Past Programs of the Marin Philosophical Society
March 19 Bill Garrett, PhD. “Human Enhancement: To Gain the World or Lose Our Soul?” In the past century, human lifespan has been extended dramatically. Part of the story is progress in medical technology pharmaceuticals. This is indisputably good news. But the human engagement with technology has gone far beyond the therapeutic. In addition to treating disease and injury, we now use technology in the project of enhancement.
Far beyond the familiar enhancements of using steroids to become stronger and plastic surgery to change our looks, the near future holds the possibility to use pharmaceuticals to boost creativity and intelligence. Recent developments in prosthetics have generated unprecedented successes with accident and combat casualties. In addition, nanocomputers might be embedded in our brains to process and store information even faster― to the point, some suspect, at which the human and the technological become indistinguishable.
There are, however, thoughtful skeptics, who worry that the enhancement agenda might lead beyond what we today recognize as humanity― beyond what we cherish as human dignity. We will consider both the concerns and the hopes― and also the realistic, non-science-fiction, prospects― of human enhancement.
January 15 Karen Ferguson Ph.D. Am I My Brother's Keeper? Dr. Karen Ferguson provided a groundwork for understanding US Refugee Resettlement in the context of humanitarian aid and sanctuary, and the moral and ethical issues this raises for the US and worldwide. We are now experiencing the greatest migration of individuals and families fleeing war and persecution since WW II. What are our responsibilities, personal and governmental, to accept and support these vulnerable refugees? What are our moral and philosophical positions on helping such people? What is the balance between compassion and self-interest? The 1951 Geneva Convention established a global definition of refugees. Many feel this is a moral imperative for the US, but others see the very concept of accepting refugees through a lens of fear of terrorism and a preference to focus on those already on our shores. Dr. Ferguson will discuss these issues as well as explaining how refugees are selected for US resettlement, what happens once they arrive and how they integrate into our communities.
Dr. Karen Ferguson, a licensed clinical psychologist, is Executive Director of the Northern California offices of IRC – the International Rescue Committee. She leads IRC offices in Oakland, Sacramento, San Jose, Modesto and Turlock, providing comprehensive services for newly arriving refugees, including help with housing, finances and employment. The goal is to enable refugees to achieve self-sufficiency and thrive in their new American communities. Prior to her work with IRC, Dr. Ferguson was Alaska State Refugee Coordinator. She holds a BA in Neural Science and a BS in Psychology from Brown University and an MA and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Case Western Reserve in Cleveland.
February 19 Robert Strayer, PhD. has written a best-selling textbook and will explain his approach in a lecture titled, “World History: A New Approach to the Human Past”
Robert Strayer will describe the emergence of World History as a distinct genre of historical study over the past 4-5 decades. He will highlight some of its distinctive features: 1) a focus on macro-level changes (such as peopling of the world, the agricultural revolution, the rise of civilizations, globalization) 2) a constant comparative emphasis asking “what’s the difference?” (for example comparing agriculture in Mesopotamia and MesoAmerica; comparing the Russian and Chinese experiments with communism, and on and on) 3) an abiding interest in cross cultural or trans-regional encounters as a major driver of historical change (the role of commerce, empire, war, the spread of religions, the diffusion of technologies). And finally, he will argue that a global perspective on the human past enlarges and enlightens our understanding of more local and particular historical developments.
Time: The Paradox of the Familiar Stranger: Carl Strasen delved into classical and contemporary theories and conceptions of time. He covered some of the insights from ancient Greek, pre-modern and modern philosophers about what time is. The material from the ancient Greeks, in particular the skeptics, provides ample interesting and vexing paradoxes to be explored. The tension between time as motion, time as number, time as a subjective experience, and time as an objective entity with no observer will be discussed. A resolution will be suggested and, as usual, it is none of the above.
Carl Strasen is a dedicated amateur philosophy student who has a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley. He left U.C. Berkeley because of its excessive focus on analytic philosophy and spent 25 years in what became the Silicon Valley. He has retired from electronics.
Work and Ethics in Modern Society: Dr. Mary Anne Brady will discuss this extremely relevant topic, using current examples of corruption in the auto, real estate and banking industries. Dr. Brady will address ethical issues such as "Am I willing to go against my moral and ethical values--my moral compass--to keep a job I know is corrupt or practicing deception?"
Dr. Mary Anne R. Brady’s professional experience focuses on organizational development and strategic management including stakeholder buy-in with internal and external constituents. She has extensive expertise in project planning, service delivery, and tracking needs assessment. She has collaborated across all levels of the organization and consulted throughout the United States and in Asia. Dr. Brady’s education and training experience include teaching experience at the university level with adult learners in the classroom and online in the United States and Asia. 2015-2018: Pursuing research in the role of technology in the organization’s ethical behavior, the employee’s ethical behavior, and the ethics of the products & services produced.
Dr. Clark Chelsey received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He will lay out the thought of one of the 20th century’s most influential philosophers in a lecture entitled: “The Existentialism of Jean Paul Sartre.” Dr. Chelsey’s discussion will make clear the contributions that Sartre’s work can make to current debates over the objectivity of ethics and the psychology of agency, character, and selfhood.
David Escobar is a Lenca-Poton descendent from Latin-America and works for Marin County as a Criminal Justice Coordinator/Analyst. His talk was called, “Indigenous Perspectives,” and looked at the cosmological and value systems of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas and the relevance of ancient wisdom today.
Reel Women and the Uplift Campaign of Early Hollywood, 1906-1926: Cathy Borg explored social and ethical issues in this little-known period when Hollywood enlisted women, deemed society’s moral guardians, to “uplift” the burgeoning movie industry in an effort to appeal to middle-class sensibilities and keep censors and reformers at bay. A key element of this campaign was the “social problem” film that blended ideological viewpoints into an entertaining drama. Women such as Lois Weber and Dorothy Davenport Reid wrote, directed and/or produced these narrative films centered on topics that include labor relations, consumerism, birth control, alcoholism, and “white slavery.” Cathy will discuss the effectiveness of this didactic genre in attracting a new class of moviegoers and affecting social change through film. She will also review the impact these early female filmmakers had in elevating the status of the film industry.
Catherine Borg is an adjunct instructor in the Humanities and History Departments at Dominican University of California. After a successful career as a banking executive, she decided to fulfill her intellectual curiosity, earning a Master of Arts in Humanities & Cultural Studies in 2011 from Dominican, where she was awarded the title of Academic Scholar. Her pedagogical interests include women’s history, gender studies, and film and art history.
What Makes a Masterpiece? Step into Davies Symphony Hall, attend a Marin Symphony concert, or tune in to KDFC, and chances are you’ll hear music from the classical music canon: masterpieces by great composers that are performed every year by ensembles around the world. What— exactly—makes these pieces by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, and Brahms so great? What criteria have been used to judge masterworks over the years? How might a new work join this hallowed list? We’ll take a fascinating journey through music theory, aesthetics, and culture to answer these questions—and more!
Jim Stopher is a conductor, pianist, composer, and educator. Now in his second season as Music Director of the College of Marin Symphony Orchestra, he holds degrees from Harvard University (BA), the University of Arizona (MM), and the Peabody Conservatory (DMA).
Rev. John Mabry, PhD spoke on "The Way of Lao Tzu.” Rev. John Mabry is a historian of religions and a United Church of Christ pastor. In this lecture he will will share his insights on "The Way of Lao Tzu,” also known as Taoism, and its primary sacred text, the Tao Te Ching. Mabry calls Taoism as "one of the most influential and important religions in the world, and also one that is least understood.” This short introduction will present its origins and its basic tenants.
Rev. Dr. John R. Mabry, PhD is the director of the Interfaith Spiritual Direction certificate program. A United Church of Christ minister, Dr. Mabry pastors Grace North Church (UCC/NACCC) in Berkeley, CA and has taught spiritual guidance, pastoral ministry, world religions, and comparative theology at various Bay Area schools. He holds an MA in Creation Spirituality (Holy Names College, 1990) and a PhD in Philosophy and Religion (California Institute of Integral Studies, 1997), as well as certificates in Spiritual Direction (Mercy Center, 1998), Spiritual Direction Supervision (Chaplaincy Institute, 2004), and Anglican Studies (Church Divinity School of the Pacific, 2016). He is the author of more than twenty books, including Spiritual Guidance Across Religions; Growing Into God: A Beginner’s Guide to Christian Mysticism; Noticing the Divine: An Introduction to Interfaith Spiritual Guidance; Faithful Generations: Effective Ministry Across Generational Lines and Faith Styles: Ways People Believe, and many others
Postcards from the Unconscious: Dr. Jeremy Taylor said that, after more than four decades of working with his own dreams and those of others, he is convinced that all dreams (even nightmares) come in the service of health and wholeness, and speak a universal language of metaphor and symbol. Every remembered dream has a potentially positive and creative role for the dreamer's waking consciousness to play in the further unfolding of issues and events that are given symbolic shape in this dream. This is particularly true of nightmares. The nastier they are, the surer you can be they contain information of potential use. Sometimes, a nightmare will draw waking attention to survival issues relating to physical health and well-being, but more often, it warns about threats to the "survival" of the dreamer's authentic self. No dream comes just to tell a dreamer what he or she already consciously knows. You can be sure there are always more levels of the dream to understand.
Jeremy Taylor, D. Min., with forty years of experience as a Unitarian Minister, is also a long-time Bay Area teacher at local universities and various schools in the Graduate Theological Union. He teaches internationally, most particularly in Asia, is the author of several best-selling books, and is co-founder of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (now in its 35th year), and founder of the Marin Institute for Projective Dream Work. Jeremy pioneered on-line dream work and blogged on dreams for Psychology Today for several years. He’s convinced that all dreams have multiple meanings and that there really aren’t “two worlds” - there’s only one.
Mirza Khan, Director of Religious Studies at San Domenico and a third generation Sufi minister, shared his insights into “The Mystery of Love in Sufi Theology” “What is mysterious about love in the Sufi tradition?”The society provides a forum for current issues in philosophy, ethics, religion, science and art. We meet on the third Monday of each month at the McInnes Golf Center Club Restaurant in Terra Linda. From time to times, instead of an invited speaker, we make use of our library of DVD discs on various philosophers, and we also have general discussions relating to a forum theme.
Bill Garrett PhD spoke on "Epigenetics: The New Science of Inheritance." Specifically: how do our environment and life-choices impact inheritance across generations? The "punch" of epigenetic theory is that (surprise) environmental impacts do get inherited and (more surprise) habits and lifestyle choices impact the inheritance of, for example, our children, grandchildren, and who knows how many successive generations?
Bill Garrett is a former Professor of Philosophy & Religion at JFK University, and presently teaches at the Fromm Institute, the Emeritus College at DVC, and at various OLLI locations.
Excellent Sex: A Virtue Ethics Approach: Dr. Lisa Fullam addressed the topic of sexuality and how we live out our sexual lives – an issue central to all aspects of human identity and relationships. All too often, ethical discussions of sexuality are limited to lists of prohibitions and minimal standards that fail to do justice to the rich and many-faceted nature of human sexuality. Let’s look instead for a maximal vision of human sexuality: what constitutes excellent sex? What are the hopes we strive for in our sex lives? What are some of the virtues or traits of character that help us get there? Virtue ethics is person rather than action based: it looks at the virtue or moral character of the person carrying out an action, rather than at ethical duties and rules, or the consequences of particular actions.
Lisa Fullam, D.V.M., Th.D., teaches moral theology at the Jesuit School of Theology. Research interests include Virtue Ethics, medical and sexual ethics, and Ignatian spirituality. Essays include: “Toward a Virtue Ethics of Marriage: Augustine and Aquinas on Friendship in Marriage,” “Joan of Arc, Holy Resistance, and Conscience Formation in the Face of Social Sin,” “Sex in 3-D. A Telos for a Virtue Ethics of Sexuality,” and “Why Ordination Matters: A Reflection from Jamaica.” A few years back, Dr. Fullam climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. The view from the top is just glorious.
Dr. Mary Anne Brady spoke on Automation and Us: Is It Possible to Create an Ethical Robot?” Dr. Mary Anne Brady notes that recent advances in artificial intelligence are enabling the creation of systems capable of independently pursuing goals in complex, real-world settings. Self-driving cars are the vanguard of an approaching fleet of equally autonomous devices. As these systems increasingly invade human domains (my moral compass), the need to control what they are permitted to do (ethically), and on whose behalf, will become more acute. Dr. Brady will present and discuss these issues and the many questions they raise.
Dr. Mary Anne R. Brady specializes in organizational development, human resources strategies and strategic management including stakeholder buy-in with internal and external constituents. She has extensive expertise in project planning, service delivery, and tracking needs assessment. She has collaborated across all levels of the organization and consulted throughout the United States and in Asia. Her education and training include teaching experience at the university level with adult learners in the classroom & online in the United States and Asia and developing training curriculum as a component of organizational development initiatives.
October 17 Tom Truchan spoke on "Emotions and Feelings—A Cross-Cultural Approach": We philosophers will ponder the emotions and feelings of a cast of characters Tom Truchan has assembled. An “omnium-gatherum” from all over the world. Tom will be moving along at 2 ½ words per second clip, but he was a high school teacher so you can interrupt him at any time. His nibs will tell you the story of a cheerful, stylish, successful woman in Western Japan who described the Japanese traditional essence of life in the word “yutakasa.” He will want you to guess what question did a man from India’s untouchable cast call out in the night to the gods? What measure of happiness did an unfortunate nomadic shepherd find, even though he moved his family from the freedom of the Mongolian plains to the slums of its capital city, Ulaanbaatar. And, what is so amusing about Garrison Keillor calling Denmark, “The world’s most nearly perfect nation?”
