“I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.” (Joseph Campbell)
Existential research is the embodied exploration and discovery of different ways of being human through systematic experimentation. These experiments aim at exposing or altering (internalised) power structures (Foucault) that limit how we think, feel, speak, and move. Typical examples include a combination of sensorial deprivation (e.g., a darkness retreat, silent sit), time alterations (e.g., a walking in slow motion), communication protocols (e.g., radical honesty), movement scores (e.g., authentic movement), etc. In contrast with the claim of scientific research to create objective/declarative knowledge, existential research produces primarily experiences and procedural (“how to”) knowledge. It designs and implements tools and spaces that allow for unconventional and atypical, subjective experiences that engender self-knowledge and self-recognition from a first person perspective. This seminar is designed as a participatory action research. Participants can join an embodied investigation of emergent goal-directedness using practices that induce altered states of consciousness. Through techniques of breathing, self-exploration, and protocoled communication, the ordinary experience of self is altered, giving access to a more immediate, non-symbolic perception of reality. It is hypothesised that this perceptual shift enables emergent collective goal-directedness and the experience of a trans-individual body.
About the speaker
Stijn Smeets is a monk, artist, and existential researcher at the House of the beloved. He holds a PhD (Vanderbilt University, USA) in educational psychology with a specialty in social and emotional development in the top 1% in cognitive ability. He is the founder of the House of the beloved (www.houseofthebeloved.eu), a space to rethink and redesign existential development, and l’Avant-Garde (www.lavantgarde.be), individual and group trainings to support bright minds in birthing ecstatic bodies. His research currently focuses on skills for loving and dying.
The CLEA seminars are taking place simultaneously at the Center Leo Apostel and online (via Zoom) and are open to everyone interested!
When. Friday June 2, 2023 from 14h until 16h
Where. CLEA house. Center Leo Apostel, Krijgskundestraat 33 - 1160 Brussels
Online. You can follow the seminar online via Zoom. You may need a Meeting ID and passcode to enter.
Meeting ID: 827 5779 8426
Mailing list. If you want to be notified of our next seminars, you can register here to join the CLEA mailinglist.