This post is dedicated to the voices of my students and their testimonials. It includes a short video-ode to them and to the dancing spirit that guides our journey of discovery.
Participation Mystique by Owen Fender
Dr Lila Moore’s course started by presenting us with Werner Herzog’s film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, which took us deep into the Chauvet Caves, where 32,000-year-old cave paintings have only recently been discovered. It seems that our ancestors had greater access to eternal truth, than we moderns can lay claim to, living as we do in an age of competing facts, shifting realities and informational overload.
The course showed us the burning need to re-engage with ritual and communitas, to allow ourselves to be dazzled by the great mystery, and support each other on the path of understanding and self-fulfillment, through the creation of shining subjective reality – the iridescent heart of experience, which is our unique gift to share with the world.
We then learned about the Overview Effect (OE), which is the experience astronauts have reported when viewing Earth from orbit. The experience is beyond words; it cannot be confirmed or repudiated, and it is entirely subjective. It is an olympian point of view that aids what philosopher Edmund Husserl calls the époché, or bracketing of experience, where “objects are freed from all bonds to the external world [and thus], the distinction between fiction and reality becomes moot” (Kane, B. 2007).
Thus, we are drawn full circle into a participation mystique with all aspects of existence. We may no longer believe, like the palaeolithic people or current day ‘primitives’, that animals contain the spirits of our ancestors, or that we share our consciousness with the natural world, but our modern day concerns, anxieties and terrors can be seen from a distance as one abstracted, imperfect but beautiful whole.
The meaning to be made is that the all, however conflicting, can be reduced to the one, and the one stands in stark relief to the nothing, that sets it like a jewel in space.
The course was deeply engaging, dealing as it did with the creation of meaning in a dangerous, thrilling and awe-inspiring world. I found it magical, inspiring and illuminating. It gave me the time and space to develop ideas about how we can ‘honour the ancestors’ and reach beyond everyday ways of being, to find something which is much deeper and everlasting.
Transformation by Ada Perkowska
The Shamanic Spirit in 21st century Art, Culture and Technology course by Dr Lila Moore has exceeded my expectations and has significantly impacted my life in many ways. It has totally transformed the way I see technology, art and culture now as I’m paying attention to the presence of shamanic spirit in those areas and reflecting on ways it emerges in life in general.
I’ve left the course full of inspiration and ideas for my work as a therapist as well as with new interests and awakened curiosity to explore deeper. I strongly feel that there have been so many seeds planted during this course that influenced some of the most important insights I’ve had over the past year.
As the start of the course synchronised with the beginning of pandemic, it was a gift to be able to tap into planetary consciousness, through diving into the course topics, in this particular time in the history of the world.
Alef community has been an additional super value for which I’m grateful for as it was very grounding to be a part of this supportive group of amasing people during such uncertain times.
A Planetary Overview by Lorinda Gardener
I initially embarked on the MSc course through Alef Trust in order to deepen my own understanding of consciousness and spirituality and how the transpersonal perspective would enhance my knowledge of self and my place in the world.
The module on The Shamanic Spirit in 21st-Century Art, Culture and Technology piqued so many areas of interest to me and has even, unexpectedly, directed the research question for my dissertation. I highly recommend this course, so ably led by Dr Lila Moore, to all those seeking to reframe the primal yearning to understand oneself and to examine the role of art and technology in shaping cultural and global perspectives.
During this course we examined the Overview Effect, a transformational phenomenon experienced by many astronauts in space, upon seeing the Earth from Space. The images of our Earth gave a new perspective of our world as a fragile blue planet, floating in space, and has been described as a space age mythic archetype which has expanded humanity’s concept of self from individual and communal to a planetary one.
Being introduced to the philosophy of technoetics, which views current communication and digital technology as the ideal tool for expanding what it is to be human, was another topic so relevant to our current experience with our ever increasing digital connectivity.
Through this course I have gained valuable insights into my own sense of self as well as a widened perspective into the importance of humanity’s compassion, empathy and unity if we are to preserve our fragile Earth for future generations.
Join the Journey
Last but not least, the leading-edge course entitled: The Shamanic Spirit in 21st Century Art, Culture & Technology has been updated with fresh researches and findings, as well as a new curated collection of captivating films and artworks. The course starts in mid-February 2021.
Emphasis will be given to the analysis of artworks, films, screen-dance and leading-edge art & science projects that explore the body-mind relations, identity and the Self, the primacy of consciousness, field consciousness, myth, ritual and the altered-state of communitas.
There are no formal entry requirements to join this course. Come and study purely for personal interest and enrichment … and get the same level access as our postgraduate students who will be studying alongside you!