Biddable was the term that came to mind for the Desired Heart and Mind from Alice Bailey’s New Education in the last post. The one with the support of UNESCO and its global cultural tentacles. No, I don’t visualize everyone in the classroom holding hands, wearing white robes, and chanting. That would be obvious and the point is clearly not to convert but to minimize everything historically that fostered that sense of individuality. What john a powell deplored fairly recently as the Unitary Self that needed to be destroyed. All this jockeying about the nature of education, then and now, is really about creating the World-view or Mindset that will interpret the experiences of life it encounters. How Reality is Perceived. Permanently.
In fact that recent CCSSO C3 Social Framework I wrote about is stunningly graphic in its language about the “lenses” students are to practice using over years of classroom experiences. Probably one of the most explicit descriptions of “Creating a False Consciousness for Dummies” you will ever read.
The first chapter in Bailey’s 1932 book is called “The Purpose of Education.” She does see it as private meditation about how to change the World. Without nuisances like a store of facts getting in the way of the Sought Vision of What Might Be. This quote is a little long but, I believe, this is the passage that gives rise to the mysterious “Sense-Making” Goals of Education now all over the world. Likewise, I maintain this is the source of what CCSSI means by “Understand” throughout the Standards. It also appears to be the driver behind the “Deep Learning” mandates we have covered. Page 32 if you choose to get a copy of From Intellect to Intuition. Emphasis in original.
“All education in the East is purely directed towards Sense-understanding, which . . . is the only way that can be shown as leading to a raising of the level of essential Being . . .The essential thing is not information, but understanding, and understanding can be attained only by personal creative application [now you know why Creativity is one of the 4 C’s of 21st Century Skills and why the CCSSI assessments are to be about applications with no fixed answer about real world problems]. . .Sense-perception always means giving a thing a meaning; [not assigned by a textbook or transmitted by a teacher in a lecture] the dimension of Significance lies in the direction from within to the outside . . . Information is gained from without to the inside; understanding is a creative process in the opposite direction.”
And that emotionally-driven sense-making of experience not grounded in Facts is what Bailey says develops the “capacity to function in the larger consciousness.” which would be highly useful to Schemers wanting to break the Western tradition of Individualism. It certainly sounds like the kind of web of interconnectedness the Systems Thinkers and Deep Ecologists desire. And in 1932 if Education was to be the global vehicle for this Change in Personal Mindsets, John Dewey must be the Prophet of Change. No one else had his influence. So my epiphany in the Car Pool Line as I read Bailey’s Goals was “What’s the connection between John Dewey and Buddhism?” Ding. Ding. Ding. We have a winner.
Bailey herself said that the purpose for what she called the New Education was the “training and development of the individual for social ends, that is, for the largest service to man. . .” We exist to be instruments in other words. Sounds like Dewey too. Now it turned out that linking Dewey and Buddhism produced an avalanche of links. I am going to give the essence of what is pushed and links for anyone’s further investigation. And this really matters. It turns out to be inextricably bound up in the UN’s Vision of Education for All and its Sustainability initiatives as well the definitions of Global Citizenship we keep hearing vague references to. http://www.daisakuikeda.org/sub/resources/works/lect/lect-08.html&pid=print is the seminal lecture from Columbia Teachers College on June 13, 1996 by Daisaku Ikeda, Buddhist philosopher, peacebuilder and educator called “Thoughts on Education for Global Citizenship.” It lays out the similarities between Dewey and Makiguchi, the Japanese inspiration for SGI, Soka Gakkai International (check its partner list if you want to check its active participation among the Who’s who of Global NGOs).
Since everyone reading pays their taxes wanting education to be about:
“true happiness is to be found in a life of value-creation. Put simply, value-creation is the capacity to find meaning, to enhance one’s own existence and contribute to the well-being of others, under any circumstance.”
You do realize that “well-being” obligation and definition of Student Growth is straight out of the Belmont Challenge we chronicled as the Blueprint for Redevelopment of the Global Society, politically and economically going forward by 2020, don’t you? With UNESCO involvement. Read on. This cannot be coincidental. Ikeda desires education to be about the “all-encompassing interrelatedness that forms the core of the Buddhist worldview.”
