School of Athen by Raphael

Steven John Eckland: Liberal Studies

Alumnus Focus

Steven Eckland graduated in 1995 and has for the past few years found himself primarily engaged in the field of global education. Under the nom de plume "John Kolman" he spent the remainder of the 90s as a touring musician, meeting Van Morrison and Ken Kesey. Now living in Asia with his wife and two cats, this "romantic at heart" professes to maintain a love for reading, song-writing, critical thought, the outdoors, sampling fine wines, and exploring the vast realms of inner space.

"I look back on my intense two-year experience at Vancouver Island University with great fondness. From the fellowship and collegiality to the intellectual and spiritual challenges it presented, the Liberal Studies program has proven instrumental in effecting profound long-term personal growth and change.

"How else did the program leave an impression? Aristotle's 'Man is a political animal' became much clearer within the airy upper-level institutional setting; especially where one dares dancing to the beat of a different drum. I also acquired an extended appreciation of the language games scholars and polemicists engage in, a continuing interest in the phenomenon of paradigm shifts as described in Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, and an awareness of how Newton's laws of thermodynamics essentially encapsulate the laws of karma and reincarnation.

"My baccalaureate paper 'Nietzsche, Non-duality & the Nature of Our Neuroses' presented a profound philosophical challenge. 'Don't take this the wrong way,' quipped my academic overseer, 'but, judging from the results here I think it's pretty clear you'd make a far better poet than academic.' These words of advice have long since stuck with me. Yet I remain keen on exploring the philosophical implications arising from Nietzsche's understanding of and polemical response to the emergence of 19th-century European Buddhism."