Biographical statement in the context of learning experiences which have a bearing on the present inquiry ... a qualitative research project: Scientific* Rationale for Holistic Education (* scientific in the sense of 'holistic science')
Thesis: The objective study of fully developed and healthy self-actualising ('self-actualised') individuals reveals information about the end result of normal human growth and provides a basis for the formulation of a natural 'science of man' and 'science of ethics' which together provide a basis for the formulation of a 'science of education'. "A scientific inquiry should be characterized by a faith in the truth of a rational vision; faith in the hypothesis as a likely and plausible proposition; faith in the final theory. This faith is rooted in one's own experience, in the confidence in one's power of thought, observation and judgement... rational faith is rooted in an independent conviction based upon one's own productive observing and thinking." (Erich Fromm, Man For Himself p.205)
home page: www.HolisticEducator.com and summary of significance of the site... about the site
childhood in Africa...
high school and college...
experiment in teaching...
continued education... childrens education... short term teaching experiences... biological studies Brussels university...
continued study ...
method of study...
private teaching in Brussels...
books which impacted my thinking: Gordon Childe... Korzybski... Abraham Maslow Psychology of Being... Intellectual Portrait by Richard Lowry...
At present (2012) I apply what I have learned as I contemplate today's political scene... blog in process http://marionhubbard.blogspot.com/
also www.RationaleHolisticEducation.blogspot.com ... Facebook page: Rationale For Holistic Education...
Summary ...The site is concerned with the need for change in the philosophical framework or ‘paradigm’ in which we educate or ‘teach’ the generation which follows us… hence the title ‘holistic education as a new teaching paradigm.’ The discussion is based on the exploration of literary resources in connection with personal learning experiences and these include experiences of so-called ‘teaching’. The project in itself constitutes a major learning experience. The objective is to make a case for the existence of a scientific rationale for holistic education as responsible education for responsible freedom… freedom in the sense of self-empowerment and self-determination. The word ‘scientific’ is used in the sense of the system approach to science systems science or ‘holistic science’... a personal project which makes a case for a shift from the traditional to the holistic paradigm for education. The project continues to represent an ongoing process of exploration and discovery. With possibilities provided by the hyperlink feature of internet technology it is possible to highlight the various interconnections between different aspects of the biological basis of the moral or ‘spiritual’ dimension of the human psyche to form a natural educational philosophy as a basis for holistic education... hence the title A Scientific Rationale for Holistic Education ….
The work integrates my own experiences as a student, as a teacher and as a parent who respects the natural human right to learn and grow in freedom as freedom from dogma, ‘spiritual’ freedom or ‘inner freedom’. Inner freedom is moral freedom because it implies responsibility and thus contrasts with irresponsible freedom or ‘license’. Moral freedom allows for insight into the interconnectedness between the various aspects of human nature and human endeavor. Human nature is a social nature which depends for its development on moral freedom and its translation to outer freedom which is authentic. As a function of complete human development, authentic freedom or ‘true freedom’ is foundational to peace and democracy which therefore depends on universal education for development of the person as a whole i.e. 'holistic education’.
Holistic education involves fulfillment of the 'higher psychological needs' for 'metamotivation' - the spiritual needs or 'metaneeds' - as well as the so-called 'lower psychological needs' for self-esteem - the 'ego needs'. Ego needs are the driving force behind motivation for education with a view to purely mechanical intelligence and its fear based ego-centric world of competition and its material rewards. Although education for mechanical intelligence predominates in our culture, educational philosophy must be taken seriously or else we risk failure to adapt to a changing world and a threatened planet. We risk the ultimate extinction of our species. We urgently need an education which cultivates not only mechanical intelligence but a universal education of much wider scope. We need an education which cultivates moral intelligence, fosters human creativity and productiveness (creative intelligence) because it is based on compassion and cooperation and therefore involves motivation based in the dimension of human nature which is beyond the ego level of consciousness… that is in the ‘transpersonal’ dimension. In this new paradigm of education it is the meaning of education which shifts from one of external rewards (extrinsic motivation) to one of intrinsic rewards (intrinsic motivation). The teacher is a provider of resources, a facilitator of learning and therefore a moral agent.
Holistic education is meaningful education because it aims for development of the person as a whole, as an integral being, a person of integrity. It is therefore based on respect for the person’s psychic needs, their capacities and their interests and in addition on the development of their potentialities in all aspects – psychological, emotional, intellectual, artistic, moral or 'spiritual' and therefore social. Meaningful education depends on the freedom to create meaning or 'learn' and the freedom to create or 'work' making it possible to construct a personal sense of responsibility which is needed for adapting intelligently and effectively to the demands and the problems of life. Cultivation of a mature sense of responsibility involves personality integration necessary for harmonious living on all levels - personal, social, global and environmental. It is therefore a necessary prerequisite for the proper stewardship of our planet earth and the survival of our species. The site is concerned with the need for change in the philosophical framework or ‘paradigm’ in which we educate or ‘teach’ the generation which follows us… hence the title ‘holistic education as a new teaching paradigm.’ Holistic education is meaningful education because it aims for development of the person as a whole, as an integral being, a person of integrity. It is therefore based on respect for the person’s psychic needs, their capacities and their interests and in addition on the development of their potentialities in all aspects – psychological, emotional, intellectual, artistic, moral or 'spiritual' and therefore social. Meaningful education depends on the freedom to create meaning or 'learn' and the freedom to create or 'work' making it possible to construct a personal sense of responsibility which is needed for adapting intelligently and effectively to the demands and the problems of life. Cultivation of a mature sense of responsibility involves personality integration necessary for harmonious living on all levels - personal, social, global and environmental. It is therefore a necessary prerequisite for the proper stewardship of our planet earth and the survival of our species.
to change above... Meaningful education is a function of the freedom to create meaning or 'learn' and the freedom to create or 'work' making possible the construction of a personal sense of responsibility which is needed for adapting intelligently and effectively to the demands and the problems of life. Cultivation of a mature sense of responsibility involves personality integration necessary for harmonious living on all levels - personal, social, global and environmental. It is therefore a necessary prerequisite for the proper stewardship of our planet earth and the survival of our species.
A HOLISTIC VISION. True democracy depends on universal education for complete human development involves personality integration necessary for harmonious living on all levels - personal, social and global i.e. 'holistic education’..
The project www.HolisticEducator.com … makes a case for the shift in our culture from the traditional to the holistic paradigm for education… represents an ongoing process of exploration and discovery… the biological basis of the moral or ‘spiritual’ dimension of the human psyche (human nature) forming a natural educational philosophy as a basis for holistic education.... hence the title A Scientific Rationale for Holistic Education … ‘scientific’ in the sense of the system approach to science or ‘holistic science’
Consequently we urgently need an education which not only cultivates mechanical intelligence but moral intelligence as well. We need a universal education of much wider scope. We need an education which fosters human creativity and productiveness or 'creative intelligence'. Education for the cultivation of creative intelligence is based on compassion and cooperation and therefore involves motivation based in the dimension of human nature which is beyond the ego level of consciousness… that is in the ‘transpersonal’ dimension. The new meaning of education involves a shift in the learner motivation away from being driven by external rewards or 'extrinsic motivation' and towards being driven by intrinsic rewards or 'intrinsic motivation'.
allows for insight into the interconnectedness between the various aspects of human nature and human endeavor…
Holistic education is democratic education because it is based on the natural human right to learn and grow in freedom in the sense of moral freedom, spiritual freedom or ‘inner freedom’... implies responsibility and thus contrasts with irresponsible freedom or ‘license’. Inner freedom translates to outer freedom which is authentic or 'true freedom' which is foundational to peace and democracy.
… is based on respect for the person’s interests, their capacities and their psychic needs for the complete development of their potentialities in all aspects - emotional, psychological, intellectual, artistic, moral or 'spiritual' and therefore social. It is meaningful education because it aims for development of the person as a whole and integral being - a person of integrity. Education of integrty is a function of freedom to create meaning or 'learn' and freedom to create or 'work'. Authentic work makes for the construction of a personal sense of responsibility… mature sense of responsibility which is needed for adapting intelligently and effectively to the demands of living and the problems of life.
Holistic education is therefore a necessary prerequisite for the proper stewardship of our planet earth and survival of our human species.
In this new paradigm of education the teacher is a provider of resources, a facilitator of learning and therefore a moral agent.
