Metanexus: Why We Do What We Do

Metanexus: Why We Do What We Do

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Metanexus Institute fosters an intellectual and spiritual movement of more than 11,000 scientists, theologians, philosophers, and other deeply concerned persons trying to offer an alternative to narrow ideologies and the fragmentation that comes from compartmentalizing our lives.  We are working to transform education and research in order to better address our common human questions and challenges.

Why We Do It

At the heart of the problem we are working to solve is the fact that our academic institutions no longer see themselves as engaged in the quest for wisdom.  Our schools, colleges, and universities are structured in such as way as to generate highly-specialized knowledge and expertise, and in this they have been spectacularly successful.  At the same time, however, analytic methodologies and the divisions between the various schools and departments have resulted in the fragmentation of knowledge and the alienation of one field of study from another.  These divisions can become obstacles to a fully meaningful education for students as well as to innovative transdisciplinary research.  They can hinder a quest for a constructive engagement with some of the most profound questions of life, the cosmos, and humanity—the “really big questions” both practical and theoretical that transcend the boundaries of any particular disciplinary expertise.

The Metanexus Institute aspires to have a transformational impact on the pursuit of knowledge and education.  Its intent is to promote exploration into the possibilities for a more integral, holistic, or synthetic approach to research and learning.  This sort of approach will consider concepts, methodologies, and findings from across the entire spectrum of research, education, and human experience—from the natural and social sciences to the humanities, from the various philosophical positions and worldviews to the lessons learned from economic and social life, from the subtlest findings of academic research to the wisdom of the world’s religious traditions.  The Metanexus Institute promotes this wider view as a complement to (and not a replacement for) our academic and intellectual division of labor.  This effort to capture a more “synoptic” view demands as high a  level of intellectual effort and academic rigor as that of any disciplinary work.  Substantial transdisciplinary work requires perhaps an even greater sensitivity to complexity, methodological sophistication, and the need for collaborative efforts to attain results. Our work helps to provide a forum for discerning just what we know given that we know so many disciplinarily distinct things, and for discovering new capacities for attaining to wisdom, the ultimate goal of all our educational efforts.

How We Do It

We Foster Locally-Acting, Globally Connected Interdisciplinary Networks

By means of our extensive networks and innovative projects, we are dedicated to constructive engagement of the sciences with the humanities, with a particular focus on issues at the intersection of science and religion.  Our worldwide network of locally-acting, globally-connected dialogue societies has grown to 240 groups in 42 countries.  Over the next few years, we will be hard at work launching our latest project, the Metanexus Global Network Initiative, which will continue our efforts to promote interdisciplinary, inter-institutional, international, and interreligious collaboration for addressing the most profound questions and challenges facing the world. These pioneering groups will lay the groundwork for reconsidering long-held assumptions and beliefs, helping to establish the preconditions for paradigm shifts and intellectual breakthroughs.   They will articulate the “really big questions” and collaboratively develop methods and approaches for addressing them.

We Publish the Most Influential e-Magazine of Transdisciplinary Exploration

In 2007 we launched our new e-publication, the Global Spiral, and it has already attained a reputation for offering intellectually stimulating, leading edge thinking on a full spectrum of transdisciplinary themes, all presented in an engaging style. In fact, the Global Spiral was selected as a winner of the 2007 American Graphic Design Award, a three-decade-old competition hosted by Graphic Design USA and sponsored by Adobe Systems.  The Global Spiral attracts more than 150,000 page views per month, and we will continue to enhance it with podcasts for downloading, blogs, and special issues.  We remind our readers that “it’s free to read, but not free to produce” this amazing resource, and we desperately need your support as we move forward.  We are making a special appeal to all our readers to make an investment in the work of the Global Spiral.

We Host a Prestigious and Groundbreaking Transdisciplinary Lecture Series

Another important initiative for us is the Metanexus Senior Fellow Lecture Series.  Metanexus Institute created the position of Senior Fellow in 2003 as an important endeavor to promote interdisciplinary scholarship and engage a broader audience in the Metanexus vision. The position of Senior Fellow honors those individuals who have made significant intellectual contributions to the growing encounter between science and religion, interpreted broadly, and to further benefit from their thought and experience through a series of original lectures.  In addition to delivering the lectures, the Fellow provides some of his writing for publication online in the Global Spiral and as podcasts available for download, allowing a broader audience to engage in these topics.  The Fellow receives a stipend for his/her services, and Metanexus Institute underwrites associated expenses. We believe that with your help one day the Metanexus Senior Fellow position will have the same impact and prestige in transdisciplinary research and exploration as the Gifford Lectures do in natural theology or the Tanner Lectures do in human values.  Help us make this a reality for the field of inquiry that addresses profound transdisciplinary questions.

We Need Your Help Today!

We know that many fine organizations exist to try to alleviate immediately pressing problems, such as hunger, poverty, disease, and conflict.  Metanexus, on the other hand, works primarily in the realm of ideas and knowledge, which may seem more abstract and less essential.  However seeking innovative ideas and new knowledge through dialogue and rigorous transdisciplinary research may ultimately be more effective in addressing these serious issues in an enduring way.   We rely on compassionate and visionary spirits such as you to invest in the mission of Metanexus, knowing that great dividends will be realized. 

Please become a member of this worldwide network today!  And please consider making an additional generous donation today to help us increase the impact of the Global Spiral and all our efforts to create a better tomorrow.

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