple's Gifford Lectures of 1932-1934 (subsequently published as "Nature, Man and God"), Whitehead is one of a number of philosophers of the emergent evolution approach Temple interacts with.[134] However, it was not until the 1970s and 1980s that Whitehead's thought drew much attention outside of a small group of philosophers and theologians, primarily Americans, and even today he is not considered especially influential outside of relatively specialized circles.

Early followers of Whitehead were found primarily at the University of Chicago Divinity School, where Henry Nelson Wieman initiated an interest in Whitehead's work that would last for about thirty years.[84] Professors such as Wieman, Charles Hartshorne, Bernard Loomer, Bernard Meland, and Daniel Day Williams made Whitehead's philosophy arguably the most important intellectual thread running through the divinity school.[135] They taught generations of Whitehead scholars, the most notable of whom is John B. Cobb.

Although interest in Whitehead has since faded at Chicago's divinity school, Cobb effectively grabbed the torch and planted it firmly in Claremont, California, where he began teaching at Claremont School of Theology in 1958 and founded the Center for Process Studies with David Ray Griffin in 1973.[136] Largely due to Cobb's influence, today Claremont remains strongly identified with Whitehead's process thought.[137][138]

But while Claremont remains the most concentrated hub of Whiteheadian activity, the place where Whitehead's thought currently seems to be growing the most quickly is in China. In order to address the challenges of modernization and industrialization, China has begun to blend traditions of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism with Whitehead's "constructive post-modern" philosophy in order to create an "ecological civilization".[71] To date, the Chinese government has encouraged the building of twenty-three university-based centres for the study of Whitehead's philosophy,[71][139] and books by process philosophers John Cobb and David Ray Griffin are becoming required reading for Chinese graduate students.[71] Cobb has attributed China's interest in process philosophy partly to Whitehead's stress on the mutual interdependence of humanity and nature, as well as his emphasis on an educational system that includes the teaching of values rather than simply bare facts.[71]

Overall, however, Whitehead's influence is very difficult to characterize. In English-speaking countries, his primary works are little-studied outside of Claremont and a select number of liberal graduate-level theology and philosophy programs. Outside of these circles his influence is relatively small and diffuse, and has tended to come chiefly through the work of his students and admirers rather than Whitehead himself.[140] For instance, Whitehead was a teacher and long-time friend and collaborator of Bertrand Russell, and he also taught and supervised the dissertation of Willard Van Orman Quine,[141] both of whom are important figures in analytic philosophy – the dominant strain of philosophy in English-speaking countries in the 20th century.[142] Whitehead has also had high-profile admirers in the continental tradition, such as French post-structuralist philosopher Gilles Deleuze, who once dryly remarked of Whitehead that "he stands provisionally as the last great Anglo-American philosopher before Wittgenstein's disciples spread their misty confusion, sufficiency, and terror."[143] French sociologist and anthropologist Bruno Latour even went so far as to call Whitehead "the greatest philosopher of the 20th century."[144]

Deleuze's and Latour's opinions, however, are minority ones, as Whitehead has not been recognized as particularly influential within the most dominant philosophical schools.[145] It is impossible to say exactly why Whitehead's influence has not been more widespread, but it may be partly due to his metaphysical ideas seeming somewhat counter-intuitive (such as his assertion that matter is an abstraction), or his inclusion of theistic elements in his philosophy,[146] or the perception of metaphysics itself as passé, or simply the sheer difficulty and density of his prose.[24]
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Process philosophy and theology

Philosopher Nicholas Rescher. Rescher is a proponent of both Whiteheadian process philosophy and American pragmatism.

Historically Whitehead's work has been most influential in the field of American progressive theology.[124][138] The most important early proponent of Whitehead's thought in a theological context was Charles Hartshorne, who spent a semester at Harvard as Whitehead's teaching assistant in 1925, and is widely credited with developing Whitehead's process philosophy into a full-blown process theology.[147] Other notable process theologians include John B. Cobb, David Ray Griffin, Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki, C. Robert Mesle, Roland Faber, and Catherine Keller.

Process theology typically stresses God's relational nature. Rather than seeing God as impassive or emotionless, process theologians view God as "the fellow sufferer who understands", and as the being who is supremely affected by temporal events.[148] Hartshorne points out that people would not praise a human ruler who was unaffected by either the joys or sorrows of his followers – so why would this be a praise-worthy quality in God?[149] Instead, as the being who is most affected by the world, God is the being who can most appropriately respond to the world. However, process theology has been formulated in a wide variety of ways. C. Robert Mesle, for instance, advocates a "process naturalism", i.e. a process theology without God.[150]

In fact, process theology is difficult to define because process theologians are so diverse and transdisciplinary in their views and interests. John B. Cobb is a process theologian who has also written books on biology and economics. Roland Faber and Catherine Keller integrate Whitehead with poststructuralist, postcolonialist, and feminist theory. Charles Birch was both a theologian and a geneticist. Franklin I. Gamwell writes on theology and political theory. In Syntheism - Creating God in The Internet Age, futurologists Alexander Bard and Jan Söderqvist repeatedly credit Whitehead for the process theology they see rising out of the participatory culture expected to dominate the digital era.

Process philosophy is even more difficult to pin down than process theology. In practice, the two fields cannot be neatly separated. The 32-volume State University of New York series in constructive postmodern thought edited by process philosopher and theologian David Ray Griffin displays the range of areas in which different process philosophers work, including physics, ecology, medicine, public policy, nonviolence, politics, and psychology.[151]

One philosophical school which has historically had a close relationship with process philosophy is American pragmatism. Whitehead himself thought highly of William James and John Dewey, and acknowledged his indebtedness to them in the preface to Process and Reality.[3] Charles Hartshorne (along with Paul Weiss) edited the collected papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, one of the founders of pragmatism. Noted neopragmatist Richard Rorty was in turn a student of Hartshorne.[152] Today, Nicholas Rescher is one example of a philosopher who advocates both process philosophy and pragmatism.

In addition, while they might not properly be called process philosophers, Whitehead has been influential in the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, Milič Čapek, Isabelle Stengers, Bruno Latour, Susanne Langer, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.[citation needed]


Theoretical physicist David Bohm. Bohm is one example of a scientist influenced by Whitehead's philosophy.[153]

Scientists of the early 20th century for whom Whitehead's work has been influential include physical chemist Ilya Prigogine, biologist Conrad Hal Waddington, and geneticists Charles Birch and Sewall Wright.[18] Henry Murray dedicated his "Explorations in Personality" to Whitehead, a contemporary at Harvard.

In physics, Whitehead's theory of gravitation articulated a view that might perhaps be regarded as dual to Albert Einstein's general relativity. It has been severely criticized.[154][155] Yutaka Tanaka suggested that the gravitational constant disagrees with experimental findings, and proposed that Einstein's work does not actually refute Whitehead's formulation.[156] Whitehead's view has now been rendered obsolete, with the discovery of gravitational waves, phenomena observed locally that largely violate the kind of local flatness of space that Whitehead assumes. Consequently, Whitehead's cosmology must be regarded as a local approximation, and his assumption of a uniform spatio-temporal geometry, Minkowskian in particular, as an often-locally-adequate approximation. An exact replacement of Whitehead's cosmology would need to admit a Riemannian geometry. Also, although Whitehead himself gave only secondary consideration to quantum theory, his metaphysics of processes has proved attractive to some physicists in that field. Henry Stapp and David Bohm are among those whose work has been influenced by Whitehead.[153]

In the 21 st century, Whiteheadian thought is still a stimulating influence: Timothy E. Eastman and Hank Keeton's Physics and Whitehead (2004)[157] and Michael Epperson's Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead (2004)[158] and Foundations of Relational Realism: A Topological Approach to Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Nature (2013),[159] aim to offer Whiteheadian approaches to physics. Brian G. Henning, Adam Scarfe, and Dorion Sagan's Beyond Mechanism (2013) and Rupert Sheldrake's Science Set Free (2012) are examples of Whiteheadian approaches to biology.

Ecology, economy, and sustainability

Theologian, philosopher, and environmentalist John B. Cobb founded the Center for Process Studies in Claremont, California with David Ray Griffin in 1973, and is often regarded as the preeminent scholar in the field of process philosophy and process theology.[160][161][162][163]

One of the most promising applications of Whitehead's thought in recent years has been in the area of ecological civilization, sustainability, and environmental ethics.

"Because Whitehead's holistic metaphysics of value lends itself so readily to an ecological point of view, many see his work as a promising alternative to the traditional mechanistic worldview, providing a detailed metaphysical picture of a world constituted by a web of interdependent relations."[24]

This work has been pioneered by John B. Cobb, whose book Is It Too Late? A Theology of Ecology (1971) was the first single-authored book in environmental ethics.[164] Cobb also co-authored a book with leading ecological economist and steady-state theorist Herman Daly entitled For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future (1989), which applied Whitehead's thought to economics, and received the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. Cobb followed this with a second book, Sustaining the Common Good: A Christian Perspective on the Global Economy (1994), which aimed to challenge "economists' zealous faith in the great god of growth."[165]


Whitehead is widely known for his influence in education theory. His philosophy inspired the formation of the Association for Process Philosophy of Education (APPE), which published eleven volumes of a journal titled Process Papers on process philosophy and education from 1996 to 2008.[166] Whitehead's theories on education also led to the formation of new modes of learning and new models of teaching.

One such model is the ANISA model developed by Daniel C. Jordan, which sought to address a lack of understanding of the nature of people in current education systems. As Jordan and Raymond P. Shepard put it: "Because it has not defined the nature of man, education is in the untenable position of having to devote its energies to the development of curricula without any coherent ideas about the nature of the creature for whom they are intended."[167]

Another model is the FEELS model developed by Xie Bangxiu and deployed successfully in China. "FEELS" stands for five things in curriculum and education: Flexible-goals, Engaged-learner, Embodied-knowledge, Learning-through-interactions, and Supportive-teacher.[168] It is used for understanding and evaluating educational curriculum under the assumption that the purpose of education is to "help a person become whole." This work is in part the product of cooperation between Chinese government organizations and the Institute for the Postmodern Development of China.[71]

Whitehead's philosophy of education has also found institutional support in Canada, where the University of Saskatchewan created a Process Philosophy Research Unit and sponsored several conferences on process philosophy and education.[169] Howard Woodhouse at the University of Saskatchewan remains a strong proponent of Whiteheadian education.[170]

Three recent books which further develop Whitehead's philosophy of education include: Modes of Learning: Whitehead's Metaphysics and the Stages of Education (2012) by George Allan; and The Adventure of Education: Process Philosophers on Learning, Teaching, and Research (2009) by Adam Scarfe, and "Educating for an Ecological Civilization: Interdisciplinary, Experiential, and Relational Learning" (2017) edited by Marcus Ford and Stephen Rowe. "Beyond the Modern University: Toward a Constructive Postmodern University," (2002) is another text that explores the importance of Whitehead's metaphysics for thinking about higher education.

Business administration

Whitehead has had some influence on philosophy of business administration and organizational theory. This has led in part to a focus on identifying and investigating the effect of temporal events (as opposed to static things) within organizations through an “organization studies” discourse that accommodates a variety of 'weak' and 'strong' process perspectives from a number of philosophers.[171] One of the leading figures having an explicitly Whiteheadian and panexperientialist stance towards management is Mark Dibben,[172] who works in what he calls "applied process thought" to articulate a philosophy of management and business administration as part of a wider examination of the social sciences through the lens of process metaphysics. For Dibben, this allows "a comprehensive exploration of life as perpetually active experiencing, as opposed to occasional – and thoroughly passive – happening."[173] Dibben has published two books on applied process thought, Applied Process Thought I: Initial Explorations in Theory and Research (2008), and Applied Process Thought II: Following a Trail Ablaze (2009), as well as other papers in this vein in the fields of philosophy of management and business ethics.[174]

Margaret Stout and Carrie M. Staton have also written recently on the mutual influence of Whitehead and Mary Parker Follett, a pioneer in the fields of organizational theory and organizational behavior. Stout and Staton see both Whitehead and Follett as sharing an ontology that "understands becoming as a relational process; difference as being related, yet unique; and the purpose of becoming as harmonizing difference."[175] This connection is further analyzed by Stout and Jeannine M. Love in Integrative Process: Follettian Thinking from Ontology to Administration[176]

Political views

Whitehead's political views sometimes appear to be libertarian without the label. He wrote:

Now the intercourse between individuals and between social groups takes one of two forms, force or persuasion. Commerce is the great example of intercourse by way of persuasion. War, slavery, and governmental compulsion exemplify the reign of force.[177]

On the other hand, many Whitehead scholars read his work as providing a philosophical foundation for the social liberalism of the New Liberal movement that was prominent throughout Whitehead's adult life. Morris wrote that "... there is good reason for claiming that Whitehead shared the social and political ideals of the new liberals."[178]

Primary works

Books written by Whitehead, listed by date of publication.

• A Treatise on Universal Algebra. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1898. ISBN 1-4297-0032-7. Available online at
• The Axioms of Descriptive Geometry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1907.[179] Available online at
• with Bertrand Russell. Principia Mathematica, Volume I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1910. Available online at ... 1.0001.001. Vol. 1 to *56 is available as a CUP paperback.[180][181][182]
• An Introduction to Mathematics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1911. Available online at Vol. 56 of the Great Books of the Western World series.
• with Bertrand Russell. Principia Mathematica, Volume II. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1912. Available online at ... 1.0002.001.
• with Bertrand Russell. Principia Mathematica, Volume III. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1913. Available online at ... 1.0003.001.
• The Organization of Thought Educational and Scientific. London: Williams & Norgate, 1917. Available online at
• An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Natural Knowledge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1919. Available online at
• The Concept of Nature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1920. Based on the November 1919 Tarner Lectures delivered at Trinity College. Available online at
• The Principle of Relativity with Applications to Physical Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1922. Available online at
• Science and the Modern World. New York: Macmillan Company, 1925. Vol. 55 of the Great Books of the Western World series.
• Religion in the Making. New York: Macmillan Company, 1926. Based on the 1926 Lowell Lectures.
• Symbolism, Its Meaning and Effect. New York: Macmillan Co., 1927. Based on the 1927 Barbour-Page Lectures delivered at the University of Virginia.
• Process and Reality: An Essay in Cosmology. New York: Macmillan Company, 1929. Based on the 1927–28 Gifford Lectures delivered at the University of Edinburgh. The 1978 Free Press "corrected edition" edited by David Ray Griffin and Donald W. Sherburne corrects many errors in both the British and American editions, and also provides a comprehensive index.
• The Aims of Education and Other Essays. New York: Macmillan Company, 1929.
• The Function of Reason. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1929. Based on the March 1929 Louis Clark Vanuxem Foundation Lectures delivered at Princeton University.
• Adventures of Ideas. New York: Macmillan Company, 1933. Also published by Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1933.
• Nature and Life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1934.
• Modes of Thought. New York: MacMillan Company, 1938.
• "Mathematics and the Good." In The Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, edited by Paul Arthur Schilpp, 666–681. Evanston and Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 1941.
• "Immortality." In The Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, edited by Paul Arthur Schilpp, 682–700. Evanston and Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 1941.
• Essays in Science and Philosophy. London: Philosophical Library, 1947.
• with Allison Heartz Johnson, ed. The Wit and Wisdom of Whitehead. Boston: Beacon Press, 1948.

In addition, the Whitehead Research Project of the Center for Process Studies is currently working on a critical edition of Whitehead's writings, which is set to include notes taken by Whitehead's students during his Harvard classes, correspondence, and corrected editions of his books.[48]

• Paul A. Bogaard and Jason Bell, eds. The Harvard Lectures of Alfred North Whitehead, 1924–1925: Philosophical Presuppositions of Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

See also

• Great refusal
• Relationalism


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43. Victor Lowe, Alfred North Whitehead: The Man and his Work, Vol II (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1990), 132.
44. Victor Lowe, Alfred North Whitehead: The Man and his Work, Vol I (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1985), 3–4.
45. Victor Lowe, Alfred North Whitehead: The Man and his Work, Vol II (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1990), 262.
46. Victor Lowe, Alfred North Whitehead: The Man and his Work, Vols I & II (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1985 & 1990).
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136. David Ray Griffin, "John B. Cobb, Jr.: A Theological Biography", in Theology and the University: Essays in Honor of John B. Cobb, Jr., ed. David Ray Griffin and Joseph C. Hough, Jr. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991), 229.
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155. Will, C.M. (1981/1993). Theory and Experiment in Gravitational Physics, revised edition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK, ISBN 978-0-521-43973-2, p. 139.
156. Yutaka Tanaka, "The Comparison between Whitehead's and Einstein's Theories of Relativity", Historia Scientiarum 32 (1987).
157. Timothy E. Eastman and Hank Keeton, eds., Physics and Whitehead: Quantum, Process, and Experience (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004).
158. Michael Epperson, Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead (New York: Fordham University Press, 2004).
159. Michael Epperson & Elias Zafiris, Foundations of Relational Realism: A Topological Approach to Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Nature (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013).
160. Roland Faber, God as Poet of the World: Exploring Process Theologies (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008), 35.
161. C. Robert Mesle, Process Theology (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 1993), 126.
162. Gary Dorrien, "The Lure and Necessity of Process Theology", CrossCurrents 58 (2008): 316.
163. Monica Coleman, Nancy R. Howell, and Helene Tallon Russell, Creating Women's Theology: A Movement Engaging Process Thought (Wipf and Stock, 2011), 13.
164. "History of Environmental Ethics for the Novice", last modified March 15, 2011, The Center for Environmental Philosophy, accessed November 21, 2013,
165. John B. Cobb Jr., Sustaining the Common Good: A Christian Perspective on the Global Economy (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 1994), back cover.
166. See Process Papers, a publication of the Association for Process Philosophy of Education. Volume 1 published in 1996, Volume 11 (final volume) published in 2008.
167. Daniel C. Jordan and Raymond P. Shepard, "The Philosophy of the ANISA Model", Process Papers 6, 38–39.
168. "FEELS: A Constructive Postmodern Approach To Curriculum and Education", Xie Bangxiu,, accessed December 5, 2013, Archived 2 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
169. "International Conferences – University of Saskatchewan", University of Saskatchewan, accessed December 5, 2013, ... rences.php.
170. "Dr. Howard Woodhouse" Archived 7 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine, University of Saskatchewan, accessed December 5, 2013
171. Tor Hernes, A Process Theory of Organization (Oxford University Press, 2014)
172. Mark R. Dibben and John B. Cobb Jr., "Special Focus: Process Thought and Organization Studies," in Process Studies 32(2003).
173. "Mark Dibben – School of Management – University of Tasmania, Australia", last modified July 16, 2013, University of Tasmania, accessed November 21, 2013, ... ark-Dibben Archived 13 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
174. Mark Dibben, "Exploring the Processual Nature of Trust and Cooperation in Organisations: A Whiteheadian Analysis," in Philosophy of Management 4 (2004): 25-39; Mark Dibben, "Organisations and Organising: Understanding and Applying Whitehead’s Processual Account," in Philosophy of Management 7 (2009); Cristina Neesham and Mark Dibben, "The Social Value of Business: Lessons from Political Economy and Process Philosophy," in Applied Ethics: Remembering Patrick Primeaux(Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations, Volume 8), ed. Michael Schwartz and Howard Harris (Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2012): 63-83.
175. Margaret Stout & Carrie M. Staton, "The Ontology of Process Philosophy in Follett's Administrative Theory" Administrative Theory & Praxis 33 (2011): 268.
176. Margaret Stout & Jeannine M. Love, Integrative Process: Follettian Thinking from Ontology to Administration, (Anoka, MN: Process Century Press 2015).
177. Adventures of Ideas p. 105, 1933 edition; p. 83, 1967 ed.
178. Morris, Randall C., Journal of the History of Ideas 51: 75-92. p. 92.
179. F.W. Owens, "Review: The Axioms of Descriptive Geometry by A. N. Whitehead", Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society 15 (1909): 465–466. Available online at ... 1815-4.pdf.
180. James Byrnie Shaw, "Review: Principia Mathematica by A. N. Whitehead and B. Russell, Vol. I, 1910", Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society 18 (1912): 386–411. Available online at ... 2233-4.pdf.
181. Benjamin Abram Bernstein, "Review: Principia Mathematica by A. N. Whitehead and B. Russell, Vol. I, Second Edition, 1925", Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society 32 (1926): 711–713. Available online at ... 4306-8.pdf.
182. Alonzo Church, "Review: Principia Mathematica by A. N. Whitehead and B. Russell, Volumes II and III, Second Edition, 1927", Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society 34 (1928): 237–240. Available online at ... 4525-1.pdf.

Further reading

For the most comprehensive list of resources related to Whitehead, see the thematic bibliography of the Center for Process Studies.

