San Francisco, CA, United States

California Institute of Integral Studies
San Francisco, CA, United States

California Institute of Integral Studies is a private institution of higher education founded in 1968 and based in San Francisco, California. It currently operates in two locations just south of the Civic Center district. CIIS has a total of 1,400 students and 72 core faculty members.The Institute consists of three schools: the School of Professional Psychology & Health, the School of Consciousness and Transformation , and the School of Undergraduate Studies. Many courses combine mainstream academic curriculum with a spiritual orientation, including influences from a broad spectrum of mystical or esoteric traditions. Although the Institute has no official spiritual path, some of its historical roots lie among followers of the Bengali sage Sri Aurobindo. Wikipedia.

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April 24, 2017 -- In newly updated clinical guidelines from the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO), researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center with an interdisciplinary team of colleagues at MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Michigan, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and other institutions in the U.S. and Canada, analyzed which integrative treatments are most effective and safe for patients with breast cancer. This systematic review adds to the growing literature on integrative therapies for patients with breast cancer and other cancer populations. The latest results are published online and in print in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, a publication of the American Cancer Society. The researchers evaluated more than 80 different therapies and developed grades of evidence. Based on those findings, the Society for Integrative Oncology makes the following recommendations: "Studies show that up to 80 percent of people with a history of cancer use one or more complementary and integrative therapies, but until recently, evidence supporting the use of many of these therapies had been limited," said Heather Greenlee, ND, PhD, assistant professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, and past president of SIO. "Our goal is to provide clinicians and patients with practical information and tools to make informed decisions on whether and how to use a specific integrative therapy for a specific clinical application during and after breast cancer treatment," Greenlee continues. In their systematic evaluation of peer-reviewed randomized clinical trials, the researchers assigned letter grades to therapies based on the strength of evidence. A letter grade of "A" indicates that a specific therapy is recommended for a particular clinical indication, and there is high certainty of substantial benefit for the patient. Meditation had the strongest evidence supporting its use, and is recommended for reducing anxiety, treating symptoms of depression, and improving quality of life, based on results from five trials. Music therapy, yoga, and massage received a B grade for the same symptoms, as well as for providing benefits to breast cancer patients. Yoga received a B grade for improving quality of life based on two recent trials. Yoga and hypnosis received a C for fatigue. "The routine use of yoga, meditation, relaxation techniques, and passive music therapy to address common mental health concerns among patients with breast cancer is supported by high levels of evidence," said Debu Tripathy, MD, chair of Breast Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and a past president of SIO. "Given the indication of benefit coupled with the relatively low level of risk, , these therapies can be offered as a routine part of patient care, especially when symptoms are not well controlled." Acupressure and acupuncture received a B grade as an addition to drugs used for reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. In general, there was a lack of strong evidence supporting the use of ingested dietary supplements and botanical natural products as part of supportive cancer care and to manage treatment-related side effects. "Clinicians and patients need to be cautious about using therapies that received a grade of C or D and fully understand the potential risks of not using a conventional therapy that may effectively treat cancer or help manage side effects associated with cancer treatment," warned Lynda Balneaves, RN, PhD, associate professor, College of Nursing, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, Winnipeg, Canada, and president-elect of SIO. "Patients are using many forms of integrative therapies with little or no supporting evidence and that remain understudied," noted Dr. Greenlee. "This paper serves as a call for further research to support patients and healthcare providers in making more informed decisions that achieve meaningful clinical results and avoid harm." Additional co-authors: Melissa J. DuPont-Reyes, Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University; Linda Carlson, Department of Oncology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada; Misha Cohen, American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine at California Institute of Integral Studies, and Chicken Soup Chinese Medicine, San Francisco; Gary Deng, Integrative Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City; Jillian A. Johnson, Department of Biobehavioral Health, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park; Matthew Mumber, Department of Radiation Oncology,Harbin Clinic, Rome, GA; Dugald Seely, Ottawa Integrative Cancer Center, Ottawa, ON, and Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, Toronto, ON; Suzanna M. Zick, Department of Family Medicine, University of Michigan Health System, and Department of Nutritional Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and Lindsay M. Boyce, Memorial Sloan Kettering Library, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City. Founded in 1922, Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health pursues an agenda of research, education, and service to address the critical and complex public health issues affecting New Yorkers, the nation and the world. The Mailman School is the third largest recipient of NIH grants among schools of public health. Its over 450 multi-disciplinary faculty members work in more than 100 countries around the world, addressing such issues as preventing infectious and chronic diseases, environmental health, maternal and child health, health policy, climate change & health, and public health preparedness. It is a leader in public health education with over 1,300 graduate students from more than 40 nations pursuing a variety of master's and doctoral degree programs. The Mailman School is also home to numerous world-renowned research centers including ICAP (formerly the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs) and the Center for Infection and Immunity. For more information, please visit http://www. .

