Articles, Commentary, Lectures

Zajonc, A. G. (1997). Buddhist Technology: Bringing a New Consciousness to Our Technological Future (Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures). Great Barrington, MA: E. F. Schumacher Society.

17th Annual E. F. Schumacher Lecture at Williams College, Williamstown, MA. Edited by Hildegarde Hannum. Also available as audio: see Audio section, above.

Zajonc, A. G. (December 2002). Dawning of Free Communities for Collective Wisdom. Collective Wisdom Initiative.

“The collective is not always wise. It has committed every imaginable sin and perpetrated every conceivable violence on those different from themselves. The only collective worth having today is a community of free
individuals who love the otherness of those that surround them. In such cases the mystery of number and harmony can weave though the group and help real good to come about. ...It is only in our own time that a truly new basis for community is both required and fully possible. It will be a form of loving relationship that honors the specificity of individuals yet lifts them out of the contingencies of time and space, that is, beyond kinship, vocation, and geography. Paradoxically it requires people to be more fully themselves, and simultaneously to embrace their opposite. With this new basis for community arises also the possibility for a new kind of collective

Zajonc, A. G., Dana, D., & Duerr, M. (2003). Survey of transformative and spiritual dimensions of higher education.

The purpose of this study was to document academic programs and other initiatives in North American universities and colleges that incorporate transformative and spiritual elements of learning. The reported research was intended to provide the Fetzer Institute with material important to its consideration of further support in the area of transformative learning and spirituality in higher education. The six case studies in the Case Studies supplement illustrate how transformative and spiritual elements are manifesting in higher education.

Zajonc, A. G. (Winter 2003). Spirituality in higher education: Overcoming the divide. Liberal Education.

[A more readable copy is here.] Adapted from a paper given at AAC&U’s conference on Spirituality and Learning: Refining Meaning, Value, and Inclusion in Higher Education, April 2002. “I am urging a phenomenology of the spirit, accessible via faculties schooled for contemplative insight. The 13th century heretical discourses that took place in the ‘street of straw’ led to the founding of the Sorbonne and the birth of the modern university. The tables are now turned. In recent decades spirituality in higher education has been an unspoken heresy. But stimulating conversations between faculty and with students are afoot. The straw is in the street once again. I wonder what will emerge from the discourse this time?”

Zajonc, A. G. (Sept 2006). Love and knowledge: Recovering the heart of learning through contemplation. Blackwell Publishing: The entity from which ERIC acquires the content, including journal, organization,
and conference names, or by means of online submission from the author.Teachers College Record, 108-9, 1742-1759.

A talk given at Columbia U.’s Teachers’ College. “The Amherst College first-year course, Eros and Insight includes a specific sequence of contemplative exercises that are practiced by students and integrated
with more conventional course content drawn from the arts and sciences. Our experience shows that students deeply appreciate the shift from conventional coursework to a more experiential, transformative, and reflective pedagogy.”

Zajonc, A. G. (Fall 2006). Cognitive-affective connections in teaching and learning: The relationship between love and knowledge. Journal of Cognitive Affective Learning, 3-1, 1-9. Oxford College of Emory University.

“We are more likely to remember the words of a beloved mentor and to ruminate on them long after they were spoken. Teachings go deep when carried into the human being by deep affection; they can change us, teach
us even to see the world differently. I have grown increasingly convinced of the importance of the connection between cognition and affection, or to state it more clearly, the crucial relationship between love and knowledge.”

Zajonc, A. G. (Fall/Winter 2006). Contemplative and transformative pedagogy. Kosmos, V-1.

“In this article I advance a view of the human being in which the individual develops the capacity to move among worldviews, transcending particular identities while simultaneously honoring each of them. ...When we find peace among the component parts of our own psyche, then we will possess the inner resources to make peace in a multicultural society. ...I see education—formal and informal—as the sole means of developing this
remarkable human capacity for interior harmony, which in the end is the capacity for freedom and love.”