Tom Truchan taught World History, Humanities, Psychology and Government at San Rafael High School from 1966 to 1994. He is also a professional musician who has played string bass in the Oakland Symphony and many other orchestras. He plays classical and pop piano. He retired from his position as Choir Director and pianist at the First Congregational Church of San Rafael in June of 2009 after 23 years and over 1,000 Sundays. Tom currently plays string bass in the College of Marin Symphony. He is also a sketch artist who uses markers (felt pens) as his medium. He labels his work “Abstract Fantasy” – he provides the abstract, the viewer provides the fantasy. Tom holds a BA in History with a Minor in Music from UC Santa Barbara, and has a California Teaching Credential. His philosophical interests include the meaning of life, universal ethical codes, the nature of humor, and aesthetics. He is still working on a book on what people believe to be the meaning of life. Tom is Program Chairman for the Marin Philosophical Society.
September 19 Leslie Ross spoke on "The Art of the Apocalypse" From medieval manuscript illustrations to modern films, artists and writers have long been inspired to depict the end of time – from dramatic visions of universal destruction to more cheerful visions of earthly and heavenly renewal. This presentation investigates the diverse ways in which apocalyptic art and literature have appeared through the ages, with special focus upon the interpretations of the biblical book of Revelation as well as selected other millenarian and utopian art from ancient to modern times.
Dr. Ross received her Ph.D. degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara, her M.A. degree from the University of California at Davis, and her B.A. degree from Dominican College of San Rafael. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a Graves Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Humanities, awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Kress Foundation and Fulbright Commission. She is the author of several articles and books including Text, Image, Message: Saints in Medieval Manuscript Illustrations (1994), Medieval Art: A Topical Dictionary (1996), Artists of the Middle Ages (2003), The Art and Architecture of the World’s Religions (2 vols., 2009), and Language in the Visual Arts: The Interplay of Text and Imagery (2014).
August 15 The Philosophy of Collecting Non-Western Art, a Personal Perspective: Thomas Murray shared with us his deeply held sense of mission to preserve and give voice to artifacts that, for many reasons, have come on market, and the move in museums and private collectors to decontextualize such works of art and align them with 20th century artistic movements such as Cubism, Surrealism and Minimalism. Questions arise about what happens to the meaning of indigenous art when it is taken outside its tribal context and ends up in collections in the wealthier West. From his perspective of love of traditional culture, natural setting and art, Mr. Murray will discuss some of these ethical issues: Private property, provenance and the right to collect vs. the protection of archaeological sites, the world’s “library.” What about the importation of works of art claimed stolen when foreign export restriction laws are contravened? What are our responsibilities in ethical collecting?
Thomas Murray is a private dealer of Asian and Tribal art with an emphasis on Indonesian sculpture and textiles, as well as animistic art from other varied cultures. He also features Indian printed trade cloths from the 13th-18th Centuries. He has placed objects in more than 30 museums on four continents in the last 35 years. He is an expert on all ethnographic textiles and has more than 50 publications to his credit. Mr. Murray is Past President of ATADA, The Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association, and is currently honored to serve as a member of President Obama's Cultural Property Advisory Committee at the State Department. President Obama said, "This dedicated individual brings a wealth of experience and talent to his new role and I am proud to have him serve in the months and years to come."
July 18 Catherine Borg shed light on “The Harlem Renaissance and the New Negro Identity”
The Harlem Renaissance and New Negro Identity: The Harlem Renaissance was one of the most influential periods in black history. A rebirth of cultural pride in the early 20th century produced an outpouring of literary and artistic achievement. One of the central concerns of intellectual leaders was articulating a philosophy of the arts. Did black art represent the beauty of the African American culture, or did it reinforce the stereotype of black people as inferior? Moreover, was the expectation that black art be used as an explicit tool of race propaganda? The ultimate results produced no common artistic or literary style; instead, what ultimately united participants was their determination to giving artistic expression to the African American experience.
Catherine Borg is an adjunct instructor in the Humanities and History Departments at Dominican University of California. After a successful career as a banking executive, she decided to fulfill her intellectual curiosity, earning a Master of Arts in Humanities & Cultural Studies in 2011 from Dominican, where she was awarded the title of Academic Scholar. Her pedagogical interests include women’s history, gender studies, and film and art history.
June 20 Kim Komenich shared his experience in “Photography: The Universal Language”
May 16 Clark Chelsey lectured on "Postmodernism" Postmodernism: Dr. Clark Chelsey mapped out the metaphysical assumptions of modernity and the epistemological foundations of postmodern thought, principally the theories of Francois Lyotard, Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida. What characterizes much of postmodernity is its refusal of all distinctions and all divisions - for example - between body and spirit, the physical and the mental, reason and the irrational, the intellectual and the sensual, the self and the other, nature and culture, reality and utopia. Post-modernists reject order, limits, restrictions, the control and measure of reasonable consciousness, while celebrating the erotic, libidinal sensuality, the instinctive, the spontaneous, and narcissism.
Dr. Clark Chelsey received a Ph.D in philosophy in 1976, and a Regents Fellowship in 1974 to study at Cambridge and the Sorbonne for a year. His doctoral thesis was on Scottish thought in the 18th century; his present work is on Jefferson. Dr. Chelsey did a series of lectures at UC Berkeley in a symposium on mind body dualism, "the metapsychology of Sigmund Freud," and was an Arts and Lecturers speaker at UCSB on the philosophy of the Frankfurt School, principally the writings of Marcuse, Habermas and Adorno. He has been painting and building houses ever since.
April 18 Lisa Fullam, D.V.M., Th.D. spoke on Personal, Social and Spiritual Aspects of Physician Assisted Dying: In June, California will join Vermont, Oregon, Washington and Montana in permitting physicians to prescribe drugs to end their patients’ lives. This news was met with relief by some people suffering from terminal illnesses, while disabilities rights groups and others expressed concerns. What are some of the ethical concerns around this practice? Dr. Lisa Fullam will consider PAD in the contexts of the doctor-patient relationship, medical practice generally, and health care policy and research funding allocation. We looked at the data from Oregon’s annual reports on that state’s practice of PAD, and look also at the art moriendi, a medieval compendium of texts on the art of dying well.
Lisa Fullam, D.V.M., Th.D.– John Mabry’s wife - is Associate Professor of Moral theology at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University. A 1990 graduate of the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, she received her Th.D. in 2001 from Harvard Divinity School. Research interests include Virtue Ethics, sexual and medical ethics, the intersection of ethics and spirituality, and Ignatian spirituality. Her books include Readings in Moral Theology #17. Ethics and Spirituality, co-edited with Charles E. Curran, published by Paulist Press in 2104. and The Virtue of Humility: A Thomistic Apologetic was published by the Edwin Mellen Press in 2009. Among her articles are: “From Discord to Virtues: Reframing Sexual Ethics,” “Bioethics and Public Policy” (with William R. O’Neill, S.J.) "Joan of Arc, Holy Resistance, and Conscience Formation in the Face of Social Sin," “Why Ordination Matters: A Reflection from Jamaica,” and “Juana, S.J. The History (and Future?) of Women in the Society of Jesus.” A few years ago, she walked about half (275 mi.,) of the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage trail across northern Spain. In 2008, she climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. The view from the top is just gorgeous.
March 21 Carl Strasen delved into “Henri Bergson & durée: A study of the philosophy of Henri Bergson (1859-1941)” He introduced the philosophic thought of Henri Bergson, a French process philosopher who was born in 1859 and died in 1941. Carl analyzed his central teaching of the French word "durée" thorough Bergson's four decades of philosophic writings and describe Bergson's stunningly deep insights into contemporary issues such as the mind/body
problem, freedom verses determinism and neo Darwinism. Both Bergson's fame and his drift into obscurity was examined along with interesting stories: in short, a brief introduction to an extraordinary philosopher's life in turbulent times.
Carl Stasen is a dedicated amateur philosophy student who has a B.A. in philosophy from University of California at Berkeley. He left U.C. Berkeley because of its excessive focus on analytic philosophy, and spent 25 years in what became Silicon Valley. He has retired from electronics.
February 15 Peter Robinson and Peter Katcoff reflected on “What, Where, When and How We Think”
Peter Katcoff and Peter Robinson led an open-ended engaging discussion on “thinking” in today’s world. If we are all here then we have already proved Descartes, so let’s move on. To think: to consider the pros and cons/advantages and disadvantages of possible choices. Let’s mull something over, bear something in mind and take something into consideration. We can be torn between two options and we talk it over, even toy with the idea, and maybe have second thoughts about e.g., automation in our lives. We explored how the word “think" has been used in the history of philosophy. But we will not be pompous, preachy or judgmental.
Peter Katcoff, EdDc, MBA, has a background in business and education. His research interest is computer-mediated communication, primarily informed by the philosophies of Habermas, Heidegger and Ricoeur. He recreates with Argentine tango and downhill skiing and renews with qigong. Peter is the president of the Marin Philosophical Society.
Peter Robinson, PhD, a graduate of Cambridge University,UK, is the editor of San Francisco Books & Travel, an NPR commentator and critic, and author of "The Insight Guide to Provence." His weekly travel column "On the Ferry" has a wide following in the Bay area. Peter is the president of the San Francisco Literary Society.
January 18 John Marmysz commented on his new novel, “The Nihilist”
The Nihilist: Dr. John Marmysz will discuss his newest book, The Nihilist: A Philosophical Novel (No Frills, Buffalo,2015). It tells the story of a philosophy professor caught in the grips of nihilistic despair. Following the death of his mother and the increasingly bizarre deaths of his closest friends, the nameless main character is afflicted with a mysterious malady that forces him to confront the absurdity of his own meaningless existence. Brain parasites, scatological dreams, punk rock, and spontaneous human combustion appear alongside the ideas of Heraclitus, Socrates, Diogenes, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Heidegger. The result is a wryly humorous philosophical allegory of hopelessness and resignation in the face of the void. (The Nihilist is available at amazon.com)
John Marmysz holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from State University of New York at Buffalo. His interests focus on issues of nihilism and its cultural manifestations. Marmysz is also the author of The Nihilist's Notebook (Moralinefree Publishing, 1996), Laughing at Nothing: Humor as a Response to Nihilism (SUNY Press, 2003), and The Path of Philosophy: Truth, Wonder and Distress (Wadsworth, 2011). He is coeditor (with Scott Lukas) of Fear, Cultural Anxiety and Transformation: Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films Remade (Lexington Books, 2009).
Sept 21 Boyd Jarrell spoke on: " Resonance: The Universal Choral Experience” Through physics, anthropology, and culture, noted Bay Area singer/conductor Boyd Jarrell reflects on the human engagement with time, sound, and singing. We follow vibrations through time from the Big Bang to Beethoven’s Ninth, and explore our primal and universal affinity for choral music. Noises will be made.
August 17 Lesley Currier spoke on “Shakespeare and Cervantes and the Birth of the Modern Romance” Shakespeare and Cervantes were contemporaries, dying within twenty-four hours of each other. We’ll explore similarities and differences in the philosophy in Shakespeare’s late romances including “Cymbeline" and Cervantes’ classic romantic novel “Don Quixote.” There are interesting concepts to ponder including madness, loss and grace.
July 20 Christian Dean spoke on: "Fundamental Freedoms in a World of Fundamentalisms: The Liberal-Communitarian Debate Revisited" In a world of various fundamentalisms (i.e., absolutist ideologies), Liberalism ought to be the default moral/political philosophy. But how can we defend the primacy of liberalism when it itself is a fundamentalism? Dr.Christian Dean proposes to revisit the debates between various liberals and communitarians over the last four decades to come to an understanding of why and how we ought to embrace the moral/political principles of liberalism.
June 15 John Mabry spoke on: "The Varieties of Salvation" We usually think of "salvation" as a Christian word, but in fact every religion endeavors to save us from something. But the kinds of salvation that religions offer are staggering in their diversity! In this lecture we'll look at the main religions of the world and see what they endeavor to save us from, and how they promise to do it.
May 18 Leslie Ross spoke on: "Language in the Visual Arts: The Interplay of Text and Imagery" Dr. Ross will show and discuss the artful interplay between words and images in examples ranging from masterpieces of medieval book illumination such as the Lindisfarne Gospels, to the inscriptions, captions, and labels in selected examples of Renaissance art, to the use of words by Pop artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, the deliberately puzzling word-image works by the surrealist painter Rene Magritte, to the post-modern use of words as art forms by artists such as John Baldessari and Xu Bing.
April 20 Phil Wolfson spoke on: “Scientific Approaches to the Legalization of Psychedelics for Therapeutic Purposes” Dr. Wolfson has been designated Principal Investigator in a FDA Approved Phase 2 Study of MDMA (Ecstasy) Assisted Psychotherapy. Subjects who have had life threatening illnesses and are anxious about relapse, recurrence and death will undergo an experiment in surroundings that will be supportive, thoughtful and compassionate. The hope is to relieve or reduce their anxieties. Phil Wolfson has spoken to MPS before on the subject of depression, dying and death.
March 16 Marlene Berkoff spoke on: "Morality without God" Where does our “moral compass” come from? Many believe that morality and moral behavior derive from a belief in God and acceptance of a religion which dictates fundamental rules of behavior, such as the Ten Commandments. Without such rules and constraints, people would feel free to sin, commit crimes or behave despicably. Nothing would hold society in check. Recent research in behavioral psychology and social anthropology shows that, in fact, the moral basis of most behavior is inherent: nature more than nurture. Based on the works of Dr. Frans de Waal (primatologist and ethologist), Dr. Paul Bloom (psychologist and cognitive scientist), and Dr. Jonathan Haidt (social psychologist and ethicist), as well as others, Marlene will discuss these current theories of the basis of morality.
