Institute of World Culture

Program for 2021

Online Forum
American Symbols

Great Seal of the United States

ONLINE WITH ZOOM
Saturday, January 16, 2021
2:00 – 4:00 pm
Presenters: Russ Lewin and Carolyn Dorrance

The very idea of America evokes liberty, opportunity, hope and inspiration. American symbols are representations of the underlying principles of the Republic. However, many of the symbols are mysterious, and point to deeper dimensions of meaning. Our goal is to explore some of these symbols in an attempt to revitalize and regenerate our understanding of the core ideas of the American ideal. Symbols of interest include the Great Seal of the United States, the Statue of Liberty, the Gateway Arch, the Capitol Building, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the American Bison, and others. Washington D.C. itself is a symbol that was designed by Pierre Charles L'Enfrant who envisioned the city based on the ideal that every citizen was equally important. Hence, he established the Capitol building, representing the people, as the center point rather than the White House because America has no king.

Joining the Forum:
Members will automatically be sent a link for the program.
Non-Members: If you are not a member and would like to participate, please send an email to donna@worldculture.org with "Registration-American Symbols" in the header subject area. Include your full name and the email you would like us to use to send you a Zoom invitation. Non-member spaces are limited and invitations will be given on a first come, first serve basis, so please request an invitation as early as possible. Invites will be sent out the week before the event. If you would like to become a member, or have questions or suggestions, please email donna@worldculture.org.

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Online Forum
Mahatma Gandhi as a Symbol of Truth
A Commemoration of Mahatma Gandhi's Death Anniversary


Gandhi and spinning wheel


ONLINE WITH ZOOM
Saturday, January 30, 2021
4:00 – 5:00 pm
Presenters: Jonathan Colbert and Robert Moore

A satyagraha is an individual who "holds to truth," and the term satyagraha can aptly be used to describe the life of Mahatma Gandhi. His life itself became symbolic of what it means to make truth the central theme of one's life, and he used symbols like the spinning wheel and the Salt March to bring truth to light. To look at the life of Gandhi as a symbol of truth is a way to commenorate not only his life, but also the value of truth as a way of life.

“To me religion means truth and ahimsa or rather truth alone, because truth includes ahimsa, ahimsa being the necessary and indispensable means for its discovery. Therefore anything that promotes the practice of these virtues is a means for imparting religious education and the best way to do this, in my opinion, is for the teachers rigorously to practice these virtues in their own person.” ~ Gandhi

Joining the Forum:
Members will automatically be sent a link for the program.
Non-Members: If you are not a member and would like to participate, please send an email to donna@worldculture.org with "Registration-American Symbols" in the header subject area. Include your full name and the email you would like us to use to send you a Zoom invitation. Non-member spaces are limited and invitations will be given on a first come, first serve basis, so please request an invitation as early as possible. Invites will be sent out the week before the event. If you would like to become a member, or have questions or suggestions, please email donna@worldculture.org.

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Online Forum
The previously scheduled forum, "The Circle and Sphere in Myth, Symbol and Structure" has been cancelled.
In its place we will have a new forum on:

Rediscovering the Ancient History and Culture of South India

Map of S. India

ONLINE WITH ZOOM
Saturday, February 27, 2021
2:00 – 4:30 pm
Presenter: Dr. Shobana Nelasco

Accounts of historical events are usually biased and in most instances written by those who held the upper hand. India, throughout its known history and culture, has been ruled by a number of native Dravidian and Aryan rulers. However, apart from their "official" accounts, a different view of history and culture is showcased and passed down through generations in popular documentations, ancient and medieval Sangam literature, stone inscriptions, statues, palmleaf scripts, copper plates and poetry and songs. This presentation will bring to light an alternate history of the Southern cities of India before the emergence and after the downfall of the Tamil kings of Chera, Chola and the Pandya kingdoms of Tamilagam. It will highlight the rich Dravidian history that includes their native culture, arts, literature, religion, architecture and important personalities, in addition to the general history in brief.

