Beyond Imagination Chapter 6:
Education: We are all Teachers, Learners, and Doers
By Wayne Hartman
Education is the most important activity in any society. It is required by everyone, and should be actively encouraged and pursued for the entire lifetime of each individual. Further, it should be tailored to individual needs and should be provided free of charge. Many problems in society are the direct result of neglect in this area. A sick education system is a sure sign that the society must either change or die.
Education is the primary means through which knowledge, skills, and wisdom are shared among people in the society. Education has three facets: teaching, learning, and doing. As young children, we are primarily learners and doers. But, for the rest of our lives, we are always in the midst of all three facets at the same time -- learning some things, teaching some things, and practicing or doing some things.
Education is the means through which society discharges its responsibility to provide each individual with whatever is needed to develop their unique skills and talents. Of course, the individual has a responsibility in this as well, for education doesn't happen unless the individual learner is an active participant. Education is also the means through which society imparts to its members the values necessary for society to function harmoniously.
All four areas of an individual's life (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) must be covered by the education process, but there should be no set curriculum that everyone must go through except at a very rudimentary level. One exception is the spiritual area, where everyone needs a basic understanding of who and what they are, and what society expects from them. Nearly everything else should be tailored to meet the individual's needs and interests. People learn most effectively when they are interested in what they are learning. Until they are self-motivated to learn something, it is not worth wasting the effort to teach them.
Some of the kinds of things that education should cover in each of the four major areas include:
- physical: motor skills, balance, coordination, physiology, nutrition, massage, hand work
- left: logic, memory, facts, cause/effect, math, science, technology
- right: spatial orientation, intuition, abstraction, creativity
- emotional: feelings, moods, psyche
- spiritual: morals, values, right behavior, nature of being
Specifically what should be covered in each of the areas is left to the experts. However, some useful guidance can and will be provided for some of these areas.
As a society, we cannot afford to fail in our duty to educate. However, we must realize that this is more than simply to educate our youth through grades K-12. Education is, or should be, a lifelong endeavor for every individual on the planet. Education has three main roles (1) teaching individuals how to learn, (2) imparting skills and information, (3) creating environments for skill using by individuals and in groups where appropriate.
Because our world is changing so rapidly, facts have limited utility. Knowing how to learn has become extremely important. The individual must learn constantly just to keep up with changes both on the work and the home fronts. Learning is now becoming a way of life, as it should be. The education system will have to adapt and grow to accommodate the need. However, more of the same will not satisfy the need. The current system simply was not designed to meet the educational needs of today. It's time for massive change.
For one thing, we need some of the best and brightest minds in the country involved in education. We can't necessarily afford to take them from current tasks, but we may be able to employ some of their time in a productive manner. One way of doing this is as sort of a labor tax, where every individual is required to provide a percentage of their time for the education of others. The education infrastructure should determine how to use that time for the greatest benefit to society.
On Subjects: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic ...
Basic motor skills should come first, followed by basic communication skills. Reading, Speaking, and Writing come second to mature the basic communications skills. Basic number skills come third along with basic skills for interacting with others, and basic creative or artistic skills. Early activities should all involve a high degree of play. Individuals should be allowed to progress at their own pace and no set requirements should be imposed on the level to be achieved. Each individual is unique, and should be treated as so.
Once basic skills are learned to whatever level each individual is capable of, the focus should be on teaching different techniques for learning and helping each individual to find and develop those techniques that are best for them. We shouldn't teach in ways that force individuals to use ineffective means for learning. Teaching and learning are two components of the same process, they are not independent activities. We don't want to waste the students time and risk frustration. It's too easy for frustration to turn to disinterest.
A few subjects such as Rights, Liberties, Responsibilities, Social Values, Great Thoughts, and Lifestyles should be required so that individuals have a common basis for living in society. Nearly everything else should be elective based on the individual's interest and ability.
