Caring for New Life: Essays on Holistic Education
- We must commit ourselves to being authentic adults—that is, persons whose lives are built around caring for new life … because the children are an incarnation of God’s continuing revelation. (Parker Palmer, The courage to Teach)
- Be authentic by being sensitive and responsive to our own truest and deepest possibilities.
- Holistic education is not a romantic child-centered agenda, but a sense of awe in the presence of that which gives life. It is an attempt to return to the mysterious source of human creativity and authenticity for fresh inspiration. It seeks to enable the wholeness of the human being to emerge and develop as fully as possible.
- Modern schooling, as it has developed over the past century and a half, represents a massive, deliberate, and efficient mechanism for placing human energies at the disposal of the corporate state.
- Instant access to all the world’s products via ‘e-commerce’ –the latest manifestation of obsessive consumerism—disguises an epidemic of spiritual malnourishment in the modern world.
- Do we not want our children to pursue lives of meaning, compassion and joy, and not merely competition and consumption?
- Holism cannot be pinned down precisely, because by its very nature it embraces paradox, mystery, and outright contradiction.
- The “correct” balance of freedom and structure (or intellect and emotion, individual and community, and so forth) depends on the situation.
- Montessori, and other educators who speak of spirituality, tell us that within every human soul a divine creative force is at work; a mysterious transcendent energy, not reducible to our individual personalities, biological components, or cultural conditioning, is seeking expression through our personal lives. This energy is not fully manifested in human existence—far from it—but it is gradually working through history to achieve its culmination, which spiritual masters have called redemption, heaven, nirvana. The story of this unfolding creative spirit against the resistance of the material world is the drama of evolution: it is in this sense that Montessori refers to the evolution of the cosmos and proclaims that we are here to further it.
10. Human beings must become inwardly certain that they belong to a supersensible world, to a world of soul and spirit, that always surrounds them—Rudolph Steiner
11. The present system of education is making us subservient mechanical and deeply thoughtless; though it awakens us intellectually, inwardly is leaves us incomplete, stultified and uncreative.—Krishnamurti
12.The right kind of education, according to Krishnamurti, is one that enables each person to fully and directly understand oneself, and one’s relationship to the world.
13. An education that enables each individual to grow toward wholeness and integration cannot be dictated by an ideology or method, but requires a fluid, loving relationship between ourselves and children.
14.“ I am convinced that the universe is under the control of a loving purpose, and that in the struggle for righteousness man has cosmic companionship. Behind the harsh appearances of the world there is a benign power”.-Martin Luther King
15. Life involves not only the satisfaction of selfish needs, but also the satisfaction of a divine need for human justice and nobility-Abraham Joshua Heschel
16. For Heschel, human beings can contribute to the good of the world by “enacting the spiritual on the stage of life”—that is, by expressing the splendor of God which is present, but hidden, within each person’s soul.
17. Throughout my work on education I have argued that we must replace our reductionist epistemology with a holistic understanding of the cosmos.
- Agreeing with the masters of all spiritual traditions, Ken Wilber believes that the universe is ultimately characterized by a vast process of evolution, a cosmic force which pulls holons toward ever greater integration and wholeness.
- There is nothing particularly metaphysical or occult about this. Self-transcendence is simply a system’s capacity to reach beyond the given and introduce some measure of novelty, a capacity without which, it is quite certain, evolution would never, and could never, have even gotten started.-Ken Wilber
- Again we are back to Montessori’s words: The world is not ultimately about our own self-aggrandizement but is an insistent call to self-transcendence.
- As humanity is carried along by the unfolding of evolution, says Wilber, “we must shift our perspectives; deepen our perception, often against a great deal of resistance, to embrace the deeper and wider context.”
- An education that serves the evolution of the cosmos toward greater order, wholeness and meaning must teach us how to open and deepen our own consciousness. The human task is not to become well trained automatons or highly skilled manipulators of the physical world, but to become growing, questing, self-transcending agents of the evolution of spirit.
- If we are to move beyond our inherent resistance to self-transformation, we need to cultivate radical amazement rather than technological arrogance. This is the task of education in our time.
- By definition, an education for spiritual evolution is a creative, transformative, self-transcending engagement between person and world. There is a continuing element of uncertainty, novelty and freedom in this process.
- A postmodern education would strive for renewal, deepening and transformation of our identity and knowing.
- The hallmark of creative self-transcendent education is radical openness to new experience and novel conditions.
- If education is to serve the evolution of the cosmos, and thus the good of the world, we must stop looking for techniques or solutions and learn to practice an open-minded, open-hearted relationship to the world that embraces spontaneity and uncertainty.
- Oliver and Gersham argue that a process education would aim to allow activity in the presence of knowledge, to let students discover meanings and form novel viewpoints, to develop a sense of shared pursuit of knowledge (which involves risking failure in front of students)…Moving within the multiplicity of complex and unpredictable events (prehensions) that constantly occur in the teaching situation requires that the teacher relinquish long-held notions of control, control of time and control of knowledge.
- In this postmodern perspective, knowledge is not seen as factual truth defined outside our experience, transmitted through the authority of teachers to their ignorant students, but as a mutual act of creation between persons actively and sensitively engaging the world.
- If what we know is abstract, impersonal, apart from us, it cannot be truth, for truth involves a vulnerable, faithful, and risk-filled interpenetration of the knower and the known.