Feb. 16 David Roche spoke on “The Truth of Beauty: Where Ethics and Esthetics Meet” Is philosophy only skin deep? Ethics and esthetics intertwine in the marketplace. It is a truism to claim that a false standard of beauty has been imposed upon society in order to gain profit. The consequences are more than skin deep, however, as the connection between personal esthetics and ethics, beauty and behavior have been lost. The David Roche School of Beauty is a vision which seeks to undermine and radically change what we perceive as beauty. An impossible task? Perhaps. But the welfare of the human spirit is at stake in this struggle.
January 19 Clark Chelsey presented a talk on "Values, Truth and Human Nature: Nietzsche's Redefinition of Man and History" Dr. Chelsey states that Friedrich Wilheim Nietzsche is the most radical thinker in the history of philosophy. His lecture will focus on two major themes in his philosophy, the transvaluation of values and the will to power.
July 21 Lesley Currier spoke on: "Bounded in a nutshell - Teaching Shakespeare Behind Bars" Murderers and Machiavels make up some of Shakespeare's most unforgettable characters - but why should their real-life counterparts be studying Shakespeare? Learn about Marin Shakespeare Company's program Shakespeare at San Quentin, which gives incarcerated men the opportunity to study and perform Shakespeare while reflecting on their own lives. We'll discuss the ethics of punishment and rehabilitation through the lens of Shakespeare's moral ambiguity.
(Lesley will tell us about the Marin Shakespeare's program at San Quentin and we'll discuss the ethics of punishment and rehabilitation through the lens of Shakespeare's moral ambiguity.)
June 16 John Mabry spoke on: “A Christian Walks in the Footsteps of the Buddha” For three months, Christian pastor John Mabry journeyed to the holy places of Buddhism, and many other sites in India and Nepal. Along the way, he meditated deeply on the Buddha as savior, comparing his own experience of Jesus as savior. In this talk, John talks about the highlights of the trip, including his insights and theological connections. A period for questions is also planned.
May 19 Leslie Ross spoke on “Art Crime: The philosophical, cultural and political implications of crimes involving fine art such as stealing, destroying, forging and the looting of antiquities.”
April 21 Natural Selection Isn’t What It Used to Be: What You Don’t Know About Evolution: Bill Garrett, PhD. Dr. Garrett explored the philosophical and religious dimensions of modern evolutionary theory. You may remember in his last talk to MPS in 2011, Bill Garrett traced the scientific discoveries that led to Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.
Bill Garrett, PhD, has been a Professor of Philosophy and Religion at JFK University. He has for the past 30 years taught courses on the history of ideas, including courses in religion, culture, and literature.
March 17 Wood Lockhart, PhD “Pablo Picasso and the Cubist Perspective—a redefining of reality in the Twentieth Century"
The long held concept of reality as something absolute and unchanging was shattered in the early 20th century with Albert Einstein’s 1905 publication of the Special Theory of Relativity. The new concept of reality, in which all matter, energy and events are related in a four dimensional space-time continuum, could no longer be represented accurately by the principles of one point linear perspective, which had governed the art of painting since the Renaissance. The invention of Cubism, by Pablo Picasso and George Braque, as a means of depicting multiple views of the same thing simultaneously was as revolutionary as had been the invention of linear perspective almost 500 years earlier. Although Cubism is a term which specifically refers to the art of painting, the cubist perspective is also evident in the early 20th Century work of such writers as James Joyce and Virginia Woolf and in the music of Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, and Igor Stravinsky.
Wood Lockhart, PhD, studied architecture at Yale University and received his doctorate in the History of Art and Architecture from Northwestern University. He is the former Chair of the Art History Department at Dominican University and has been teaching at the University since 1975. Wood is also a retired United Airlines Captain with a career that spanned thirty-six years. And the versatile gentleman is an actor, recently appearing as Grandpa in “You Can’t Take It With You” with the Ross Valley Players.”
January 20 David Roche will speak on: “The Truth of Beauty: Where Ethics and Esthetics Meet” (You can see him on youtube.)
November 18 Dr. Maureen Adams on “The unacknowledged role of animals in human experience”
We are often surprised – and sometimes a little ashamed - by the depth of grief that comes after the death of a beloved companion animal. Why do we feel so bereft? Looking at the human-animal bond from the perspectives of psychology and literature, Maureen Adams explores the ways that animals can play crucial, although often unacknowledged, roles in our lives. In looking at what writers like Virginia Woolf and Flannery O’Connor have to say about the animals in their lives, we can appreciate the complexity possible in every interspecies connection.
October 21 Kayleen Asbo MA on Hypatia (AD 350-370; The Greek Neoplatonist philosopher)
Hypatia of Alexandria- Genius geometer, musical magician, revered teacher of mathematics and Neo-Platonic wisdom, muse for artists from Raphael through Judy Chicago, and lightening rod for religious and political battles throughout the centuries: this is the extraordinary woman known in her time simply as "Lady Philosophy" .
Kayleen Asbo makes an encore appearance for the Marin Philosophical Society in this dynamic lecture that combines art with the history of science and religion.
September 16 Dr. Marcia Bauman on The Hidden Meaning of Music: A Search for the Dynamic Encoding of Consciousness.
This talk will show how music can be seen as a way to explore levels of human consciousness. The work of C.G. Jung, Ken Wilber, and the music therapist Helen Bonny (creator of Bonny Guided Imagery and Music process) informs an approach to regarding music as an encoding and expression of the dynamics of consciousness. This will be illustrated by a 20th century composition by Bela Bartok.
Marcia Bauman received the B.A. degree in psychology from Ithaca College, the MA degree in music theory and composition from San Francisco State University, and the Ph.D. in composition from the Eastman School of Music. She has composed music for dance, radio drama and film. Her works have been featured on public radio, and her electroacoustic music has received numerous performances, including presentations by the Syracuse New Music Society (in conjunction with Meet the Composer) and the National Association for Composers, USA.
From 1990-1996 Marcia was a Research Associate at Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). Her project, the International Digital ElectroAcoustic Music Archive (IDEAMA), one of the world's first all-digital archives, involved the collection and preservation of historically significant electroacoustic music. Marcia taught the undergraduate seminar in composition at Stanford University, and has guest led workshops and classes in music and consciousness at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology and John F. Kennedy University. She has been involved in Jungian psychology for 33 years and has done certificate training in Expressive Arts Therapy and is a certified practitioner of the Helen Bonny method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM). She currently teaches piano and film music history classes at the College of Marin, and music composition at Sonoma State University.
August 19 Norman Solomon on "Looking at the Culture of Politics and the Politics of Culture”
We tend to think of "culture" and "politics" as separate, but they flow into each other every day. What we call politics is infused with tacit assumptions and habits that have everything to do with the cultural climate of our country. Likewise, what we call culture is routinely infused with political precepts and power. Norman will talk about acculturated reflexes that animate public culture and political activity.
Norman Solomon is an American journalist, media critic, antiwar activist, and was a candidate in 2012 for the United States House of Representatives. Solomon is a longtime associate of the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). In 1997 he founded the Institute for Public Accuracy, which works to provide alternative sources for journalists, and served as its executive director until 2010. Solomon's weekly column, "Media Beat", was in national syndication from 1992 to 2009. More recently Solomon focused on his unsuccessful 2012 congressional campaign in California's second congressional district.
July 15 Todd Javadi on “What Rumi Had to Say about Unconditional Love”
June 17 Dr. Tom Singer The Cultural Complex: How does Carl Gustav Jung's theory of psyche, archetypes, and the unconscious express itself around the world? Dr. Singer is the Editor of a series of books that show how the Cultural Complex reveals itself in the United States (The Vision Thing), Australia (Placing Psyche), and a new volume of essays called, Listening to Latin America. His first book, outlining the theory in several different settings is entitled The Cultural Complex. He is currently at work on a third volume about Europe in the Cultural Complex Series, published by Spring Journal Books.
Dr. Singer is a psychiatrist and Jungian psychoanalyst. He attended Princeton University as an undergraduate where he studied Religion and European Literature. After teaching in Greece for a year, he attended Yale Medical School and then completed a psychiatric residency and child psychiatry fellowship at Dartmouth Medical School. He trained as a Jungian Analyst at the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco where he has been an active member for many years. He has been practicing in the Bay Area since 1970, both in private practice and, for many years, serving as a Medical Expert for the Social Security System in mental disability cases. He has written books on being a fanatic baseball fan as well as many social and political issues from a Jungian point of view. In addition, he has been very active in National ARAS, a digitized, online collection of symbolic imagery that includes all cultures and historical eras.
May 20 Dr. John Marmysz on “The Nature of Suffering” This talk will explore the Buddhist concept of suffering (dukkha) and how it compares and contrasts with the idea of anxiety (angst) in existential philosophy.
In the Buddha's First Sermon, suffering (dukkha) is identified as one of
the Four Noble Truths. Because suffering reveals the nature of our entanglement in the world, it is more than simply a negative phenomenon; it also discloses
reality to us.
The philosopher Martin Heidegger, in his classic work Being and Time,
echoes this insight into the nature of suffering when he identifies anxiety (angst) as a fundamental mode of human attunement to the world.
April 15 Dr. Phil Wolfson on “Grief and Loss”
March 18 Dr. Henry Shreibman on “A Taste of Medieval Philosophy and Text Criticism: the Life and Times of Mamonides (Rambam)”
February 18 Dr. Leslie Ross on “Pilgrimages: Inner and Outer Journeys” From Canterbury to Walden Pond, from Mecca to the Vietnam Memorial, every year millions of people make pilgrimages to destinations that have deep cultural and spiritual meaning. Dr. Ross will use photographs and art to illuminate reasons that motivate seekers to undertake personally reflective challenges.
This talk will discuss the concept of pilgrimage as a recurrent theme is several of the world's major religious traditions, as well as the psychological and philosophical aspects of pilgrimage as both an inner and outer journey.
January 21 Dr. Peter Katcoff, Ed.D, M.B.A. on “The Technology Conspiracy--What you don't know is happening to you and your loved ones and what you can do about it—a philosophical inquiry into what it is to be human”
December No MPS Meeting
November 19 Dr. John Marmysz on “Philosophy and Film,” a look at how film can be used to philosophize. " In this presentation I will explore the ways that the city of Glasgow, Scotland is depicted in such contemporary Scottish films as Gregory's Two Girls, Red Road, NEDs, and Ratcatcher. What I will argue is that in these films, post-industrial Glasgow is utilized in order to give expression to a mood of nihilism. This expression of nihilism, however, is a productive one that allows filmmakers and audiences to engage with the ambiguities of contemporary Scottish identity and culture."
John Marmysz holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from State University of New York at Buffalo. His primary research interests focus on issue of nihilism and its cultural manifestations. Marmysz is the author of The Nihilist's Notebook (Moralinefree Publishing, 1996), Laughing at Nothing: Humor as a Response to Nihilism (SUNY Press, 2003) and The Path of Philosophy: Truth, Wonder and Distress (Wadsworth, 2011). He is coeditor (with Scott Lukas) of Fear, Cultural Anxiety and Transformation: Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films Remade (Lexington Books, 2009). Marmysz has also written articles and reviews for various journals including Film and Philosophy, Consciousness, Literature and the Arts, Film-Philosophy, The Journal of Popular Culture and The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.
Marmysz is the recipient of the 2004 SUNY Chancellor's Award For Excellence in Scholarship and Creativity and served as an NEH fellow in 2005. He currently teaches philosophy at the College of Marin in Kentfield, CA.
John is a teacher at COM and has a book published titled: “Laughing at Nothing: Humor as a Response to Nihilism.” His last name is pronounced, Marmish.
October 15 Kayleen Asbo presents an illustrated lecture on "Beyond the Triangle: Pythagoras, Music and the Mysteries of Ancient Greece."
Although Pythagoras is still a household name thanks to his geometric theorem, he was also an extraordinary philosopher, musician and spiritual leader in the 6th century BCE. The Pythagorean Brotherhood laid the foundation for later monastic movements in the Benedictine order in Italy; his ideas about education were the cornerstone of the Quadrivium; his discoveries about musical harmony held sway until the High Baroque (and are being rediscovered by many modern composers) and his concepts of sacred proportion are found in masterworks of great beauty from Gothic cathedrals to Raphael's extraordinary painting, The School of Athens, where he is seated in a place of honor.
Kayleen Asbo is a cultural historian, musician, writer and teacher who weaves together myth, history, and the arts with experiential learning. Kayleen is on the faculty of Sonoma State University, Dominican University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Kayleen holds master's degrees in both music and psychology and is currently a doctoral candidate in Mythological Studies at the Pacifica Graduate Institute.
September 17 Mohammad El Majdoubi, PhD "Meet your Brain"
This lecture will take you inside the brain - the only organ smart enough to study itself - and show you how this amazing mass of tissue can be the source of our personalities, dreams, thoughts, sensations, and movements. Topics related to neuroethics and neurophilosophy will be particularly emphasized.
Dr. El Majdoubi is currently teaching a class for OLLI titled: “The Neuroscience of Everyday Life.” Dr. Mohammed El Majdoubi holds a BS in Physiology (1991), a MS (1992) and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience & Pharmacology (1996) from the University of Bordeaux, France. Dr. Majdoubi worked at the University of Pittsburgh as a Research Associate In 2000, he joined the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) as a Visiting Scholar, then as an Assistant Research Endocrinologist and director of the Morphology and Cell Imaging Core in the Center for Reproductive Sciences. Dr. Majdoubi is currently Assistant Professor of Biology at Dominican University.
August 20 Scott A. Lukas, PhD "Themed Spaces and Authenticity"
Theme parks and themed spaces are some of the most popular venues of popular culture. We are attracted to these spaces, in part, because of the ways in which they offer us glimpses of other times, places, people, and cultures. But what deeper lessons may we learn from these forms of cultural remaking? This talk will focus on the case of the themed space in order to explore the idea of authenticity and popular culture.
