Utilitarian knowledge and skills dominated the educational aims of the 20th century, a priority that we largely live with today.
A new paradigm for what constitutes learning is necessary, one that prioritizes raising consciousness.
Portrait of Conscious Citizen
What does a “conscious citizen” look like?
A conscious citizen:
- sees the world holistically by default, habitually, as the base line for all perception; considers the interdependence of any object of perception in relation to its full environment in scale and time.
- deeply reflects on events, feelings, perceptions, and intellectual understandings in all activities and actions.
- resolves conflicts through non violent means; holds that violence is in most all cases entirely counterproductive and ethically wrong.
- possesses a highly developed empathic sense for all beings and the natural world.
- perceives and refers to multiple epistemologies, “ways of knowing”, e.g. the difference between emotional truth and intellectual rational truth.
- possesses acute skills in reasoning and rational truth making.
- derives truths readily from contemplative practices.
- holds a flexible and expanded view of “self” in relation to the “environment,” a perception of deep interdependence that renders the environment to be an extension of self (unity consciousness).
- draws on a highly developed and accessible intuitive capacity to leverage on creative problem solving and aspirational thinking.
- holds that service to others and working for the well being of humanity is a primary purpose and meaning of life.
- applies a highly evolved ethical standard to all actions.
- lives by a code of intergenerational responsibility.
Education for a more conscious society (NBL) emphasizes the following in all teaching and curriculum:
Holistic perceptive capacity based in systems thinking.
Well developed understanding and awareness of interdependence between humans, the natural world, global societies, disciplines, wisdom traditions, etc.
Deep ethical and empathic development for humanity, animals, all of nature, and the future.
Service to others as a prime motivator for all actions.
Development of intuition and its role in creativity, aspirational visioning, and love.
Creativity applied and taught in all realms–arts, problem solving, mathematics, relationships, social constructs, etc.
Epistemology–knowledge and awareness of varied “ways of knowing.”
Seeking out and creating community for active engagement in lifelong “learning” (growth, development, consciousness expansion, etc. a la, Buddhist Sangha, Quaker community, etc.)
Metacognition and habits of ongoing inner reflection.
Mindfulness and meditation practices in multiple forms and contexts.
Systems based critical thinking and problem solving in all contexts and subject areas.
Biophilia – cultivating an inherent love of and spiritual connection to the natural world.
Knowledge of levels of consciousness and awareness (Ken Wilbur, Jung, et. al.) dream, subconscious, intuition.
Knowledge of the historical evolution of world views, practices, wisdom traditions and beliefs
Evolved sense of personal purpose, calling, higher intention, and life mission.
Capacity to love openly and communicate matters of the heart
Awareness of beingness–the nature of one’s existence (impermanence, etc.)
Capacity to communicate multiple forms of content (information, emotion, insights, etc.) in mutliple modalities (verbal, writing, visual, music, dance, film, theater, audio, etc.)
How do we get there?
Curriculum that involves the following activities:
- Arts (music, dance, writing, painting, drama, role play, video, mixed media…)
- Mindfulness activities (meditation, visualization, Alexander Technique, etc.)
- Reflection–journaling, conversation, meditation, visualization
- Socratic discussion–diverse topics: music, literature, scientific truth, divine inspirations as “texts” for discussion.
- Play (with reflection)
- Creativity exercises
- Building, constructing, making
- Student designed learning and project work
- Travel, field work
- Wilderness journeying
- Knowledge acquisition–reading, discussion, writing, more…
- Scientific inquiry
- Physical conditioning
- Public speaking, teaching, presenting
- Ethical dilemma role play