Childhood in Africa... My formative childhood years were spent in East Africa. I was born in Kampala, Uganda in March 1940 of British parents. At the age of three I was placed with foster parents who owned a farm in the highlands of Kitale, Kenya. From age five to eleven I attended a boarding school which provided primary school education... the Kitale School - a school in the British tradition with a demanding program in physical training - calisthenics drills at dawn, Swedish gymnastics, individual and team sports such as hockey and tennis and horseback riding, school events such as sports days with competitions - running races, relay races, obstacle races, hurdles and so on. Even on Sundays the entire school went for long walks lasting several hours. The headmaster of the school indulged in capital punishment for pranks... severe canings from one to 'six of the best' depending on the gravity of the offence. This cruelty to children was justified in the name of Christianity. Even though I was caned only once, the punishment was indelibly imprinted on my developing six year old mind. I learned to distinguish between submission to the injustice of irrational authoritarianism and obedience to one's conscience in the framework of authentic and trusting authority.
During my time at Kitale the future president of Kenya - Jomo Kenyatta - was in prison close by for his role in the Mau Mau movement. I was to spend just a few months at secondary school in the capital city of Nairobi when the instability of the political situation made it necessary for many non-Africans to leave the country. My father had founded two schools - one in Uganda and one in Kenya. I was thirteen when he decided to immigrate to America. We arrived in New York City (Ellis Island) on a Belgian cargo ship in August 1953.
American high school and college... The next eight years were spent in the conventional American educational system of high school and college: one year at the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan, three years at the Solebury School College Preparatory School in New Hope, Pennsylvania. From there I spent four years in Providence, Rhode Island as a biology 'major' at Pembroke College received the Bachelor's degree or BA from Brown University. At Brown I became intrigued with the biological sciences and how they relate to the so-called 'human sciences' including the so-called 'science of education' which is not a science in itself but refers to the scientific inquiry into the process of education. Education is the human endeavor for human development through the realisation of human potential for the value-life. Meaningful education is based on the understanding and respect for 'human nature' which is defined by the natural human motives for learning or 'human needs'.
Experiment in teaching... Though not formally trained to enter the teaching profession I decided to explore my capabilities and accepted a position as teacher of biology and general science at the Nightingale-Bamford School in New York City. During my three years at Nightingale I learned that successful teaching is a matter of the facilitation of learning which is meaningful to the learners themselves. No amount of manipulative teaching is of service to children who are supposedly at school to learn something which will be useful to them. When I was asked to start up a 'science club' I realised that successful teaching is as much about compassionate understanding of one's students as it is about knowledgeable understanding of one's subject. When it became clear to me that the teaching profession was where I wanted to be, I decided to continue my own education as a 'teacher of science'.
Continued education... I then worked towards a Masters Degree in Science Education at the City University of New York while tutoring at the Manhattan Tutoring School on 42nd Street in New York City. Registered with teaching agency to find a position overseas... and went to Brussels, Belgium as teacher of biology and general science at the International School of Brussels. Two years of fulltime teaching in the traditional American curriculum taught me that schooling was more concerned with students as 'material' for college and the market place than as potentially mature human beings of conscience and a love of learning. I decided to continue the pursuit of my own interest in biology at the level of the units of biolgy or 'cells' and their organisation in terms of the different types of molecules involved in all the dynamic processes taking place in each cell. I enrolled as a graduate student with the Molecular Biology Department at Universite Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)- the Free (in the sense of 'free thought') University of Brussels. There I studied organic chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, molecular genetics, cellular physiology, developmental cytology, physical chemistry of biological macromolecules. I carried out a thesis project in experimental cytology under the direction of Professor Miroslav Radman PhD at the Cancer Research Laboratory of the University in Rhode-St.Genese and in June 1979 obtained the so-called 'License Speciale' in Molecular Biology. I then worked as an assistant researcher at the same laboratory for a year on cancer promotor substances and their role in co-carcinogenesis.
Children's education... For the next several years I focused on the developmental and educational needs of my three children...Colibri, La Futaie, Ecole Decroly ... As a parent of children having to deal with sometimes irrational behaviour of adults in positions of authority in both school and family positions which require the respect for children's developmental needs I made a few general observations. It seemed to me that if people did not understand children's psychic needs and desires it was because their own psychic needs and desires were not understood when they were children themselves. In order to cope with the inevitable anxieties and fears which accompanied their own developmental frustrations they had learned to develop certain psychological strategies which persisted in later adulthood as intolerant and repressive attitudes to others. Their persistent fears and anxieties - source of limited understanding - can later be projected onto other children including their own. In order to compensate for their own insecurities, they resort to pedagogical methods which downgrade children's self-esteem and self-respect. They will even humiliate a child's natural sense of dignity by and indulging in methods of exclusion and condescension. Children with weakened self-confidence cannot do understand the fears of insecure adults who do not express their fears since that is unnatural. In order to preserve their own sense of dignity, they must react to the inadequacies of insecure adults in the few ways they know how. In the absence of supportive adult figures, they too learn to develop self-defensive behaviour patterns which are not understood. With a lack of understading and in position of authority and control, the adults resort to authoritarian methods to maintain control. Authoritarianism and lack of respect create further tension and frustration. Continued negative feelings on both sides leads to a breakdown of communication and eventual irresponsible actions on the part of both adults and children. Many people are engaged subconsciously in a lifelong struggle to fulfill their own repressed needs of childhood. Even their own children become part of the struggle. I dedicate this website to my children... dedication
Short term work experiences as teacher... I was able to combine family commitments with a number of short-term (one year) work experiences as a teacher... lecturer in biology with the European Division of the University of Maryland at SHAPE in Mons, Belgium... college level courses on the holistic approach to science teaching... 'Organization and Interrelationships in the Biological World'... 'Connections Between the Living and the Non-Living Worlds' (biological implications of for example... the role of chlorophyll in transforming light energy into chemical energy in photosynthesis, the role of nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the roots of leguminous plants). One year as high school level teacher of biology and general science at the St.Johns International School in Waterloo ... 'special education' teacher and tutor of basic maths at St.Johns... One year as second year secondary school teacher of 'Integrated Sciences' at the European School of Brussels in Uccle, Brussels.
Biological studies at University of Brussels... 'License speciale en biologie moleculaire' includes 'memoire' or thesis... equivalent to Masters Degree plus... Cancer Research Laboratory... learned techniques of tissue culture and preparation of chromosomal karyotypes as well as engaging in extensive library research in cytogenetics and the history of gene mapping with the aim of submitting a new (then) protocol ('in situ hybridization') for locating genes on chromosomes.
American experience and disillusionment In July 1989 travelled to the U.S. with a position as teacher of biology on the condition of accepting responsibility for administative duties (as chairperson of school science department) at the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, Westchester, New York. After a twenty-three year acclimatisation period in Europe, the Ameican experience turned out to be a traumatising one. Though I was expected to be prepared to carry out administrative duties, my unfamiliarity with the political nature of the school culture gave me a very interesting perspective on the school situation from the viewpoint of the students who are expected to learn in that environment. Being involved with administrative work as well as classroom teaching provided me with a more global perspective of the teacher's role (and predicament) in the traditional school setting. I became acutely aware of the crisis situation in American schools and was forced to reflect on the possible causes and on the educational process generally. The problem seemed to be one of a maloriented educational philosophy. It appeared to me that schools in general were faced with a apparent dilemma or 'pseudodilemma'. This revolved around the need to motivate children (students) to do work within the framework of an instruction process controlled by adults... namely in the form of 'requirements' of a fragmented curriculum.
Inspired by John Nocera's article "Good Schools and Why We Need Them" Utne Reader Sept/Oct l990 page 65-90
Continued studies as 'distance learner' I decided to focus on the problem independently and within the same year enrolled as a distance learner (doctoral level) with the external program of Columbia Pacific University in San Rafael, California. The experience enabled me to investigate the ongoing paradigm shift from the traditional teaching paradigm to the 'holistic paradigm' in American education. I was intrigued and fascinated by the carefully worked out program of inspiring courses in the holistic approach to education. During the thesis phase of the program (subject: 'brain-based holistic education') I decided to continue the work as a personal project which could be presented in the format made possible with the use of hypertext to emphasize the connections implict in a discussion of educational philosophy from a holistic point of view... based on a 'wholistic philosophy of man': a definition of human nature, natural ethics and experiential education... (see 'outline').
So-called 'human nature' is a function of the intrinsic system of human values ('conscience') the development of which requires suitable conditions of experiential education.The aim of education is the development of human potential for goodness. (Unsuitable conditions inhibit proper development of human potential and this leads to the wickedness of human behaviour or 'evil') The full maturation of the inherent potential in the 'productive' character, self-realization, is the aim of the natural process of human development... of the natural educational process and of natural humanistic ethics. Each of the three facets of inquiry into the naturally wholistic philosophy of man is directly concerned with the study of human development. The natural laws of human development constitute the guiding principles for formulation... scientific definition of human nature; scientific definition of natural ethics; scientific definition of the aim of education.
