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PANDEMIC ~ $8.99

Black Swan Event or the New Normal?


Three 90-Minute Lectures in this Series

CoronaVirus and COVID-19 are everywhere now, despite wishful thinking, political obfuscation, and online conspiracy nonsense. We won’t know for some time just what the final trajectory of the virus and the disease will be, but we know now that it’s a nightmare for which the world was largely unprepared. This workshop will take up a number of vital questions. First, and perhaps most important is this: was the current crisis, which is having almost unimaginable impact, simply impossible to predict (what is often termed a “black swan” event), or was there good reason to expect it? Second, are future pandemics unlikely or certain, or something in between? Third: what have we learned and what are we most likely to learn, about the global spread of contagion, about health care, about politics, about the U.S. government, and about the human community?


Facebook, Social Media,
and Election 2020 ~ $8.99

Why Worry?


Three 90-Minute Lectures in this Series

We now know a great deal about the ways in which social media platforms were used by foreign and domestic “bad actors” to manipulate and distort the 2016 electoral process and inflict lasting damage on our body politic. What should we expect in the 2020 cycle? Is Mark Zuckerberg, for example, taking steps to address the problem of dishonest and even destructive political posts? And how has the Trump administration responded to the overwhelming evidence of sinister Russian interference? Is there any good news to report? Join Jim and find out.

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Why We're Not Really Living in a
Post-Truth World
 ~ $8.99


Three 90-Minute Lectures in this Series

At times it seems that the “age of truth" must surely be past. Historically, philosophically, and scientifically grounded understandings of the world seem to have given way to populist fabrication, paranoid conspiracy theory, and science-denying credulity. But perhaps Shakespeare was right after all and “the truth will out.” In this intriguing and very timely workshop, we’ll discover that xenophobic populism, ignorant science-bashing, and bizarre conspiracy-mongering are not harbingers of the future but ultimately futile forms of angry backlash against the natural maturing of human culture. They are, in other words, very shallowly-rooted and unlikely to endure. Join us to learn why. 


Deepening Your

Spiritual Path ~ $8.99


Four 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

How does one shape a personally meaningful spiritual path? How might I deepen a path already broadly-explored? It’s a topic that Jim has reflected on for many years. In this special series, he’ll discuss the differences between spirituality and religion, explore what it means to be “SBNR,” spiritual but not religious, and discuss three essential chapters that should have a place in every spiritual primer: Clarification, Centering, and Compassionate Service. These slide / lectures will draw widely from the world’s great spiritual traditions, consider the challenges of “pluralism,” and offer a hint of some of the riches of “interspirituality.” This class is for the long-time spiritual seeker as well as for those who want to be on the spiritual path but don’t quite know where to begin.


The Rise of
Humans ~ $8.99


Three 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

Who are the “humans,” after all? Do we include Neanderthals? Denisovans? Homo Erectus? What about Australopithecines, like the celebrated “Lucy?” This fascinating series will begin by distinguishing between Hominids, the group consisting of all modern and extinct Great Apes (modern humans, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans and their immediate ancestors), from Hominins, the group consisting of modern humans, extinct human species, and all our immediate ancestors (yes, including Lucy, dating from some 3.2 million years ago). We’ll go on to glimpse the incredible deepening, over the last several years, of our understanding of human origins. We’ll examine several of the most intriguing debates that still energize and sometimes confound the experts. And we’ll do all this because trying to understand how we came to be has always been a fundamental part of who we are.


2020–Election of

Lifetime ~ $8.99


Four 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

What will certainly be one of the the most important elections in American history is looming. Explore the issues, the narratives, the likelihoods, and the possible consequences of Election 2020.

As a bitterly contested election year comes to a conclusion, we’re all asking the same question: can Donald Trump be reelected? In the specter of the global pandemic, it’s not as simple a question as many liberals and progressives might hope. We’ll explore the changing American political landscape at this critical moment and discuss a range of emerging likelihoods, not only at the presidential level, but also with respect to races for governorships, the U.S. House, and the all-important U.S. Senate. It’s shaping up to be the most important election in our history. One way or another, it may chart a very different course for the republic.

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What Now?–The Next Political & Cultural Landscape ~ $8.99


Four 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

A surprisingly hopeful exploration of likely, possible, and aspirational transformations of politics and culture in America and the larger world in the wake of a chaotic presidency and divisive campaign season, a global pandemic, the climate crisis, and unparalleled economic upheaval.

Election Day 2020 was still ahead as we offered this series. The outcome of the election of our lifetimes was not yet known, although many analysts predict a “Blue Trifecta” that would deliver control of the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate to the Democratic Party. America and the world are facing some major political and cultural value shifts. Daunting realignments are clearly in store for the two major parties in the U.S. Will the GOP even survive Trump and extremism? Will the Democratic Party move toward schism or a new shared vision? What permanent global rhythms and realities will the Pandemic alter? And might the Climate Crisis point the way to a new global consensus? We will venture still further into the realm of critical analysis and realistic hope. We hope you’ll enjoy.


