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Bridging Disciplinary Divides

The Center for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies (CCIS) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our mission is to bridge disciplinary boundaries in order to provide the public with new plateaus of perspective to broaden understandings and deepen questions concerning human existence and the many challenges we face therein.  

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San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco Bay Area





CCIS Ethos Quotes

CCIS Ethos Quotes

“One of the primary objects of discipline is to fix; it is an anti-nomadic technique.”

"What interests [me] in the "already said" is not established authority but rather the breadth and variety of experience to be found there."

-Michel Foucault

“It was Proust who said "masterpieces are written in a kind of foreign language." That is the same as stammering, making language stammer rather than stammering in speech. To be a foreigner, but in one's own tongue, not only when speaking a language other than one's own. To be bilingual, multilingual, but in one and the same language, without even a dialect or patois.”

-Giles Deleuze

“Reading good books is like having a conversation with the most distinguished [people] of past ages, namely their authors—indeed, a carefully prepared conversation in which they reveal to us only the best of their thoughts.... Conversing with people of past centuries is rather like travelling…. But if you spend too much time travelling you will end up being a stranger in your own country.”

-Rene Descartes

“You must do something, but inasmuch as with your limited capacities it will be impossible to make anything easier than it has become, you must, with the same humanitarian enthusiasm as the others, undertake to make something hard…. Out of love for mankind, and out of despair at my embarrassing situation, seeing that I had accomplished nothing and was unable to make anything easier than it had already been, and moved by a genuine interest in those who make everything easy, I conceived it as my task to create difficulties everywhere.”

-Søren Kierkegaard

"Only that which has no history is definable".

-Fredric Nietzsche

“An answer is valuable only in so far as it stimulates further inquiry. This holds true even in the exact sciences where the hypothesis serves as a springboard for the searching mind. In a still higher degree it holds true in the realm of philosophy where answers are merely fertile formulations of problems. “Let us know in order to search,” says St. Augustine. The favorite answer of an age, however, is often one in which only a minimum of problems is preserved and which has been promoted to its place as favorite because it seems to render superfluous all further questioning. It closes all doors, blocks all ways, and just because of this permits the agreeable feeling that the goal has been reached and that the rest is granted.”

-Martin Foss

“Archetypical Man as a divine being forgot his true essence and mistakes the material universe (which is part of him) as separate and external, since the Fall. Physical man is but a material shadow though endowed with a divine spark.”

-C. L. Knowles

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, 
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”


“…The important thing is not the finding, it is the seeking, it is the devotion with which one spins the wheel of prayer and scripture, discovering the truth little by little. If this machine gave you the truth immediately you would not recognize it, because your heart would not have been purified by the long quest.”

-Umberto Eco

"If you immediately know the candle light is fire then the meal was cooked along time ago"


“Throughout much of the time since the establishment of the clockwork universe as the primary model of reality, occultism has looked to science for ideas and analogies. This influence is one that science in turn generally denies, because “Science” would prefer to believe that occultism is irrational. Instead, it would be more correct to view Occultism as trans-rational: rationalism can easily be viewed as a useful system for training the mind, even if rationalism, itself, is not capable of discerning the highest mysteries.

In fact, in following this line of reasoning, scientific discoveries have long been a source of inspiration to occultists. I have already mentioned how the geological theories of catastrophism surely played a role in Mackey’s conception of the dangers of pole shifts. Later in the [19th] century, it was occultists who embraced the Theory of Evolution, because the biological system was such a good analogy for the perceived spiritual system.

The problem with embracing science in this way is that science changes. This shift was characterized thoroughly by Thomas S. Kuhn in his landmark work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Known now as paradigm shifts, scientific theory exists in a slowly changing matrix of concepts. The problem is that most people believe that the beliefs of their own time are Absolute Truth. Scientific theories also fall into this belief. Consequently, when we examine Papus’ carefully wrought “science,” we may groan at some of the anachronisms. Similarly, if more dangerously, the raging sexism and racism of so many of the occult works of this period… reflect societal attitudes that nonetheless were enshrined as scientific “fact”...”

-J. Lee Lehman

“Most of [the] problems of the world stem from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstanding. Don’t ever take words at face value. When you step into the zone of love, language, as we know it becomes obsolete. That which cannot be put into words can only be grasped through silence.”


“…For Darwin’s widely read narratives in the nineteenth century, many people in the twentieth century Euro-centric west pay evolutionary physical anthropology the homage of their assumptions. What has been read from fossils and simians becomes common sense, becomes the foundation of other stories in other fields constituting what can count as experience [(i.e. it becomes part of one’s ontological regime(s). Evolutionary theory is a form of imaginary history…. …Imaginary history is the stuff out of which experience becomes possible.”

“One man is black, the other white; they seem in perfect colleagueship, peering at the remains of a shared past to establish the hope of a shared future. But the caption shatters that message: “Richard Leakey and assistant in the field in Kenya.” Aristotle could have written the phrase; the master and his tool are in perfectly harmonious relation, the one with a name, the other indicated by a function. It feels like a mere question of syntax, surely not the stuff of global history? But syntax like this is precisely the stuff of the semiotics of master and slave, of the other who labors in the name of the one, the linguistic structure of the human story.”


“The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.”

-T.S. Eliot

“24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every [(modernist)] that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the [(sands of time)]: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”

-KJV Bible

“Denying previous evolution of man we must [also] deny any possibility of future mechanical evolution of man; that is, evolution happening by itself according to laws of heredity and selection, and without man's conscious efforts and understanding of his possible evolution.”

“Our fundamental idea shall be that man as we know him is not a completed being; that nature develops him only up to a certain point and then leaves him, either to develop further, by his own efforts and devices, or to live and die such as he was born, or to degenerate and lose capacity for development. Evolution of man in this case will mean the development of certain inner qualities and features which usually remain undeveloped, and cannot develop by themselves.” 


“Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself, 
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)”

-Walt Whitman