Venturing Beyond Our Minds
by Harold C. Lyon, Jr.
Copyright Harold C. Lyon 2008, all rights reserved.
This essay was a chapter in a book manuscript begun over 20 yrs ago (and now completed) with Carl Rogers and Reinhard Tausch, entitled, ON BECOMING AN EFFECTIVE TEACHER. However the chapter turned out to be a "red herring" which drew too much fire. It caused the book to be rejected largely because editors did not "get" this chapter or found it too controversial. I have since substituted an important chapter on Mentoring in the book and provide the material from the chapter here as an independent essay.
The source of much of what I share here is an old colleague, Werner Erhard. I was privileged to have shared significant time back in the 1970s while serving on the board of EST, an Educational Corporation, with this courageous and brilliant man and others who have contributed to the world and to my own personal growth. Much of which follows is from Werner, with his permission, accepted and now owned by me and many others. Additionally, I wish to acknowledge my coauthor and friend, Carl Rogers for his significant influence on me. Also I acknowledge and also James Carse, and his book, Finite & Infinite Games which has also stimulated some of the thinking behind this chapter. I acknowledge both of these brilliant men for daring to explore the unexplorable, for risking going beyond society’s finite games to create a larger context in which all of us, who dare to own our own magnificence, and play an infinite game, thereby transforming our ability to make a difference in the world. They have created the opportunity for me to see beyond the finite games of a “you or me” world, to a “you and me” world, where all can win and keep playing infinitely.
In this writing, my intention is to attempt to describe the undescribable, to say the unsayable, to think the unthinkable.
We have no way to hold those spaces -- those, as yet, undescribed ideas or formulations that are out there in that larger context beyond the mind, in the horizon and surely as I write about this I diminish the magnificence of it. When I force myself to reduce it, to contain it within the confines of words, og this writing, or of rational expression, I do not do it justice.
It takes incredible courage to risk venturing out beyond the structure of society, beyond the support of the rational beyond the boundaries of our finite games. Yet every new idea, every great discovery or invention, every true transformation, was discovered or created because someone was willing to risk the unknown, the untried -- to find a way different from society’s way. This is requires going from environmental support where one is dependent upon approval from external sources to self support where one’s approval comes from within.
Years ago, I had the privilege of spending several days in Florence, Italy, with R. Buckminster Fuller, who was given the unique rare opportunity to “think aloud” for 8 hours on his feet at a chalk board. As the usual presentation lecture hour passed, Buckminister Fuller, having all the time he wanted, became more and more animated – like a child discovering – as his mind began exploring new unknown ground leading, while a small group of us watched in awe. Animatedly, he used piece after piece of chalk, oblivious to all except the excitement of new vistas, explaining out-loud where he might be going – somewhere out beyond the limits of his and certainly our minds. Some years later while on the est board, I also had the privilege of some days with Bucky and Werner Erhard, as these two great minds played off each other back and forth.
Bucky said that he deserved very little credit for his many discoveries which number in the hundreds including a new revolutionary concept of Synergetic Geometry, the geodesic dome, and many other unique contributions to architecture, poetry, mathematics and philosophy. All that knowledge is just up there, Bucky claimed, for any of us to reach for and grasp. He claimed that the slowest child could be as smart as the brightest and the brightest could be incredibly brilliant if we would remove society’s restrictive bonds. Bucky said that the only credit he deserves is for making the decision to think for himself seventy-three years ago. At that time as a young man he considered himself a “cast out” from society -- a “throw-away” who had failed financially. As he contemplated suicide it dawned on him that since he was expendable, he had nothing to lose and he might as well launch a lifetime experiment of thinking for himself, of daring to venture out beyond the mind. He committed himself to finding out what he, as one individual, could do to contribute to the entire human family. His life and discoveries are a tribute to that commitment and to his genius.
This area “out beyond the mind” is the space in which miracles take place. I’ve become an avid believer in miracles in the past few years. St. Augustine said, “Surely he who does not believe in miracles will never participate in one.” So the first step is to dare to believe in the unbelievable. Have the courage to act and see that you matter. Before a miracle occurs, it appears impossible. For example, there is no way scientifically to predict a butterfly from a caterpillar, nor do you see caterpillars running and jumping off logs trying to fly. If they tried that hard they’d never be still long enough to grow a cocoon. But after the miracle occurs, we accept it quite readily; we even find a linear explanation for it.
Yet in everyday life, in society’s structure, in our rational world, in our classrooms, we have no way to hold miracles. We leave no room for our students to think for themselves, to reach, as Bucky Fuller suggests, for the answers. Most of these answers are to be found in our experience which is the raw material of science. According to Bucky Fuller “Science is an attempt to set in order the facts of experience.” Experience is composed of making mistakes and having successes -- trial and error behavior. All failure is an opportunity to “break through” to new discovery. This means being willing to risk making a fool of yourself. You do this every time you do something different from the “approved” way, or every time you have the courage to be “outrageous”. Each of us lives in a box limiting ourselves drastically with set responses or roles, most of which we have learned are appropriate according to society. Even our minds -- incredible as they are, are boxes which often limit us to a survival level. Some of the most common boxes are “Be careful”, “be smart”, “be approved of” (I was stuck in this one for much of life), “be a man”, “be dignified”. Those acts which are void of courage will never shape you. They will just keep you comfortably in your box. For example, if you spend your life being careful with people, you’ll never really know them...nor will you really make a difference. I spent a lot of my life being careful with people and not knowing them. Life is too short for that. My fear of looking bad is much bigger than my not looking bad or even my looking bad. The teacher who is trying to look perfect -- as though he or she has all the answers -- is filled with fear of looking bad. It is far better to look bad through risking, than to be sterilized and immobilized by the caution that comes from fear of looking bad. Helen Keller said: “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing”. And yet when you step out into the unknown, as every great inventor, every great discoverer of something new has done, you won’t have the support, the structure, the agreement necessary for comfort (and for arrogance).
But stretching out into the unknown is essential to the growth of a person just as is food, or nurture. We either grow or we die. It is true from the smallest cell, to the complex human being, to the entire universe. (A brilliant book on this subject is George Lock Land’s Grow or Die - the Unifying Principle of Transformation. Children yearn to explore; to make a difference”. “Achievement,” according to Werner Erhard, “is as far out as you can get in a world in which you don’t make a difference.” Achievement and conformance are all we ask from our students. We give them no opportunity to go farther than achievement, or to make a difference in the world. Only the strongest, through their own declaration of independence, survive having their creativity killed off by the fourth grade, if not sooner.
Evolution is one way of stepping into the unknown; of causing a transformation. When a fish came upon land it was an unthinkable, unspeakable act. It was an act of singular courage. It created the opportunity for the world to evolve and life to function in an entirely new universe -- land. One of us can take such an evolutionary step. To do so, we must be willing to risk making incredible fools of ourselves.
