1958 was my year of birth. Looking back 52 years now I can see an evolution of the world. And I was in the middle of it when I grew up. It has been an incredible time, in hind sight as a realize now. It has made me what I am today. It has motivated me to do what I do today……..the desire to change everything! Not the past of course, but the way we conduct our lifes, organize ourselves and especially how we prepare our children for the future through education.
Looking back at my own education I realize now that the scholing that I was provided tought me how to count, read and memorize geographical locations and historic dates. It never tought me about life itself, its purpose, its complexity, its morality or beauty in relation to our universe. Spirituality was educated in a dogmatic way in church but not given attention in our education. I gradually had to find out through life itself. It took at least 43 years and many events in my life to open up my eyes to those wonderful complexities too and for the first time feel in control of my own decisions.
My eldest daughter was born in 1994. Looking back at her 16 years she sees a mismatch. She sees two divorces of her parents, her struggles to move between two cultures and systems (Spain and Holland), the aggression she suffered on the street and at school, the lack of understanding of teachers and tutors, growing up in a broken up family and a broken up society. It has motivated her to do what she does today……the desire to change everything!
I realize that for the last 9 years I became much more capacitated to support her in the complexity of her life and decisions that she had to make. Looking at her I see a person who at age of 16 is much further than I was at the age of 35. I also see that her progress has been personal, with my assistance thanks to my own deepend understanding of life, and not at all by the educational system that we offer her. On the contrary, we clash often with the system that wants her to perform in the spiritless manner that characterizes our current times. As she experiments with her life, with the development of her feelings, her own morality, her spirituality and energetic relationship with her surroundings, she is learning exponentially more than at school. She is ambitious in doing things differently, with a feel good attitude right from the beginning.
What characterizes my own situation and that of my eldest daughter, not to mention that of my youngest daughter, whose personal story is even more dramatic to tell and her attitude towards life even more motivated and strong, is the fact that LIFE educates us, the hard way. This has opened up my eyes to the need to transform also the entire educational system, bottom up.
I grew up in a post war epoque when society was being defined. In the 60’s it was a rich, warm and constructive culture, full of passion. In 1974 I moved to Spain to widness the death of the dictator Franco and widness a new epoque for the country. One of modernization, growth and wealth. Only when I came back to Holland in 2001 I felt the deterioration of society in all its magnitude. Now, in 2011, Spain is one of the weakest economies of the European Community and overall deterioration is progressing fast there as well. Italy is in bad shape too and so is the rest of Europe.
When I look back I can now see clearly how I was utilized by multinationals and later government as a marionet in a game. I had been educated to perform a show, to become a puppet in the hands of materialistic dictators. My personal identity was intented to be shaped to the benefit of my masters or instructors. I was general manager but could not manage. I was asked to execute commands and not to produce opposition. I was deprived of my identity in exchange of temporary status. I was ordered just to do, not to be, let alone to think!
Only when my personal life got into severe problems I broke through this situation. I was deprived of every hierarchical position and financial power and found ….. myself. It was quite a discovery and I am so happy that I discovered myself for it changed my life. I learned that my life was worth much more than the emptiness of having to contribute to a systemized economy of scale of a wrong focus and organization of humanity. Blindly contributing to the destruction of our interhuman relationships, family bonds and our environment, simply because it is commanded and legalized by our so called leaders, is against my evolutionary nature as member of a species that is supposed to be intelligent.
The question I ask myself is how my 16 year old daughter experiences this evolution? She has grown up in the cold, individualistic and aggressive materialistic, global society. She has access to global information through internet. She receives public education, compulsory, that concentrates on making her a robot to serve the old system that she and I want to abolish. We want her to discover her personal identity and conduct a significant, purposeful life of her own choice. I do not want her to be a robot in a system, a number in society. She has the evolutionary right to BE.
Together we have had clashes with the present educational system. We have tried to figure out how a youngster, a teenager, conducts her life using her past and perception of the future. What education system fills her with purpose and guidance for a sustainable future? There is none, yet. She is fighting for a future by and for herself, not helped but opposed, even threatend by an obsolete education system.
The system wants the children to learn the tricks and trade of a materialistic society, focussed on working a life time to be able to consume continuously. They are tought to behave inside a system, to accept and not question (capitalist) leadership. What the children are not taught is how to deal with their feelings, their joy and anger, their greed and care, friendship and jealosy, skin colors and different cultural behaviors, environmental balance, interpersonal relationships, spirituality, universal energy, the untouchables of life, the morality of our decision, responsibility and self leadership.
Children grow up indocutrinated that they have to work, pay tax and learn how to count. Creativity, art, sport or spirituality is secondary or not existent at all. The consequences are that aggression florishes when people cannot cope with the high productivity demands of society, or when they develop psychological disorders due to lack of purpose or personal identity. Each life becomes standard through categorization and bureaucratization within the system. The system leads through standards allowing little or no progress. People are robots to sustain the system not intellectual aware identities active to contribute to the positive evolution of our species.
In the City of Tomorrow (STIR Foundation) Nicolette Meeder is studying the phenomena and concluded that the Dutch society invests now up to 4 times more money in social security for socially handicapped people than in the entire system for education. Instead of educating our children to become the entrepreneurs of their own lives, to take responsibility and contribute through freedom, entrepreneurship, authenticity and vision, we condition them for an obsolete system.
This needs to change dramatically, but to do so we need to question society entirely. The hierarchy and power of money based economies are crumbling, even though they struggle and fight to stay. In the base of society a new economy emerges, the economy of values. Our children are demanding from us, their parents and adult guides, to build the base of such new world order in which they can find personal warmth and care, security, health and vitality. A world in which they can freely experiment with feelings and energetic connectivity among eachother and the universal powers that surround us. A world where they can lead a purposeful life of their own.
That is the basis of the new education we wish to introduce at all levels of society, right from the basics of primary education all the way up to university programs, MBA’s, and teaching the teachers. We will work together with all those people and programs that share this vision and are willing to join in a network community to accelerate the progress.
Jean-Paul Close, president of the STIR foundation, the Netherlands.