Institute of World Culture
Program for 2024

Theme for the Year:
CREATING A CULTURE OF CONSCIENCE


Forum
Creating a Culture of Conscience:
Directives on Global Ethics

A Forum in Three Parts on three different Saturdays; JANUARY 13, JANUARY 27 AND MARCH 9
Presenters: Carolyn Dorrance, Maurice Bisheff, Allan Cooley, Danson Kiplagat, Marcia Warrecker, James Tepfer, Nancy Martin and Hugh Kelly

I
n-person at Concord Hall, Institute of World Culture, 1407 Chapala St., Santa Barbara, CA
Live Webcast begins at 2:00 pm,
https://www.youtube.com/user/iwcinsantabarbara/live

Forum, Part 1: Solidarity and a Just Economic Order
Saturday, January 13, 2024
Introduction to the Aims and Value of Global Ethics – Carolyn Dorrance

Directive 2: Commitment to a Culture of Solidarity and a Just Economic Order – Maurice Bisheff
and Allan Cooley

The Institute of World Culture is renewing its commitment to promoting the welfare of humanity and of all that lives while preserving the rich but depleted resources in Nature. Throughout the world, mankind and all life forms are suffering from horrific events, natural and man-made. Thoughtful, transformative and ethical responses are necessary. The aims given in the IWC
Declaration of Interdependence will guide our search for alternatives to global turmoil. In its Forums and Study Circles, fearless inquiry and constructive dialogue will seek to awaken conscience in the investigation of the imaginative use of the spiritual, mental and material resources of the globe. Thereby, men and women of universal culture become capable of continuous growth in nonviolence of mind, generosity of heart and harmony of soul. The therapeutics of self-transformation in a culture of conscience can reveal the conditions, prospects and possibilities of the world civilization of the future and foster human fellowship among all races, nations and cultures. To provide an ethical and practical foundation for creating a Culture of Conscience, the study of a document, called "Towards a Global Ethic," may be helpful. This document was first presented at the initial Parliament of World's Religions in 1893. It was updated in 2015 and approved at the 2020 Conference of the Parliament. In it there is a remarkable, insightful analysis of our contemporary social circumstances and plans for active improvement of human interactions and living conditions. A fundamental demand that every human being must be treated humanely is made. Moral principles of a Global Ethics are discussed.

After the analysis, there are five Directives chosen by Parliament leaders to be the focus for study this year. Today we will focus on Directive 1. We will take up Directives 2 through 5 in the two additionalf forums listed below. The core ideas in each of the rest of the Directives will be presented by volunteers, followed by discussion. In this way, we will be joining a global conversation that includes our comments on how a Culture of Consciences might be created. To provide an ethical and practical foundation for creating a Culture of Conscience, the study of the document, called "Towards a Global Ethic," may be helpful: https://parliamentofreligions.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Global-Ethic-PDF-2020-Update.pdf

This document was first presented at the initial Parliament of World's Religions in 1893. It was updated in 2015 and approved at the 2020 Conference of the Parliament. In it there is a remarkable, insightful analysis of our contemporary social circumstances and plans for active improvement of human interactions and living conditions. A fundamental demand that every human being must be treated humanely is made. Moral principles of a Global Ethics are discussed.

Forum, Part 2: Non-Violence, Tolerance and Respect for Life
Saturday, January 27, 2024
Directive 1: Commitment to a Culture of Non-Violence and Respect for Life – Marcia Warrecker, Danson Kiplagat
Directive 3: Commitment to a Culture of Tolerance and a Life of Truthfulness – James Tepfer

"Commitment to a Culture of Non Violence and Respect for Life" has to do with the need to treat fellow beings with respect and dignity. This means working to solve conflicts with nonviolent methods and solutions. We need to create a culture of non-violence and live in harmony with other humans and nature. "Commitment to a Culture of Tolernce and a Life of Truthfulness" involves the obligation to be ethical and truthful in our duties, whether it be as a journalist, a researcher, a religious participant or other role. We must learn to discern the difference between opinion and truth, and be sincere in our interactions with others. We need to be tolerant of differences rather than perpetuate partialities that become distorted.


Forum, Part 3: Care for the Earth and Equal Rights
aturday, March 23, 2024
Directive 4: Commitment to a Culture of Equal Rights and Partnership between Men and Women – Nancy Martin
Directive 5: Commitment to a Culture of Sustainability and Care for the Earth – Hugh Kelly

These two final Directives point to the efforts of numberless men and women througout human history in all regions, religions and cultures to lead lives in a spirit of mutual harmony, interdependence, and respect for each other by building authentic relationships and social institutions.
The Earth’s vitality, diversity, and beauty are held in trust for everyone, including those who will come after us. The global environmental crisis is urgent and is deepening. The planet and its countless forms of life are in danger… We must act with love and compassion, and for justice and fairness - for the flourishing of the whole Earth Community.” In this light, it points to solutions that help to build authenitc relationships and social institutions characterized by love, loyalty and permanance. We must all take responsibility for our choices. Historical experience has demonsstrated that the Earth cannot be changed for the better unless we achieve a transformation in the consciousness of individuals and in public life.

