A relationship that needs a lot of critical attention and contemplation. The seemingly innocent and mutually beneficial relationship is at the root of our civilisational crisis today. These two institutional complexes extensively feed on each other. They measure their individual successes by each other's standards in calculated disregard, or blindness, to the many contexts they depend on or they impact upon. Never mind the unsustainable ecological footprint of this relationship. Never mind the impact on the various strata of society or on ecology. Never mind the 'wholesale or retail' violence they can be implicated in. Unfortunately, education itself has slowly become a function of the mindless, for-profit industry. The whole socio-technical and institutional edifice that grows out of this is directly or indirectly wrecking havoc, endangering the biosphere and all life. It is creating challenges at a planetary level and through our choices and lifestyles, we are all implicated in it. It is the impact of this relationship on society and ecology that places compassion on the global agenda. it is urgent. It also urgently calls for a learning ecology that makes us better versions of ourselves not functions of a huge man-made amoral machine. How do we reimagine this relationship for compassionate futures?
Education unfolds in two ways: 'above the ground' ('functional education') and 'below the ground' ('roots education'). Unfortunately, we have paid very little attention to the 'roots education' ( 'roughly' virtues education, values education, 'search for meaning' education, arts education, peace and dialogue education and compassion education). The present mainstream educational effort, drunk on ratings and recognition, has lost its way. It has become irrelevant to our existential, social and cultural interconnectedness. We have strayed away from each other and our Common Home. And unfortunately, in spite of many warnings, we continue on that path. Even the present pandemic has not taught us the lessons we need to learn, yet.
We need to unlearn to find ways back to Mother Nature, to our Common Home. Not learn to be separated from her. If violently straying away from our Common Home introduced its own terms, language, technologies and bodies of knowledge, we need to recover or reinvent a gentle language, non-invasive technologies and integrative and inclusive bodies of knowledge for returning Home and for nurturing a compassionate future for all. We really need to learn from indigenous communities and not necessarily experts in mainstream universities.
“One of the marvels of the world is the sight of a soul sitting in prison with the key in its hand!”
To see and reach the key of our social and spiritual liberation/salvation, we need to unlearn. Unlearn. And unlearn.