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Top of Article. Current Maharishi University of Management in the USA. M.D. in modern medicine and ancient ayurvedic medicine. A nobel winning author who may have helped bring on the alternative "Eastern" philosophical/spiritual trend of the mid-late 1960's: Hermann Hesse. Aldous Huxley was also required reading for many students back then.
Today, Maharishi University of Management often teaches various courses all titled, "TOTAL KNOWLEDGE", so the idea of comprehensive knowledge is still very much alive there, but not so much in the way originally conceived for this institution in the early 1970's in terms of interdisciplinary studies and SCI. SCI means, "The Science of Creative Intelligence", and is sometimes referred to as the theoretical knowledge which accompanies the TM meditation course.
Transcendental Meditation is described as being a simple, natural, effortless meditation technique, referred to as SPIRITUAL YOGA, but not as physical positions, and not involving any concentration nor contemplation, and which mental technique can be learned by virtually anyone. If a person can think thoughts, they can do TM. Twice a day for only 15 to 20 minutes each time, TM provides an opportunity for the practitioner to gain profoundly deep rest, relaxation, and exceptional mental clarity. There are many other positive things, or treasures, gained from practicing TM which are identified and described in the 33 lesson SCI course. TM was described by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in The Science of Being and Art of Living, as being a good form of "karma yoga", or "raja yoga".
Weed and illicit drug usage and the two week rule. If a prospective meditation student tells the TM teacher they currently use any illicit drugs, or if the TM teacher finds out, the meditation student will have to delay their learning the TM technique for at least two weeks after ceasing such usage. The TM movement wants everyone to experience their own consciousness without any other influences other than the natural state of the human mind without any drug influences.
NOTE: in the year 2000 U.S. Elections, Presidential Candiate Dr. John Hagelin, the current President of Maharishi University of Management, called for the decriminalization of all illicit drugs.
SCI and related courses teach certain basic principles of yogic human developement under the best of conditions, regardless of whether or not any meditation technique is taught, since yogic human development is already taking place for the entire human race every moment of every day to some extent. In fact, to remain a true science, SCI must include all other yogic techniques, as well as normal human life without any apparent yogic technique in use.
In fact, SCI does universalize itself to a great extent. Other yogic techniques are discussed.
Maharishi International University originally offered regular academic courses and degree programs to regular college students beginning in summer 1973 in Goleta, California. The original plan was to require that all freshman students there take the same 24 core courses in SCI and interdisciplinary studies, plus four months of SCI and/or Forest Academy, as a foundation for their entire academic careers. This plan did not allow students to skip any of the required core courses, as that skipping process was thought to enable "dead-spots" in intellectual development which was hurting holistic development and the planet. Later on, students would choose majors and specialities after the core courses were completed.
There are many universities today where interdisciplinary studies majors are still offered, such as Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington to name one. Many regular state universities and other institutions also offer undergraduate and graduate interdisciplinary studies programs in 2016.
World SCI Symposiums: during the development phase for the S.C.I. 33 lesson course, and leading up to the founding of the regular academic university, the TM movement had hosted a number of large international conventions, or "SCI Symposiums", where experts from all over the world were invited to come and speak about their unique contributions to their respective fields of knowledge, and how that related to human progress and prosperity in the modern age. During this time, Maharishi International University had been founded in Fuigi, Italy, and the TM Teacher Training Courses were also being offered under the auspices of this new university a few years before regular academic courses were being offered in Goleta, California.
However, most would say that Maharishi University as a competing system of education in all other respects, had not yet begun operations until Summer 1973, when the Department of Education was becoming functional.