Scott A. Lukas is professor of Anthropology & Sociology at Lake Tahoe Community College. He is the author/editor of Theme Park (2008), The Themed Space: Locating Culture, Nature, and Self (2007), Fear, Cultural Anxiety, and Transformation: Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy Films Remade, (co-edited with John Marmysz, 2009), Recent Developments in Criminological Theory (co-edited with Stuart Henry, 2009), Strategies in Teaching Anthropology (co-editor, 2010), The Immersive Worlds Handbook (Focal, forthcoming, 2012). He appeared in the documentary The Nature of Existence. He has been recognized with the McGraw-Hill Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology by the American Anthropological Association (2005), a Sierra Arts Foundation Artist Grant Program Award in Literary-Professional (2009) and the California Hayward Award for Excellence in Education
July 16 Dr. Niccolo Caldararo on “The Nature of Law and Custom in Primitive and Modern Societies”
Dr. Caldararo talked on the nature of law and custom in primitive and modern societies and how law regulates behavior and varies with custom in its application and theory.
Dr. Caldararo teaches anthropology at San Francisco State University and City College of San Francisco. Dr. Caldararo studied biological anthropology at Berkeley focusing on the African origins of man under J. Desmond Clark and Phylis Jay. His field work took him to Polynesia where he studied the relationship between behavior and disease. He had a long career in museums in the Bay Area including the De Young, Legion of Honor, the Asian Art Museum and the California Academy of Sciences. His specialty has been in the analysis of art and artifacts. He has directed a conservation laboratory for 40 years.
May 21 Dr. Leslie Ross presented a talk entitled "The Cultivated Life: Gardens as Symbol and Reality." This illustrated talk will offer an engaging thematic survey of the history of garden and landscape design from ancient to modern times drawing examples from a diversity of periods and world cultures. We will explore the many ways in which the cultivation and manipulation of the natural world by humans can be seen as indicative of social, political, and religious values and concerns. From the Garden of Eden to contemporary Environmental Art, the treatment of the landscape is an excellent lens through which to view and analyze the attitudes of humans toward the world of nature.
Dr. Leslie Ross has served as Chair of Art History at Dominican University of California since 1985. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards (Fulbright, Graves Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Humanities, and several NEH grants.) Her published works include five books to date on medieval art and the art and architecture of the world’s religions.
June 18 Dr. John Mabry returned for his fourth presentation to MPS. His topic: Zoroastrianism-The "mother" of Western Religion How did the revenge fantasy of a heretical Vedic priest 3000 years ago come to determine the course of Western civilization? Come hear the bizarre story of the prophet Zarathustra, whose revelations gave birth to the majority of what we have come to think of as "Western Religion." Learn the Zoroastrian roots of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as we explore this influential but little known faith.
Dr. John Mabry teaches world religions, spiritual guidance, and interfaith theology at the Chaplaincy Institute for Arts and Interfaith Ministry and other schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. He also serves as pastor of Grace North Church in Berkeley and has a private practice in spiritual direction. He is the author of numerous books on interfaith theology and spiritual guidance. He lives with his wife Lisa and dog Judy in Point Richmond. Recently, John published his first novel, "The Kingdom: A Berkeley Blackfriers Novel," an occult thriller similar to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He spoke to MPS in November 2008 on "Heretics, Mystics, and Misfits" and in September of 2009 he gave a presentation on "The Life of Alfred North Whitehead." In 2011 he spoke on "Christian Gnosticism."
January 16 Dr. Bruce Elliott on “The Development of Secular Humanism in Europe: From Medieval Thought to the Enlightenment”
February 20 Dale Biron presented “Finding wisdom in poetry.” Dale performed “A feast of poems that will make you wiser, happier and more connected to everything.”
April 16 Dr. Garrett’s focus was on scientific revolutions and how they’ve impacted the world of the humanities—especially philosophy and religion. More precisely, he talked about our understanding of time as it has been advanced by a series of scientific revolutions, culminating in what some say is the greatest scientific insight ever: Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.
Dr. Bill Garrett has been a Professor of Philosophy and Religion at JFK University. He has for the past 30 years taught courses on the history of ideas, including courses in religion, culture, and literature.
November 21 - Kayleen Asbo spoke on "Music, Myth and Nietzsche"
Nietzsche's pivotal book, The Birth of Tragedy, outlined the tensions between the Apollonian and Dionysian impulses in civilization. In this multi-media lecture/demonstration, Kayleen Asbo explored how these polarities revealed themselves throughout music and art history from the harmonious balance between them in the Baroque era through the wild swings of extremes between them in the Enlightenment and Romantic eras.
Kayleen Asbo is a cultural historian, musician, writer and teacher who weaves together myth, history, and the arts with experiential learning. Kayleen is on the faculty of Sonoma State University, Dominican University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Kayleen holds master’s degrees in both music and psychology and is currently a doctoral candidate in Mythological Studies at the Pacifica Graduate Institute.
October 17 - John Mabry, Ph.D. spoke on “Christian Gnosticism.”
Who were the Gnostics, and what did they believe? Why was the Christian church so keen to stamp them out, and did they really succeed? In this lecture World Religions scholar John Mabry introduces us to the strange world of these ancient mystics, and describes the lasting impact their ideas have had on Western culture.
Dr. John Mabry teaches world religions, spiritual guidance, and interfaith theology at the Chaplaincy Institute for Arts and Interfaith Ministry and other schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. He also serves as pastor of Grace North Church in Berkeley and has a private practice in spiritual direction. He is the author of numerous books on interfaith theology and spiritual guidance. He lives with his wife Lisa and dog Judy in Point Richmond. Last year John published his first novel, "The Kingdom: A Berkeley Blackfriers Novel," an occult thriller similar to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He spoke to MPS in November 2008 on "Heretics, Mystics, and Misfits" and in September of 2009 he gave a presentation on "The Life of Alfred North Whitehead."
September 19 - Charlie Glaser, Ph.D, MPS Program Chairman, used his soon to be completed autobiography “From Brooklyn and Beyond” and his poetry as a basis for discussing the philosophical issues that he has explored in his life and work.
August 15 - John Golenski, Ed.D's talk was entiltled "Fundamentalism Versus Secular Culture: Beyond Religion".
Dr. Golenski is President and Founder of the Health Priorities Group , a multi-disciplinary health care and health policy consulting group offering both clinical and organizational ethics consulting. He also is Executive Director of the Hanuman Medical Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to supporting “orphan” therapies—promising therapeutic research which is not supported through commercial ventures.
July 18th - Lesley Currier talked about MACBETH and some of the discoveries she has made directing the play for this summer's production at Forest Meadows. We looked at imagery, poetic devices, unanswered questions, contemporary resonances, and more as we dug into the multitudinous madness of this murderous story.
Lesley Currier is the founding Managing Director of Marin Shakespeare Company. She holds a B.A. in Religion from Princeton University, where she was awarded the Frances LeMoyne Page Award for Theatre. She spent three years with the Ukiah Players, where she acted, produced and served as fundraiser coordinator for the Phase II building expansion. In 1988, while in Ukiah, she initiated the New American Comedy Festival. After a season acting at Ashland's Oregon Shakespeare Festival, she studied at U.C. Irvine's M.F.A. Program in Acting, before being invited to Marin with Robert to found Marin Shakespeare Company. Since 1989, she has produced award-winning summer productions, created education/outreach programs that serve over 4,000 students each year, and provided work for thousands of theatre artists. An actor, director and playwright, Lesley's original adaptation of "A Thousand and One Arabian Nights", which she directed, was nominated for "Best Overall Production of 2002" by the Bay Area Critics Circle. Lesley was nominated as "Best Director 2009" for "Twelfth Night, or All You Need Is Love" which she adapted with Robert Currier. She and Robert co-founded Baja Shakespeare in 2001, bringing live theatre to the East Cape of Mexico's southern Baja peninsula. Lesley is the founder of Shakespeare at San Quentin, which gives inmates opportunities to study and perform Shakespeare. She is past President of the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America, served on Theatre Bay Area's Theatre Service Committee for six years, and has thrice served on grants panels for the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2007, Lesley was elected to the Marin Women's Hall of Fame.
June 20 - Christian Dean, Ph.D., spoke on “Much Ado About Nous Thing: The Meaning of the Soul Throughout the Ages.”
Drawing from the syllabus of his Graduate Humanities Core Seminar at Dominican University of California, Dr. Dean explored the perspectives of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, and several contemporary thinkers working in the area of cognitive science.
Dr. Dean is a Professor of Political Science and Humanities at the Dominican University of California, where he has taught moral and political philosophy and law for the last 15 years. He received his degrees, all in Political Science, from San Francisco State University (B.A.) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (M.A., Ph.D.).
May 16 - Daniel Ellsberg " Can the human species survive its own dangerous proclivities?" Our distinguished speaker, Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, addressed the question: What are the characteristics of the human species that have led to the construction and prolonged (and current) maintenance of Doomsday Machines? A Doomsday machine is a system of bombers and missiles with thermonuclear warheads, all currently on alert, with command and control networks. The two major powers that possess these weapons of global extermination are the United States and Russia. Dr. Ellsberg addressed the question of what changes in the US and Russia would allow for the dismantling of these weapon systems.
Daniel Ellsberg was educated at Harvard and Cambridge Universities and received a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard, with a thesis on rational decision-making under uncertainty. At the RAND Corporation and as a consultant to the Office of Secretary of Defense, he specialized in the command and control of nuclear weapons and the design of nuclear war plans.
Subsequently, he participated (with misgivings, but to the best of his ability) in planning an escalation of our war in Vietnam. Since then, after dismissal (on grounds of criminal governmental misconduct against him) of his federal felony charges totaling a possible 115 years in prison for revealing the Pentagon Papers--a top secret study of US decision-making in Vietnam.
Dr. Ellsberg has studied to understand the sources of such human-caused disasters and worked as a lecturer, writer, lobbyist and activist to help avert them.
April 18 - Didier de Fontaine, PhD. spoke on "Monism versus dualism".
Dr. Didier de Fontaine makes the argument for monism—the belief that science has proved that there is only one substance in the world and that all human thought and culture can be explained as arising from the material world.
Didier de Fontaine is Emeritus Professor of materials Science at UC Berkeley. He obtained an Engineering degree for the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium and his PhD in Materials Science from Northwestern University. He is Fellow of both the American Physical society and the (US) Metallurgical Society and has obtained awards from both the Metallurgical and Materials Research Societies. He is author or co-author of over 200 publications in Materials Science and Solid State Physics. He has lectured on the topic of Alloy Thermodynamics in universities and research institutes in North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
March 21--Noah Griffin offered a presentation on “"The Philosophy of Non-Violence from Gandhi to Thurman to King"
Noah Griffin is currently a contributing op-ed columnist for the MARIN IJ, performing (singing) and speaking full time after spending the last 35 years in government politics and media. He is a graduate of Harvard Law and Fisk University. He has completed Yale and CORO Fellowships and was also the recipient of the county’s Martin Luther King humanitarian award.
February 21— Bernice Goldmark. Ph.D talked on “Metaphors of Happiness.” "I can't tell you how to be happy, but I will be talking about eight different ways in which people conceive of happiness. We'll be looking at the kinds of life styles people pursue, what their basic values and assumptions about happiness are, and how these can be expressed as metaphors, which are basic to our thinking. "
BerniceGoldmark, is Professor Emeritus, Philosophy of Education, Sonoma State University. She is now teaching at the Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning at Dominican University in San Rafael and at the Fromm Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of San Francisco.
A summary of the talk by Bernice Goldmark. Ph.D. to the Marin Philosophical Society on February 21, 2011:
Dr. Goldmark began by showing how metaphors can be used as models for inquiry. Assumptions in the words we choose to describe experiences such as “a chosen people” can sometimes mislead us or they can point us to deeper understandings.
There were seven metaphors Dr. Goldmark employed to describe states of happiness:
Transcendence is a “Journey.” Ecstasy is a “State of Mind.” Rational Harmony is the “Golden Mean, a Place.” Contemplation is “A Mental Process.” Contentment is “A Static State.” Possession is “A Consumer.” Striving is “A Struggle.” And finally, Egoism is “A Self Fulfilled.”
January 17th-- Dr. Henry Fearnley spoke on “The Roots of Fascism.” His talk will examine the philosophical roots of German and Italian fascism.Hank Fearnley holds degrees in History, Political Science, and Information Science from UC, Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, and Georgetown University. As a long time Professor of Political Science and History at the College of Marin , Dr. Fearnley has won numerous teaching awards. In 1999, he was a recipient a Fulbright scholarship which took him to Malaysia and Singapore. Dr. Fearnley has served as both the President of the Academic Senate and Chair of the Social Science Department at the College.
A Summary of the talk by Dr. Henry Fearnley to the Marin Philosophical Society on January 17, 2011:
Dr. Fearnley focused on the philosophical justifications for Fascism in Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany. Fascism rejected the Enlightenment’s respect for the rights of the individual. Fascist doctrine set forth the nation-state as the spiritual ideal and insisted that a ruling elite was morally justified in demanding unquestioned obedience from the masses. Ideas from thinkers such as Hegel, Rousseau, Freud, Nietzsche, and Wagner led to a totalitarian ideology. Fascism promoted racial myths, irrationalism, subconscious forces, and the glorification of war.
November 15th—John Marmysz spoke on Nihilism, the philosophy that life is meaningless. But instead of despair, we can learn to laugh at the absurdity of it all. John is a teacher at COM and has a book published titled: “Laughing at Nothing: Humor as a Response to Nihilism.” His last name is pronounced, Marmish.