The question which intrigued me was the following: Given that society establishes requirements for children's education... that learning is a basic natural function of the healthy brain-mind... that effective learning is the goal of the educational process... how can teachers instruct within the limits of society's established requirements while respecting and maintaining children's natural function of learning... how can they teacher cultivate children's natural learning capacities within the constraints of a required curriculum? From experience the answer seemed to be the following: the educational process for the child means growth in an educational climate which fosters the innate maturation process... it means the cultivation of their natural motivation for psychological and intellectual growth in the context of freedom to develop the human potential for rational thought and understanding.. On this basis respect for the child's interests is the basis for meaningful education. For educational policy to be meaningful it should be based on the development of their potentialities in all aspects - emotional, psychological, intellectual, artistic, spiritual and therefore social. Meaningful education is therefore based on the respect for children's developmental needs which can be met when they are given the freedom to create meaning or 'learn' and the freedom to create or 'work' thereby constructing their own sense of responsibility which they need to cope with the demands and the problems of life. When children are offered meaningful learning experiences which allow them to concentrate on their own interests they naturally learn to cultivate a mature sense of responsibility - as in 'self-evaluation', self-respect', 'self-determination', 'self-discipline', and most importantly 'self-knowledge' which represents personality integration necessary for harmonious living with themselves and with others i.e. 'social adaptability'. The responsibility of the educator would be to provide a learning environment based on respect for learner needs and potentialities and to offer learning experiences which comply with learner interests and capabilities.
Teaching experiment as private teacher and educational consultant. I returned to Brussels in May 1994 and continued work on the project in conjunction with application of theory to practice as private teacher of English as a foreign language. April 1996 Teaching English as foreign language credential... diploma from English Language Center, London England ...taught children and adults of various ages, backgrounds and nationalities... emphasis was always on the language learning process as a brain based holistic process... application of so-called 'brain-compatible' teaching methods...emphasis on the social function of language as a means of communication... involves shift of emphasis from the 'form of language' to the 'meaning of language'... learners are encouraged to focus on the meaning of language forms rather than their structures. Appropriate use of language structure is acquired automatically when the learner focuses on the communication process as a personally meaningful one... learners take responsibility for evaluation of own learning and this increases motivation for learning of structure as does personal meaning...
How improve the quality of education? Education for complete development means that it must be geared to the child's psychic needs and capacities. Sound psychic development is adversely affected by fear of extensive punishment, external discipline and the overemphasis of enforced learning. Fear creates hostility and hypocrisy. Fear paralyzes endeavor and authenticity of feeling. Fear prevents proper emotional development. Fear of an inhumane environment prevents proper human development. An environment which is supportive of the intrinsic needs of the human organism is a humane environment - one which is conducive to the development of children into mature individuals with self-discipline, self-confidence and self-responsibility.
In order for its citizens to live according to the underlying principles of a truly free society, children must be educated for responsible freedom that is for inner freedom. In order to function with integrity and intelligence in a democratic society, they must become mature as well as knowledgeable and autonomous as well as self-disciplined. Consequently I believe that the educational process for children means the opportunity for growth in a climate which fosters the instinctive development and maturation of their individuality and potentialities. The educational process must allow for the complete emotional, psychological, and intellectual development of children into mature adult personalities in harmony with themselves and their environment. They should have with the capacities for self-evaluation, self-determination, self-respect, and self-discipline, and a sense of responsibility for themselves and their fellow human beings. The only condition necessary to insure the cultivation of natural developmental processes is freedom - not freedom as licence opposed to control, but freedom with control. If effective learning is the goal of the educational process, then child interest is the effective orienting center of any educational policy. Children must be allowed to develop their individual personalities and potentialities as well as their mental and intellectual capacities in an educational climate of freedom and respect. Such a climate is the requisite condition for effective learning because it fosters the unfolding of their natural potentialities and their inner development towards inner freedom and rational thought. Freedom in the eductional process insures the proper functioning of a free and democratic society made up of citizens who are free and democratic in their thinking.We know that learning is a natural function of the healthy mind and that learning and thinking are valuable assets for citizens of a free and democratic society. Given that schools are faced with the dilemma of how to motivate students to work, the central problem appears to be the following: how can we teach within the framework of a required curriculum while respecting children's natural motivation for learning?
The various teaching experiences have taught me that the best way to improve the quality of education is to create a humane learning environment ...teacher characteristics or 'attributes' ...one in which which human qualities are valued and nourished - wit, wisdom, talent, training, personality, purpose, cognition and affection, understanding, kindness.... such an environment inspires and develops respect for learning, wisdom and humanity. Children learn more about mature behavior from the way teachers and parents behave and talk to each other than from being told how they should behave or what they should become. This is why it is important to nourish the human qualities in oneself in order to nourish them in others.
The topic 'Scientific Rationale for Holistic Education' is studied primarily from the holistic perception of the human organism -'homo sapiens', the thinking hominid - as a biological organism... a social organism with a 'social brain'. Topic is 'holistic education as critical pedagogy'.... the complexity of the task of pedagogy... concerned with moral, cognitive, affective, political, social, spiritual dimensions of the educated person or 'complete' person... the 'whole' person... the rational person... the person of 'integrity'. Human rationality is a function of the integration of emotions with the creation of concepts or 'thought'i.e. 'rational thinking'. thoughts... The concept of 'education' is treated in terms of its function as facilitating human growth through discovery (holistic paradigm) as opposed to its political application as instruction of set of given principles (traditional paradigm). In the holistic paradigm the teacher is a 'moral agent'... a provider of resources and a 'facilitator of learning'.( See outline of chapters)
Method of study:
A source of inspiration for the inquiry was the following question: "Is there some sense in which principles of pedagogy can be derived from our knowledge of man as a species - from knowledge of his characteristic growth and dependence, of the properties of his nervous system, of his modes of dealing with culture?" (Jerome Bruner, 1971, Relevance of Education New York: W.W. Norton & Co. Inc. 118).
The method of study involves the holistic perception... HOLISTIC PERSPECTIVE... of the human being as a biological organism... member of a social species... homo sapiens the thinking hominid.
For all animal species the skills required for survival are instincctive and genetically transmitted. Survival of the human species depends on the geneticc transmission of the instinctive capacitis for creative intelligence and symbolic communiction. Human evolution is a function of the genetic transmission of cognitive and communicative skills which allowed for planning a with foresight and intelligent behaviour... preparation in advance for situations which require preparative measures to insure survival of the organism and thus of the species. ...the ability to communicate with language ... specialized brain functions for speech, to learn, to think logically anc creatively, tool making "Preparation for possible action in situations not as yet existentin actuality is an essential condition of and factor in all intelligent behaviour"(John Dewey. Logic: The Theory of Inquiry. New York,London Holt, Rhinehart and Winston. 1938 p. 56).
This study is not concerned with the search for content and does not use the specialist's method of concentration on detail. It does no involve experimental researchsurveys or questionnairesand therefore does not require statistical analysis of numerical data. This study is on insightful observation and analysis of the literature.. It is concerned with the SEARCH FOR A FRAMEWORK OR STRUCTURE WHICH GIVES CONTEXT TO THE CONTENT.... method is 'structuralist' of systems science.. uses the system method of 'structuralism'. Structuralism is a method of analyzing phenomena through the understanding of their root causes. .the study is involves the search for an underlying 'pattern of deep structures' underlying pattern of structural phenomena which give rise to significant manifestations in the form of APPARENTLY separate surface phenomena. It is a method which places emphasis on the CONNECTONS and RELATIONSHIPSamong the interdependent elements which make up the totality of overtly perceived phenomena. It is a method of linking surface manifestations of phenomena in terms of their interrelatedness. It is a method which searches for a SYNTHESIS of superficially diverse phenomena. "The superficial detail and diversity that appear on the surface prove to be less significant than the coherent pattern of the deep structures which give rise to what is overtly perceived. Emphasis is placed upon the self-regulating system of relationships and transformations among the interdependent elements comprising the totality or WHOLE of a phenomenon."(Rosen,H. The Develoment of Sociomoral Knowledge: A Cognitive-Structural Approach. New York, Columbia University Press, 1980 page 2) .
