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Opinion & Essays - Aug, 1994 Issue #29 

Linda Houghton
On-the-Road: Bend, OR to Bend, OR 

(Asclepius: Greek Myth. the god of healing and medicine, corresponding to the Roman Aesculapius [son of Apollo]) 

Young people, since the beginning of time, have chased adventure. The mythology of all cultures tells rich stories of young men and women seeking out the unknown, traveling to far away lands to experience first hand the legends and stories told them by their elders. Rich stories always require some first hand experience; some challenge to the self that will test personal strength and abilities. 

In ancient Greece a pilgrimage to the sacred temples of Ascelpios offered an invitation to become more than you dreamed of being, to gain a larger perspective on the self and the social order. This experience involved an opening of the total person through the study and experience of art, music, dance, drama, government, philosophy and laughter. It was believed that this experience renewed and healed the mind, body and soul. The experience of so much of what humanity has to offer was believed to bring the entire self to a higher order of knowledge and understanding. 

The beliefs concerning this ancient practice are well summarized by Ilya Prigogine, the Nobel Prize- winning physicist's theory that a higher order emerges from the fluctuations created through new information. 

Prigogine's theory is very applicable to human growth and development. As more information or more stimulation enters the system and then disperses internally, the system is driven to a whole new dynamic. This theory can also be seen in the evolution of cities, governments and nations. 

The Summer Asclepian presents opportunities that touch all aspects of human learning and can bring one to new views of the self and the world. 

Five weeks of travel, study, communication, and problem solving in cities, towns and wilderness areas, will create natural challenges. These challenges will be grounded in studies of ancient cultures and modern governmental systems. It is my hope and intention that the Asclepian experience will produce a wealth of knowledge and new skills for all participants. It has been my experience that the greatest learning occurs in the context of understanding the whole of ourselves and our world. Dr. Jean Houston, a pioneer in human development and mind research expresses this concept with great clarity. 

It becomes increasingly apparent to me, after several decades of work with extending human capacities, that capacities evolve and change in response to the larger cultural and mythic patterns of which we are a part. We can only extend our capacities when we are conscious of these larger patterns and assume our role as their co-creator. 

Asclepian students' awareness of the larger patterns of American culture will be achieved as we travel for five weeks from Bend, Oregon to such destinations as our nation's capital and major cities across the United States, parts of Canada and Mexico. 

Studies of ancient cultures will assist students in understanding the connections that are apparent in all systems of government. The research and writing required to publish a newsletter once a week will enhance understanding of America's governmental system and its effect on their daily lives. 

Upon completion of the journey a book culminating each student's writing and photo essays will be published. This book will be a personal document illustrating the discovery of each student's rich personal story. 

Copyright 1994, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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