• Casati, Roberto, and Achille C. Varzi. Parts and Places: The Structures of Spatial Representation. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1999.
• Ford, Lewis. Emergence of Whitehead's Metaphysics, 1925–1929. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985.
• Hartshorne, Charles. Whitehead's Philosophy: Selected Essays, 1935–1970. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1972.
• Henning, Brian G. The Ethics of Creativity: Beauty, Morality, and Nature in a Processive Cosmos. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005.
• Holtz, Harald and Ernest Wolf-Gazo, eds. Whitehead und der Prozeßbegriff / Whitehead and The Idea of Process. Proceedings of the First International Whitehead-Symposion. Verlag Karl Alber, Freiburg i. B. / München, 1984. ISBN 3-495-47517-6
• Jones, Judith A. Intensity: An Essay in Whiteheadian Ontology. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1998.
• Kraus, Elizabeth M. The Metaphysics of Experience. New York: Fordham University Press, 1979.
• Malik, Charles H.. The Systems of Whitehead's Metaphysics. Zouq Mosbeh, Lebanon: Notre Dame Louaize, 2016. 436 pp.
• McDaniel, Jay. What is Process Thought?: Seven Answers to Seven Questions. Claremont: P&F Press, 2008.
• McHenry, Leemon. The Event Universe: The Revisionary Metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015.
• Nobo, Jorge L. Whitehead's Metaphysics of Extension and Solidarity. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1986.
• Price, Lucien. Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead. New York: Mentor Books, 1956.
• Quine, Willard Van Orman. "Whitehead and the rise of modern logic." In The Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, edited by Paul Arthur Schilpp, 125–163. Evanston and Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 1941.
• Rapp, Friedrich and Reiner Wiehl, eds. Whiteheads Metaphysik der Kreativität. Internationales Whitehead-Symposium Bad Homburg 1983. Verlag Karl Alber, Freiburg i. B. / München, 1986. ISBN 3-495-47612-1
• Rescher, Nicholas. Process Metaphysics. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995.
• Rescher, Nicholas. Process Philosophy: A Survey of Basic Issues. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001.
• Schilpp, Paul Arthur, ed. The Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. Evanston and Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 1941. Part of the Library of Living Philosophers series.
• Siebers, Johan. The Method of Speculative Philosophy: An Essay on the Foundations of Whitehead's Metaphysics. Kassel: Kassel University Press GmbH, 2002. ISBN 3-933146-79-8
• Smith, Olav Bryant. Myths of the Self: Narrative Identity and Postmodern Metaphysics. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2004. ISBN 0-7391-0843-3
– Contains a section called "Alfred North Whitehead: Toward a More Fundamental Ontology" that is an overview of Whitehead's metaphysics.
• Weber, Michel. Whitehead's Pancreativism — The Basics. Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag, 2006.
• Weber, Michel. Whitehead’s Pancreativism — Jamesian Applications, Frankfurt / Paris: Ontos Verlag, 2011.
• Weber, Michel and Will Desmond (eds.). Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought, Frankfurt / Lancaster: Ontos Verlag, 2008.
• Alan Van Wyk and Michel Weber (eds.). Creativity and Its Discontents. The Response to Whitehead's Process and Reality, Frankfurt / Lancaster: Ontos Verlag, 2009.
• Will, Clifford. Theory and Experiment in Gravitational Physics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

External links

• The Philosophy of Organism in Philosophy Now magazine. An accessible summary of Alfred North Whitehead's philosophy.
• Center for Process Studies in Claremont, California. A faculty research center of Claremont School of Theology, in association with Claremont Graduate University. The Center organizes conferences and events and publishes materials pertaining to Whitehead and process thought. It also maintains extensive Whitehead-related bibliographies.
• Summary of Whitehead's Philosophy A Brief Introduction to Whitehead's Metaphysics
• Society for the Study of Process Philosophies, a scholarly society that holds periodic meetings in conjunction with each of the divisional meetings of the American Philosophical Association, as well as at the annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy.
• "Alfred North Whitehead" in the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, by John J. O'Connor and Edmund F. Robertson.
• "Alfred North Whitehead: New World Philosopher" at the Harvard Square Library.
• Jesus, Jazz, and Buddhism: Process Thinking for a More Hospitable World
• "What is Process Thought?" an introductory video series to process thought by Jay McDaniel.
• Centre de philosophie pratique « Chromatiques whiteheadiennes »
• "Whitehead's Principle of Relativity" by John Lighton Synge on
• Whitehead at, with extensive bibliography.
• Works by Alfred North Whitehead at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Alfred North Whitehead at Internet Archive
• Works by Alfred North Whitehead at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:41 am

Lorian Association
by SourceWatch
Accessed: 6/17/20

"Lorian’s story is about the emergence of a new spiritual impulse and how it has made itself known through a group of people responding to its call. In a way, it began in 1962 when a young David Spangler spontaneously experienced a vision that propelled him toward a life of spiritual research and understanding. Lorian itself has become identified with his thought as the early vision deepened and expanded into a body of work he calls Incarnational Spirituality.

"The group of persons who would found Lorian originally met as participants in the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland in 1971. As they helped to create a unique experimental community in Findhorn, they developed a deep bond of spirit and friendship that shaped itself around serving the birth of this emerging planetary spirituality. Upon leaving Findhorn, these founders created Lorian as an informal organization linking several independent projects, each fostering a new and growing awareness of the Sacred in the world. In 1974 Lorian Association was formally incorporated.

"Since its founding, Lorian has served as a grounding place for a particular facet of this emerging spirituality. Although Spangler has carried the impulse most publicly within Lorian, others have contributed to its call through support to Lorian and though their own work. Many people have participated in Lorian, leaving their mark and then going forth into the world to plant new seeds with their own expressions of the impulse.

"In 2003 the Lorian Center for Incarnational Spirituality was created to define Lorian’s role more specifically...

""David and Julia Spangler, currently directors of Lorian, have been the leaders of the community; Myrtle Glines, now deceased, was an important spiritual teacher and pioneer; Dorothy Maclean, one of the three original founders of Findhorn, was also an influential teacher and partner in Lorian’s work; Roger and Katherine Collis, currently directors of Meditation Mount in Ojai, California, are also founders of the Pacifica Foundation; Freya Secrest is currently a director of Lorian and a faculty member; Kathi and Milenko Matanovic went on to found the Pomegranate Center based in Issaquah, Washington." [1]

Board (2018) [2]

• Julie Spangler
• Ron Hays
• Timothy Hass

"Timothy Hass has had a diverse and interesting professional career and personal pursuits. His MS degree in mental health enabled his work for 30 years in intensive, outpatient psychiatric programs, both in local practice and in nationwide consulting. As an entrepreneur, he co-owned and ran a 165-seat restaurant and a paint contracting business. Early in his career, Timothy was the Director of Personnel at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland and focused on developing collaborative social governance, and mutually beneficial relationships between humans and nature. He has studied many spiritual and shamanic disciplines, and actively seeks to understand how they can be applied to the world’s critical environmental issues and conservation projects. He also is on the board of directors of the Lorian Association, and lives in Boulder, Colorado."[1] Tim lives in Boulder Colorado and has served on the Lorian Board since 2009.

Trustee, WILD Foundation

The WILD Foundation "is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), non-governmental organization founded in the United States in 1974 by South African Ian Player, and based in Ojai, California.

Ian Player "has probably done more for environmental conservation in Southern Africa than any other individual. He is an elder statesman of conservation, both nationally and internationally and has over many years brought much credit to our country. Ian Player has been instrumental in educating and influencing generations of conservationists on three continents. He has provided an outstanding example and role model of service and dedication to a cause on which the future of the human race and indeed, of the planet as a whole may depend” Dr Ian Player’s passion for wilderness was deeply influenced over a period of some 50 years by his lifelong mentor Magqubu Ntombela.

"Ian Player’s conservation career started with the Natal Parks Board in 1952 and whilst Warden of the Umfolozi Game Reserve, he spearheaded two key initiatives; Operation Rhino that saved the few remaining southern race of white rhino and Protected status for the Umfolozi and St. Lucia Wilderness Areas, the first wilderness areas to be zoned in South Africa and on the African continent. Dr Player is the Founder of the Wilderness Leadership School that has taken many young leaders from southern Africa and other countries of the world. This led to the formation of the International Wilderness Leadership Foundation (WILD), the Wilderness Foundation SA, Wilderness Foundation UK, Magqubu Ntombela Foundation and the World Wilderness Congresses, first convened in 1977. Amongst many orders and awards he counts Knight of the Order of the Golden Ark and the Decoration for Meritorious Service (the highest Republic of South African civilian award). He is the recipient two honorary doctorates; Doctor of Philosophy, Honoris Causa from the University of Natal and Doctor of Laws (LLD) (h.c.) from Rhodes University." [1] [1]

"In the British Isles, Ian Player raised the initial money for and co-founded the Wilderness Foundation (UK) (now the Wilderness Trust) in collaboration with Sir Laurens van der Post, Edmund de Rothschild and the Duke of Wellington. This Trust takes Britons on foot into the wilderness areas of Africa." [2]

His web site is

• Patron, Game Rangers Association of Africa
• Member, Wildlands Conservation Trust
• Founder, WILD Foundation
• Founder, Wilderness Action Group
• International Scientific Board of Advisors, Cheetah Conservation Fund (USA)
• Cofounder, Magqubu Ntombela Memorial Foundation [3]
• Advisor, Wilderness Conservancy [4]
• Trustee, Space for Elephants Foundation [5]
• International Advisory Board, Listening Point Foundation [6]
• Founding Trustee, Open Africa [2]
• Advisor, Team Africa
• Patron, The Bateleurs [7]
• Advisory Board, Foundation for Natural Leadership [8]
• Patron/Trustee, Global White Lion Protection Trust [9]
• Advisory committee, International Anti-Poaching Foundation [10]


Marja Spierenburg and Harry Wels, “Conservative Philanthropists, Royalty and Business Elites in Nature Conservation in Southern Africa,” In: Dan Brockington and Rosaleen Duffy (eds.), Capitalism and Conservation (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), pp.179-202.

-- Ian Cedric Player, by SourceWatch

For 29 years, WILD has worked around the world to protect highly threatened wilderness areas and wildlife." [1]

In late 1994, the WILD Foundation moved to the Ojai Valley. “In a pioneering, cooperative agreement, WILD is one of the three founding partners of the International Center for Earth Concerns, in collaboration with the Conservation Endowment Fund and The Humane Society of the United States.” [1]


Their website notes that: "Over 29 years our funding has come from a wide range of sources: individuals such as you who understand and want to support the protection of wild nature; an active and committed Board of Directors; many private foundations, from family-run to large institutions (such as Ford or Rockefeller); corporate gifts (most recently a sponsorship by Radio Shack); educational publications through Fulcrum, Inc.; professional organizations that support our Journal (such as Outward Bound, National Outdoor Leadership School, and others) and several federal land management agencies (including the US Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service). In order to enhance our long term effectiveness, we have a small but growing endowment and sincerely urge you to consider a tax deductible gift that builds our future strength, or a donation that goes directly to work on one of many projects Your support makes possible our work for wilderness, wildlife and people…please join us!" [2]

Rockefeller Foundation
Ford Foundation

Staff & Associates

Accessed December 2011: [2]

• Tracie Boltres, Accountant
• Susan Canney, General Adviser and Project Leader for our Mali Elephant Project
• Alyson Duffey, Associate Director
• Dana Guppy, Chief Technology Officer
• Melanie Hill, Communications Manager
• Cyril Kormos, Vice President for Policy
• Harvey Locke, Vice President for Conservation Strategy
• Marie-Eve Marchand, Special Projects
• Vance G. Martin, President
• Julie Anton Randall, Vice President for Government Relations


• Joel Holtrop - chair
• Charlotte Baron
• Ed Sanders
• Vance Martin
• Cristina Goettsch Mittermeier
• Lindsay Ellis
• Jonathan Miller
• Lena Georgas
• Kat Haber
• David Barron
• Magalen Bryant

Board (2011)

Accessed December 2011: [4]

• Charlotte Baron, Chair
• David Barron
• Magalen Bryant
• Marilynn Cowgill
• Chad P. Dawson
• James Dunlap
• Kat Haber
• John C. Hendee
• Vance G. Martin - President
• Cristina Goettsch Mittermeier
• Michael Sweatman, Treasurer
• Robert Baron, Emeritus Director
• Ian Player, Founder & Emeritus Director

Directors (2007)

• Charlotte Baron
• Robert C. Baron, Chairman of The Board
• David Barron
• Magalen Bryant
• James R. Dunlap
• Francine Kansteiner
• Dr. John C. Hendee
• Carl Hilker and Cathryn Hilker
• Vance G. Martin, President
• Cristina Goettsch Mittermeier
• Andrew Muir
• Dr. Ian Player
• M.A. Partha Sarathy
• Michael Sweatman

Board (1988)

Accessed February 2012: [5]

• Michael Sweatman - chair
• Michael Casey
• Robert N. Cleaves
• Dielle Fleischmann
• Norma Foster
• Ian Player
• John C. Hendee
• Vance G. Martin, President
• Sir Laurens van der Post
• James Stewart


• Mr and Mrs Gerrit van der Bovenkamp
• Anne Cooley
• Susan Storey Lyman
• Verne McLaren
• Genevieve di San Faustino
• Partha Sarathy

Trustees (2018)

• James Balog, Julie Cajune, Sarah A. Casson, Timothy Hass, Morgan Heim, D. Simon Jackson, Larry Kopald, Michael McBride, Ilarion Merculieff, Andrew Muir, Jo Roberts, Jaime Rojo, Bittu Sahgal, Peter Stranger [6]

Trustees (2011)

Accessed December 2011: [7]

• Robert Cleaves
• Michael Fay
• Patricio Robles Gil
• Morgan Heim
• Carl Hilker
• Larry Kopald
• Michael McBride
• Andrew Muir
• Jo Roberts
• Jaime Rojo
• Bittu Sahgal
• Partha Sarathy
• Peter Stranger

Trustees (2007)

Accessed November 2007: [8]

• Robert Cleaves
• Michael Fay
• Patricio Robles Gil
• Mike McBride
• Bittu Sahgal
• Partha Sarathy

-- WILD Foundation, by SourceWatch

-- Timothy Hass, by SourceWatch

• Adele Napier

"Adele Napier, is an Interfaith Minister and Educational Focalizer at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland. She also works in Spiritual and Personal Development as part of the Findhorn Foundation Staff. Adele has spearheaded a collaboration between Findhorn and Lorian which is contributing to both organizations development. She identifies herself as a world citizen but having grown up in South Africa has special ties to that part of the world. Adele has be a member of the Lorian Association Board of Trustees since 2013."[1]

-- Adele Napier, by SourceWatch

• David Spangler

"Dan Paulson Spangler is a visionary, author and spiritual teacher. A lecturer and teacher since 1964, David has written numerous books which include: The Call, Everyday Miracles, Blessing: The Art and the Practice, Manifestation: Creating the Life You Love and Incarnational Spirituality.

"From 1970 to 1973 David was a co-director of the Findhorn Foundation Community in northern Scotland. He is a co-founder of the Lorian Association and a Fellow of the Lindisfarne Association. Currently he serves as Director of the Lorian Center for Incarnational Spirituality and is primary faculty for the Path of the Chalice Program." [1]

He is married to Julia Manchester.


• Advisor, Pathways To Peace [2]
Director (1975), Planetary Citizens [3]
• Advisory Board, Universal Awakening [4]


1. Board, Lorian Association, accessed April 16, 2011.
2. Advisors, Pathways To Peace, accessed October 19, 2011.
3. United Nations Items-in-Secretary-General's Statements, organizational web page, accessed May 4, 2012.
4. Universal Awakening Advisory Board, organizational web page, accessed July 19, 2013.

-- David Spangler, by SourceWatch

• Freya Secrest


Accessed April 2011: [3]

• David Spangler
• Freya Secrest

"Freya Secrest, MSD is a spiritual director, Lorian priest and a founding member of the Lorian Association. She has worked in the field of spiritual education since 1976 when she began teaching with Dorothy Maclean in the US and Canada. In addition to her work as an adult educator she has also worked in Waldorf school administration. She is one of the founding faculty members of the Lorian Center for Incarnational Spirituality and currently serves as Lorian’s administrator. Freya has followed an incarnational approach in her personal study and practice for over 30 years. She is committed to relationships based in appreciation and invitation in her educational and spiritual direction work. Freya lives in Washington with her husband, Jeremy."[1]

Married to Jeremy Berg.

-- Freya Secrest, by SourceWatch

• Jeremy Berg

" Jeremy Berg, MCS – Michigan, works as an educator, artist, writer and publisher and has been associated with Lorian since 1976. He is part of the Lorian faculty and provides teaching and technical services for Lorian education as well as working as publisher/owner of Lorian Press and Starseed Publications.

"I trained as an architectural designer with a focus on energy efficiency and earth sheltered construction serving as a college Dean and Vice President as well as teaching alternative energy disciplines. This background has served my explorations both as an artist and a Lorian priest.

"He is author of The Gathering Light, Faerie Blood and artist for the Card Deck of the Sidhe. Jeremy offers classes using the Card Deck of the Sidhe as a part of the Lorian faculty and writes occasionally in the community Blog." [1]

Married to Freya Secrest‎.

-- Jeremy Berg, by SourceWatch

• Julie Spangler
• Carole Matthews
• Ron Hays

"Ron Hays is the owner of Eagle Creek Natural Building, a sustainable construction and remodeling company with a focus on healthy homes. He has been in the alternative construction field since 1980 and holds a degree in Environmental Science from Oregon State University. Ron is ordained as a Lorian priest and currently serves as Treasurer of the Board of Directors. A lover of the world of nature, Ron enjoys working with healing herbs. He has been exploring consciousness and spirituality for over 35 years, initially studying the teachings and practices of GI Gurdjieff. He is also a graduate of Michael Harner’s Foundation for Shamanic Studies. Ron lives with his wife Christy and stepson Christopher in the Cascade foothills of western Oregon. " [1]

Director, Lorian Association

-- Ron Hays, by SourceWatch

• Jim Hembree


URL: [

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch

• Roger Collis
• Timothy Hass


1. History, Lorian Association, accessed April 16, 2011.
2. Lorian Association Board, organizational web page, accessed May 12, 2018.
3. Board, Lorian Association, accessed April 16, 2011.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:11 am

Association for Humanistic Psychology
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 6/17/20

The branch of explicitly humanistic thought currently making the most pronounced contributions to a more adequate image of humankind is undoubtedly that which is organizationally led by the Association for Humanistic Psychology and its ("fourth force") offspring, the Association for Transpersonal Psychology. Both being part of the so-called "human potential movement," these organizations tend to put more trust in the intuitive wisdom and good will of persons than in the formalized theories and rules of organizations, believing that there is an innate tendency toward wholesome growth and goodness in all persons that will be actualized if not prematurely frustrated by societal limitations. Both groups are recently programming many of their activities with an explicit focus on the possible evolutionary transformation of humankind, much as is described in (and partially as a result of) this study. Thus, to a large extent their emerging image is that described in Chapter 5.

-- Changing Images of Man: Prepared by the Center for the Study of Social Policy/SRI International, edited by O. W. Markley, Project Director and Willis W. Harman, Project Supervisor

The Association for Humanistic Psychology is a professional organization in the field of humanistic psychology, founded in 1963.[1][2] Among the founders of the organization is the late psychologist Rollo May. [3]


The organization was originally founded as the American Association for Humanistic Psychology in 1961, sponsored by Brandeis University. [4][5][6]

The official history of the association starts with the inaugural meeting, in Philadelphia, in 1963. It was now renamed as the Association for Humanistic Psychology.[2] Key players in this event was James Bugental, the first president of the association, and Gordon Allport, who arranged a grant to help with the founding.[2]

In 1964 the association sponsored the "First Invitational Conference on Humanistic Psychology", also called the "Old Saybrook Conference", in order to develop the field of humanistic psychology. The conference was held in Connecticut and was visited by academic profiles in the field of humanistic psychology, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers and Rollo May, who presented papers.[2][7][5] The men and women meeting at Old Saybrook in 1964 wanted to change the direction of psychology by introducing a more complete image of the human being than the image presented by Behaviorism or Freudianism. Their purpose was to restore the "whole person". They also wanted to develop research methods for this purpose.[6] The "Association for Humanistic Psychology" was the primary forum for the humanistic movement in the USA during the 1960s.[2]

In 1970 The New York Times reported from the eighth annual meeting of the association, which was held in Miami Beach, Florida. The meeting was dedicated to the late Abraham Maslow, and was visited by Rollo May, who gave a speech. By this time Floyd Matson had taken over as president of the association.[8] In 1971, the association launched the Humanistic Psychology Institute, later known as Saybrook Graduate School.[2]

In 1985 the Chicago Tribune reported on the organization's annual conference, held at the American Congress Hotel in Chicago. This year the conference featured a variety of alternative therapies.[9] By the early 1990s Maureen O'Hara had taken over as president of the association.[10]


The Association publishes the Journal of Humanistic Psychology.

See also

• Humanistic psychology


1. American Psychological Association. PsycEXTRA® Content Owners - International – Associations and Conferences. List current as of July 2014.
2. Aanstoos, C. Serlin, I., & Greening, T. (2000). History of Division 32 (Humanistic Psychology) of the American Psychological Association. In D. Dewsbury (Ed.), "Unification through Division: Histories of the divisions of the American Psychological Association", Vol. V. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
3. Dr. Rollo May Is Dead at 85; Was Innovator in Psychology. The New York Times, October 24, 1994
4. Taylor, E. An Intellectual Renaissance of Humanistic Psychology. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Vol. 39 No. 2, Spring 1999 7-25.
5. Elkins, D.N. A Humanistic Approach to Spiritually Oriented Psychotherapy, in L. Sperry and E. P. Shafranske, editors (2005) Spiritually Oriented Psychotherapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
6. Ryback, D. A More Human Psychology at the Crossroads. American Psychologist, 1990, Vol. 45, No. 11, 1271–1272
7. Clay, R.A. A renaissance for humanistic psychology. American Psychological Association Monitor, September 2002, Vol 33, No. 8, page 42
8. Reinhold, R. Humanistic Psychology Shows Its Force. The New York Times, September 4, 1970
9. Brotman,B. Conventioneers Come To Grips With Emotions. Chicago Tribune, July 25, 1985.
10. Fields, D.M. Institutions for the 21st century. The Futurist; Washington Vol. 27, Iss. 1, (Jan/Feb 1993): 33.