For a more detailed explanation of these two aims:
https://parliamentofreligions.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Global-Ethic-PDF-2020-Update.pdf

Webcast Link:https://www.youtube.com/user/iwcinsantabarbara/live
Image: Wikipedia, Public Domain

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Forum
Castles in the Sand: The Common Sense of Constructive Change

Saturday, February 10, 2024
2:00 – 4:00 pm (PT)
In-person in Concord Hall, Institute of World Culture, 1407 Chapala St., Santa Barbara, CA
Live Webcast begins at 2:00 pm,
https://www.youtube.com/user/iwcinsantabarbara/live
Presenter: David Boals

Trust is one of the most basic of human emotions and is fundamental to cooperating with others to achieve common goals. The prospect of change for any kind of group often causespeople to feel uncertain, fearful, and distrusting in anticipating possible outcomes, particularly if the outcomes seem to be out of their control. The purpose of this session is
to provide some basic information and promote discussion about the basic principles for changing groups that are organized to work for a common purpose. In line with the IWC’s mission, we can move to having a productive discussion about how to employ similar principles for undertaking change in any social system, and at any scale.

Webcast Link:https://www.youtube.com/user/iwcinsantabarbara/live

Image: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0, Fcuk1203; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

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Forum
A.I. – Daedalus and Icarus

Saturday, February 24, 2024
2:00 – 4:00 pm (PT)
In-person in Concord Hall, Institute of World Culture, 1407 Chapala St., Santa Barbara, CA
Live Webcast begins at 2:00 pm at:
https://www.youtube.com/user/iwcinsantabarbara/live
Presenters: Russ Lewin and Aidan Colbert

The powerful potentials of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) might be compared to the ancient Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus.  In order to escape the labyrinth of Crete, Daedalus constructed wings made of threads and feathers molded into beeswax.  Daedalus warns Icarus of the dangers of flying too low, or too high, and risking the wings being clogged by the sea’s dampness, or the sun’s heat melting the wax.

We need to gain a deeper understanding of these new technological ‘wings’ that have the potential to lift humanity to new heights if used wisely.  We will discuss how A.I. works.  This will include the possible benefits and dangers.  There will also be a live demonstration of how individuals can use this powerful tool today.  Discussion will follow the presentations.

Webcast: * You may attend this event in-person, or watch a simultaneous webcast by logging on to the Institute’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/iwcinsantabarbara/live

Image: Wikipedia, Public domain

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Forum
King Lear and the Heart of Politics



Saturday, March 9, 2024
2:00 – 4:30 pm (PT)
In-person only
Concord House Seminar Room, Institute of World Culture, 1407 Chapala St., Santa Barbara, CA
Presenter: Marlin Roehl

Often one reads that Shakespeare did more than write for his time; rather, he sowed seeds germane to socio-political and individual visions, values, and characteristics of our time. We cannot overlook that a study of Shakespeare’s plays reveals that he was a student of the historical Axial Age; the name given by Karl Jaspers to the pivotal period of 900 to 200 BCE. Consequently, Shakespeare serves as pillar to an arch bridging ancient to modern times. Karen Armstrong tells us in her book, The Great Transformation: The Beginning of our Religious Traditions, that the Axial Age, “was a time when Confucianism and Daoism in China; Hinduism and Buddhism in India; monotheism in Israel; and philosophical rationalism in Greece came into being. During this intense period of creativity [which Armstrong extends to include the later inception of Christianity and Islam], spiritual and philosophical geniuses pioneered an entirely new kind of human experience.”

Regarding dramatic arts, Armstrong notes that the once-private Dionysian rites were, in the Axial Age, performed en mesoi, in public.  [Dramatic arts] “displayed the new self-consciousness of the Axial Age as the audience watched the mind of the protagonist turning in upon itself, meditating upon alternatives, and coming, tortuously, to a conclusion. And like philosophers, the tragedians questioned everything: the nature of the gods, the value of Greek civilization, and the meaning of life.”  
In the same spirit, Shakespeare boldly presented his poignant plays to Royalty, to nobles, and to commoners—all within a shared globe of time, place, and experience. His attention to parapolitical moral and ethical causality called for heroic truthfulness, pathos, and at times heart-rending, at other times humorous compassion. His artistic techniques and astute insight into character evoke individual and societal transformation by means of self-conscious exploration, philosophical dialectic, and empathy.

Our January keynote speakers set the tone for this year’s IWC studies by referencing the “Initial Declaration of the Parliament of the World’s Religions” which states, “By a global ethic we do not mean a global ideology or a single unified religion beyond all existing religions, and certainly not the domination of one religion over all others. By a global ethic we mean a fundamental consensus on binding values, irrevocable standards, and personal attitudes.” Shakespeare’s King Lear is such a study.

The Parliament warned: “Without such a fundamental consensus on an ethic, sooner or later every community will be threatened by chaos or dictatorship, and individuals will despair”—it seems such are our times. Our exploration of Shakespeare’s King Lear is intended to be a study of humanist, parapolitical reality with an effort to form a more perfect global union. As the World Religions Parliament suggests — “We consider humankind our family. We must strive to be kind and generous. We must not live for ourselves alone, but should also serve others, never forgetting the children, the aged, the poor, the suffering, the disabled, the refugees, and the lonely.”

Discussion and light refreshments will follow the talk.

Image: Wikipedia, Public domain

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Forum
Care for the Earth and Equal Rights

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Forum, Part 3: Care for the Earth and Equal Rights
S
aturday, March 23, 2024
Directive 4: Commitment to a Culture of Equal Rights and Partnership between Men and Women – Nancy Martin
Directive 5: Commitment to a Culture of Sustainability and Care for the Earth – Hugh Kelly

For full description and more informatioj, see January 13: Creating a Culture of Conscience.