Values, Education and Heeding the Wisdom of the Young

We ended yesterday’s DM citing congressman Ro Khanna about the sit-ins on campuses around America and the world protesting war.  Other adults—as opposed to politicians making up ways to prove antisemitism is behind it all—have offered similar observations of the truth telling  going on on campuses. 

Senator Bernie Sanders (D.-VT) introduces a bill to support the First Amendment rights of student protestors. WCAX-TV Channel 3 News

Values, Values, Values are missing in current academia.  The dwindling of liberal arts education is just one sign of that.  So too is the onslaught of a vapid legalist and capitalist take-over of education.  Education stuck in the modern era is stripped of its primary purpose which Rabbi Heschel summarized this way: “To educate means to cultivate the soul, not only the mind.”

Why did Albert Einstein say, “I abhor American education”?  (Even though he was living on Princeton campus.)  He tells us.  Because humanity has been given two gifts, that of the rational brain and that of the intuitive brain from which we get our values.  The rational brain should serve the intuitive brain because that is where values are to be found.  But our society and education values only the rational brain and ignores the intuitive brain. 

Gabrielle Roth speaks of the importance of “Retriev(ing) Your Soul Through Dance.” Omega Institute for Holistic Studies.

How to recover values?  Art as meditation.  “The way of the prophets,” as psychologists Ornstein and Naranjo put it, calling it “extrovert meditation.” Exercising the intuitive (or mystical brain in my vocabulary) is the path back to a value-based education.  It is integral to all my efforts at reinventing education, and I saw it accomplish miracles in our 50 years of practicing it with both adults and teenagers.

Adultism is alive and well in our time.  Adultism derives from the repression of the child (the mystic therefore) in adults (and in institutions adults run including academia). 

A young demonstrator offers a flower to a military police officer, 10/21/1967. Photo from U.S. Army records. Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

I spoke of the Cosmic Christ and the young years ago:  The Cosmic Christ speaks: “I am eternal youth.  I am always young, always new, always fresh, always eager, always in the beginning.  Why aren’t you? 

The beginning is not in opposition to the past, it fulfills it, complements it, invigorates it.  I am also the past made fresh and new, powerful and exciting.  Bring these parts together—the new and the past—in your present ‘now.’

Look about you at those who are actively doing this.  Consider the young.  Be like them—awestruck and wonder filled, enthusiastic (meaning full of divine energy).  

To be continued.


Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 198ff.

See also, Fox, The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human.

And Fox, “Deep Ecumenism, Ecojustice, and Art as Meditation,” in Fox, Wrestling with the Prophets, pp. 215-242.

And Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Postdenominational Priest, pp. 126-176.

Banner Image: Protest by students at the California Polytechnic State University, 2018. Photo by the Kennedy Library on Flickr.


Queries for Contemplation

 Do you agree that values should be integral to education?  In my book, The A.W.E. Project, I lay out a value system for a civil society and public education called the “10 c’s” that include ecology/cosmology; contemplation; chaos; creativity; community; courage; critical thinking; ceremony; compassion; and character.  Can you agree with this value system?  Or create your own?


Recommended Reading

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

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.

Wrestling with the Prophets: Essays on Creation Spirituality and Everyday Life

In one of his foundational works, Fox engages with some of history’s greatest mystics, philosophers, and prophets in profound and hard-hitting essays on such varied topics as Eco-Spirituality, AIDS, homosexuality, spiritual feminism, environmental revolution, Native American spirituality, Christian mysticism, Art and Spirituality, Art as Meditation, Interfaith or Deep Ecumenism and more.

Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest (Revised/Updated Edition)

Matthew Fox’s stirring autobiography, Confessions, reveals his personal, intellectual, and spiritual journey from altar boy, to Dominican priest, to his eventual break with the Vatican. Five new chapters in this revised and updated edition bring added perspective in light of the author’s continued journey, and his reflections on the current changes taking place in church, society and the environment.
“The unfolding story of this irrepressible spiritual revolutionary enlivens the mind and emboldens the heart — must reading for anyone interested in courage, creativity, and the future of religion.”
—Joanna Macy, author of World as Lover, World as Self


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4 thoughts on “Values, Education and Heeding the Wisdom of the Young”

  1. Avatar

    Our inherent values of True self and intuition reside in the heart. Sometimes, many times it is good to be young and naive to the ‘ways of the world’. When ‘ways of the world’ not only don’t touch the heart, but greatly disturb the heart, that becomes a great ‘wake-up’ call in the young and youthful. And the young and youthful do not want to take ‘no’ for an answer when it is clear and obvious to them that there can be other and better ways to heart enduring solutions.

    Is everything the youth will do during this ‘crusade of heart’ be without blemish? Hardly so, but it can still lead us to a better and enduring place than from where we have started. The ‘youth’ are the future and just waking up again to the power that they hold. We would be wise to step to the side and let them carry the load of prosperity for all. — BB.

  2. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    Thank you for today’s powerfully beautiful DM, inspiring engagement with and the valuing and retrieval of the wisdom of the soul and what this means and the pathways available and accessible to experiencing, encountering, as well as being and living in this reality.

    Listening to Gabriella Roth again, brought back memories of myself dancing and creating art, while listening to her cassette tape, the 5 Rhythms. Memories of immersing myself in the Expressive Arts Therapy methods of Carl Rogers, with his daughter in the Catskills Mountains also rose to the surface, along with the many transformative shamanic gateway ceremonies I’ve engaged with, all of which created a strong foundation for being and living in Sacred relationship with my Soul.

    Most of my life I’ve been continuously learning how to be and live from this wellspring of wisdom that never runs dry. Going deeper still I’m now immersed in the pathway of SoulCollage, as taught by Seena Frost whom was a Jungian psychologist and artist, inspired by Jean Houston.

    Throughout all of these pathways, I realized I’m joyfully engaging with the 10 C’s, which has definitely led me to retrieving, valuing, responding to and engaging with the sacred gifts of intuition, imagination, creativity and the powerfully transformative wisdom of my Soul. This invitation is offered to all whom have opened the heart of their eyes to see and ears to hear the divinity within the humanity of their own Soul!

  3. Avatar

    Yes! Yes! The “10 c’s” in your book “The A.W.E. Project” is very w(h)olistic in integrating the main values in our educational systems, and even in our daily spiritual journeys. I am very partial to the importance of developing daily contemplative spiritual practices/silent meditations, as taught by our mystical spiritual traditions, in order to help us quiet our egocentric minds and heal our conditioned minds of our old limited selves contributing to our personal, interpersonal, and societal problems. Most of us are not aware that we live in the matrix of our conditioned selves separated from our True Heart Selves, separated from one another lacking True Compassion, separated from our belonging to Beautiful Sacred Mother Earth/Nature, and therefore separated from the DIVINE CREATIVE FLOW within and among Us of LOVING DIVERSE ONENESS on earth and in the spiritual realms of Our COSMOS guiding our daily lives in the SACREDNESS of the ETERNAL PRESENT MOMENT….

  4. Avatar

    Sr Philomena Feist, FCJ, born 1907, came from the Crimea to Canada because of her wise father. He first moved to the US midwest and accompanied her to school to see what they were teaching. When he saw that the subject matter was all about the U.S.A., he took his family further north to Canada and had somethings to say about a nation that is all about itself. I myself was educated in an American system, until grade 7, as I attended the Oil Companies School in Tripoli, Libya (according to my mother, my father objected to the French school as he did not want me to have an accent–no doubt enduring prejudice from his American colleagues at work for his German accent acquired from attending an Austrian university). Only when I moved to Canada, did I learn about Canada. Another big difference I noticed was that my last name fit in with all the “strange” long and difficult to pronounce other last names. I’m sorry to say it, but education in the U.S. is steeped in nationalism and patriotism and we can see how bereft that is of what it means to be an educated human being! May it change and quickly! And thank you Matthew Fox and all other dedicated teachers who have dedicated their lives to the foremost thing that makes us human: developing our consciousness.

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