Zajonc, A. G. (May 2007). What can we know? A lecture given at the systemic constellations conference, Coming Together, in Cologne, Germany.

“The ways of knowing of science have been amazing successful and have brought much of real value into the world. But we must also recognize the imbalance and the dangers of this single way of knowing. ... Indeed, how does real knowing proceed?”

Zajonc, A. G. (Feb 2010). Meditation and mortality: Practice and Parkinson's.Psychology Today.

Practical instruction on how to tap into your mind and heart, plus inspiration from great meditation teachers. Zajonc wrote this article a few months after he was diagnosed with stage one Parkinson's disease.


Zajonc, A. G. Goethe and the phenomenological investigation of consciousness. In Hameroff, S. R., Kaszniak, A. W., & Chalmers, D. J. (Eds.) Toward a science of consciousness III: The third Tucson discussions and debates. MIT Press.

“I would like to emphasize the need for a science that concerns itself with the phenomenal field that is subjective human experience itself. We, therefore, require a method of scientific investigation that works
intensively with experience. In Goethe's phenomenological method of scientific investigation, especially when developed in the light of recent philosophical and scientific advances, we possess a candidate methodology for a science of consciousness that stays close to phenomena from our first naïve observations to the deepest theoretical insights.”


Zajonc, A. G. (1993). Catching the light: The entwined history of light and mind. New York: Bantam.

Written for a general audience, the book examines a wide spectrum of thought about light; both scientific and cultural, from the ancient past to contemporary discussions. Also explores themes of scientific method,
imagination and the evolution of consciousness. Translated into six languages.

Zajonc, A. G., & Seamon, D. (Eds.). (1998). Goethe's way of science: A phenomenology of nature. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

A collection of essays that explore aspects of Goethe's scientific thought and relates it to contemporary philosophical and scientific trends.

Zajonc, A. G. (2004). The new physics and cosmology: Dialogues with the Dalai Lama. New York: Oxford University Press.

The proceedings of a five-day dialogue between six Western scientists and the Dalai Lama, edited and narrated by Arthur Zajonc.

Zajonc, A. G., & Harrington, A. (Eds.). (2006). The Dalai Lama at MIT. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

The proceedings of a two-day dialogue between the Dalai Lama, Buddhist scholars and cognitive scientists on emotion, attention and mental imagery, held at MIT. (Link to Table of Contents.)

Zajonc, A. G., Palmer, P. J., & Scribner, M. (2006). We speak as one: Twelve Nobel Laureates share their vision for peace. Denver, CO: PeaceJam.

Profiles and an imaginary conversation between 12 Nobel Peace Laureates on the peace, the world situation, and the root causes of conflict. Published for the 10th anniversary of PeaceJam, a youth organization that builds the capacity for peace in young people.

Zajonc, A. G. (2009). Meditation as contemplative inquiry: When knowing becomes love. Great Barrington, MA: Lindisfarne Books.

Out of his work with the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and his long-standing meditative practice, Zajonc offers an overview of meditation as a means both of establishing equanimity and insight. “With contemplative practice comes contemplative experience, whether of the type reported by Emerson or myriad other variants. What are we to make of such experiences?”

Zajonc, A. G., Palmer, P. J., & Scribner, M. (2010). The heart of higher education: A call to renewal. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

The book proposes an approach to teaching and learning that honors the whole human being—mind, heart, and spirit. It offers a rich interplay of analysis, theory, and proposals for action. Presents Zajonc’s elucidation of the relationship between science, the humanities, and the contemplative traditions. Explores ways to take steps toward having higher education awaken the deepest potential in students, faculty, and staff. Offers a
practical approach to fostering renewal in higher education through collegiality and conversation. A book for all who are new to the field of holistic education, all who want to deepen their understanding of its challenges, and all who want to practice and promote this vital approach to teaching and learning on their campuses.