"The specialist concentrates on detail and disregards the wider structure which gives it context. The 'new' scientist concentrates on structure on all levels of magnitude and complexity, and fits detail into its general framework. He discerns relationshipsand situation... We ourselves are a part of the connected complexity with which we are surrounded in nature... To have an adequate grasp of reality, we must look at things in systems with properties and structures of their own."(Laszlo, E. The Systems of the World: The Natural Philosophy of the Developments in the Sciences. New York, George Brazilier)
. Am I religious? do I believe in God? I do not believe in organised religion. Religion is a personal matter Words can be divisive when there is misunderstanding about their meanings. The problem is one of 'semantics' and human development which must be complete in order for people to negotiate the meanings behind the words. What is the meaning of the word 'God'? The English word 'God' is identical with the Anglo-Saxon word for 'good' as 'divine goodness' of the human personality or 'human nature'. The concept of 'God' represents that which we seek in our longing to become what we truly are... the truly human or 'divine' of the human personality or 'human nature'. "We human beings take our sense of God from our deepest intuitions as to what is ultimate in our own depths." (Walsh Roger and Franci s Vaughan Beyond Ego: Transpersonal Dimensions of Human Psychology l95) (In terms of human psychology, 'God' as supernatural is a delusion...)
If one means by 'God' the creator of the universe and everything in it including our living planet and the millions of species including our own as 'God's work', then it is natural that one has respect for all of nature. What is 'religious'? If 'religious' means 'believing in God' then I would phrase my answer in the same way as American architect Frank Lloyd Wright who once said "I believe in God but I call it nature". If 'religious' means 'spiritual' then I would answer differently. As spirituality is an important dimension of our human nature then it is a fact that like every other human being I am potentially 'religious'. This would make it possible to believe in nature and be religious at the same time. We depend on our spirituality for our survival ... for the survival of not only our species but of all living species on the planet earth which is the home we all share together in 'God's universe'. Like many people who 'believe in God' they do so in good faith while giving it a different name. Every name (or word) has a meaning. Whatever name you choose... the important thing is not the name you ascribe but the understanding which you have. As it is obviously possible to disagree on the name, it is also possible to agree on the name but to disagree on the meaning. The knowledge or 'truth' from real understanding is more valuable than the ignorance which comes from misunderstanding of the meaning behind the name. Complete understanding is a product of the human mind which is complete, mature, rational, integrated... the mind which is 'whole' or 'holy'... that is the mind which is spiritually developed ... the 'religious mind' or 'spiritual mind'. The problem is that the spiritual dimension of human nature is sufficiently developed only if the individual is provided with the conditions necessary for its complete development... just as an acorn will develop into an oak tree only if it is provided with the right conditions. Development of potential human spirituality depends on the appropriate social environment... that is education not as imposition of dogma which imprisons the mind and inhibits spiritual development... (that is 'indoctrination'), but education as the cultivation of human growth... which frees the mind and fosters spiritual development... Spiritual development is the same as 'moral development' or 'morality'. Human morality rooted in human spirituality is a function of the wisdom of compassion a force for understanding also known as 'love' as 'mature love', 'unconditional love', 'humanitarian love', 'universal love', 'productive love', the Greek 'agape' and so on. Love is the common prescription of all the religions as a condition for awareness of human spirituality... the 'divine' aspect of human nature or 'God'.
Humanism... Humanists are non-theists... they begin with humans."Traditional theism, especially faith in the prayer-healing God, assumed to love and care for persons... is an unproved and outmoded faith." See Humanist Manifesto...www.en.wikipedia/wikipedia/humanist_manifesto_I&II
Holistic Education for World Peace
My experiences as student, teacher and parent have taught me to respect the natural human right of growth through learning in freedom... 'freedom' as in 'the absence of religious or political dogma which nurtures ignorance, fear, hatred and conflict'. So-called 'spiritual freedom' or 'inner freedom' is moral freedom because it implies responsibility and thus contrasts with irresponsible freedom or 'license'. Moral freedom allows for insight into the interconnectedness between all people and respect for one's own humanity and respect for the humanity of others. In this way moral freedom or 'true freedom' translates to outer freedom which is foundational to a culture of peace and real democracy. World peace and world democracy depend on each person's complete humanisation... a function of universal education which aligns its foundational philosophy with the understanding of human nature as a social, compassionate and therefore peaceful nature. Inner peace - a function of moral or 'spiritual' development - translates to moral action and social cooperation or 'outer peace'. Consequently education for peace is a function of learning which is meaningful because it engages the person's natural motivation for complete human development. So-called 'peace education' or 'holistic education' provides the conditions for world peace because it provides the conditions which are right for complete human development. We must learn to trust human nature and educate children in such a way that they can develop their human potential. This is the only way we can bring real peace to the world.
''There is only one problem, and it is human development in its totality; once this is achieved in any unit - child or nation - everything else follows spontaneously and harmoniously.'' (Maria Montessori. To Educate the Human Potential)_________________________________________________________________________________________
The study of a given topic gains in breadth and clarity when it is considered from different perspectives. The topic 'brain-based wholistic education' can be expanded and integrated if it is considered from the perspectives of psychology, anthropology and history in addition to biology and education. Psychology, the study of the 'psyche', is concerned with the mental processes underlying the individual's behavior; anthropology, the study of human cultures, is concerned with cultural influences on the individual's thought patterns and behavior; history, the study of cultural origins and evolution, is concerned with the influences of historical traditions on the individual's cultural environment. It is useful to study a given topic from different points of view or 'perspectives.' The same topic can be perceived in different ways. Different observers perceive it from the perspectives of their own experiences. A given perspective can be expanded and integrated when it is considered in relation to other perspectives. For an in-depth study of a topic, it is useful to consider it from a number of different perspectives. Many of the social ills of the society are symptoms of a maloriented educational system. Children are required to learn within a framework of adult controlled instruction. In order for its citizens to live according to the underlying principles of a truly free society, children must be educated for responsible freedom. In order to function with integrity and intelligence in a democratic society, children must become mature as well as knowledgeable, autonomous and self-disciplined. Consequently the educational process for children means the opportunity for growth in a climate which fosters the instinctive development and maturation of their individuality and potentialities. The educational process must allow for the complete emotional, psychological and intellectual develoment of children into mature adult personalities in harmony with themwelves and their environment. They should have the capacities for self-evaluation, self-determination, self-respect, and self-discipline, and a sense of responsibility for themselves and their fellow human beings. The only condition necessary to insure the cultivation of natural developmental processes is freedom - not freedom as license and without control, but freedom with control. If effective learning is the goal of the educational process, then child interest is the orienting center of any effective educational policy. We know that learning is a natural function of the brain and thus of the healthy mind. Learning and thinking are valuable and necessary assets of citizens of a free and democratic society. Children must be allowed to develop their individual personalities and potentialities as well as their mental and intellectual capacities in an educational climate of freedom and respect. Such a climate is the requisite condition for effective learning because it fosters the unfolding of their natural potentialities and their inner development towards inner freedom and rational thought. Freedom in the eductional process insures the proper functioning of a free and democratic society made up of citizens who are free and democratic in their thinking. Given that learning is a natural function of the brain and that effective learning is the goal of the educational process, how can we teach a 'required curriculum' while respecting children's natural abilities for learning? For children, the educational process should mean the opportunity for growth in a climate which fosters their natural development into mature and autonomous adults with integrity and intelligence. As developing personalities in harmony with themselves and their environment, they must have a mature sense of responsibility- for themselves and for their fellow human beings. They must be capable of responsible self-evaluation, self-respect, self-determination, and self-discipline. Children must be allowed to develop their complete emotional, psychological, and intellectual potentialities. Their individual personalities must be allowed to develop in an educational climate which fosters their innate maturation process. A climate which fosters their natural maturation is one which fosters effective learning. A climate which fosters effective learning and rational thought is one which cultivates inner freedom and mutual respect. The effective motivating factor of the learning process becomes the child's interest. The effective orienting center for the educational process becomes student motivation. Effective educational 'policy' is based on the recognition and respect for the child's natural interests and abilities for learning and 'democratic' thinking. An educational process which fosters learning and thinking encourages the proper functioning of a truly free and democratic society. Such a society depends on people who are able to use their own minds - to learn and to think as responsible citizens. As children, they can learn to become responsible for themselves. As responsible adults, they can become 'educators' who help to foster other children's natural capacities for developing their own minds. Educators have the very great responsibility of encouraging children to learn, to think, and to grow, becoming responsible for others.
