The Heart of Darkness and the War on the Soul
This is no ordinary course. It is a thorough examination of the darkness; a penetration into its heart, in order to understand the evil that lurks in us all. We look at evil’s extreme manifestation in the 20th Century, and what happens to the hearts and minds of people caught up in the conflagration of war. Finally, and most importantly, we will look to find a way out, and through the selected readings, map a course out of the labyrinth of hell, restoring the soul, healing our traumas, and bringing us back to a state of individual freedom, peace, and wholeness.
One of the primary goals of this course is to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between evil and its cause; how it begins to take shape in the heart of a man or woman; our fascination with horror, terror and cruelty; and the consequences this has on our souls.
Part One: Descent into Hell
In this section of the course, we begin our descent into the darkness and make contact with the archetypal force we call 'evil'. We will begin to examine, analyze, and discover it's nature through a close reading of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and watch the film "Apocalypse Now". In our class room discussions, we will attempt to penetrate into the nearly irresistible power of evil; our fascination, addiction, and love of it. We will apply these works into a synthesis of what draws a human being to a love of violence, abuse, carnage, and cruelty that destroys his humanity. Written work and class attendance required.
Part Two: The Nature of Evil
In part two of our study, we move into the core of the course, and look to gain an understanding of the relationship between evil and its cause. Our goal is to penetrate into the nature of evil, what it is, what are the archetypal forces underneath it, and why we love it; to explore the greater implications of evil on humankind and attempt to uncover some of the answers to these questions - is it necessary? What function does it serve? How do we transcend and overcome our instinct to evil? We will look at evil in its fullest expression and try to understand what this does to our soul. Readings: Eichman in Jerusalem, The Balkan Express. Writing and class attendance required.
Part Three: War for the Soul
In this third section, we move into the battle for the soul of humankind. We explore this in depth, studying history, mythology, and stories from ancient and modern cultures of the battle between light and dark, good and evil. We will examine how this eternal conflict takes shape and manifests in our world. Does the encounter with evil affect men and women differently? We will explore this in great detail and uncover their similarities and differences. One of the goals of this section is to come away with a fuller sense of the consequences to a human being when he or she makes a pact with the dark forces lurking in the shadows of the conscience. We will read Shadows and Wolves, along with Goethe's Faust. Other readings will be added. We will explore answering the following questions: Why must we confront the evil in ourselves? How does a human being break through to the light, emerge from the abyss, and find redemption? The emphasis here is to discover the underlying processes, struggles, ordeals, and secrets to the metamorphosis of the old self into the larger identity of the new self, healed, and made whole. Writing and class attendance is required.
Part Four: Humankind's Redemption
In the last part of the course, we seek to redeem humankind from the journey into darkness. The goal of this final part is to be able to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the necessary steps each individual is required to do in order for us as a society, nation, and world community to make the transition from war to peace, darkness to light, and hell to redemption. The first 3 quarters were focused on trying to comprehend the heart of darkness and the war on the soul. No course on this topic would be complete without the greatest epic story of this battle than The Book of Job. Here are the elements come together as the forces of the universe, represented as God and the Devil, wager a bet on the goodness of a man. We will also examine the play, J.B. by Archibald MacLeish. We will seek to answer the larger questions based on the readings and discussions: Is humankind capable of true redemption? What does that look like? Is it possible to create a peaceful world which no longer values evil, lies, violence, abuse, and trauma? What must our relationship to God be for us to have a world founded on love and peace? Our emphasis is on how a human being returns to the light, finds peace, and redeems himself or herself, their society, culture, and world; and we will ponder if humankind's redemption is God's redemption as well. Written work and class participated required.
Course will begin April 22nd, 2021 and will meet every Thursday evening for 10 weeks on Zoom. All interested students must pay tuition in full or you can speak with me about an installment plan. Dedicated students only who are committed to total transformation and self-empowerment on a soul level. All materials and books must be purchased separately. Class size limit: 10.