News Article | December 7, 2015

I recently wrote about a workshop at New York University on integrated information theory, an ambitious theory of consciousness. Below are responses to my article. Unless otherwise indicted, the responses are from people who attended the workshop. Other attendees who want their comments posted should email me. –-John Horgan Adam Pautz, Brown: I was a participant in the two-day conference at NYU discussed in this article. I thought the conference was great and I learned a lot. I agree that IIT has weird predictions. But if a theory of consciousness fits the data and is more elegant than the alternatives, maybe we should accept the theory even if it has some weird predictions. After all, some of our best physical theories have weird predictions too. My central concern about IIT – which I feel wasn’t really answered at the conference – is different. I don’t have a clear grasp on what the theory is a theory of. If you look at how IIT is formulated, it is not just a theory of when consciousness is present or absent. It is more specific; it is a theory of the *amount* of consciousness in an arbitrary system. The theory is that the *amount* of consciousness in a system is its level of Phi. So, for instance, it implies that, if a 2D grid has a Phi value that is (say) 10 times greater than your brain, then this 2D grid has 10 times the “amount” of consciousness that you have (even when you are fully awake and have had your morning coffee). Indeed, it implies that the amount of consciousness in such a system is *unbounded* - since its Phi level is unbounded. My worry about this is not Aaaronson’s – namely, that such predictions are counterintuitive. Rather, my point is that it is not even clear what these predictions mean. What could it even mean to say that a 2D grid might have, say, “10 times the amount” of consciousness that you have when you are fully awake? In general, I don’t yet know what proponents of IIT mean by talk of the “amount” of consciousness – a supposedly unbounded dimension of our experiences (and indeed one that has a ratio scale, on IIT, since Phi has a ratio scale). This is not yet an objection, but a request for clarification. However, if proponents of IIT cannot clearly explain what unbounded dimension they have in mind, then it becomes an objection, because it means that IIT is a theory without a clear subject matter. By the “amount” of consciousness in a system, do they mean the number of experiences it has? Or the *intensity* of its experiences – so that if you turn up the volume on the radio, the “amount” of consciousness you are enjoying goes up? I am sure that they mean neither of these things. (They would not say, for instance, that the 2D grid has 10 times *the number* experiences than you, or that it has auditory experiences that are 10 times “louder” than yours, or anything of the sort.) Or do they perhaps mean the “amount” of information represented by an experience? But all experiences – even the experience of a blank wall – rule out infinitely many possibilities. Finally, by the “amount” of consciousness in a system, do they mean something about how much information that is being represented by conscious experience is being cognitively accessed (so that when you just wake up and are inattentive, you count as having a low amount of consciousness)? But this can’t be what they mean either. For one thing, their view implies that there can be a large amount of consciousness even in a system, such as the 2D grid, *where there is no cognitive access at all*. Another, separate problem with IIT, it seems to me, is that it is very abstract, and it is hard how certain specific facts about experiences might be explained in the terms of IIT. To take just one example: suppose you here five tones and your experiences of them are separated by equal pitch intervals. This is a phenomenological fact about your conscious experiences. But, given the resources of IIT (Phi value, nodes, cause-effect powers, etc.), it is very hard to see how this fact might be explained. Garrett Mindt, Central European University: I was in attendance as well (thanks to David Chalmers and Hedda Morch for organizing the workshop), I share some of the same worries Adam Pautz expressed previously regarding the *amount* of consciousness and what exactly that entails. In a way I am an IIT sympathizer (not entirely convinced, but interested), and so see these worries as avenues of growth for the theory, rather than damning consequences. On the note about explaining what it means for something to have a higher/lower *amount* of consciousness, perhaps IIT points to an issue in studying consciousness, and that's whether consciousness is an all-or-nothing type of thing or something that comes in degrees. If one thinks consciousness is all-or-nothing, then IIT will look like it must be false since different things will have varying degrees of phi. But if one thinks having consciousness is a matter of falling somewhere on a spectrum, then IIT gives you a quantifiable framework of determining where on that spectrum a particular system falls. We seem to already talk in this way when we are trying to ascribe consciousness to non-human creatures. I am reluctant in certain circumstances to ascribe human-like consciousness to some creatures, but nonetheless wouldn’t say they lack consciousness completely. Just as well it seems perfectly conceivable that human-like consciousness isn’t the end-all-be-all of the consciousness scale and I would find it very odd that on this “pale blue dot” is where consciousness reaches its pinnacle in the cosmos. Unfortunately, we are trapped in our own particular degree of consciousness and so such a differing in spectrum doesn’t seem intuitively