The Quest Lecture Series restarts Jan 28th 2023
Meetings will be via zoom.
The programme details for 2023 now available.
Jan 28th Lecture and Discussion 2pm-4.15pm
Some of the most significant political and economic events of our time are the following:
# The retreat of Western democracies and of Western Liberalism.
# The undermining of democracies from within as well as attacks upon them externally.
# The relative economic decline of the West compared to East Asia and even of emerging economies in general.
# The US and UK, you may be surprised to learn, are the most unequal economies (in income and wealth) in the West. This is undermining trust and belief in the system and is the root of populism and extremism.
# The UK has been stagnant economically since the Great Recession of 2008 - the only one to be so in the West, This is leading to a crisis of immense proportion.
As the economic foundation is rocked then that which is built upon it - political structure, institutional provision necessary for civilized life, the welfare state, defence, schools, policing, infrastructure, belief in the system, trust in leadership and tradition - are all compromised. And what are the psychological impacts of this - upon individuals, families, and the collective in general.
These and other similar points will be the subject of a lecture delivered by myself, followed by a discussion, which can explore whether there is evidence for the above points, their significance for us, and whether anything can be done about them?
One can be part of this lecture and meeting without registering for the whole course. Contact me for details. Cost is £25. Ample material is distributed in advance and can be studied before and after the meeting. This material includes 25 top contemporary articles (almost all written 2021-2022) on these themes, plus a summary of Edward Luce's book on the subject The Retreat of Western Liberalism, plus other up-to-date references.
If you urgently wish to understand the forces of political economy that are shaping the contemporary world this lecture will be of great interest to you.
The Quest examines a series of great visionaries across the ages. The aim is to help participants formulate their own vision by engaging in critical study and through their inner journey.
Introduction to the Quest Series
The series includes not only key texts but also some great composers, poets and painters. Beside mystical texts there will also be some of the most powerful political, philosophical, religious and economic visions that have shaped humanity. A series of lectures and discussion groups will accompany the study programme given once a month in London by myself. It is possible to attend these in person or receive downloads of the talks and therefore attend the series anywhere in the world.
An important principle of The Quest is that different orientations are chosen for study. This is not a programme in a specific school or the promotion of a particular vision although common elements will be noticed in the texts of many authors. Critical reflection and personal self-discovery are vital and for this opposing schools of thought are required. This programme, although offered at low price, should not be chosen casually and it's not for the faint-hearted. The rewards lie in the Self.
The purpose is to facilitate a shift in consciousness and lay a basis for change. The ultimate aim is to access our own visionary potential.
Testimonials - Quest Course
If you are passionately seeking vision and meaning, both for yourself and the world you live in,
the Quest Series may well be of interest to you.
Testimonial - Quest Course
The Study Programme
The programme of the Quest Series is spread across eight meetings every year for three years. Some of the preparation will be done by reading books and texts; some of it by listening to music, reading poetry, or exploring paintings. You can register for the programme one year at a time. However, it is also possible to come just for one lecture if you so wish. You can chose how frequently to come and also the way you attend – perhaps in person or receiving audios via email if you are in another part of the world.
There is an emphasis on the exploration of the mystical and metaphysical visions of the East and West. For example, Taoism, the Kabbalah, William Blake, Sri Aurobindo, and the Gnostic gospels.
We examine philosophically, two key scientific disciplines, Physics and Biology, and see how they are leading us to a new world view as explained by Teilhard de Chardin and Fritjof Capra who has written extensively on the systems view of life. From this viewpoint human consciousness is not a by-product of evolution but central to it.
The origin and history of human consciousness is examined through our contemporary knowledge of the evolution of Homo sapiens, as well as through the history of mythology.
We ask: Is there a meaning to history? Well known historians such as Arnold Toynbee and Andrew Marr will help us in this search. Also on our reading list is the recent best seller Sapiens by Yuval Harari who argues that Homo sapiens is transcending the limits of biological evolution by breaking the laws of natural selection and replacing them with intelligent design and artificial intelligence.
In political economy, we study the development of capitalism using ideas from Adam Smith to Karl Marx to John Maynard Keynes. The nature of capitalism is presented as a system of creative destruction. In particular, we critically examine contemporary capitalism with reference to the global ecological crisis. The history of fascism is examined especially in view of the recent rise of the extreme right. This extends to a wider exploration of the Prospects for Humanity in which we consider the possibility of human extinction or deep trauma to our species. We will be guided in this by writers such as James Lovelock, who proposed the name Gaia for the earth viewed as a self-regulating and living organism, just as Plato had proposed thousands of years ago.
We listen to the third symphony of Beethoven interpreting it as a musical equivalent of the mythological journey of the Hero with its descent and ascent bringing a new vision for humanity. We also examine the operatic Ring Cycle of Richard Wagner presenting it as a myth of human consciousness; we absorb the paintings of William Turner which rejoice in the light – all with a view to developing our inner and collective vision.
We explore ultimate metaphysical questions: Is the universe conscious? And does the cosmos have a soul? We ask if spiritual enlightenment is possible paying especial attention to Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Carl Jung, the visionary psychologist and mystic, has a place of honour on the programme. Out of his personal decent into the unconscious he provided a psychotherapy that promotes individuation as well as a vision for humanity. There is a series of other great contemporaries visionaries whose works grace our series – for example Anne Baring (The Dream of the Cosmos: A Quest for the Soul) and Ian McGilchrist (The Master and the Emissary) as well as many others.
We examine the metaphysical traditions, otherwise known as the perennial philosophy, that have all insisted that there is a reality underneath our phenomenal world which has formed it. This view, fundamental to the traditions of the Orient, stretches to modern philosophers of physics such as David Bohm who proposed an implicate order (that is, an underlying reality) that gives birth to the explicate order of the world we inhabit.
There is a practical examination of the possibilities of a radically different economic and political paradigm for the whole planet – is this feasible and are there practical solutions to the world crisis caused by our obsession with economic growth and our compulsion for political and military power?
Extract from Quest meeting.
Topic: What is the Meaning of History?
The Crises of Our Time
Alan Mulhern PhD
The world is accelerating into a multi-dimensional crisis which will deeply change the way we live. On the immediate horizon is a pandemic and in its wings an economic and financial calamity. Beyond that we have increasing political division and military threat. Serious climate change is upon us. The gods roar their warning but who is listening?
Political commentators, journalists, news commentators and economists dominate the discussion on these matters but very few point to its origins or consider its meaning. This is the end of an age, a threat to civilization and may well unfold into a crisis that dwarfs all others. And yes, it does have meaning. So what have depth psychologists to say of this?
This recording will present and explore:
The lead-up to this crisis which is a catalogue of error, greed and narcissism.
The 8 dimensions of the crises of the 21st century.
How the corona virus is a trigger that will implode the vast bubble that has built up since 2008.
The stages of the economic and financial collapse in front of us.
Its meaning as a crisis of civilization.
The role of depth psychology in addressing this crisis and providing vision for a future.
Premium podcasts carry a charge.
Alan Mulhern is a Jungian psychotherapist, author, the founder and director of the Quest Series, and has a PhD in Economics. Alternative email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org