Yesterday we employed David Korten’s book, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, as a prophetic naming of the dynamics of our time, even our era, which might be remembered as the Age of Reckoning but also, perhaps, as the Age of the End of Empires and the building of an Earth Community.
Following are some observations from his book which I share in my book on reinventing education in the chapter on character building, The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human. (Recall that Gandhi says that education that fails to build character is a grave danger to society.)
Korten says that about 5000 years ago, faced with the organizational challenge of dealing with growing population densities, our forebears made a choice for the dominator relations of Empire. A self-destructive era of warfare, greed, racism, sexism, and suppression of the higher order of human consciousness followed.
To stick with a patriarchal and imperial notion of character and “values” such as warfare, greed, racism and sexism is destructive, as Gandhi warns us. Expanding human consciousness, as mysticism does, is the future.
Korten criticizes schools that prepare the young for obedient service to the institutions of Empire, but not for life and leadership in vibrant human communities nor for roles as social architects of a new human era. He thinks this invites drop outs and self-destructive ways of living.
Historian H. G. Wells, some 80 years ago, warned that our species may yet end its strange eventful history as just the last, the cleverest of the great apes. The great ape was clever—but not clever enough. It could escape from most things but not from its own mental confusion.
Matthew Fox, The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human, pp. 140, 18f.
Banner Image: A ceremonial circle at the San Francisco Civic Center in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the Water Protectors standing against the Dakota Access Pipeline, 11/15/2016. Photo by Peg Hunter on Flickr
Queries for Contemplation
Does Korten help you to contextualize the emergence of Patriarchy and its alliance with Empire-building? Is Wells correct that humanity has a hard time escaping its own mental confusion? How heal that?
The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human
The A.W.E. Project reminds us that awe is the appropriate response to the unfathomable wonder that is creation… A.W.E. is also the acronym for Fox’s proposed style of learning – an approach to balance the three R’s. This approach to learning, eldering, and mentoring is intelligent enough to honor the teachings of the Ancestors, to nurture Wisdom in addition to imparting knowledge, and to Educate through Fox’s 10 C’s. The 10 C’s are the core of the A.W.E. philosophy and process of education, and include: compassion, contemplation, and creativity. The A.W.E. Project does for the vast subject of “learning” what Fox’s Reinvention of Work did for vocation and Original Blessing did for theology. Included in the book is a dvd of the 10 C’s put to 10 video raps created and performed by Professor Pitt.
“An awe-based vision of educational renewal.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.