plausible. We would have no idea what it would be like to be a higher/lower degree of phi, just as we don’t know what it’s like to be a bat (a presumably lower system of phi according to IIT)! One comment with regard to the part of the article that points to Searle’s objection against IIT on the grounds it uses an observer-relative notion of information. Searle is thinking of information as having some sort of semantic content, and so must be observer-relative since observers are the ones that interpret that meaning. The problem I have with this characterization of information with regard to IIT is that IIT doesn’t seem to be committed to this definition of information. As I understand it (someone correct me if I am wrong) IIT holds something like C.E. Shannon’s (1948) notion of information from his essay “A Mathematical Theory of Communication” (although some of the talk at the workshop and in some of the essays seem to have a more causal notion of information, not just differences, but differences that make a difference). As Shannon writes in that paper, “These semantic aspects of communication are irrelevant to the engineering problem. The significant aspect is that the actual message is one selected from a set of possible messages. The system must be designed to operate for each possible selection, not just the one which will actually be chosen since this is unknown at the time of design.” I take it IIT is concerned with the “engineering problem”, and not the semantic one, just in terms of defining information. If this is the case, then IIT isn’t using an observer-relative notion of information (and thus, not consciousness) since it doesn’t require semantics to be intertwined with the notion of something that expresses a difference or a relation of differences. Information that is observer-relative in the sense Searle uses as an objection to IIT appears to be a prescriptive notion of information, which tells you what that message is supposed to mean. Whereas, the notion used by IIT looks to be descriptive, in that it just tells you what that state is, and that it is just a difference among a set of possible differences – it is just a message out of any number of possible messages (not what that message means). I suspect the “meaning” is supposed to come after and there is presumably a story to be told by IIT that explains this. It doesn’t look to me that this notion of information is susceptible to the type of objection raised by Searle. I have to say that the workshop was wonderful and I learned quite a bit about the theory! Very interesting stuff to keep thinking about. Scott Aaronson, MIT (from his blog): Over at Scientific American’s website, John Horgan posted an account of a workshop on Integrated Information Theory, which I attended a couple weeks ago at NYU (along with David Chalmers, Giulio Tononi, Christof Koch, Max Tegmark, and a dozen or so others).  I was the “official skeptic” of the workshop, and gave a talk based on my blog post The Unconscious Expander.  I don’t really agree with what Horgan says about physics and information in general, but I do (of course) join him in his skepticism of IIT, and he gives a pretty accurate summary of what people said at the workshop.  (Alas, my joke about my lunch not being poisoned completely bombed with the IIT crowd … as I should’ve predicted!)  The workshop itself was lots of fun; thanks so much to David, Giulio, and Hedda Hassel Morch for organizing it. Oliver Burkeman, The Guardian: You are probably aware of [philosopher Eric] Schwitzgebel's "crazyism”-- has the implication, as I understand it, that any correct theory of consciousness is definitely going to sound totally ridiculous. Matthew David Segall, California Institute of Integral Studies (who did not attend workshop but commented on his blog “Footnotes2Plato”): I don’t understand ITT well enough to defend it, but I applaud the effort to make progress toward a scientifically operationalizable definition of consciousness. But it seems to me that part of the problem with all the confusion around ITT is a lack of philosophical clarity about concepts like “mind” and “matter.” So for better or worse we need more philosophy first before we can study consciousness scientifically. Otherwise we don’t even know what we’re studying. I’d echo another commenter on Horgan’s article who made the very helpful statement: “Alfred North Whitehead.” No one has developed a more sophisticated, coherent, and adequate account of panpsychism than he. If we want to understand the conceptual lay of the land, his books Science and the Modern World, Process and Reality, Adventures of Ideas, and Modes of Thought are a good place to start. Whitehead was led to a variety of panpsychism because of his deep appreciation for the implications of quantum and relativity theory. In other words, he was led to panpsychism because of and not in spite of the best physics of his day. Whitehead’s scheme is sophisticated enough to be able to make distinctions between classes of things like chairs and paperweights on the one hand and living cells and human beings on the other; which is to say that, for Whitehead, rocks are not conscious entities, they belong to a class of entities called aggregates that are not self-organizing and so do not possess consciousness in and of themselves (though their self-organizing components may). So Mr. Horgan, let’s please stop throwing rocks at panpsychism as though that were some kind of adequate refutation…. [For more see] Christian List, London School of Economics: I thought I'd send you the link to my own paper that I presented at the conference--the one that looks at group consciousness through the lens of IIT (and also offers some more general remarks about IIT).

