Future Schools and Holistic Education as the Practice of
Freedom for Growth through Learning
Today we need to press for a fundamental shift away from the traditional paradigm of education based on the belief that children have to be 'taught' the human values required for social adaptability. We need to press for a shift towardthe new 'holistic' paradigm of education which is based on the understanding that human values are instinctive and therefore biologically based. We need to recognize and respect human developmental needs and to offer the conditions of freedom which children need to engage the natural process of construction of moral consciousness or ‘conscience'. Mature rational conscience is the basis for spiritual insight or 'intuition' required for accurate social evaluation and adative social behaviour or 'creative intelligence'. "Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and human freedoms" (Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Humankind is a threat to its own survival and there is urgent need for positive social transformation. The human species is a social species which depends for social adaptability and survival on complete psychological development and the intuitive understanding of the higher moral values... the metavalues or 'spiritual' values... compassion, truth, beauty, justice, love... of moral consciousness or 'rational conscience'. Rational conscience... or the 'human spirit' is fundamental to intelligence which is moral and therefore creative, productive and adaptive. Children become morally intelligent adults only if they have been provided with an education which allows for their complete psychological and moral or 'spiritual' development. Adults whose natural developmental needs are suppressed by social conditioning... who are not spiritually developed... do not reach maturity and operate with distorted value systems, unbalanced thought patterns and dysfunctional modes of behaviour which contradict the interests of their own humanity, the humanity of their children and the humanity of the rest of humankind. In order to transform our world, we need to offer an education which enables children to grow up with the freedom to engage their instinctive motivational needs for growth through learning and thus to develop themselves and their human potential. Children are persons to be honored who must be offered a whole-person or 'holistic' education which aims for their complete human development and so enables them to become socially balanced adults with attributes of moral intelligence and the wisdom of compassion required for social adaptability and species survival. Holistic education is based on awe and reverence for the inner life of the growing person as a function of the natural organic growth process or 'creative spirit' which emerges with the development of human consciousness or ‘conscience’. This so-called ‘life force’ animates the unfolding of the human personality and guides human evolution. “To save us from ourselves we need to give up our attachment to the cultural beliefs which hold back our evolution and surrender to the urgent call of the life force. “ (Ron Miller. Holistic Education: A Response to the Crisis of Our Times 2005)
The human species is a social species whose survival depends on peace, community and true democracy... only possible with the complete development of the uniquely human feature which is the moral or 'spiritual' faculty. Human morality or 'spirituality' enables the individual to be concerned... to have empathy... for the welfare of fellow human beings and promotes the cooperation required for the peace and community which is basic to survival of the species. The continued evolution of humanity depends on complete development of moral consciousness or 'conscience' as the human spirit... it depends on spiritual development of human individuals and the societies which they create. Humane individuals create humane societies. Consequently we need to our social and political problems... our collective human problems... in terms of the kind of education which we offer our children. The must be provided with the right conditions which they need to develop into complete human beings... responsible empathic adults of mature and rational conscience. The conditions required for complete psychological development are based on respect and understanding of their psychological needs. First the need for unconditional love translates into their sense of security and self-esteem. Second the need for freedom fosters the development of their character while it cultivates the wisdom of intuition and understanding or on which our species survival depends. Creative intelligence is a function of development of moral consciousness or rational 'conscience', so moral or spiritual development.