But now is a time when such a step is needed. Our society is in crisis. We are fast using up our energy resources, the economy is shaky, terrorism is emerging as an effective, if immoral, political practice. It appears true on all fronts. New cars have to be recalled, guarantees are not honored, high school graduates don’t read, test scores indicate a lower level of achievement. Excellence has all but vanished. Leadership has vanished.
In the last half of the eighteenth century from a relatively small population, our country produced incredible leaders -- Jefferson, Adams, Washington, Franklin, Madison, Monroe and many others. Compare that to the past seventy years. Why, with so much larger a population are we not developing higher caliber leaders? I believe it is partly because we are so highly specializing -- building our “boxes” smaller and tighter, and these “boxes” are constructed in our homes and in our schools. Many of our gifted people now go on directly from college into graduate school or one of the professional universities. There they are powerfully indoctrinated in “the limits” of their professional “boxes”. They “adjust” to what a good professional, scientist or scholar is like, compromising their ideals daily, and trading off initiative for respectability, for acceptance, for conformance to “the right way.” This leaves little opportunity for leaders to grow into the needed “breakthroughs”, (mistakes are what leads to such “breakthroughs”). We are very willing to stand off and criticize the leader or the risks taken, but no one seems to want to nurture or educate the leader. It’s somehow unpopular to lead or to be a leader in a so-called free society. We associate leaders with power, profit, efficiency and other distasteful images. We are tired of autocratic leaders who treat us as inferiors. At the same time, we shun human leaders who cry or show vulnerability. We need leaders who are willing to risk making decisions across the broad spectrum of life -- who can be bigger than our small problems. In short, we need leaders who can create a context of the world working for everyone -- who can have true power rather than force. Force is exercised only when there is no power. Real power is the ability to empower others to make a difference in the world.
At the same time that we are suffering from this leadership vacuum, our country is facing another perplexing demography crisis as we become an aging society.
And at the same time that we are finding we have fewer children, the number of children “in trouble” continues to grow. If projections continue in the years ahead of the 21st Century:
• More than one million teenagers will run away from home each year.
• More than 6 million juveniles will be arrested for crimes,
• 800,000 children will be in foster care,
• Millions of adolescents and children suffer from drug and alcohol abuse,
• Suicide will be the second largest cause of death among adolescents (after accidents),
• More than one million teenage girls will became pregnant,
• Nearly twenty (compared to ten a decade ago) of every 100 students dropout of school without graduating
(and about 30% of these are our most gifted and talented students turned off and bored by the lock step system),
• 2000 children will be killed by their parents and 200,000 more will be physically abused.
In almost every case these data reflect situations that are dramatically worse than they were a few years ago. Today with [UPDATE] 48 percent (and this is a growing figure) of our population over 65 years old, and a comparatively large number of these older people voting (62% of those 65 and older turned out at the polls last election compared to 41% of the 18-34 groups), “children’s” issues don’t have the votes, and political attitudes toward children vary from indifference to outright antagonism.
We tend to think of ourselves and our country as being child-oriented and nurturing, yet the situations indicate a startling and alarming “antichild” trend; and yet, children are the future. We need to look at the role and fate of children in an aging society -- and in a society becoming even more “childless” for many families.
Will our fewer numbers of children (upon whom the future of our society depends) get lower quality nurturing and education as their numbers diminish and as our unstable economy presents even scarcer resources for all? Will we become more, or less, caring toward our most vital natural resources -- our children -- as we push for the adult-oriented goal of greater economic security?
These are important philosophical questions that wise leaders cannot afford to ignore, yet we appear to be ignoring them; older people are making the laws and more of the elderly being organized in behalf of their own interests. Relatively smaller numbers of young people will not automatically be nurtured and groomed to become the nation’s cadre of leaders unless we have a transformation in our approach toward our future leaders. Each child must be viewed as a precious and scarce resource; we must realize that our society will in the future be totally dependent on that small cadre of people who are today’s children. It is naively optimistic to believe that this problem will be solved by applying more of the same old treatment which has given us 6 million juvenile arrests, or by developing new educational innovations, or by the government stepping in with new programs, or by a sudden renewal of the deepening conservative mood of the nation.
An old Chinese proverb reads: “If we do not change our direction, we are liable to end up where we are headed”. This bit of Eastern wisdom seems to characterize our present developing crisis. We face a critical need to transform our way of viewing or addressing this problem from one of it being “a nice” thing to do for children, to one of realizing that we must invest in nurturing children today in order to assure the future of our society. The quality of our lives, as the elderly of the coming decades, will be dependent upon the creativity, the ideals, the dreams, and the magnificence of today’s children to provide the essential renaissance of spirit so vital to the transformation of what is becoming a disillusioned and tired society.
A humane approach to the education of our children at this time in history, in spite of our expenditures on defense, programs for the aged, our economic considerations and a thousand other problems, must become our highest priority. This is an idea whose time has come.
So what is the answer to these perplexing problems? Do we need a major pedagogical approach to the classroom, like a “new” math? What manner of innovation can turn around the millions of teachers, administrators, and students in the country’s 16,000 school districts? We have had literally thousands of educational innovations in the past few decades and we have little to show for them. Every one which makes it upon the scene, after hundreds of thousands of dollars of federal, state, local, and private foundation investment, just doesn’t seem to make a big difference. Given, that some of them are incredibly useful and some even make some useful change. But I am not talking about change. Change isn’t enough. It’s like a minor adjustment: what we need in education is a transformation. Something quite different from change. Something really miraculous or something that will create the opportunity for the miracles needed in education.
The closest we’ve come to finding a way to transform education is something that, ironically, doesn’t really involve any changes in curriculum, or any special educational innovation. It is found in the research of Carl Rogers, Reinhard Tausch, Dave Aspy and Flora Roebuck which reveals that the therapist or teacher who really makes a difference in the classroom has the three traits presented throughout this book: genuineness, empathy, and prizing. Teachers with these traits have miraculous results in the classroom. Achievement scores rise dramatically, absenteeism diminishes, an aligned community in the classroom develops among students and teachers, and both students and teachers enjoy their work, are happier and experience more energy and aliveness. We have in this data, a rich source of empirical support for a new humane way of being with and nurturing our children successfully. Given that great breakthrough, how can we transform our educational system, using this new knowledge, to meet the crises we are facing? Certainly publishing this book with these findings is not an answer. Even if we distribute the facts and findings to every college of education, to every school and to every teacher, the information will not produce the results we all desire and require. Educators and institutions have resisted such “change” successfully for hundreds of years. We are experts at continuing to do things the way we have always done them. We are all frustrated about our supposed inability to make the difference in the world that we all would like to make. “So what can I do?”, you ask. What can one teacher in one school do about the inhumaneness of education in this society? After all, it is difficult enough surviving from week to week in an inner city classroom, much less having enough energy to transform education nationally, or throughout the world.
What difference can one person make? What follows is a provocative answer, or even non-answer to this question. This material is based largely upon thinking shared by a brilliant man, Werner Erhard. I have taken the liberty of adopting this philosophy and context, with Werner’s permission, to education, even though it was originally written about the problems of world hunger. The context Werner Erhard created is so based upon universal principles that it could be adopted to almost any large issue. Again, I acknowledge Werner Erhard for his contribution to what follows.