From Cultural Decay

to Cultural Convergence  ~ $8.99


Four 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

This series of interconnected but self-contained lectures identifies the problems facing the U.S. at this critical time, assess the dangers, put them in historical and regional context, and point a way forward.

• Fascism: Can it Happen Here?

• The Deadly Quicksand of Science Denial

• Who We Really Are: America's Eleven Nations

• The Great Transition: From Trump to Biden-Harris


Viewers will gain a dramatically new insight into what ails us as a nation and how we will get better.

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The Second Axial Age —
Are Religion and Spirituality
Really Evolving?
  ~ $8.99


Four 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

It’s a common trope that modern religion is an attempt to impose antiquated doctrines on an age no longer in need of them. Humans have evolved, we’re told; we have outgrown all that. But what if religious teaching and spiritual practice have also evolved? Learn about the First and Second Axial Ages!

• The First Axial Age: the Emergence of the Classical Religions

Discovering the roots of today’s major religions in the 6th century BCE 


• Evolutionary Voices of the East

Second Axial wisdom from great teachers of the East


• Evolutionary Voices of the West


Participants will encounter the two great periods of human spiritual evolution and hear Eastern and Western insights into the transformation that may now be underway.


Our Home in the Universe –
Gazing from the Humanities through the Windows of Science
  ~ $8.99


Four 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

IThis mind-broadening and sometimes mind-blowing workshop is one of a kind. You'll experience a humanities-friendly four-week tour of some of the great questions, answers, mysteries, and delights of science, presented in colorful, dynamic fashion.


The class sessions combine compelling slide illustrations and absorbing lectures.


We embark on four fascinating explorations:

• "Revolution: The Copernican Planetquake," 

• "Evolution: What Darwin Knew, and What He Didn't,"

• "The New Physics: Gravity and the Sub-Nuclear Zoo," and 

• "Strange Attractions: Chaos or Complexity?"

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The Fifties and the Sixties
From the 'Golden Years' to the
'Days of Hope and Rage' 
 ~ $8.99


Four 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

The two decades after WWII set the course for the rest of the 20th century and prefigured the political divide that is America'spresenting problem in 2021.



Anyone who seeks to understand the deeper trajectory of our society's current issues and challenges will be enlightened by the perspectives presented in this series


Was it the best of times, or the worst? The 2-decade span of the 1950s and the 1960s evokes powerful sentiments from both sides of the American cultural-political spectrum. Nostalgia (historical myopia) often draws those on the right toward the Fifties and those on the left toward the Sixties. But why?


Although the "Fifties" and the "Sixties" were dramatically different eras, together they framed a unique period of political, social, cultural, musical, and spiritual ferment. It was a time of genuine transformation, but it created a resentful backlash that we're still feeling today.


2021 Summer Series #1 
The Inner Life:

* Science & Miracles
* East & West
* Buddhism & Interdependence
~ $8.99


Three 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

Physicist, novelist, and essayist Alan Lightman, in a recent article, takes up the question of belief in miracles and modern science's rejection of the very notion. But he notes that physicists are working intensely with some ideas that are just as unprovable as miracles. Could it be that, "the miracle believers and the miracle non-believers have found a bit of common ground?”


Eastern and Western spiritual paths diverge at the outset and converge toward the Center. We'll glimpse their differences and their similarities as we consider different understandings of three essential religious and spiritual concepts: The Divine / The Flaw / The Afterlife


The core philosophical teaching of far-Eastern Buddhism (the Mahāyāna schools) is interdependence.  It resounds in the simplicity of Zen and the ornate complexity of Tibetan ritual. And it informs the heart of Buddhist spirituality, the practice of compassion.


2021 Summer Series #2 
Inside the Issues:

* Identity Politics, Wokeness,
& Cancel Culture

* Stamped – The Rise of Anti-Racism
Are We Alone in the Universe? 
~ $8.99


Three 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

Why are "Cancel Culture" and Critical Race Theory the right wing's angry new obsessions? Is "Wokeness" a poison pill for Democrats? What's this new storm on the political horizon? One thing is clear:It matters for 2022! 

Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning is a masterful account of anti-racism and its destructive opposites, segregationism and assimilationism. It's bound to change your thinking!

Is our Earth the only home to intelligent life in the cosmos? What about UFOs? Is other intelligent life almost certain to exist? If so, why are the odds against a "close encounter" so great?



