The world is undergoing "a rather dramatic and powerful shift in consciousness," a Harvard junior told a group of about 15 people who gathered last night at Currier House to exchange ideas and trade perspectives on individual values.
Elijah A Ward '81-3, founder of the New Age Center, described new approaches to learning, physics, and feminism which he said are emerging from a spreading individual enlightenment. Participants at the meeting greeted his pronouncements with a mixture of skeptical curiosity and enthusiasm.
Ward and Teresa Munoz '81-4, organizers of the meeting, said Indian philosophy and new "holistic" approaches to medicine have not only influenced a class of American intellectuals, but have spread to less-educated members of the society.
A few of those attending expressed concern about the conflict between their motives for attending the College and their wish to have a clear social conscience.
Although the New Age Center plans to set up a meditation group and a speaker forum, Ward said the main focus remains on the exchange of ideas and perspectives.
In attendance was Hugh Flick '68, instructor in Folklore and Mythology. He related the concerns of the New Age group to his scholarly interests, saying, "The basis of a lot of what we call mythology is that we need to be in harmony with ourselves and with our environment."
Other members seemed optimistic about the group's prospects for making the world a better place. "It's really important to have something like this at Harvard because any effect you have at Harvard is going to go out into the rest of the world," Andrew L.M. Shalit '85 said.