The Role of the Professional Teacher
The role of the professional teacher should be primarily one of evaluator, organizer, facilitator, counselor, and guide. It is the teacher's duty to help each student find and develop their abilities and talents in line with their interests. This requires helping each student to find out how they learn best and to uncover what they are naturally interested in by exploring various topics and skills and seeing how they do with them. Success and failure is unimportant. Curiosity and willingness to try new things are of greater value -- even then, there is nothing wrong with an individual who finds a area they like and pursues it to great depth. Interest will naturally take the student to wherever they need to go. When done in the right manner, learning is one of the most exiting activities that there is. Children naturally like this state of being. It's only when they are taught in a manner that is unsuited to them or uninteresting to them that problems arise.
This is far from the case now. In many instances, the role of teacher has been reduced to that of babysitter and disciplinarian. Simply keeping order in the classroom has become a major task, nearly an impossible one in some neighborhoods. School is not the sanctuary of learning that it should be. As a result, we all suffer from a variety of problems that plague society today. Not all of this is do to education, but a great deal of it is. This is not to blame teachers -- they are doing the best they can within the way the education system is set up. The major problem is that the world has changed so rapidly. This has changed the nature of the input to the process, the student who no longer has the same moral and social training happening at home. Further, the expected output is not clear either. There is no real understanding of what skills are required to be a good, happy, and productive member of society anymore.
The structure of schools have to change in drastic ways to even begin to make things better. However, the first step is to define what we really want education (K-12) to do in society. Then the best and brightest educational thinkers should come in and design whatever process is right for making it happen. Human beings can do whatever is necessary to overcome human problems. All it takes is focus and resolve accompanied by a willingness to apply the best people to the task. The best people are those with the skills, talent, and commitment necessary to get the job done. Whatever society focuses on we will get. It all comes down to focus, resources, and resolve to do whatever it takes to do it right.
Educating the Individual as an Individual
Each individual is an individual and should be treated as such. Means, averages, and norms do not have any place in a system that is helping each individual to develop to whatever that individual's potential is. It doesn't matter how one person compares to another in the education process. It simply does not matter. What is important is that each individual receive exactly what is beneficial for their highest growth. This should include some challenge and competition for stimulation but this must not be overdone to the point of driving individuals and potentially burning them out. The learning pace should be moderate to fast, however, learning should always be fun -- always!
To educate the individual in this manner, more resources have to be applied to finding, testing and evaluating the talents and skills of individuals. The individuals themselves should be actively engaged in supporting this process by reporting on what they are learning and what is fun or easy for them vs what is more difficult. Difficult may be OK if the individual is motivated by the challenge. Difficult is not OK when it is overwhelming or starts leading to disinterest.
The chief motivation for learning should come from counselors and individuals getting together to define overall goals for particular periods of time such as monthly, quarterly, and yearly. The two together should agree upon what is to studied and learned during these times. Substitutions should be allowed at any time based on the agreement of counselor and individual. Meetings and assessments should be frequent. The goal is to facilitate the learning process for each individual by assuring that the right resources, tasks, and activities are assigned at the most optimal times within the overall constraints of the education system. For many tasks, individuals may be guided by facilitators, but they will be on their own to do the work until they have questions. Much skill getting will come from personalized interaction with computers. Similarly, much factual information can be acquired in the same way. Demonstrations and enactments may be useful as well, either in movies or live. Skill using may take place in individual activities or, more likely, in groups where many people can use their skills together simultaneously.
It is extremely important that individuals learn group interaction skills as well. In the times ahead, these skills are critical to the very functioning of society and will be essential to individual survival as well. Individuals will have different preferences and methods for functioning in groups. These must be respected. However, society is at a stage where we are learning to find our connections with one another so that we can become whole -- one. This places a responsibility on each individual to find their place within the puzzle and operate harmoniously. There is only one web of life, and we are all within that web -- not caught in it like a bug in a spiders web, but a strand of it that is tied to other strands.
