The Xia Dynasty was the first Dynasty in Chinese historiography. It existed from 2070 B.C. to around 1600 B.C.E., and was the first ancient civilization (outside of Mesopotamia) to create institutions for education. While mostly for boys of aristocratic families, schools taught about The Four Books & The Five Classics. These were Great Learning, The Analects, Mencius, and Maintaining Perfect Balance & Book of Documents, Book of Odes, Book of Rites, Book of Changes, and Spring & Autumn Annals. Through these books the culture, knowledge, and Ancient Chinese understanding of the world was passed down through generations.
This was normal for many of the ancient education systems. Across cultures, through time and space, education was generally kept from woman and created a division surrounding class, mobility, and ability to influence and effect society. Because knowledge is power. Those who control and influence the world, understand the world. Those who don’t control and influence the world, don’t understand the world.
The educational system of the United States has it’s roots formed in the Industrial Revolution, where we created an educational model that encourages compliance, conformity, and rote learning. Meaning, the input and output of facts, much like a factory. This narrative and model of education still exists today and seeps us of individualist thinking and our creativity, limiting our potential. Montessorium states that fewer than 10% of Americans graduated high school, post World War 1, but around 1940 the figure had risen to 50%, illustrating the rise in standardized education around this time.
In this model, education is a one-size-fits-all, but as we discovered, humans are incredibly unique due to our individual genetic patterning. The idea that everyone should adhere to the same set of standards, the same box, and be judged accordingly, isn’t natural. Everyone one us has different learning styles, passions, and rates of learning.
The root word for education is ‘educare’ – which means to train or to mold, and ‘educere,’ meaning to ‘lead out.’ The molding that happens through the educational process of each individual is complex, and transformative, changing our brain structures and neuronal patterning. Creating new circuitry of a much higher awareness of the world around us. This individual awareness, leads to collective awareness. Overtime.
An example of this is the increase in concern surrounding climate change. This has lead education to turn more towards the environment and Nature. Data from Burning Glass show the number of environmental science degrees awarded each year has increased by 24% since 2016. This can also be seen in the emerging field of biomimicry, modeling design and science after nature.
As people become more educated, they generally earn more money. It’s a natural byproduct of becoming more aware, and being able to deliver more service to the world. As of 2019, according to Pew Research women are more educated than men, and account for 50.7% of the educated work force.
According to Wikipedia, within the United States, in Ages 25+
- 89.8% holds a High School Diploma
- 34.98% holds a Bachelor’s Degree
- 13.04% holds a Master’s Degree
- 2.03% holds a Doctorate
I thought these were good statistics, and eye opening. But, how many of these people do you think are truly living in alignment with their soul’s purpose?
The Great Resignation, which began during early 2021, is a period of time where employees are quitting their jobs en masse. World Economic Forum states that 47 million workers quit their jobs in 2022. The reasons being inadequate pay, minimal advancement opportunities, uncaring and uninspiring leaders, lack of meaning, and a lack of attention to health and wellbeing. All a sign of a societal shift, towards something more natural, and evolved. Something with more soul.
This lack of alignment also shows up in workplace engagement. Which, according to to Gallup, costs the world $7.8 trillion dollars every year, about 11% of total global GDP. Workplace engagement is difficult to create, because of our outdated model of the world and work. But when it’s done well, businesses thrive and outcompete other businesses even during hard times. This is because it’s natural and innate, not something that can be bought, or incentivized through material means. Only facilitated through human means.
When the soul is tended throughout society, in the workplace, and at home – we’ll see more human thriving, and abundance.
The Future Of Education
It was during the Heian period in Japan (794 – 1185) that the concept of Ikigai was created. The philosophy is propagated throughout the country, and is probably one of the reasons the Japanese have one of the highest quality of life, and life expectancy. It’s a wholistic way of approaching your life and the world, and is basically the soul. ‘Iki’ means life, and ‘gai’ describes value.
It would seem that finding our purpose eludes many people, but there’s a general trend towards the future of work involving this sense of purpose, as more people consider it as important. In his book Mastery, Robert Greene, who studied hundreds of geniuses and master’s understood their process of becoming self-actualized. He bridged an understanding for me, which was ‘fusing intuition with reason’. In this way, we follow our intuition through our educational process, as we go from hunch to hunch, learning more about the world in a way that makes sense to us, not necessarily everyone else.
This type of learning is more possible through a holistic lens and approach to learning. Something traditional schools restrict, on some level, but that the decentralization of knowledge of the internet, allows. In the traditional model of education, knowledge is ‘boxed off’ from other sources of knowledge. Which isn’t bad, but it’s separated from other sources of knowledge, and that’s how we learn it and integrate it into our mind. When we’re kids, we don’t do that, we just explore. That’s natural, and reinforces creativity and connections between seemingly unrelated things.
Another block that comes up along our educational process is deconstructed by Carol Dweck in her book, Mindset. It’s a fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset, which I see as scarcity vs. abundance. The growth mindset sees every obstacle, plateau, and challenge as a pathway for growth. The fixed mindset, does not. Much of this is developed in childhood, but it’s also a part of the culture, and why a ‘circle of safety’ is so necessary for learning and development, especially in the younger years when we’re just beginning. She also shared the power of ‘yet’. The knowing that whatever you’re facing, you just haven’t learned enough, tried enough, or given enough…yet.
If we embody these simple, but profound belief systems and understandings, actualizing our potential is simple, and the internet makes it easier. If you’re reading this, you are part of the 4.9 billion people who have access at the tip of our fingers to more information than any generation that’s ever existed. And it’s growing. This is what Tim Urban calls the human colossus. The evolving field of understanding of humanity, that continues to grow and expand. You can tap into it, ask questions, and explore to your hearts desire. It’s the world’s brain, is mostly decentralized, and in that way, functions like nature, or a mycelial root system.
The increase in online learning over the 5 years is apparent, especially since COVID. World Economic Forum states that just Coursera’s course enrollment increased from 26 million in 2016, to 189 million in 2021. Couple this with the fact that 70% of students agree that online classes are better than traditional classroom settings, while consuming 90% less energy, according to Upskillwise. This leaning towards online learning speeds up the diffusion of knowledge and innovation across the world.
With all the technology, in person, relational, deep learning, and connecting with a group, still satisfies something that the internet never will. It’s the symbiosis of the two, weaves together technology, and Nature.
We’re each holding a vision in our hearts – and education should be tied to that. Our heart is the earth’s intelligence. It’s the merging of the masculine & feminine throughout society, to educate, what the heart wants.
As we learn, individually and collectively, we raise the awareness of the planet. If you think of the collective consciousness as a bubble – as we learn, slowly over time, the bubble gets bigger. As we seek more understanding, as we create new ways of engaging and interacting with the world, we evolve Human Potential. There’s no one definition, but it manifests in a myriad of forms through us, the same way all life evolves. Through a constant process of trial and error, governed by natural law.
As each generation is born and raised, they are birthed into a different world than their parents. More technology, higher levels of education, and better quality of life, in general. However, they always come with a set of problems to be solved, something to overcome, that define the generation.
That problem is Climate Change, and it requires more Nature.
Turns out you’re a flower.
And the world’s a garden.