The following material will not be easy to read, nor easy to accept. It will be still less easy to apply. But it is a challenge - it points to an exit from our “boxes”, to a venture beyond our minds, to an infinite game with a horizontal vision, rather than a finite game with boundaries, to a chance for transforming education. What it takes to do this is the courage to open our minds to an examination of our belief structures about ourselves and our world and the willingness to try new ways of conceptualizing our being in the world. If you are willing to venture beyond your mind, read on!
You and I want our lives to matter. We want our lives to make a real difference -- to be of genuine consequence in the world. We know that there is no satisfaction in merely going through the motions, even if those motions make us successful or even if we have arranged to make those motions pleasant. We want to know we have had some impact on the world. In fact, you and I want to contribute to the quality of life. We want to make the world work.
When you look at making the world work, you are confronted by, and cannot pass over, the fact that each year in the 16,000 school districts of this country, hundreds of thousands of children have their creativity and spontaneity killed off by a system that is more often than not, inhumane, demeaning and impersonal. This unparalleled failure for humanity enables us to see that the world’s unworkability is located in the very condition in which we live our lives. Thus, it is not children “out there” who are being damaged; people are being damaged “here” -- in the space in which you and I live. You and I are working to make our lives in the same condition that results in inhumane education.
Inhumane education, both maintains and dramatizes a world that does not work. Billions of dollars of Federal, state and local funds are invested in this problem. Every few years, new solutions, new innovations, new technology, is announced as “the latest” breakthrough. Yet, when you interview children, when you enter an inner city school at 11 a.m., it becomes vividly clear that schools are largely not nurturing places -- not safe humane environments for growth and discovery. Inhumane education persists. Children now carry guns in schools … and they shoot other children.
The bare statistics are so shocking that we rarely examine the further impact of education on our own lives. Inhumane education, by its persistence, seems to invalidate that our lives could matter. It seems to prove that we are capable only of gestures. It suppresses the space in which each of us lives.
Yet, precisely because the impact of inhumane education on our lives is so great, its existence is actually an opportunity. It is an opportunity to get beyond merely defending what we have, beyond the futility of self-interest, beyond the hopelessness of clinging to opinions and making gestures within boundaries.
In fact, in experiencing the underlying truth, one comes to realize that the ordinarily unnoticed laws that determine the persistence of inhumane education on this planet are precisely the laws that keep the world from working. And the principles of the end of inhumane education in the world are the very principles necessary to make the world work.
So this article is not an explanation, a solution, an opinion, or a point of view about the problems of education. It is an examination of what is real about the persistence of inhumane education and it is aimed at answering two questions:
1. What are the laws, governing and determining the persistence of inhumane education? Not the reasons, however cogent; not the justifications, however comforting; not the systems of explanation, however consistent or clever. If we were merely looking for reasons to explain the persistence of poor education, we could logically deduce them from the facts.
Fundamental laws and principles, however, cannot be deduced. One knows them by creating them from nothing, out of one’s Self. One does not arrive at fundamental laws and principles as a function of what is already known. Such fundamental laws and principles do not merely explain, they illuminate. They do not merely add to what we know; they create a new space in which knowing can occur. The test of whether we are dealing with fundamental laws and principles, or with mere reasons and explanations, is whether there is a shift from controversy, frustration and gesturing, to mastery, motion, and completion.
2. What are the principles of the end of inhumane education? Not new programs of solution, no matter how saleable or clever; not different or better opinions, no matter how arguable; not points of view, not just more money, no matter how much needed, no matter how agreeable. This discussion is not about another good idea. It is about revealing the fundamental principles of the end of inhumane education in our schools.
START BY EXAMINING THE EXAMINER
The first step in examining any problem is to examine the system with which you are going to examine the problem. For example, there are equations in physics that would be incomplete if they didn’t take into consideration the nature and consequent effect of the observer.
So, before you and I begin to examine the problem of inhumane education, we need to examine our own nature and the effect of that nature on our perceptions and understanding of the problem. Until we understand ourselves, we won’t know the quality of our findings, or how those findings are influenced by the entity making the examination.
I am not the best expert on education. The little bit of knowledge I’ve acquire in thirty years in education is small compared to the knowledge of the true experts in the field. But as a result of my interaction with tens of thousands of people, I do have some insight into Self -- my Self, yourself, the Self -- and a certain expertise about what a “me” is. I want to take a look with you at what a “me” is with respect to education.
Look inside yourself -- not at what you think or what you feel, not at your opinions or your point of view -- but at the ground of being that gives rise to your actions, thoughts, and feelings. Look specifically at the unconscious, unexamined assumptions and beliefs which limit and shape our response to education. This is the territory we are going to cross.
THE ASSUMPTION OF SCARCITY
The very first component you see in the structure of beliefs through which we perceive the world is the component of scarcity. Human beings don’t necessarily think that things are scarce. They always think from a condition of scarcity.
For instance, while you and I might never have had the thought, “Love is scarce,” it is obvious if we examine our behavior that we are “coming from” scarcity with respect to love. We often act as if we must dole it out carefully and only to those people who deserve it. The truth is that the more love we give, the more love we have and the more we have to give, as love is boundless. “Love one another…” and “Love your neighbor as you love yourself…” are not merely old biblical or religious sayings, they are truth. Also, because we assume that everything of value in life is scarce, we act to protect things -- regardless of how much we actually have -- because they are “scarce”.
Time is also an example. It is something else that people consider to be desperately scarce. No one ever has enough time. Watch yourself when you do have enough time and you will notice that you act as if you don’t have enough.
I am not saying that you think that thousands of children are damaged each year as a consequence of inhumane education because good education or teachers are scarce. I am saying that scarcity is one component of the structure of beliefs through which we perceive the world.
It is worthless to know that your ground of being contains the belief that things are scarce if you know it merely because you have been told or because it makes sense. You need to know it as a result of looking inside yourself and actually seeing how the belief in scarcity shapes your thoughts and action. Examine your own system of beliefs and observe that you do believe in scarcity. While confronting this belief, also understand that it is not true that inhumane education persists on this planet because good education is scarce.
Just as an example -- not as a suggested solution to the problems of education -- we could train all the human teachers needed to fill the classrooms of the country by taking one percent of the country’s defense budget and by conducting massive in-service teacher training programs along the lines Reinhard Tausch, Dave Aspy and Flora Roebuck have designed, for developing high empathy teachers. I’m not saying that if we cut the defense budget by even 10% and diverted those billions to train humanistic teachers, we would eliminate inhumane education.
I’m just saying that the notion that millions of children are damaged each year because of a scarcity of humane teachers is not accurate.
THE ASSUMPTION OF INEVITABILITY
The second component you will find when you begin to look into the condition through which you are perceiving the problem of education is that of inevitability.