External links

• Official website
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Thu Jun 18, 2020 1:08 am

California Institute of Integral Studies
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 6/17/20

California Institute of Integral Studies
The main campus building of CIIS (2020)
Type Private, non-profit
Established 1968
President Judie Wexler
Students 1,510
Location San Francisco, California, United States

Campus of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM), with community clinic (2020)

California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) is a private, non-profit university founded in 1968 and based in San Francisco, California.[1][2][3] As of 2020, it operates in two locations; the main campus near the confluence of the Civic Center, SoMa, and Mission districts, and another campus for the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Potrero Hill neighborhood.[4] CIIS has[when?] a total of 1,510 students and 80 core faculty members.[5]

CIIS consists of four schools: the School of Professional Psychology & Health, the School of Consciousness and Transformation (mainly humanities subjects), the School of Undergraduate Studies, and the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM). ACTCM became the fourth school after merging with CIIS on July 1, 2015.[6]

The institute offers interdisciplinary and cross-cultural graduate studies in psychology, counseling, philosophy, religion, cultural anthropology, transformative studies and leadership, integrative health, women's spirituality, and community mental health.[7] Many courses combine mainstream academic curriculum with a spiritual orientation, including influences from a broad spectrum of mystical or esoteric traditions. Although the Institute has no official spiritual path, some of its historical roots lie among followers of the Bengali sage Sri Aurobindo.[8]

From its foundation to its dissolution during the 1930s, the Samiti challenged British rule in India by engaging in militant nationalism, including bombings, assassinations, and politically-motivated violence. The Samiti collaborated with other revolutionary organisations in India and abroad. It was led by the nationalists Aurobindo Ghosh and his brother Barindra Ghosh, and influenced by philosophies as diverse as Hindu Shakta philosophy, as set forth by Bengali authors Bankim and Vivekananda, Italian Nationalism, and the Pan-Asianism of Kakuzo Okakura. The Samiti was involved in a number of noted incidents of revolutionary attacks against British interests and administration in India, including early attempts to assassinate British Raj officials. These were followed by the 1912 attempt on the life of the Viceroy of India, and the Seditious conspiracy during World War I, led by Rash Behari Bose and Jatindranath Mukherjee respectively....

By 1902, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) had three secret societies working toward the violent overthrow of British rule in India: one founded by Calcutta student Satish Chandra Basu with the patronage of Calcutta barrister Pramatha Mitra, another led by Sarala Devi, and the third founded by Aurobindo Ghose. Ghose and his brother Barin were among the strongest proponents of militant Indian nationalism at the time. Nationalist writings and publications by Aurobindo and Barin, including Bande Mataram and Jugantar, had a widespread influence on Bengal youth and helped Anushilan Samiti to gain popularity in Bengal. The 1905 partition of Bengal stimulated radical nationalist sentiments in Bengal's Bhadralok community, helping the Samiti to acquire the support of educated, politically-conscious and disaffected members of local youth societies. The Samiti's program emphasized physical training, training its recruits with daggers and lathis (bamboo staffs used as weapons). The Dhaka branch was led by Pulin Behari Das, and branches spread throughout East Bengal and Assam. More than 500 branches were opened in eastern Bengal and Assam, linked by "close and detailed organization" to Pulin's headquarters at Dhaka. This branch soon overshadowed its parent organisation in Calcutta. Branches of Dhaka Anushilan Samiti emerged in Jessore, Khulna, Faridpur, Rajnagar, Rajendrapur, Mohanpur, Barvali and Bakarganj, with an estimated membership of 15,000 to 20,000. Within two years, Dhaka Anushilan changed its aims from those of the Swadeshi movement to that of political terrorism.

The organisation's political views were expressed in the journal Jugantar, founded in March 1906 by Abhinash Bhattacharya, Barindra, Bhupendranath Dutt and Debabrata Basu. It soon became an organ for the radical views of Aurobindo and other Anushilan leaders, and led to the Calcutta Samiti group being dubbed the "Jugantar party". Early leaders were Rash Behari Bose, Jatindranath Mukherjee and Jadugopal Mukherjee. Aurobindo published similar messages of violent nationalism in journals such as Sandhya, Navashakti and Bande Mataram....

Anushilan Samiti established early links with foreign movements and Indian nationalists abroad. In 1907, Barin Ghosh sent Hem Chandra Kanungo (Hem Chandra Das) to Paris to learn bomb-making from Nicholas Safranski, a Russian revolutionary in exile. Madam Cama, a leading figure of the Paris Indian Society and India House, a revolutionary organisation in London, also lived in Paris and was associated with V.D. Savarkar, who later published a bomb-making manual through India House. In 1908, young recruits Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki were sent on a mission to Muzaffarpur to assassinate chief presidency magistrate D. H. Kingsford.[citation needed] They bombed a carriage they mistook for Kingsford's, killing two Englishwomen. Bose was arrested while attempting to flee and Chaki committed suicide. Police investigation of the killers connected them with Barin's country house in Manicktala (a suburb of Calcutta) and led to a number of arrests, including Aurobindo and Barin. The ensuing trial, held under tight security, led to a death sentence for Barin (later commuted to life imprisonment). The case against Aurobindo Ghosh collapsed after Naren Gosain, who had turned crown witness, was shot in Alipore jail by Satyendranath Basu and Kanailal Dutta, who were also being tried. Aurobindo retired from active politics after being acquitted. This was followed by a 1909 Dhaka conspiracy case, which brought 44 members of the Dhaka Anushilan Samiti to trial. Nandalal Bannerjee (the officer who arrested Khudiram) was shot and killed in 1908, followed by the assassinations of the prosecutor and informant for the Alipore case in 1909....

A large portion of the Samiti movement was attracted to left-wing politics during the 1930s, and those who did not join left-wing parties identified with Congress and the Congress Socialist Party. During the mass detentions of the 1930s surrounding the civil-disobedience movement, many members joined Congress. Jugantar was formally dissolved in 1938; many former members continued to act together under Surendra Mohan Ghose, who was a liaison between other Congress politicians and Aurobindo Ghose in Pondicherry. During the late 1930s, Marxist-leaning members of the Samiti in the CSP announced the formation of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP)....

According to one estimate, the Dacca Anushilan Samiti at one point had 500 branches, mostly in the eastern districts of Bengal, and 20,000 members. Branches were opened later in the western districts, Bihar, and the United Provinces. Shelters for absconders were established in Assam and in two farms in Tripura. Organisational documents show a primary division between the two active leaders, Barin Ghosh and Upendranath Bannerjee, and the rank-and-file. Higher leaders such as Aurobindo were supposed to be known only to the active leaders. Past members of the Samiti asserted that the groups were interconnected with a vast web of secret societies throughout British India. However, historian Peter Heehs concluded that the links between provinces were limited to contacts between a few individuals like Aurobindo who was familiar with leaders and movements in Western India, and that relationships among the different revolutionary groups were more often competitive than co-operative. An internal document of circa 1908 written by Pulin Behari Das describes the division of the organisation in Bengal, which largely followed British administrative divisions....

In the 1860s and 1870s, large numbers of akhras (gymnasiums) arose in Bengal that were consciously designed along the lines of the Italian Carbonari. These were influenced by the works of Italian nationalist Giuseppe Mazzini and his Young Italy movement. Aurobindo himself studied the revolutionary nationalism of Ireland, France and America. Hem Chandra Das, during his stay in Paris, is also noted to have interacted with European radical nationalists in the city, returning to India an atheist with Marxist leanings.

Foreign influences on the Samiti included the Japanese artist Kakuzo Okakura and Margaret Noble, an Irish woman known as Sister Nivedita. Okakura was a proponent of Pan-Asianism. He visited Swami Vivekananda in Calcutta in 1902, and inspired Pramathanath Mitra in the early days of the Samiti. However the extent of his involvement or influence is debated. Nivedita was a disciple of Swami Vivekananda. She had contacts with Aurobindo, with Satish Bose and with Jugantar sub-editor Bhupendranath Bose. Nivedita is believed to have influenced members of the Samiti by talking about their duties to the motherland and providing literature on revolutionary nationalism. She was a correspondent of Peter Kropotkin, a noted anarchist....

The chief apostle of militant nationalism in Bengal was Aurobindo Ghose. In 1902, there were three secret societies in Calcutta - Anushilan Samiti, founded by Pramatha Mitra, a barrister of the High Court of Calcutta; a society sponsored by Aurobindo Ghose and a society started by Sarala Devi ... the government found it difficult to suppress revolutionary activities in Bengal owing to ... leaders like Jatindranath Mukherjee, Rashbehari Bose and Jadugopal Mukherjee....

"There were ... some foreign influences on Bengali Terrorism ... Aurobindo Ghose's study of the revolutionary movements of Ireland, France, and America. Members of the early 'secret societies' drew some of their inspiration from Mazzini ... The Japanese critic Kakuzo Okakura inspired Pramathanath Mitra and others with revolutionary and pan-Asiatic ideas just when the samiti movement was getting started. The Irishwoman Margaret Noble, known as Sister Nivedita after she became a disciple of Swami Vivekananda, had some contact with Aurobindo Ghose and with younger men like Satish Bose and Jugantar sub-editor Bhupendranath Bose. Nivedita was in correspondence with the non-terroristic anarchist Peter Kropotkin, and she is known to have had revolutionary beliefs. She gave the young men a collection of books that included titles on revolutionary history and spoke to them about their duty to the motherland ... undoubted connection of Hem Chandra Das with European revolutionaries in Paris in 1907."...

"The Jugantar newspaper served as the propaganda vehicle for a loose congregation of revolutionaries led by individuals like Jain Banerjee and Barin Ghose who drew inspiration from ... Aurobindo Ghose."

-- Anushilan Samiti, by Wikipedia


American Academy of Asian Studies (1951-1968)

The California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) grew out of the earlier American Academy of Asian Studies, founded by Louis Gainsborough in 1951.[9][10] Other early contributors to the founding of the academy includes Frederic Spiegelberg.[11] The academy was an independent educational institution set up to study Eastern culture and philosophy [9] and improve the dialogue between east and west.[10] Soon after the founding of the institution Gainsborough was joined by Alan Watts and Haridas Chaudhuri; two persons that played a crucial role in the development of the academy's academic profile.[10]

Both Watts and Chaudhuri were oriented towards eastern religions and philosophy and integrated this into their teaching and colloquium. Watts, a teacher of eastern mysticism, established the academy as a meeting place for counter-cultural movements, also known as the San Francisco Renaissance. Chaudhuri, a scholar of Aurobindo, developed the field of Integral counseling psychology, an integration of eastern philosophy with the growing field of counseling psychology.[10] According to sources “Chaudhuri’s vision of integral education, like that of Alan Watts, was based on connecting the cultural traditions of the East and the West”.[10]

California Institute of Asian Studies (1968-1980)

In 1968, Chaudhuri was instrumental in the founding and development of a new institution called the California Institute of Asian Studies.[10][12] The new institution grew out of the former American Academy of Asian Studies, which was winding down. In this period several developments took place. Paul Herman continued the work of Chaudhuri and also designed the Institutes first graduate degree in Integral Psychology, the Integral Counseling Psychology (ICP) degree, which was established in 1973.[10]

Frederic Spiegelberg, who helped found the predecessor American Academy of Asian Studies, served as the institutes second president, from 1976 to 1978.[9][11]

California Institute of Integral Studies (1980-present)

In 1980 the institute underwent a change of name, now emerging as the California Institute of Integral Studies.[12]

In 1981, the institute was granted regional accreditation [12] and became member of the national community of colleges and universities.[10] By the mid-eighties several academic programs were available, including the Clinical Psychology program, the Counseling Psychology program, and the East/West Psychology program. Several new programs were also launched in the 1985-86 academic year, including the Organizational Development and Transformation certificate program, and the External Studies program. Other services, available to students at this time, included an extensive library, as well as the Integral Counseling Center, a community-based service facility that supported the training needs of clinical and counseling students.[12]

In 2008, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that psychology students at the New College of California were transferring to the California Institute of Integral Studies, due to the closing down of the former institution.[13]

In 2012, the CIIS, with support from the Aetna foundation, announced that it was introducing its new onsite health and wellness coaching program to San Francisco's Mid-Market District. The program was to be of benefit to children and families living at 10th & Mission Family Housing, a supportive housing project run by Mercy Housing California .[14] In 2013 Jordan[15] published a case report that summarized the experiences from the integrative wellness coaching (IWC) project among homeless and low-income individuals in San Francisco. The IWC model was, at this time, included in the master of arts program in Integrative Health Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Philosophical background

Central to the early history of the Institute is a model of so-called integral education. Originally set up to study Eastern culture and philosophy in the beginning of the 1950s,[9] the institute developed further in this direction with the arrival of Haridas Chadhauri. Chaudhuri introduced the integral philosophy of Sri Aurobindo as a navigating principle for education and established a perspective that sought a holistic view of the human being; an integration of material and spiritual values; as well as an integration of eastern and western philosophies and worldviews.[10][12] By the mid-eighties this model of education was firmly established. In 1985 Voigt [12] reported on the graduate programs at CIIS and elaborated on the experience of integral education at the institute. In the late 1990s, the CIIS was one of several institutions in the USA associated with the study of Holism and Consciousness.[16]

There is also a connection between the roots of CIIS and the Human Potential Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Among the students who attended the colloquia at the American Academy of Asian Studies in the 1950s was Michael Murphy and Richard Price, founders of the Esalen Institute at Big Sur.[10] According to Gleig and Floress,[17] "one can trace a direct line from Integral Yoga through [the Cultural Integration Fellowship] to two of the major centers of the Human Potential movement and the transpersonal psychology field it birthed: Esalen and the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS)."

Gleig and Flores further explain that:

CIIS's distinctive signature is the development of an integral education that combines academic scholarship with spiritual transformation and through its student body, faculty publications, and popular public program it has significantly shaped contemporary East-West spiritualities. As with the other main creative lineage centers - Esalen and CIF - CIIS is committed to a pluralistic spiritual vision and its Aurobindo roots are somewhat hidden.[17]

According to Jim Ryan, CIIS, as developed by the founder (Chaudhuri), "had a very wide academic reach, far beyond its basic East-West philosophy concentration. Theses and dissertations were done over many years on the politics, economics, anthropology, sociology, and area studies of many nations of the world."[18]:52

Accreditation and exam pass rates

CIIS is an accredited member of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).[19] In addition, degrees offered through ACTCM are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM).[20]

In 2018, The Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS), California's state regulatory agency responsible for licensing, examination, and enforcement of Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs), released statistics for its January 1, 2018 through June 30, 2018 exam cycle.[21]

• CIIS examinees' pass rate was 82% (Standard exam), compared with a 77% pass rate for all schools in California.
• 83% of CIIS first-time Standard exam-takers passed, compared with an 80% pass rate for California schools overall.

The Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) program in Clinical Psychology is not accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). The program received APA accreditation in 2003, but accreditation was revoked in 2011, and CIIS's appeal of the revocation denied in 2012.[22][23][24] CIIS applied for APA accreditation in June 2016, but voluntarily withdrew its application in June 2017.[25]

Notable people

• Angeles Arrien
• Dave Carter
• Haridas Chaudhuri
• Nadinne I. Cruz
• Angela Davis
• Andrej Grubacic
Stanislav Grof
• Will Hall
• Judith Hanson Lasater
• Noah Levine
Joanna Macy
• Robert A. McDermott
• Starhawk
• Brian Swimme
• Richard Tarnas
• Judith Tyberg
• Douglas Vakoch
Alan Watts


1. Taylor, Bron R. (2005). The encyclopedia of religion and nature (1 ed.). London [u.a.]: Thoemmes Continuum. p. 251. ISBN 9781843711384. OCLC 315210594.
2. Otterman, Sharon. "Merging Spirituality and Clinical Psychology at Columbia". New York Times, Aug. 9, 2012
3. Aanstoos, C. Serlin, I., & Greening, T. (2000). History of Division 32 (Humanistic Psychology) of the American Psychological Association. In D. Dewsbury (Ed.), Unification through Division: Histories of the divisions of the American Psychological Association, Vol. V. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
4. "Map and Directions". Retrieved 2020-03-30.
6. "ACTCM at CIIS - American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine". Retrieved 2016-12-01.
7. Psychology & Psychiatry Journal. "California Institute of Integral Studies Launches Groundbreaking Community Mental Health Program". Psychology & Psychiatry Journal; Atlanta, Feb 2008: 4.
8. "From the American Academy of Asian Studies to the California Institute of Integral Studies"[1]
9. New York Times Staff. Frederic Spiegelberg, Religion Teacher, 97. The New York Times, 1994
10. Subbiondo, Joseph L. CIIS and American Higher Education. Integral Review, June 2011, Vol. 7, No. 1
11. Stanford University News Release: Comparative religions expert Frederic Spiegelberg dies at 97. Stanford University News Service, 11/15/94
12. Voigt, Walt. Bridging East and West in Graduate Education: The California Institute of Integral Studies. The Humanistic Psychologist , 27 Vol. 13, No. 3, Autumn 1985.
13. Schevitz, Tanya. "Stark lesson as San Francisco college close". San Francisco Chronicle online, June 20, 2008. Retrieved 07 April 2018.
14. "Wellness; California Institute of Integral Studies, Aetna Foundation Bring Free Wellness Coaching to Supportive Housing Residents in San Francisco". Pediatrics Week; Atlanta [Atlanta]11 Feb 2012: 64.
15. Jordan, Meg. «Health Coaching for the Underserved». Glob Adv Health Med. 2013 May; 2(3): 75–82.
16. McManis, Sam. "University with a Vision / JFK's holistic studies program attracts devoted students -- and strong critics". San Francisco Chronicle online, October 9, 1998. Retrieved 07 April 2018.
17. Ann Gleig and Charles I. Flores (2013), "Remembering Sri Aurobindo and the Mother: The Forgotten Lineage of Integral Yoga" (chapter 2) In: Singleton, Mark; Goldberg, Ellen (2013). Gurus of Modern Yoga. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199938704. OCLC 861692270.
18. Jim Ryan, "The Complete Yoga: The Lineage of Integral Education" in: Gunnlaugson, Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, Jonathan Reams, Olen (2010). Integral education new directions for higher learning. Albany: State University of New York Press. pp. 47–54. ISBN 9781438433509. OCLC 658060931.
19. "WASC: Statement of Accreditation Status, California Institute of Integral Studies". 2013-11-14. Archived from the original on 2013-12-06. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
20. "Accreditation & Approval".
21. "Board of Behavioral Sciences: EXAM RESULTS BY SCHOOL" (PDF). Board of Behavioral Sciences. June 30, 2018. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
22. Accredited Programs in Clinical Psychology [2], American Psychological Association. Accessed online January 25, 2013.
23. CoA Statement and CIIS Response to Revocation of Accreditation "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-09-15. Retrieved 2013-08-08., American Psychological Association. Accessed online January 25, 2013.
24. "All Approved Doctoral Programs Listed by Jurisdiction". National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology. Retrieved 8 September 2014. This program’s accreditation has been revoked. (Under Appeal)
25. "Programs Applying for Initial Accreditation". American Psychological Association. Retrieved 2016-11-30.

External links

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Sister Nivedita [Margaret Elizabeth Noble]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 6/17/20

Sister Nivedita
Sister Nivedita in India
Born: Margaret Elizabeth Noble, 28 October 1867, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Died: 13 October 1911 (aged 43), Darjeeling, Bengal Presidency, British India (present: Darjeeling, West Bengal, India)
Religion: Hinduism
by-Birth religion: Catholic Christianity
Founder of: Ramakrishna Sarada Mission Sister Nivedita Girls' School
Philosophy: Advaita Vedanta
Senior posting
Guru: Swami Vivekananda
Literary works: Kali the Mother, The Web of Indian Life, Cradle Tales of Hinduism, An Indian Study of Love and Death, The Master as I Saw Him, Notes of some wanderings with the Swami Vivekananda, Select essays of Sister Nivedita, Studies from an Eastern Home, Myths of the Hindus & Buddhists, Footfalls of Indian History, Religion and Dharma

Sister Nivedita (Bengali pronunciation: [bhågini: niːbediːtaː] About this soundlisten (help·info); born Margaret Elizabeth Noble; 28 October 1867 – 13 October 1911)[1][2] was an Irish teacher, author, social activist, school founder and disciple of Swami Vivekananda.[3][4] She spent her childhood and early youth in Ireland. From her father, a college professor, she learned the ideal of service to mankind as the true service to God. She worked as a school teacher and later also opened a school. She was engaged to marry a Welsh youth, but he died soon after their engagement. Sister Nivedita met Swami Vivekananda in 1895 in London and travelled to Calcutta (present-day Kolkata), India in 1898. Swami Vivekananda gave her the name Nivedita (meaning "Dedicated to God") when he initiated her into the vow of Brahmacharya on 25 March 1898. In November 1898, she opened a girls' school in the Bagbazar area of Calcutta. She wanted to educate girls who were deprived of even basic education. During the plague epidemic in Calcutta in 1899, Nivedita nursed and took care of the poor patients. Nivedita had close associations with the newly established Ramakrishna Mission. Because of her active contribution in the field of Indian Nationalism, she had to publicly dissociate herself from the activities of the Ramakrishna Mission under the then president Swami Brahmananda. She was very close to Sarada Devi, the spiritual consort of Ramakrishna and one of the major influences behind Ramakrishna Mission, and also with all brother disciples of Swami Vivekananda. She died on 13 October 1911 in Darjeeling. Her epitaph reads, "Here lies Sister Nivedita who gave her all to India".[5]

Early life

Margaret Elizabeth Noble was born on 28 October 1867 in the town of Dungannon in County Tyrone, Ireland to Mary Isabel and Samuel Richmond Noble; she was named for her paternal grandmother.[6]:91 The Nobles were of Scottish descent, settled in Ireland for about five centuries.[7] Her father, who was a pastor, taught that service to mankind is the true service to God. The Nobles had six children of whom only Margaret (the eldest), May, and Richmond survived.

When Margaret was one year old Samuel moved to Manchester, England; there he enrolled as a theological student of the Wesleyan Church. Young Margaret stayed with her maternal grandfather, Hamilton, in Ireland.

When she was four years old she returned to live with her parents at Great Torrington in Devonshire.[1] Margaret was her father's favorite child. When Samuel Noble conducted services or visited the poor, she accompanied him.

