The Upcoming Year

by mshaul / Monday, 27 January 2014 / Published in Uncategorized

January 2014

Dear Colleagues,

As 2014 begins, the American population is continuing its participation in the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA). This is the year when it all gets “real”. Everyone—from patient to provider and from policy makers to politicians—is holding their breath to some degree as this grand experiment begins the process of making care and payment available to people across the country.  The Octagon is pleased to offer you several important resources to help you better understand the system and its implementation. The video library of the 2012 Octagon Conference addresses everything from basic benefits to legal challenges related to the PPACA. As Director of The Octagon it has been my pleasure to prepare a three-hour introduction to the PPACA intended to help Doctors of Chiropractic understand and become familiar with the changes ahead. This presentation can be accessed by clicking here.

2014 is also an important year in the activities of The Octagon. In mid-2013 a strategic decision was made by Life University President, Guy F. Reikeman for The Octagon to embrace another of the Eight Areas of Inquiry of The Octagon, that being: Integrity and Citizenship.

The focus of The Octagon on Integrity and Citizenship has been planned to be a three-year area of emphasis intending to highlight issues related to compassion, forgiveness, peace and secular ethics. One of the primary goals of this three-year cycle is the development and inauguration of the Center for Compassion, Peace and Secular Ethics at Life University.

Each of the next three years have been planned to build toward fulfillment of the University’s goal of initiating world-changing dialogue—in this instance related to Integrity and Citizenship. Some may ask “why” and others may ask “how”—good and reasonable questions. Why this emphasis at this time? Matters related to integrity and citizenship have been important questions throughout the history of humankind.

The difference today is technology and the ability for open dialogue across campus, across town, across the country and around the world. What is also different today is the interest in secular ethics as opposed to religion-based ethics or morality-based ethics. Each of these approaches has been exclusionary in its basis. Secular ethics, while religiously consistent, is not religion-dependent. As such it holds the potential to cross cultural and religious barriers that have inhibited a broader more inclusive perspective.

As to “how,” the answer again lies in technology. Great teachers, great writings, great conversations and great insights are a click away—ours for the taking. Never before has the opportunity for change been more available.

In April 2014 scholars from across North America, Europe and Asia will come together to begin to shape the Center for Compassion, Peace and Secular Ethics. The Center will draw upon their wisdom and understanding as well as the positioning of Life University to impact the academics, pedagogy and research related to these areas. Among the 2014 Octagon participants will be faculty from Life University, Emory University, Stanford University. Invitations are pending to faculty from Brown University, University of Virginia, Naropa University, Boston University, the Mind Life Institute and the Garrison Institute. Some of the key leaders of the Positive Psychology program at Life University, Drs. Samples, Ozawa-de Silva and Shook, will serve as participants at the Octagon Conference 2014.

2015 and 2016

As you might expect the details of the plans for 2015 and 2016 will be shaped, in considerable measure, by the efforts of The Octagon in 2014. The specifics of the content of the Octagon 2015 and 2016 conferences will be refined throughout 2014.

The efforts of The Octagon in the areas of compassion, forgiveness, peace studies and secular ethics received a remarkably significant endorsement in 2013 when President Reikeman was provided with a private audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Dr. Reikeman was able to relate the efforts of Life University and The Octagon relative to secular ethics in particular to His Holiness. At that time His Holiness expressed his willingness to participate at one of the upcoming Octagon conferences at Life University, thereby helping to establish the Center for Compassion, Peace and Secular Ethics. Discussions are presently underway to address the details of His Holiness’ upcoming visit to Life University. The exact date, in 2015 or 2016 of the inauguration, will depend on the calendar of His Holiness.

As you can imagine this is an exceptional honor for Life University! The preparations for such an event will be extensive. To be deserving of the honor of the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama everyone associated with The Octagon and Life University will be involved in assuring the respect and dignity a visit of this magnitude should receive.

We ask you to be patient as the events of the next many months unfold for The Octagon and Life University. We encourage you to visit the website of The Octagon ( at least quarterly.


Yours in Life,

Gerard W. Clum, D.C.



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