As an analogy, suppose I told you that you could go through the rest of your life without ever having another argument. Try to put that into your structure of beliefs. Everyone knows that you can’t not argue. Arguments are inevitable.
It is not true that things are inevitable. What is true is that we perceive the world through a condition -- through an unconscious, unexamined structure of beliefs -- which has a component called inevitability. You just know that, “If education could be effective, wouldn’t we have accomplished that by now?” It must be that when you have human beings, you have bad schools. Like death and taxes, it has to be tolerated. You have to first see for yourself that you have been looking through these two filters. It is impossible to ever get clear about anything until you first truly clear yourself of the limits and boundaries in which you have been living. You need to see that thousands of children do not fail to learn meaningfully each year because inhumane education is inevitable. Inhumane education is not inevitable, any more than slavery was inevitable, any more than smallpox or polio was inevitable.
THE ASSUMPTION OF NO SOLUTIONS
The last and perhaps the most pernicious and insidious aspect of the unconscious, unexamined structure of beliefs through which we perceive poor education is that component called “no solutions”. There are few people who would be reading this now if they thought that it were possible to get up and do something that would actually improve education for all children. You and I believe that the only reason that we would allow education to be bad is that there is no solution. If there were a solution, it would have been discovered and we would have to apply it .
The truth is that schools do not fail because there are no solutions. The failure to grasp that is what makes people ask: “Well, what are you going to do about it?” As if what we did or didn’t do were what caused the problem to persist in the first place. What they really want to know is, what more are we going to do about it? What better solution have we come up with? What are we going to do that is different from what the experts have already done?
Look into your own structure of beliefs, inside the condition from which you think about the persistence of inhumane education, and observe that you do believe there are no solutions. While confronting this belief, also get that there are solutions. And they are not merely good ideas. There is, for example, over twenty years of carefully conducted research which has been accomplished by Rogers, Tausch, Aspy, and Roebuck which demonstrates clearly that the most effective teachers have three human traits – empathy, congruence, and prizing – and that it is possible to train teachers in these productive traits. So this is a very good sounding solution. But thousands of children who suffer as a consequence of inhumane education each year do not do so because there are no solutions.
THE RESULT OF TAKING A POSITION
In further examining our unconscious system of beliefs, we discover the origin of gestures -- that is, behavior arising out of hopelessness and frustration. If you have now recognized and accepted the existence of your own personal and individual filter -- that ground of being, that condition, that unconscious, unexamined structure of beliefs through which we perceive the facts of inhumane education and our attempts to eliminate it -- you have begun to move out of the sense of frustration and hopelessness into no sense at all. You are beginning to be able to just be with and actually observe the problem clearly. After transcending your system of beliefs, you can just be with the problem. The Gestaldt Psychologist Fritz Pearls used to say, “Be with your confusion, that is where the answers are.” This is an opportunity afforded, not by information, expertise or learning, but by taking responsibility for your system of beliefs.
Now we are ready to look at the problem of inhumane education itself. Well, what could we do? What position could we take that would end it? I looked at a lot of positions that people have taken:
• the position that we should provide families with vouchers to be used to pay for better education.
• the position that we should go back to the basics.
• the position that we should take our children out of school and educate them at home.
• the position that we should allow teachers to train themselves in “teacher centers” controlled by
• the position of bringing the police into our schools to insure order.
• the position of delaying change until the courts dictate it.
• the position of more punitive methods to regain control of our schools.
• the position of more permissiveness for students.
• and the position that we should train more teachers in the traits that the research presented in this
book shows results in higher achievement, more creativity, higher student motivation and cooperativeness, and less absenteeism,
I found out that any position you take with respect to the problems of education automatically and inevitably calls up the opposite position in equal measure.
To illustrate: When I say “left,” notice I don’t need to say “right”. If I say “up,” I don’t need to say “down”. If I say, “Black,” or “Good,” I don’t need to say, “White,” or Bad.” It is a fact in the universe in which you and I live that any position requires its opposite position. The assumption of any position necessarily implies its opposite position. If I take the position, “Let’s end inhumane education”, without further ado I have called up the opposite position in some form or other. Maybe the form is, “It can’t be done.” Maybe the form is, “There are more important things to do.” Maybe the form is, “Let them do it.” Whatever the form, it is in opposition to “Let’s end inhumane education.”
When our positioning calls up the opposite position, we habitually redouble the energy we invest in our position. That’s how we handle opposition, isn’t it? When you’re opposed, don’t you redouble your force? And when you redouble your force what happens? Obviously, you call up redoubled opposition.
A term Werner Erhard used to describe the mess that surrounds most issues in the world today and prevents us from getting at what is really true about the world’s problems is “pea soup.” The pea soup is a mass of confusion, controversy, argument, conflict, and opinions. It is, in fact, composed of positions and oppositions.
The mass of the pea soup is created like this: As a nucleus, you have “yes” and no” as position and opposition. Then around the nucleus an enormous mass called “other solutions” builds up. For example: “That way won’t work. Try it this way instead.” “We need to do more.” “Oh, no, that won’t work. I’ve got a better idea.” “No, none of that will work, we need to do it differently.”
Then this mass of solutions becomes the larger nucleus for an additional round of more/better/different, which becomes an even larger nucleus for more ... and on and on. That’s how you get the mass of the pea soup. That is the way we create the confusion and conflict and controversy that keep us from even seeing the truth of what the problem is.
You can’t discover this principle of opposites by making gestures. The United Sates Congress can make an enormous gesture, a billion-dollar gesture. There are organizations around the planet that can make big gestures, hundred-million-dollar gestures. There are small organizations that can make small gestures. And as individuals we can make even smaller gestures.
But as long as you are gesturing -- as long as you are asking what more can you do, what better solution have you got, what have you come up with that’s different -- as long as you’re asking those questions, you cannot see that the confusion, controversy, conflict, doubt, lack of trust, and opinions surrounding the problem of education result inevitably from any position you take.
Once you are clear that you cannot take any position that will contribute in any way to the end of inhumane education, that any position you take will only contribute to the pea soup that engulfs the problem, then hope dies. And when hope dies, its opposite, hopelessness, dies with it: Without hope you can’t have hopelessness.
You are now close to the source of the problem of inhumane education. If you can see that the problem is without hope, you are no longer hopeless and frustrated. You are just there with whatever is true. There’s just you, without the structure of beliefs through which you try to look at the problem. By getting clear yourself, and then getting underneath the pea soup, you can look deep down into the problem and see its source.
THE CONDITION IN WHICH WE LIVE OUR LIVES
What you discover is that inhumane education is a function of the condition in which each of us lives his or her life. It isn’t what you are doing, or what I am doing, or what they are doing. It isn’t what you are not doing, or what I am not doing, or what they are not doing that is causing the persistence of inhumane education. The source of the problem is that you and I and they live in a condition.
Here is an analogy that will explain what I mean by a condition: Our bodies as physical entities exist in an atmosphere, and no matter how healthy a body may be, if we pollute the atmosphere, that body will be damaged in direct proportion to the pollution.