2021 Summer Series #3 
Cultural Barometers:

* A Primer on Cultural Evolution

* Now or Never: A Foreign Policy
for the Climate
Five Reasons for Global Hope 
~ $8.99


Three 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

Come along for a guided tour of Jim's acclaimed idea of rare but sweeping periods of progressive cultural values-shift. Despite the awful specters of white nationalism, science denial, and Trumpism, could it be that we are in the midst of a powerful and progressive evolutionary "sea change" in human history?

We dig into the most vital political and cultural shift of all, addressing the devastating realities of human driven global climate change. In the face of record temperatures, horrific wildfires, soil-destroying droughts, and raging floods, what are our chances of re-visioning our planetary future?

Join us as we explore some persuasive arguments that ours is indeed a dramatically evolutionary time. Our topics include: non-zero understanding, the emerging global consensus, the next generation, the erosion of patriarchy, and the treasure of the global commons.



Afghanistan: Graveyard of Empires
A critical three-week analysis of

America's longest war

Ronald Reagan, the Soviet occupation, and the birth of jihad 

• Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, and 9/11 

• Four presidents — from invasion to exit: politics, lies, hopes, failures, and inevitability.      ~ $8.99


Three 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

Along the way, we will explore the complex causes of the war in Afganistan, encounter the key players (nations and leaders), identify the most important turning points, and speculate about the implications of the conflict and its end on Afghanistan, on the region, and on the United States and its allies.



The Real Witch Hunt...and Beyond

A three-week excursion into the reality and the violence of the long-ago witch hunts, new religious paths like Wicca and neopaganism, and the curious modern fascination with the "good witch," so different from the imagined "Satan worshipper" of yore. ~ $8.99


Three 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

This three-week workshop series will explore the early modern  "Witch Craze" (15th-18th centuries), marked by the violent (and unfounded) persecution of women, healers, and religious outsiders. From the Inquisition, we'll move on to the 19th- and early 20th-century movement that created a new religion built on the imagined practices of bygone "witches." In the final week, we'll turn to the varieties of the modern Wiccan and neopagan movements. Along the way, we'll touch on the destructive "satanic ritual abuse" hoax.


Our topics will include the Inquisition's use of the  fiction of Satan worship to repress the feminine spiritual dimension in Christianity, the evolution of the witch in folklore from practitioner of dark magic to the beneficent and healing adept of modern practice, and the broad social and political spectrum of modern neopaganism.


The series promises to be a fascinating excursion into witchcraft, one of the least understood varieties of individual and communal spiritual practice, healing, and celebration of the natural world.



China: From the Last Emperor

to Xi Jinping

A fascinating glimpse of the past 120 years of China's history, and the passage from the last ruler of an imperial dynasty to an emperor of a very different sort.. ~ $8.99


Three 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

Pu-Yi, the last emperor of China, was enthroned in 1908, at the age of two. His abdication in 1912 marked the end of Imperial China. In early November 2021, Xi Jinping (General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and President of China) was elevated by the Party to a status essentially equal to that of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. The way is clear for Xi to rule as long as he chooses. Has China chosen another Emperor?  


This workshop will trace the 20th- and 21st-century evolution of power in China — from the Imperium, through the Civil War, to the ascendancy of the Communist Party, through Five Generations of leadership, to the rise of Xi, the most powerful figure China has known since Mao, and perhaps since the days of the greatest emperors.


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The Lost Cause of the Confederacy

and America's Long North-South Divide

The myth of the Confederacy's "Lost Cause" is a pseudo-historical, romanticized tale that insists the Civil War was not fought over slavery, romanticizes the Klan, and continues to inform White Supremacy and divide the U.S. into two increasingly hostile political and cultural camps. ~ $8.99


Three 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

The “Lost Cause” of the Confederacy is a pseudo-historical, romanticized tale of the nobility of the Southern warrior, the morality of slavery, the chivalric virtues of the Old South, the justness of “states’ rights,” and the implacability of Northern aggression. Woven into Southern culture by groups like the United Daughters of the Confederacy, it shaped and continues to inform White Supremacy, anti-governmentalism, and the division of America into two increasingly hostile political and cultural camps. We’ll trace the history of the movement from 1866 to January 6, 2021, when so many Confederate battle flags were raised at (and even inside) the U.S. Capitol.




Crisis in Ukraine—Putin's Gambit

Russia's threat to invade neighboring Ukraine has Europe, the United States, and NATO on edge. Will Vladimir Putin risk a larger war or is he merely posturing? We'll dive into the details. ~ $8.99


Two 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

From time to time, a particularly urgent and/or fascinating situation arises in the U.S. or the larger world. When that happens, the Global Lecture Hall may respond by scheduling a short work series, called a "Pivot Point," to address the issue.   This Webinar, "Crisis in Ukraine—Putin's Gambit," is the first GLH Pivot Point. A 2-week series, it will provide historical background, current political context, and a solid analysis of the key nations, leaders, issues, and implications of the Russian threat to invade Ukraine.  By the time the Webinar begins, critical events may well have taken place and we will certainly know a great deal more. However, the relevance of our conversations will only be heightened, whatever happens.



