By now surely most people are aware of the educational system not being up to scratch to guide young humans to become responsible and aware adults who will use their skills to create a world where our collective existence actually and in fact improves. I am not talking about some statistical analysis that wants to prove to us in numbers that the world is improving, because any statistical analysis is skewed by those who are conducting the analysis and will only determine a fraction of the circumstances that exist in the world. We have no tools that can give us a bigger picture except for our neglected common sense. A better world would clearly indicate visible changes in poverty, abuse and crime reduction on the collective scale. We could look at the news and read about how atrocities of the world cease to exist.
As we all know, this is definitely not the case, and although there are initiatives, such as one laptop per child, or other superficial, well-meaning ways to create a better world, they do not parallel other developments, such as increased rampant shootings, or forms of cannibalism – and these seemingly benevolent acts to support children are upon closer inspection nothing but a corporate scam.
So, we can of course continue to look at changing and improving education to where we think it should shift, throwing all kinds of technology at it, incorporating it better into today’s social media craze, and forming evermore and broader collaborations between educational institutions and other corporate endeavours.
Here I want to stop and look at what we are actually learning about life and how we each conduct our life in this world. As far as my own education goes, I can see that I learned very little, if anything, in how I can approach my Self in getting to know myself let alone another human, or even plants, animals, the weather – all that exists around me in my daily world, including my Self. The starting point of my education did not include me as the human. Yes of course I had biology and studied anatomy and learned to name the parts of the brain and so forth, but this was knowledge that was brought to me by the teaching entities from another place: a text book, or some drawing – but I, the human that I am was never referenced in this, not in real terms. I, as the human was too personal, too subjective, too different, too specific, so that all I learned was at all times outside of me.
This is the general starting point of educational material and as we know this approach is exalted when we look at the sciences. The idea being that unless one is objective one cannot conduct good scientific research. ‘Objective’ though really means, unless one is separated from all that is here as Self one will never know who Self really is – and the proof of this is our world today.
There are 7 billion misconceptions about life and living, and there are 7 billion guesses about who one is as Self. Mostly we have created little crutches, which we attribute to the rational mind, to help us disguise these handicaps about our own Selves. With the rational mind we drive the situation to the extreme in that we classify and label obsessively all that is around us, and the more we categorise in this manner, the more we distance ourselves from who we really are.
Why else would we allow to exist in a world where people are starving, where governments are corrupt, where we build structures that threaten our survival, where we poison our foods – where nothing counts more than money.
The rational mind, or putting labels to a class, a category, gives us the illusion to have done something about the situation. We can be scholarly about it and have names to refer to what we mean, and most of all we can be complacent. This is evident through scholarly work not having any impact on how we live our lives, in that we create less fear, more security, and more equality for everyone.
We have in fact mistaken complacency as comfort. We believe if we can afford nice couches, a cosy bed, a washing machine – we have created a better life. What we don’t see is what we accept in exchange. Most of us however are so numb or ‘dumbed down’ that a bit of entertainment will drown the last inkling of us having a critical look at ourselves and the world.
Back to education. First of all, there is an interesting omission in education, which is that those who recreate the human race by procreating are never involved in becoming educated to be a parent. I do recall many women who had kids telling me that it is “nothing what you think it is” – thereby stating that they had to jump into the ‘cold water’ of suddenly parenting others with little to no know-how. Purely from the educational stance, how can the educational system assume that the education a child gets prior to going to school is not relevant to the educational process, and thus conveniently leaves out the education of adults as parents, and in doing so the early stages of a human’s life. How can anyone deny the cyclic dependency between all the components: adults-parents-babies-adults-parents and so forth.
The removal of the human from the educational process and substituting the human for money is quite evident. Just to pick one example to demonstrate this: if I were go out into the street and ask people what and how they know their human body I could ask: What, for example, do you know happens to your human body when you are sick and what are the symptoms related to? Here I am referring to very basic stuff, for example someone having a latent stomach ache for a number of days perhaps weeks. What can this person tell me about their condition? We can safely assume: not much. There will be a bunch of guesses but that is as far as it goes. The human body is of no concern. What is of concern is whether it is ‘good to go’ – to go out into the world and make money to survive. Similarly, how many people can walk through the streets and see the little weeds that grow out of the sidewalk and even realise that – let alone what – such a weed contributes to the eco system, and here we are talking about details. But how can we understand the larger eco system, the impacts of pollution and electronic networks for example that we shamelessly place into the world, when we are clueless to what happens right at our feet. We leave the ‘knowing’ to the experts – yet another categorisation and classification – and as a result we do not have a world that is best for all.