October 18th—Bonnie Howe, who teaches ethics at Dominican University, focused on how people tend to make moral decisions. She will explore the thought of two important women philosophers: Iris Murdoch and Martha Nussbaum.
September 20th—Phil Novak, PhD--Doctor Novak followed up on his presentation last year on "The Four Dimensions of Human Unity: Cosmological; Biological; Cultural; and, Spiritual."
August 16th—Presentation by Dr. John Golenski, Health Care Ethicist titled: Achieving social justice in the distribution of health care resources: Theories of justice and policy options. Dr. Golenski will discuss issues such as access to health care, rights vs. privileges, resource distribution, and decision factors from a philosophical and ethical perspective.
John Golenski, Ed.D is President and Founder of the Health Priorities Group (formerly Bioethics Consultation Group), a multi-disciplinary health care and health policy consulting group offering both clinical and organizational ethics consulting. He also is Executive Director of the Hanuman Medical Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to supporting “orphan” therapies—promising therapeutic research which is not supported through commercial ventures.
July 19th—Phil Sheridan Sleeping Beauty, the Untold Story.
Who really put her to sleep? Why? Who woke her up? What for? Did she really live happily ever after? These and other questions will be addressed by Dr. Philip Sheridan, F.D. Audience participation will be encouraged.
June 21--Prof. Samuel I. Doctors has held teaching positions for thirty-five years at the Harvard Business School, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School, the Univ. of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate Business School, the Haas School of Business at the Univ. of California, Berkeley and most recently at California State Univ., Hayward, He is the author and co-author of nine books, more than a hundred government sponsored research reports and more than fifty published articles, many in refereed journals. Prof. Doctors received his Doctorate in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School (1969) and he also holds a Doctorate in Jurisprudence from the Harvard Law School (1967) and became a member of the Massachusetts Bar in 1967. He holds a B. S. degree with majors in Mathematics, Classics, Philosophy and Physics from the University of Miami and has done additional graduate work in mathematics, history and philosophy. He is presently working on a full-length memoir and his 9th chap books of poetry.He has written and published nine academic books and more than 50 academic papers during his 35 year career. In the past four years he has self-published eight chap books of poetry. His most recent two are: “Why and Wherefore” and “Moods and Moments of a Restless Mind.”
May 18 - Marty Nemko holds a PhD specializing in the evaluation of education from the University of California, Berkeley and subsequently taught in its graduate school. The author of five books and 600+ articles (archived on www.martynemko.com,) in its summit on education, ABC-TV introduced him as an "education consumer advocate, the Ralph Nader of Education." His most recent article, "America's Most Overrated Product Higher Education" in the Chronicle of Higher Education, was disseminated widely in the national media, including an hour-long interview with Nemko on NPR's Talk of the Nation. Currently, Nemko is contributing editor at U.S. News & World Report and host of two weekly radio shows, one on KALW-FM, an NPR-affiliate in San Francisco and one on KGO-AM in San Francisco.
Calls for education reform have largely been hamstrung by the teachers unions, political correctness, and the natural tendency to maintain the basic structure of societal institutions. In this talk, unfettered by such restrictions, Dr. Nemko will lay out a bold yet realistic blueprint for how education, from kindergarten through graduate school could and should be reinvented to the betterment of all students and, in turn, society.
Title: Reinventing Education
April - Tom Truchan discussed how peoples' views of the meaning of life can be affected by their beliefs in god(s) and the afterlife.
Some religions don't emphasize God such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism; other religions believe God is the source of meaning. How do differences in beliefs such as reincarnation versus one life on earth influence the meaning in our lives?
Tom Truchan is a member of the Marin Philosophical Society and has led conversations on happiness and aesthetics. He was a high school teacher of humanities and world history.
March 15 - Warren Farrell, Ph.D., is the author of the international best sellers The Myth of Male Power, as well as Why Men Are the Way They Are. The thirteen fields to which his books contribute range from communication (Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say), to parenting (Father and Child Reunion), and economics (Why Men Earn More). His books are translated into 15 languages in 50 countries. He has been chosen by the Financial Times as one of the world’s top 100 thought leaders. He has appeared repeatedly on Oprah and on over 1,000 TV and radio shows worldwide. He has two daughters and lives with his wife in Mill Valley, California, and virtually at www.warrenfarrell.com .
Title: Why the Boy Crisis calls for an "Evolutionary Shift" in Our Philosophy of Raising our Sons
What is the evidence that boys are in crisis? Why the philosophy creating our sons' success in the past differs from the philosophy that will create our sons' success in the future. What is the shift in circumstances that mandates a shift in the raising of our sons? Why that shift in circumstances occurred in an evolutionary instant. Why women adapted to that shift and men didn't. Why men in 2010 are developmentally where women were in 1960--a half-century behind. Why the evolutionary shift cries for a parenting debate that calls for leadership by philosophers.
February 15 - Stanley Stefancic: REAL PHILOSOPHY
Stanley Stefancic (M.Div. Harvard Divinity School) will build on the writings of philosophers Jacob Needleman (author of “Real Philosophy”) and Jostein Gaarder (author of “Sophie’s World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy.”)
November - Tom Truchan. Tom has BA in History from UC, Santa Barbara and taught World History, Humanities, Psychology and Government at San Rafael High School from 1966 to 1994. He is a professional musician who played string bass in the Oakland Symphony and in many Orchestras. He has been Choir Director and pianist at the First Congregational Church in San Rafael for 23 years. Tom’s philosophical interests include : the meaning of life, universal ethical codes; the nature of humor and aesthetics. Currently,. Tom is writing and illustrating a book entitled “The meaning of Life in Top 10 Lists”. He also hopes to finish a book entitled ”199 ways to be Funny”.
Title: Aesthetics-Controversy and Insight in the World of Art
October - Brad Gibson, PhD, Buck Institute
Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, cancer, stroke, and diabetes are some of the most prevalent and serious of diseases that are strongly associated with aging. By explicitly studying the relationship between aging and disease, scientists at the Buck Institute for Age Research are striving to develop diagnostic tests and treatments that will prevent or delay these conditions. Buck Institute scientists work together without departmental boundaries, sharing ideas while working literally side-by-side with colleagues from other disciplines. Their labs are physically designed to foster these interactions across disciplinary lines. Unlike other institutions, all Buck Institute scientists, of all specialties, share a common goal: understanding the aging process. Even the most unexpected research on model organisms of aging such the worm or fly has led to breakthroughs that are relevant to human outcomes. For instance, Buck Institute researchers examining aging in fruit flies have produced important insights into suppression of human tumors. Moreover, studying cell death pathways have suggested new possibilities for treating Alzheimer disease. Parkinson specialists have zeroed in on iron-fortified infant formula as a surprising player in later-life development of that disease.
Bradford Gibson got his PhD in Chemistry at MIT in 1983 and then went on to a postdoctoral fellowship at Cambridge University. Brad joined the faculty at UCSF in 1985 in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry where he worked on various biomedical research projects that focused on solving structural problems in protein and carbohydrate chemistry. Currently, Brad is Professor and Director of Chemistry at the Buck Institute and still remains associated with UCSF through the Sandler-Moore Mass Spectrometry Core. At the Buck Institute, Brad is involved in a number of projects targeting common molecular mechanisms that may underlie neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and aging. I'm sure we are in for a treat as he describes in laymen's terms some of his ongoing efforts to shed light on aging and age-related diseases.
September - John Mabry, Ph.D.
John teaches world religions, spiritual guidance, and interfaith theology at the Chaplaincy Institute for Arts and Interfaith Ministry and other schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. He also serves as pastor of Grace North Church in Berkeley and has a private practice in spiritual direction. He is the author of numerous books on interfaith theology and spiritual guidance. He lives with his dog Judy in Point Richmond where he has just finished his first novel—an occult thriller similar to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We’ve asked John to bring a sample of books he has authored
Title: The life of Alfred North Whitehead
August - Buddhist Thoughts on Fundamentalist Battles for God.
Philip Novak received his Ph.D. from the department of Religion at Syracuse University in 1981 and is currently Professor and Chairman of the Program in Philosophy and Religion at Dominican University of California where he has taught for 28 years. He is the author of The World's Wisdom (1994), an anthology of the sacred texts of the world's religions, The Vision of Nietzsche (1996), an anthology of the writings of the noted German philosopher, and The Inner Journey: Views from the Buddhist Tradition (2005). He is the co-author with Huston Smith of Buddhism: A Concise Introduction (2003), and has published numerous articles and book reviews in both scholarly and popular journals.
July - Barry Kraft, Shakespearean actor.
Barry has acted in all 38 of Shakespeare’s plays (more than 100 roles in 84 full productions). In addition to 20 seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, he has acted with the American Conservatory Theater, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Old Globe (San Diego), The Empty Space and A Contemporary Theatre (both in Seattle), Berkeley Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespeare Festival and the Marin Shakespeare Company Barry is also a dramaturge. teacher, guest lecturer, chess player and published author.
Title: “Is There Justification for Assassination”?
June - Norman Fischer is an author, a poet, and a Zen Buddhist priest and abbot. He lived for more than twenty-five years as a resident priest at the San Francisco Zen Center's Green Gulch Farm in Marin, serving as its co-abbot from 1995-2000. In 2000 founded the Everyday Zen Foundation, a consortium of Zen groups and related projects whose mission is to share the Zen teachings and practice widely with the world. The latest of his dozen volumes of poetry is "I Was Blown Back" (2007); a new volume "Questions/Voices/Places/Seasons" will be coming out next month. His latest spiritual book is "Sailing Home: Using the Wisdom of Homer's Odyssey to Navigate Life's Perils and Pitfalls" (2008). Norman is widely known throughout the Buddhist world and beyond (he has been on the Oprah Winfrey show) for his work with inter-religious dialog (he co-founded a Jewish meditation center in san Francisco, Makor Or, with the late rabbi Alan Lew) and for his lively and common-sense inflected presentation of meditation and Zen.
May - Dwayne Hunn
About 4 years ago, the Marin Philosophical Society (MPS) kicked off People’s Lobby’s (PLI) public speaking campaign to enact its proposed American World Service Corps (AWSC) Congressional Legislation. Since then PLI has added another related and synergistic congressional proposal, its Fair Tax Bracket Reinstitution Act. On May 19th PLI’s Executive Director, Dwayne Hunn, will practice the 4 Rs at the MPS luncheon:
1)Review the long and windy road these “awesome” pieces of citizen-initiated legislation have bumpily traveled and where they are moving or laying on today’s political beltway.
2)Reveal some philosophical aches, pains, and questions raised by traveling the less traveled road of citizen-initiated legislation into the DC beltway.
3) Receive and respond to your comments, questions, and suggestions.
For those of you who missed Dwayne’s last presentation to us, here’s some background that may reveal his hungry philosophical lunch bite. Dwayne served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Slumdog Millionaire areas of Mumbai, India, received a Claremont University Ph.D. in Public Finance, Administration, and Government, taught at high school and college levels, was on the start up team of the California Conservation Corps, and served as a Chief Lieutenant to Ed and Joyce Koupal of People’s Lobby, about which he coauthored a book titled, Ordinary People Doing the Extraordinary. He loves telling stories about living in a sovereign Sanford and Son community, where under a benevolent conservative Ruler a handful of motorcycle riding Pharmhands built a seven story Rubelian Castle of Junk in a posh southern California suburban community.
April - John Aiken, Animal care in the 21st century. Can animals live healthy normal lives in captivity; how do we design physical spaces to care for wildlife that promote there well being? To ultimately understand the issues involved we need to question how we think about captivity and what it means to animals. John Aiken, Director of the Junior Museum and zoo in Palo Alto will discuss how facilities are designed to manage wildlife in modern zoos, why these are important today, and how the public reacts to them. Pollywogs and Pets, why nature and providing care to animals are important to early childhood development.
A growing body of research indicates that direct exposure to nature is essential for a child’s health physical and emotional development. Children who form caring attitudes toward animals tent to develop caring attitudes for conservation and the environment. John Aiken, Director of the Junior Museum and Zoo in Palo Alto will discuss the importance of childhood experience with nature and animals care from the perspective of personal and professional experience and current literature.
March - Jasson Minadakis, Artistic Director of Marin
Theatre Company and the director of the company’s West Coast premiere of Octavio Solis’ LYDIA , will speak about the representation of the American Dream in three family epics – Solis’ LYDIA, Sam Shepard’s CURSE OF THE STARVING CLASS (seen in 2008 at A.C.T.), and Tennessee Williams’ CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF (which Minadakis will direct at Georgia Shakespeare in June 2009).
February - Daniel N. Robinson is an Oxford University philosophy professor. He posits that the good life is active, contemplative, somewhat fatalistic selfless”. Come and view a 25 minute DVD to see how the good doctor reaches that conclusion and then join in what we hope will be a lively discussion led by Tom Truchan,, educator, musician MPS member
Title: Four Theories of the good Life
January - Michael Denney MD
Mike graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1959. After many years of practicing, teaching and writing as a trauma surgeon, Mike went back to school at Pacifica Graduate Institute, and earned a PH.D. degree in depth psychology. His dissertation is entitled “Soul and Medicine”. He is the author of “Second Opinion” (Grosset and Dunlop, 1979) and many articles in scientific journals and popular magazines, Currently, Mike is an on adjunct faculty at John F Kennedy University, the California Institute of Integral Studies and Pacific Graduate Institute. He practices psychological and somatic counseling at his office in Sausalito and writes an teaches about his passion for the union of science and spirituality in the healing arts He is also Editor of San Francisco Medicine, the Journal of the San Francisco Medical Society.
The presentation will focus upon the discontinuity and paradox that marks the 20th century, and will derive from the mathematical, scientific, philosophical and literary events of the magical year of 1900. Through this approach, we may discover a path toward the union of science and spirituality in the healing arts.
