Saybrook University


Join us to discuss "Civilizing the Economy" with Marvin Brown


When a handful of people thrive while whole industries implode and millions suffer, it is clear that something is wrong with our economy. The wealth of the few is disconnected from the misery of the many. In his new book, Civilizing the Economy, Saybrook Organizational Systems faculty member Marvin Brown traces the origin of this economics of dissociation to early capitalism, showing how this is illustrated in Adam Smith's denial of the central role of slavery in wealth creation.

In place of the Smithian economics of property, Brown proposes that we turn to the original meaning of economics as household management. He presents a new framework for the global economy that reframes its purpose as the making of provisions instead of the accumulation of property. This bold new vision establishes the civic sphere as the platform for organizing an inclusive economy and as a way to move toward a more just and sustainable world.

Marvin Brown will be speaking at Saybrook to discuss what a new economic model, based on civic life, would look like – and how we can get there.  The event is free, but reservations are required. 

Thursday, September 23rd, 7PM
Free Admission.
Reservations are required.
RSVP to: Terry Hopper at (415) 394-5220 or
Saybrook University
747 Front Street (at Broadway)
Rollo May Library, 3rd Floor
San Francisco

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Happiness and suicide: the paradox of middle age


We know that 50 is the new thirty, and you’re only as young as you feel ... etc, etc... but when you cut through all the clichés the evidence suggests something very strange is happening in middle age.

According to recent surveys, Baby Boomers are by far the happiest age group of all those studied;  they also have the highest suicide rates of any age bracket.

“So what is going on?” a recent New York Times article asked.  “Is middle age the best of times or the worst?”

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It's easy to fight what you don't understand


Sometimes the bang of a gavel can be as loud as the roar of a cannon. 
Late last month the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that offering “material assistance” of any kind – even advice or insight – to groups the government labels as terrorist is a crime prosecutable under federal law.  It doesn’t matter if it’s part of an academic study, or even an effort to convince the group to abandon violence:  even offering a terrorist group training in non-violent conflict resolution, the court declared, is aiding and abetting the enemy. And efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to child victims of conflict may be violating the law if aid passes through groups designated as terrorist
Academics around the world who study conflict resolution, including many who study terrorist organizations, have found the decision alarming.   Saybrook Psychology and Human Science faculty member Marc Pilisuk has initiated a resolution, subsequently modified by members of the Peace and Justice Studies Association and now approved by the its Board, voicing  an unwillingness to comply with the ruling. The Peace and Justice Studies Association – an international body of academics, K-12 teachers, and grassroots activists who explore alternatives to violence and share strategies for peace building, social justice, and social change has adopted the resolution.
The statement reads:

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Is William James a "philosopher for the new century" two centuries in a row?


That's the question the Saybrook Forum asked psychology faculty member Eugene Taylor, an internationally renowned scholar on the life and work of William James, after the question was raised by the The New Humanist magazine.  His response is below. 

William James: Still One Hundred and Fifty Years Ahead of His Time

In a thoughtful article recently published in The New Humanist [125:4, July/August 2010],  Jonathan Raée extols the attributes of his favorite philosopher-psychologist, William James. He was the only enduring figure, according to Raée, who did not get bogged down in details , and did not take a megalomaniacal stance toward his own ideas. We should resurrect his memory and seek to emulate the now forgotten direction he was always pointing us towards—world peace through a strengthening of our own inward character.

I should say that Mr. Raée as a writer is himself on the right track. Briefly, we may review here only a few of James’s prescient insights into our uniquely American and humanistically oriented legacy, and at the same time we might widen even more for the reader the scope of James’s thinking about our future.

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A sustainable globe depends on local leadership


Often problems at the global level are so big, with so many stakeholders, as to be intractable:  but at the local level, says Organizational Systems chair Nancy Southern, individuals and organizations are proving that they provide exactly the kind of solutions our world needs.  Read more in her recent Triple-Pundit article.

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Art with impact


After a two year hiatus, Saybrook is thrilled to announce the return of its certificate in Expressive Arts for Healing and Social Change, taught by a group of renowned experts including Natalie Rogers, a member of Saybrook’s Distinguished Consulting Faculty, who created the program.

Developed by Rogers out of the person-centered approach pioneered by her father, legendary therapist Carl Rogers, this certificate program is open to anyone wishing to learn how to use the person-centered approach and expressive arts in counseling, education, mediation, social work, nursing, social action, group facilitation, and workplace psychology - or to awaken personal growth and creativity.

Saybrook’s program, according to Rogers, is the only expressive arts program in the country grounded in Carl Roger’s values and philosophy.

That’s a distinction that graduates of the program say makes a difference.

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Center for Mind-Body Medicine offers training courses


The Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D.C., Saybrook University’s partner institution in its groundbreaking Graduate College of Mind-Body Medicine, will hold it’s Mind-Body Medicine Professional Training Program this October. 

Utilizing a small group approach, this five day program will focus on the scientific basis for mind-body medicine and explore a range of the most effective tools for self-care and stress management, including:
• meditation
• guided imagery
• biofeedback & autogenic training
• breathing & movement
• self expression through words and drawings

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First chess, now music: just how creative can computers get?


"Nobody’s original," says composer David Cope.

Here’s what he means: there’s no such thing as "creativity," only endless copying, theme, and variation. "Everybody copies from everybody. The skill is in how large a fragment you choose to copy and how elegantly you can put them together."

Cope is making more than just an argument with the idea that "nobody’s original" – he’s making music. Cope is the world’s foremost creator of computer programs that compose classical music, and his latest program, called "Emily Howell," recently released its first album. In several cases, classical music scholars have been unable to tell an artificial intelligence created work in the style of Bach or Mozart from the original.

That music, Cope says, is proof that creativity, as we commonly understand it, does not exist – and that people are therefore little more than complex machines constantly crunching algorithms.

"The question," Cope says in a recent article in Miller-McCune,"isn’t whether computers have a soul, but whether humans have a soul." His answer is "no."

But what exactly has Cope proved? Very little, according to faculty in Saybrook’s program in Creativity Studies.

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Meet "the Market" - a God for the 21st century


How many times have you heard someone talking about a major policy ask: "How is the market going to respond?"

Or heard someone say that a social problem will be taken care of "if we let the market work?" Or heard that our society is in trouble because "the market lost confidence."

These statements refer, of course, to the financial markets – but in a provocative article in the London Guardian, Aditya Chakrabortty asked: if you substitute "God" for "the market" in all of these statements, doesn’t it make about as much sense?

In fact, said Chakrabortty, isn’t this a pretty good indication that "The Market" has become the Western society’s religion?

After all, we have faith in it, and in its power to perform miracles and bestow prosperity, even if we don’t really understand how.  We ask if "the market" will like something, or how "the market" will react, when we try to decide whether or not to do something. 
And, when you think about it, the market has a priestly class, temples, and orthodox doctrines, too.

Is Chakrabortt right?

We asked Alan Vaughan, a Jungian analyst and psychology faculty member in Saybrook’s PsyD program who studies both the psychology of global capitalism and the transmission of religions across cultures, to weigh in.

His response is below.

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The five stages of coping with sustainability


We all know we should eat right and exercise, but most of us don’t – and it’s not because we don’t understand the science.

The same dynamic works with sustainability initiatives at even the most progressive companies, according to Dennis Jaffe: going green can be more challenging emotionally than it is intellectually. Companies that don’t take this into account are often headed for trouble.

Read more in his recent Triple Pundit article.

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