Some of the leading world experts who spoke on stage with Maharishi at these international SCI Symposiums were Stephen Druker, Attorney, founding MIU Professor of Law and Government, currently a major influence in the non-GMO food movement, still associated with MUM in Fairfield, Iowa where he occasionally teaches a course, Demetri Kanellakos, Stanford Research Institute, Senior Research Engineer, Radio Physics Laboratory, author of The Psychobiology of Transcendental Meditation, (still associated with MUM, but probably retired now), Melvin Calvin, Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry 1961, Donald Glaser, Nobel Prize Winner in physics 1960, Maj. General Franklin Davis, Commandant of the U.S. Army War College, Apollo IX astronaut Russell Schweickart, Dr. Harvey Brooks, President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Gene Rodenberry, TV producer and creator of the Star Trek series, Dr. David Suzuki, leading Canadian environmentalist and professor, Max Raines of Michigan State University (expert in education methodologies), Dr. Brian Josephson (Nobel Prize winning physicist from Wales), Dr. Marshall McLuhan (media expert), Dr. Buckminister Fuller leading expert in architecture, design, and technological philosophy, and Dr. Hans Selye (stress expert). Another expert was Dr. Elliot Abravanel, M.D., MIU's original Professor of Medicine who later became world famous with his book, The Body Type Diet. There were many many others. I was only a high school student during those years and had little or no personal knowledge from any of this original activity until years later. The SCI Symposiums in some form were still being held at MIU into the early 1980's.
Therefore, the entire Maharishi education concept grew out of both the TM Teacher Training courses held in the mid-60's - early 1970's, and also from these world SCI conferences of multi-disciplinary academics and experts all coming together to speak about an improved earth, and for some of them to transcendentally meditate with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. But some at those conferences didn't practice TM at all. However, most of the SCI Syposiums were held concurrently with TM Teacher Training courses, or other types of TM movement courses, at the same facilities.
Such current projects as the TED conferences, are very similar in concept to Maharishi's SCI Symposium series, as both projects involve inviting top experts from all over the world to gather and present their views in a multi-disciplinary setting with other leading world experts from nominally unrelated fields.
NOTE: very few of the leading international experts who had participated in the International SCI Symposiums actually came to MIU to teach or advise, other than those already associated with Maharishi's TM movement.
The reason for creating such a holistic educational system was to mend the rift created by too much over-specialization and lack of understanding between the different wings of the modern educational environment. Among other problems, planet earth was on the brink of total nuclear destruction due to this increasing lack of comprehensive education. The artists and scientists by both understanding each other, would begin to work together to create a better planet, rather than war and destruction.
The original MIU interdisciplinary studies program consisted of the 24 undergraduate first year "core-courses", and 6 second year "core-courses". Each first year core-course was one or two weeks long, and was taught one at a time, full time, using the block system. The 6 second year "core courses" were selected from a number of choices, and each was one month long and also taught using the block system.
The 2 year Masters of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program students took the same 24 one week first-year core courses, more or less, as the Freshmen, and all the second-year one month core courses, but with additional courses from the education department for the training of college professors. The underlying goal of the original Masters of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program was to train TM teachers who were also now Teaching Assistants (T.A.'s) who would work as T.A.'s at the central campus, and run the 3600 MIU branch campus locations. All the Masters students were also required to be certified TM teachers.
In the original plan for Maharishi International University, various one hour lectures given each day for each core course by visiting or resident professors, were videotaped and packaged for world-wide distribution to MIU branch locations staffed by TM teachers who had also graduated as Masters of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies.
At these branch locations, the T.A's would use new teaching technology, mostly the video tapes of the lectures given by the head-professor for each core course. Maharishi International University and the TM movement were, for a short time, the largest buyers and users in the world of these video decks from Japan.
A tiny sprinkling of MIU branch campus academic activities ensued, with the occasional students from that eventually winding up at the main central campus in Iowa, but never the planned world-wide avalanche of students. However, other courses such as SCI on video continued to be available at TM centers, even today.
Today, MUM has an extensive online degree program for students from virtually the entire world which fulfills the same purpose as the original branch campus program which would have theoretically set up 3600 locations. 3600 is based upon the population of our earth around 1972: 3.6 billion. Today, there would have to be over 7,000 MIU/TM Center locations to take care of the world's population of over 7 billion using the original formula.
