The Berkshire Branch is part of The School of Economic Science, the parent organisation, a UK-based charity, registration number 313115.
The Branch was formed in 1988 and has offered its introductory Practical Philosophy course in several parts of the county. It is now offers courses in Caversham, Maidenhead and High Wycombe.
The Berkshire Branch is one of 18 such Branches in this country, offering courses in 50 locations.
Tutors are all volunteers with years of experience in the School’s system of teaching. They too are ‘continuing students’. In everyday life they have a wide variety of careers and roles.
All enquirers are warmly welcomed to our Introductory course regardless of age. Students range from youngsters to the retired; some who know a little of philosophy, some who do not. The only requirement is an enquiring mind and a generous outlook on life.
With the tutor’s emphasis on the value of exploring “practical experience”, our Ten Evening sessions in the opening terms aim for an increasing understanding that we only ever really come to know anything if we experience it for ourselves.
Practical Philosophy can be the foundation of a happier and more fulfilling life. It encompasses the search for wisdom, love and self-knowledge - not a remote and theoretical approach to wiser-living, but information, principles and knowledge which are put into everyday practice.
This practical application in day to day living can provide sound observations and experience from which all in a group may benefit, not just the individual.
The study and practice of practical philosophy at the Berkshire Branch involves all three natural levels of human experience – the emotional/heart, the mental/subtle realm and physical/active performance. There is a close exploration of the key role played by what is known as ‘the individual ego’.
Both western and eastern wisdom make valuable contributions to the courses. Wise sayings and principles from sources in the west are derived from many places such as the teaching of Plato and his teacher Socrates, and the guidance found in the Judeo-Christian tradition; the eastern draws heavily on the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, as well as the teachings of Buddha and zen.
Our main area of eastern study, Advaita Vedanta, is very broad in nature. It encompasses in its essence a wide range of spiritual and philosophical teachings taken up only relatively recently in the West.
Greater efficiency in thought and action can arise through taking in information and principles and putting them into practice, from which daily observation can grow in fineness. There can be increasing realisation that the stresses and tensions of modern life can be alleviated through personal effort and change in outlook. New perspectives within the ‘personal’ life can result in a more open, natural, loving, unified, and larger outlook.
This can include a better understanding of the inner self, of calmness in the face of eruptions of emotions and feelings of stress, improved concentration and attention, and happier relationships.
The central ethos is that human beings can lead a much fuller, richer life.
For more information on the Main School and its other activities go to https://schoolofphilosophy.org/