The environment for living organisms is called the biosphere. You as a living organism may be very functional, but if I put you into an unhealthy and unworkable biosphere, you will cease to function.
The environment for you as a human being - the “beingsphere,” if you will -- is a system of concepts and forces. It is the condition in which your humanity exists. It is the condition which surrounds us as human beings. And it is in that condition that inhumane education persists.
A condition is a position, a point of view or belief, that functions as a fundamental ground of being. Forces are the processes that arise out of conditions.
THE FORCES IN THE WORLD
It is the forces in the world which result in thousands of children being damaged each year as a consequence of inhumane education. It is the forces emanating from the condition in which you and I and all of us live that result in those killed spirits each year.
Call them political forces, if you like. Study the political forces and you will see inhumane education is the inevitable result of those forces. It doesn’t make any difference what form the forces come in, or how you change them. When you study the various forms of political forces, you see that inhumane education is the inevitable result. If you don’t like politics, do it with sociological forces. Psychological forces. Philosophical forces. Or if you prefer, a combination of them.
The forces in the world come from and are consistent with the existing content, the existing circumstances. In turn, these content-determined forces circle back to reinforce the existing content, the existing circumstances, in an endless cycle. This process describes the condition of unworkability in which, no matter what you do, it does not work.
The point is that when you get your own belief system out of the way and you get through the confusion, controversy and opinions, down to the source of the problem of the persistence of inhumane education on the planet, you see that it is a function of the forces on this planet.
As an analogy, let’s assume we live in a world in which the forces are represented by invisible horizontal lines. Any attempt to take vertical actions is stopped by the horizontal forces that turn all vertical movement into horizontal movement. You can’t see those forces. They are like magnetism or gravity. You can see their results, but you can’t see the forces themselves.
To continue the analogy, let’s assume that horizontal actions result in the persistence of inhumane education and to end it you need to take vertical actions. But if you do that in a field of horizontal forces, you can see what happens. You end up being forced to move horizontally. So what you do, even when you try to end inhumane education, is consistent with the persistence of it. Inevitably. No matter what you do, it will be ultimately ineffective in ending inhumane education. It will persist.
By the way, this is not a justification for doing nothing, either. The truth doesn’t justify anything. It’s a place to come from, not something to argue with. This writing is not an attempt to take a stand. What we’re attempting to do is to get at the truth about education on our planet. And when you get to the truth of it, when you work your way to the source of it, you see that inhumane education on this planet is a function of the forces in which we live on this planet.
AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME
Victor Hugo said, essentially, that all the forces in the world are not as powerful as an idea whose time has come.
If, in fact, the time were to come for the end of inhumane education on this planet, it would end. That’s it. When the time for things comes, they happen by whatever means are available. When an idea’s time comes, the forces in the world are transformed so that instead of what you do being unworkable, what you do works. And you do what works.
The Wright brothers would have died bicycle merchants had flight not been an idea whose time had come.
If you understand this, you begin to understand why things in the world have progressed as they have. In 1800, slavery in this country, exactly like inhumane education around the world today, was seen as inevitable. The attitude was: “When you’ve got human beings, one is going to dominate the other.”
Remember, it doesn’t make any difference what those forces were: psychological, economic, political. The consensus among people was that slavery was a function of inevitability. In addition, those people knew that the economy of the country would collapse without slaves. Everybody would be damaged, even the slaves themselves. It was better to be good to your slaves than to end slavery. Besides which, if we ended slavery, all those blacks would overrun the country and play havoc with the white citizenry. Everyone knew you could not end slavery. You just couldn’t do it.
But when that idea’s time came, slavery ended. Now, in the case of slavery, it took a cataclysm. When something’s time comes, it takes whatever form is available to it, and it happens.
It is not a solution which makes something happen. It is its time coming which makes the space for creative solutions and enables the solutions you use to work.
If you have traveled in Asia or Africa in the past, you know that smallpox was a scourge there. People died from it. They were disfigured by it. Recently, there have been signs in red on the walls of towns in Asia, offering a sizable reward to anyone who lets the local health authorities know about a case of fever and spots. Nobody seems to be collecting those rewards in Asia. Why? Because, for all practical purposes, there is no more smallpox on this planet. It was not the solution that ended smallpox. We have had the solution to the end of smallpox -- the vaccine -- for over 150 years.
As anybody who has worked with the problem or studied the problem knows, smallpox persisted, not because of a lack of solutions, but because of the economic, political, sociological, psychological forces in the world. For example, we couldn’t get into some countries because they didn’t want any outside help. Some people didn’t want to be vaccinated. And so forth. But somehow smallpox ended when the time came for it to end.
When an idea’s time comes, whatever you do works, and you do what works.
AN ANSWER YOU CAN’T FIGURE OUT
It is clear that any position one takes will only add to the pea soup. It is clear that nothing we do in this condition will be anything more than a gesture. It may be ambitious and massive, but it will be a gesture nonetheless. It is clear that given the current set of forces, given the current condition, nothing will end inhumane education on the planet. And it is clear that when its time comes, inhumane education will end as a function of what we do and we will do what ends it. It is clear that mere opinion, argument, doubt, mistrust and explanation only contribute to hopelessness and frustration. It is clear that making and supporting gestures is only a way of avoiding responsibility. It is clear that defending a position, arguing a point of view, only adds to the pea soup. It is clear that when the end of inhumane education is an idea whose time has come, then this mess in which we have been living will be transformed into the end of inhumane education on this planet.
What causes an idea’s time to come?
When you know the answer to that, you are no longer a mere speck of protoplasm on a dustball hurtling through space. You know how to have an impact on the world. You know what can make your life matter. The answer to “What causes and idea’s time to come?” is what this article is about.
It is not about doing something more to end inhumane education. It is not about doing something better to end it. It is not a different set of solutions to the problem of education. It is simply about causing the end of inhumane education on this planet to be an idea whose time has come.
The question, “What causes an idea’s time to come?” belongs to a particular class of question. Its answer is not the normal and conventional, reasonable type of descriptive or explanatory statement that a mind likes, that we are used to handling. It is not an exposition, concept, or theory. The answer to this class of question is, instead, a principle more powerful than all the forces in the world.
Perhaps it will help to take a short break and while doing so, switch to another philosopher, James Carse, who describes this phenomenon in other words. I refer you to Carse’s small book, Finite and Infinite Games – A vision of Life as Play and Possibility (Ballentine publishing Group, 1986). He suggests that there are at least two kinds of games, finite and infinite. Finite games are played for the purpose of winning and infinite games for the purpose of continuing the play. If a finite game is won, it must come to an end when someone has won. But infinite games continue on. All the finite games we play are limited by boundaries, have definite rules for play, have a beginning and an end, and have winners and losers. But the class of games called infinite games have no beginning or ending, have no losers, are without boundaries and rules, and have as their object, the continuing of the game. To address the problem of inhuman education in the world, we must make a shift from the finite games we are so used to playing, to an infinite game which is not limited by boundaries, but which opens to the horizon and beyond and enables us to better consider the power and cause of an idea’s time to come.