That is why, to know what is in our world locally has relevance because when each one of us knows how things work on the local level then there is no guessing, no surprises and no hand waving in how it works on the larger scale. It will give everyone the ability to take responsibility because they have a real-world context to go by: their own personal local world of which they are as Self part of. So why do we not learn this in school? Why is it more important to create computational business models that tell us how we can better exploit business practices so that levels of consumption rise to create more obesity, more extinction of species, more geographic catastrophes, higher pollution levels and so forth?
What we fail to understand in education is that we are creating relationships with everything that is in our world. Even no relationship is a relationship just because we don’t see the weed in the street, to go back to the former example, does not mean it does not exist. Relationships are, as this example shows, dependent on our perceptions. We don’t perceive the weed in the street. A child walking the sidewalk for a first time will notice it, until it is told too many times to stay away from it and gradually learn to no longer perceive life but to perceive what it has to do to survive. In very basic terms the educational system introduces the alienation of the human through the formula of rationalisation. It does so through a basic mechanism upon which everything builds in education and later in life. It is the “first come first serve” idea – beating all other humans to a place in the front of the line through grades, through talent, and through specialness – by any means necessary is the foundation of our educational system. The more you have of that the more likely you breeze through your education and subsequently through your money-making life. In other words, with the systematic skewing of our perceptional abilities, to reduce them to take in only that which is necessary for our survival in a system of our own creation, we have become living zombies that walk down the street and only perceive a fraction of what is in the world – and we can study it and call it ‘change blindness’. Here the question is why does educational research never question why we perceive the way we do, why is cognition ‘doomed’ as ‘human nature’ when we know that it is a learned ability? ( An example for this would be the cognition of a taxi driver around town, there are measurable differences in the grasping of complex spatiality, where the driver ‘has the map of the town in his head’ and can navigate it).
Again, this is because we have chosen to take the human out of the loop when failing to educate the human from the starting point of Self. Instead we have brought about complex fragmentation, where we mirror ourselves to ourselves, but are unaware of the underlying common denominator – the common sense behind it all. This is evident in what we know already through our own research but we remain paralysed in making the required changes, to make sense of what we know by transforming our reality to a world that ‘just’ works for all.
With the starting point of discounting the personal self in education we are also indoctrinating young adults to form beliefs that they do not count in the bigger picture, that they can never change things because things are just the way they are. To impersonalise education, to take out the individual human from the equation as the starting point of ‘learning’ is to breed adults that abdicate any sort of responsibility for the whole of humanity, or for the fact that we can only exist as a group. We have created a world that is full of fragmented mental Selfs because in physical reality, from the perspective of substance i.e. the biological substance we are made of together we all that we reference as nature, there cannot be a fragmentation because the interconnectedness of substance is undeniable as the living tissue of earth. Again, this is right here in front of us, we exist in groups – physically, all over the planet – in villages, in cities, in nations – yet in our fragmented perception this is unrecognised because we lack total awareness of the principle that each member of a group is responsible for the whole to function. We create a dichotomy where we ‘get by’ chaotically, never living as true personalised Selves in a world because to deny a personal Self through failed education creates a Self that must draw on everything else around itself to compensate for that which it perceives as missing (read this blog for context). So the impersonal Self operates through self-interest to survive, steeped in fear and anxiety of not surviving.
Bernard Poolman once said that we live in a limited reality, and what he meant, among other things, is that the substance of life that holds us together, because we are unable to do it ourselves, will come to an end through the impact of induced, endless fragmentation – and unless we stop in our tracks and teach a new personal beginning of understanding who we are as whole Selves, we have no chance of survival as a planet, as a group called humanity.