"Total Knowledge" in Academics: in 1973, the 24 one week core courses attempted to bring some degree of total knowledge of the world from virtually all modern university disciplines to the awareness of the freshman students during the first ten month long academic year. The extra four months were not involved with the core course material, but rather with SCI and Forest Academy, or a purely meditation-centric section involving only traditional vedic science from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and a monastic exploration of self-development. In "forest", basic yoga asanas were also taught, plus other useful yogic things.
The 24 required first year core courses were concerned with subjects such as astronomy, biology, geography, philosophy, anthropology, modern medicine, classical physics, quantum physics, education, physiology, architecture, computer logic, literature, law and government, art, business, religion, music, psychology, education, mathematics, chemistry, exercise and physical education, vedic science, "lives of great men" (which included women also), "the artist and the scientist", and so forth and so on. The school might add or remove any particular one week core course at any time, and some first year core courses became 2 weeks long eventually. There was also, and still is today in 2016, a resident "liberal arts" faculty who produced courses and programs for those majoring in the mainstream liberal arts areas plus a few more. Everything was taught using the principles and qualities of SCI. This was a special angle of education unique to MIU.
Although Associate Degrees were mentioned in the original MIU catalog, none were actually awarded. However, during a later period beginning in the mid-1980's, Certificates of SCI, a two year program, were issued to students who elected to take a two year program consisting of the 28 first year interdisciplinary core courses, along with a second year of SCI/vedic science coures, which were mostly two to six weeks in duration. (When Forest Academy was reduced to 2 weeks, one per semester, it was possible to increase the number of first year core courses to 28 and to make other changes.)
The school originally used the quarter system. Four one week academic courses, followed by four weeks of Forest Academy, followed by four one week academic courses, made up the quarter. For each one week course, a paper was usually required to be written by each student, so writing skills were well developed. The university management tried to bring in top experts in each field of study to create the one week courses which provided only very general and summary information during the first year, which was the whole point of it.
Later, various changes were made to the university system, such as switching to the semester system, reducing the number of forest academies to one per semester, placing forest academy as the first course of each semester, and reducing forest academy to a two week course. Due to the popularity of advanced TM meditation techniques which took up much longer periods of time, there were eras at MIU/MUM when Forest Academy was no longer offered at all.
The death of the first year core course program: note that although the undergraduate interdisciplinary studies core course program continued into the 1990's, and possibly into the new millineum, the Masters of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies degree program which trained the T.A.'s, had been terminated around 1979. Thus, the entire international expansion program using the T.A.'s as assistant professors of interdisciplinary studies at these branch campus locations, was long gone already, as well as all the other features of having such a large group of T.A.'s dedicated to the welfare and education of mere Freshmen and Sophomores.
Stabbed in the heart: also, the quality of the first and second year core course program was greatly decreased when the T.A.'s from the Masters program were eliminated, as the new T.A.'s were not as numerous, nor as well versed or as passionate in the subject matter as those original Masters students had been. The original class structure for the first year core course program required that each small group of students have its own T.A. for the entire week or two, and its own private room for the one hour discussion period and ten minute meditations (one in the morning small group session, plus one in the afternoon small group session, plus the two 20 minute TM sessions the students did on their own).
For each new one or two week course during the freshman year, the small groups would be regrouped with different people each week or two.
When the Masters Student-T.A.'s were largely eliminated, the entire first year core course program was weakened, in my opinion. When I returned to MIU in 1981 and took the one needed course, I was shocked at the disintegration of coherence in the small group system. Normally, the main lecture lasted one hour with all the freshmen in one large group listening and taking notes. Then, after this lecture, the students split into the small groups with their own T.A./Masters Student for the 10 minute meditation and one hour discussion, question, and test period.
But when I returned in 1981, the small groups remained in the main lecture hall all together and noisy, chaotic, random, and usually lacking a T.A. and private room. Students wandered from small noisy group to small noisy group, just as the few T.A.'s wandered from small noisy group to small noisy group. People wandered outdoors and took walks with no one paying attention. In other words, the small group experience was nearly totally eliminated in comparison to the intense one hour long detailed discussion and question period with the T.A.'s, with exercises and tests, that had previously taken place with each small group and dedicated T.A. in their own private room with the door closed, etc. Also, the large group doing TM together during the 10 minute sessions, was more chaotic than the small groups had been, and this was when many would wander outdoors, etc. (Trusting the small groups to actually do the 10 minute meditation in private rooms, was probably no longer possible when the T.A.'s were mostly eliminated.)
