Leader:  Karl Purnell

Description:  During a lifetime of living and writing about high adventure, from working as a war correspondent in Vietnam to climbing mountains in the Himalayas, Karl Purnell, of Mifflinburg, has faced a series of life threatening disasters. His narrow escape from the 2004 tsunami in Thailand where he climbed a tree to avoid drowning was one of the experiences which caused him to reflect on the principles or "rules" which survivors follow in order to avoid death.

In this course, the question "Who lives and who dies?" in a disaster as well as who survives the reversals and misfortunes of everyday living are examined from philosophical, scientific and anecdotal viewpoints. It will be seen that people who utilize The Tsunami Principles engage in rigorous self-appraisal, realistic planning and the taking of action in which compassion for others is a key factor. 

This course will reference dramatic survivor stories such as that by Captain Chesley Sullenberger who landed an airplane in the Hudson River and recent discoveries about the brain's reaction to danger by neuroscientists like Daniel Kahneman and Joseph LeDoux. Buddhist reflections on mindfulness and survival behavior by the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh will be discussed as well as inspirational examples of people like Abraham Lincoln who used these principles to overcome depression and anxiety. It is hoped that participants in this course will gain a new insight in how to improve the quality of their lives through an understanding of the Tsunami Principles.

Biography:  Karl Purnell began his career as a Lewisburg newspaper editor and member of the state legislature from Union County. He's an author and playwright with a B.A. from Harvard University in English Literature and more recently, he studied at the Summer Institute for Neuroscience and Society at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a founder of Teach the World Online, a charitable organization which delivers free online education via Skype to indigent students around the world.

Materials for course:  The course will be presented with videos, PowerPoint presentations and interactive discussions in which participants will be encouraged to share their own experiences and opinions. Two of Karl's books, A Mountain Too Far and First Love, Second Fire will be used as references during the course.

Number of participants:      

Minimum: 6            
Maximum:  16

Location: ChantanaThai, 512 Market St, Lewisburg

Meeting time:  Tuesdays, February 25 through April 1, 2014, 10 -11:30 a.m.


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