Information about the Shared Presence Foundation's activities
2022 May 27 – Tao Te Ching
As part of ongoing archival efforts the SPF team is always seeking to resolve discrepancies in information about the presentations and presentation series. One such discrepancy related to the Tao Te Ching series has now been solved. This week we finally discovered that the series experienced an unplanned hiatus due to the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Previously, the only details we had were from audiocassettes for the first presentation and the course syllabus. The recent digitization of the videos for this series provided the missing link and helped solve the discrepancy.
An evaluation of the videos revealed inconsistencies from the fifteenth presentation onward. The course syllabus indicated the fifteenth presentation was scheduled for April 30, 1992, yet the date on the videocassette for the fifteenth presentation was identified as May 7, 1992. So, we went to the tapes. In the May 7th presentation, Roger Weir stated, “we now come back after a week's hiatus courtesy of Los Angeles' situation…” Turns out that April 30, 1992 coincides with the Los Angeles riots. Given this, we have concluded that this series, which was scheduled to be a 24-part series, was ultimately only 23 presentations. It is feasible that this series was ultimately 24 presentations but at this point in time the evidence indicates there were only 23. Separately, the syllabus indicates the presentations were scheduled for “Tuesday Evenings,” but they actually happened on Thursdays. Our archival team is pleased to have resolved these discrepancies.
2022 May 23 – Ecumene (1994-1995) videos
We are pleased to announce that videos for the Ecumene (1994-1995) series will be gradually released on our YouTube channel. This is a 2-year cycle course by Roger Weir and we will be releasing 2 to 3 videos per week.
2022 May 1 – NCMPS Conference
SPF attends public open education event in North Carolina. SPF staff traveled from various states to meet at the Public Montessori Conference and Retreat organized by the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (NCMPS). This event brought together 200+ educators in public Montessori to discuss and learn about the educational and funding landscape for ideal, natural learning for children. The materials and modality of Montesorri and many other 'ideal' learning approaches are complementary to the Learning Ecology first-year cycle as developed by Roger Weir. The phases developed by Nature, Ritual, Myth and Symbol as a natural progression are seen in situ in these schools. Coursework related to this is included in the following presentation series: The Learning Civilization, Interstellar Learning, Stellar Civilization, Differential Consciousness (1996-1997, 1998-1999, and 2000-2001), Ecumene, and Spiritual Personality.
The Shared Presence Foundation has supported research and efforts of some organizations in attendance through the Prepared Adult Initiative project, and we look forward to supporting the development maturation and education sciences further in the coming years.
2022 March 31 – Quarterly Report
This quarter has been a continuance of ongoing projects, specifically the production of transcripts and videos.
Currently, we have over 250 transcripts in at least a first draft state. To create these transcripts we begin by using an automated speech to text engine to process the audio into written text. We have relied on the services of Rev and more recently Sonix.ai for this process. After this raw text is created we have someone go through and clean up the text. This process involves listening to the presentations and adjusting and correcting spelling and grammar issues in the document. This results in the first draft. The second draft process requires a more detailed review of the transcript and the presentation to ensure accuracy.
We have been digitizing and publishing videos to YouTube gradually. Currently, our YouTube channel contains 9 different presentation series: A New Aion (1994), Tao Te Ching (1992), Differential Consciousness (2000-2001), Interstellar Learning (2004-2005), Quintessential Dimensions of Consciousness (2009), The Learning Civilization (2006-2007), Parayan: Refreshing the Way to the High Dharma (2014), Jesus in Alexandria and Mary Magdalene: The Origins of Shared Presence (2008), and Mary Magdalene and Jesus' Great Way (2008). We look forward to gradually making more videos available via our YouTube channel.
2021 December 31 – End of Year Update
The year of 2021 was busy and productive for the Foundation. Some highlights include the release of a new book, the continued distribution of a previously published book, and completing the digital capture of Roger's presentations on audiocassette and various video formats.
The book, The Bodhisattva and the Space Age: The Great Idea in Our Time, was released on March 20th, the Spring Equinox. Another book, Hermetic America – Our Critical Heritage: Abraham Lincoln, was previously published by the Foundation in 2020 and we have continued to distribute it freely across the nation in select cities by way of the Little Free Library network. These books are both available for purchase directly from the Foundation and through Amazon.
Audio and video presentations
Over the course of approximately four years we have been digitizing the recorded presentations of Roger Weir. This audiovisual content is contained on audiocassettes and various video formats (e.g., VHS, Beta, MiniDV, Hi8, VHS-C). The corpus of this collection spans from 1980 to 2015 (36 years), encompassing a total of 159 presentation series and approximately 2,025 individual presentations. The physical extent of this collection includes more than 3,220 audiocassettes and more than 2,200 videocassettes of various formats. The audiocassettes cover presentations across the entire 36 years, meanwhile the videos only cover 25 years of content, spanning from 1991 to 2015. This is likely due to the limited availability of consumer videorecording technology pre-1990. We are pleased to report that the digitization of all this content has been completed and this includes the contents being backed up on physical hard drives and in a Amazon Web Services S3 bucket. These measures will ensure the continued existence and availability of these presentations into the foreseeable future.
Where the audio and video presentations can be found
So, what happens with the digitized audio and video content now? Well, over the course of the past two years we have been making the audiorecordings available on this website. This content can be accessed in the presentations section of the website. On the other hand, we have been doing a phased rollout of the videorecordings. As we make the video content available a link is included on the presentation series page to the video hosted on our YouTube channel. Currently the video for 9 series are available on the channel with more slated for release in the near future.
Another next step after the digitization of the audio and video recordings is the transcription of the individual presentations. The intent with this is to make the presentations more accessible by making the presentations available in different media - text, aural, and visual - to accommodate different learning styles or personal preferences. The transcription process is a daunting task that is partially being aided by artificial intelligence which creates a baseline transcript of the presentations. AI analyzes the audiorecordings and processes the language into text which then can be edited and revised by a contractor. This entire workflow is cumbersome and time-consuming but the end goal is well worth it. The automated transcriptions have relied on a service provided by Rev.com and more recently Sonix.ai. We have discovered that Sonix provides a product with more potential, including translation to other languages and the ability to export subtitle files which we can include with the videos when we post them on YouTube. Currently we only have a limited number of transcriptions in a state of relative completion. As this project moves forward we will be including links to the transcripts on the same page as the respective audiorecordings.
Stay tuned for more updates and quarterly reports about the Foundation's activities.