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Philosophy --
    the Fourth Way approach to self-development

Michelangelo's Dying Slave emerging Michelangelo's sculpture 'The Dying Slave' (detail) A man emerging from stone

to be or not to be . . .

The Fourth Way is a way of understanding that presents effective models and methods for personal growth. Understanding is achieved by studying one's own psychology and physical nature. The Fourth Way supplies a technology that facilitates self-study by organizing the vast array of sensory information and processes that comprise our life experiences into a comprehensible format.

The Fourth Way as taught at Summa Foundation is empirical. Principles must be verified by one's own experience to truly become part of one's understanding. The self-study methods emphasize cultivation of conscience as a desire for truthfulness with regard to what students will come to know about themselves and others, even when the consequences are uncomfortable.

The understanding that one works toward in the Fourth Way is both practical and transcendental.

The understanding is practical because it provides insight into the functioning of the world we live in. It clarifies our perceptions and develops a sense of what to expect from ourselves and others in the kaleidoscopic changes of daily existence, and therefore confers a survival benefit.

The understanding is transcendental in that it can lead to possibilities of experience that are rare and that create in oneself an ultimate sense of purpose, unity and awareness that is beyond the common realm of human experience.

Special emphasis is placed on attention as a vital life force. Students learn how attention is typically dissipated by the demands of everyday life, and how we can alter its use for higher possibilities.

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