To answer this class of question, “what makes an idea’s time to come,” you have to give up your normal finite way of arriving at answers. Rather than knowing more and then more as you go along, you will need instead to be somewhat more confused as you go along. Fritz Perl’s “staying with the confusion…” once more. Finally you will have struggled enough to be clear that you know that you don’t know. In the state of knowing that you don’t know, you get, as a flash of insight, the principle (i.e, the abstraction) out of which the answer comes.
While this is work that transcends ordinary intellect, all it requires is an unusually high degree of openness, commitment and intention. You will need these qualities to get you past the impatience, frustration and confusion that almost certainly will result from the feeling that what you are reading doesn’t make any sense. In fact, the statement we are seeking isn’t sensible; it transcends the senses. One doesn’t test the validity of such a statement by seeing if it fits into one’s system of finite beliefs which are limited by boundaries. The test is whether there is a resulting shift from controversy, frustration and gesturing to mastery, movement and completion – to transformation – to infinity.
Answers in this class are fundamental principles; they are the source of parts, rather than the product of parts. They come as a whole (infinite), which whole can then be divided into pieces (finite). You cannot reach the whole by adding up pieces; obviously the pieces don’t even exist as pieces until there is a whole of which to be a piece. Answers in this class -- fundamental principles -- can be known only by creating them.
CAUSING AN IDEA’S TIME TO COME
What causes an idea’s time to come? An idea’s time comes when the state of it’s existence is transformed from finite content into infinite context.
As a content, an idea expresses itself as, or takes the form of, a position. A finite position is dependent for its very existence on other positions; positions exist only in relation to other positions. The relationship is one of agreement or disagreement with other positions. This agreement or disagreement manifests itself in various familiar forms. For example, your position is similar to, cooperates with, or supports other positions; it is independent from or ignores other positions; it protests, conflicts with, or opposes other positions. Positions exist by virtue of contrast, such as being different from, or more than, or unrelated to, or better than other positions. A position cannot stand by itself; it is not self-sufficient.
To come at this from another direction, we can look at content as thing, because an idea as a position is a thing. That which is without limits is either everything or nothing, and therefore not something, not a thing. It follows then that a thing requires limits to exist. These limits are expressed as the boundary of that thing. Since the existence of a thing is dependent on its boundary, and a boundary, by definition, is that place between a thing and not-that-thing (i.e., something else), the existence of a thing is dependent on something else -- anything else. Therefore a thing, a content, is dependent on something outside itself for existence. Content is not self-sufficient.
Context is not dependent on something outside itself for existence; it is whole and complete in itself and, as a function of being whole, it allows for, it generates parts -- that is to say, it generates content. Content is a piece, a part of the whole; its very nature is partial. Context is the whole; its nature is complete.
When an idea exists as a position - when it is a content - then, it is an idea whose time has not come. When an idea’s time has not come, whatever you do to materialize or realize that idea does not work. When an idea’s time has not come, you have a condition of unworkability in which what you do doesn’t work, and you don’t do what works.
When an idea is transformed from content to context, then it is an idea whose time has come.
When an idea is transformed from existence as a finite position to existence as infinite space, then it is an idea whose time has come. Now an idea as position literally requires other positions for its existence, while an idea as space is both self-sufficient, requiring nothing else in order to exist, and allows for -- is the space of -- the existence of other ideas. When an idea is transformed from existing as a function of other ideas to being the space that allows all other ideas, then it is an idea whose time has come.
When an idea is transformed from content to context, then it is an idea whose time has come. The idea has transformed from a finite game – content with boundaries and winners and losers, as Carse puts it -- to an infinite game – context which has no end, no winners or losers and no boundaries, and this enables it to be an idea whose time has come.
CREATING A CONTEXT: PUTTING A MAN ON THE MOON
Contexts are created by the Self, out of nothing. When you stop identifying yourself as a thing, as a position, and start experiencing your Self as the context, as the space, for your life - when you start experiencing that you are the context in which the content of your life occurs - you will automatically and necessarily experience responsibility for all the content in your space. You will experience that you are whole and complete and infinite -- that you are aligned with other Selves, with the Self.
When you experience your Self as infinite space, you create contexts from which you can come into the world. One such context could be the end of inhumane education on our planet. Another context would be a live of love.
You are probably not yet clear about what context is - at least, not how it works - so we’ll use an example. On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy initiated a context when he told Congress: “This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”
By creating the context, “A man on the moon in 10 years, “ Kennedy transformed space travel from merely a good idea - which had not succeeded despite considerable attempts, the feasibility of which had been questioned, argued, and discussed - into an idea whose time had come.
The result of what Kennedy did can be understood by analogy. It is as if he created a building named, “A man on the moon in 10 years, “ and inside that building he put offices for all the various ideas, positions, notions, content and people that had to do with space flight. The first office inside the front door of the building in 1961 would have been called, “It can’t be done.” This office would have been inhabited by the skeptics and cynics.
A content or position is threatened by any opposite position. Given two opposing positions, only one can survive. There is a winner and a loser. On the other hand, a context gives space to, it literally allows, it even encourages, positions that are apparently opposite. In fact, the most important position in a newly-created context is the position which appears to oppose the context.
It is important to realize that opposing positions actually contribute to establishing a context. In the case of the civil rights movement during the 1960’s, for example, all those people who opposed civil rights for blacks actually contributed to creating a national dialogue that demonstrated to the country that the issue could no longer be ignored.
I happened to have had the honor of being the aide de camp to the commanding general of the 2nd Infantry Division which was ordered to go to Oxford Mississippi to enforce the Federal Court order to integrate James Meredith into the University, and also later to carry Alabama Governor George Wallace off the steps of the University of Alabama in Birmingham. We put up road blocks around “Ol’ Miss” and stopped hundreds of cars from neighboring states and communities carrying people – some of them professionals -- with guns, knives, and explosives coming to defend the “honor of the South” against us Federal invaders. We used tear gas against the rioters, though we never fired a shot against an American citizen in the these encounters. All those people, every government official in the South who stood in the doorway of a school and prevented black children from entering had been a cause, a part of the persistence, of the problem, of the oppression. After the creation of a context - “equal rights and dignity for blacks” - the very same action that had been a part of the problem’s persistence became an action contributing to the end of legal discrimination against minority races. Then, every such action contributed to an increased awareness of the issue, to the passage of civil rights legislation, and to the gradual change in attitude that ultimately evidenced itself in the recognition that civil rights was an idea whose time had come.
In a newly-created context the most important position is the position, “It can’t be done,” That is the first and most important content to be processed, to be realigned. When you create a context that context generates process; process in turn grinds up content, it changes content so that it becomes aligned with the context.
In building a “A man on the moon in 10 years,” the skeptics and cynics were working on “It can’t be done” within the context of doing it, so that instead of being a threat or a stop to the goal, suddenly their skepticism and cynicism started contributing to the achievement of the goal.