Student Government Born of Small Groups: even the original elected student government members of MIU had originated in the freshman year program small segregated groups at one interesting moment at the Isla Vista campus. The Dean of Students had just announced to the entire student body (about 200 people), that we were now forming the first MIU student government. Regardless of the "structure" or "plan" as published in the original MIU catalog concerning this, another pattern emerged. (I don't think there were any second year students quite yet, and no Masters Students were eligible to be student government in the beginning, as they were all considered to be more like "teachers" rather than "students" in the MIU university context! However, that issue was never even raised!!!)
And then she paused (the Dean of Students).
Then I think she or someone else just blurted out, "Why don't we just have the current small groups of first year students elect student government representatives? One from each small group?" No one said anything in opposition, so each Masters-Student-T.A. managed the election for each small group of freshmen. That meant the original MIU Student Government were all FRESHMEN, technically speaking. (This was not the plan published in the original MIU catalog. There were only Freshmen and Masters students enrolled at that moment.)
Later, two more Student Government members were elected at large by the students in a 3 way race for two spots when some late comers arrived on campus.
In Fall 1974 in Fairfield, Iowa, the "World Congress" concept and organization at MIU was also promulgated by Maharishi as a project to teach TM in all the counties of Iowa, and a TM Teacher named _________ was appointed head of that organization. Probably about one half of all the students at MIU at that moment were TM Teachers. Maharishi asked that a large "electronic scoreboard" like display be built in the main meeting room of the "World Congress" meeting room, initially picked to be the former bowling alley area of the old-student-union basement, to keep track of how many persons had just learned the TM technique in each Iowa county, month by month as TM teachers and teachers in training visited their assigned counties giving lectures on TM and MIU, etc., etc. The electronic scoreboard never happened, but many persons in Iowa learned about MIU and the TM technique from these "MIU World Congress" visiting delegations in very late 1974 and early 1975 and later.
Later student government at MIU was re-organized, and the "constitution" of student government at MIU was written and adopted.
Originally, the "MIU World Congress" as planned or promulgated by Maharishi was not part of MIU Student Government, but later was merged into it at some point. And even today in 2017, the "World Congress President" is still a functioning part of the MUM Student Government.
Also, in the Fall of 1974 in Iowa, one student government member had organized an enormous number of student "committees" as part of some grand organization of nearly all campus acitivies. I left shortly afterwards for many years, and don't know what became of those plans.
The death of the first year core course program would occur in a decade or two after being fatally stabbed in the heart around 1979 when the Master's Student T.A.'s were eliminated, along with the one hour discussion/question period moderated by dedicated T.A.'s for each small group with its own private room. (I'm not sure exactly when the first year core courses were eliminated.)
In the original MIU plan, the required one month long SCI course, and the three first year Forest Academies made up about four months of Vedic Science which sufficed to prepare undergraduate students to become eligible to apply for TM Teacher Training if desired by the student. Note that the first year MIU program required 10 months total, while 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year programs consisted of only 9 months. At some point, the academic year was lengthened to about 10 and 1/2 months for all programs. (In 2016, MUM students may also apply to become TM teachers after meeting the current requirements.)
For many years until very recently, MIU/MUM required all undergraduate students to earn 160 semester credit-hours in order to graduate. This took up about 10 and 1/2 months from each year for a four year undergraduate degree. That has now been reduced back to 120 semester credit-hours lasting 9 months each year.
The early MIU first and second year core course experience for myself, reminded me of something a large number of my teachers had stated to my classes at school on numerous occasions, all the way from the first grade to my last year of college attended: that the teacher strongly wished to be able to open our heads, and pour the knowledge in. This is what the old first and second year MIU interdisciplinary studies core course program was like.