Now I have an idea. To get around those sticky concerns about the separation of Church and State, especially in the US, let’s call the interrelatedness a System or Web and require students learn about it. Maybe in the new C3 or Science Frameworks. Then it appears Secular and Perfectly Permissible. In fact, we can take the phrase “Buddhism seeks to cultivate wisdom grounded in this kind of empathetic resonance with all forms of life” and call it Ecology and Sustainability and Systems Thinking. Then it gets to come into the classroom to alter the Student’s Permanent World-view. In a religious way. Without saying so.
In fact Ikeda sees the Concept of a Global Citizen to be grounded in the Buddhist concept of the Bodhisattva–“one who strives without cease for the happiness of others.” Americans get to secularize that Buddhist concept as College and Career Ready as we have seen. Here’s also a 2002 Speech at the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue at Harvard called “Democracy and Global Citizenship: Creating Value by Educating for Social Reform” by the Director of the Center for Dewey Studies commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Dewey’s Death. http://www.ikedacenter.org/thinkers/hickman_lecture.htm Hint: Hickman’s Vision for finally enacting fully Dewey’s work looks a lot like the CCSSI and global education reform implementations we have been chronicling.
I want to pivot though to a March 2009 lecture called “Daisaku Ikeda and John Dewey: A Religious Dialogue” http://www.iop.or.jp/0919/garrison.pdf which chronicles the similarities to Buddhism but calls Dewey’s vision for education and the schools “religious humanism.” Here’s a taste:
“The primary difference between ‘religion’ and ‘the religious’ for Dewey is that religion confines itself to a special domain of human experience usually associated with the supernatural and, therefore, does not intervene to alter the affairs of daily living.”
Dewey wanted to change the nature of the world, politically, economically, and socially. His education vision starts with classroom activity that “moves forward to restore the wholeness of the self through right relationships of dependent origination in the world.” Not just the new 3 R’s again but the impetus for all the Group Projects and Mandates of Collaboration. What Ikeda and Dewey want is education that is a “religious” experience as in students who “feel the desire to engage the world to transform it and make things better while experiencing a sense of being sustained by the larger whole that they serve.”
But no one, except me, is being forthcoming with the public around the world that these are the visions and ends being mandated for 21st Century Classrooms. All we get are vague “the process is more important than the content” or “must now be a student-centered classroom.” No one mentions Alice Bailey’s troubling one-world vision from the Cold War Era that is no friend of traditional Western culture. Or Ikeda’s vision that is admittedly grounded in attaining Buddahood in this life. We now seem to be calling that Service Learning and insist that it is Suitable for All Students because it is Engaging. Or Dewey’s Political Vision for Social Reconstruction Education grounded in his admitted Atheism.
Did you know John Dewey was one of the founders of the ACLU? None of this would be news to the ACLU so determined to take Judeo-Christian influences out of the public schools. So much for claims Secularism is the Goal. A different Kind of Spirituality is a More Accurate Description. One Useful to Those who Seek a Stronger Economic Role for the State that does Not Want to Worry about Pesky Individuals Impeding Progress Towards a Sure to be Great Collectivist Future. Yes, the post title is based on something written about Stalinism in 1954 on what the State there needed in Citizens. Seemed apt.
All the great historic civilizations of the past recognize that it is spiritual values or ends that influence individual behavior or social culture. When Madalyn Murray O’Hare and the ACLU took the prayer case to the US Supreme Court, they were really trying to take out the traditions that impeded a different Vision for where the US should go. SCOTUS was in no position to know the reality of Sought Influence I have laid in this post.
These prevailing Values and Ends are what Ikeda and John Dewey and Milton Rokeach and Peter Senge and Spence Rogers and William Spady and Outcomes Based Education and Systems Thinking and Competency all want to change.
They are the key to how individuals interpret reality and their concepts of moral order. And right now only the Communitarians and Collectivists are at the table to influence the Values and Ends allowed into the Classroom.
Now what are we going to do about That going forward?