قومى متفكرند اندر ره دين
قومى به گمان فتاده در راه يقين
مى ترسم از آنكه بانگ آيد روزى
كاى بيخبران، راه نه آن است و نه اين
seek through Religion after a Way,
Crowd to Science have turned, they say.
I fear one day the Call comes: "The Way's
"Neither This nor That! O Gone Astray!"
Khayyam , circa 11th century A.D.
OKCIR: The Omar Khayyam
Center for Integrative Research in Utopia, Mysticism, and Science (Utopystics)
is an independent research, pedagogical, and publishing initiative dedicated to exploring,
in a simultaneously world-historical and self-reflective framework,
the human search for a just global society.
the world's utopian, mystical, and scientific movements have been the
primary sources of inspiration, knowledge, and/or practice in this field,
OKCIR aims to critically reexamine the limits and contributions of these
world-historical traditionsseeking to clearly understand why they
have failed to bring about the good society, and what each can integratively
contribute toward realizing that end.
posits that human failures at building a de-alienated global society
stem from a spatiotemporal distanciation between the self
and the social foci of efforts at world-historical change
in favor of the good society. This distanciation, deepened through the
disintegrating clashes of settled vs. nomadic life-styles during long
eras of political, cultural, and economic imperialism ever since the
fall of ancient civilizations, has itself been a result of the polarization
of ideologies of change into religious and scientific modalities rooted
in a common, philosophically perpetuated, idealist vs. materialist dualism.
The combined perpetuation of this dualism in methods, theories, and
praxes of change has become manifested in the world-historical fragmentation
of the creative humanist paradigm into its predominantly Western utopian
and Eastern mystical variants, both eschewed by a globally hegemonic
scientific movement. OKCIR posits that a fundamental explanation
for the above is to be sought in the problem of habituation, i.e., the
human propensity to become subconsciously attached to sensations, ideas,
feelings, things, relations, and processes. It is from this that the
dualisms of mind/matter, self/society, and theory/practicestill
fragmenting the methods, theories, and praxes of changefundamentally
The diverse projections
of human creative powers onto objective laws of motion of nature or
history, supernatural agencies, or a wise few, represent the degree
to which the very agencies of human liberation have themselves grown
alienated from one another. The failed conscious and intentional shocks
of the two major humanist renaissances of the 6th-4th centuries B.C.
and of the 13th-15th centuries A.D. in bringing about a lasting synthesis
of the three polarized and failing fragments of the humanist endeavor,
have given rise in the modern period to the antisystemic
mode of seeking social change which by its very nature of spatiotemporally
distanciating the actual means from the promised ends of change has
also proven to be an exercise in failure. OKCIR posits that the way
out of this world-historical impasse is that of inventing a new humanist
renaissance involving a far-reaching self-critical dialogue across the
utopian, mystical, and scientific traditions.
The need for OKCIR
as an alternative spacetime for our alchemical journey arises from the
limits of hitherto invented structures of knowledgeEast and West.
OKCIR provides an integrative spacetime for knowledge production as
an alternative to the fragmented and disciplined landscapes of philosophy,
religion, and science. OKCIR is an utopystic university, a virtual research
center existing simultaneously in personal and world-historical spacetimesa
makeshift "campus," personal and global. It is built on the
premise that the search for alternative human realities cannot advance
without alternative research and educational landscapes. The ends and
the means of the search, in other words, must coincide. Utopystics cannot
advance without utopystic universities.
OKCIR is utopystic
in the sense that it continually seeks new personal and world-historical
realities that did not previously existthus it must by nature
be self-critical and self-transcending against its own habituating inertia.
OKCIR is a movement in the artsmore specifically, a movement in
architecture: the spatiotemporal art of becoming human. Temporally,
it is not projected onto a distant future or past, but is undertaken
in the everyday life of the present here-and-now. Spatially, it is situated not in
retreat from but in the midst of the mainstream culture. It is concerned
with the spatiotemporal dialectics of world-historical self-knowledge
purpose is to develop new conceptual (methodological, theoretical, historical), practical, curricular, inspirational, and disseminative structures of knowledge whereby the individual can
radically understand and determine how world-history and her/his selves
constitute one another.
OKCIR promotes creative exercises in liberating applied sociology and alternative pluriversities of knowledge production and dissemination in the global cyberspace. As a virtual research center, its publications are in part freely accessible online in its open-stacks digital library, in part via subscription to its own or other academic database member-stacks, and others available for purchase online via the Okcir Store. Selected publications are also available in print for online purchase by libraries, institutions, and interested print readers.
OKCIR pursues innovative editorial, virtual, and print publishing practices reflecting its substantive goals, and is the publisher of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, which explores issues pertaining to the Center's interests.
OKCIR's goals are:
• To critically engage with and evaluate classical and contemporary social theories and methods in a transdisciplinary and comparative transcultural framework in order to develop new integrative theoretical structures and practices;
• To foster individual and collective self-reflexivity in exploring social theories and methodsin global and world-historical contexts to aid people effectively address social problems;
• To foster an interactive and dialogical learning experience and research in theory and methods within and across community, faculty, and students divides off and on campus;
• To foster exchange of ideas open to constructive and integrative exploration of diverse and conflicting viewpoints, modes of thinking, and world-views;
• To foster theoretical education and research within a praxis-oriented and applied sociological framework capable of addressing concrete issues arising from intrapersonal, interpersonal, and global contexts;
• To foster methodological, theoretical, and world-historical research and education as practices of freedom in favor of transformative and emancipatory personal and global experience.