Dr. Nelasco is a Professor, Development Economist and Researcher in South Asian Studies. She is the author of The Status of Women in India and editor of an anthology of 100 articles on Gandhi, A Global Perspective. She has been a Fellow in the Gender Department at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Members will be sent a link for the program. Others may reserve a space by sending an email to donna@worldculture.org with "Registration-India" in the subject line. Include your full name and the email we can use to send you a Zoom invitation. Non-member spaces are limited and invitations will be given on a first come, first serve basis, so please request an invitation as early as possible. If you have questions or suggestions, please email donna@worldculture.org.

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Online Forum
Trees As Teachers: Essential to Humanity's Survival

Bristlecone Pine

ONLINE WITH ZOOM
Saturday, March 20, 2021
2:00–4:00 pm
Presenter: John Perlin

John Perlin, the author of A Forest Journey, will share his research on the enthralling tale of the first true tree and explain how trees are essential to the survival of humans and other forms of life. This first tree, Archaeopteris, developed over 380 million years ago and became the progenitor of all trees on the planet. It had deep roots, a trunk, branches and canopy. Archaeopteris and its successors have sustained the life of all four-legged creatures because they have caused a sufficient temperature drop to make life livable for us and our fellow terrestrial, backboned animals. Trees accomplished this by significantly reducing the amount of carbon dioxide and increasing the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere. Also, as benefactors, trees have provided the primary habitats essential for biodiversity and maintained water and soil integrity imperative for humanity's survival. John Perlin’s ongoing collaborations with the discoverers of Archaeopteris in the field and in the lab have allowed him pioneering insights into how trees have changed the world for the betterment of all things both big and small including us. Trees and their wood have influenced for centuries the culture, demographics, economies, technology and politics of societies,

John Perlin, visiting scholar at UCSB and local writer, collaborated with Drs. Walter Kohn and Alan Heeger on the film The Power of the Sun in 2002. His four books, A Golden Thread: 2,500 Years of Solar Architecture and Technology, A Forest Journey: The Story of Wood and Civilization, From Space to Earth: The Story of Solar Electricity, Let it Shine: The 6,000-Year Story of Solar Energy, grounded in prodigious research, address the urgent environmental issues of our day, solar power and deforestation, and have received acclaim from the scientific community and general readers alike. Their relevance only continues to grow.

Members will be sent a link for the program. Others may reserve a space by sending an email to donna@worldculture.org with "Registration-Trees" in the subject line. Include your full name and the email we can use to send you a Zoom invitation. Non-member spaces are limited and invitations will be given on a first come, first serve basis, so please request an invitation as early as possible. If you have questions or suggestions, please email donna@worldculture.org.

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Online Forum
Ecological Civilizations: Visions, Possibililties and Practices

ONLINE WITH ZOOM
Saturday, April 17, 2021
2:00–4:00 pm
Presenters: Maurice Bisheff and Adam Wolpert

This forum will examine the idea of an ecological civilization as a transformative symbol for global culture and well being. There will be a talk and short poetry reading illuminating visions and possibilities of an "Ecological Consciousness" and its potential impact on the fabric of life on the planet. Ecological principles such as cultivating diversity, interconnectedness, harmony, and resilience will be examined. The challenges of expressing these principles will be illustrated in a dialogue with a long-time member of an intentional, sustainable community devoted to caring for people and nature in its greater environs.

Maurice Bisheff has had a long-time interest in public administration and community. Adam Wolper obtained his M.F.A. at UC San Diego and immediately following the completion of his studies, he and a group of friends started the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, where he still lives and works today. He currently serves as OAEC's director of the arts program and teaches landscape painting.

Members will be sent a link for the program. Others may reserve a space, if available, by sending an email to dlmooresb(at)gmail.com with "Registration-Eco" in the subject line. Include your full name and the email we can use to send you a Zoom invitation. Non-member spaces are limited and invitations will be given on a first come, first serve basis, so please request an invitation as early as possible.

Click here for a printer-friendly flyer