What should be included in the educational process
Generally the educational process of society and its institutions, such as the network of schools and universities, lags behind the changes they produce. The eventual processes are not foreseen, and it is hard to make the necessary changes to keep up with them.
Among others, two great changes are occurring: the appearance of global communication, via the Internet and social networks, and the great ecological crisis that endangers the life-system and the Earth-system. We could eventually disappear from the Earth. To avoid that apocalypse, a new educational system is needed, one that is very different from that which has prevailed until now.
Knowledge is not enough. We need consciousness, a new mindset and a new heart. We also need a new paradigm. It is urgent that we re-invent ourselves as humans, in the sense of finding a new way to inhabit the planet, with a different type of civilization. As Hannah Arendt put it so well: «we can inform ourselves our whole lives without ever educating ourselves». We have to re-educate ourselves now.
This is why, besides those dimensions I add these two: learning to care and learning to become spiritual.
But first we must restore the cordial, sensible or emotional intelligence. Without that kind of intelligence, it makes little sense to talk of caring or spirituality. This is because the modern educational system is grounded in intellectual, instrumental and analytical reason. That is a form of knowing and dominating reality which converts it into a mere object. With the pretext that it would undermine the objectivity of knowledge, sensible reason has been repressed. What emerged was a cold vision of the world. A sort of lobotomy occurred, that prevents us from sensing that we are part of nature, and perceiving the pain of the others.
We know that intellectual reason, as it now exists, is recent, beginning about 200 thousand years ago, when homo sapiens with its neocortical brain appeared. But prior to that, some 200 million years ago, the limbic brain accompanied the appearance of mammals. With the mammals, love and caring – the feelings mammals dedicate to their young – entered the world. We humans have forgotten that we are intellectual mammals. Consequently, we are fundamentally carriers of emotions, passions and affections. In the limbic brain resides the niche of ethics, of oceanic feelings such as religious feeling. Even earlier, some 300 million years ago, there appeared the reptilian brain, which is responsible for our instinctive reactions; but we will not deal with that here.
What is important now is that we must enrich our intellectual reason with our much more ancestral cordial reason, if we want to realize caring and spirituality.
Without these two dimensions we will not mobilize to care for the Earth, the water, the weather, or inclusive relationships. We need to care for everything, otherwise, things will deteriorate and perish. And then we would face an encounter with a dramatic scene.
Another task is to rescue the spiritual dimension. This should not be identified with religion. Spirituality underlies religion because spirituality precedes religion. Spirituality is a dimension inherent to the human being, like reason, will, and sexuality. It is the profound site from where arise the questions of the ultimate meaning of life and the world. Sadly, these questions have been considered private, and without much value. But without them, life loses its radiance and joy. Moreover, there is new data: neurologists have concluded that whenever a person deals with the questions of meaning, of the sacred and of God, there is a perceivable activation of the neurons of the frontal lobe. They call this «the God point» of the brain, a kind of inner organ, through which we capture the Presence of a powerful and loving Energy that links and re-links all things.
Nourishing that «God point» makes us more solidarian, loving and caring. God opposes the consumerism and materialism of our culture. Everyone, especially those who are in the school, must be initiated into this spirituality, because it makes us more sensitive to the others, more linked to Mother Earth, to nature and to caring, values without which we cannot guarantee a good future for us all.
Cordial intelligence and spirituality are the most urgent demands that the present threatening situation poses for us.
Free translation from the Spanish by
Servicios Koinonia, http://www.servicioskoinonia.org.
Done at REFUGIO DEL RIO GRANDE, Texas, EE.UU.