I am now of the conviction that many of the social ills of the society are symptoms of a maloriented educational system. Children are required to learn within a framework of adult controlled instruction. It appears that there is a dilemma faced by the schools of today which revolves around the need to motivate children to do work. I believe that in order for its citizens to live according to the underlying principles of a truly free society, children must be educated for responsible freedom. In order to function with integrity and intelligence in a democratic society, they must become mature as well as knowledgeable and autonomous as well as self-disciplined. Consequently I believe that the educational process for children means the opportunity for growth in a climate which fosters the instinctive development and maturation of their individuality and potentialities. The educational process must allow for the complete emotional, psychological, and intellectual development of children into mature adult personalities in harmony with themselves and their environment. They should have with the capacities for self-evaluation, self-determination, self-respect, and self-discipline, and a sense of responsibility for themselves and their fellow human beings. I believe that the only condition necessary to insure the cultivation of natural developmental processes is freedom - not freedom as licence opposed to control, but freedom with control. If effective learning is the goal of the educational process, then child interest is the effective orienting center of any educational policy. We know that learning is a natural function of the healthy mind and that learning and thinking are valuable assets for citizens of a free and democratic society. Given that schools are faced with the dilemma of how to motivate students to work, the central problem appears to be the following: how can we teach within the framework of a required curriculum while respecting children's natural motivation for learning? I believe that the educator, whether in the administrative or instructional capacities of schools or government, has the very great responsibiliuty of leading students to use and develop their own minds - to learn to think. Children must be allowed to develop their individual personalities and potentialities, as well as their mental and intellectual capacities in an educational climate of freedom and respect. Such a climate is the requisite condition for effective learning because it fosters the unfolding of their natural potentialities and their inner development towards inner freedom and rational thought. Thus freedom in the educational process determines the proper functioning of a free and democratic society composed of citizens who are free and democratic in their thinking. (personal statement)
Books which impacted my thinking:
On the history of the human species...Gordon Childe, Archeology and History,Harmondsforth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1942.
chapter 1 What Happened in History "Our species, man in the widest sense, has succeeded in surviving and multiplying chiefly by improving his equipment for living, as I have explained at length in Man Makes Himself. As with other animals, it is chiefly through his equipment that man acts on and reacts to the external world, draws sustenance therefrom and escapes its perils - in technical language adapts himself to his environment or even adjusts his environment to his needs. Man's equipment, however, differs significantly from that of other animals. These carry their whole equipment about with them as parts of their bodies; the rabbit carries paws to dig with, the lion claws and teeth for tearing his prey, the beaver carpenter's tusks, most beasts hairy or furry coats to keep in warmth - the tortoise even caries his house on his back. Man has very little equipment of this sort and has discarded some that he started with during prehistoric times. It is replaced by tools, extracorporeal organs that he makes, uses and discards at will; he makes picks and shovels for digging, weapons for killing game and enemies, adzes and axes for cutting wood, clothing to keep him warm in cold weather, houses of wood , brick or stone to provide shelter. Some very early 'men' indeed had projecting canine teeth set in very massive jaws that would be quite dangerous weapons, but these have disappeared in modern man whose dentures will not inflict mortal wounds. As with other animals, there is of course a bodily physiological basis to man's equipment. It may be summed up in two words, hands and brains. Relieved of the burden of carrying our bodies, our forefeet have developed into delicate instruments capable of an amazing variety of subtle and accurate movements. To control the latter and to link them up with impressions from outside received by the eye and other sense organs we have become possessed of a peculiarly complicated nervous system and an exceptionally big and complicated brain. The detachable and exctracorporeal character of the rest of the human equipment has obvious advantages... it is more convenient and more adaptable than other animals' equipment. The latter fits its possessor for living in a particular environment under special conditions. The mountain hare passes the winter comfortably and safely on the snow-clad hills thanks to his changeable coat; he would be dangerously conspicuous in the warmer valleys. Men can discard their warm clothing if they move to a hotter climate and can adjust their costume to the landscape. A rabbit's paws are good digging tools, but cannot compete with a cat's as weapons, while feline paws are poor spades. Men can make both tools and weapons. In briedf an animals's hereditary equipment is adapted to performing a limited number of operations in a particular environment. Man's extracorporeal equipment can be adjusted to almost infinite number of operations in almost any environment - 'can be' not 'is'. As against these advantages man has to learn not only to use but also to make his equipment. A chick soon finds itself equipped with feathers, wings, beak and claws. It certainly has to learn their use - how to keep its feathers clean for instance. But this is very simple and will not take long. A human infant arrives with no such outfit and it will not grow spontaneously. The round pebbes on the ground do not in themselves suggest knives. Many processes and stages must intervene before the wallaby's skin can be transferred to the child's back as a coat. Even the simplest tool made out of a broken bough or a chipped stone is the fruit of long experience - of trials and errors, impressions noticed, remembered and compared. The skill to make it has been acquired by observation, by recollection and by experiment. It may seem an exaggeration, but it is yet true to say that any tool is an embodiment of 'science'. For it is a practical application of remembered, compared, and collected experiences of the same kind as are systematized and summarized in scientific formulae, descriptions and prescriptions. Happily the individual infant is not left to accumulate in its own person the requisite experience or itself to make all the trials and mistakes. A baby does not indeed to inherit at birth a physical mechanism or nerve-paths stamped in the germ-plasm of the race and predisposing it to make automatically and instinctively the appropriate bodily movements. But it is born heir to a social tradition. Its parents and elders will teach it how to make and use equipment in accordance with the experience gathered by ancestral generations. And the equipment it uses is itself just a concrete expression of this social tradition. A tool is a social product and man is a social animal. Because it has much to learn, a human infant is peculiarly delicate and helpless, and its helplessness lasts longer than with the young of other animals. The physical counterpart of learning is the storing of impressions and the building up of connections between the various nerve-centers in the brain. Meanwhile the brain must keep on growing. To allow of such growth the skull-bones protecting the infant's brain remain very loosely joined together; only slowly do the junctions (or sutures) knit up. While the brain is thus unprotected it is very vulnerable. Helpless infancy being prolonged by these interrelated causes, if the species is to survive, at least one social group must keep together for several years until the infants are reared. In our species, the natural family of parents and children is a more stable and durable association than among species whose young mature faster. In practice, however, human families seem generally to live together in larger societies comparable to the herds and packs of gregarious animals. Indeed man is to some extent a gregarious animal. In human, as in animal, societies the elder generations transmit by example to the younger the collective experiences accumulated by the group - what they in turn have learned in like fashion from their elders and parents. Animal education can all be done by example; For human infants who have so much to learn the imitative method would be fatally slow. In human societies instruction is by precept as well as by example. Human societies have gradually devised tools for communication between their members. In so doing they have brought forth a new sort of equipment which can conveniently be labelled 'spiritual'."
Korzybski Science and Sanity1933)
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT... semantics and effect of language
'textbook' on general semantics based on non-Aristotelian systems. A system is a collection of doctrines and principles which determine the orientation by which we act and live. General semantics is an extensional discipline which explains how we use our nervous system and trains us to use it more effectively for survival and sanity. An orientation by extension is based on verbal definitions. The non-Aristotelian system is built on the fundamental premise of 'non-identity'; an object is not the words used to define or describe it and should be perceived in the context of relevant empirical facts to which it is related at a given point in time. Korzybski stresses the importance of building a scientific study of 'man-as-a-whole' possible with the recognition that language is a fundamental psychophysiological function. Such a study would "mark the beginning of a new era, the scientific era, in which all desirable human characteristics would be released from the present animalistic, psychophysiological, aristotelian semantic blockages, and that sanity would prevail". (Korzybski Science and Sanity 18)
The purpose of the book is to provide the diligent reader with a method of eliminating pathological semantic reactions to assure proper evaluation of meanings of words and environmental conditions on personal, social and political levels, in the hope of establishing foundations for a sane civilization in a sane world, possible with the maturation and adulthood of man. He calls his investigation a "general introduction to the theory of sanity." A non-aristotelian system involves semantic reactions of the scientific method and its application to life's problems, thus 'science and sanity'.
Functional language reflects the individual's perception of 'reality'. The thought patterns and behavior of the individual mind reflect the 'reality' of the cultural environment.
Non-aristotelian system, is based on the formulation of a general method not only for scientific work but for life as we know it today." (
"Technically our civilization is very advanced, but the elementalistic premises underlying our human relations, practically since Aristotle, have not changed. The present investigation reveals that in the functioning of our nervous system a special harmful factor which retyards the development of sane human relations and prevents general sanity." This harmful factor which Korzybski calls 'identification' is spread like an infectious disease through language by parents, teachers and politicians who control the symbolism in the society.
"'Identification' is the mental process of ascribing objective existence to words, a process of semantics which characterized the pre-human and primitive stage of civilization in so far as they believed in the magic of words. The next stage, aristotelian or infantile period of human development, was characterized by the identification of facts with preconceived creeds, dogmas and judgements. Facts were made to 'fit' the beliefs held at the time. Orientation in the aristotelian system is by 'intension' or verbal definition and thus verbiage takes precedence over facts. Since identity is defined as 'absolute sameness in all respects' and the 'all' is not possible, then the process of identifying the word with the object becomes fallacious. A definition of any word must invariably leave out many relations attributable to it and the word remains a symbol, devised to represent objective reality. The structure of the collection of symbols which constitute a language becomes merely a representation of the world, analagous to a map of a given territory, and different languages can vary with respect to their accuracy in depicting the 'real' structure of the world being represented.