All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come. Context generates process. A contextually-generated process transcends the existing forces; it transforms those forces. A contextually-generated process aligns the existing forces within the context. It becomes a boundary-less infinite instead of a limited finite game. Then the aligned forces provide a condition of workability. Every action taken in a context is a fulfillment of, an expression of, and a manifestation of that context. The pessimism, the cynicism, the position, “It can’t be done,” are ground up by the process generated by the context, and are transformed into the material out of which the result is achieved. When an idea is transformed so that the apparently opposing idea actually validates and gives expression to the idea, then it is an idea whose time has come.
Pretty soon the it-can’t-be-done people became aligned. They were still skeptics (that’s their nature), they were still cynics (that’s their nature), but they were suddenly now cynical and skeptical … and in alignment with the context called “A man on the moon in 10 years.”
Then they just moved out of the way and the new office in the front of the building was: “You can’t put a man on the moon without this specific kind of metal and we don’t have this specific kind of metal.”
As we all know, the metals were invented and produced. Then what moved up was: “But you don’t know whether to do it with high technology or high energy.” We know that that one was resolved. The Russians said high energy. The United States said high technology. It didn’t make any difference. Within the context of putting a man on the moon in 10 years, either one of the solutions would have worked … since it was an idea whose time had come.
Unlike the problem of education, in which solutions already exist, there were no solutions to the problem of getting a man to the moon in 1961. President Kennedy created a context called “ A man on the moon in 10 years,” and out of that context, in which the question of feasibility was merely one of many positions within the context, came the workable solution: the Congressional approval, appropriations of money, technological breakthroughs, NASA, and ultimately, men on the moon. Before then, space travel was not possible because the attempts to make it real existed in a condition of unworkability.
In 1961, the people all the way in the back of the building called “A man on the moon in 10 years” were optimists. Much less than 10 years later they had the first office, the office of “It will be done.” In 1969, it was done.
The position “It will be done” and the position “You can’t do it” are merely positions within the context of “A man on the moon in 10 years” - or within the context of “The end of inhumane education on this planet in this decade.”
The context of ending inhumane education should not be compared literally with the space project. It is the power of a context to cause an idea’s time to come that is analogous; nothing else.
Obviously, something has to be done. Anybody can see that. When people say, “but don’t you see that you can’t end inhumane education with words?” that’s like saying, “Don’t you see the floor down there?” Of course, but that isn’t the point. Everybody sees that something has to be done. The point is to create a climate, an environment - specifically to create a context, a commitment to the end of inhumane education-in which what is done is effective.
Instead of the condition in the world creating lines of force running horizontally and our activities to eliminate inhumane education running vertically, the context will generate a process to realign the forces so that the lines of force start running vertically. Then, within a realigned set of forces, what you did that didn’t work before suddenly works. It’s the same thing you were doing before, except that suddenly it now works. Every action taken in a context becomes a fulfillment of, an expression of, and a manifestation of that context. In that context, your intention to end inhumane education can be realized.
Ending inhumane education is not something more to do. It is not something better than what is being done. It is not some new and different and wonderful thing which makes everything in the past obsolete. No. This is about causing the end of inhumane education on the planet to be an idea whose time has come, by causing the end of inhumane education to exist as a context for what we do and for the process of decision and discussion by which we arrive at what to do.
THE POWER OF CONTEXT
There isn’t a person reading this who does not know the power of context in his or her own life. Whether you are conscious of it or not at the time, there have been times when you created a context in your life. As a consequence of your doing so, suddenly things started to work: that which was stuck and not moving, suddenly began to move and start working. When you create a context, it’s not that you are now doing something very much different from what you were doing before or even that you now know something very much different from what you knew before. It is that there is a shift in the climate, the space - specifically, the context - in which you work, that makes things suddenly workable.
The power of context is real. True, it doesn’t seem very real if you operate out of a system of reality that says that the finite body of the person over there is more real than the infinite love that that person experiences. My love for another is a lot more real to me than her body is. Her love is an experience more real for me than her face. The context -- the end of inhumane education on the planet -- is very real for me. It’s more real than the “yes-buts,” “how-abouts,” the confusion, the doubt, the controversy, the conflict. This context is now more real for me than the facts regarding the persistence of inhumane education. For me, the context created now has a power greater than those facts. It has the power to generate a process, to generate a set of forces which are aligned with the end of inhumane education and which will create the circumstances for the end of inhumane education.
I have something I want to tell you which is very vulnerable. Perhaps delicate or vulnerable things should not be said or written in public because they are apt to be misunderstood. This is something so delicate it requires intimacy. So I say this to you not as a public statement but in the intimacy of the relationship which we have now established as beings. Until now, each time some child has his creativity killed off as a consequence of inhumane education that destructive act was further evidence of the persistence of inhumane education. The instant you create a context -- the end of inhumane education on the planet -- then such destruction resulting from inhumane education occurs in that context, and suddenly the same destruction that had been a manifestation of the persistence of the problem becomes a manifestation of, virtually a contribution to, the end of the problem.
When a space in which something happens is transformed, the same happening takes on a different meaning and therefore leads to a different result. No one would ask anyone to be treated badly as a contribution toward the end of inhumane education and it is a fact that when you create a context around inhumane education and make that context real, it does shift the meaning and result of the event. Some of us, including me, have experienced some terrible things in our lives including injustices, scandals, imprisonment, mistreatment, gross indignities, and more. To the degree that those experiences are the finite content of my life, or our lives, that content -- appears as a failure or disaster or victim with winners and me or us as losers. But an infinite game never ends and has no boundaries or winners and losers. If I create a context such as of love in my life, all those injustices and terrible experiences become transformed by the boundless context of love I create and the terrible content of each disaster realigns itself and instead contributes to the richness of the man I am – of my life within that context I have created.
A person can be stifled as evidence of the persistence of inhumane education, in which case that person’s aliveness and stifledness have been reduced to meaninglessness. A person can have his creativity killed in the context of the end of inhumane education, and the context affords meaning - almost purpose - to that person’s life. The indignity suffered by James Meredith, as he tried to exercise his constitutional right to an education in Oxford, Mississippi, was an incredible act of courage, the significance of which was transformed nationally by the context of civil rights having become an idea whose time had come. Nothing could stop him.
WHAT CAN THE LITTLE INDIVIDUAL DO?
There are four generating principles in this article.
The first generating principle comes from a question Buckminster Fuller asked. Bucky’s question was: “What can the little individual do?” What can you do as an individual that some big organization or government can’t do?”
What you can do that no other entity can do is create a context. Only you have the power to create a context. It cannot be done by a group. It cannot be done by an organization. It must happen within the Self. The home of context is Self. Only within your Self can you create the context: The end of inhumane education on the planet. That is what the little individual can do.
I know that underneath our facades -- underneath the finite games that we bother ourselves with in life, right underneath the surface -- is the experience of an innate and natural responsibility for the world in which we live. It is not something you have to jam in there or convince people of.