Equal Emphasis on Right and Left Brain
In the Aquarian Age, each individual will need to function from their whole brain. This includes both the left and right components in equal measure. Individual differences may result in specific preferences, but each individual has two sides of their brain, both of which are meant to be utilized in this existence. Failure to operate in a manner that applies both sides results in lower effectiveness and efficiency than would be present when operating wholly. The individual operates at less than their optimum and society loses as well.
The present education system has an extreme overemphasis on left brain activities: thinking and logic, facts, causal relationships, mathematics, science. Yes, these are useful in the current world. They are not essential to life, however. Many people are fine and happy without these things playing a major role in their lives. Right brain skills are becoming more and more important. Creativity, spatial relationships, and intuition are all important to operating at peak levels of performance. They are essential to a cooperatively interdependent society that is focused on peace and harmony. Art, music, dance, architecture, contemplation, meditation, yoga, and any creative activities provide avenues for the use of the right brain. Using the right brain is the best way to develop it. The more one uses it, the better it becomes. Several of the skills require some level of trust as well. Metaphysics provides an abundance of techniques that can be used in this area. I suspect that, by now, psychology has many as well.
Individual versus Group Activities
The individual should be exposed to a variety of situations that are representative of what that individual is likely to face in life. Being confined to a group of one's peers in age is clearly not representative of life.
Individual activities include such things as computer aided instruction, reading, writing, computer programming, problem solving, some sports, art, meditation. They all require some type of individual focus or concentration to accomplish.
Group activities allow one to do one's task in relationship to others doing theirs. They provide an opportunity for working on interpersonal skills and for experiencing an environment similar to what one finds in the world. Group activities include team sports, plays, historical reenactments, and various group projects. Group projects should allow individuals to use their skills to do something that contributes to the whole. The main focus should be on getting people to work together effectively while maintaining an atmosphere in which each person is treated with respect.
The Teacher Appears When the Student is Ready
There is a principle in metaphysics that states: When the student is ready, the master will appear.
We need to make a similar pledge in our educational system. Namely, that whenever there is a student ready to learn, then society will find and provide the teacher necessary for the student to learn. Actually, we may want to provide the resources required which may or may not include a physical teacher. In learning related to know thyself, this should always be provided.
For other learning that an individual may desire, society needs to weigh the benefit to be gained from this training against the resources required. When individuals are operating as spirit enfleshed, they will not ask for things or be strongly motivated to learn anything that is not in line with their purpose or the higher expression of their gifts and talents -- so, in general, all requests for training should be fulfilled upon assessment of the student truly being ready.
Learning as a Way of Life
Learning should be a way of life. Each individuals main job on the planet is always to learn. This is true in every lifetime we ever experience. Know Thyself! Such is the prime directive to all of us. Since we can never complete this task, it is with us for our entire lifetime. Given that this is so, it only makes sense that the education system within society should accommodate this need of every individual to learn from the time they are born until the time they die.
People should be encouraged to learn whatever they want to learn whether for work, hobby, or just plain fun. Further, they should be given the opportunity to learn as well. The education system should facilitate this process by providing classes in a variety of areas of particular interest and benefit to society as a whole. In addition, educational facilities should be available for people on their own to conduct classes of various types for others. These may be on anything that private individuals are willing to teach that one or more students want to learn.
Individuals should be given opportunities for job growth commensurate with their skills, abilities, and interests. This may require additional training or retraining to get the individual to the level of competence required for the new job. Counselors should monitor individuals to identify the appropriate timing for these opportunities.
On the metaphysical side, a series of trainings and initiations should be established that take people to various levels of understanding of self. Many of these activities have been done in secret societies for many thousands of years. However, now we face the need for many to be trained relatively quickly so that all of society, not just a select few, is prepared for entering the Aquarian Age.
Teachers, Learners and Doers
We are all teachers, learners, and doers. I believe Richard Bach said that in Illusions. He was right. We all help others to learn, learn ourselves, and use what we've learned. It's a natural part of living. We do all three all the time for all of our lives. We may be particular about how or what we teach, learn, or do. But, since we're all different, that's to be expected.
All individuals should take it as their solemn duty to pass on their knowledge to at least one other person. That means everything that one knows. The goal is to ensure that knowledge is enfleshed to the highest degree possible, and that nothing is lost when it becomes time for an individual to pass on for whatever reason. In addition, whenever it is felt to be useful to pass on skill or knowledge to more than one person the need should be made known so that the right individuals can be identified for the training.
For society to function well, everyone must participate in the education process both as learners and as teachers. Sharing knowledge and helping others gain skills and develop natural abilities is an obligation that each individual takes on to some degree. People are the most important resource in society. Self-actualized people are of extreme benefit to society. The more such beings we have, the better the overall level of abundance, peace, and happiness for all. Spiritual education is especially important since we want all major decisions made for the good of all concerned.
It is in doing that the results of education are brought to society. When people are using their highest skills and talents in their work, society benefits in amazing ways -- especially if individual creativity is activated. The creations of people who love what they do are works with Heart -- works of Love, the closest we can get to creating works of spirit or god. The inspiration of such works can move the planet in ways that are simply beyond imagination.
Just imagine the difference there would be in the world if everyone were more productive and spent a significant part of their free time learning new things and helping to teach others. This does not necessarily have to cost anything. What it requires is a commitment to service that starts with education, the most critical function in society. Each individual must accept their responsibility in fixing the current educational problems. Paying one's taxes and allowing the present system to continue to struggle is not doing one's part. Paying more taxes won't fix the problem either. What is needed is a decision by the people that makes this problem of a high enough priority that individuals will provide the time and ideas needed to come up with an educational system that meets the demands of society in the world today. We, collectively, must do whatever it takes to fix things by figuring out how we can act locally to fix local problems, and allow others doing the same to fix their problems. The government can make sure that the best ideas get shared across the country. Also, the government can restructure the infrastructure so that it conforms with the best methods for teaching and learning at this time in this country.
Overall, we want a lot more people involved in the education process. The people that do things best are prime candidates to serve as examples to others. They may or may not have the skills to teach what they do. Here is where it is useful to mix education professionals with masters of various skills to come up with optimal strategies and materials for teaching. Much research has already been done in this area. It is only a matter of applying it to the skills that society needs and finds important. With greater use of video, we can give many access to the masters.
Suggestions Based on my Personal Experience
Read! I can not emphasize this strongly enough. Reading has been one of the main pleasures in my life. It is also one of my chief sources of acquiring information. Further, it is one of few activities that really require one to think and use one's imagination. The high bandwidth of video makes watching television and movies primarily a non-thinking experience that is all-consuming to the senses and emotions. This has its value, but not when taken to excess. Television has primarily become a means for escaping from reality. Books can be that also. However, when books do this, at least they require one's imagination to be actively engaged, thus allowing the right brain to be exercised. Read because that is one of the only ways to access particular information necessary to your development as a whole being -- especially as a spiritual one.
Most of the books I've read are nonfiction, though, you may think them far from such if you choose to read them. On the following pages I provide a recommended reading list that includes the creme of the creme from the books that I have read. The emphasis is primarily on books that have a metaphysical content, since that is the area that most touches the soul and the nature of reality creation. The greatest religious texts of the world have not been included, primarily because it is too hard to divorce such texts from the religious organizations that thrive around them. I'd prefer to stay away from religion. My belief is that the spiritual path by necessity must be a personal one and I refuse to have any intermediary between me and my maker. No one has granted to the church any right or authority in spiritual matters. Individuals may give their personal authority to such institutions as they choose, but such is neither my choice nor my recommendation to others. For society to function at its optimum, each individual must operate as a spiritual being in flesh. This can only happen when each individual has a spiritual foundation established as part of that individuals education. Education can only be responsible for part of this. For the most part, education can only set the stage and provide the right resources to facilitate learning. The individual must do the rest by applying their focus, attention, and abilities to the task of learning.