Most people still identify symbols and words with actualities ('symptom' of the immature mind) and make incorrect evaluations of situations on the personal as well as social and political levels. Identification is a rigid form of adaptation and a mental process characteristic of animals but does not necessarily have survival value. (Korzybski discusses the experiments of Pavlov who demonstrated that dogs conditioned to 'identify' signals with food could learn to 'identify' signals with the lack of food.) Identity is "invariably 'false-to-facts' and so identification produces non-survival semantic reactions and therefore must be considered pathological for modern man". (Korzybski Science and Sanity 196) In fact many forms of 'mental illness' are characterized by erroneous and inappropriate standards of evaluation of the social environment, and the methods of psychotherapy have demonstrated that by eliminating the process of identification and thus changing those standards, some forms of mental illness can be relieved of symptoms of maladjustment and general insanity can be relieved. The elimination of identification is a necessry prerequistie to a formulation of a theory of general semantics and sanity, and constitutes the premise for the nonaristotelian scientific era, otherwise known as the 'adult' stage of human civilization. Furthermore, whereas the terminology of the aristotelian system is elementalistic, that of the nonaristotelian system is non-elementalistic, implying the revision of the verbal splitting of semantic reactions which are in fact composite, such as mind-body, emotion-intellect, space-time. The elementalistic, splitting structural characteristics of the language which we have inherited through training in the aristotelian system, constitute an inaccurate representation of the human organism perceived wholistically within a multi-dimensional framework of the myriad relations to its physical, genetic, political, cultural, familial, historical, social, psychological and semantic environment.
Modern man is not able to adjust effectively to the complexities of modern life without a revision of the structure of the language so that it represents as accurately as possible the empirical structure of the world he lives in, as well as reflecting the structure of the nervous system and following the natural order of nervous impulses in the brain and thus of semantic reactions, from empirical facts to verbal definituions.
A human civilization living by the principles of democracy presupposes a sane 'intelligence' of the masses and a general feeling of cooperation rather than animal competition. A 'civilization' based on commercialism, greed and ignorance can be neither democratic nor even human. Respect for the potential intelligence of the human organism and for children as they mature results in the capacity of proper evaluation, adjustment and decision making on personal, social and political levels. Our present commercial civilization, appealing to infantile gratification of the need to self-indulge provides an inadequate and improper semantic environment for children to develop into mature, intelligent, well-balanced, well-adjusted and socially responsible human beings and citizens of a true democracy - of democratically thinking citizens. Instead they want to be praised and refuse blame without realizing that a critical attitude insures a proper evaluation. They become self-satisfied, and complacent in their ignorance, unable to respect the needs of the young. Citizens of such a society assume that their institutions are superior and believe in the "righeousness of their own conduct" (Korzybski Science and Sanity 516). On the national level, they standardize whatever they can, remain hostile to individualism and prefer to regulate life by legislation so that the degree of injustice increases and life becomes impossible without expensive lawyers. Unable to distinguish the essential from the unimportant, they depend on their intense likes and dislikes to make their often incorrect evaluations, and create further injustice. They are impelled to copy others in their prejudices, make weak judgements, become oversuggestive and easy to manipulate, have an exaggerated sensitivity and moodiness which makes it easy for those in control to gain or divert their attention. The overall result is a general disintegration of human relationships and generally poor educational standards. Children must struggle to grow up into mature adults with proper evaluation of themselves and their place in the insane society into which they are born. We need to educate our children with a view to their needs for adjustment to life in a democracy and therefore with respect for their potential intelligence.
Unlike other animals, man has a capacity for symbolic representation and language, which enables him to learn from previous generations and to pass on what he has learnt to the generations which succeed him. This is the 'time-binding function.' In the evolution of the human species and its language the 'natural order' of evaluation consisted of facts first and labels and words next. This is the same order for a growing child as he learns to observe and explore the world around him. However, many peoples' evaluations are distorted as the result of intensional training by parents, teachers and other adults... who are unaware of the heavy neurological consequences of the methods they use in educating children. Their complacent 'know-it-all' attitudes constitute a "pernicious influence on the child's developing mind and mentality, unable to deal with fears and anxieties. As a result, the children become unable to formulate the proper evaluations necessary for sanity and predictability. Furthermore, the incorrect use of the language involvng 'false-to-facts' doctrines and the subsequent orientation by the reversed natural order, engages the thalamus and subcortical layers of the brain without correct stimulation of the cortex. In this way semantic blockages lead to improper evaluation, un-sanity and insanity and non-survival.
An individual or society unable to evaluate intelligently must resort to the ineffective trial and error methods which lead to conflict, misunderstandings, wars and revolutions. And the construction and utilization of new killing machines is not the intelligent scientific approach to solving human problems. "In a human civilization, humans matter more than machines or symbols" We must attack this problem with the "non-elementalistic, neuropsychological special non-identity technique" hence by way of a non-aristotelain system. As humans produce artificial conditions and can overpopulate, they must adjust to the resulting complex environment which is further complicated by the far-reaching effects of their ability to create symbols for things and ideas and then convey these in different languages. Personal, social, national and international adjustments for sanity and survival necessitate a scientific non-aristotelian orientation which can provide us with a method of solving life's human problems which are connected with semantic reactions. They are inherent in man but until the psycho-physiological researches which Korzybski discusses "we had no workable educational means by which to handle them effectively." ( Korzybski Science and Sanity 28)
Older generations force their systems of semantics on the young by way of their educational and linguistic structure and habits. (Capitalists use words to control the 'American people'. They use 'education' to manipulate peoples' minds and especially the minds of the young). If the younger generations cannot accept the older semantic system in the light of their own experiences, then revolutions and social wars result. The newer scientific systems, non-euclidean, non-newtonian, and non-aristotelian include the older ones and the result is that scientific and rational methods are available for solving life's problems. Beneficial manifestations of the human nervous system such as curiosity, creativity, and generosity are prevented from materializng if the misuse of language has resulted in semantic blockages which lead to improper evaluations and undesirable semantic reactions. This study of general semantics suggests the necessary construction of a language with a new terminology involving a new theory of meanings and which takes into account the two negative premises of the non-aristotelian system, namely that words are not the object and no object is in isolation.
The new language would enable us to construct a science of man in relation to the many environmental influences, and a perception of the human organism as a whole, excluding the artificial splitting of 'emotions' and 'intellect', body' and 'mind' etc. We in fact live our lives entirely on the objective level which includes our 'feelings' and 'emotions.' The verbal levels are auxiliary. "Say whatever you choose about the object, and whatever you might say is not it." (Korzybski Science and Sanity 35) This attitude would eliminate the current efficacy of insults and innuendoes used to control and manipulate peoples's semantic reactions in the interest of power and greed. Rhetoric and verbiage outside of a given context have no valid 'meaning'. Most terms in the dictionary are of this type which Korzybski calls multiordinal. The multiordinality of a term is a natural fact since meaning depends on context. "The recognition of the multiordinality of terms is the fundamental mechanism of the full conditionality of human semantic reactions...and is fundamental for sanity."(Korzybski Science and Sanity 15) and consequently for our ability to solve our human problems. Korzybski claims that "one of the main values of the book is the accessibility to physological means for training the human nervous system in 'sanity'. In the non-aristotelian system, differences become fundamental and similarities are discovered as a result of 'higher abstraction'. (Korzybski Science and Sanity 165) The processes of abstracting on the conscious level (consciousness of abstraction) constitute an awareness that in the process of evaluating, we have left out some characteristics in accordance with the non-identity and non-isolation premises. It is the process of abstracting which is 'intelligence' and supposedly has its origin in the "'physico-chemical structure of protoplasm" (Korzybski Science and Sanity 165) It has been demonstrated in some simple life forms that the transmission of irritability reactions through the protoplasm makes it possible for the organism as a whole to react to stimuli in the environment. The nervous system "takes on the function of the primitive protoplasmic physiological gradients." (Korzybski Science and Sanity 104) which are affected by electrical currents involved in the various life processes including 'feelings' 'emotions' 'thoughts' and semantic reactions. (Korzybski Science and Sanity 121) Due to the fact that the nerve impulse travels at the rate of 120 meters per second and not instantaneously as was once thought, there is a specific order in which they are transmitted. They enter the brain by way of the brain stem, traverse the thalamus and then the subcortical layers and into the cerebral cortex where they are altered somehow and return. This order correlates with the natural order involved in the proper use of language, that is sensations first and ideas and verbalisms next, the so-called 'survival order', which requires observation ("silence on the objective level") and delayed cortical reactions which stimulate the cortical regions and protect the thalamus from overstimulation and non-adaptive semantic reactions. Thus orientation by extension or facts (non-aristotelian) "involves the integration of cortico-thalamic functions" (Introduction to second edition p. xlvi) which is the structural basis for the proper integration of the emotional and 'intellectual' levels of semantic reactions for the human organism as a whole. The result is a properly developed capacity for evaluation adjustment, and sanity. In this way than awareness of the neurosemantic and neuro-linguistic mechanisms which control our reactions makes the formulation of a non-aristotelian system not only possible but 'true-to-fact' as well.