I share this here in this writing to convince you of nothing. I have nothing to convince you of. The experience of responsibility already exists within your Self. All you have to do is experience your Self as the environment of your experience and you will automatically and necessarily experience responsibility for everything within your space. Ending inhumane education is a natural consequence of the experience of individual and personal responsibility, or your Self’s experience that inhumane education exists in your space, in your world.
Now as a practical expression of that, you will ask: “What can I do?” This writing book does not answer that for you. It goes out of its way to not answer that question for you. Instead, it creates a context in which you get to answer that question yourself, so that the answer is your own answer - an answer coming from your genius.
The first generating principle is that this is an individual and personal responsibility.
It has nothing to do with guilt. If you want to feel guilty, fine. Keep it to yourself. It’s not part of what we’re talking about. This has nothing to do with feeling sorry for stifled students. I consider feeling sorry for those people demeaning to their humanity. This is not about being ashamed. You do not have to be ashamed about what you learn, even about what you don’t learn. Being ashamed is a mere gesture. It’s a cop-out. This is not about blaming anybody. It’s not even about your personal interest. Of course, it is very much in your personal, selfish interest to eliminate inhumane education. If people don’t get a humane education, your life is going to get very miserable in about 20 or 30 years. And this is not about your selfish interest.
People have said and will continue to say: “Sure, you can reach 40,000 people and get them all fired up about ending inhumane education. How long will that excitement and commitment last? What will happen after it wears off?”
If we have to keep people fired up, this idea is a joke. If this idea isn’t natural to your Self, it is a fraud.
This is about you, and I suggest that if you get in touch with your Self, you will experience a natural, spontaneous sense of responsibility.
AN ALIGNMENT OF WHOLES
The second generating principle is that this is infinite play -- an alignment of wholes, not finite games or a sum of parts. In this you do not do your “part.” There is no “part” for you to do. This is a endeavor in which you are the whole endeavor.
If you enroll yourself in this vision, you become the creator of the vision. It becomes your context and anyone working to eliminate inhumane education around the world will be working for you because you have taken the responsibility to create the context of the end of inhumane education on the planet. When you do that, anybody doing anything is working for you and that includes Carl Rogers (who though deceased, has wonderful ideas which live on infinitely) and Reinhard Tausch, Dave and Cheryl Aspy, Flora Roebuck ( all of whose collective research contributes to the workability of this idea whose time has come), and me.
Let me give you an analogy. If you take a transparency, a photographic slide, and you cut the transparency in half and you project one half on a screen, what you see if half a picture. On the other hand, if you take a holographic transparency and you cut it in half and you project it, what you see is the whole picture. In a holographic transparency, each part is not a part. Each part is a whole that contains the entire picture.
Similarly eliminating inhumane education is not you doing your part. It is a transformation from you doing your part, to you being the creator of it all. This is an alignment of creators and sources, an alignment of wholes. You are the source of it. You make it completely yours in a way that allows others to make it completely theirs. No one gets credit for it, and each of us is allowed to own it completely.
This is not a movement. This is not a bandwagon. There is no movement or bandwagon to join. You can’t be a part of something here. You can only be the whole thing, aligned with other people who also are the whole thing.
Alignment is the spontaneous cooperation of wholes coming from a context or common purpose. Agreement, on the other hand, is merely a banding together of parts in support of a position or point of view. You don’t need anything from anybody.
All you need to create a context is your Self. Humane education is an alignment of Selves taking responsibility for creating a context.
CONTEXT, NOT CONTENT
The third generating principle is the one I’ve already discussed with you: the creation of a context, to cause the end of inhumane education on this planet to be an idea whose time has come. It can be done only within your Self.
And you create a context from what? From nothing. Within your Self and from nothing you create the space, “The end of inhumane education on the planet”, and in that space you put all content and all process, and within the space, process is generated, which reorganizes and realigns the process and content. In that context, everything that happens in every moment is really the end of inhumane education manifesting itself. Each position that used to contribute to the pea soup now becomes a position manifesting itself as contributing to the end of inhumane education.
An idea transformed from content to context is an idea whose time has come. Create a context and you have mastery. I promise you that at the point in this when you actually experience the context, “The end of inhuman education on the planet,” you will experience a kind of mastery that you have never experienced before. That is, in my humble opinion, a gift from God – the Creator of the Universe and the Master of all contexts and infinite games. He sees the alignment of all in his infinite wisdom far beyond what we see. But he created us in His image and gave us infinite powers beyond what we know, so we must dare to believe in miracles. God is and has created the context.
I said we can experience mastery, not force. Many of us have a lot of force. Mastery requires no force. If everything is going vertically, what do you have to do to get something to go vertically? Nothing. Just do whatever you’re doing.
Out of the context, “The end of inhumane education on the planet” sometime in the next month some opportunity to do something to make real the end of inhumane education on the planet will cross your path. Instead of interacting with it out of a position, you will be able to interact with the opportunity out of this context. Then, what you do will be wholly appropriate to the end of inhumane education. The same can be true of other contexts you create, such as love. Opportunities to love yourself, another, the waters, the land, and the planet will come and you will be able to interact with those opportunities out of the context you have created.
A TRANSFORMED SPACE
The fourth generating principle is the principle of transformation. I cannot predict exactly what will happen to end inhumane education on the planet. In fact, any prediction begins to place a limitation on what can occur.
If you and I were caterpillars talking about flight, you can imagine what the talk would sound like? “We don’t have the power to fly. Caterpillars don’t fly. They wiggle. We’re too bulky and fat and we don’t have wings. We can’t do it.”
To which someone might reply: “But if a caterpillar could fly, by what method do you suppose it would happen?” Don’t you see that you can’t answer that with a caterpillar mentality? Whatever answer you figure out comes from a limited condition; it is deduced from what already exists, that is, the form of the caterpillar. The creation of a context dissolves the limitations; it transforms the condition of unworkability and creates an opportunity for solutions to occur.
We can predict what 100,000 readers of this book banded together in merely a movement, each doing his or her part and making gestures, could do about inhumane education -- but no one has ever seen 100,000 aligned people. No one can predict what 100,000 people can do who are aligned out of themselves, out of their individual sense of responsibility, out of being whole, out of being willing to create new contexts within themselves -- within themselves as individuals, within themselves in relationship, within themselves as a group, within themselves as organizations or institutions, within themselves as society, within themselves as humankind. We have no idea what a group of 100,000 aligned people can do. And any attempt to predict it limits it.
So I only predict miracles.
Twenty or 500 years from now, when we’re looking back at how inhumane education ended, it will not look as if miracles had happened. Everyone will know how it happened. They will point to events that were pivotal, that made a difference. There will appear to be an obvious relationship between what was done and the logical consequences of what was done. The schools are better; there were better teachers and curriculum; this government changed; the President said that; the government did this; and it all resulted in the end of inhumane education on the planet. In retrospect, that’s how miracles always appear to happen.
Only butterflies can explain how caterpillars came to fly.
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