October – Encounters with Iraqis
Encounter can only be accomplished at the level of presence. If it is to be an authentic encounter, it cannot be limited to coexistence at a particular point in a particular moment. Such coexistence is only a matter of "being there." There is true encounter only if there is being with. ––Gabriel Marcel
A DVD presentation, slide show, and poetry reading by David Smith-Ferri
Both philosopher Gabriel Marcel and historian/anthropologist Paul Shepard are concerned with the dehumanizing of contemporary people. In a world that is becoming more and more homogenous and in which terror is increasingly the rule rather than the exception, a desire and an ability to enter into nonviolent and mutually respectful relationships with “others” – with people from whom are different – is essential. Referencing Marcel’s and Shepard’s ideas, David will discuss his visits to Iraq and Jordan and his encounters with Iraqi people over the past eight years. Through poetry, slides, and video, David will tell stories of individual Iraqis and how they have been affected by the current war and occupation. Questions he hopes to raise include: What responsibility do we actually have to Iraqi people, ten thousand miles away, caught in the violent upheaval of war and terrorism? How do we understand this responsibility? What happens to our understandings when we enter into relationships with actual Iraqi people?
David will read from his newly published book, Battlefield without Borders (www.battlefieldwithoutborders.org), and show home video footage shot recently in Iraq (not battlefield scenes, but a simple introduction to a particular family). He will introduce the audience to a new project, The Direct Aid Initiative, through which aid is being given directly to some of the neediest Iraqis in Amman, Jordan.
November - John R. Mabry, PhD: Heretics, Mystics & Misfits
John teaches world religions, spiritual guidance, and interfaith theology at the Chaplaincy Institute for Arts and Interfaith Ministry and other schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. He also serves as pastor of Grace North Church in Berkeley and has a private practice in spiritual direction. He is the author of numerous books on interfaith theology and spiritual guidance. He lives with his dog Judy in Point Richmond where he has just finished his first novel—an occult thriller similar to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We’ve asked John to bring a sample of books he has authored
October- Last month, as an outgrowth of an MPS discussion concerning the Dutch resistance to the Nazi’s during WW2. it was recognized that the issue of trust is of major import to the attitudes and conduct of ones life, and with the prompting by several of our members, it was decided to have a more comprehensive and open discussion of the various elements of trust and of its implications for living, whether it be for local for more global considerations.
September- Christina Radich, Co-author of “Our Mothers War: A Biography of a Child of the Dutch Resistance” will speak to her mother’s philosophy which enabled her to survive Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and the coming to grips with post war life by way of her East Indian experience. Christina joined her mother on several trips to India and it was there in 1972 that her mother began to reveal the psychological challenges which resulted from her war experiences.
August - Roy Mash lives in San Rafael and works for San Francisco Muni as an Electronics Technician. He was raised in Detroit and attended the University of Michigan as an undergraduate, where he majored in English with an emphasis in poetry and creative writing, and Oral Interpretation, the latter field having long since gone out of fashion. From ages 18 to 26 he ate, slept, and stewed over poetry. Then for 30years the Muse took a hike, during which time Mr. Mash went on to graduate degrees in Philosophy and Computer Science, both at San Francisco State University. About two years ago he suffered a relapse into poetry. Currently a board member of Marin Poetry Center where he serves as events coordinator and webmaster, and organizes a monthly poetry book group.
June - Bernice Goldmark, Ph. D., Professor Emeritus, Philosophy of Education, Sonoma State University. Now teaching at the Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning at U.S.F and at Dominican College in San Rafael.
Recent research has focused on, what some commentator said, was “self-esteem run rampant”. Researchers and authors have categorized this behavior as Narcissistic (some research to be included) and see negative consequences for society. Our education system is seen as partly to blame, while technology is blamed for fueling the increase in Narcissism.
What seems to be lost in our society is a concept of the social self, as opposed to the individual, separated self. Bernice will explore the rise of Narcissism and the concept of the social self, looking at the concepts of dependence and independence and what they mean for the individual and for society.
May - Noah Griffin is currently a contributing op-ed columnist for the MARIN IJ, performing (singing) and speaking full time after spending the last 35 years in government politics and media. He is a graduate of Harvard Law and Fisk University. He has completed Yale and CORO Fellowships and was also the recipient of the county’s Martin Luther King humanitarian award. Subject: Longfellow and the Meaning of Life.
April - Dissatisfied by Silicon Valley's dot-com greed, Nipun Mehta went to a homeless shelter with three friends to "give with absolutely no agendas." In April 1999, they ended up creating a website, and also an organization named CharityFocus.org - a fully volunteer-run organization that leverages technology to inspire greater volunteerism and shift our cultural ethos
towards generosity. Today, CharityFocus.org has grown into an incubator of "gift-economy" projects; their websites attract millions of global viewers, their membership base is about 200K in size, and they will send 50MM solicited newsletters in the coming year. While Nipun's childhood dream was to either become a tennis-pro or a Himalayan Yogi. A statement of his life simply reads: "Bring smiles in the world and stillness in my heart."
March - In this provocative PowerPoint presentation filled with images of art, Leonard Shlain, MD. is the Chairman of Laparoscopic Surgery at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and is the Associate Professor of Surgery at UCSF. He is the author of three critically acclaimed books, namely Art and Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, The Alphabet versus the Goddess: the Conflict between Word and Image and Sex, Time and Power: How Woman’s Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution.
Dr. Shlain will present the thesis of his current work in progress, Leonardo’s Brain: The Left/Right Roots of Creativity He will tell two stories. One will concern the remarkable life and accomplishments of Leonardo and the other will be about the evolution of brains. Examining the roots of Leonardo’s extraordinary creativity in terms of how his brain was organized will allow an investigation into the uniqueness of his creativity. There have been many geniuses in art and many geniuses in science, but Leonardo was the only individual in known history capable of making profoundly significant contributions to both fields — several times over!
Reconstructing the configuration DaVinci’s brain arises from some unusual features that are well known. He was gay, male, left-handed, (but ambidextrous). He is the only historical figure who wrote backwards (mirror-writing.) He was a musician, composer, and reportedly sang with perfect pitch. Contemporary witnesses note that he suffered a stroke in his later years that paralyzed his right hand after which Leonardo gave up the brush but continued to pursue his scientific endeavors. That is enough evidence to begin to imagine the configuration of the brain of this exceptional individual.
A fun shuttle between the Renaissance’s most intriguing figure and current neurocognitive research will provide much thought provoking discussion.
February - Jordan Shlain, MD, Medical Director, Internal Medicine
Dr. Jordan Shlain founded San Francisco On Call Medical Group in 1997 because he wanted to run a medical practice that puts a priority on the doctor-patient relationship. During his residency, Dr. Shlain had the opportunity to provide a house call for an elderly patient - an experience that made a lasting impression. He realized he was able to spend the amount of time with a patient necessary to offer the best care in the comfort of the patient's own home. Dr. Shlain found that this unhurried, more comprehensive way of practicing medicine is consistent with the natural instincts of a doctor, namely being concerned first and foremost with the care of each patient. It became clear to him that the 'housecall' could benefit many other people and he soon became the physician of choice for the hospitality industry as well as the maritime industry. Today, the top hotels in San Francisco call on SF On Call Medical Group as well as the cruise lines, airlines and consulates. However, the largest part of the practice are Bay Area residents who do not wish to visit the Emergency Room or are looking for a convenient, same-day medical visit at their home or their office. Dr. Shlain is also an assistant clinical professor at the U.C.S.F and is also the Northern California medical director for Lufthansa Airlines, and a member of the board of directors for the San Francisco Medical Society. He received a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.D. from Georgetown University Medical School.
January - The Literary Life And Philosophy Of XXI Century France
During the last ten years France has gone through major political, social and economical changes that often conflicted with the emotions, partial nationalism and patriotism of the French individual. These changes are strongly expressed through new philosophies and new forms of literature. The French writers of the 21st century are referred to as “The New Hussars”. During this lecture we will explore the essence and directions of new literary currents, and discuss the philosophies of several new prominent French authors. Erika Harkins, BA, MA, is presently a Faculty member at the College of Marin, teaching French Literature. Erika is also a member of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, teaching History of French Literature at Dominican University. She strongly believes that literature and history are interrelated and complement each other. She received her degrees in Bucharest Romania and at the University of Paris, France. In addition to her background in Humanities, Ms. Harkins also has a scientific background with master’s degree in Organic Chemistry. She participated in different clinical study projects regarding Intra-ocular lenses used in post-cataract surgery, and lectured 1st and 2nd year medical students at UC San Francisco. Ms. Harkins lives in California since 1972 and returns to visit France on a regular basis.
Sept.- Is the Supreme Court Undermining the Right to Choose? Learning to live on a very slippery slope. Can society cope with reproductive technology and “partial birth abortion” by redefining ethical spaces and understanding “giftedness”?
Recent works by philosopher Daniel C. Dennett and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, among others, have greatly expanded the intellectual space for non-religion based ethics. Michael J. Sandel has carried this ethical movement into the human reproductive choice arena in his book “The Case Against Perfection” subtitled “Ethics in the age of genetic engineering”. (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007).
Meanwhile, the US Supreme Court has upheld the “Constitutionality” of the federal law against “partial birth abortion” (Gonzales v. Carhart et al., decided Apr 18, 2007) in a decision widely acclaimed by the “Pro-Life” movement, and widely disparaged by the “Pro-Choice” movement. However, a careful reading of the Supreme Court decision itself appears to yield a great deal for both sides. Does the US justice system’s polarizing framework impose a tendency towards legalistic rigidity whereby it is becomes nearly impossible for either side to speak in concert with a nuanced ethics on the subject of reproductive choices?
Brief Bio: Joel W. Adelson MD, PhD, MPH Professor of Social Medicine and Public Health Director, Integrating Medicine and Public Health (IMAP) Program Institute for Health & Aging - University of California, San Francisco. He is a physician-scientist with broad interests in many areas of biology, medicine, and public health. Lately, he has been working with colleagues on the social, legal and ethical implications of the California Stem Cell Initiative, which—perhaps inevitably—led him squarely into the murky, troubled waters of the reproductive rights/abortion issue. (He readily admits that he has a life-long history of heading straight into troubled waters, life would be too dull otherwise!).
Aug - Beginner’s Mind - Eleanor Rosch, professor of cognitive psychology at UC Berkeley. Professor Rosch was a developer of the concept of the embodied mind. She will discuss issues in teaching different ways of knowing.
A few years ago, George Lakoff, Berkeley linguistic professor and author of several popular cultural books, presented a talk to MPS on his book promoting the embodied mind as a challenge to traditional western philosophies reliance on abstract sources for theoretical inspiration.
July - Bridge-building: Essential Practices for Change, Conflict Resolution, and Communication presented by Angeles Arrien
Change is the only constant. Change catalyzes growth, breaks fixed perspectives, ignites the creative spirit, and facilitates necessary opportunities and challenges. The presence of change is often announced by the creative tension we generally call conflict or chaos. How can we hold this creative tension? What practices and practical tools can we use in managing change and stepping into the unknown? The invitation of the 21st century is move into a "both/and” world, where the analytical and the intuitive mind can work together to create a synergistic third possibility that is greater than either polarity. This is the heart of conflict transformation. Participants will look at cross-cultural methods of negotiation, practices of peace, and work with the four universal principles found in all cultures as ways of creatively transforming conflict.
Angeles Arrien is an anthropologist, educator, award-winning author, and corporate consultant. She lectures nationally and internationally; conducting workshops bridging cultural anthropology, psychology, and mediation skills. Angeles honors the multiple indigenous practices of the world through her work and teaching. She is the Founder and President of the Angeles Arrien Foundation for Cross-Cultural Education and Research and author of The Four-Fold Way and Signs of Life.
June-Plato's metaphysics and politics.
DVD, Peter, Charlie, and intrepid band of Marin philosophers.
May- How to Make Love Instead of War: When Will We Ever Learn? Dr. Joan A. Nelson (M.A., Ed.D.)
We are handing yet one more generation a world thatcontinues to make war. Why? Could it be that Thucydides’ pessimistic view of human nature (as we discussed at the MPS January meeting) is correct? And that Plato's optimistic hopes for religious and educational institutions has failed to materialize? What better facet of human behavior (than sexual expression) do we have for examining this perennial issue?
“Dr.Joan” is a sex educator, researcher, and counselor.
April –The Philosophy and Present Day Relevance of Karl Marx
A DVD presentation on Marx and Alienation (Dennis Dalton, Columbia University) will be discussed (moderated by Charlie Glaser and Peter Katcoff). Marx was a critic of capitalism and a philosopher of alienation. He felt that the natural self, defined by its basic needs of subsistence, sex, and productive labor, leads to a state of alienation. According to Marx, capitalism in particular, alienates men from themselves and from each other. Marx argues that the greed and avarice encouraged by capitalism will undermine and ultimately destroy the regime of private property while a communist society will be characterized by equality and true justice. Although Marx may not have provided satisfactory solutions to these profound problems, we will discuss to what extent his social criticism and theory of alienation remain relevant in today's world.
March- Kirkegaard, Fear and Loathing
A lively introduction with author Don Fenn, a psychologist and author who's written about fear, to Kirkegaard's book, Fear And Loathing. Peter Robinson, President of San Francisco Literary Society, contributor to BOOK TALK on NPR and editor of San Francisco Books & Travel. Peter will provide the background and context of this 19th century book, and Don Fenn will look at its logical relation to contemporary fear.