Margaret's father died in 1877 when she was ten years old. Margaret with her mother and two siblings returned to her grandfather Hamilton's home in Ireland. Margaret's mother, Mary took up a kindergarten course in London and became a teacher. Later, Mary helped her father to run a guest-house near Belfast. Hamilton was one of the first-ranking leaders of the freedom movement of Ireland. Besides her father's religious temperament, Margaret imbibed the spirit of freedom and love for her country through her grandfather Hamilton.[8]

Margaret was educated at Halifax College, run by a member of the Congregationalist Church. The headmistress of this college taught her about personal sacrifice.[1] She studied subjects, including physics, arts, music, and literature.

At the age of seventeen in 1884, she first started a career in teaching at a school in Keswick. In 1886, she went to Rugby to teach in an orphanage. A year later, she took up a post at the coal-mining area Wrexham in North Wales. Here, she revived her spirit of service and love for the poor which she had inherited from her father. At Wrexham, Margaret became engaged to be married to a Welsh youth who died soon after the engagement. In 1889, Margaret moved to Chester. By this time, her sister May and brother Richmond were living in Liverpool. Soon, their mother Mary joined them. Margaret was happy to be reunited with her family. Occasionally, she went to Liverpool to stay with them.[9]

Margaret resumed her studies in the field of education.[10] She became acquainted with the ideas of the Swiss education reformer Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi and with the German Friedrich Fröbel. Both Pestalozzi and Froebel emphasized the importance of preschool education. They opined that education should begin by gratifying and cultivating the normal aptitude of the child for exercise, play, observation, imitation, and construction. A group of teachers in England was attracted to this novel method of teaching and they tried to put it into practice. Thus, the 'New Education' was advocated and Margaret, too, became a part of it. Soon, she became a favourite writer and speaker at the Sunday Club and the Liverpool Science Club.[11]

In 1891, Margaret settled in Wimbledon and helped a Mrs. de Leeuw, to start a new school in London. The new experiment in teaching gave her great joy. After a year, in 1892, Margaret started her own independent school at Kingsleygate. At her school, there were no restrictive set methods and formal learning. Children learned through play. At this time, Margaret learned to be a critic of art from one of her staff teachers, Ebenezer Cooke, a well-known art master and reformer of art education.[11]

As she gained mastery as an educator, she also became a prolific writer in paper and periodicals and a popular speaker. Soon she became a name among the intellectuals of London and became acquainted with some of the most learned and influential people of her time. Among them were Lady Ripon and Lady Isabel Margesson. They were the founders of a literary coterie, which came to be known as the Sesame Club. The Times of London of 26 October 1911, wrote about Margaret, "A trained teacher of exceptional gifts, she was one of a group of educationists who in the early nineties founded the Sesame Club." Famous writers, such as Bernard Shaw and Thomas Huxley, were some of the regular speakers at the Sesame Club. Discussions were held here on literature, ethics, politics, and other similar subjects.[11]

In 1892, when the Home Rule Bill for Ireland was before the Parliament, Margaret spoke fearlessly in favor of it.

Seeker of Truth

Coming from a religious background, Margaret had learned Christian religious doctrines from a young age. From childhood, she had learned to venerate all religious teachings. The infant Jesus was her object of adoration and worship. However, as she bloomed into womanhood, doubt in the Christian doctrines crept in. She found the teachings were incompatible with Truth. As these doubts became stronger, her faith in Christianity was shaken. For seven long years, Margaret was unable to settle her mind and this led to unhappiness. She tried to absorb herself in church service. However, her troubled soul could not find satisfaction and she longed for Truth.[12]

Search for truth made Margaret take up the study of natural science. Later, in a lecture delivered at the Hindu Ladies' Social Club in Bombay in 1902, she said:

During the seven years of wavering it occurred to me that in the study of natural science I should surely find the Truth I was seeking. So I began ardently to study how this world was created and all things in it and I discovered that in the laws of Nature at least there was consistency, but it made the doctrines of the Christian religion seem all the more inconsistent. Just then I happened to get a life of Buddha and in it I found that here also was a child who lived ever so many centuries before the Child Christ, but whose sacrifices were no less self-abnegating than those of the other. This dear child Gautama took a strong hold on me and for the next three years I plunged into the study of the religion of Buddha, and became more and more convinced that the salvation he preached was decidedly more consistent with the Truth than the preachings of the Christian religion.[12]

Meeting with Swami Vivekananda

Sister Nivedita

In November 1895, she met Swami Vivekananda for the first time, who had come from America to visit London and stayed there for three months.[13] On a cold afternoon, Swami Vivekananda was explaining Vedanta philosophy in the drawing room of an aristocratic family in London. Lady Isabel Margesson, a friend of Margaret, invited Ebenezer Cooke, who was part of the teaching staff at Margaret's 'Ruskin School', to this meeting. Margaret went with him, with much curiosity and interest. Margaret did not know this evening would change her life completely.[6] Margaret described her experience of the occasion. "A majestic personage, clad in a saffron gown and wearing a red waistband, sat there on the floor, cross-legged. As he spoke to the company, he recited Sanskrit verses in his deep, sonorous voice." Margaret had already delved deeply into the teachings of the East, and the novelty was not what she heard on this occasion, but the personality of Swamiji himself. She attended several other lectures by Swami Vivekananda. She asked a lot of questions, and his answers dispelled her doubts and established her faith and reverence for the speaker.

Nivedita wrote in 1904 to a friend about her decision to follow Swami Vivekananda as a result of her meeting him in England in November 1895:

Suppose he had not come to London that time! Life would have been a headless dream, for I always knew that I was waiting for something. I always said that a call would come. And it did. But if I had known more of life, I doubt whether, when the time came, I should certainly have recognized it.

Fortunately, I knew little and was spared that torture ... Always I had this burning voice within, but nothing to utter. How often and often I sat down, pen in hand, to speak, and there was no speech! And now there is no end to it! As surely I am fitted to my world, so surely is my world in need of me, waiting – ready. The arrow has found its place in the bow. But if he had not come! If he had meditated, on the Himalayan peaks! ... I, for one, had never been here.[14]

She started taking interest in the teachings of Gautama Buddha, and her discussions with Swami Vivekananda were an alternate source of peace and benediction. She wrote:

To not a few of us, the words of Swami Vivekananda came as living water to men perishing of thirst. Many of us had been conscious for years past of that growing uncertainty and despair with regard to Religion, which has beset the intellectual life of Europe for half a century. Belief in the dogmas of Christianity had become impossible to us, and we had no means, such as we now hold, by which to separate the doctrinal shell from the kernel of reality in our faith. To these the Vedanta has given intellectual confirmation and philosophical expression of their own mistrusted intuitions.[15]

Vivekananda's principles and teachings influenced her and this brought about a visible change in her. Seeing the fire and passion in her, Swami Vivekananda could foresee her future role in India. 25 March 1898, was the holiest and most unforgettable day of Nivedita's (Margaret) life. That was the day on which her guru dedicated her to God and to the service of India.

Swami Vivekananda was deeply pained by the wretchedness and misery of the people of India under the British rule and his opinion was that education was the panacea for all evils plaguing the contemporary Indian society,[16] especially that of Indian women. Margaret was chosen for the role of educating Indian women. In his letter to Margaret, Vivekananda wrote, "Let me tell you frankly that I am now convinced that you have a great future in the work for India. What was wanted was not a man but a woman, a real lioness, to work for the Indians, women especially."[17]

Travel to India

Responding to Swami Vivekananda's call, Margaret travelled to India, leaving behind her friends and family, including her mother. Mombasa, the ship bringing Margaret to India, reached Calcutta on 28 January 1898.[6] On 22 February, Margaret visited Dakshineshwar temple, the place where Ramakrishna did his sadhana.[8] Swami Vivekananda devoted the initial few days in teaching her about India and its people, and helping her develop the love for the people; he was broadening her character. He explained India's history, philosophy, literature, the life of the common mass, social traditions, and also the lives of great personalities, both ancient and modern, to her. A few weeks later, two of Swami Vivekananda's women disciples in America, Sara C. Bull, wife of famous Norwegian violinist and composer Ole Bull and Josephine MacLeod arrived in India. The three became lifelong friends. On 11 March 1898, Swami Vivekananda organized a public meeting at Star Theatre to introduce Sister Nivedita to the people of Calcutta. In his speech, Swami Vivekananda said – "England has sent us another gift in Miss Margaret Noble." In this meeting, Margaret expressed her desire to serve India and its people.[8] On 17 March she met Sarada Devi who greeted Margaret affectionately as Khooki (i.e. little girl).[8]


On 25 March 1898, at Nilambar Mukherjee Garden,[18] Swami Vivekananda formally initiated Margaret in the vow of Brahmacharya (lifelong celibacy) and gave her the name of "Nivedita", the dedicated one.[19][20] Swami Vivekananda said to her "Go thou and follow Him, Who was born and gave His life for others five hundred times before He attained the vision of the Buddha."[8]

Though Sister Nivedita expressed her desire to take the ultimate vow of Sannyasa, Swami Vivekananda did not approve of it. Later, after the demise of Swami Vivekananda, on 28 July 1902, Nivedita wrote to the Editor of the Statesman the following letter:

... Mr own position towards this religious treasure is that of the humblest learner, merely a Brahmacharini, or novice, not a Sannyasini or fully professed religious, without any pretentions to Sanskrit learning, and set free by the great kindness of my superiors to pursue my social, literary and educational work and studies, entirely outside their direction and supervision.[21]

Swami Vivekananda was anxious to mold Nivedita as a Hindu Brahmacharini. He wanted her to be a Hindu in thoughts and actions. He encouraged her to visit Hindu ladies to observe their way of life.[22] He told her:

You have to set yourself to Hinduize your thoughts, your needs, your conceptions and your habits. Your life, internal and external, has to become all that an orthodox Brahmana Brahmacharini's ought to be. The method will come to you, if only your desire it sufficiently. But you have to forget your own past and to cause it to be forgotten. You have to lose even its memory.[23]

Relationship with Sarada Devi

Sarada Devi (left) and Sister Nivedita

Within a few days of her arrival in India, on 17 March 1898, Margaret met Sarada Devi, wife and spiritual consort of Ramakrishna, who, surpassing all language and cultural barriers, embraced her as "khooki" or "little girl" in Bengali.[8] It was St.Patrick's Day, a very holy & special day in Margaret's life, and Nivedita recounted it as her "day of days."[24] Until her death in 1911, Nivedita remained one of the closest associates of Sarada Devi. On 13 November 1898, the Holy Mother Sarada Devi came to open Nivedita's newly founded school. After worshiping Ramakrishna she consecrated the school and blessed it, saying: ‘I pray that the blessings of the Divine Mother may be upon the school and the girls; and the girls trained from the school may become ideal girls.’ Nivedita was delighted and recorded her feelings later as "I cannot imagine a grander omen than her blessings, spoken over the educated Hindu womanhood of the future."[25] The first photograph of Sarada Devi was taken at Nivedita's house. Nivedita wrote in a letter to her friend Nell Hammond about Sarada Devi after her first few meetings with her, "She really is, under the simplest, most unassuming guise, one of the strongest and greatest of women."[26] An excerpt is provided here from the Gospel of Holy Mother, where Sarada Devi's impressions about Nivedita are captured vividly:

Referring to Nivedita, she [Sarada Devi] said, "What sincere devotion Nivedita had! She never considered anything too much that she might do for me. She would often come to see me at night. Once seeing that light struck my eyes, she put a shade of paper on the lamp. She would prostrate herself before me and, with great tenderness, take the dust off my feet with her handkerchief. I felt that she not even hesitated to touch my feet." The thought of Nivedita opened the floodgate of her mind and she suddenly became grave... The Mother now and then expressed her feelings towards the Sister. She said at last, "The inner soul feels for a sincere devotee."[27]


Nivedita travelled to many places in India, including Kashmir, with Swami Vivekananda, Josephine Mcleod, and Sara Bull. This helped her in connecting to the Indian masses, Indian culture, and its history. She also went to the United States to raise awareness and get help for her cause. On 11 May 1898, she went with Swami Vivekananda, Sara Bull, Josephine MacLeod, and Swami Turiyananda, on a journey to the Himalayas. From Nainital, they travelled to Almora. On 5 June 1898, she wrote a letter to her friend Nell Hammond exclaiming, "Oh Nell, Nell, India is indeed the Holy Land."[28] In Almora, she first learned the art of meditation. She wrote about this experience, "A mind must be brought to change its centre of gravity... again the open and disinterested state of mind welcomes truth."[29] She also started learning Bengali from Swami Swarupananda. From Almora, they went to Kashmir valley where they stayed in houseboats. In the summer of 1898, Nivedita travelled to Amarnath with Swami Vivekananda.[30] Later in 1899 she travelled to the United States with Swami Vivekananda[31] and stayed in Ridgely Manor in upstate New York.

She later recorded some of her tour and experiences with her master (guru) in the book The Master as I Saw Him and Notes on Some Wanderings with Swami Vivekananda.

She often used to refer to Swami Vivekananda as "The King" and considered herself as his spiritual daughter (Manaskanya in Bengali).[32]

Swami Vivekananda's death

See also: Swami Vivekananda § Death

Sister Nivedita saw Swami Vivekananda for the last time on 2 July 1902 at Belur Math.[33] Vivekananda was observing the Ekadashi fasting on that day. However, when his disciples took their meal, he himself served them joyfully. After the meal, Vivekananda poured water over Nivedita's hands, and dried them with a towel. Nivedita recorded it in The Master As I Saw Him in the following words:

"It is I who should do these things for you, Swamiji! Not you, for me!" was the protest naturally offered. But his answer was startling in its solemnity – "Jesus washed the feet of His disciples!" Something checked the answer "But that was the last time!" as it rose to the lips, and the words remained unuttered. This was well. For here also, the last time had come.[34]

Swami Vivekananda died at 9:10 p.m. on 4 July 1902. On that night, Nivedita dreamed Sri Ramakrishna was leaving his body a second time.[35] On the next morning, Swami Saradananda from Belur Math sent a monk with a letter to Sister Nivedita and conveying the message of Vivekananda's death. Instantly everything around Nivedita's eyes became blank. She immediately rushed to the Math and reached the place around 7 a.m and entered the room of Vivekananda. There she found Swamiji's body was laid on the floor. She sat near Vivekananda's head and fanned his body with a hand fan until his body was taken down at 2 p.m. to the porch leading to the courtyard.[35][8]:34 In the afternoon of 5 July, Swami Vivekananda's body was taken for cremation. Vivekananda's body was wrapped in a saffron cloth. Nivedita wished to take a small portion of that cloth so that she could send it as a memento to Josephine MacLeod. Understanding the mind of Nivedita Swami Saradananda asked her to cut a small portion of the Swami's cloth. But, Nivedita was unsure whether the act would be proper or not and decided not to take it. When Vivekananda's body was being cremated she sat all the while looking at the burning pyre. Around six o'clock in the evening, the burning flame was about to go out. Suddenly Nivedita felt somebody had pulled her sleeve. She turned around and found a small piece of saffron cloth which had somehow come out of the pyre during cremation. Nivedita lifted and took the cloth considering it as a message from the Swami. In her letter to Josephine MacLeod on 14 September 1902, Nivedita wrote:

...But your real message came at the burning pyre itself... At 6 o'clock... as if I were twitched by the sleeve, I looked down, and there, safe out of all that burning and blackness, there blew to my feet the very two or three inches I had desired out of the border of the cloth. I took it as a Letter from Him to you, from beyond the grave.[36]

Works of Sister Nivedita

Sister Nivedita, reading a book

Girls' school in Bagbazar

See also: Ramakrishna Sarada Mission Sister Nivedita Girls' School

Nivedita was planning to open a school for girls who were deprived of even basic education.[37] She toured England and America on a lecture tour designed to raise monies to establish a girls school.[38]

The main reason why Swamiji invited Nivedita to India was to spread education to the women of the country. This is why, when Nivedita informed Vivekananda about her planning, he felt very excited. He organized a meeting at Balaram Bose's house on this issue. Many lay devotees of Sri Ramakrishna, including Mahendranath Gupta ( popularly known as Sri M., the chronicler of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna), Suresh Dutta, Haramohan etc. attended this meeting. In this meeting, Nivedita explained her plan of the proposed school and requested everyone to send their girls to the school to study. During her speech, Vivekananda entered the room and took a seat behind everyone. Nivedita did not notice it. But, when Nivedita appealed to collect girl students for the school, she suddenly discovered Vivekananda in the room pushing others and prompting – "Ye, get up, get up! It’s not good enough to just become girls’ fathers. All of you must cooperate in the matter of their education as per national ideals. Stand up and commit. Reply to her appeal. Say, 'We all agree. We shall send our girls to you.'" But no one stood up to support Nivedita's proposal. Finally, Vivekananda forced Haramohan to agree to the proposal and behalf of Haramohan Vivekananda promised to send her girls to the school.[8]:21–22

A memorial plaque in the house of Bagbazar where Sister Nivedita started her school

On 13 November 1898, on the day of Kali Puja, at 16 Bosepara Lane in the Bagbazar area of Calcutta, she started the school.[39] The school was inaugurated by Sarada Devi, in the presence of Swami Vivekananda and some of the other disciples of Ramakrishna.[40] Sarada Devi blessed and prayed for the school saying – "I pray that the blessings of the Divine Mother may be upon the school and the girls; and the girls trained from the school may become ideal girls."[8]:22 Nivedita went from home to home in educating girls, many of whom were in pitiable condition owing to the socio-economic condition of early 20th century India. In many cases, she encountered refusal from the male members of the girl's family. Nivedita had widows and adult women among her students. She taught sewing, elementary rules of hygiene, nursing, etc., apart from regular courses.

Collecting money for the school was not an easy task. She had to earn money from her writings and giving lectures and later she spent all to meet the expenses of the school.[8]:14

She took part in altruistic activities. She worked to improve the lives of Indian women of all castes.

Work during plague epidemic

During the outbreak of a plague epidemic in Calcutta in 1899, Nivedita nursed and took care of the patients,[1][5] cleaned rubbish from the area, and inspired and motivated many youths to render voluntary service. She inserted appeals for help in the English newspapers and requested for financial support for her plague relief activities.[38] She also organized the day-to-day activities, inspected the work and personally handed over the written instructions for the preventive measures by moving around. She was a friend to many intellectuals and artists in the Bengali community, including Rabindranath Tagore, Jagadish Chandra Bose, Abala Bose, and Abanindranath Tagore. Later she took up the cause of Indian independence. Sri Aurobindo was one of her friends as well.[37]

Cultivation of Indian culture

She took an active interest in promoting Indian history, culture, and science. She actively encouraged Dr. Jagadish Chandra Bose, the Indian scientist and philosopher to pursue original scientific research and helped him financially as well in getting due recognition when he was faced with an indifferent attitude of the British Government. Bose, whom she called "khoka" or the "little one" in Bengali, and his wife Abala Bose, were in very close terms with her. Keeping in view Nivedita's contribution to the scientific research work of Jagadish Chandra, Rabindranath Tagore said: "In the day of his success, Jagadish gained an invaluable energizer and helper in Sister Nivedita, and in any record of his life’s work her name must be given a place of honour."[41] Her identity as both a westerner by birth and a disciple of Swami Vivekananda enabled her to do several things that might have been difficult for Indians. For example, she promoted pan-Indian nationalism.[42][43]

Contribution towards Indian nationalism

See also: Aurobindo and Anushilan samiti

Nivedita was a prolific writer and extensively toured India to deliver lectures, especially on India's culture and religion. She appealed to the Indian youth to work selflessly for the cause of the motherland along the ideals of Swami Vivekananda. Initially, Nivedita, like contemporary intellectuals from Europe, was optimistic about British rule in India and believed that it was possible for India and England to love each other. However, in the course of her stay, she came to witness the brutal side of the British rule, the repression and oppression and the division between the ruling elite and the ruled; she concluded that it was necessary for India to gain independence to prosper. Therefore, she devoted herself wholeheartedly to the cause of opposing the British rule. In February 1902, Mahatma Gandhi, or Mr.M.K.Gandhi as he was known then, visited Nivedita in Calcutta.[44]

After Vivekananda's death, being acutely aware of the inconvenience of the newly formed Ramakrishna Mission on account of her political activities, she publicly dissociated herself from it. However, until her last days, she had a very cordial relationship with the brother disciples of Swami Vivekananda like Swami Brahmananda, Baburam Maharaj (Swami Premananda) and Swami Saradananda, who helped her in her charitable and educational activities in every possible way; she was very close to the holy mother, Sarada Devi.

Nivedita had initially worked with Okakura of Japan and Sarala Ghoshal who was related to the Tagore family.

She later started working on her own and maintained a direct relationship with many of the young revolutionaries of Bengal, including those of Anushilan Samity, a secret organization. She inspired many youths in taking up the cause of freeing India through her lectures. She also exposed Lord Curzon after his speech at the University of Calcutta in 1905 where he mentioned that truth was given a higher place in the moral codes of the West, than in East. She undertook her own research and made it public that in the book Problems of The Far East by Curzon she had proudly described how he had given false statements about his age and marriage to the president of the Korean Foreign Office to win his favour. This statement when published in newspapers like Amrita Bazar Patrika and The Statesman caused a furore and forced Curzon to apologize.

