Western culture in its desire to control and dominate has created educational systems that are standardized and corporatized. Education is a farce in terms of its epistemological roots. The term education is from the French educare, meaning to bring out. Education is an evolutionary process of unfolding potential that is within a person.
Instead, what education has become is a systemic means of indoctrination and dumbing down of a population made ready for consumerism and, to use the words of comedian George Carlin, to accept increasingly “shitier” jobs for lower wages and benefits.
Education as practiced in the mainstream is a farce.
Consider this cartoon that I have applied to other writings. This simply makes the point dramatically clear!
Education in its foundational usage is an evolutionary process. It can be body oriented, as in developing the capabilities of the body through diet, exercise and lifestyle. It can also be mind oriented, in developing the capabilities of the mind to meditate, think through, or learn to garden. These are all evolutionary processes.
Contrast this to the following scene. Does this signify evolution to you? Or is it a stifling of evolution?
How do we begin to change this?
One person taking on this task is Steve Jones. Steve is the President of Antioch University of New England (AUNE) whose 10,000 graduate degree recipients since the school’s 1964 founding are working towards changing the world.
The primary thrust of education at Antioch is to achieve economic, environmental, and social justice. Having devoted his professional and personal research, education, and passion to sustainability and environmental science, Steve addresses critical issues affecting today and tomorrow.
Steve puts it this way:
“Remarkably, AUNE’s focus, disciplinary orientation, and aspirational vision align perfectly with my own personal and professional passions… AUNE is like no other university on the planet—a pre-eminent university for educating visionary, pragmatic leaders for a changing world. It’s an institution embedded in the venerable Antioch University system—one powerfully integrated university. And it’s a university that melds theory and practice, emphasizing our individual and collective obligation to seek a better tomorrow through social, economic, and environmental justice.”
Wow! “Educating visionary, pragmatic leaders for a changing world.” Are the children in the above cartoon being groomed to be visionaries? Or are they being groomed for a “line up, shut up and do as your told” world inherent in corporatization.
Lets send them to Antioch! Perhaps that’s not feasible. So, lets take a close look at Antioch and create a community based educational system that focuses on bringing forth the potential within a person.
To be a true visionary is to throw up on the “Powers that Be.” To be a visionary is to take people into the evolutionary process. It is to help folks foster the bringing forth of what is within them.
In the Christian Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, Christ says, “If you bring forth that which is within you; then that which is within you will save you. If you do not bring forth that which is within you; then that which is within you will kill you.”
That which is within us is our evolutionary potential. In mystic Christianity, this is exactly what Christ is: the evolutionary potential of humanity and, indeed, all creatures. As such, regarding His miracles, He says in the traditional Bible: “Ye shall do greater works than these.”
Our task is “To do greater works than these.” Our task is NOT to sit on hard benches listening to a man standing on stage, behind a lectern or pulpit, at the head of a conference table, or in the Oval Office. No, our job is to foster evolution within our selves and in others. We need not attend to the man behind the pulpit, and even more importantly, the man behind the curtain! The man on the pulpit is simply a puppet on a string!
In doing great works in evolving minds, Steven is committed to empowering students with the knowledge and skills to lead meaningful lives and to advance social, economic, and environmental justice. He offers us his assistance “to understand, appreciate, and commit to responsible earth and natural resource stewardship and use.”
Steven, in my opinion, is where we all need to be. He doesn’t have to be a Christian to be there. He doesn’t have to do or be anything at all. As an educator, all he has to do is live up to the definition of educator: to unfold potential. To unfold potential is to entice evolution. This is the Christ who lives beyond the theological doctrines of church and state. Being Christ-like—demonstrating through story, action, and example and encouraging good work in others—is to be an educator!
Belonging to a Church or some other dogma-saturated practice doesn’t cut it. What cuts it is the fostering of the Creative Process.
Steven furthermore lives the message of Goethe who said, “Give them the stone of Sophia and you’ll find philosophy gone. And, what’s left? The Stone!” Philosophy as practiced is all talk. Who wants a lover (the Philo of philosophy) who is all talk? What we refer to as philosophy is about theories, theologies and all kinds of “isms”. Shall we call it all B.S.?
Our freedom of thought; however, is going to come about via our letting go of isms. Isms are B.S. Talk is cheap. It is only in letting go of head based philosophy that we will unfold our true evolutionary potential through being a lover. At this point, philosophy dies for the sake of Philo-Sophia. And, this is exactly what Steven is doing.
The unfolding of evolutionary potential is “fathered” through the brilliance of people like Steven. He’s definitely not conventional, thank God! If he were, he would not be challenging us to evolve.
To listen to an Envision This! Interview with Steven; go to:
The website for Antioch is: