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In search of a Model of Integral Education

Author: Vladimir

Last Updated: July 11, 2007

In search of a Model of Integral Education. Adhidaiva and a new approach to the Humanities. There is a growing interest in the modern world in a new possibility of human consciousness to be integrated around a higher center of consciousness, and in a field of the Humanities for all branches of knowledge to be integrated around One Knowledge. There is a need in a new educational environment, where all major faculties of human consciousness could be studied and exercised in the most comprehensive and intelligible way. What we are looking for is new ways of learning which may result in a concrete change of our consciousness. If we examine the faculties of our cognitive consciousness we will find that there are only few fundamental faculties, as in the field of the Humanities there are only few fundamental subjects. What determines this limited number of faculties and subjects is the very nature of our cognitive consciousness, that we have only three accesses to reality: Seeing, Hearing and Touch, with their active counterparts Thinking, Speaking and Feeling. I Studies of the faculties of human consciousness. At first we have to study our individual faculties of consciousness (including senses). Here we will have to learn how we actually see, hear, speak, think, feel etc., and also how we could do it better. Such courses as: How to Think and to be conscious in our thoughts, How to Speak and to be conscious in speech, How to improve visual memory, How to improve mental concentration etc., etc., could be prepared and offered to all. The major object of these studies is to train our consciousness to act within its faculties. A hint to such an approach we have taken from Vedanta, where the cognitive faculties (to see, to think, to hear, to speak, to breath and to touch) were seen as main functions of consciousness (see an Appendix below). Such approach to our faculties sheds some light on the profundities of their nature. The major subjects of Humanities also bear their own distinct features which can be identified as those belonging to a particular faculty of consciousness. II The Humanities studies. The six faculties of our consciousness have essential correspondence with the main humanitarian subjects: 1) Psychology deals with our subjective processes of thinking and self-evaluation; 2) Philosophy deals with our mental ability to overview and conceptualize; 3) Linguistics deals with our faculty of Speech, as a device of communication and self-expression; 4) Sociology and History deal with relationship as such: how the individual and collective relate to one another, on the scale of space (Sociology, Ethnography etc.) or time (History); 5) Art and Culture deal with the refinement of our feelings and senses. 6) Science of Nature deals with Matter as such, the Physical in objective way. Every key subject can be combined with another subject, giving it a new dimension, like for instance: Philosophy of Science, Psychology of Art, History of Philosophy, History of Linguistics, etc. These key disciplines, of course, may include other subjects and topics into their field of concern, for instance, History of Psychology could include Mythology of Self-discovery (Vedic Mythology, Egyptian Myths, etc.), History of Occultism and Yoga, History of Religion; etc. The map of major key-disciplines: So the basic requirements for the development of human consciousness can be defined as follows: 1) Philosophy. Everyone has to have a metaphysical picture of the world, as a system of mental views or beliefs - a metaphysical paradigm. It includes a hidden hierarchy of understanding of what is first and what is next, what is important and what is less important, and how it constitutes one reality, without which the reality cannot be approached in a rational manner. 2) Psychology. Everyone has to know oneself to a certain extent and to have a certain personal attitude towards the world. This knowledge of oneself is not in full accordance with ones own metaphysical paradigm. There is a constant ongoing interaction between the two, which correlates, corrects and even changes the mental picture of the world, and vice versa. Without it the reality cannot be approached in a truthful (sincere) manner. 3) Philology. Everyone has to use some language (outwardly and inwardly). To become conscious of our speech (as an expression of oneself) and the language (as a system of mental categories by which we think), to know how they function is indispensable for building a metaphysical picture of the world and understanding ourselves psychologically: how our thoughts and feelings relate to our Speech-faculty and how it influences them. Without this knowledge no serious research is possible in any field, and the reality cannot be dealt with in a correct (precise) manner. 4) Sociology. One has to know ones roots: history, religion, social and national heredity: what state one belongs to, what nation, what community etc., - to know ones own past in order to understand ones present and future. This knowledge is wider than our individual psychology or even philosophical paradigm. It introduces knowledge about relations between individuals and groups in time and space, beyond our reach. It draws our consciousness to a larger reality of community, country, earth, and finally to the universal and cosmic existence. It brings the aspect of the Spirit into picture, - a larger reality inside and outside of ourselves. It indicates to us a unifying phenomenon of Space and Time, in which we all live. Without this knowledge man will not be able to understand fully the growth and the purpose of his life. 5) Art and Culture. Cultural phenomenon can be defined as a refinement of all our activities in life in its aspect of Beauty, Harmony, and Perfection. It is what the Spirit has already manifested, conquered, so to say, in Life as a result of a long period of evolution. It is what makes us cultured, without which we will be simply barbarians. It is the aim of creation and it is its path. To develop ourselves fully individually and collectively, we have to learn to manifest Beauty and Harmony, to seek after it, to be it. 6) Science of Nature. The knowledge of matter is indispensable for the understanding of Manifestation. All the changes: philosophical, psychological, philological, social, cultural are possible only in matter. Matter is a foundation and embodiment of any change. It is fixing everything to certain stability, so that another change can take place. If matter would not be able to fix it, the next step would have no meaning, for it would have no ground to manifest a new change. Such an approach to knowledge, where all major cognitive functions and capacities of our consciousness could be integrally exercised, is needed for modern education. Having identifying the nature of different studies with their cognitive faculties of consciousness, the scholars themselves in their subjective approach could become the field of research. The self-education then would be direct and effective. The division on subjective and objective approach to knowledge would have only a classifying value within the field of studies and the humanitarian disciplines would become a means for self-education, necessary to develop Metaphysical, Psychological, Social (Historical), Artistic, Linguistic and Scientific modes of Consciousness, tuning them to the One Consciousness beyond. Such integral approach might prepare a wider ground for a truer perception of our life, and lead us eventually to a globalisation of our faculties, opening them up to higher possibilities. An Appendix. A brief look into the Vedantic approach to consciousness. Brahman, according to the Taittiriya Upanishad 3.1.2, is described as annam pranam chakshush shrotram mano vacamiti, matter, breath, sight, hearing, mind, speech. If we examine them in detail, we will see that they also correspond to higher cognitive capacities of Consciousness, which were perceived by the Vedic Rishis and translated into the intuitive language of the Vedas and Upanishads. SEEING and HEARING , (Chakshuh-Shrotram), is a constant dvandva, pair, in the Vedic texts. Chakshuh shrotram ka u devo yunakti? Who is the God who unites Seeing and Hearing?- says the Kena Upanishad (1.1.1) 1) SEEING, DRISHTI, CAKSHUS, was perceived as a faculty of consciousness which puts us into direct contact with the object. It can be translated in terms of a "direct evidence of the truth", (there is a Russian proverb: better to see once, than to hear a hundred times, which explains it quite well ). Drishti in the Vedas is the ultimate faculty of Consciousness, as a revelation of the Truth. It is of direct and self-evident nature. 2) HEARING, SHRUTI, SHROTRAM, if Seeing is of direct, then Hearing is of an indirect nature (like an inspiration, for instance). Without this faculty we may not know the relation of the object we see with other objects we dont see. Its like we see a face, which tries to tell us something, but we cant hear it. We dont understand what it wants from us, because the intention is not visible. So much so everything that is not yet manifest, realised, understood, is falling into this domain of Hearing, or indirect evidence of the Truth. It is of the nature of all-pervading Space, Spirit, connecting all into the One Reality. MANAS and VAK, is another constant dvandva in Vedanta: van me manasi pratishthita mano me vaci pratishthitam, My Speech is established in my Mind, and my Mind is established in my Speech.(Aitareya Upanishad 1.1.1) 3) MANAS, Mind, was perceived by the Vedic seers as the faculty of consciousness equal to Seeing and Hearing and not as their dominant principle, as it was understood later and especially in Sankhya and Yoga. It was considered to be equal to the Word-faculty also, which later was completely subordinated and fully dependant on it. In the Vedic paradigm MANAS was an active counterpart of the perceptive faculty of Seeing, rather than the sixth sense of Sankhya. 4) VAK, Speech, was considered to be an independent faculty of Consciousness, having its own power and character. It was seen as an active presentation of the All-pervading Spirit: Hearing. Brahman (lit. growing, expanding one) was referred to as Mantra in Rig Veda, and only later as a Spirit. Thus, these four: chakshus and srotram, manas and vak, according to Upanishads, constituted brahma chatushpad, Spirit on four legs (Kaushitaki Upanishad etc.,) through which Brahman was manifested in the world. PRANA very often symbolised the embodiment of Brahman itself, especially in the older Upanishads. It was also understood as the offspring of MANAS, as its father and VAK, as its mother (BrhUp). In this way the process of manifestation of the Spirit in matter was conceived, which made matter animated, annam (lit. "eatable"). Thus we have one more pair: PRANA-APANA, Breathing in and Breathing out, or PRANA- ANNA, Life and Matter (Prashna and Taittiriya Upanishads). There are three pairs constantly mentioned in the Upanishads: 1) MANAS-VAC, (cp: Agni-Soma in Rig Veda); 2) CHAKSHUS- SHROTRAM, (cp: Nama-Rupa in Brahmanas) 3) PRANA-APANA, or PRANA-ANNAM (cp: Prashnopanishad) Seeing and Hearing (Cakshus-Shrotram) are perceptive faculties (see pict.1), marked with (-), whereas Thinking and Speaking (Manas-Vak) are their active counterparts, marked with (+). These four are neutralised or, better to say, realised in the Manifestation of Life and Matter (Prana-Anna). Thinking and Seeing are related to Rupam, Form, as the expression of the aspect of Power, whereas Word and Hearing to Nama, Name, as the expression of the aspect of Knowledge. These two: Knowledge and Power are the source for Nama and Rupa, constituting the phenomenon of consciousness in manifestation. It is by the Nama and Rupa that Brahman could enter its creation, according to the old Vedantic texts (ShatapathaBr).