February- How Should We Value Human Life? Some of today's difficult ethical issues of the day involve the question of steps to be taken to "save lives." How much time, effort and money should be spent by society to save these lives? Some of the questions to be considered include: Should a life be valued by the value attached to it by the person who is living it, or by its value to other persons dependent on that person? Does every person's life have the same value? Does a person's life have different values at different stages of life? Does the very process of attaching a value to human life effect a change in the way we view ourselves as a society? To make the discussion more realistic, it will be focused on a number of specific situations which have recently arisen, including: Prioritizing the allocation of scarce medical resources, including organ
transplants. Requiring safety features, such as air bags, to be added to automobiles and other consumer products. Compensation from a government fund to the families of victims of the World Trade Center attack, ranging from investment bankers to janitors. Construction of a suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge. Bill Gates' plan to spend billions of dollars to save lives in Africa by finding ways to eliminate malaria, AIDS and other infectious diseases.
January- A DVD Presentation and Discussion on politics and power in the Peloponnesian War. Athens mishandling of power under Pericles leadership served Plato as an object lesson of what to avoid in constructing a well-ordered republic. Thucydides does not believe that human nature can be improved through education or any other means. Thus we cannot prevent violence, war and the corruption that results from the exercise of power. In contrast, Plato asserts that that politics need not inevitably be corrupt. Human nature is perfectible. And the state can attain justice through education.
Classical and Modern Political Theory Prof. Dennis Dalton, Barnard College/Columbia University
November- Dr. Edward Morler is the founder and CEO of Morler International, Inc, a management training and consulting firm specializing in interpersonal and organizational effectiveness. As corporate and political scandals continue to dramatize, ethical lapses have devastating, psychological as well as financial costs. Addressing symptoms such as compliance issues is not sufficient in itself to establish a healthy work environment. According to Dr. Morler, doing the right thing—acting with integrity—boils down to a fundamental attribute—emotional maturity. Dr. Morer is the author of a recent book entitled “The Leadership Integrity Challenge-How to Assess and Facilitate Emotional Maturity”. His topic will be: The Dynamics And Interrelationship Of Integrity And Emotional Maturity.
November - Fulcrum of Destiny. We stand at a confluence of world history, current events and religion. Tylor Bede, artist and historian, will use a multi-media art exhibit to explain Islamic and Judeo-Christian extremism. His presentation and talk are likely to be disturbing. And, as Aristotle tells us, true knowledge is characterized by strong feelings that disturb.
October - Susan Burgess-Lent has worked with the Darfur Peace and Development Organization (www.dpado.org) since 2003. She manages the Atrocity Crimes Documentation Project and is currently developing the Darfur Women’s Services Center to treat victims of sexual violence. Susan has provided consulting/writing services to a variety of organizations including American Friends of the Kigali Public Library, African Immigrant and Refugee Foundation, Center for Development and Population Activities, and InterAction (Washington, DC). She worked for the American Red Cross International Services managing field personnel in complex humanitarian disasters (Rwanda, Bosnia, Somalia, and Central Asia). Susan published her first novel, IN THE BORDERLANDS (Xlibris Corp) in 2000. She received a 2002 Maryland Arts Council Grant based on that work. Her essays and short stories have been included in two anthologies. She worked in broadcast television as a producer, writer and editor for twenty years. Her broadcast clients have included CBS News, CNBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corp, Fox TV, and local stations including WRC-TV, WJLA-TV, KRON-TV, and KPIX-TV. She has received both an Emmy and an Iris Award.
Title "The Darfur Genocide: What are we doing about it?"
September -"Jerusalem Journal: Finding Hope"
In the spring of 2005 Robert Traer lived for three months in East Jerusalem and traveled on the West Bank with members of Rabbis for Human Rights to help protect Palestinian farmers from attacks by Israeli settlers. Despite the violence and cynicism that now mark the conflict in the Middle East, he found hope in the courage and faith of the Jews, Christians and Muslims who are committed to a non-violent struggle that seeks justice and security for both Palestinians and Israelis. Dr. Traer teaches ethics at Dominican University. His talk will include a PowerPoint presentation with photos he took while in Jerusalem and the West Bank."
August- Freud’s Theory of Human Nature and Civilization In keeping with the MPS promise of an interactive forum for the exchange and expansion of philosophy-related ideas, the August meeting will include a lively, respectful discussion of a brief video* on Sigmund Freud’s theories. (*Produced by the Teaching Company)
July- Shakespeare's Hardiness: Classical Acting in the 21st Century. A discussion of the history of Shakespearean production with reference to the speaker's personal experience in the classical theatre and excerpts from the plays.
June - Norman Sanger, PhD Musicology, University of Pittsburgh, and a member of MPS, will discuss the Language of Music. He will elaborate on topics such as the task of the communicator, the task of the recipient, emotional content, closure and fulfillment. Aesthetic elements such as duration, intensity (volume), pitch and timbre (tone quality) and their interrelationships will also be explored. Other issues to be touched upon will include performance practice, and the score as artifact. Finally, some contemporary experiments will be discussed, including Sprechstimme and rap, John Cage and the minimalists.
May - Jay P. Gurian, Ph.D. and Julia M. Gurian, MPH lived and worked in Peshawar, NWFP (Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan) for more than two years. As a Foreign Service officer in the U.S. Information Service, Jay served as Director of the American Center in Peshawar. This post served both Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as the three million Afghan refugees living in northern NWFP refugee camps. Jay will profile how the tribal mentality shared by both groups affected everyday life as well as the workings of the American Center. Julia coordinated and supervised seven major women’s health and education programs covering 1800 Afghan refugee women and children for a large non-governmental international relief organization (NGO). She will discuss the attitude toward, and the treatment of women by the emerging “Taliban” and its effects on these women. She will also describe the publicly posted death threats by the fundamentalist mujaheddin that she and Afghan women program supervisors experienced because they were working to educate and provide basic health services to Afghan women.
Jay. P. Gurian has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota and was a Professor of American Studies before retiring to join the Foreign Service.
Julia M. Gurian has an MPH in Gerontology and was an Instructor at Honolulu and Kapiolani Community Colleges and at the University of Hawaii. The Gurians have lived eight years in South Asia as well as Turkey.
Title: Living And Working With The “Taliban”
April - Timir Banerjee, MD was trained as a neurosurgeon and practiced his specialty for 19 years. He still works in his profession for six weeks/year in Peru, India, and Nepal. In 1999 he formed a non-profit organization in Louisville Ky, (SPAVA) Society for the Prevention of Aggressiveness and Violence among Adolescents, where community members serve as mentors in teaching about honor and integrity. Students learn impulse control by acquiring skills in negotiation. Perseverance is taught by discussing the lives of Nobel Peace laureates. Timir currently teaches this program in elementary, middle and high schools and will address his vision, his program, results to date and future plans.
March- Louise Franklin, Executive Director, International Center of Attitudinal Healing, Louise has been instrumental in building the Center’s training and fund-raising capacities and has been involved with many of the Center’s national and international projects. Louise will be speaking on the approach of Attitudinal Healing, its many applications worldwide, and why it is one of the most important community health models developed in the last 50 years. She will address how the latest research supports the statement that each of us has the power to change our attitude at any moment, and can actually redesign the way our brains work.
February - Honored as one of Newsweek's "Woman Shaping the 21st Century”, Tiffany Shlain is the founder and chairperson of the Webby Awards, The Webby Awards were initiated 10 years ago and are the leading international honors for web sites. Tiffany is also an acclaimed screenwriter and director. Her most recent film, The Tribe (2005) enlists pop icon Barbie to tackle the challenging issue of Jewish identity. Her previous films include: "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" (2003), a powerful exploration of reproductive rights, which was named an Official Sundance Selection and will air on the Sundance Channel in October 2005; and Less is Moore"(2002), a profile of Intel founder Gordon Moore narrated by Harrison Ford. Tiffany is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where she was selected as Valedictorian speaker.
Topic: What Does It Mean To Be A Member Of A Tribe In The 21st Century?
January- Leonard Shlain, M.D., is the Chairman of Laparoscopic Surgery at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and is an Associate Professor of surgery at UCSF. He is the author of three critically acclaimed books, the first two being “ Art and Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time and Light”, and “The Alphabet Versus the Goddess; The Conflict Between Word and Image”. In his most recent book “Sex Time and Power: How Women’s Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution”, Leonard argues that profound changes in female sexuality hold the key to the sudden emergence ~150,000 years ago of big-brained Homo sapiens, and his presentation will focus on this fascinating and controversial hypothesis.
October- Gennifer Choldenko graduated Cum Laude with honors in English from Brandeis University, and also received a BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. Jennifer has completed three children’s books, and is under contract for 5 more. For her historical fiction work entitled Al Capone Does My Shirts, Gennifer, who was given the prestigious Newbery Honor award, will speak about the elements in her own development as a children’s writer and of the reaction of kids to her story taking.
September- Mark Litwin is member of the Bar and a licensed real estate broker. He received his law degree from Northwestern University Indiana and his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois. Mark is President of the Greenbrae Association which comprises 1200 homes, and is a founder of the New College of Law in San Francisco. Mark is also on the Steering Committee of JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa), a project of the Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco. He will speak about "the Forgotten Refugees", the nearly one million Jews indigenous to the Middle East forced to leave their homes as a result of Arab nationalism after 1948.
August- Bring your juicy brain to the subject of Cognitive Social Scientist George Lakoff’s Conceptual Analysis within Cognitive Linguistics. Will you agree or disagree with his hypothesis that “framing” (semantics, vocabulary and code words) are what have put the current administration in charge? Do you ever wonder what happened to character, and a real desire to put the nation’s best interests above ideology? (Told that we would be discussing his 20-minute video, Lakoff said he would be interested in coming to speak to (with) us if there is enough interest after we have viewed his video.)
July - Phil Sheridan, a member of MPS & a professional actor & librarian, will present Richard III: Villain or Victim? starring Laurence Olivier, Ian Mckellen, Ron Cook, Maggi Smith, Annette Benning, Claire Bloom & Jim Broadbent. Shakespeare’s play Richard III is a deliciously vile portrayal of an English king who ruled for a couple of years in the late 1400s. We shall watch scenes from 3 filmed versions of the play (the BBC, Laurence Olivier & Ian Mckellen) We will also pause & ask how vile the real King Richard was, & what advantages if any did Queen Elizabeth and her forebears enjoy by promoting such a picture of him? & why did Shakespeare choose to write the play the way he did?
June - Dwayne Hunn, Ph.D., Received an MA degree from San Francisco State University in Broadcast Journalism, and an MA and Ph.D. in Public Policy, Finance and Administration from Claremont University. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in the slums of Bombay in the 60’s and found it to be one of the most formative periods of his life. Dr. Hunn has worked as a consultant for land and development projects and political campaigns for the past 20 years, and penned a 1989 bill proposing a Soviet American Peace Corps which was introduced by Barbara Boxer into the 101 Congress and got buried in the middle of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Dwayne reminds us that John Kennedy's dream was to send a million people into the Peace Corps which he estimates would have added up to 34 million total volunteers with ties around the world. Dwayne is currently working diligently on a two component World Service Corps Resolution (WSC) based in part on Kennedy’s dream which would include the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Headstart, Habitat for Humanity, Doctors San Borders and the Red Cross. Title: Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You, But What You Can Do For Your Country.
May- Drew Dellinger, A Cosmology of Justice. R. G. Collingwood said, "The chief business of twentieth century philosophy is to reckon with twentieth century history." The unprecedented legacy of war, injustice, and ecological destruction from the twentieth century continues to pose a challenge to our very survival as we enter the twenty-first. In the midst of its immense upheaval, the twentieth century also saw the emergence of political and intellectual movements for justice and ecology. Drawing on visionaries such as Gandhi, Einstein, King, and Thomas Berry, Dellinger will trace this development and assert the need for a comprehensive "cosmology of justice" that unites ecological and social concerns.
April- Peter Robinson, a resident of Mill Valley, is Editor of San Francisco Books and Travel, an NPR book reviewer, newspaper columnist and has completed a radio series on Graham Greene, He writes the weekly column On THE FERRY. His travel writing Includes THE INSIGHT GUIDE To PROVENCE. He also conducts travel writing workshops on Angel Island.
Topic: Graham Greene’s The Quiet American, published 50 years ago.. What does it tell us about current American foreign policy? Do we learn from history?
March - Mary Jane Burke has served as the Marin County Superintendent of Schools since 1992. She is a special education teacher by training and has held various positions in the Marin County Office of Education where she has worked since 1971. She is a graduate of Dominican University, holding a B.A. in Education and a Masters Degree in Special Education as well as teaching and administrative credentials. To any proposed action or program, she asks “Is it good for kids?” Ms. Burke has a son in his final year of Law School and a daughter who is a special education teacher in Long Beach, California. Topic: “Update on the schools in Marin County and the state of education in California.”
February- Phil Sheridan , new MPS member, is an actor and librarian. He does voices for radio commercials and computer games, has appeared on Nash Bridges and performed a number of independent films and stage plays. He is currently a librarian at the Sausalito Library who does reference for adults and reads stories aloud to preschoolers in librarians through the county. He teaches a class on using MARINet online library catalog. He told 3-1/2 stories: Leo Tolstoy’s “Three Hermits,” James Thurber’s “Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” Ernest Tha6er’s “Casey at the Bat” and half of Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s on First?”
January- Todd Tooradj Javadi was born in Iran, educated in psychology, and has lived in Greenbrae since 1960 with his friend, soulmate and wife, Vida. He has been a student of the 14th century poet and philosopher, Rumi, and has spent years lecturing in schools and to various organizations and translating Rumi’s works from the original Farsi. He has also been comparing these works with those of the psychologist Carl G. Jung and is working on a children’s book based on Rumi’s teachings “Experiencing and Living Rumi’ is the title of his presentation.
