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New blueprint for education in the 21st century

The prime concern of our current era is the assurance of our sustainable existence as the human species in a finite, polluted and destroyed environment. In the previous centuries we have violated the essential values of our existence, not knowing what they were. Today we do know, so we need to educate ourselves accordingly and take corrective measures to transform the violation of those values into sustainable progress.

In Sustainocracy (sustainable human progress and our shared responsibilities) we defined five of such values. None of them are currently taught in an overarching manner in our schools while they represent the fundamental blueprint for our evolutionary processes and learning criteria.

Jean-Paul Close, founder of Sustainocracy

Our learning dynamics are always placed in the context of the time in which we live. In the 19th and 20th century the industrial era ruled. Our education was geared towards the labor market. In the 21st century for the first time we have become fully aware of our vulnerability as a species in the finite space and the limited resources provided by our home planet Earth. We recognize now that our old path has become dystopian, potentially leading to self destruction. Our overarching learning dynamics are now about how to take responsibility for our sustainable existence. The labor market, the diversity of institutions, our entrepreneurship and business mentality, our science and our education, needs to be placed into that context.

The situation of today is very difficult and leads to confusion among those that have been used to trying to solve our issues in a remedial way, within the reigning tunnel visions such as money, technology, regulation, take overs, controles, genetic manipulation and redesigning our environment. These people have not yet understood the complexity of the essential for the sustainable presence of a species within a natural ecosystem. In fact “eco-nomy” refers in essence to the “laws of nature” and not the speculative format we have given to it based on our own laws. Deviating from the laws of nature in order to create our own financial ecosystem, based on making use of humankind and our finite environment for financial self interest, has brought to this dystopian point.

Does that mean that we have to change everything?

No, not at all. There will always be professional functions in society, the need for specialists, also at institutional level. There will even be elites, people that have more authority than others because of their position or expertise. And we all need our guided learning paths to develop ourselves in the complexity of daily life. What we we need to do is to acknowledge our shared responsibilities based on the essential values for a sustainable presence and future while adopting wholeheartedly this mindset. In Sustainocracy we defined a set of five essential values, each being a shared responsibility among all of us, people and institutions alike. These values correspond to the laws of nature. It may seem simple, just five essential values. But when we start taking them at heart they prove to be transformative of the entire societal dna, taking away stress and bringing wellness for all.

We are to place everything in this context of core values for our existence, including our financial economy of growth, our government structures, our own behavior, our care systems, entrepreneurship, productivity, engagement as citizens, etc. By doing so we also redefine the entire educational learning process. Instead of teaching domesticated obedience we learn about respect, tolerance, equality and working together in values driven routines. We learn about authenticity, contribution, reciprocity, safety, trust and the essential values applied to ourselves and all of us together. We learn to be responsible in our behavior, our actions, our creativity, our leadership and awareness development.

By doing so we resolve many of our problems, reducing the financial, humanistic and ecological burden of our abuses of the past and its consequences on us, our societies, economies and our environment. We heal our past and develop resilience in all layers of our existence.

The blueprint of our new age education

Taking the above seriously at heart we need to look at ourselves as human beings. We are unique manifestations of life within the context of our natural environment of fellow living species on a finite planet in space. We are blessed with self awareness and the unique observant self learning dynamics for our own benefit and resilience. As a species we have gone through huge, long lasting phases of confusion that became the foundation of our current understanding and learning processes. We are unraveling our understanding of what we are, developing both humility and determination. Today we are living the biggest turning point in history of humankind. This historical process is also needed as guidance for our youngest generations to a productive, engaged, happy and wellness driven adulthood and life’s fulfilment.

Playful childhood

The growing up of toddlers represents the discovery of the fascinating world that surrounds them. Experimentation is their name of the game. The protective guidance of the parents helps to avoid the dangerous pitfalls of life. Playing is key to deploy the physical motorist skills, balance, interpretation of danger, emotional skills, etc. Early communication skills to interact with the parents develop as the child grows up. The learning show be an open space for free discovery and experimentation within the contextual framework of the core natural values such as health and safety. The child learns to establish limitations, consider risks and warning signals, interpret communication and interact through expressing wishes, fear, pleasure, etc.

The “I am” learning path

Gradually the infant starts to discover his or her large diversity of abilities. At this early stage it is mainly a copying behavior of what is being observed through parents, brothers or sisters. This is enhanced when the child gets in contact with other kids. Here the child can potential start learning about the authenticity of its own being, the unique “I am” development. The natural attitude is to learn through comparison, competition, challenges, victories and disappointments. The learning skills need to develop around social values such as compassion, empathy, tolerance, equality, respect, self awareness, a positive self image, awareness, etc. Here a solid foundation is created for the emotional stability of the youngster. Play, music, theater, art help in the development of the expression based skills. It also is sense making for developing language and communication skills in at all levels of speech, listening and interpretation abilities.

The “we are” learning path

The following learning path is oriented around group processes, the awareness driven cocreation and participation. The underlying skills developments of the experimental playfulness and self awareness (I am) continue of course and require continuous attention. Now the fundament of togetherness is further elaborated within the function of recognizing each other’s unique abilities and contribution in the field of cooperation. The aspects of sharing, spreading the load of responsibilities, leaving no one behind, creating value together. taking initiative, leadership skills, creativity, entrepreneurship and sharing it among all, are key elements of this learning path. Community spirit, the value of care for and with each other, are extended also to the inter-generational levels of attention. Respecting the practical experience of elderly while appreciating the youthful energetic outbursts of the younger provides a magic melting pot of opportunities for progress. The elderly have to avoid the dogmatizing of processes, stimulating the youthful creativity of the upcoming generations. The younger generation have to learn to appreciate the guidance of the elderly with their levels of awareness breakthroughs and elaborated expertise.

The “shared responsibility” area

Reaching adulthood the young people have sufficient baggage to further specialize in certain functions. Meanwhile they develop harmonic relationships with their own potential partner, possibly having children of their own while playing a role in different communities that fit their personality, professionally and otherwise.

Era of integration

Meanwhile our societal construct transforms based on the core natural values that lead our progress. We peal off old societal laws around the financial hegemony and abuse, protecting ourselves against outbursts of narcissism and expressions of pure, destructive self interests. Entrepreneurship, governance and all other institutional expressions are redefined within the same values driven mindset and sharing of responsibilities. Certain key aspects of life, such as food, water, warmth and air are taken our of the arena of commodity based trade and placed within the area of integration of our shared responsibilities, cocreation, positive interaction with nature, regenerative processes, etc. It will give rise to totally new “eco-nomies”, levels of engagement and development of circular interactions. This makes also the adult world a field of continuous adjustments, learning, innovations, applied science and technologies. The early playfulness is never lost, nor the “I am” and “we are” quests in the dynamics of the evolution of life and circumstances. Shared responsibility for our core natural human values is never reaching a status quo. It is always a balancing act to achieve harmonization and integration that will show moments of scarcity, chaos and new impulses for awareness driven adaptations. But addressed together, with wisdom, care and respect for the Whole, the moments of adversity and abundance are celebrate equally, with joy, determination and trust.

STIR Foundation

For over a decade now STIR had been introducing this new learning path. At first we were rejected, now we are being gradually accepted by increasing numbers of partners and do we engage with large groups of people, especially young generations. Read more about the build up of our experiences here.

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