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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Conflict resolution: George Ellis speaks on Kenosis

This morning I listened, as usual, to my local NPR station, WHYY, as I gathered my energy to meet the day. This morning the Speaking of Faith program, titled "Science and Hope", featured an interview with George Ellis, Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town, and recipient of the Templeton Prize "for progress toward research or discoveries about spiritual realities." I found the entire program interesting, but especially when he spoke about the concept of kenosis, a greek word I understood roughly to mean "emptying out." In Ellis' presentation he spoke of kenosis as a technique of emptying oneself of ego and selfish goals. This enables one to sacrifice and take risks for others and/or for the greater good.

The most compelling part of the program to me was when Ellis answered a question about how the concept of kenosis could be applied to a conflict like in Iraq. He gave an actual historical example that demonstrates that an ethical approach to military action can be successful. I highly recommend that you listen to at least that portion of the interview (it starts at about the 41:15 mark).

Listen to the interview with George Ellis here.
Read the notes and view links to many related resources here.

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