November- Morgan L. Beatty, Ph.D., is President of the consulting firm Morgan Beatty & Associates, involved most recently in speaking, teaching and writing on career and business development and the pharmaceutical industry. Served as Senior Vice President of Technical Operations for Elan Pharmaceuticals. Prior technical and executive positions at Athena Neurosciences, which merged with Elan; Boehringer-Mannheim Pharmaceuticals; and Pfizer Central Research. Currently on an advisory counsel to the Purdue University School of Pharmacy & Pharmacal Sciences, where he earned his BS degree, as well as MS and Ph.D. degrees in Physical & Industrial Pharmacy. Title: Affordability of Prescription Drugs: Myths Exposed in a Pricing Debate with an Industry at Risk
October- Charlie Glaser, earned his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, and served several post-doctoral fellowships, (Children’s Cancer Research Foundation Boston, Hormone Research Laboratory at UCSF), He has been studying proteins in a nonprofit research organization, a small biotech company, and a large Pharmaceutical company and has >50 scientific publications. Currently is Guest Editor for a Special Edition of a Scientific Journal devoted to a specialized area of anti-oxidants. Program Director for the MPS for the past 3 years, and is preparing to publish his first book of poetry.
Title: A Scientific Life- From Rocket Fuel to Oxidant Stress and Neurological Disease
September- Julia Geist has been with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (the de Young and the Legion of Honor) since 1979. She has been quite active, not only as a docent, but also as a lecturer and training assistant for docent training classes. She has been a member of the boards of the Docent Council, Textile Arts Council, Graphic Arts Council, and has just completed a 2-year term as the president of the board of the Museum of Craft & Folk Art at Ft. Mason Center. Ms. Geist also volunteers as a fundraiser at the Marin AIDS Project, serving people living with AIDS/HIV+.
Topic: “Art in Our Times: A Century of Change.”
August - Linda Hawes Clever, MD, founding Chair of the Department of Occupational Health at California Pacific Medical Center is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF. She received undergraduate and medical degrees from Stanford University. Linda has a national reputation for activism and professional and community service. Galvanized by the growing exhaustion and distress she saw among fellow health professionals and inspired by the work of John W. Gardner, Linda launched RENEW in 2000, a special project of the Institute for Health & Healing at California Pacific Medical Center. Title: Thriving, Not Just Surviving, During Difficult Times.
July- Master Shakespeare analyst Phil Sheridan has developed a series demonstrating the remarkable variance in film interpretation of the Bard’s plays. We’ll experience HAMLET in contrasting performances by Sir Laurence Olivier, Kenneth Branagh, Mel Gibson and Ethan Hawk delivering the “To be or not to be” soliloquy. Similarly, contrasting responses to the “Get thee to a nunnery” speech will be performed by Jean Simmons, Kate Winslet, Helena Bonham-Carter and Julia Styles.
June- MPS discussion group. The movie “The Corporation” will be the starting point for a general discussion of corporate America.
May- Thomas Lewis, MD, one of three generations of UCSF psychiatrists, who, dissatisfied with standard accounts of the mind, combined energies to construct alternative paradigms. Dr Lewis is the principal author of “A General Theory of Love”, the subject of this MPs presentation. Publishers Weekly review noted: Because our culture does not sufficiently value interpersonal relationships, we are plagued by anxiety and depression, narcissism and superficiality, which can lead o violence and self destructive behaviors. It is futile to think our way out of such behaviors, the authors believe , because emotions are not within the intellect’s domain.
April- Dominique Lando, Community Organizer for Tikkun Magazine. The Tikkun community gathers people of many faiths and traditions in its vision of healing and transforming the world. This call includes both the outer transformation needed to achieve social justice, ecological sanity, and world peace, and the inner healing needed to foster loving relationships, a generous attitude toward the world and toward others unimpeded by the distortions of our egos, a habit of generosity and trust, and the ability to respond to the grandeur of creation with awe, wonder and radical amazement.
Title: Presentation of the Tikkun Community and the Geneva Accord as a Pathway to Peace in the Middle East.
March - Linda Remy-, MSW, PhD is the Research Director of the Family Health Outcomes Project (FHOP) at UCSF. She leads a team conducting the Peer Cities and Counties Research Program to find explanations for the higher cancer rates in Marin. She was formerly the publicly elected director of the Marin Healthcare District
Title: Demographics and Cancer in Marin: The “Affluenza Myth.
February- Joseph Subbiondo, President of the California Institute of Integral Studies since June 1999. Formerly served as the Dean of the school of Liberal Arts at St. Mary’s College of California; Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of the Pacific; and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Santa Clara University.
Title: Spirituality in American Higher Education
January- Nani Ranken, a member of MPS, was raised in Transylvania of Hungarian parents, emigrated to Paraguay during WW II and came to America in 1947. Obtained an undergraduate degree at Barnard College, and Ph.D. in Philosophy from Yale University. Professor Emeritus from Indiana University. Served as President of Indiana Philosophical Association and Chair of Indiana Council for Humanities.
Title: “Beliefs matter! Philosophical reflections on the moral and religious pluralism of our world.”
November Nance Rosencranz, health access specialist. Educated at Tufts University for her undergraduate degree and at the University of Washington for a Masters in Health Education. Served as Executive Director of the Marin Community Center for 12 years
Title: Health Insurance in the US- What does it tell us?
October - Garth Gilchrist, environmental storyteller and writer. Educated at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington is English and Oral Tradition. Co-author of nature guide “Sharing Nature with Children. Has five recordings of original and adapted stories . Recipient of Marin Arts Council Recognition of Excellence Award for Solo Performance. Title: John Muir: Hitched to the Heart of the World
September - Rabbi Henry Schreibman, Head, Brandeis Hillel Day School. Dr. Schreibman got his doctorate from Columbia University in Comparative and Ancient Near East Languages and culture. He will discuss religious text and its implications in modern society with readings from the New Testament, the Koran and the Torah. Title, ” The Changing Face of Religion”.
August - Ethics in the law. Panel of experts in the fields of law and ethics will lead a group discussion.
July - Group discussion, open forum, Policy making after 9-11 in the Bush White House. Book suggestion ‘Bush at War” by Bob Woodward.
June - Paul Kingsman, 1988 Olympic Bronze medalist from New Zealand, motivational speaker, media commentator, innovative and successful businessman. OPaul’s topic, “Living on Purpose” will center around motivational skills, passion for life, coaching and assisting other in reaching their goals.
May- Warden Jeanne Woodford, San Quentin State Prison
On May 7, 2000, she became the first woman in the 150 year history of San Quentin to be named permanently to this position. She began her career in 1978 as a Correctional Officer at San Quentin, and has assumed positions as Correctional Counselor, Work Incentive Coordinator, Legal Affairs Coordinator, Program Administrator, and Fair Employment Opportunity Coordinator. Ms. Woodford will touch upon the history of San Quentin, discuss the current mission of the institution, and will share with us her vision for the future. )
April - Edward Brown, a Buddhist Priest ordained by the late Zen Master Suzuki Roshi. Ed is a cook, teacher, and author of Tassajara Cooking, Tassajara Recipe, Tomato Blessing and Radish Teaching and co-author of Greens. His latest book is Not Always So, edited writings from Suzuki Roshi
Title: Realizing Enlightenment
March - David Roche and Marlena Blavin
David is a keynote speaker, storyteller, actor, and was a guest performer at the White House. The Marin Arts Council awarded David their Community Artists Grant to teach storytelling to the diverse and disabled. David performs his one man show “The Church of 80% Sincerity”, to sold out audiences around the world. He will be joined in his performance by his partner in life’s journey, his wife Marlena.
February - Alice Tanner, formerly lawyer in family law and criminal defense; currently an intervention specialist and business consultant focused on assisting people with recovery from addictive diseases. Alice will discuss the definition of addiction, who has it/gets it, what family, friends and society can do about it, and what they can do to help themselves. Intervention, treatment and recovery will also be discussed.
Topic: Addiction: The Number 1 Killer in America
January - Susan Sword, reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, whose most recent major story was a detailed piece about San Francisco neglect of its water system dating back from the turn of the century. Susan will be joined during the discussion period by Dick Rogers, editor for Chronicle.
Topic: The Ethics of the American Press
November - Carol Adrienne, author, intuitive counselor, lecturer. Based on her latest book, “When Life Changes or You Wish it Would”. Carol will speak about the cycle of change and how we use intuition to move us in the direction of life’s purpose. Carol is also the co-author with James Redfield of “The Celestine Prophecy: An Experiential Guide”.
October - David Greenberg, M.D, Ph, D, from Johns Hopkins University. Professor and Vice President for Special Research Programs, Buck Institute for Age Research.
Areas of Interest: Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Cerebral Ischemia (stroke), Cannabinoids and Neuroprotection, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor in Neuroprotection and Neurogenesis. Authored >100 research papers, 40 chapters and reviews, and one textbook. Title: Neurogenesis and Stroke
September - Gerald Miller, ex-convict and drug addict, currently a resident of Delancy Street, a long-term residential treatment program in San Francisco. Mr. Miller will talk on prison life from the inmate’s perspective: today’s prison population, the issues of rehabilitation vs. warehousing , drug treatment and recovery (fact not fiction).
Title : “Prison, A Former Inmate’s Perspective”.
August - John Hart, AB Princeton University, in German and Comparative Literature. Writer/Consultant on Environmental and Planning Issues. Books on Mono Lake, Saving Family Farms, and a Sierra Club Guide to Backpacking in the Wilderness. Extensive publication list of poetry, translations and criticism. Title: “What is Poetry Today”?
July - MPS group forum and discussion.
Topic: “How do I Find Meaning in my Life”?
June - Christian Dean- Chair, Department of Politics and International Study, Dominican University. Received Doctorate from UC Santa Barbara.
Title: ‘Ethics and Politics of Care; An Argument for a Postmodern Alternative to Liberal Communitarian and Feminist models of Ethical Comportment”.
May - Kai-ping Peng- Ph. D. Professor of Psychology, UC Berkeley
Following a 30 year period where no instruction in Psychology was permitted in China, Kai-ping was chosen to be the vanguard of the first new generation of psychologists after the Cultural Revolution, and taught at Beijing University. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and joined the Berkeley faculty in 1997 where he is a leading scholar in the burgeoning field of cultural psychology.
Title: Culture and Cognition
April - Ebrahim Nana, Director, Islamic Center of Mill Valley
Masters Degree in Industrial Engineering, Stanford University
Title: “Current World Affairs from an Individual Islamic Viewpoint”.
March - Fred Luskin- Ph. D., founder of the ground-breaking Stanford University project involving mothers on both sides of the conflict in Northern Ireland.
Title: “The Heart and Science of Forgiveness, Healing of Heart and Mind”.
February - Bernice Goldmark, Ph. D., Professor Emeritus, Philosophy of Education, Sonoma State University. Now teaching at the Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning at U.S.F.
Title: “Hate Groups in the U.S." and will include groups from the KKK to the contemporary, active Anti-Gay and Lesbian, and Anti-Abortion organizations.
January - Stephen Jamison,Ph.D., Executive Director of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies and an adjunct Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UCSF. Dr. Jamison is a social psychologist, medical ethicist, researcher and author of several books.
Title: “Ethics on the Edge: Personal Autonomy and Responsibility in End of Life Decisions”.
November - Jeremy Taylor, Ph.D., author, lecturer, and a founder and former President of the Association for the Study of Dreams. Jeremy has also conducted an International Unitarian ministry.
Title: “The Role of the Unconscious in Philosophic Inquiry Myths, Dreams and Religion”.
October - David Harris is a magazine journalist and author of eight books, including “The Last Stand” and “Our War”. David was a student body President at Stanford University. He was a leader in the anti-war movement and spent almost two years in prison for refusing induction into the Vietnam war military. David was a contributing editor to the Rolling Stones Magazine in the 70”s, then moved on to the NY Times Magazine. He will discuss interesting topics from his various books.
September- Ron Olowin Ph. D., Professor of Physics and Astronomy, St. Mary’s College of California. His publications include “An Anasazi Petroglyph of Astronomical Significance”, “Black Holes and Binary Stars”, and the “Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy”.
Title: “Splendors of the Universe”.
August- Jim Schermerhorn, MPS member. After engaging in a career as a newspaper writer, Jim has authored books and poems.
Title: “A Novella of California’s Itinerant Farmers Told in 52 Poems”.
July- Gloria La Riva, author, political and human rights activist. Ms. La Riva produced the award winning video’s “Genocide by Sanctions, the Case for Iraq” and “Worker’s Democracy in Cuba”. She has been to Cuba 20 times organizing medical supplies.
Title: “ Cuba- Reflections on the State of Affairs and Current US Policy”.
June- Bill Pemberton, psychologist, author, co-founder and frequent MPS presenter
Title “Highlights of a Quest and Mission, 1935-2001”.
May- Eva Leveton is a practicing psychotherapist, and a Professor of Drama Therapy. Ms. Leveton spent WW II in Berlin and authored the book, “ Eva’s Berlin, Memories of a Wartime Childhood” . She uses slides as an aid in discussing her experiences and how they affected her world view.
April - David Hoyer, President (retired) Chevron USA. Mr. Hoyer is a chemical engineer and served in management positions in Europe and the United States. Past board member of San Francisco Symphony, and the Fine Arts Museum and is currently a member of the California Grand Juror’s Association.
Title: “Marin County, the Grand Jury and You”.
March - Mary Abascal-Hildebrand, Ed. D. Assistant Professor in the University of San Francisco Organization and Leadership Department,
Title : “Why Test Economics and Politics with Ethics?”
February - Discussion: MPS Group Forum, “Tasks for Creative Living” led by Vice President, Joan Nelson.
January - Tom Singer M.D., author and psychiatrist, who was inspired by questions raised by Senator Bill Bradley , wrote a book entitled “The Vision Thing”
Title of talk: “ Myth, Politics and the Psyche of the World”