The Human Being and the Universe
Of all the mysteries throughout history, the human being has always been one of the greatest. Who are we most essentially? What is our role and position within the universe? What is our relationship with it and what are our responsibilities? Is man ‘the measure of all things’? Is there an interconnectedness in life? In this part of the course we will look at some of the major ideas that have arisen from the contemplation of these questions, which have typically always involved a consideration of ‘the sacred’, a concept that has been studied by a number of 20th century scholars, including Rudolf Otto, Mircea Eliade and Joseph Campbell. These scholars showed that all traditional societies have given great importance to ‘sacred time’ and ‘sacred space’, for example in their seasonal festivals and in the consecration of temples. We will consider how these ideas could be integrated into our contemporary ways of living, as they seem to be so fundamental to the renewal of individuals and societies.