Annotation: Maslow, Abraham Toward a Psychology of Being. Van Nostrand Reinhold and Company, New York, l962
Using a scientifically objective approach, it is possible to formulate a so-called 'science of ethics,' a value system based on the natural laws of human nature and human existence. This requires an investigation into the real nature of the individual human being both as a member of the human species and as a unique specimen. As a member of the human species, each human being has a biologically inherited 'intrinsic conscience' based on the unconscious perception of his own human nature (true self, real self, infinite self or 'Self'). In addition to the conscience, each individual has a unique potentiality manifested in a personal decision making process which is based on his own will, responsibility, strength, courage and needs (authentic I-self, ego-self, or 'ego'). The scientific formulation of a natural value system requires that the distinction be made between 'higher' and 'lower' human needs. Both 'higher' and 'lower' needs are shared by all members of the human species. The 'lower' needs include the basic physiological needs, the need for safety, the need for belongingness, the need for love and the need for respect. With varying strength in terms of urgency they are related to each other in a hierarchical fashion. The need for food is more pressing, more prepotent, than the need for safety, which in turn is more prepotent than the need for love etc. Also known as the 'deficit' needs (D-needs), the 'lower' needs rely on sources outside the individual and depend on other people for their gratification. An individual makes personal decisions on the basis of the need which must be gratified before he can be motivated by another 'higher' need. He naturally makes decisions within the framework of an equivalent value system, that of the so-called 'Deficit-values' (D-values). Motivated by deficiency needs, he can be described as 'deficiency motivated.' He perceives other people in terms of their usefulness as sources of gratification for his need deficiencies rather than perceiving them in terms of their own intrinsic values. Dependent on other people, he must be flexible and responsive to their reactions. Thus relying on changeable factors in a non-reliable social environment, the 'deficiency motivated' individual is prone to anxiety, to hostility and ultimately to a lack of freedom. His interpersonal relations are limited and interchangeable because they are based on need gratification.
Once the individual has gratified his basic 'lower' needs during a normal growth process, he becomes less dependent on others for the gratification of the 'higher' needs for growth, creation and production, also known as 'Being needs' (B-needs). For gratification of the B-needs, the individual relies on his own inner resources. Making his personal decisions on the basis of B-needs, he naturally makes his choices within the framework of the equivalent value system, that of the 'Being-values' (B-values). Motivated by the Being needs for growth, he can be described as 'growth motivated.' He becomes independent of other people for the gratification of his growth needs. Characteristically autonomous and self-sufficient, he experiences 'true' freedom and enjoys the pleasure of insight and production. He has the capacities characteristic of 'self-actualization': to make decisions in his 'true' self interest; to perceive other people in terms of their intrinsic qualities; to have a non-judgmental, non-interfering attitude towards others; to perceive reality holistically. His comprehensive understanding of other human beings forms the basis for meaningful interpersonal relations.
The objective study of fully developed and healthy individuals reveals information about the end result of normal human growth and provides a basis for the formulation of a natural 'science of ethics'. So-called 'self-actualized' individuals share the following characteristics: superior perception of reality; increased acceptance of self, of others and of nature; increased spontaneity; increased problem- centering; increased detachment and desire for privacy; increased autonomy and resistance to enculturation; greater freshness of appreciation and richness of emotional reaction; higher frequency of so called 'peak-experiences'; increased identification with the human species; improved interpersonal relations; more democratic 'character structure'; greatly increased creativeness; 'ethical' value system. Generally enjoying life in all of its aspects, these people lead ethical lives. Characteristically independent of other people, the self-actualized individual is autonomous and self-sufficient. He is able to perceive others objectively as unique individuals. Capable of a holistic perception of reality, his reasoning transcends the opposites, the dichotomies, the polarities, the contradictions and incompatibles. Perceiving these as interpenetrating facets of a whole, the self-actualizated person values the higher needs, the 'Being-values' (B-values) of wholeness, perfection, truth, justice, aliveness, richness, simplicity, beauty, goodness, uniqueness, self-sufficiency etc. A 'science of ethics' can be formulated on the basis of the discovery of those highest values which people yearn and struggle for as they grow and improve themselves. The 'higher' values are those biologically based constitutional ethical impulses revealed during the proper development of psychological health. They enable the individual to adjust to the realities of a social environment.
A healthy culture can provide the necessary conditions for fostering proper human growth and development if the individual's human needs are recognized and respected. As the result of a culturally fostered human development, the individual becomes 'self-actualized,' living according to the 'higher' Being values which comprise his natural system of ethics. The definition of a healthy culture as one which fosters universal self-actualization is revolutionary in its implications for ethics. In the style of Aristotelian logic (A and not-A), age-old axioms maintain the 'deficiency motivated' perception of reality in terms of classes and concepts which are mutually exclusive (male-female, selfish-unselfish, adult-child, kind-cruel, good-bad etc.).
For centuries the attempts to formulate a system of ethics have been based on the mutually exclusive contrast between 'what is' and 'what ought to be.' This dichotomous concept of ethics has resulted from teaching people that their intrinsic animal instincts are immoral, evil and not to be trusted. This is the false premise upon which many seemingly insoluble social problems are based. It has led to the mistaken idea that the interests of the individual and of the society are mutually exclusive and antagonistic, that civilization is primarily a mechanism for controlling and policing human instinctive impulses. But when people are taught that they should despise their human nature ("I am only human") then they cannot have respect for their own needs and the impulses towards their gratification. Without respect for their own needs, they cannot have respect for the needs of others, the necessary basis of a scientific value system. For proper growth and development, an individual's instinctive primary needs must be respected.
If the basic premise for a 'science of ethics' were changed and human nature was assumed to be good and productive, a paradigm shift would result. Some of the age-old philosophical questions could be resolved if asked on the basis of a new premise and within the framework of a new paradigm. Both the 'science of education' and the 'science of ethics' could be formulated in terms of the natural unfolding of human nature during proper psychological development towards full 'humanness,' towards so-called 'self-actualization.' At this stage of development, the autonomous individual engages in the productivity which defines his full individuality and 'true' freedom. Leading his life according to the 'Being-values' of freedom, love, truth, justice etc. the individual is responsible to himself and simultaneously responsibile to the rest of humanity. The process of education for proper human development involves the fostering of an individual's instinctive responsibility to himself and his own needs. It therefore depends on the creation of an environment which fosters self-discipline, self-actualization and the full development of 'humanness,' the natural ethical core of every human being. In the process of successfully adapting to a changing social environment, the 'self-actualized' individual is capable of making decisions in his own 'true' interest. Simultaneously he makes decisions which are in the 'true' interest of the society. Thus he lives in accordance with natural biological laws and the evolutionary process. And the 'science of ethics' becomes a natural value system formulated on the basis of natural laws of human nature and human existence.( Based on Maslow, Abraham "Toward a Psychology of Being." Van Nostrand Reinhold and Company, New York, l962)
Lowry, Richard J., "A.H. Maslow: An Intellectual Portrait" Brooks/Cole Publishing Co., Monterey, California, l973
According to author Richard Lowry, Maslow's principles deal with the same basic values sought by theologians and philosophers throughout human history. Man has always tended to look for guiding values outside himself, from some sort of god, sacred book, ruling elite, or ruling individual. Maslow explored the theory that the guiding values which have been prescribed by religions and philosophies can be found within a person's consciousness. By observing the people whom he considered as mankind's 'best specimens' living under the 'best conditions' he described those values by which they led their lives. The results of his observations showed that the values which guided these people from within their consciousness were the same as "the old values of truth, goodness, and beauty and some additional ones as well - for instance, gaiety, justice and joy."
