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The evolution of learning
Niels van Maaren is lecturer and researcher at Fontys University of Applied Sciences in Eindhoven. He tells us about his integration of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations) in his lecturing. “Big deal”, you may say but it is a highly significant move. In our own School of Talents & Wellness we started to work together with the scholing system already 10 years ago by adding the sustainocratic topics of core natural human values and shared responsibility. This is so significant because it gives the students an extra dimension of shared responsibility, awareness and creativity. Their study is placed in context of the huge challenges that we face as humankind. The young people are challenged to use this new contextual framing to come up with new ideas by themselves. It does not matter what they choose to study, everything can be placed into the servant context for humankind, society and our planet. They don’t come to school anymore with the expectations of a job in the future, learning theories from a book. They now come to school to think of meanful 4 x WIN contributions to the world and themselves.
This also transforms the job of the educators. In the past they would be classroom professors working their way through the pages of a book. They would expect the students to memorize the theory for their exams. The cognitive senses of the students would be stimulated, not the need for processing into genuin understanding. With the addition of the SDGs (or in our case the core natural human values) the students to need to process their knowledge or lack thereof. Many start with the understanding of the challenge and then start looking at the available resources to do something in a creative way. They start looking at information in an applied way. Information becomes alive in the context that can be personalized to the personal environment of the student him or herself. Next to the cognitive interpretation an emotional sense of meaning is added, generating an impuls of self reflection and self study.
The lecturers transform into expert coaches, sources of information, valuable support and mentorship. Students become more demanding, communicative, voicing their desires, their needs, their insecurities and doubts. They become magicians that surprise the world through creativity and new insights, even their mentors. And that is what it is all about. To hold space for unprecedented innovation without prejudism, just open stimulus. It says “Fontys for Society” and Niels shows how this is done.
This second blog about STIR’s first lustrum deals with awareness and education as it developed in STIR. On the day of our announcement in 2009 Nicolette Meeder participated and found her own life’s mission to commit to STIR. Now she is founding partner of the STIR Academy.
In the early phases of the STIR Foundation “City of Tomorrow” we already developed very strong impulses to try to get an understanding on the complexity of the “human being” itself. My own very deep moments of inner illumination had made me aware of new dimensions of spirituality beyond the dogmatic mechanisms of churches and within the true meaning and significance of life. It also made me aware of awareness and life before and after enlightenment. This all had come together in a clear understanding of the “I am” breakthrough and the revelation of the abundance of the universe, the force of life through energetic cycles and the disturbance of self awareness until the moment of spiritual awakening.
All this also revealed a critical view on our evolutionary path and the way we reached a point of singularity that would either produce a gigantic collapse or a mayor breakthrough of humankind. In my own research I came to the conclusion that one cannot happen without the other. The only difference with the past is that I envisaged the possibility of a mayor breakthrough and collapse occurring peacefully through a burst of awareness rather than a traditional confrontation through arms.
In the first blog “re-positioning society” I described the practical possibilities to address the global issues through local solutions using sustainocratic ventures and the transformation economy. Its precedents in Eindhoven have made the working and values visible. Expanding it across the world will take tensions away through applied knowledge and integral system and social innovations.
To consolidate this the practical approach should repeat itself as much as possible but also should become part of our learning processes.
The transformation of education
My own learning and awareness processes had shown me that life itself is a teacher and our education at school would need to change too if we want to prepare our next generations within the context of sustainable human progress. Many people already showed a critical standpoint on the current way we educated our children and displayed the wish to change the system. Within STIR it became an ongoing process too.
When I developed the societal redefinition by positioning our interests in awareness and co-creation using human values rather than economic growth and greed, it became clear that our educational system was not adequate anymore either. Our constitution states that “education serves government and business interests” which is a relic from our industrialization and history. No wonder we feel that our children are being educated to populate a puppeteer theater rather that develop insight on life’s essentials and personal development.
Every interaction with our school system got us into trouble between management, teachers and pupils. The students loved our humanitarian approach, many teachers did too but the management and system were totally against. “Entrepreneur of your own life” is of course not done when the hierarchies in society demand docile youngsters who look for a lasting job to pay for their mortgage and loans in a consumer driven money dependent system’s reality.
In STIR Academy we created all kinds of instruments based on the development of awareness through physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual impulses. Examples of our invitation to a new world have been filmed (in Dutch)
And in English
We designed minors and mayors, university lectures, games (“The secrete” and “The hero”), challenges, etc. but the old system would not connect massively to our initiatives. The financial dependence on state financial means and inspections blocked openess to educational innivation and modern insight of system’s and human complexities. Government was still very much focus on trying to solve its problems through the money driven mentality of the last decades as described in a recent blog.
If we wanted to proceed with our intentions we were forced to build our own school and education platforms. We started to work with the “drop outs” from the old system that either had become a financial burden and bureaucratic challenge, or became new age entrepreneurs through their own chaos and awareness development. They are all talented human beings that have a lot to offer but fall out of the old system for many reasons. We learned to see all these people as potential pioneers of the new world that was arising and slowly started to challenge the old one by making the power of this type of learning visible to the world. We could further facilitate that by:
- Offering precedents of change and insights from all over the world
- Getting local speakers to address those interested with new insights and their personal experiences
- Challenge people to not just listen but also stand up and do something with the inspiration
- Help those who do step forward with guidance and support
- Connect those who are ready to increasingly complex co-creative ventures or challenge them to start one of their own
The STIR Academy started to develop leadership HUBs (STIR Portals) through those who were interested in displaying a changing world to their own community and see what happens. STIR Academy developed relationships with intellectuals and new age pioneers across the world, inspiring itself through the wisdom of nature and the universe.