With inadequate conditions of fear and insecurity, moral development is arrested at the consciousness level of the ego-needs for security and self-esteem. The resulting frustration of growth to maturity results in immature or 'neurotic' growth and development of authoritarian conscience which translates into the limited cognition of egocentric perception ... inadequate for full understanding and effective adaptation. We must trust ourselves to trust children as learners who have an instinctive responsibility to themselves and their growth through learning. They must be trusted with independent study, with challenges, with problems to solve and with appropriate social responsibilities. They will respect the understanding teacher and will respond to respect for their humanity, their intelligence and their natural sense of responsibility to themselves, to their community and to their world. The dysfunctional relationship with oneself and the other leads to irrational fears which translate into the fear based emotions and attitudes which prevent authentic relationship and complete cognition necessary for empathic understanding of the social reality. Inauthentic relationship and incomplete cognition are not only non-adaptive but can be destructive enough to lead to unbalanced behaviour and human wickedness. The so-called 'evil' of human wickedness is the result of undeveloped irrational conscience originating in the deprivation of unconditional love which communicates security necessary for spiritual growth as development of rational conscience. In this, way loveless environments contradict the interests of humanity and hinder its capacity for adaptation to changing social conditions i.e. its 'adaptability'. "I believe that humanity is still far from that stage of maturity needed for the realization of its aspirations, for the construction, that is, of a harmonious and peaceful society and the elimination of wars." (Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind 3 )
Human adaptability and survival depend on the accurate perception of reality as a whole or 'holistic reality.' Accuracy of perception is a function of the extent to which one develops beyond the limitations of the ego and its egocentric mode of irrational thought and behaviour patterns. Consequently we can bring about the much needed positive change through individual and collective transcendance beyond ego i.e. 'self-transcendence'. Self-transcendence is a function of the capacity to transcend one's mind made self and relate to one's fellow human beings by connecting to their human core, their humanity or essence through the instinctive emotion of unconditional love which is the power by which we can transform the world. With self-transcendence we are be able to experience unconditional love and so engage in relationship based on the accurate evaluation of self, the 'other' and the world. We need education for cultivation of creative intelligence and empathy required for effective human adaptability... education for human development ie. 'whole person education' or 'holistic education'. In this context it is the responsibility of the educator to facilitate learning in such a way that the individual can perceive the social, political, and economic contradictions in their social environments and then take appropriate action against the oppressive elements in order to be able to think intelligently and effectively and so resolve their human problems. "The greatest danger lies in our ignorance. We know how to find pearls in the shells of oysters, gold in the mountains and coal in the bowels of the earth, but we are unaware of the spiritual germs, the creative nebulae that the child hides in himself when he enters our world to renew mankind." (Maria Montessori The Asorbent Mind 240)
A question often asked by critics of holistic education: Does holistic education prepare students for today’s world? Many of the problems of the world... our human problems... result from the lack of moral intelligence which derives from over emphasis on competition involving collaboration which is immoral, unintelligent, irresponsible and therefore destructive. Such inadaptive competition is characteristic of the egocentric level of human consciousness and its desire to protect its own self interests. The same unethical competitiveness cannot be the way to resolve the same problems which were created by destructive competition in the first place. The way to solve our collective human problems is through competition involving collaboration which is moral, intelligent, responsible and therefore creative. Such adaptive competition is characteristic of the moral or ‘spiritual’ level of human consiousness and its concern for the welfare of others as well as that of oneself. For this reason, our adaptation and continued evolution depends on the evolution of the philosophical paradigm of education we offer to our children. We need to implement an educational philosophy which is creative and therefore adaptive because it is based on the need to cultivate moral intelligence of moral consciousness or ‘conscience’. Morality of such creative intelligence is a function of the complete development of the personality based on cultivation of the person’s human potential. Education for development of human potentiality is education for development of the person as a whole being or ‘holistic education’. So ‘yes’, holistic education does prepare students for today’s world. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." (Margaret Mead)
Interactive Book: A Scientific* Rationale for Holistic Education (*in the sense of holistic science)
about the site
titles of texts
titles of texts4
. outline (texts in context)and chapters 5. glossary 6. quotation references
7. alphabetic index: (keywords) 8. bibliography (books and articles) 9. dedication 10. biographical statement 11. short texts
other pages... Happiness or 'Success' as Function of Higher Consciousness or 'Wealth Consciousness'
What is holistic education? www.infed.org/biblio/holisticeducation.htm
Articles by Dr. Ron Miller: wwwpathsoflearningnet/articles.php
Capetown Open Education Declaration http://www.capetowndeclaration.org/read-the-declaration
Four Winds: Renewing Education and Community http://www.fourwindsgreatbarrington.org/contact.htm
Global Alliance for Transforming Education www.ties-edu.org
European Democratic Education Community www.eudec.org
newsletters ...European Public Consultation Document on Education
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