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The Appetite for Immortality: Power and Technology

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University of Philosophical Research

3910 Los Feliz Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90027

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THE PRESIDENT'S CLASS - WINTER QUARTER 2019

Questioning Authority: The Meanings of Power


The Appetite for Immortality: Power and Technology

When Mary Shelley gave her novel Frankenstein the subtitle “The Modern Prometheus,” she was reaching back to the original Titans to find an analogue, just as we reach back to her monster and doctor to understand how our creations, born of our immense intellect and technology, end up overpowering us in the end. If we believe nothing else in our time, we believe in the power of technology and accept it without fail and—even largely—without question. As Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus discovered, however, there is a price to pay for such appetites for immortality. Join us for a discussion of technology, the power it gives us, and the power it takes from us.


About the Series:

It may well be the primary force we negotiate every day of our lives, whether in the form of the state, the market, or other constructions of society like language. These forms are of our own making, created by culture with an aim to support and enhance human life and civilization—even meaning. Yet we strive against the limitations these constructs impose upon us, chafing against their power and seeking to transcend them. Sigmund Freud may have put it best in "Civilization and Its Discontents": “…it is impossible to overlook the extent to which civilization is built up upon a renunciation of instinct….” Jean-Jacques Rousseau cries out “Man [and woman] were born free, and [they are] everywhere in chains.” In this ten-week series of lectures and discussions, we examine the meanings of power in everything from language to money to ourselves, in order to understand better what Walt Whitman calls “the holds that would hold us” and to find ways to become “loos’d of limits and imaginary lines.” Please join us as we discuss this timely and relevant topic and explore practical and profound wisdom for the 21st century.

About the Speaker:

Greg Salyer, Ph.D. is the President of the University of Philosophical Research and the CEO of the Philosophical Research Society. For twenty-five years, he has been an administrator and scholar in higher education institutions, but his highest calling has always been that of teacher. Trained in interdisciplinary studies, Dr. Salyer moves through the disciplines of literature, philosophy, and religious studies looking for and helping his students find practical and profound wisdom in the stories, texts, and ideas created all over the world and throughout history.


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University of Philosophical Research

3910 Los Feliz Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90027

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