Judy in "Flow-Based Leadership" describes what flow is and what flow-based decision making and flow-based leadership look like. She details a flow-based leadership model for implementation, based on an extreme program in the fire service called Georgia Smoke Diver (GSD). In this podcast based upon the research in her book, Judy will talk about how to use Flow to cope with personal, business, and cultural challenges that are volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, also known as VUCA. -- Flow-Based Leadership Author Judith L. Glick-Smith, Ph.D., will be Alise Cortez's guest on her popular Podcast Working on Purpose . The podcast airs Wednesday, November 2at 3 pm Pacific, and Dr. Glick-Smith's topic is titledIn today's bustling times, we face personal, business, and cultural challenges that are volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, also known as VUCA. These challenges require situationally aware, adaptive, and strong leadership. Enter flow: When time seems to stand still, the right decisions come easily, we experience a sense of heightened awareness, and optimal experience emerges. In this episode, Dr. Judy shares her research into the flow experiences of firefighters and how training impacts flow-based decision making. This research shows how we can consciously choose to maximize our personal flow experiences, while putting in place the conditions to help others maximize their flow experiences. Incorporating flow-based leadership practices facilitates and enables employees to better align talents to the organizational mission, intensify innovation, improve productivity, and increase the bottom line. Ultimately, this extends to personal, organizational, and community well-being.Judy has been a communication, knowledge architecture, and organizational development consultant since 1983. She is the author of Flow-based Leadership: What the Best Firefighters Can Teach You about Leadership and Making the Hard Decisions . Dr. Glick-Smith is the founder of MentorFactor, Inc., which focuses on helping organizations facilitate flow-based work environments. Judy has been studying flow-based decision making and leadership in the fire service since 2007. Her Ph.D. is in Transformative Studies with a concentration in Integral Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies. She has a Master of Science in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University. She lives in the Atlanta metro area with her two English Springer Spaniels and near her daughter and two granddaughters. You can reach her at Technics Publications publishes business and technical books that make a difference. Books are practical, concise, and can be life-changing. More at

Seery M.D.,State University of New York at Buffalo | Weisbuch M.,Tufts University | Hetenyi M.A.,California Institute of Integral Studies | Blascovich J.,University of California at Santa Barbara
Psychophysiology | Year: 2010

The factors that predict academic performance are of substantial importance yet are not understood fully. This study examined the relationship between cardiovascular markers of challenge/threat motivation and university course performance. Before the first course exam, participants gave speeches on academics-relevant topics while their cardiovascular responses were recorded. Participants who exhibited cardiovascular markers of relative challenge (lower total peripheral resistance and higher cardiac output) while discussing academic interests performed better in the subsequent course than those who exhibited cardiovascular markers of relative threat. This relationship remained significant after controlling for two other important predictors of performance (college entrance exam score and academic self-efficacy). These results have implications for the challenge/threat model and for understanding academic goal pursuit. © 2009 Society for Psychophysiological Research.

Allison E.A.,California Institute of Integral Studies
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change | Year: 2015

Climate change has largely been understood as a biophysical, economic, and political phenomenon. This approach has obscured the ways in which climate change also poses a challenge to human subjective understandings of self and society in relation to place, and in relation to perceptions of the sacred. Glaciers, as dominant features of high mountain landscapes, are sites of easily observable consequences of climate change, grounding the consequences of distant carbon emissions in material surroundings. They are also sites of powerful sacred and symbolic meanings for local communities. This review examines three instances of glacial decline in sacred mountain landscapes, in the Peruvian Andes, the Nepalese Himalaya, and the Meili Snow Mountains of Yunnan, China. These examples show that glacial decline is not simply a material process, but also has important implications for the ways that local people understand themselves and make meaning in relation to their surroundings. Locally grounded values arising from particular experiences of the landscape, especially from those most at risk from effects of climate change, may offer new avenues of ethical reflection around climate change that can and should influence larger climate discourses. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Brown R.S.,California Institute of Integral Studies
Psychosis | Year: 2015

With reference to the intergenerational theorizing of trauma, this article considers the role of transcendence in the substance of our theoretical ideas about psychosis. Arguing against an emphasis on notions of developmental deficit, the author considers the recent work of Davoine and Gaudilliere as a means of questioning some of the paradigmatic assumptions of clinical psychology. It is suggested that the relationship between psychosis and spirituality has often been conceived in such a way as to depreciate both, and that a shift in mainstream theorizing requires that a more fundamental place be made for the question of transcendence in the theorizing of madness. © 2014 Taylor & Francis.

