For our Thursday class, we began by everyone sitting in a circle on the floor. We stretched out our legs so that our feet touched each other completing the circle. Then we went around the circle and each named a thing we find in the world that is circular (e.g. donuts, bagels, balls, tires, etc.). This followed a practice of the Efe pygmies of the Ituri Forest.
After we spoke for a bit about the importance of the circle–as shape and as idea–we went on to discuss four questions: 1) How are we to tell the difference between a physical experience and a mystical experience? 2) Why are some stories called “myths” and others the truth? 3) At what point does philosophy reach a place where it stops asking questions? Is there no answer? and 4) What is the affect of globalization on smaller cultures, esp. indigenous religious traditions.
After a bit of discussion and drawing out important highlights–like “mythos” is the Greek word for narrative–I asked everyone to consider whether “Globalization” itself is a myth or narrative about the “right way to order the world.” Then we took a break, and afterward I lectured for a bit on Tillich’s notion of “ultimate concern” as well as introduced the third perspective of where religions come from: faith in ultimate reality.
Before we left, I introduced the oldest standing stone structure that has yet to be discovered by archeologists.