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Human Science and Organizational Conference Call for Prospective Students

05/29/2012

On Thursday, June 14, join Dr. Joann McAllister, Human Science Program Chair, and Dr. Nancy Southern, Organizational Systems Co-Chair, to learn more about Saybrook programs. Prior to student questions, Dr. McAllister and Dr. Southern will lead discussion on select topics. To register, please RSVP HERE.

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Rethinking Complexity

Selective Teaching: How Social Class May Influence What Children are Taught

05/29/2012
Selective Teaching: How Social Class May Influence What Children are Taught
In the U.S., our appreciation for a college education operates much like a simple casual loop reinforcing the belief that work toward a college education will eliminate barriers. In his 2004 book Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreams, Alfred Lubrano notes the social pains of class mobility. You see, moving towards an educated "self" creates some unintended outcomes such as alienation from family due to "interest shifts" as well as the development and use of a "new" language. Lubrano, a Brooklyn native, wrote that, to him, being a son-of-a-bricklayer...

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Alumni Messenger

A Journey to the Self in Assisi with Saybrook University Alumna Dr. Phyllis Clay

05/29/2012
Phyllis Clay
Saybrook University Psychology Alumna, and founder and executive director of Synthesis International, Inc.  Dr. Phyllis Clay (Ph.D. 2011) will be offering a 4-day Journey to the Self at Casa Maria Immacolata in Assisi, Italy. Dr. Clay, a psychosynthesis guide and teacher, has also apprenticed with Don Oscar Miro Quesada, Peruvian curandero and master ceremonialist. ...

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New Existentialists

Choosing Life

05/29/2012
Choosing Life
The most basic premise of existentialism is that we are all going to die eventually. No matter how much we may try to escape it or deny it, as Ernest Becker says, death will come for all of us. In a recent post to a Society for Humanistic Psychology list serve, David Elkins discussed some of Becker’s work, saying that in some ways, Becker paints a crude picture of humans as decaying animals, albeit, decaying animals with the ability to dream, think, create, and love. But at the very heart of existential philosophy, according to Elkins, is the question that he said Sartre, Tillich, and others...

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Rethinking Complexity

Systems, Technology, and Good Intentions

05/28/2012
Systems, Technology, and Good Intentions
A recent course I took at Saybrook taught by Professor Chuck Piazza provided me not only a significant understanding of knowledge management within my own professional field, but also deeply implanted a slice of insight that I had likely possessed already. The insight? That systems thinking shows that technological systems are meaningless without consideration of both the machines that compose them and the people that design, operate, and benefit from them. First, we must recognize what systems are, what their nature is, and where they exist. In the simplest terms, according to Donella...

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New Existentialists

New perspectives on death - a look at the Aghori sect

05/25/2012
New perspectives on death - a look at the Aghori sect
The way we think about death impacts the way we live our life. "It seems," write Daniel B. Pitchford and Rochelle Suri, "that people live inauthentic lives because the fear of death has a compelling grip on people and most choose to avoid engaging its impact." It doesn't have to be that way. In a paper now available at The New Existentialist's library, Dr. Pitchford and Dr. Suri write about the perspective on death of the Aghori sect in India. Understanding other paradigms of death, they suggest, provides the human being with a more nuanced perspective on the...

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Rethinking Complexity

Shredding

05/25/2012
Shredding
Spring is turning to summer here in the high desert and the restless energies of the changing seasons are moving through me. I've been cleaning out my office little-by-little lately, going through old mail and the like. The idea of shredding documents impacted me surprisingly deeply this time. When I've worked as an internal consultant, shredding doesn't bother me. In fact,I usually don't give it a second thought. I just put the unsolicited mail in the blue shred bin and away it goes. I would imagine the same happens with people who work in large organizations. Those...

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New Existentialists

On Fragile Art and People

05/24/2012
On Fragile Art and People
I am in a Shanghai art museum, looking at paintings that are hundreds of years old. So old, in fact, that even light damages them. But what good is art kept in the dark, out of view? Why preserve it if it will never be seen? So these paintings hang behind leaded glass, under dim lights controlled by motion sensors. I see a darkened room that others avoid, seemingly closed, but decide to venture in. As I approach, I am rewarded with gentle light, showing me something beautiful that was just waiting for me to brave the darkness. The lights are dim to protect the paintings, and dimly lit...

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Rethinking Complexity

When Forging Agreements, Silence is... Silence

05/24/2012
When Forging Agreements, Silence is... Silence
Agreements are the currency of human systems. Many agreements are implicit social or cultural conventions. We’re not really conscious that we’ve agreed to anything when we stop at red lights, for example, or when we allow people to exit the elevator before we enter. Other agreements are hard won and inconsistently implemented. When I ask about agreement-building in the organizations I work with, I’m almost always treated to grumbles and snarky comments about the challenge of making explicit agreements on behalf of taking concerted action. It seems nobody is satisfied with...

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New Existentialists

Cell Phone Therapy

05/23/2012
Cell Phone Therapy
Last fall, the Society for Existential Analysis in England held a conference on technology in psychology. My first thought when seeing the topic was that some presentations would address in some form the relationship of cell phones and texting to therapy. Curiously, cell phone use did not make the cut in the conference presentation schedule. Given their presence in the therapeutic space—phones belonging to both therapist and client—I naturally, but wrongly, assumed this would be a hot topic. I thought this would be especially true given the new research on using smartphones to provide...

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