In Eindhoven we had experimented with this type of value driven humanistic education by showing that our entire live is a school. We live through our own cyclic patterns all the time, developing awareness as we go along. We needed not just address the cognitive basic of education but also the emotional, spiritual and physical values of reflection through action. If we wanted the cultural change we needed to facilitate the entire cycle of human complexities by inviting people to simply do it, experiment and challenge themselves to work together in meaningful ventures.
We now envisage STIR Hubs everywhere, simply exchanging knowledge and best practice through internet, skype presentations and online training. We all take from STIR and give back, forming an organic platform that runs itself. The only guidance is the STIR definition of sustainable human progress and the co-creative positioning of progress in the top of our complexity model
AiREAS was the first sustainocratic venture and STIR Academy the very first school to live life by learning to understand it. We also needed to transform the practical reality of our daily life. AiREAS would measure our progress and STIR Academy provides us with the understanding. FRE2SH was born to deal with the practicalities in our daily lives.
But that I will deal with in the third and final blog about our first 5 years.
Inspiration and sustainable progress for everyone in the world
In my personal opinion “knowledge” should be a common good for all people in the world, not just for those who can afford it.
Knowledge only matters when it is used
It hence has to flow freely to those places and people where it can be applied and prosper into positive human development, preferably “sustainable human progress“, which is the type of energy that the academy represents.
Freedom of information
Freedom of information distribution over internet is excellent but not exempt from unilateral disturbances, manipulation and information pollution. The human being lives in different realities of the consciousness, some artificially created by us ourselves. The responsibility to deal with information and its purpose is of the human being itself. Inspiration clustering, with the purpose of creating sustainable human progress by understanding life itself, is such responsibility with which we deal in STIR.
At STIR experiment with the different realities of human perception. We developed innovations in the human system’s complexity and evolution ourselves, based on a holistic view of human society and its interaction with its natural environment (Sustainocracy)
Others are inspired to learn about our approach
And we love to share for the benefit of humankind! But we are not the only ones producing change or developing sustainable progress, insight and best practice. We don’t see STIR as a limitation restricted to our experiments with reality and progress. We see it as part of a global process that seeks connection to produce new, unprecedented evolutionary steps in our approach to human wellness and prosperity without endangering ourselves in the process.
Everywhere around the world interesting and inspiring people are producing results in the field of sustainable progress. This deserves to be shared too. We can all learn from each other and try out the inspiration ourselves, no matter how complex. Global issues develop local solutions which can be applied globally.
To share the inspiration we use the facilities of the internet in combination with local dialogue (hub) around its potential application.
The free flow, selection and connection to STIR is created by its purpose:
STIR Purpose: Redefining and implementing system’s complexities and sustainable human progress.
By setting up STIR as a HUB (a room, good internet and people in to share information with) we can get the entire world to participate. STIR Academy offers the framework and purpose criteria, the inspiration network and international infrastructure. The HUB takes care of local public, the choices and translation to local initiatives and projects.
Example of our iwn development:
- Since 2005 I have personally organized over 25 encounters in zoo’s, business enterprises, nature, schools, etc to experiment with awareness development, new education, applied knowledge, etc. The one who learned most was I myself. I expressed my learning in 7 locally published books.
- Since 2009 I set up the STIR Foundation to take responsibility ourselves for the redefinition of human complexities and the transformative process of moving from one paradigm to another.
- In 2010 the first Sustainocratic ventures, involving government, science, business and large local civil populations were initiated: AiREAS, VE2RS and STIR. The learning continued, especially about the human complexity itself, prior to system’s thinking.
- In 2013 I stepped up to a holistic view of system’s reality, managing 4 traditional paradigms together into 1 for sustainable progress and harmonic wellness.
- The first online skype conference organised by STIR was in 2009 with Herman Wijffels (old World Bank chief) as online speaker. He referred to the changing world including finance and banking.
- The first international HUB was started in Madrid in 2012 but did not survive.
- The first HUB was started in Eindhoven in 2013. It started with one session per month in 2013. In 2014 we have 2 including international inspiration.
- Initiatives are developing in Barcelona, Budapest, Brussels, Taipee, Miami, enz, as well as city quarters in Eindhoven. Often the initiatives are started from the old paradigm of economic dependencies and fail. It is a local learning process to let go of the dominant old paradigm first.
On April 29th 2014 STIR participates through skype in the world congress on poverty Madagascar (see below).
How it works?
STIR works on the basis of free membership, reciprocity and commitment.
* Reciprocity means that if the STIR networks uses inspiration sessions from you, you get 1 to 1 sessions back for your own use, on call and mutual planning. So if you trade inspiration you will have 100s of free speakers at your disposal, else you pay a modest price.
* The real art is to do something with the inspiration locally in your own environment. We look for commitment to work together on change that affects the world and our societies positively.
The provisional website is: http://globalstir.wix.com./international/
Membership: Free of Charge (not free from commitment)