educational philosophy (1)

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On left (Marianne Williamson, former Democratic leader hopeful in 2020 US election) and right, Jimmy Dore, podcaster (interviewer)- see the whole interview on Youtube "What is Enlightenment? With Marianne Williamson" Sept. 9, 2020.

Why watch or listen to this interview? Many reasons, as children are this fall going back to schools, youth are going to colleges and universities and their teachers are sitting with them on Zoom classes and/or in real face-to-face encounters we as a society like to call "education" (Education). MW is leading to this day and will continue I predict until her leaving this planet, one massive "Education" campaign (and, yes, it is heavily cloaked in "political" symbols, language and her activism as a leader for a healthy and sustainable democracy). She is an educational leader of the rare kind that does not come along very often in human history. That is the point of my bringing her and her work to the surface of public access and for public debate and dialogue. I have dedicated years to study of her work and recent 2020 campaign and now her following-up work before the Nov. 3 Presidential election (probably the most important US Presidential election in that country's history--the results of it will impact the world in powerful ways). With my study I have written and now had published my new book [1]. But my book is not what this blog is about. 

Even take 12 min.'s (less than 1/2 of this interview) into your living room in the next day or two. Dwell with it. If you are a professional educator, take even more time to re-listen to this over a few times. It is not that this particular interview is totally unique from her other thousands of such interviews/speeches/writings--she has a plethora of her 'voice' out there in published form (over 35 years of doing this)--but it is worth pulling out in this interview how she is an "educator" not just of spiritual things (her forte') but of material things--her "holistic" and "systems" perspective on reality, on learning and unlearning, on enlightenment itself, on love, on fear, etc. is all there brief and to the point in this short section of the interview. Not that you ought to agree with it all or anything. I have lots of my own critiques, including in my book--but that also is not the most important thing, I would argue. I am basically saying, it is profound to listen to a leader talk about education (of all people) in a transformative (yes, spiritual-centric) view, on mass social media, and with such clarity and conviction--and, with real answers of how to get through the mulitple cascading crises we face. 

Just a few teasers I pulled out this morning, to share here, and offer as prompts for you to listen to her teaching (some call preaching at times)--are the following: 

(a) the big healing and transformation required individually and collectively, "...won't be easy, and there will be truths we'll try our best to avoid" [2]

(b) we'll go not far in changing only surfaces of society and our crises if we are not "facing the darker Shadow of our past" [3] 

(c) we require a "deeper holistic understanding of what is happening" for "it's an all systems breakdown" [i.e., emergency] and only an "all systems" solution will do [4]

(d) real "understanding" is what our education and socialization processes need to be focused on--priority #1 and we can look to a couple sources to find that understanding (at least)--that is, watch a baby and watch the "big misunderstanding" that our learning systems virtually everywhere perpetrate as 'normal' (as 'truth' as 'reality') [5]

OKAY, that's a sample for you and, oh yes, let's not forget here why I get excited about her teaching about teaching our kids and youth (and everybody)--is because it is near impossible to find present educational and/or world leaders with such futurist, holistic, transformative and depth vision of how to proceed to "educate" ourselves as a species. Once again, it is not the issue of whether she has it all right, and is infallible in her vision, diagnosis and prescriptions--no, that is not my point, and I think she too is open to such critique--but the issue is that someone with such clarity of breadth and depth, spiritual and material, acumen is here and standing out and willing to 'run' for politics and/or to participate so sagaciously in the political sphere--that is remarkable and ought to be supported in and of itself. The world doesn't need MW to be President--necessarily (perhaps in 2024 if she runs again) but the world desires this kind of quality leadership, as I see it. And, let me close with my favorite quote from her intro bit in this interview: 

MW: "We're all so misinformed. From the earliest time in our lives, we are taught such false interpretations of living that we instinctively become more prone to fear...and defensiveness, where natural loving thinking feels unnatural to us, and unnatural fear-based thinking feels natural". 

Notes: 

1. My new book "The Marianne Williamson Presidential Phenomenon: Cultural (R)Evolution in a Dangerous Time" (Peter Lang, Inc., 2020) available later this fall but now ready for online pre-purchase

2. Her educational philosophy is one of 'truthing' as I call it--and, yes, fear as the ruling motivation will guarantee us to not move toward the truth but away from it

3. Shadow, in the Jungian psychotherapeutic sense, is core in her recovery, healing and transformation work, and she believes that what an individual has to go through to heal their 'shadow-side' (unconscious, past, trauma, fear) is to engage shadowork and she believes a nation also has do this; two of the major political pillars that hold together in an unhealthy way the American way of life (at least) are the shadows unexamined, untruthed out, that are coalescing always to keep the systemic racism and militarism in place as the ruling paradigms of how to live and, yes, our educational systems are immediately in commission if not in perpetuation overtly of these pillars and their fear-based structurations

4. Bringing her experience with 12-Step Recovery model of A. A. is one great experience she brings, but she also goes way beyond that model and approach to a more esoterically informed "recovery" and "transformation." As an educator, terms like recovery, restoration, healing, transformation ought to be the core of all curriculum, no matter what the subject matter is that is being taught---and, that will only occur when "Education Faculties" in Universities really take this serious and governments and non-government organizations truly support educators (at university levels, at least) to teach future teachers about these concepts and new paradigms (e.g., a fearlessness paradigm of education--systems theory, critical theory, etc.)--but these are concepts being gutted rapidly out of the universities with the domination of neoliberalism and superficiality over all

5. I (and Ken Wilber) would have differences of conflict philosophically and developmentally with her view of "enlightenment" (way too over simplified and regressively romantic); however, I (and Wilber) would completely support the notion that defining "enlightenment" and giving it a place in educational discourses (all ages)--is crucial to us facing the truth about what it is that is really important in life and education--and the future. Typically, modernist and postmodernist schooling avoids terms like "enlightenment" as if it is the plague. Universities have also grown an allergy to such discussion. Big mistake. 

 

 

 

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