Uncertainty Principles in the Atoms of Language

Saturday, February 5
House of the Redeemer
7 E 95th St
New York, NY

Three thousand years ago, a revolution began that continues to shape us today. By breaking language into phonemes, into the atoms of speech, the alphabet became a system of codifying meaning so useful in its precision, flexibility, and simple elegance that it swept and enthralled the peoples to whom it was exposed. It made literacy widely available, democratizing information, but it also inclined the cultures in which it thrived to a dependency on language as the mediator of truth and experience.

By giving supremacy to written language over spoken word, this revolution privileged thought process over sensation, cementing the emerging hierarchy of mind over body and spirit, and profoundly shaping the value systems of the societies which benefited so greatly from it.

In this symposium we will look at the ways in which the digital system of the alphabet has shaped our experiences and our cultures. We will invite artists of motion, of sight and sound, to help us explore the multi-valent aspects of this great abstract movement. And
while we are reminding ourselves of the haunting magic of these atoms of meaning, these and other questions may arise-

  • What are the aesthetic and artistic dimensions of the alphabet?
  • In what ways have the dynamics of the alphabetic systems shaped the Abrahamic traditions in particular?
  • What does fundamentalism with its radical commitment to language owe to the alphabet?

    -- Erling Hope, Program Chair

The Program

9:30 am Registration / Coffee

10:00 am Welcome and Introduction to the Theme

10:15 am Mumtaz Hussain

10:45 am Diane Samuels

11:30 am Discussion

12:00 Lunch

1:30 am Annelies Davidson

2:30 am Archie Rand

3:30 pm Discussion

4:15 pm Conversation / Wine and Cheese

Biographies of the Participants

Registration information:

Members/Fellows $55
Non-Members  $60; Students $15
Fee includes continental breakfast, lunch and reception.
($5.00 extra at the door.)

To register
 please contact Charles Henderson
Tel: 212-870-2544

More about ARC
including membership information and news about our recently published book:
 The ARC Story

From time to time the Board of Directors elects as Fellows individuals it identifies as having made a distinguished contribution to their respective fields. The list of Fellows elected over a period of nearly four decades thus exemplifies what the Society understands as the necessary and vital connections between art, religion and culture.

ARC Fellows


Fall 2004
Languages that Shape the Soul

Spring 2004
The Moving Image

Winter 2004
Religion and the Visual Arts

Fall 2003
Theology and Music

Spring 2003
Theology and Poetry:
Languages that Shape the Soul

Winter 2003
Tracing the Garden

Fall 2002
Drawing on the Human

Spring 2002
Alfred Barr and
the Religious Dimension of Modernism

Winter 2002
A Theology of Beauty

Fall 2001
Lifting the Veil

May 2001

February 2001
Performance and Symposium

November 2000
Illuminations & Transformations:
Cross-Cultural Spiritual Dynamics 
in Music, Text, Dance and Film

May 2000
Alternative Readings: 
Sacred Text Embodied in Visual Art

February 2000
The Meaning of Myth

November 1999
Myth, Ritual and the Mediation of Violence

May, 1999
Writers' Ways with Loving and Dying

February, 1999 
The Divine Image
Implications for a changing image of God.

October, 1998 
Uneasy Constellations of Meaning
Theological Perceptions and Visual Images in Sixteenth Century Europe &
The Religious Art of Andy Warhol

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May, 1998 Meeting
AYNI: The Andean Concept of Reciprocity

Webpage design courtesy CrossCurrents
Charles Henderson, Executive Director

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