In 1905 the British Government under Curzon initiated the partition of Bengal which was a major turning point in the Indian independence movement. Nivedita played a pioneering role in organizing the movement.[45] She provided financial and logistical support and leveraged her contacts to get information from government agencies and forewarn the revolutionaries. She met Indian artists like Abanindranath Tagore, Ananda Coomaraswamy and Havell and inspired them to develop pure Indian school of art. She always inspired and guided the talented students of the Calcutta Art School to move along the forgotten tracks of ancient Indian art like Nandalal Bose, Asit Kumar Haldar and Surendranath Gangopadhyay. She exerted great influence on famous Tamil poet, Subrahmanya Bharati, who met her only briefly in 1906. She influenced Bharathi to work for the freedom of women in the country, which he did all through his life Nivedita designed the national flag of India with the thunderbolt as the emblem against a red background. Nivedita tried her utmost to inculcate the nationalist spirit in the minds of her students through all their daily activities. She introduced singing of the song Vande Màtaram in her school as a prayer. Nivedita provided guarded support to Annie Besant and was very close to Aurobindo Ghosh (later Sri Aurobindo), one of the major contributors towards the early nationalist movement. She edited Karma Yogin, the nationalist newspaper of Aurobindo. The following piece is from an editorial in Karma Yogin, written by Nivedita, which depicts her intense respect for India:

The whole history of the world shows that the Indian intellect is second to none. This must be proved by the performance of a task beyond the power of others, the seizing of the first place in the intellectual advance of the world. Is there any inherent weakness that would make it impossible for us to do this? Are the countrymen of Bhaskaracharya and Shankaracharya inferior to the countrymen of Newton and Darwin? We trust not. It is for us, by the power of our thought, to break down the iron walls of opposition that confront us, and to seize and enjoy the intellectual sovereignty of the world.[46]

Manuscript of "Blessings to Nivedita" a poem written by Swami Vivekananda in his own handwriting[47]


Nivedita died on 13 October 1911, aged 43, at Roy Villa, Darjeeling.[48] Today, her memorial is located below the Railway station on the way to the Victoria Falls (of Darjeeling)[49] with these words inscribed in her epitaph – "Here lies Sister Nivedita who gave her all to India".[5][48] Swami Vivekananda wrote a poem to Sister Nivedita, A benediction to Sister Nivedita. In this poem, Vivekananda condensed all his hopes, aspirations, and good wishes for his disciple,[50] Nivedita as The mistress, servant, friend in one to India's future son–[51]

The mother's heart, the hero's will
The sweetness of the southern breeze,
The sacred charm and strength that dwell
On Aryan altars, flaming, free;
All these be yours and many more
No ancient soul could dream before-
Be thou to India's future son
The mistress, servant, friend in one.


Sister Nivedita on a 1968 stamp of India

Sister Nivedita remains one of the most influential female figures of India. Her book Kali, the Mother influenced Abanindranath Tagore who painted Bharat Mata.[52] In 2010, the office of the board of West Bengal Board of Secondary Education in Salt Lake City, Kolkata was named after Sister Nivedita.[53] The Sister Nivedita Academy, an institution dedicated to her memory has been established in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.[54] Several schools and colleges have been named after her. In 1968, the Indian Government issued a postal stamp in her memory. The Nivedita bridge near Dakhineswer, Kolkata is named in her honour.[55] In 2015, a new Government Degree College at Hastings House, Alipur, Kolkata was named after Sister Nivedita.[56]

Sister Nivedita was one of the important influences on Jagadish Chandra Bose. She supported him by organizing the financial support and editing his manuscripts, she made sure that Bose was able to continue with and share his work.[57]


Title page of Sister's 1913 book Cradle Tales of Hinduism

Her works included The Web of Indian Life, which sought to rectify many myths in the Western world about Indian culture and customs, Kali the Mother, The Master as I Saw Him on Swami Vivekananda, Notes of Some Wanderings with the Swami Vivekananda on her travels from Nainital, Almora and other places with Swamiji,[58] The Cradle Tales of Hinduism on the stories from Puranas, Ramayana and Mahabharata, Studies from an Eastern Home, Civil Ideal and Indian Nationality, Hints on National Education in India, Glimpses of Famine and Flood in East Bengal—1906.

• Kali the Mother, Swan Sonnenschein & Co.,. 1900.
• The Web of Indian Life, W. Heinemann 1904
• Cradle Tales of Hinduism, Longmans 1907
• An Indian Study of Love and Death, Longmans, Green & Co.,
• The Master as I Saw Him, 1910
• Select essays of Sister Nivedita, 1911 Ganesh & Co.,
• Studies from an Eastern Home, Longmans, Green & Co., 1913
• Myths of the Hindus & Buddhists, London : George G. Harrap & Co., 1913
• Notes of some wanderings with the Swami Vivekananda, 1913
• Footfalls of Indian History, Longmans, Green & Co., 1915
• Religion and Dharma, Longmans, Green, and Co., 1915
• Civic & national ideals. Udbodhan Office. 1929.

A newly annotated edition of The Ancient Abbey of Ajanta, that was serialized in The Modern Review during 1910 and 1911, was published in 2009 by Lalmati, Kolkata, with annotations, additions, and photographs by Prasenjit Dasgupta and Soumen Paul. Another collection of essays relating to Buddhism has been published by New Age Publishers of Kolkata titled Studies in Buddhism, that has been compiled and annotated by Prasenjit Dasgupta and Soumen Paul.


In 1952, Ramakrishna Mission Sister Nivedita Girls' School during its Golden Jubilee Celebration, decided to bring out a biography of Sister Nivedita in English and Bengali. Though there were some biographies in English and Bengali before this, they lack in historical facts. The historical account of Sister Nivedita's life in Bengali was written by Pravrajika Muktiprana of Sri Sarada Math and was published in 1959. The materials for the biographies were sourced from Sister Nivedita's own works, letters and diaries, references made to her by some of her contemporaries, and interviews with those who had worked with her and her own students. Later, in 1961, the English version of the book written by Pravrajika Atmaprana was published as Sister Nivedita of Ramakrishna-Vivekananda. Since then, the books had seen several revisions.

Letters of Sister Nivedita were first published in two volumes in 1960. There were more than 800 letters, half of which were written to Miss Josephine MacLeod. These letters vibrant with her thoughts and feelings cast a lot of light on the versatile genius of Nivedita.

In 1975, Barbara Fox published in London a biography of Sister Nivedita titled Long Journey Home. This work attempt to gauge Nivedita's work from an English woman's point of view.

Nivedita Lokmata in Bengali was published in three volumes by Sankari Prasad Basu in 1968, 1987, and 1988 respectively.

See also

• Bhagini Nivedita, 1962 Bengali film directed by Bijoy Basu
• U Dhammaloka - Irish man who immigrated to Burma and became a Buddhist Monk as well involving himself in local politics.


1. Constance Jones; James D. Ryan (2007). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Infobase Publishing. pp. 316–317. ISBN 978-0-8160-7564-5.
2. "Hindus want national holiday on October 13 to mark Sister Nivedita's 100th death anniversary". Hindustan Times (Highbeam). Archived from the original on 29 March 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
3. Margaret Elizabeth Noble. Studies From An Eastern Home. Forgotten Books. p. 1. ISBN 1-60506-665-6.
4. Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy; Whitall N. (INT) Perry (2011). The Wisdom of Ananda Coomaraswamy: Reflections on Indian Art, Life, and Religion. World Wisdom, Inc. pp. 129–. ISBN 978-1-935493-95-2.
5. Compiled (2008). Awakening Indians to India (Paperback). Chinmaya Mission. pp. 370–. ISBN 978-81-7597-434-0.
6. Dedicated : a biography of Nivedita. [S.l.]: Arcana Pub. 1999. ISBN 0910261164.
7. Atmaprana, p. 1
8. Nivedita of India (PDF) (1st ed.). Kolkata: Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture. 2002. p. 2. ISBN 81-87332-20-4.
9. Atmaprana, p. 3
10. "As a Teacher". Retrieved 12 June 2012.
11. Atmaprana, pp. 3–4
12. The Complete Works of Sister Nivedita, Vol. II, p. 470
13. The Complete Works of Sister Nivedita, Vol. I
14. "The Swami and the people he knew," Sister Nivedita
15. The Complete Works of Sister Nivedita, Vol. II, p. 399
16. Aruna Goel; S. L. Goel (2005). Human Values and Education. Deep & Deep Publications. p. 243. ISBN 978-81-7629-629-8.
17. Atmaprana
18. Hironmoy N. Mukherjee (2015) Swami Vivekananda's Spiritual Daughter: Sister Nivedita. Sri Ramakrishna Math Chennai. p. 19
19. M. G. Chitkara (2001). Women & Social Transformation. APH Publishing. pp. 416–. ISBN 978-81-7648-251-6.
20. Rolland, Romain. The Life of Vivekananda and the Universal Gospel. Advaita Ashrama. p. 77. ISBN 81-85301-01-8.
21. Letters of Sister Nivedita, Vol. I, p. 530
22. Hironmoy N. Mukherjee (2015) Swami Vivekananda's Spiritual Daughter: Sister Nivedita. Sri Ramakrishna Math Chennai. p. 11
23. "His Eastern and Western Disciples", in The Life of Swami Vivekananda, 7th ed., Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata, 2011, Vol.II, p. 323. ISBN 978-8175050440
24. Adhyatmasadhika Nivedita, by Pravrajika Gyanadaprana
25. Nivedita of India, published by Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture
26. "Letters of Sister Nivedita—Frank Parlato Jr". 19 August 1999. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
27. Gospel of Holy Mother, p. 10
28. Letters of Sister Nivedita, Vol. I
29. Complete Works of Sister Nivedita, volume 1, edited by Sankari Prasad Basu, Nababharat publication, Kolkata, 1992
30. "The Swami and the Sister". IIAS. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
31. G. S Banhatti (1995). Life And Philosophy Of Swami Vivekananda. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-81-7156-291-6.
32. Letters of Sister Nivedita
33. Linda Prugh (1999) Josephine MacLeod and Vivekananda's Mission, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai. p.290
34. The Complete Works of Sister Nivedita, Vol. I, p. 331
35. Atmaprana, p. 139
36. Letters of Sister Nivedita, Vol. I, #207, pp. 504–06
37. Nupur Chaudhuri (1992). Western Women and Imperialism: Complicity and Resistance. Indiana University Press. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-253-20705-0.
38. Helen Rappaport (2001). Encyclopedia of Women Social Reformers. ABC-CLIO. pp. 651–. ISBN 978-1-57607-101-4.
39. "Restoration bid for Sister Nivedita's house faces hurdle". Times of India. 24 July 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
40. "The School's Ideals". RKSM Sister Nivedita Girls School. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
41. Ramananda Chatterjee (1938). The Modern review. Prabasi Press Private, Ltd. pp. 78–79.
42. Economic and political weekly. Sameeksha Trust. 1990.
43. Maithreyi Krishnaraj (23 April 2012). Motherhood in India: Glorification Without Empowerment?. CRC Press. p. 240. ISBN 978-1-136-51779-2.
44. The Life of Swami Vivekananda, 7th ed., Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata, 2011, Vol.II, p. 615. ISBN 978-8175050440
45. Bonnie G. Smith (23 January 2008). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History. Oxford University Press. pp. 3–. ISBN 978-0-19-514890-9.
46. The Spiritual Daughter Of Swami Vivekananda.
47. Chakrabarti, Mohit (1998). Swami Vivekananda, poetic visionary. New Delhi: M.D. Publications. p. 80. ISBN 81-7533-075-9.
48. Sinha, Avijit (28 October 2011). "Revamp plea for Sister Nivedita's last abode". Telegraph, Calcutta. Calcutta, India. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
49. "Sister Nivedita's epitaph". Darjeeling Government. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
50. Sister Nivedita, 118
51. Mohit Chakrabarti (1998). Swami Vivekananda, Poetic Visionary. M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd. pp. 80–. ISBN 978-81-7533-075-7.
52. Chakrabarti, Arindam (23 October 2011). "Not Earth's Girl". Telegraph, Calcutta. Calcutta, India. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
53. "Madhyamik to breach million mark". Telegraph Calcutta. 19 November 2010.
54. "Sister Nivedita Academy". Retrieved 5 October 2012.
55. "Sister Nivedita commemorative stamp". Indian Post. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
56. "Mamata Banerjee lays foundation for Soujanya". Retrieved 12 September 2015.
57. "The Scientist and the Nun: How Sister Nivedita Made Sure J.C. Bose Never Gave Up" – via
58. Adwaita P. Ganguly (1 December 2001). Life and Times of Netaji Subhas: From Cuttack to Cambridge, 1897–1921. VRC Publications. pp. 35–. ISBN 978-81-87530-02-2.

Cited sources

• Atmaprana, Pravrajika (1992) [1961]. Sister Nivedita of Ramakrishna-Vivekananda. Sister Nivedita Girls' School, Calcutta.
• Letters of Sister Nivedita Vol. 1 Vol. 2. Basu, Sankari Prasad (Ed.). 1960. Nababharat Publishers.
• The Complete Works of Sister Nivedita
Volume 1: The Master as I Saw Him; Notes of Some Wanderings; Kedar Nath and Bhadri Narayan; Kali the Mother. ISBN 978-81-8040-458-0
Volume 2: The Web of Indian Life; An Indian Study of Love and Death; Studies from an Eastern Home; Lectures and Articles. ASIN B003XGBYHG
Volume 3: Indian Art; Cradle Tales of Hinduism; Religion and Dharma; Aggressive Hinduism. ISBN 978-1-177-78247-0
Volume 4: Footfalls of Indian History; Civic Ideal and Indian Nationality; Hints on National Education in India; Lambs Among Wolves. ASIN B0010HSR48
Volume 5: On Education; On Hindu Life, Thought and Religion; On Political, Economic and Social Problems; Biographical Sketches and Reviews. ASIN B0000D5LXI

Further reading

• Bakshi, S. R. (2000). Sister Nivedita: Pioneer in Missionaries Work. Faridabad, India: Om Publications. p. 286. ISBN 978-81-86867-38-9.
• Basu, Sankari Prasad, ed. (1982). Letters of Sister Nivedita. Calcutta, India: Nababharat Publishers. OCLC 12553314.
• Bhattacharya, Alak (2010). Nivedita: Synthesis of East and West. New Delhi: Northern Book Centre. p. 135. ISBN 978-81-7211-286-8.
• Chakravarty, Basudha (1975). Sister Nivedita. New Delhi: National Book Trust of India. p. 84. OCLC 2345534.
• Ghosh, Biplab Ranjan (2001). Sister Nivedita and the Indian Renaissance. Kolkata (Calcutta, India ): Progressive. p. 120. ISBN 978-81-86383-48-3.
• Gupta, Indra (2003). India's 50 Most Illustrious Women. New Delhi: Icon Publications. ISBN 978-81-88086-03-0. Chapter 23 "Sister Nivedita"
• Pruthi, Raj; Devi, Rameshwari; Pruthi, Romila, eds. (2003). Sister Nivedita: Social Revolutionary. Jaipur, India: Pointer. p. 262. OCLC 55122190.
• Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture (2002). Nivedita of India. Kolkata (Calcutta, India ): Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture. p. 98. ISBN 978-81-87332-20-6.
• Reymond, Lizelle (1953). The Dedicated, A Biography of Nivedita. New York: John Day Company. OCLC 1513282.
• Roy, Sohinee (2007). Sister Nivedita: A Passion for India. New Delhi: Rupa & Co. p. 61. ISBN 978-81-291-1200-2.
• Som, Reba (2017). Margot: Sister Nivedita of Swami Vivekananda. Penguin Random House India Private Limited. p. 336. ISBN 9386651572

External links

• Media from Wikimedia Commons
• Quotations from Wikiquote
• Texts from Wikisource
• Sister Nivedita and Vivekananda at the Wayback Machine (archived 26 October 2009)
• The Complete Works of Sister Nivedita – 5 Volumes (Free Download Pdf & Djvu) at
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Peter Kropotkin
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Accessed: 6/17/20

The [Fabian] Society still met as a rule at 17 Osnaburgh Street, or in the rooms of Frank Podmore at 14 Dean's Yard, Westminster, but it was steadily growing and new members were elected at every meeting. Although most of the members were young men of university education, the Society included people of various ages. To us at any rate Mrs. James Hinton, widow of Dr. Hinton, and her sisters, Miss Haddon and Miss Caroline Haddon, seemed to be at least elderly. Mrs. Robins, her husband (a successful architect), and her daughter, who acted as "assistant" honorary secretary for the first eighteen months, lent an air of prosperous respectability to our earliest meetings. Mr. and Mrs. J. Glode Stapleton, who were prominent members for some years, were remarkable amongst us because they drove to our meetings in their own brougham! The working classes, as before mentioned, had but a single representative. Another prominent member at this period was Mrs. Charlotte M. Wilson, wife of a stock-broker living in Hampstead, who a short time later "simplified" into a cottage at the end of the Heath, called Wildwood Farm, now a part of the Garden Suburb Estate, where Fabians for many years held the most delightful of their social gatherings. Mrs. Wilson was elected to the Executive of five in December, 1884 (Mrs. Wilson, H. Bland, E.R. Pease, G. Bernard Shaw and F. Keddell), but after some time devoted herself entirely to the Anarchist movement, led by Prince Kropotkin, and for some years edited their paper, "Freedom." But she remained throughout a member of the Fabian Society, and twenty years later she resumed her Fabian activity, as will be related in a later chapter....

The first meeting after the holidays was a memorable one, and a few words of introduction are necessary.

In normal times it may be taken for granted that in addition to the Government and the Opposition there is at least one party of Rebels. Generally there are more, since each section has its own rebels, down to the tiniest. [b][size=110]In the eighties the rebels were Communist Anarchists, and to us at any rate they seemed more portentous than the mixed crowd of suffragettes and gentlemen from Oxford who before the war seemed to be leading the syndicalist rebels. Anarchist Communism was at any rate a consistent and almost sublime doctrine. Its leaders, such as Prince Kropotkin and Nicholas Tchaykovsky, were men of outstanding ability and unimpeachable character
, and the rank and file, mostly refugees from European oppression, had direct relations with similar parties abroad, the exact extent and significance of which we could not calculate.[/size][/b]

-- The History of the Fabian Society, by Edward R. Pease

This name uses Eastern Slavic naming customs; the patronymic is Alexeyevich and the family name is Kropotkin.

Peter Kropotkin
Kropotkin c. 1900 (aged 57)
Born: Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin, 9 December 1842, Moscow, Russian Empire
Died: 8 February 1921 (aged 78), Dmitrov, Russian SFSR
Education : Corps of Pages (1857–1862); Saint Petersburg Imperial University (1867; no degree)[1]
Notable work: The Conquest of Bread; Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution; Fields, Factories and Workshops
Spouse(s): Sofia Ananyeva-Rabinovich
Era: 19th-century philosophy; 20th-century philosophy
Region: Russian philosophy; Western philosophy
School: Anarcho-communism
Main interests: Political philosophy; Political history; Economics; Ethics; Darwinian theory
Notable ideas: Political, ethical and economic theory of anarcho-communism; Mutual aid; Criticisms of wage-labour; Four-hour workday; Voluntary communes
Influences Bakunin Marx Darwin Freud Nietzsche Proudhon Reclus
Influenced: Berkman Malatesta Wilde[2] Tolstoy[3] Kafka[4] Makhno[5] Rocker[6] Kōtoku[7] Ward Goldman Woodcock Bookchin[8] Black Guérin Žižek Chomsky[9] Gould
Scientific career
Fields: Geography
Institutions: Russian Geographical Society
Academic advisors: Boleslar Kazimirovich Kukel

Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin (/kroʊˈpɒtkɪn/;[10] Russian: Пётр Алексе́евич Кропо́ткин; 9 December 1842[a] – 8 February 1921) was a Russian activist, writer, revolutionary, scientist, economist, sociologist, historian, essayist, researcher, political scientist, biologist, geographer[11] and philosopher who advocated anarcho-communism.

Born into an aristocratic land-owning family, he attended a military school and later served as an officer in Siberia, where he participated in several geological expeditions. He was imprisoned for his activism in 1874 and managed to escape two years later. He spent the next 41 years in exile in Switzerland, France (where he was imprisoned for almost four years) and in England. While in exile, Kropotkin gave lectures and published widely on anarchism and geography.[12] He returned to Russia after the Russian Revolution in 1917 but was disappointed by the Bolshevik state.

Kropotkin was a proponent of a decentralised communist society free from central government and based on voluntary associations of self-governing communities and worker-run enterprises. He wrote many books, pamphlets, and articles, the most prominent being The Conquest of Bread and Fields, Factories and Workshops; and his principal scientific offering, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution. He also contributed the article on anarchism to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition[13] and left unfinished a work on anarchist ethical philosophy.


