Institute of World Culture

Theme for 2016
Community, Health and Universality

The theme for the Institute's programs in 2016 touches on all the 10 aims in the IWC Declaration of Interdependence. Each aim offers seed ideas for the year's forums, seminars, study circles and films. Probing such topics as fearless and constructive dialogue on the frontiers of science, the therapeutics of self-transformation and the visualization of societies of the future will encourage fresh thinking on how healthy and effective communities, locally and globally, can be developed. Responses to environmental degeneration and the unhealthy living conditions it causes will be formulated by investigating “the more imaginative use of the spiritual, mental and material resources of the globe in the service of universal welfare”. The changing social structures that seem to include great displacement and violence in the contemporary world will be examined “in terms of the principle that a world culture is greater than the sum of its parts and to envision the conditions, prospects and possibilities of the world civilization of the future”. How can “the emergence of men and women of universal culture, capable of continuous growth in non-violence of mind, generosity of heart and harmony of soul help in promoting universal brotherhood and fostering fellowship among all races, nations and cultures”?

Click here to read the Aims and Purposes of the Institute of World Culture

Program for 2016

Community, Health and Universality

Saturday, January 16, 2016
2:00 – 5:00 pm
Concord House, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Presenters: Maurice Bisheff, Robert Moore, Phillip Greene

"We were born to unite with out fellow men, and to join in community with the human race". – Cicero

What is a real community, and how can one be developed? Are there harmful communities? What is health, and how should it be described? How can the multiple dimensions of health be nourished and sustained? Can an individual be healthy without participation in and support from a community? Are there universal values that can be shared and used to promote healthy lives and vibrant communities? Does cultural diversity help or hinder the development of universality and of healthy communities?

These and other questions will be explored in the opening program for 2016 at the Institute. Three speakers will introduce core ideas embedded in the theme for the year: Community, Health and Universality. Contributions from seminar participants will be welcome. Readings will be posted on the Institute website a week before the seminar.

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Click here for a copy of the seminar paper by Robert Moore on Health In the context of Community and Universality

Sophocles and Plato on Universality

sophocles map of ancient greece Plato

Saturday, January 30, 2016
2:00 – 5:00 pm
Concord House, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Presenter: Marlin Roehl

The philosophic perspectives of two Greek thinkers, Sophocles and Plato, will be explored in this seminar with a focus on Platonic learning theory and Sophoclean dramatic action. How the logic of metaphysical concepts influenced Greek ideas about aesthetics, politics and moral integrity will be explained. The value of Platonic ideas in shaping “emerging modes and patterns of living” in contemporary societies will be suggested. Acknowledging the value of metaphysical abstraction in classical Greek and other philosophies is a way of understanding how a shared, harmonic, non-violent commitment can lead to a therapeutic transformation of individuals and a “world culture that is greater than
the sum of its parts.” Readings will be posted closer to the seminar date.

Click below for readings to prepare for the seminar:
Plato's Myth of the Cave
Selection from Plato's Symposium
The American Soul: Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders by Jacob Needleman
What is Cosmos? by David Fidele

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Live Performance
To Begin the World Over Again: The Life of Thomas Paine

Photo credit: Tom Dempsey

Saturday, February 13, 2016
3:00 – 5:00 pm
Faulkner Gallery, Santa Barbara Central Public Library
40 E. Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara
Live, one-person performance by Ian Ruskin

“My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.” -Thomas Paine

A live, one-person performance of the life of Thomas Paine by Ian Ruskin will be presented at the Faulkner Gallery in Santa Barbara. Mr. Ruskin trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and has performed this production in numerous locations throughout southern California and elsewhere. He has recently completed a production for a future Public Broadcasting showing. In this performance Ian Ruskin brings Thomas Paine back to life.

In 1775, Paine, a man who had lived 37 remarkably unremarkable years in England, arrived in Philadelphia. He then proceeded to change the world. His pen ignited the American Revolution, defined the French Revolution and articulated the concept of Reason. For this he was nearly hanged in England, nearly guillotined in France and, by the end of his life, more hated than loved in America. He was one of the world’s greatest propagandists and worst politicians, a nearly fatal combination, and he is one of the most misunderstood men in American history. Yet his vision of true justice and equality for all human beings continues to inspire millions of people and his ideas, revolutionary in 1776, continue to be as revolutionary today.

There will be time for Q&A after the performance. This event is free and all are welcome, however, donations are gratefully accepted to help off-set some of the cost.

Click here for a press-release
Click here for a short biography of Ian Ruskin
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Emerson on Self-Reliance


Saturday, February 27, 2016
4:00 – 6:00 pm
Concord House, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Presenter: Gerry Kiffe

World culture is blessed with the works of sages, seers, mystics and poets from every age and every continent. One of America's greatest contributions to this heritage is Ralph Waldo Emerson's famous essay on "Self-Reliance". In it Emerson suggests the radical idea that moral guidance lies within us and that "the relations of the soul to the divine spirit are so pure that it is profane to seek to interpose helps." What does it mean to turn within? At this forum, Emerson’s ideas on self-reliance will be explored and their relevance to a society of the future discussed. Portions of this essay will be read aloud. The text of the essay will be posted on the IWC website in advance of the forum so please check back.

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• Sources of Social Violence: The Challenge iin Sri Lanka, Presenter: Julie Campbell

• The Value of Well-designed Gardens, Presenter: Isabelle Greene

• Responding to Climate Change: Unpacking the Paris Protocol, Presenter: Quentin Gee

• The Sufi Inspiration of Rumi's Poetry, Presenter: Fariba Enteshari

• Humor and Healing, Presenters: Robert Moore and Joe Kiffe

• Therapies for Mental Health, Presenter: Eva Moberg

• Founding Day Address (July 2): Eleanor Roosevelt's Work for Community and Health, Presenter: Jenny Sheffield Bisheff

• July 2016 Film Series: a series of four films including "The Life and Work of Eleanor Roosevelt"

• The Way of the Sandhill Crane, Presenters: Russ and Gerry Lewin

• International Conversations, Presenters: Maurice Bisheff and Carolyn Dorrance