Director's Message

December 2015

Dear PCCS community,

The 2015–2016 year is a transitional time for PCCS as we step back from our usual programming and reflect on future directions. I would like to share some thoughts about a few areas that might be explored when we resume normal operations. Meanwhile, we will periodically update our website with news of related activities on campus and beyond, and hope you will take advantage of this resource.

Diversity is among the first areas that come to mind in terms of forthcoming PCCS efforts. With the growing commitment to this area on our campus coinciding with growing relevance of this topic in society, I am particularly interested in continuing our work around the diversity, art, and consciousness relationship. A recent event at Howard University on the topic of contemplative practice and social justice provided an inspiring glimpse of possibilities to be explored in this direction. Sustainability is another pressing issue of today’s world that takes on new dimensions when viewed through the lens of the creativity-consciousness perspective. Our relationship with our physical and social environments is directly predicated on our connections with the innermost dimensions of our own being.

I would like to pursue new curricular possibilities, with some conversations having already been initiated about the creation of a minor in creativity and consciousness studies. It is hard to believe that it has been 15 years since the BFA in Jazz and Contemplative Studies degree was instituted in the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance; we are long overdue for a cross-campus counterpart to that innovative program!

Impacting all of these areas and beyond is a goal that has been important since the founding of PCCS—which is to provide a uniquely robust forum on our campus for exploring the most far-reaching questions about the nature of consciousness and human development and their ramifications for education and society at this unique juncture in human history. I find myself increasingly inspired in this regard by work being done at places such as the Institute of Noetic Sciences; Society for Scientific Exploration; International Society for the Study of Human Ideas on Ultimate Reality and Meaning; Society for Consciousness Studies; and within the Integral Theory community. (See our website’s Resources & Links section, for a more complete listing.)

While materialist perspectives still tend to prevail in academic consciousness studies, I believe the time has come for a more expansive vision that harnesses cutting-edge work in the sciences, with age-old insights from the world’s wisdom traditions. The question of consciousness is the most fundamental issue of our times, and I look forward to continuing our explorations in this domain, in Fall 2016.

- Ed Sarath
Professor of Music, U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD), and
Director, Program in Creativity & Consciousness Studies (PCCS)

portrait of Ed Sarath, Director of U-M PCCS

Ed Sarath, Director of
photo by permission