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The Right Wing’s War on Science

"The political celebration of willful ignorance..."

  ~ $8.99


Three 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

"We don't need any damn experts to tell us how the world works.  

God tells us all we need to know."  


One of the most powerful currents in 20th-and 21st-century Western life is the political right's celebration of willful ignorance. In this fascinating workshop, we'll inquire deeply into the origins and development of the growing anti-science bias in our culture, its link to religious fundamentalism, and its entrenched role at the very heart of right-wing politics in America and Europe.  


Here are a few of the intriguing ideas we'll consider: 

• Darwin Did It! 

• Denialism — From Evolution, to the Holocaust, to Tobacco, to Climate, to COVID (and so much more) 

• Internet Conspiracy Madness as Crystalized Anti-Science 

• "It's Only a Theory" — The Dumbest Argument 

• Why an Anti-Science Movement Can't Recruit from the Next Generation.  


At the heart of this important conversation lies the inquiry into how the world actually does work, why we really do need scientific expertise to begin to understand it, and why making war on science always fails... eventually.



Unraveling the Cryptoverse:

Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Bored Apes

A non-technical excursion into the mysterious world of "Crypto" (virtual currencies, NFTs, Web 3.0, etc.) and its denizens (libertarians, hucksters, visionaries, artists, crooks, and dreamers)   ~ $8.99


Three 60-Minute Lectures in this Series



Is it a fad or is it the future?

* 2009: Bitcoin currency (and software)

* Today: 18,465 cryptocurrencies in existence


But there’s much more happening

* Scams, hucksters, fakes, and frauds galore (but new modes of protection against them)

* A whole new world for artists and aficionados

* A new way of sharing, trading, and securing assets, private documents, health records, personal data, etc.

* The beginnings of Web 3.0 — a user-friendly, more secure, more private, and better connected Internet

* And, just maybe, an end run around Facebook, Google, and the gang


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Hijacked—The Supreme Court in

the 21st Century

The leak of a draft opinion that seems to be a death knell for Roe v. Wade has focused even sharper attention on the now openly right-wing majority of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.  We'll delve into a chilling, but not hopeless, political, social, and religious saga.   ~ $8.99


Three 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

It’s often suggested that America’s court is no longer working for everyone. The Supreme Court is dominated by a 6-3 Republican supermajority that is consistently ruling in favor of corporate and partisan interests. 


The refusal in 2016 of the then GOP-dominated Senate to hold hearings for Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland on the grounds that it was an election year didn’t halt the rushed confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett in 2020. And Mitch McConnell’s recent promise that no additional Biden Court pick would be considered should give us all pause.   Just how doctrinaire is the current majority? If Democrats ever again secure an actual working Congressional majority, should they consider expanding the Court? 


Why are so many legal scholars voicing their deep concern? Do we have a runaway court?  


Topics include: 

• The Court, the leak, Roe, and Election 2022 

• Alito's curious, and revealing, reasoning • Clarence and Ginni Thomas: insurrection in the family? 

• Trump's Justices 

• McConnell and the right-wing takeover of the courts 

•The vision of RBG 

• John Roberts' struggle to rescue a legacy.

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American Theocracy:

Why It Will Fail

This workshop offers timely exploration of the movement that seeks to reshape the structures and principles of American governance to conform to an extreme right-wing interpretation of Christianity. The series demonstrates why a 21st-century American theocratic movement is bound to fail.  ~ $8.99


Three 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

This timely series will examine the disturbing theocratic tremors that are shaking our culture and government today. "Theocracy" describes a state governed by the religious tenets and jurisprudence of a terribly narrowed religion.    


We will seek to understand the wellsprings of  theocratic movements in general and to understand the distortions of religion that energize them. But our primary focus will be on theocracy in America. 


Along the way we'll ask how supposedly vanquished "cultural standards" like white supremacy, patriarchy, hatred, and armed violence were reborn for many as 21st-century values.     


And at every turn we will see more clearly why an American theocracy is bound to fail.


On the World Stage:

the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The best and worst people in the world… Signs of impending disaster and signs of hope… All set against the background of the most critical challenges  of our time.   ~ $8.99


Three 60-Minute Lectures in this Series

Who are some of the best people on the world stage today? Some of the worst? 

Why? What's the metric?  


And what are some of the most inspiring and most worrisome global patterns unfolding now?   

Why? Who's to say?  


This series will identify some of the most inspiring and some of the most disturbing people and patterns in the world, by virtue of their relationships to the most critical challenges we face today: climate change, big tech &  social media, and economic inequality.  


We'll build a better understanding of the most powerful persons and dynamics — for good and for bad — in our complex world. And that understanding is vital for finding strategies of engagement and reasons for hope.

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