Early life

Pyotr Kropotkin was born in Moscow, into an ancient Russian princely family. His father, major general Prince Alexei Petrovich Kropotkin, was a descendant of the Smolensk branch,[14] of the Rurik dynasty which had ruled Russia before the rise of the Romanovs. Kropotkin's father owned large tracts of land and nearly 1,200 male serfs in three provinces.[15] His mother was the daughter of a Cossack general.[15]

"Under the influence of republican teachings", Kropotkin dropped his princely title at age 12, and "even rebuked his friends, when they so referred to him."[16]

In 1857, at age 14, Kropotkin enrolled in the Corps of Pages at St. Petersburg.[17] Only 150 boys – mostly children of nobility belonging to the court – were educated in this privileged corps, which combined the character of a military school endowed with exclusive rights and of a court institution attached to the Imperial Household. Kropotkin's memoirs detail the hazing and other abuse of pages for which the Corps had become notorious.[18]

In Moscow, Kropotkin developed what would become a lifelong interest in the condition of the peasantry. Although his work as a page for Tsar Alexander II made Kropotkin skeptical about the tsar's "liberal" reputation,[19] Kropotkin was greatly pleased by the tsar's decision to emancipate the serfs in 1861.[20] In St. Petersburg, he read widely on his own account and gave special attention to the works of the French encyclopædists and French history. The years 1857–1861 witnessed a growth in the intellectual forces of Russia, and Kropotkin came under the influence of the new liberal-revolutionary literature, which largely expressed his own aspirations.[21]

In 1862, Kropotkin graduated first in his class from the Corps of Pages and entered the Tsarist army.[22] The members of the corps had the prescriptive right to choose the regiment to which they would be attached. Following a desire to "be someone useful", Kropotkin chose the difficult route of serving in a Cossack regiment in eastern Siberia.[22] For some time, he was aide de camp to the governor of Transbaikalia at Chita. Later he was appointed attaché for Cossack affairs to the governor-general of East Siberia at Irkutsk.[23]

Geographical expeditions in Siberia

Kropotkin in 1864

The administrator under whom Kropotkin served, General Boleslar Kazimirovich Kukel, was a liberal and a democrat who maintained personal connections to various Russian radical political figures exiled to Siberia. These included the writer Mikhail Larionovitch Mikhailov, whom Kropotkin (on the orders of Kukel) once warned about the Moscow police's investigation into his political activities in confinement. Mikhailov later gave the young Tsarist functionary a copy of a book by the French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon — Kropotkin's first introduction to anarchist ideas. Kukel was later dismissed from his administrative position, being transferred, instead, to state-sponsored scientific endeavors.[24]

In 1864, Kropotkin accepted a position in a geographical survey expedition, crossing North Manchuria from Transbaikalia to the Amur, and soon was attached to another expedition up the Sungari River into the heart of Manchuria. The expeditions yielded valuable geographic results. The impossibility of obtaining any real administrative reforms in Siberia now induced Kropotkin to devote himself almost entirely to scientific exploration, in which he continued to be highly successful.[25]

Kropotkin continued his political reading, including works by such prominent liberal thinkers as John Stuart Mill and Alexander Herzen. These readings, along with his experiences among peasants in Siberia, led him to declare himself an anarchist by 1872.[26]

In 1867, Kropotkin resigned his commission in the army and returned to St. Petersburg, where he entered the Saint Petersburg Imperial University to study mathematics, becoming at the same time secretary to the geography section of the Russian Geographical Society.[27] His departure from a family tradition of military service prompted his father to disinherit him, "leaving him a 'prince' with no visible means of support".[28]

In 1871, Kropotkin explored the glacial deposits of Finland and Sweden for the Society.[27] In 1873, he published an important contribution to science, a map and paper in which he showed that the existing maps entirely misrepresented the physical features of Asia; the main structural lines were in fact from southwest to northeast, not from north to south or from east to west as had been previously supposed. During this work, he was offered the secretaryship of the Society, but he had decided that it was his duty not to work at fresh discoveries but to aid in diffusing existing knowledge among the people at large. Accordingly, he refused the offer and returned to St. Petersburg, where he joined the revolutionary party.[29]

Activism in Switzerland and France

Kropotkin visited Switzerland in 1872 and became a member of the International Workingmen's Association (IWA) at Geneva. However, he found that he did not like IWA's style of socialism. Instead, he studied the programme of the more radical Jura federation at Neuchâtel and spent time in the company of the leading members, and adopted the creed of anarchism.[30]

Activism in Russia and arrest

On returning to Russia, Kropotkin's friend Dmitri Klements introduced him to the Circle of Tchaikovsky, a socialist/populist group created in 1872. Kropotkin worked to spread revolutionary propaganda among peasants and workers, and acted as a bridge between the Circle and the aristocracy. Throughout this period, Kropotkin maintained his position within the Geographical Society to provide cover for his activities.[31]

In 1872, Kropotkin was arrested and imprisoned in the Peter and Paul Fortress for subversive political activity, as a result of his work with the Circle of Tchaikovsky. Because of his aristocratic background, he received special privileges in prison, such as permission to continue his geographical work in his cell. He delivered his report on the subject of the Ice Age in 1876, where he argued that it had taken place in not as distant a past as initially thought.[32]

Escape and exile

In 1876, just before his trial, Kropotkin was moved to a low-security prison in St. Petersburg, from which he escaped with help from his friends. On the night of the escape, Kropotkin and his friends celebrated by dining in one of the finest restaurants in St. Petersburg, assuming correctly that the police would not think to look for them there. After this, he boarded a boat and headed to England.[33] After a short stay there, he moved to Switzerland where he joined the Jura Federation. In 1877, he moved to Paris, where he helped start the socialist movement. In 1878, he returned to Switzerland where he edited the Jura Federation's revolutionary newspaper Le Révolté and published various revolutionary pamphlets.[34]

Kropotkin by Nadar

In 1881, shortly after the assassination of Tsar Alexander II, he was expelled from Switzerland. After a short stay at Thonon (Savoy), he stayed in London for nearly a year.[35] He attended the Anarchist Congress in London from 14 July 1881.[36] Other delegates included Marie Le Compte, Errico Malatesta, Saverio Merlino, Louise Michel, Nicholas Tchaikovsky, and Émile Gautier. While respecting "complete autonomy of local groups", the congress defined propaganda actions that all could follow and agreed that propaganda by the deed was the path to social revolution.[36] The Radical of 23 July 1881 reported that the congress met on 18 July at the Cleveland Hall, Fitzroy Square, with speeches by Marie Le Compte, "the transatlantic agitator", Louise Michel, and Kropotkin.[37] Later Le Compte and Kropotkin gave talks to the Homerton Social Democratic Club and the Stratford Radical and Dialectical Club.[38]

Kropotkin returned to Thonon in late 1882. Soon he was arrested by the French government, tried at Lyon, and sentenced by a police-court magistrate (under a special law passed on the fall of the Paris Commune) to five years' imprisonment, on the ground that he had belonged to the IWA (1883). The French Chamber repeatedly agitated on his behalf, and he was released in 1886. He was invited to Britain by Henry Seymour and Charlotte Wilson and all three worked on Seymour's newspaper The Anarchist. Soon after, Wilson and Kropotkin split from the individualist anarchist Seymour and found the anarchist newspaper Freedom Press, which continues to this day. Kropotkin was a regular contributor, while Wilson was integral to the administrative and financial running of the paper until she resigned its editorship in 1895. He settled near London, living at various times in Harrow, then Bromley, where his daughter and only child, Alexandra, was born on 15 April 1887.[39][40] He also lived for many years in Brighton.[41] While living in London, Kropotkin became friends with a number of prominent English-speaking socialists, including William Morris and George Bernard Shaw.[42]

In 1916 Kropotkin and Jean Grave drafted a document called Manifesto of the Sixteen, which advocated an Allied victory over Germany and the Central Powers during the First World War. Because of the Manifesto, Kropotkin found himself isolated by the mainstream[43] of the anarchist movement.[44]

Return to Russia

Kropotkin in Haparanda, 1917

In 1917, after the February Revolution, Kropotkin returned to Russia after 40 years of exile. His arrival was greeted by cheering crowds of tens of thousands of people. He was offered the ministry of education in the Provisional Government, which he promptly refused, feeling that working with them would be a violation of his anarchist principles.[45]

His enthusiasm for the changes occurring in the Russian Empire expanded when Bolsheviks seized power in the October Revolution. He had this to say about the October Revolution: "During all the activities of the present revolutionary political parties we must never forget that the October movement of the proletariat, which ended in a revolution, has proved to everybody that a social revolution is within the bounds of possibility. And this struggle, which takes place worldwide, has to be supported by all means – all the rest is secondary. The party of the Bolsheviks was right to adopt the old, purely proletarian name of "Communist Party". Even if it does not achieve everything that it would like to, it will nevertheless enlighten the path of the civilised countries for at least a century. Its ideas will slowly be adopted by the peoples in the same way as in the nineteenth century the world adopted the ideas of the Great French Revolution. That is the colossal achievement of the October Revolution." .... "I see the October Revolution as an attempt to bring the preceding February Revolution to its logical conclusion with a transition to communism and federalism."[46]

Even though he led a life on the margins of the revolutionary upheaval, Kropotkin became increasingly critical of the methods of the Bolshevik dictatorship and went on to express these feelings in writing. "Unhappily, this effort has been made in Russia under a strongly centralized party dictatorship. This effort was made in the same way as the extremely centralized and Jacobin endeavor of Babeuf. I owe it to you to say frankly that, according to my view, this effort to build a communist republic on the basis of a strongly centralized state communism under the iron law of party dictatorship is bound to end in failure. We are learning to know in Russia how not to introduce communism, even with a people tired of the old regime and opposing no active resistance to the experiments of the new rulers."[47]


Kropotkin's friend and comrade Emma Goldman, accompanied by Alexander Berkman, delivers a eulogy before crowds at Kropotkin's funeral in Moscow.

Kropotkin died of pneumonia on 8 February 1921, in the city of Dmitrov, and was buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow. Thousands of people marched in his funeral procession, including, with Vladimir Lenin's approval,[48] anarchists carrying banners with anti-Bolshevik slogans.[49] The occasion, the last public demonstration of anarchists in Soviet Russia, saw engaged speeches by Emma Goldman and Aron Baron. In some versions of Peter Kropotkin's[50] Conquest of Bread, the mini-biography states that this would be the last time that Kropotkin's supporters would be allowed to freely rally in public.

In 1957 the Dvorets Sovetov station of the Moscow Metro was renamed Kropotkinskaya in his honor.[51]


Critique of capitalism

Kropotkin pointed out what he considered to be the fallacies of the economic systems of feudalism and capitalism. He believed they create poverty and artificial scarcity, and promote privilege. Instead, he proposed a more decentralized economic system based on mutual aid, mutual support, and voluntary cooperation. He argued that the tendencies for this kind of organization already exist, both in evolution and in human society.[52]

He disagreed with the Marxist critique of capitalism, including the labour theory of value, believing there was no necessary link between work performed and the prices of commodities. Instead, his attack on the institution of wage labour was based more on the power employers exerted over employees than the extraction of surplus value from their labour. Kropotkin claimed this power was made possible by the state's protection of private ownership of productive resources.[53]

Cooperation and competition

In 1902, Kropotkin published his book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, which gave an alternative view of animal and human survival. At the time, some "social Darwinists" such as Francis Galton proffered a theory of interpersonal competition and natural hierarchy. Instead, Kropotkin argued that "it was an evolutionary emphasis on cooperation instead of competition in the Darwinian sense that made for the success of species, including the human".[54] In the last chapter, he wrote:[55]

In the animal world we have seen that the vast majority of species live in societies, and that they find in association the best arms for the struggle for life: understood, of course, in its wide Darwinian sense – not as a struggle for the sheer means of existence, but as a struggle against all natural conditions unfavourable to the species. The animal species[...] in which individual struggle has been reduced to its narrowest limits[...] and the practice of mutual aid has attained the greatest development[...] are invariably the most numerous, the most prosperous, and the most open to further progress. The mutual protection which is obtained in this case, the possibility of attaining old age and of accumulating experience, the higher intellectual development, and the further growth of sociable habits, secure the maintenance of the species, its extension, and its further progressive evolution. The unsociable species, on the contrary, are doomed to decay.

— Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902), Conclusion.

Kropotkin did not deny the presence of competitive urges in humans, but did not consider them the driving force of history.[56]:262 He believed that seeking out conflict proved to be socially beneficial only in attempts to destroy unjust, authoritarian institutions such as the State or the Church, which he saw as stifling human creativity and impeding human instinctual drive towards cooperation.[57]

Kropotkin's observations of cooperative tendencies in indigenous peoples (pre-feudal, feudal, and those remaining in modern societies) led him to conclude that not all human societies were based on competition as were those of industrialized Europe, and that many societies exhibited cooperation among individuals and groups as the norm. He also concluded that most pre-industrial and pre-authoritarian societies (where he claimed that leadership, central government, and class did not exist) actively defend against the accumulation of private property by, for example, equally distributing within the community a person's possessions when they died, or by not allowing a gift to be sold, bartered or used to create wealth (see Gift economy).[58]

Mutual aid

In his 1892 book The Conquest of Bread, Kropotkin proposed a system of economics based on mutual exchanges made in a system of voluntary cooperation. He believed that in a society that is socially, culturally, and industrially developed enough to produce all the goods and services it needs, there would be no obstacle, such as preferential distribution, pricing or monetary exchange, to prevent everyone to take what they need from the social product. He supported the eventual abolition of money or tokens of exchange for goods and services.[59]

Kropotkin believed that Bakunin's collectivist economic model was just a wage system by a different name[60] and that such a system would breed the same type of centralization and inequality as a capitalist wage system. He stated that it is impossible to determine the value of an individual's contributions to the products of social labour, and thought that anyone who was placed in a position of trying to make such determinations would wield authority over those whose wages they determined.[61]

According to Kirkpatrick Sale:[54]

With Mutual Aid especially, and later with Fields, Factories, and Workshops, Kropotkin was able to move away from the absurdist limitations of individual anarchism and no-laws anarchism that had flourished during this period and provide instead a vision of communal anarchism, following the models of independent cooperative communities he discovered while developing his theory of mutual aid. It was an anarchism that opposed centralized government and state-level laws as traditional anarchism did, but understood that at a certain small scale, communities and communes and co-ops could flourish and provide humans with a rich material life and wide areas of liberty without centralized control.


Kropotkin's focus on local production led to his view that a country should strive for self-sufficiency – manufacture its own goods and grow its own food, lessening dependence on imports. To these ends, he advocated irrigation and greenhouses to boost local food production.[62]


The Conquest of Bread by Peter Kropotkin, influential work which presents the economic vision of anarcho-communism


• In Russian and French Prisons, London: Ward and Downey; 1887.
• The Conquest of Bread (Paris, 1892) Project Gutenberg e-text, Project LibriVox audiobook
• The Great French Revolution, 1789–1793 (French original: Paris, 1893; English translation: London, 1909). e-text (in French), Anarchist Library e-text (in English)
• The Terror in Russia, 1909, RevoltLib e-text
• Words of a Rebel, 1885,
• Fields, Factories and Workshops (London and New York, 1898).
• Memoirs of a Revolutionist, London : Smith, Elder; 1899. Anarchist Library e-text, Anarchy Archives e-text
• Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (London, 1902) Project Gutenberg e-text, Project LibriVox audiobook
• Russian Literature: Ideals and Realities (New York: A. A. Knopf, 1905). Anarchy Archives e-text
• The State: Its Historic Role, published 1946,
• Ethics: Origin and Development (unfinished). Included as first part of Origen y evolución de la moral (Spanish e-text)
• Modern Science and Anarchism, 1930, *


• An Appeal to the Young (1880)
• Communism and Anarchy (1901)
• Anarchist Communism: Its Basis and Principles (1887)
• The Industrial Village of the Future (1884)
• Law and Authority (1886)
• The Coming Anarchy (1887)
• The Place of Anarchy in Socialist Evolution (1886)
• The Wage System (1920)
• The Commune of Paris (1880)
• Anarchist Morality (1898)
• Expropriation
• The Great French Revolution and Its Lesson (1909)
• Process Under Socialism (1887)
• Are Prisons Necessary? Chapter X from "In Russian and French Prisons" (1887)
• The Coming War (1913)
• Wars and Capitalism (1914)
• Revolutionary Government (1892)
• The Scientific Basis of Anarchy (1887)
• The Fortress Prison of St. Petersburg (1883)
• Advice to Those About to Emigrate (1893)
• Some of the Resources of Canada (1898)
• Anarchism: Its Philosophy and Ideal (1896)
• Revolutionary Studies (1892)
• Direct Action of Environment and Evolution (1920)
• The Present Crisis in Russia (1901)
• The Spirit of Revolt (1880)
• The State: Its Historic Role (1897)
• On Economics Selected Passages from his Writings (1898–1913)
• On the Teaching of Physiography (1893)
• War! (1914)


• "The Constitutional Agitation in Russia," 1905.
• "Brain Work and Manual Work," 1890.
• "Manifesto of the Sixteen," 1916.
• "Organized Vengeance Called 'Justice.'"
• "A Proposed Communist Settlement: A New Colony for Tyneside or Wearside."
• "What Geography Ought to Be," 1885.
• "Organized Vengeance Called 'Justice'"
• "On Order"
• "Maxím Górky," 1904
• "Research on the Ice age", Notices of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society, 1876.
• "Baron Toll", The Geographical Journal, Vol. 23, No. 6. (Jun. 1904), pp. 770–772, JSTOR
• "The population of Russia", The Geographical Journal, Vol. 10, No. 2. (Aug. 1897), pp. 196–202, JSTOR
• "The old beds of the Amu-Daria", The Geographical Journal, Vol. 12, No. 3. (Sep. 1898), pp. 306–310, JSTOR
• "Russian Schools and the Holy Synod," 1902
• Mr. Mackinder; Mr. Ravenstein; Dr. Herbertson; Prince Kropotkin; Mr. Andrews; Cobden Sanderson; Elisée Reclus, "On Spherical Maps and Reliefs: Discussion", The Geographical Journal, Vol. 22, No. 3. (Sep. 1903), pp. 294–299, JSTOR
• "The desiccation of Eur-Asia", Geographical Journal, 23 (1904), 722–41.
• "Finland" in Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.), 1911 (in part; with Joseph R. Fisher and John Scott Keltie)
• "Finland: A Rising Nationality," Nineteenth Century, 1885
• “Anarchism” in Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.), 1911
• "Anti-militarism. Was it properly understood?", Freedom, vol.XXVIII, no. 307 (November 1914), pp. 82–83.
• "An open letter of Peter Kropotkin to the Western workingmen", The Railway Review (29 June 1917), p. 4.

See also

• Anarchism portal
• Communism portal
• Socialism portal
• Biography portal
• Russia portal
• Soviet Union portal
• Anarcho-communism
• Anarchist schools of thought
• Katorga
• List of Russian anarchists
• Kropotkin family


1. According to the new style calendar (modern Gregorian), Kropotkin was born on 21 December 1842. According to the old style (Old Julian) calendar used in the Russian Empire at the time, it was 9 December 1842. Russia converted from the old to the new style calendar in 1918.


1. Slatter, John. "Kropotkin, Pyotr Alexeyevich." Encyclopedia of Russian History. 2004. Retrieved 1 March 2016 from
2. Peter Marshall (2009). Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism. PM Press. p. 177. ISBN 9781604862706.
3. Leo Tolstoy, MobileReference (2007). Works of Leo Tolstoy. MobileReference. ISBN 9781605011561.
4. Richard T. Gray, ed. (2005). A Franz Kafka Encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 170. ISBN 9780313303753.
5. Winfried Scharlau (2011). Who is Alexander Grothendieck? Part 1: Anarchy. Books on Demand. p. 30. ISBN 9783842340923. In June 1918 Makhno visited his idol Peter Kropotkin in Moscow...
6. Mina Graur (1997). An Anarchist Rabbi: The Life and Teachings of Rudolf Rocker. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 22–36. ISBN 978-0-312-17273-2.
7. Louis G. Perez, ed. (2013). "Kōtoku Shūsui (1871–1911)". Japan at War: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 190. ISBN 9781598847420.
8. Bookchin, Murray. The Ecology of Freedom. Oakland: AK Press, 2005. p.11
9. "Noam Chomsky Reading List". Left Reference Guide. 18 January 2009. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
10. "Kropotkin". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
11. Stoddart, D. R. (1975). "Kropotkin, Reclus, and 'Relevant' Geography". Area. 7 (3): 188–190. JSTOR 20001005.
12. Caves, R. W. (2004). Encyclopedia of the City. Routledge. p. 414. ISBN 9780415252256.
13. Peter Kropotkin entry on 'anarchism' from the Encyclopædia Britannica (eleventh ed.), Internet Archive. Public Domain text.
14. Woodcock, George & Avakumović, Ivan (1990). Peter Kropotkin: From Prince to Rebel. Black Rose Books. p. 13. ISBN 9780921689607.
15. Harman, Oren (2011). The Price of Altruism: George Price and the Search for the Origins of Kindness. W.W. Norton & Company. p. 20. ISBN 9780393339994.
16. Roger N. Baldwin, "The Story of Kropotkin's Life," in Kropotkin's Anarchism: A Collection of Revolutionary Writings, ed. by Baldwin (Orig. 1927; Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 1970), p. 13.
17. Martin A. Miller, "Introduction" to P. A. Kropotkin, Selected Writings on Anarchism and Revolution. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1970; p. 7.
18. Kropotkin, Peter (1899). Memoirs of a Revolutionist. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 63. peter kropotkin memoirs revolutionist.
19. Winkle, Justin, ed. (2009). "Kropotkin, Petr Alexseyevich". The Concise New Makers of Modern Culture. Taylor & Francis. p. 425. ISBN 9780415477826.
20. Todes, Daniel Philip (1989). Darwin Without Malthus: The Struggle for Existence in Russian Evolutionary Thought. Oxford University Press. p. 124. ISBN 9780195058307.
21. Kropotkin, Peter (1899). Memoirs of a Revolutionist. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Company. p. 270.
22. Miller, "Introduction," pg. 8.
23. Kropotkin, Peter (1899). Memoirs of a Revolutionist. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Company. p. 198.
24. Miller, "Introduction," p. 9.
25. Kropotkin, Peter (1899). Memoirs of a Revolutionist. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Company. p. 214.
26. Ward, Dana (2010). "Alchemy in Clarens: Kropotkin and Reclus, 1877–1881". In Jun, Nathan J. & Wahl, Shane (eds.). New Perspectives on Anarchism. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 211. ISBN 9780739132418.
27. Marshall, Peter (2010). Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism. PM Press. p. 311. ISBN 9781604860641.
28. Riggenbach, Jeff (4 March 2011). "The Anarchism of Peter Kropotkin". Mises Daily. Ludwig von Mises Institute.
29. Kropotkin, Peter (1899). Memoirs of a Revolutionist. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Company. pp. 235–236.
30. Kropotkin, Peter (1899). Memoirs of a Revolutionist. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Company. pp. 282–287.
31. Cahm, Caroline (2002). Kropotkin: And the Rise of Revolutionary Anarchism, 1872–1886. Cambridge University Press. p. 44. ISBN 9780521891578.
32. Todes, Daniel Philip (1989). Darwin Without Malthus: The Struggle for Existence in Russian Evolutionary Thought. Oxford University Press. p. 125. ISBN 9780195058307.
33. Bell, Jeffrey A. (2002). "Kropotkin, Pyotr". In Bell, Jeffrey A. (ed.). Industrialization and Imperialism, 1800–1914: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 199. ISBN 9780313314513.
34. Kropotkin, Peter (1899). Memoirs of a Revolutionist. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Company. pp. 417–423.
35. Kropotkin, Peter (2010). Memoirs of a Revolutionist. reproduction of 1899 edition. Dover Publications. p. 440. ISBN 978-0-486-47316-1.
36. Bantman, Constance (2006). "Internationalism without an International? Cross-Channel Anarchist Networks, 1880–1914" (PDF). Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire. 84 (84–4): 965. doi:10.3406/rbph.2006.5056.
37. Young, Sarah J. (9 January 2011). "Russians in London: Pyotr Kropotkin". Retrieved 30 August 2013.
38. Shpayer, Haia (June 1981). "British Anarchism 1881–1914: Reality and Appearance" (PDF). p. 20. Retrieved 30 August2013.
39. "Alexandra Kropotkin" Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America by Paul Avrich (2005) AK Press pps. 16–18. Retrieved 8 May 2017
40. Bromley Council guide to blue plaques
41. Peter Marshall Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism, London: Fontana, 1993, p.315
42. Gibbs, A. (2001). A Bernard Shaw Chronology. Springer. p. 365. ISBN 9780230599581.
43. peter marshall, p 332, Demanding the impossible 1993
44. THE PALGRAVE HANDBOOK OF ANARCHISM, Edited by Carl Levy and Matthew S. Adams, page 404 publication Palgrave Macmillan, 2019
45. Burbank, Jane (1989). Intelligentsia and Revolution: Russian Views of Bolshevism, 1917–1922. Oxford University Press. p. 99. ISBN 9780195045734.
46. "A meeting between V.I. Lenin and P. A. Kropotkin".
47. "Letter to the Workers of Western Europe", in Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets. Dover Publications Inc. 1970. p. 254. ISBN 9780486225197.
48. Goldman, Emma (1931). Living My Life. Dover Publications. pp. 867–868. ISBN 978-0-486-22543-2.
49. "Papers of William Wess".
50. "The Biography of Prince Pyotr Kropotkin". 9 July 2016.
51. Muscovites Step Up Effort To Rename Metro Station Honoring Tsar's Killer.
52. Kropotkin, Peter (1902). Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution. McClure, Philips & Company. pp. 223.
53. Bekken, John (2009). Radical Economics and Labour. Chapter 2: Peter Kropotkin's anarchist economics for a new society. London & New York: Routledge. p. 223. ISBN 978-0-415-77723-0.
54. Sale, Kirkpatrick (1 July 2010) Are Anarchists Revolting? Archived 12 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine, The American Conservative
55. Kropotkin, Peter (1902). quotation from Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution.
56. Gallaher, Carolyn; Dahlman, Carl T.; Gilmartin, Mary; Mountz, Alison; Shirlow, Peter (2009). Key Concepts in Political Geography. London: SAGE. p. 392. ISBN 978-1-4129-4672-8. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
57. Vucinich, Alexander (1988). Darwin in Russian Thought. University of California Press. p. 349. ISBN 9780520062832.
58. Morris, David. Anarchism Is Not What You Think It Is – And There's a Whole Lot We Can Learn from It, AlterNet, 13 February 2012
59. Kropotkin, Peter (1892). The Conquest of Bread. Putnam. pp. 201.
60. Kropotkin wrote: "After the Collectivist Revolution instead of saying 'twopence' worth of soap, we shall say 'five minutes' worth of soap." (quoted in Brauer, Fae (2009). "Wild Beasts and Tame Primates: 'Le Douanier' Rosseau's Dream of Darwin's Evolution". In Larsen, Barbara Jean (ed.). The Art of Evolution: Darwin, Darwinisms, and Visual Culture. UPNE. p. 211. ISBN 9781584657750.)
61. Avrich, Paul (2005). The Russian Anarchists. AK Press. pp. 28–29. ISBN 9781904859482.
62. Adams, Matthew S. (4 June 2015). Kropotkin, Read, and the Intellectual History of British Anarchism: Between Reason and Romanticism. Springer. ISBN 9781137392626.