Vakoch D.A.,California Institute of Integral Studies | Vakoch D.A.,Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute
Acta Astronautica | Year: 2011

With recently growing interest in the Active Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), in which humankind would send intentional signals to extraterrestrial civilizations, there have been increased concerns about appropriate policy, as well as the role of space law and ethics in guiding such activities. Implicit in these discussions are notions of responsibility and capability that affect judgments about whether humans or other civilizations should initiate transmissions. Existing protocols that guide SETI research address transmissions from Earth, but there is debate over whether these guidelines should inform de novo transmissions as well. Relevant responsibilities to address include (1) looking out for the interests of humankind as a whole, (2) being truthful in interstellar messages, and (3) benefiting extraterrestrial civilizations. Our capabilities as a species and a civilization affect how well we can fulfill responsibilities, as seen when we consider whether we will be able to reach consensus about message contents (and whether that would be desirable), and whether we have the capacity to decode messages from beings that rely on different sensory modalities. The interplay of these responsibilities and capabilities suggests that humankind should place increased emphasis on Active SETI. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Vakoch D.A.,California Institute of Integral Studies | Vakoch D.A.,Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute
Acta Astronautica | Year: 2011

Throughout the history of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), there has been widespread recognition of the profound societal implications of detecting intelligence beyond Earth. At the SETI Institute, interstellar message construction serves as the focus of a multidisciplinary attempt to prepare for the cultural impact of signal detection and the critical events that would follow. Interstellar message construction at the SETI Institute builds upon the recommendations of the 19911992 Workshops on the Cultural Aspects of SETI, while also exploring opportunities for multidisciplinary contributions on new topics. Through a series of international workshops in Toulouse, Paris, Zagreb, Washington, and Bremen, the SETI Institute and partner organizations have fostered broad-based discussion about some of the most important decisions that would follow detection of extraterrestrial intelligence, including "should we reply?" and if so, "what should we say, and how might we say it?". Several of the themes addressed at these workshops will be highlighted, including the relationship between art and science in designing messages, the value of interactive messages, and the importance of better understanding the nature of language. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Vakoch D.A.,California Institute of Integral Studies | Vakoch D.A.,Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute
Acta Astronautica | Year: 2011

Previous discussions of interstellar messages that could be sent to extraterrestrial intelligence have focused on descriptions of mathematics, science, and aspects of human culture and civilization. Although some of these depictions of humanity have implicitly referred to our aspirations, this has not clearly been separated from descriptions of our actions and attitudes as they are. In this paper, a methodology is developed for constructing interstellar messages that convey information about our aspirations by developing a taxonomy of maxims that provide guidance for living. Sixty-six maxims providing guidance for living were judged for degree of similarity to each of other. Quantitative measures of the degree of similarity between all pairs of maxims were derived by aggregating similarity judgments across individual participants. These composite similarity ratings were subjected to a cluster analysis, which yielded a taxonomy that highlights perceived interrelationships between individual maxims and that identifies major classes of maxims. Such maxims can be encoded in interstellar messages through three-dimensional animation sequences conveying narratives that highlight interactions between individuals. In addition, verbal descriptions of these interactions in Basic English can be combined with these pictorial sequences to increase intelligibility. Online projects to collect messages such as the SETI Institute's Earth Speaks and La Tierra Habla, can be used to solicit maxims from participants around the world. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Allison E.,California Institute of Integral Studies
Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture | Year: 2014

The global trend toward urbanization has led to increasing waste challenges, especially in developing countries. Although Bhutan is still one of the world's least developed countries, its economy and capital city have grown rapidly during the past two decades, causing solid waste production to outstrip management capacity. The government instituted new waste management initiatives in 2007, but they gained little traction. Ethnographic research in communities across the country revealed competing paradigms about the identication of waste, the disposition of waste, and household practices of waste management. Vajrayana Buddhism, the dominant religion throughout much of the country, profoundly shapes local beliefs and practices. Local environmental imaginaries and cultural concerns about ritual pollution have conicted with technocratic management protocols, leading to confusion and incompletely implemented policies. Waste management policies may be more effective if they engage with the values and practices inherent in a lived religion that contributes to cultural understandings of waste. © Equinox Publishing Ltd 2014.

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