From my personal experience, for education past the eighth grade, most of what is learned is determined by how individuals apply themselves. I found that over 90% of what I learned in high school and in college, I learned outside of the classroom, or even the school setting. Most of the material to be learned came from books, and it was up to me to apply myself to the tasks at hand. Instructors and tutors may have been available in college, but I never used them.
Even more interesting, is that all of the material that I have found most important to my development as a spiritual being in flesh came from outside of any formal education system. None of it came from, or was recommended by, any person or material associated with the educational institutions that I've attended.
This is not surprising, however, since until the early 1980's, many of these books were only to be found under the Occult heading -- not a place frequented by folks who didn't want to be considered weird. In the mid-80's, this softened to New Age due to the heightened prominence of the work of many associated with using the right brains to find more sane ways of living. Now, Metaphysics is accepted as a large body of knowledge that deals with things beyond physics. Though much of it is still highly right brain oriented, the systems are complex enough that they lend themselves to left brain activities as well. A number of basic principles have been applied in various ways to various activities resulting in a great increase in self-help, alternative medicine, etc ...
If I had to label what I am, metaphysician is as good as any other label. The bottom line is that we are all spirits expressing ourselves in flesh. Metaphysics comes closer than anything else that I have ever encountered to describing the nature of how this expression happens. The following books and tapes are the best place I have found to get this understanding. You may want to complement this with some live seminars. Tony Robbins and Stuart Wilde have outstanding ones that I have personally attended. However, I recommend you start with the books. The value of the personal experience is greatly increased if you have the right preparation, and the best preparation is what you do for yourself.
RECOMMENDED READING LIST
The following books should be on everyone's must read list. They are in the top 1 percent of books that I have ever read in terms of overall impact on my beliefs and my life. This makes them, in my opinion, among the best books on the planet.
- Thea Alexander: 2150 A.D.
- Richard Bach
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull
- Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
- The Bridge Across Forever
- Paolo Coelho: The Alchemist
- Marilyn Ferguson: The Aquarian Conspiracy
- Emmet Fox: The Sermon on the Mount
- F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
- Willis Harmon: Global Mind Change
- Vernon Howard: The Mystic Masters Speak
- J.Z. Knight: RAMTHA (the white book)
- George Land: Breakpoint and Beyond
- Dan Millman:
- The Way of the Peaceful Warrior
- The Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior
- Ruth Montgomery:
- Aliens Among Us
- Threshold to Tomorrow
- Strangers Among Us
- M. Scott Peck:
- The Road Less Travelled
- A Different Drum
- Paul Zane Pilzer: Unlimited Wealth
- Robert Pirzig: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
- The Republic
- Joya Pope:
- The World According to Michael
- Upcoming Changes: The Next 20 Years
- T. Lobsang Rampa: The Third Eye
- John-Roger and Peter McWilliams:
- Life 101
- You Can't Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought
- Do It: Let's Get Off Our Buts
- Wealth 101
- Anthony Robbins:
- Unlimited Power
- Awaken the Giant Within
- John Robbins: Diet for a New America
- Jane Roberts:
- Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul
- The Nature of Personal Reality
- The Nature of the Psyche
- The Nature of Mass Events
- Dreams, Evolution, and Value Fulfillment (I and II)
- Alvin Toffler:
- Future Shock
- The Third Wave
- Paul Twitchell:
- The Tiger's Eye
- The Far Country
- Huston Smith: The Religions of Man
- Stuart Wilde:
- The Force
- The Quickening
- The Trick to Money is Having Some
- Gary Zukav: The Seat of the Soul
Books have been my companions and best friends for much of my life. I hope these books bring as much joy and wisdom into your life as they have into mine. I want to personally thank these great authors for providing such inspiration into the lives of so many. They have given wonderful gifts from consciousness to consciousness!