Eventually, the second year required core courses were totally eliminated, freeing up more time for students to pursue their majors beginning the Sophomore year. I suppose that the summary nature of the original second year core courses can always be provided at any during a student's career without formally structuring an entire year of such one month general education courses.
What was really impressive is that as mere freshmen and sophomores at MIU in the early years, we were directly exposed to the thinking of people who were often international leaders in their fields, so we learned how top educators thought. As beginning college students, most of us were really impressed by that. Also, at the time, the school's resources were almost entirely focused on the freshmen and sophomores, which was unusual for any university. Now that there are numerous juniors, seniors, and graduate students at MUM, the resources are less available to newcomers.
The original two year freshman and sophomore interdisciplinary studies core course program, eventually becoming only one year, was admittedly, however, concerned only with mostly non-technical and easy general knowledge.
However, we did study basic computer logic for one week in 1974 from a nationally known expert (Layman E. Allen; Univ. of Michigan, or Robert W. Allen; Nova University, or Joan Ross; Univ. of Michigan; computer logic game Wff N' Proof. The one who traveled to MIU in California to teach the one week course was one of the two Allens, probably Robert Allen. Wff N' Proof was also sold nationwide by Edmund Scientific Company; Barrington, N.J.) on teaching computer theory, well before the home-computer revolution about three or four years later. But the school did not yet have a computer then, nor did that visiting professor who taught "computer-logic", as no one much owned a computer back then except giant corporations, giant universities, giant governments, giant militaries, and giant banks, etc., etc. We were taught some quantum physics formulas, however.
In the mid 1970's, MIU acquired a large central mainframe computer system which is still in use there in updated form, along with hundreds of smaller computers, all state of the art.
Dr. Robert Keith Wallace, aka, "Keith Wallace", was the founding President of Maharishi International University. He had just graduated from UCLA, and then Harvard Medical School with a doctoral degree in physiology, and was already world famous for having published research in Science, Scientific American, and other respected journals and magazines, on the TM technique, and had announced the discovery of a 4th major state of human consciousness beyond waking, dreaming, and sleeping in science journals. This was the 4th state of consciousness, or "transcendental consciousness", aka "samadhi", which one normally or eventually experiences during TM.
(1972) The Commonly Known Four States of Human Consciousness:
- Waking State
- Sleeping State
- Dreaming State (REM)
- Transcendental State (Wallace, Benson, et al, 1972; Harvard Medical School.)
These "states of consciousness" are defined by physiologists by certain measurable parameters.
Dr. Herbert Bensen was Dr. Wallace's academic advisor at Harvard, and also became world famous shortly later in 1975 with the publication of his book, The Relaxation Response, which also describes the 4th state of human consciousness, but experienced without Maharishi's "pagan sourced" mantras......
Therefore, Dr. Benson is circumstantially responsible for helping create negative views concerning the TM movement by appearing to justify the expulsion of the mantras and mantra forgetters to some isolated and black-listed deserted isle, in terms of acceptance by mainstream academia. In his famous song, God, from the album....John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band, John Lennon also expressed dislike for his own mantra, and also for Buddha, the I Ching, and the Bible, and other similar iconic things, in favor of just John (with Yoko).
From what I have heard, in tests, the TM technique has been shown to be superior to competing methodologies in terms of achieving the 4th state of conscicousness.
Well Well Well.
At the time, the issue was that many Christians in the USA, such as pop-singer Pat Boone, were afraid of Maharishi's meteoric rise to fame and influence. This scandal about the TM mantras being "non-Christian" was similar to that scandal created by John Lennon when he once declared that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ during the early 1960's, well before the Beatles had met the Maharishi in Wales for the first time.
Forget it! But the mantra is not supposed to be worshipped, focused on, concentrated upon, nor contemplated, nor swatted at. It is only a "disposable boat" on which the thinker rides to a not-so-distant shore: the transcendental state. There the mantra, or boat, is abandoned or forgotten momentarily. (One does not have to experience the complete forgetting of the mantra to be meditating correctly. The mantra behaves as it wants to behave during TM.) The accusation by Pat Boone and other Christians that TM practitioners are "worshipping" their mantras, is simply evidence that Boone knows nothing about how TM is practiced correctly.