Further reading

Books on Kropotkin

• Mac Laughlin, Jim (2016). Kropotkin and the Anarchist Intellectual Tradition. Pluto Press (UK). ISBN 9780745335131.
• Alan, Barnard (March 2004). "Mutual Aid and the Foraging Mode of Thought: Re-reading Kropotkin on the Khoisan". Social Evolution & History. 3 (1): 3–21.
• Joll, James (1980). The Anarchists. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-03641-3. LCCN 80-010503.
• Woodcock, George & Avakumovic, Ivan (1950). The Anarchist Prince: A Biographical Study of Peter Kropotkin.
• Miller, Martin A. (1976). Kropotkin. University of Chicago Press.
• Morris, Brian (2004). Kropotkin: the Politics of Community. Humanity Press.
• The World That Never Was: A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists and Secret Police by Alex Butterworth (Pantheon Books, 2010)
• Engelbert, Arthur (2012). Help! Gegenseitig behindern oder helfen. Eine politische Skizze zur Wahrnehmung heute. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann. ISBN 978-3-8260-5017-6. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
• Cahm, Caroline (1989). Kropotkin and the rise of revolutionary anarchism 1872–1886. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-36445-0.
• Walter, Nicolas (2004). "Kropotkin, Peter". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/42326. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
• Davis, Mike (2018) Chapter 3: The Coming Desert: Kropotkin, Mars and the Pulse of Asia in Old Gods, New Enigmas: Marx's Lost Theory. Verso Books.

Journal articles

• Gould, S.J. (June 1997). "Kropotkin was no crackpot". Natural History. 106: 12–21.
• Basic Kropotkin: Kropotkin and the History of Anarchism by Brian Morris, Anarchist Communist Editions pamphlet no.17 (The Anarchist Federation, October 2008).
• Efremenko D., Evseeva Y. Studies of Social Solidarity in Russia: Tradition and Modern Trends. // American Sociologist, v. 43, 2012, no. 4, pp. 349–365. – NY: Springer Science+Business Media.
• Prince P. A. Kropotkin: [Obituary] // Nature. 1921. Vol. 106. P. 735-736.

External links

• Media from Wikimedia Commons
• Quotations from Wikiquote
• Texts from Wikisource
• Data from Wikidata
• Works by Peter Kropotkin at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Peter Kropotkin at Internet Archive
• Works by Peter Kropotkin at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
• Peter Kropotkin Full Collected Works page at
• The Peter Kropotkin text archive on library
• Peter Kropotkin entry at the Anarchy Archives with complete collected works
• Summary of records in The National Archives and elsewhere, with a link to the National Register of Archives pages.
• Kropotkin's works at
• Album of the funeral of P.A. Kropotkin in Moscow (1922)
• The virtual Museum of P.A. Kropotkin
• Newspaper clippings about Peter Kropotkin in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
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Integral yoga [Aurobindo]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 6/17/20

Integral yoga
Sri Aurobindo
Founder Sri Aurobindo, The Mother
Established 1926

Integral yoga, also called supramental yoga, is the yoga-based philosophy and practice of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother (Mirra Alfassa). Sri Aurobindo finds that there has always been impulse or longings in humans in search for God, Light, Bliss, Freedom, Immortality which has presented itself in a right place in a sequence, which Nature is seeking to evolve beyond mind. This sequence on one end which depicts Life is already involved in Matter (or Matter a form of veiled life, i.e. life being evolved out of matter) and mind in life (i.e. mind being evolved out of life), leading to the understanding that currently the mind is also a veil of higher states which are beyond mind. Nature via the said impulses would gradually prepare for a higher living and a diviner life.

Integral yoga finds all life conscious or unconscious a yoga, defines the term yoga as a methodised effort towards self-perfection by the expression of the secret potentialities latent in the being and highest condition of victory in that effort—a union of the human individual with the universal and transcendent existence which is seen partially as expressions in humans and in the cosmos.

According to Sri Aurobindo, the current status of human evolution is an intermediate stage in the evolution of being, which is on its way to the unfolding of the spirit, and the self-revelation of divinity in all things.[1] Yoga is a rapid and concentrated evolution of being, which can take effect in one life-time, while unassisted natural evolution would take many centuries or many births.[2] Sri Aurobindo suggests a grand representation of future potentialities called sapta chatushtaya (seven quadrates), which depicts a road map to coming evolution.

Concept of Life

The two common perception of Life and Reality Sri Aurobindo finds that there are two extreme views of life, the materialists and the ascetics.

The Materialists

He finds materialists would only accept the existence of matter or force and deny anything else, & would in their argument find anything which is not knowable (that which would escape once thought and speech) as inert or a passive, silent Atman, an illusion or a hallucination, this affirmation by the materialists is based on the association of the real with the materially perceptible, and becomes the basis of his assumption on all his arguments. For which Sri Aurobindo finds that the notion cannot give an impartial reasoning. Due to the above notion the materialists would refuse any further inquiry, thus never would have a satisfied understanding.[3] He recommends that the only way to reconcile the materialistic mind with the other truth would be to cross over the layers of inner consciousness either by objective analysis of life & mind as to matter or by subjective synthesis and illumination, arrive at a state of the ultimate unity without denying the energy of the expressing multiplicity of the universe.[4]

He finds that the current World is in a state of rationalistic materialism, & finds that this rationalistic movement has served human kind in a positive way, by purifying intellect from the dogmas, superstitions clearing path to a better advancement of Humanity.[5] Sri Aurobindo finds that root of this Scientific movement to be a search for knowledge, due to this root the movement would not come to a halt and its progress is a sure sign that it would carry forward in reaching the other part of knowledge which vedantins had found in a different way.[6]

The Ascetics

would only accept spirit/Atman and terming the remaining as mechanical unintelligent substance or energy, leading to believing the reality to be an illusion of senses.[7] Sri Aurobindo finds when the mind retracts from external activities and has experience of silence, a powerful convincing experience that only the pure self or non-being is real, leads them to disregard the outer world. he finds this as a revolt of spirit on matter which was made famous by Buddhism, which affirms that it is impossible to find a solution in the world which is termed to be dual in nature, but to escape into Nirvana, Brahmaloka or Goloka as beyond & a final solution. He finds that this approach is slowly coming to an end and had its importance as the part of evolution, but the said approach is quite different than what was present during Vedic period.[8]

Integral yoga's take on Reality

Sri Aurobindo finds that a compromise between the two approaches would be a bargain and would not be a true reconciliation, but only a unified Spirit and Matter would be a basis for Integral yoga's path to understanding of reality.[9] He finds that the non being at one end which seems opposite to the manifested universe, are not opposites which would deny other's existence, but rather are different states of reality with opposite affirmations. Sri Aurobindo finds that the highest experience of the Reality to be a conscious Existence, a supreme Intelligence, Force and a self-existent Bliss; He finds a liberated intelligence and experience would bring about this highest understanding of the reality.[10]

Humanity and its purpose

Integral yoga rejects notion of reality being a purposeless illusion or a result of an accident nor a deceptive trick of mind but an existence aware of itself, realises itself in form and unfolds itself in the individual, an existence which already exists as an all-revealing & all-guiding truth of things first movements would be without the knowledge of its conscious mind but a general movement of nature and later consciously by a progressive awakening & self enlargement, to his divine ascension and finds this ascent of life to divine life is the human journey and his prime purpose of life.[11]


Sri Aurobindo finds an allegory of Adam and Eve in the Genesis, representing Purusha (the individual Soul) tempted by prakriti (nature) having consumed a fruit which represents a dividing consciousness, brings in dualities of life and death, good and evil which has caused a fall, a deviation from full and pure acceptance of God. The redemption would come by recovering the Universal Soul in the individual (in physical consciousness) through a higher knowledge which would reconcile the concept of good, evil, joy, suffering, Life and death identifying these opposites in the universal and transform these division into a divine unity.[12]

Self importance:

Sri Aurobindo finds that we keep a false account of the world, and give importance only to our existence and all else being negligible, would be the actual root of ego. Even in philosophising we exert too much importance on our own state of consciousness or mental standards, all outside or views tends to become false or non existent. this sense has an assertion on truth perception, giving distorted view. To recognise that we are only a partial movement of this infinite movement and that it is that infinite which we have to know, to be consciously and to fulfil faithfully, would be the commencement of true living.[13]

Sri Aurobindo finds that ego, a divisive perspective to be one of the cause of the duality, is only an intermediate phenomenon of consciousness necessary for certain line of development in evolutionary process. A process which would eventually lead to dissolution of the ego by self opening of the individual to the universe and to God, this sequence of event being very similar to animalistic life as a prelude to Human life.[14]

Cognition and the Intuitive knowledge

Sri Aurobindo finds that confining oneself with sensory evidence would lead to knowledge about material world and its phenomenon and nothing more, but as a result of development of Reason which accepts sensory evidence as a starting point but not limited by it goes beyond judges, works on its own right way and may arrive at a result which may be opposite to sensory observations, Sri Aurobindo states to correct the errors of sense-mind by the use of reason is one of main reason why Humanity is the cause of superiority among other life forms.[15]

For Sri Aurobindo intuition comes under the realms of knowledge by identity; he describes the psychological plane in humans (often referred to as mana in Sanskrit) having two arbitrary natures, the first being imprinting of psychological experiences which is constructed through sensory information (mind seeking to become aware of external world). The second nature being the action when it seeks to be aware of itself, resulting in humans being aware of their existence or aware of being angry aware of other emotions. He terms this second nature as knowledge by identity.[16] He finds that at present as the result of evolution the mind has accustomed itself to depend upon certain physiological functioning and their reactions as its normal means of entering into relations with the outer material world. As a result, when we seek to know about the external world the dominant habit is through arriving at truths about things via what our senses convey to us. However, knowledge by identity, which we currently only give the awareness of human beings' existence, can be extended further to outside of ourselves resulting in intuitive knowledge.[17]

From Vedantic knowledge to different school of Hindu philosophy|thoughts in Hinduism

He finds this intuitive knowledge was common to older humans (Vedic) and sages of the veda and vedanta. For the knowledge they relied entirely upon intuition and spiritual experience and not on logical reasoning but by a comparison of intuitions & experiences, as he gives an example that in the vedanta one discusses in terms of what one knows and not what one thinks of.[18] With time once the rationalistic age took over and speculation began the Indian philosophers recognised that the vedantic texts were superior to reasons, but at the same time started from reason and tested the result it gave them, holding only those conclusions to be valid which were supported by the text. This trend of reason eventually led to conflicting schools of thought each of which the theory founded itself on Vedic texts and used its text as a weapon against the others. Sri Aurobindo believes this is due to the fact that the intuitive knowledge sees things in the whole and only sides of an indivisible whole, while reason on the contrary proceeds by analysis, dissemination and assembles its facts to form a whole. leading into assembly of facts so formed would contain opposites, anomalies, logical incompatibilities and tendencies to affirm some and negate others which conflict with its chosen conclusions so that it may form a flawlessly logical system, which has resulted in different school of thoughts in Hinduism.[19]

Pure existence/purusha - Sat

Sri Aurobindo observes that Brahman to be present in all, not in equal part of itself but its whole self at one and to be indivisible, To Brahman there are no whole and parts, but each thing is all itself and benefits by the whole of Brahman. even though there is a presence of an illusion of quality and illusion of quantity which may differ, the self to be equal. The form, manner and result of the force of action may vary infinitely but the primal energy would remain same in all.[20]

According to Sri Aurobindo the Vedanta asserts that we are a subordinate and an aspect of a movement of an infinite energy and the movement being a subordinate and an aspect of something other than itself, of a great timeless, spaceless stability, unchanging over time, not acting, not energy but a pure existence. he finds that even though for an observer the world may seem a block of movement, but this energy is an output of a pure existence, this nature of existence would presuppose all end and beginning leading to the understanding that the concept of an absolute beginning and an absolute end an illusion or a fiction. Here He rejects the concept of Nihilism. and asserts concept of a pure existence & movement, the energy which he terms to be world-existence both to be real, one being a fact of being and other a fact of becoming.

even though pure existence being an absolute is unknowable by our thought, Sri Aurobindo finds that not only can we have a glimpse of the pure existence in experience, but we can draw back into it and live in it entirely.[21]

Conscious Force/prakriti - Power of Chit

Sri Aurobindo finds that the early thoughts of Humans had compared infinite existence of force to a Sea, initially at rest, therefore being free from forms and the first disturbance necessitated the creation of forms. he finds that merry vibrations in itself was not sufficient to create forms but an obstruction in the flow of the force ocean, some contraction and expansion, interplay of vibrations, impinging of force upon force to create a fixed relations and mutual effects. according to the old Indian school of thought, following five elements were the principal building block of all things in the universe.[22]

• Aerial: A material force modifying its first status and assuming its second. eg reception of vibration would be the sense of sound.
• Spatial/Space:a property of contact between force and force which is a basis for all material relations,e.g would develop the sense of touch.
• Agni/Fire: A sustaining principal, provided by a third self modification of the primitive force a principal of light, electricity, fire & heat, sustained by them the sense of Sight.
• Liquid / Water : characterized by diffusion and a first medium of permanent attractions and repulsions, e.g leading to the sense of taste.
• Cohesion/Earth : a solid state characterising cohesion, e.g leading to sense of smell.

by dividing and suggesting that all is essentially a response to vibratory contacts between force and force, thus had solved the problem of how things which seems to real to the senses is only a temporary phenomena.

however Sri Aurobindo finds, this theory is not explaining how the contact of vibrations of force should give rise to conscious sensations.[23]


Through evolution Spirit rediscovered itself as Spirit. Evolution follows a developmental trajectory from the original inconscience of matter into life, to mind, and then to spiritualized mind, culminating in The Supermind or Truth Consciousness.[24][25] Evolution is teleological,[26][27] since the developing entity contains within itself already the totality toward which it develops.[27] It is not a mechanistic or deterministic teleology,[27][26] but a "manifestation of all the possibilities inherent in the total movement."[26]

Three types of being

Sri Aurobindo discerns three types of being, namely the Outer being, the Inner being, and the Psychic Being.

The Outer Being

The Outer Being includes the physical, vital and mental levels of Being, which characterises our everyday consciousness and experience. It includes several levels of the subconscient: a mental subconscient, a vital subconscient, and a physical subconscient, down to the material Inconscient.[web 1] Integral Yoga involves going beyond this surface consciousness to the larger life of the Inner Being, which is more open to spiritual realisation.

The Inner or Subliminal Being

The Inner Being, or Subliminal,[28][29] includes the inner realms or aspects of the physical, vital and mental being. They have a larger, subtler, freer consciousness than that of the everyday consciousness. Its realisation is essential for any higher spiritual realisation.

The Inner Being is also transitional between the surface or Outer Being and the Psychic or Inmost Being. By doing yoga practice (sadhana), the inner consciousness is being opened, and life turns away from the outward to the inward. The inner consciousness becomes more real than the outer consciousness, and becomes a peace, happiness and closeness to the Divine.[30]

The Psychic Being

The Psychic Being is Sri Aurobindo's term for the Personal Evolving Soul, the principle of Divine spirit in every individual.[note 1] The Psychic is the "Innermost Being",[note 2] the permanent being in us that stands behind and supports the physical, vital and mental principles. It "uses mind, life and body as its instruments," undergoing their fate yet also transcending them.[33]

In Integral Yoga the goal is to move inward and discover the Psychic Being, which then can bring about a transformation of the outer nature. This transformation of the outer being or ego by the Psychic is called Psychicisation; it is one of the three necessary stages in the realisation of the Supramental consciousness. This Psychic transformation is the decisive movement that enables a never-ending progress in life, through the power of connecting to one's inner spirit or Divine Essence. The Psychic begins its evolution completely veiled and hidden, but grows through successive lifetimes, and gradually exerts a greater influence, taking on the role of spiritual Guide.[34]

Central being

Central Being refers to the transcendent and eternal spirit, as opposed to the incarnate and evolving Soul, which he calls the Psychic Being. Sometimes it refers to both of them together as the essential spiritual core of the being.[35] The Central Being "presides over the different births one after the other but is itself unborn" (ibid p. 269). This transcendent Central Being or Spirit is also designated as the Jiva or Jivatman, although the meaning of these terms in Sri Aurobindo's philosophy differs greatly from that of much of conventional Vedanta (especially Advaita Vedanta)

Levels of being

Sri Aurobindo's model of Being and Evolution[36][37]

The levels of being ascend from the inconscient to the Supermind.


Inconscient Matter is the lowest level of involution.[38][39] Spirit is still present in the inconscient:[40] "The Inconscient is the Superconscient's sleep."[web 1] The Inconscient is also the instrument of the Superconsciousness which has created the Universe.[41] According to Satprem, the Inconscient lies at the bottom of the physical subconscient,[web 1] and "life emerged [...] at the border between the material inconscient and the physical consciousness [...] in our body.[web 1]

Subconscient and subtle or subliminal conscient

The physical, vital and mental levels of being contain both a subconscient and a subtle or subliminal part.[42]

The subconscient

The subconscient parts are the submerged parts. It contains "obstinate samskaras, impressions, associations, fixed notions, habitual reactions formed by the past."[43] According to Satprem, there are several levels of the subconscient, corresponding with the different levels of our being: a mental subconscient, a vital subconscient, and a physical subconscient, down to the material Inconscient.[web 1]

According to Sri Aurobindo, the body is partly a creation of the inconscient or subconscient.[41] According to The Mother, the ordinary, false consciousness, which is common to material body-consciousness, is derived from the subconscient and the inconscient.[44] According to Aurobindo, the outer being depends on the subconscient, which hinders the spiritual progress.[45] Only by living in the inner being can this obstacle be overcome.[45]

According to Sharma, the subconscient is "the inconscient in the proces of becoming conscient."[28] It is a submerged part of the personality without waking consciousness, but which does receive impressions, and influences the conscious mind.[46] According to Sharma, it includes the unconscious mind which is described by psychologists like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung,[46] though it includes much more than the unconscious of (Freudian) psychology.[note 3]

The subtle or subliminal conscient

The subtle or subliminal is the subtle, higher counterpart of the subconscient. According to Sharma, "it has an inner mind, an inner vital being, and an inner subtle physical being, wider than man's consciousness."[28] It can directly experience the Universal, and "it is the source of inspirations, intuitions, ideas, will [...] as well as [...] telepathy [and] clearvoyance."[28]

Gross body

The gross body commonly referred to in yoga constitutes mainly of two parts the material physical body (annakosha) and the nervous system normally refer to as vital vehicle (Prana kosha) in Integral yoga.[48]


The Physical level refers to both the physical body and the body's consciousness. The body is just as conscious as the vital and mental parts of the being, only it is a different type of consciousness. The Physical not only shades upwards to higher ontological levels, but also downwards into the Subconscient.[note 4]

The Subtle physical is Sri Aurobindo's term for a subtler aspect of the physical nature. This has many qualities not found in the gross physical nature. In The Agenda, The Mother often refers to it. It might be compared to the etheric body and plane, or even the astral body and plane. The term "subtle physical" is used to distinguish it from gross (sthula) or outer material physical.[note 5]


The Vital level of the being refers to the life force, but also to the various passions, desires, feelings, emotions, affects, compulsions, and likes and dislikes. These strongly determine human motivation and action through desire and enthusiasm.