Maslow's 'intellectual awakening' came in l927 when he read Sumner's book "Folkways" introducing him to a point of view which pointed up his own ethnocentrism. Attempting to apply the Darwinian evolutionary doctrine to human society, the book was written as an argument for the evolution of social mores, called 'folkways', in accordance with basic biological needs and environmental contingencies by a process analagous to 'natural selection.' In Maslow's own intellectual development, the notion of inborn biological necessity and basic human needs led to his conception of 'instinctoid' human nature. He discredited theologians for trying to find man's justifications outside of himself and philosophers for having no authorities or absolute criteria. He criticised theology for its overdependence on dogma, revelation and supernaturalism and he criticised philosophy for denying these authorities. Maslow arrived at the conclusion that man has a 'natural personality' which is basically good. Feelings of 'natural dominance' or 'self-esteem' lead to beneficial and creative behaviour. Feelings of 'compensatory dominance' become 'over-compensatory' when they are derived from the crippling effect of insecurity and low self-esteem. Such feelings of sham dominance leading to domineering or haughty behaviour can explain the wickedness of human behaviour.
According to Maslow's motivation theory, the biologically innate 'natural personality' can be described in terms of the hierarchy of human needs which account for a person's motivation and behaviour2. These needs are the innate motives which are biologically built into the constitution of the human species. The hierarchy of motives is based on an inherent hierarchy of 'prepotency' defined in terms of their urgency. The innate motives for behaviour rise to the surface of consciousness and become motivational in their order of prepotency. One motive is considered more prepotent if it is more urgent and inhibits other motives. Thus the most 'prepotent' needs are the most urgent. In Maslow's own words, "It is quite true that man lives by bread alone-when there is no bread. But what happens to man's desires when there is plenty of bread and when his belly is chronically filled? At once other (and higher) needs emerge, and these, rather than physiological hungers, dominate the organism. And when these in turn are satisfied, again new (and still higher) needs emerge and so on." In order of 'prepotency,' the basic needs are first the physiological needs of survival and sex, second, the 'safety needs,' third, the needs for 'belongingness and love,' fourth, the 'esteem needs,' and fifth, the need for fulfillment or 'self-actualization.' The physiological needs of survival are the most urgent and thus the most prepotent. Once they are satisfied, the next 'most prepotent needs' emerge, the 'safety needs,' followed by the less prepotent needs for 'belongingness and love.' Once these are met, still another class of basic needs emerge, the 'esteem needs,' the needs for "... a stable, firmly based, usually high self-evaluation...(in the form of) a desire for strength, achievement, adequacy, mastery, competence, confidence... independence and freedom...(or in the form of) a desire for reputation...status, dominance, recognition, attention, importance or appreciation." Once the 'esteem needs' are met, the need for 'self-actualization' emerges. This refers to a person's 'desire for self-fulfillment,'... to become actualized in what one is potentially..to become everything that one is capable of becoming."
'Self-actualizing' human beings are people who enjoy life to the full. They are adapted to life within a culture but are unspoiled in the process of acculturation. They place no unrealistic or neurotic demands on reality, perceiving it clearly and accepting it for what it is. They do not feel threatened by the unknown and are free from superstitions. Without shame, guilt or anxiety, they accept their own nature and that of others. They accept human nature, seeing it for what it is and not as they would prefer it to be. They feel uncomfortable when they see discrepancies in people's natures. They have a distinct quality of detachment and strong sense of privacy. Resisting cultural influences, they are autonomous and independent. With a genuine desire to help others, they identify with humanity and are democratic in their thinking. They prefer a few profound friendships to many superficial ones. They have a philosophical and unhostile sense of humour. They will intentionally hurt another only when it is good for that person. They are in short altogether Good Human Beings.6 In Maslow's words, the self-actualized human being has "the wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy, however stale these experiences may have become to others. Thus for such a person, any sunset may be as beautiful as the first one, any flower may be of breath-taking loveliness, even after he has seen a million flowers. They frequently experience such ecstatic moments of clear perception of reality, for which Maslow coined the term 'peak-experience.' They are deeply and essentially spontaneous and non-conforming. "...they have impulses. They work, they try, and they are ambitious, even though in an unusual sense,. For them motivation is just character growth, character expression, maturation, and development; in a word, self actualization."8 He called this type of motivation 'Being-motivation' and 'meta-motivation' in contrast to the control of so-called 'deficiency motivation' of 'ordinary mankind.' As a result of meta-motivation and the clear perception of reality, self-actualizing people show "in one way or another a special kind of creativeness or originality or inventiveness...(similar to that of)..unspoiled children...(which seems to be) ...a fundamental characteristic of common human nature - a potentiality given to all human beings at birth" and lost by many people during the process of enculturation. "Problem centered" rather than "means centered," self-actualizing people are not confused by means and ends, by problems and methods in scientific investigation. "Problem centered" rather than "ego centered" they see problems and solutions as they are rather than as they would like them to be. Significantly, they perceive many so-called "problems" as merely pseudoproblems resulting from an ego-centered mental process which dichotomizes and distorts reality. The result is the emergence of problematical false dichotomies such as reason-emotion, mystic-realistic, self-society etc. For the self-actualizing person, false dichotomies can be resolved, "the polarities disappear, and many oppositions thought to be intrinsic merge and coalesce with each other to form unities." For Maslow, 'self-actualization' was a vision of human nature. His aim was to investigate the possibility that the original nature of the human species could be scientifically revealed. By analysing the psychological and emotional characteristics of the so-called 'self-actualizing' human beings, the fully grown members of the human species who were the 'good human beings,' he argued that such a scientific investigation was valid. He came to the conclusion that the 'self-actualizing' person is the 'ordinary' human being with 'nothing taken away,' and that the 'self-actualized' person is 'synonomous with human nature in general.'
Maslow described the characteristics of the 'self-actualized' person and argued that they can be used to describe the innate characteristics of human nature. Self-actualizing people are able to perceive the world as if it were independent only of themselves and also of human beings in general. This tends to be true of the average human being in his 'highest' moments, his so-called 'peak experiences,' when he can readily look at nature for itself and not as if it were a playground put there for human purposes; when he can refrain from projecting human purposes upon it; when he can "see it in its own Being...rather than as something to be used, or something to be afraid of, or to be reacted to in some other human way."l0 The self-actualizing person sees the world as the 'ordinary' man perceives it in the 'peak experience.' Perceived as a complete unit, as a whole, without evaluation or judgement, an event or person is detached from relations or usefulness and seen 'with care,' with selfless love.
In accordance with his principles of human nature, Maslow was a critic of 'official' science and proposed "a religionizing of all that is secular." He called orthodox science a "crippled half-science" and orthodox religion a "crippled half-religion." Giving short shrift to values and emotions, science cripples itself. Taught that 'values' are subjective evaluations and 'emotions' cannot be trusted, scientists are led to believe that both distort the world of objective fact. They should not be taken into account in descriptions of 'reality.' The orthodoxy of the scientific institution has created a desacralized science, devoid of values and feelings of "humility, reverence, mystery, wonder, and awe." Denying the reality of these feelings, scientists have cut themselves off from the most real aspects of the 'reality' of the world. The job of the scientist is to see reality for what it is. A self-actualizing human being, the 'psychologically healthy scientist' approaches his work "with love, devotion, and self-abnegation, as if he were entering a holy of holies. His self-forgetfulness can certainly be called a transcendence of the ego. His asbsolute morality and honesty and total truth can certainly be called a 'religious' attitude, and his occasional thrill or peak-experience, the occasional shudder of awe, of humility and smallness before the great mysteries he deals with-all these can be called sacred." Rewarded with such 'peak-experiences' and 'Being-cognitions,' the 'psychologically healthy scientist' does not seek the rewards of research grants and professional chairs. As a self-actualizing person seeking the truth of nature, he is a good scentist without trying to be one, seeking the truths of nature.
As a psychologically healthy scientist of human nature, Abraham Maslow has contributed a convincing argument for the biological basis of morality and ethics. Using the scientific analytical approach, he has shown that the guiding principles for morality and ethics are biologically rooted within the consciousness of the human species. When the conditions of the psychological 'environment' are suitable, the innate motives for human behaviour emerge to the surface of human consciousness in a predetermined order based on the so-called 'hierarchy of prepotency.' With a vision for humanity, Maslow has suggested that as each member of the human species becomes 'self-actualized,' he is guided in his personal life by the biologically rooted principles of morality and ethics. With 'self-actualization' of humanity as a whole there is hope for peace and community throughout the world.
According to William James, "The most interesting and valuable things about a man are his ideals and over-beliefs. The same is true of nations and historic epochs; and the excesses of which the particular individuals and epochs are guilty are compensated in the total, and become profitable to mankind in the long run." The self-adjusted man of American culture could be conceived as representing the ideal and over-belief of American psychological theory. Abraham Maslow's scientific approach to the nature of the human being can be considered one of the outcomes which is profitable to mankind.