So it was perfectly OK that Lennon didn't like his mantra. That's OK. It would go away on its own momentarily, eventually, like a pesky fly buzzing around our head. It will eventually fly away on its own. (Actually, it's OK to swat flies dead since they don't usually fly away, but not OK to concentrate on, or worship your mantra. This is a very subtle point:
but, when we become aware that we are no longer thinking the mantra, then we quietly, effortlessly, return to the mantra. The correct process for Transcendental Meditation is not described as worship, chanting, deliberate rhythmic repetition, concentration, nor contemplation, and should not yield a headache.)
At any rate, Dr. Keith Wallace was famous enough to attract many top people to put together first year core courses on very short notice, such as with famous architect Lynden Herbert who designed many energy efficient buildings all over Africa in the very early 1970's.
Not many architects thought much about building energy efficient buildings in 1972. This guy was ahead of his time. But his clients in Africa did not have much money, and sometimes did not have electricity, so he had to.
Just back in the USA from working in Africa, Lynden Herbert was MIU Professor of Architecture in 1974. He moved with us to Fairfield, Iowa from Goleta. Herbert also oversaw improvements, mostly in terms of landscaping, at the Santa Barbara (Goleta) campus, and initially also in Fairfield, Iowa where he had an office in late 1974 and 1975. (NOTE: one of the most difficult fields traditionally in which to obtain employment is architecture. Only a small perentage of architects ever practice their trade for hire.)
I personally think the "Maharishi System of Education" from the early days of Maharishi International University, the first year core course program specifically, to have been the most enjoyable and stimulating educational experience I have ever had.
Interdisciplinary Studies and SCI: I personally think that those planning on studying management should be required to take something like the original MIU first year interdisciplinary studies program with the attempt at instilling some degree of relative worldly "total knowledge" from the 28 or so disciplines from modern academia, while simultaneously teaching them regular daily practice of Transcendental Meditation. Another idea would be to again create stand-alone one or two year Associate and Master in Interdisciplinary Studies and SCI programs and degrees which could be tacked/merged onto any other degree programs.
Noting the "Seven Goals of the Science of Creative Intelligence", and the "Seven Goals of Maharishi University of Management", one of the original purposes of this original "Maharishi System of Education" was to help provide the satisfaction from the very beginning of the college process from both profound worldly knowledge, and profound Self-knowledge both so that students don't divert into various time wasting and self defeating paths leading to failure and problems in life.
The wide-angle comprehensive management-level consciousness created from this form of education, for freshmen, should help keep students on the right path to success in all areas of life, later on.
If this comprehensive background in current general education, along with total knowledge of the Self in terms of the veda, may have spoiled some beginning college students here and there at MIU/MUM in the past, that is a small price to pay for world peace.
The original one week course in Vedic Science in 1974 was perhaps the most popular and charming of the 24 freshman year core courses; that charm probably due to the stability of the unchanging nature of the Veda: pure Self-knowledge, the fourth state of consciousness, both static and dynamic. Current knowledge of the world changes every day as science and research continually correct previous errors or less perfect knowledge. Eventually that error-correction process should reach some degree of stability, but probably will never be as stable and charming as Self-knowledge.
NOTE: the author took 23 required first year core courses in 1974, and one additional required first year core course in 1981. Therefore, I know how the first year core-course program changed from the beginning. I recall hearing that the drop-out rate, or attrition rate, for MIU in the very beginning was virtually zero. I know that my comments here may disturb some MIU students who took the core courses after 1979. I have met and spoken with a few of these students, and most were happy with the program after 1979.
However, I think it was better before 1979.
NOTE: I am not aware of any direct connection between the cancelation of the Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies program, and the accreditation of MIU around 1979 - this was just a coincidence. When a college is accredited, they generally are able at that point to accredit all previous academic work from the time before accreditation.