Unlike Western psychology, in which mind, emotions, instincts, and consciousness are all lumped together, Sri Aurobindo strongly distinguishes between the "Vital" and the "Mental" faculties.

In addition to the individual Vital faculty, Sri Aurobindo refers to a Vital Plane or Vital world, which would seem to be partly equivalent to the Astral Plane of popular occultism and New Age thought.

Mind or Mental being

Mind proper is the conceptual and cognitive mind. Mind is a subordinate process of the Supermind.[50] It is the intermediary stage between the Divine and the mundane life.[51] It works by measuring and dividing reality, and has lost sight of the Divine.[52] It is the seat of ignorance, yet it is still capable of an upward ascent toward the Divine.[53]

Unlike Western psychology, in which mind and consciousness are considered the same, Sri Aurobindo strongly distinguishes between the "Mental" and the "Vital" (emotional) faculties, as well as between Mind and pure Consciousness. Sri Aurobindo in part bases his concept of the Mental on his reading of the Taittiriya Upanishad, the mental being (or perhaps just the Mental Purusha) is the mano-maya-atma—the self made of mind (manas).

For Sri Aurobindo, Mind or the Mental being is not simple and uniform, but consists itself of various strata and subdivisions, which act at different levels of being. These various faculties are described or variously referred to, usually in obliquely or in passing, in some of his books, including Savitri, which has poetic references to many types of Mind.[54] In his letters answering questions from disciples, Sri Aurobindo summarises the characteristics of the various levels of Mind.[55][note 6]

Above mind proper lie various higher individual levels of mind, namely the Higher Mind, Illumined Mind, Intuitive Mind and Overmind, which ascend toward the Spirit, and provide a higher and more inclusive vision of reality:

• Higher Mind is the realm of Truth-thought. It can hold a wide range of knowledge in one vision and an integral whole.[53][note 7] It receives illumination from the Illumined Mind,[58] and is not dependent on the limited knowledge of the senses.[53] It is also capable of transforming the lower realms of body and mind, effectuating change sof habit and life.[53] Nevertheless, it is still a state of thought, in contrast to Illumined Mind, which is a state of vision and spiritual insight.[58]
• Illumined Mind is the mind of sight and vision. It transformes the Higher Mind by providing it a direct vision.[59]
• Intuition provides the illumination of thought and vision to the Higher Mind and the Illumined Mind.[59] Mundane mind may experience intuition too, but in the higher realms of mind it becomes more frequent and stable.[59]
• Overmind is the Cosmic Consciousness.[60] It is the plane of Gods. Overmental plane is the highest consciousness one can achieve without transcending the mental system. Beyond overmind are the planes of Supermind or unity-consciousness.[note 8]


Main article: Supermind (Integral yoga)

Supermind is the infinite unitary Truth Consciousness or Truth-Idea beyond the three lower planes of Matter, Life, and Mind. Supermind is the dynamic form of Sachchidananda (Being-Consciousness-Bliss), and the necessary mediator or link between the transcendent Sacchidananda and the creation.[61]

Limitations of the present being

Humans are stuck between matter and Spirit,[62] due to the habits of personality and partial awareness, which arise from Ignorance.


Humans are accustomed to respond to certain vibrations more than other. These customs develop into one's desire, pain, feelings, which are all a set of habits. This crystallised set of habits becomes one's personality. This is normally believed to be "self". The appearance of stable personality is given by constant repetition and recurrence of the same vibrations and formations.[63]

Three basic difficulties for mankind

According to Sri Aurobindo, humans face three basic problems:

1. Partial Self-awareness: humans are only aware of a small part about themselves. They are aware of the surface of mentality, physical being, and life, and not of the larger and more potent subconscious mind and hidden life impulses.
2. Partial awareness of other beings: humans create a rough mental construction of their fellow beings. Their understanding is created by a mental knowledge, which is imperfect, and subjected to denial and frustration. This partial awareness can be overcome by a conscious unity. This unity can only be achieved from Supermind.[64]
3. A division between Force and consciousness in evolution: matter, life and mind are often warring with each other. Materialists try to resolve this war by submitting oneself to the mortality of our being, while ascetics have tried to reject earthly life. A true solution may lie in finding the principle beyond mind, thereby overcoming the mortality of our existence.[65]


The fundamental cause of falsehood, error and evil is Ignorance. Ignorance is a self-limiting knowledge, which arises with exclusive concentration in a single field. According to Sri Aurobindo, human notion of good, bad and evil are uncertain and relative.[66]


Unlike other Yoga practices Integral yoga does not propose any kind of physical asanas, breathing techniques or external movements. It is more psychological in nature, with internal reflection and self-analysis and correction as main tools of development .

The main practices or approaches are divided into[67]

• The yoga of divine work (yoga through ones work )
• The yoga of Integral Knowledge ( Yoga through analysis, observation and knowledge)
• The Yoga of Divine love ( Commonly referred to as Bhakti yoga or love of god)
• The Yoga of Self-Perfection (referred to as a Synthetic yoga or the triple way )[68]

Yogic Practise

The Yoga of Self-Perfection

The Triple Transformation

The limitations of the present being can be overcome by the Triple transformation, the process in which the lower nature is transformed into the divine nature. It consists of the inward psychicisation by which the sadhak gets in contact with the inner divine principle or Psychic Being; the spiritual transformation or spiritualisation; and the Supramentalisation of the entire being.[note 9]


Psychicisation is a turn inward, so that one realises the psychic being, the psychic personality or Divine Soul, in the core of one's being. The Divine Soul serves as a spiritual Guide in the yoga, and enables one to transform the outer being.[69] It may also help avoid the dangers of the spiritual path. There is an intermediate zone, a dangerous and misleading transitional spiritual and pseudospiritual region between the ordinary consciousness and true spiritual realisation.[70]

Psychisiation consists of three methods. In "consecration" one opens oneself to the Force before engaging in an activity. "Moving to the Depths" (or "concentration") is a movement away from the surface existence to a deeper existence within. "Surrender" means offering all one's work, one's life to the Divine Force and Intent.[71][72] Guided by the evolving divine soul within, the sadhak moves away from ego, ignorance, finiteness, and the limitations of the outer being. It is thanks to this guidance by the Divine Soul that the sadhak can avoid the pitfalls of the spiritual path.


As a result of the Psychicisation, light, peace, and power descend into the body, transforming all of its parts, physical, vital, and mental. This is the Spiritual transformation, or Spiritualisation, the concretisation of the larger spiritual consciousness. It is equivalent to "enlightenment", as found in Vedanta and Buddhism.

Intermediate zone

Main articles: Intermediate zone and Spiritual bypass

Sri Aurobindo asserted that spiritual aspirants may pass through an intermediate zone where experiences of force, inspiration, illumination, light, joy, expansion, power, and freedom from normal limits are possible. These can become associated with personal aspirations, ambitions, notions of spiritual fulfilment and yogic siddhi, and even be falsely interpreted as full spiritual realisation. One can pass through this zone, and the associated spiritual dangers, without harm by perceiving its real nature, and seeing through the misleading experiences. Those who go astray in it may end in a spiritual disaster, or may remain stuck there and adopt some half-truth as the whole truth, or become an instrument of lesser powers of these transitional planes. According to Sri Aurobindo, this happens to many sadhaks and yogis.[73][74]


Supramentalisation is the realisation of the Supermind, or Supramental consciousness, and the resulting transformation of the entire being. Psychicisation and spiritualisation serve as necessary prerequisites for the Supramentalisation of the entire being.[75]

The supramental transformation is the final stage in the integral yoga, enabling the birth of a new individual, fully formed by the supramental power. Such individuals would be the forerunners of a new supra-humanity, grounded in truth-consciousness. All aspects of division and ignorance of consciousness, at the vital and mental levels, would be overcome, and replaced with a unity of consciousness at every plane. And even the physical body transformed and divinised. A new supramental species would then emerge, living a supramental, gnostic, divine life on earth.[76]

Sri Aurobindo describes several results and different stages depicting the stages of development in integral yoga, called together the sapta chatushtaya, "seven quadrates."[web 2][web 3][note 10] It consists of:.[web 2]

• Shanti (peace, calm), which consists of samatha (calming of the mind), shanti (peace), sukha (happiness), and hasya (Atmaprasada, contentment of the Atman);
• Shakti (power), which consists of shakti (the power of the primordial energy), virya (energy, effort), daivi prakriti (Divine Nature, primal force), and sraddha (faith);
• vijnana (science), which consists of jnanam (knowledge), trikaladrsti (knowledge of past, present and future), ashtasiddhi (eight powers), and samadhi (absorption);
• Sharira (body), which consists of arogyam (health), utthapana (levitation, being free from gravity and physical powers), saundaryam (beauty), vividhananda (bliss);
• Karma (divine work), which consists of Krishna (avatar of Vishnu), Kali (the Goddess), kama (divine delight), and Karma (divine action);
• Brahma, the realization of Brahman;
• Siddhi (realization), which consists of shuddhi (purification), mukti (liberation), bhukti (enjoyment), and siddhi (realisation of yogic powers).


Sri Aurobindo had a strong influence on Ken Wilber's integral theory of spiritual development.[77] Wilber's Causal and Ultimate stages closely resemble Aurobindo's higher mental stages, but Wilber lumps together levels of Being, types of Being and developmental stages.

See also

• Hinduism portal
• India portal
• Religion portal
• Neo-Vedanta


1. According to The Mother, the term "Psychic" or Psychic Being is derived from the occult kabbalistic teachings of Max Théon.[31] Sri Aurobindo distinguishes between the Psychic Being as being defined in his Integral Yoga, and the ordinary meaning of "psychic," which refers more to psychological phenomena, or to paranormal phenomena, which are connected with the subtle physical layers.[31]
2. Amal Kiran[32]
3. According to Pani, the inconscient is the same as the western psycho-analytic unconscious mind, while the subconsciousness is another layer of consciousness.[47]
4. The Physical can be subdivided into finer sub-grades:
 the Physical Proper or pure body consciousness, which represents the consciousness of the external physical body itself.
 the Vital Physical or Nervous Being (which seems to be equivalent to the Etheric body of western esotericism, and hence pertains to one of the subtle bodies)
 the Mental Physical (similar to the Physical Mind—see "Mental")
 the True physical being: the Purusha of the physical level, which is like the Inner Physical larger than the surface body consciousness and in touch with the a larger spiritual consciousness.
 the Inner physical: the physical component of the inner being, which is wider and more plastic than the outer physical body. This is also called the subtle physical
5. Aurobindo: "By the gross physical is meant the earthly and bodily physical—as experienced by the outward sense-mind and senses. But that is not the whole of Matter. There is a subtle physical also with a subtler consciousness in it which can, for instance, go to a distance from the body and yet feel and be aware of things in a not merely mental or vital way.
...the subtle physical has a freedom, plasticity, intensity, power, colour, wide and manifold play (there are thousands of things there that are not here) of which, as yet, we have no possibility on earth."[49]
6. A small but popular book by Jyoti and Prem Sobel, The Hierarchy of Minds, comes closest to a systematic coverage of an Aurobindonian noetology by gathering all of Sri Aurobindo's references and quotes on the subject of "Mind" and arranging these according to the type of Mind. These various Minds and Mental principles of being include:[56]
Physical Mind
 The Mechanical Mind is a much lower action of the mental physical which when left to itself can only repeat the same ideas and record the reflexes of the physical consciousness in its contact with outward life and things.
 Mind in the physical or mental physical mentalises the experiences of outward life and things, sometimes very cleverly, but it does not go beyond that, unlike the externalising mind which deals with these things from the perspective of reason and its own higher intelligence.
 Physical Mind: refers to either or both the Externalising Mind and the Mental in the Physical; it is limited to a physical or materialistic perspective, and cannot go beyond that, unless enlightened from above.
 Mind of Light: according to The Mother this is the Physical Mind receiving the supramental light and thus being able to act directly in the Physical.[57]
Vital Mind
 Vital Mind: a mediator between the vital emotions, desires, and so on the mental proper. It is limited by the vital view and feeling of things, and expresses the desires, feelings, ambitions, and other active tendencies of the vital in mental forms, such as daydreams and imaginations of greatness, happiness, and so on. As with the Externalising Mind, Sri Aurobindo associates it with the Vishuddha or Throat Chakra
Mind proper
 Mind Proper: free-fold, consisting of Thinking Mind, dynamic Mind, externalising Mind. It constitutes the sum of one's thoughts, opinions, ideas, and values, which guide conscious thinking, conceptualizing and decision-making processes, and is transformed, widened, and spiritualised through the practice of Integral Yoga.
 Thinking Mind: the highest aspect of the mind proper, concerned with ideas and knowledge in their own right. It is equated with the Ajna Chakra
 Dynamic Mind: that aspect of the ordinary mind that puts out of mental forces for realisation, acting by the idea and by reason. It is also equated with the Ajna or Brow center.
 Externalising Mind: the most "external" part of the mind proper, concerned with the expression of ideas in speech, in life, or in any form it can give. It is equated with the Vishuddha or Throat Chakra
Higher Mind
 Higher Mind: the first and lowest of the spiritual mental grades, lying above the normal mental level.
 Spiritual Mind: either the spiritualised mind, or a general term for levels of mind above the normal mental level (the "Mind Proper").
 Inner mind: the mental component of the Inner Being, which lies behind the surface mind or ordinary consciousness and can only be directly experienced by sadhana
 True mental being:the Purusha of the mental level freed from the error and ignorance of the lower Prakriti and open to the knowledge and guidance above.
 Psychic Mind: a movement of the mind in which the Psychic Being predominates; the mind turned towards the Divine
7. Compare Ken Wilber's Centaur or vision-logic; see Integral theory (Ken Wilber)#Levels or stages
8. A detailed description of the Overmind is provided in Book I ch.28, and Book II ch.26, of Sri Aurobindo's philosophical opus The Life Divine.
9. This is described in The Life Divine part 2, ch.25, and Letters on Yoga part 4, section 1.
10. Aurobindo received these instructions as a series of mantras while he was imprisoned in Alipore prison. They were copied by Arun to use for study.[web 4]
1. Sri Aurobindo (1939), p. 1107.
2. Sri Aurobindo (1996), p. 282
3. Sri Aurobindo (1939), pp. 7-11.
4. Sri Aurobindo (1939), p. 9.
5. Sri Aurobindo (1939), p. 10.
6. Sri Aurobindo (1939), p. 13.
7. Sri Aurobindo (1939), p. 7.
8. Sri Aurobindo (1939), pp. 13-28.
9. Sri Aurobindo (1939), p. 25.
10. Sri Aurobindo (1939), p. 32.
11. Sri Aurobindo (1939), p. 47-48
12. Sri Aurobindo (1939), p. 56
13. Aurobindo (2005), p. 73
14. Sri Aurobindo (1939), p. 60-65
15. Sri Aurobindo (1939), p. 66-67
16. Aurobindo (2005), p. 68
17. Aurobindo (2005), pp. 69-71
18. Aurobindo (2005), p. 75
19. Aurobindo (2005), p. 76
20. Aurobindo (2005), p. 72
21. Aurobindo (2005), pp. 84-86.
22. Aurobindo (2005), p. 87.
23. Aurobindo (2005), p. 88.
24. Aurobindo (1939), p. 254-255
25. Sri Aurobindo (1977), The Life Divine bk II, ch.27-28.
26. Giri 2014, p. 59.
27. Miśra 1998, p. 414.
28. Sharma 1991, p. 63.
29. Vrinte 2002, p. 235.
30. Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga, 3rd ed. 1971, p.307
31. Sri Aurobindo (1977), The Life Divine p. 227 note
32. Craig Hamilton The Miraculous Power of the Soul—A meeting with Amal Kiran, Pondicherry Archived 2012-06-11 at the Wayback Machine
33. Sri Aurobindo (1977), The Life Divine p. 891
34. Sri Aurobindo (1977), The Life Divine pp. 891–4
35. Letters on Yoga vol.I under "Planes and Parts of Being" (pp. 265ff in the 3rd ed.)
36. Wilber 1992, p. 263.
37. Sharma 1992.
38. Pani 2007, p. 132.
39. The Mother 1961, p. 199.
40. Pani 2007, p. 211.
41. Pani 2007, p. 297.
42. Sharma 1992, p. 61-63.
43. Sharma 1992, p. 61.
44. The Mother 1961, p. 50.
45. Sri Aurobindo 1988.
46. Sharma 1991, p. 61.
47. Pani 2007, p. 207.
48. Aurobindo (1996), p. 10-11.
49. Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga part 1, section v
50. Chakravorty 1991, p. 42.
51. Chakravorty 1991, p. 40-41.
52. Chakravorty 1991, p. 41.
53. Chakravorty 1991, p. 43.
54. Jyoti and Prem Sobel 1984 pp. 152–62
55. Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga vol. I pp. 324–5
56. Jyoti and Prem Sobel, The Hierarchy of Minds
57. The Mother, 1980, pp. 63–64
58. Chakravorty 1991, p. 45.
59. Chakravorty 1991, p. 47.
60. Chakravorty 1991, p. 49.
61. Sri Aurobindo (1977), Life Divine Book I, ch.14-16
62. Aurobindo (1996), p. 210
63. Sri Aurobindo (1996), p. 210
64. Sri Aurobindo (1939), p. 227
65. Aurobindo (1939), p. 228
66. Sri Aurobindo (1939), p. 622
67. Sri Aurobindo (1996), pp. 2-30.
68. Sri Aurobindo (1996), p. 611.
69. Sri Aurobindo (1977), The Life Divine book II, chapter 25
70. Sri Aurobindo's Letters on Yoga—The Intermediate Zone
71. Synthesis of Yoga Part I ch. II-III
72. Letters on Yoga vol. II pp.585ff (3rd ed.)
73. Sri Aurobindo's Letters on Yoga—The Intermediate Zone
74. Grey Lodge Occult Review :: Issue #9 :: The Intermediate Zone Archived 2007-10-12 at the Wayback Machine
75. Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, pp.281-2
76. Sri Aurobindo (1977), The Life Divine book II ch.27-28
77. Vrinte 2002.


Printed source

Sri Aurobindo

• Aurobindo, Sri (2005), The Life Divine, Pondicherry: Lotus press, ISBN 0-941524-61-2, archived from the original on 2017-10-20, retrieved 2019-07-28
• Sri Aurobindo (1939), The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo Ashram press, ISBN 978-81-7058-844-3
• Sri Aurobindo (1977), The Life Divine (10th ed.), Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust
• Sri Aurobindo (1996), The Synthesis of Yoga, Lotus light publication, ISBN 0-941524-65-5
• Sri Aurobindo (1988), "Transformation of the Subconscient and the Inconscient", Letters on yoga. Volume 3, Part Four, Lotus press, ISBN 8170580099

The Mother

• The Mother (1961), Mother's Agenda 1951–1973. Volume II: 1961, Paris: Inst for Evolutionary Research, ISBN 2902776047
• The Mother (1998), Satprem (ed.), Mother's Agenda 1969, 10, Institut de Recherches Evolutives, ISBN 8185137366
• The Mother (1980), Words of the Mother, Collected Works of the Mother, Centenary Edition vol. 13, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry
Other sources
• Chakravorty, Satya Jyoti (1991), The Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo, Sterling Publishers
• Giri, Ananta Kumar (2014), Knowledge and Human Liberation: Towards Planetary Realizations, Anthem Press
• McDermott, Robert A. (2001), "Introduction", The Essential Sri Aurobindo, SteinerBooks
• Miśra, Rāmacandra (1998), The Integral Advaitism of Sri Aurobindo, Motilal Banarsidass Publ.
• Pani, R. N. (2007), Integral Education: Thought & Practical, APH Publishing, ISBN 9788131302866
• Sharma, Ram Nath (1991), Sri Aurobindo's Philosophy of Social Development, Atlantic Publishers
• Sobel, Jyoti; Sobel, Prem (1984), The Hierarchy of Minds, Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust
• Vrinte, Joseph (1996), The Quest for the Inner Man: Transpersonal Psychology and Integral Sadhana, Pondicherry, India: Sri Mira Trust, ISBN 81-208-1502-5
• Vrinte, Joseph (2002), The Perennial Quest for a Psychology with a Soul: An inquiry into the relevance of Sri Aurobindo's metaphysical yoga psychology in the context of Ken Wilber's integral psychology, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-1932-2
• Wilber, Ken (1992), Het Atman project, Servire

Web sources

1. Satprem, Sri Aurobindo or the adventure of consciousness.
2. Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Sapta Chatushtaya
3. Dr. Debashish Banerji, Seven Quartets of Becoming: A Transformative Yoga Psychology Based on the Diaries of Sri Aurobindo Archived 2015-10-04 at the Wayback Machine
4. Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, The origin of the Sapta Chatusthaya

Further reading

• Sen, Indra (1986) Integral Psychology: The Psychological System of Sri Aurobindo, Pondicherry, India: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

External links

• Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo
• Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother
• Glossary to the Record of Yoga
• Aurobindo/psychology.html Sri Aurobindo's Psychology—description of the various psychological faculties according to Sri Aurobindo's teachings
• Rod Hemsell, Ken Wilber and Sri Aurobindo: A Critical Perspective
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