Upcoming Events
  • Jim Kenney
09/26/2017
9:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Morning Workshop
Common Ground Deerfield
A survey of Native American origins, history, cultural evolution, and modern realities. 
  • Herbert W. Bronstein
  • Jim Kenney
09/27/2017
9:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Morning Workshop
Common Ground Deerfield
Associated with the religious philosopher Kierkegaard and modern writers like Sartre and Camus, there is no doubt about the pervasiveness of the influence of existentialism on a wide variety of other thinkers like Martin Buber and Franz Kafka and as well on popular culture. Are we all existentialists now?
  • Jim Kenney
10/03/2017
9:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Morning Workshop
Common Ground Deerfield
A survey of Native American origins, history, cultural evolution, and modern realities. 
  • Jim Kenney
10/05/2017
7:00 PM - 09:00 PM
Satellite
Common Ground Chicago
George Orwell did it perfectly (especially in Animal Farm and 1984), Aldous Huxley brought a very perspective to his epic Brave New World. More recently, Margaret Atwood has given us The Handmaid’s Tale. All three help us in our current struggle to understand fear and hope. 
  • Jim Kenney
10/06/2017
7:00 PM - 09:00 PM
Satellite
Common Ground Grayslake
A brilliant biochemist, Joseph Needham was particularly drawn to Chinese science and the many areas in which its accomplishments anticipated much later Western developments. The first volume of his magnificent Science and Civilization in China was published in 1954 and eighteen volumes were released before his death in 1995. As the lecture unfolds, we’ll take up what’s known as “the Needham question” — why did the meteoric rise of modern science take place in the West, rather than in China? 
Common Ground Blog
Common Ground prides itself on its faculty. Most of our resource persons hold academic positions, but all have considerable experience and expertise in one or more fields. And, most important, they're all good teachers!

Get to know them. You won't be disappointed.
(Click "Read More" to view the list of teachers for the current Bulletin period.)
Introduction to Mindfulness and Mindfulness Meditation (with Carl Jerome). a weekly drop-in class of theory and practice, open to anyone interested meditation. Begins Sunday, May 7th.
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Sea Change Blog
Does culture evolve? Or does it merely change? Culture is the organic matrix within which we make our choices and are in turn shaped by them. The culture of a particular society comprises the beliefs, knowledge, practices, and institutions that structure its life and are transmitted to its next generation. As important as values are, they are only part of the cultural whole.
Changing values drive cultural change; but just think about the relationship between these two dynamics. The benchmarks of a progressive values shift are increasing creative complexity, greater awareness of interdependence, and the further integration of ways of knowing. As these values evolve, what happens to the way people in a culture think and behave? 

As you may have noticed, I’m returning these days to the theme of cultural evolution, the subject of my 2010 book, Thriving in the Crosscurrent: Clarity and Hope in a Time of Cultural Sea Change. Cultural evolution is the slow, steady advance of humanity’s most essential cultural values (e.g, peace, justice, and ecological sustainability) toward a closer fit with reality. Thus, for example, “the arc of human history” bends toward peace, justice, and ecological sustainability and away from racism, sexism, hateful nationalism, and violent response to personal and societal identity crisis.
 
Hold it! (I can almost hear the chorus.) How can we hold out any hope for values-evolution, in the face of so much apparent evidence (these days) to the contrary? Well, the answer is to be found in the eddies of resistance to the cultural-evolutionary dynamic.

We’re living in a critical transformative period characterized by a steady decline in influence of some of our most familiar assumptions, values, and models for understanding. We’ve come increasingly to question and challenge patriarchy, the legitimacy of war, ecological exploitation and pollution, racially-based policies, injustice, religious exclusivism, and imperialism. At the same time, we’ve begun to explore and even to give our hesitant allegiance to newer or rediscovered values including human rights, social justice, ecological sustainability, care for the Earth, non-violence, and interreligious harmony. What’s it like to live at a time when the influence of the declining values is roughly equal to that of ascending, emergent values? Well, it’s a lot like now.
Continue reading more on Sea Change Blog
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About Common Ground

Founded by Ron Miller and Jim Kenney in 1975, Common Ground is a center for inquiry, study, and dialogue. Our primary concern is the human quest for understanding and the human pursuit of significance. While our endeavor began with the study of world religions and the commitment to inter-faith dialogue, our range of program offerings has been greatly expanded over the past several years.

Today, our primary focus is on the world's great cultural, philosophical, religious, and spiritual traditions and their implications for every dimension of human experience. Our course offerings include a tremendous variety of topics, including, but not limited to: history, literature, art, science, psychology, business, relationship, health, and personal growth. Our programs are shaped to meet the needs of all who are excited by ideas and serious about the quest.

Common Ground is for those who are already deeply grounded in their own traditions and for those who are still searching. It is a place for all who are fascinated by the convergence of the ancient with the modern, of East with West, and of spirituality with planetary reality. Common Ground brings together a knowledge of the past and a vision of the future for a better understanding of the present.

Common Ground is a fully registered not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation.