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THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

THE
CREATIVE
CONTINUUM
Helping the Artistically
Talented Child

Peter Fritz Walter


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Contents
Preface 7
New Education for a New Era 7

Introduction 13
Five Principles for Developing Early Talent 13
The Individualized Approach 13
Focusing on Quality 14
Fostering Intelligence 15
A Holistic Approach to Learning 17
The Private School Setting 18

I 19
The Systemliterate Child 19

II 27
The Enthusiastic Artist 27

III 31
The Communicative Child 31

IV 35
Emotions and Cognition 35

V 37
Developing Musical Talent 37

VI 49
Embracing Technology 49

VII 53
Teaching Choice-Ability 53

VIII 57
Nature Heals 57
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

IX 61
The Value of Silence 61

X 71
Concentration or Contemplation? 71

XI 75
Facilitating Self-Acceptance 75

XII 79
Educating the Heart 79

XIII 87
Art, Creativity, and Spontaneity 87

XIV 93
A Brainsmart Learning Approach 93

XV 111
Advanced Teacher Training 111

The Creative Curriculum 123


An Integral Approach to Education 123

Bibliography 137
Contextual Bibliography 137

Personal Notes 155

6
Preface
New Education for a New Era

We are currently transiting as a human race a time


of great challenge and adventure that opens to us new
pathways for rediscovering and integrating the peren-
nial holistic wisdom of ancient civilizations into our
modern science paradigm. These civilizations were
thriving before patriarchy was putting nature upside-
down.
Currently, with the advent of the networked global
society, and systems theory as its scientific paradigm,
we are looking into a different world, with a rise of
‘horizontal’ and ‘sustainable’ structures both in our
business culture, and in science, and last not least in
education.

—A paradigm, from Greek ‘paradeigma,’ is a pattern of


things, a configuration of ideas, a set of dominant beliefs, a cer-
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

tain way of looking at the world, a set of assumptions, a frame of


reference or lens, and even an entire worldview.

While most of this new and yet old path has yet to
be trotted, we cannot any longer overlook the changes
that happen all around us virtually every day.
Invariably, as students, scientists, doctors, consul-
tants, lawyers, business executives or educators, we
face problems today that are so complex, entangled
and novel that they cannot possibly be solved on the
basis of our old paradigm, and our old way of think-
ing. As Albert Einstein said, we cannot solve a problem
on the same level of thought that created it in the first
place—hence the need for changing our view of look-
ing at things, the world, and our personal and collec-
tive predicaments.
What still about half a decade ago seemed unlikely
is happening now all around us: we are rediscovering
more and more fragments of an integrative and holistic
wisdom that represents the cultural and scientific trea-
sure of many ancient tribes and kingdoms that were
based upon a perennial tradition which held that all in
our universe is interconnected and interrelated, and that
humans are set in the world to live in unison with the
infinite wisdom inherent in creation as a major task for
driving evolution forward!

8
NEW EDUCATION FOR A NEW ERA

It happens in science, since the advent of relativity


theory, quantum physics and string theory, it happens
in neuroscience and systems theory, it happens in mol-
ecular biology, and in ecology, and as a result, and be-
cause science is a major motor in society, it happens
now with increasing speed in the industrial and the
business world, and in the way we educate our chil-
dren.
More and more people begin to realize that we
cannot honestly continue to destroy our globe by dis-
regarding the natural law of self-regulation, both out-
wardly, by polluting air and water, and inside, by tol-
erating our emotions to be in a state of repression and
turmoil.
Self-regulation is built into the life function and it
can be found as a consistent pattern in the lifestyle of
native peoples around the world. It is similar with our
immense intuitive and imaginal faculties that were
downplayed in centuries of darkness and fragmenta-
tion, and that now emerge anew as major key stones in
a worldview that puts the whole human at the frontline,
a human who uses their whole brain, and who knows
to balance their emotions and natural passions so as to
arrive at a state of inner peace and synergetic relationships

9
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

with others that bring mutual benefit instead of one-


sided narcissistic satisfaction.
For lasting changes to happen, however, to para-
phrase J. Krishnamurti, we need to change the thinker,
which means we need to undergo a transformation
that puts our higher self up as the caretaker of our
lives, not our conditioned ego.
Hence the need to really look over the fence and
get beyond social, cultural and racial conditioning for
adopting an integrative and holistic view of education
that is focused on more than problem-solving.
We are free to content ourselves with traditional
ways of upbringing that disregard the true person of
the child, and that are in flagrant contradiction with
the ways our brain learns, or we may venture into cre-
ating a new education for our children that is brains-
mart, systemic, and in accordance with every child’s
true mission, and based upon children’s real gifts and
talents as individual souls.
These gifts and talents that children bring into their
new incarnations are like seeds that need to be watered
and put into the sunshine in order to grow into ripe
fruits that can feed people. As educators and educa-
tional policy makers, it is our shared responsibility to

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NEW EDUCATION FOR A NEW ERA

find out about, study, and implement the best and most
innovative educational curricula that are around today.
This book presents one of them.

11
Introduction
Five Principles for Developing Early Talent

I
The Individualized Approach

Institutional education does not serve the talented


child since it does not recognize the existence of indi-
vidual, and individually gifted, children. For mass edu-
cation, there is a mass, a herd, a quantity of humans to
be educated, and not a variety of unique individuals.
Within today’s sophisticated network society, it is
relatively easier today than before in human history to
offer educational services not in a standard, but in a
customized fashion so as to really meet the needs and
expectations of the individual student.
This will make for high educational effectiveness, a
better management of resources, and higher learning
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

motivation of each and every student enrolled in a


program, class or curriculum.
This new educational paradigm may be more cost-
intensive, but the higher effectiveness and success rate
of this approach will return the investment within a
reasonable time span.

II
Focusing on Quality

Standard education focuses on a quantity of chil-


dren to be educated, and it measures educational suc-
cess by looking at groups of students, on a school, re-
gional or even national level. Measuring is done using
statistical methods, without looking at the quality of the
individual educational success or failure.
To focus on every individual student is only possi-
ble when, from the start, we have a qualitative and not
a quantitative approach to education. The quality ap-
proach does not ask for efficiency, but for integrated
solutions that serve every single child. The further step
is to keep educational institutions focused on quality
in the sense of assessing the individual academic suc-

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FIVE PRINCIPLES FOR DEVELOPING EARLY TALENT

cess in terms of educational satisfaction, learning moti-


vation, learning skills, learning success, in a general
way, without stressing to assess the learning content.
Learning content is more and more relative, as our
total information has since long superseded the capaci-
ty of the individual human brain; hence the need for
producing excellent and highly motivated learners, not
depressed super-brains.

III
Fostering Intelligence

Standard education is focused upon the accumula-


tion of knowledge, while it does not really understand
what is intelligence. Most people confuse intelligence
with knowledge and intellectualism without under-
standing that the accumulation of knowledge is merely
mechanical and not a sign of intelligence. Knowledge
had value in the past when careers were such that one
could make it through life with basically one educa-
tion, refreshing lacunas through professional training
and seminars.

15
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

Today, knowledge is even more important, but for


the most part doesn’t need to be memorized because
it’s available everywhere, through computer networks,
databanks and the Internet.
Intelligence is entirely different from knowledge. It
is not mechanical, but a natural by-product of emo-
tional integrity and wholeness: to grow healthy means
to not be fragmented and to be rather intuitive.
Our rational mind (left brain hemisphere) only func-
tions at full capacity when it is connected to our emo-
tional mind (right brain hemisphere) so that intellectual/
analytic and intuitive/synthetic thought processes go
hand in hand. Then, regularly, the rational and the
emotional part of us are well balanced and we experi-
ence a state of lasting inner peace.
Hence, the new paradigm focuses upon fostering
intelligence through designing a learning environment
that is multi-vectorial, where emotional values are re-
spected, and where all four quadrants of intelligence
are being developed, the logical, intuitive, sequential and
emotional intelligence.
Whosoever is truly intelligent, can handle knowl-
edge in a way to optimize creative output in whatever
field of study. In addition, this new paradigm fosters

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FIVE PRINCIPLES FOR DEVELOPING EARLY TALENT

health and psychic health because it significantly re-


duces learning stress and anxiety.

IV
A Holistic Approach to Learning

The danger of the mechanistic approach to science


is that it more or less completely disregards nature,
imposing concepts upon nature, and thus projecting
truth upon nature, instead of trying to understand the
truth inherent in nature.
The same is of course true for education. When
education is reductionist and disregards soul values,
and is not imbedded in emotional integrity, it is destruc-
tive, producing fears, depression, and even suicide.
Holistic thinking goes along with emotional in-
tegrity. Intelligence, sensitivity and understanding for
the complex functions of life can only be developed
when cognition is imbedded in the emotional life of
the child and is thus a result of wholeness, and not of
fragmentation.
As nature is itself coded in holographic patterns,
the holistic approach is best for understanding the

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THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

truth inherent in nature, thereby facilitating education-


al solutions that are integrated and that are compatible
with nature, and sustainable.

V
The Private School Setting

In most countries, most of the educational cycle is


in the hands of governments, be this service free of
charge, be it subject to a fee.
Experience has shown that governments use to
work rather slowly and ineffectively, that they waste
resources rather than using them economically, that
they follow ideological rather than functional man-
agement principles and that they are often years be-
hind the general standard of social development. In
addition, when all is offered ‘for free,’ students tend to
take it all ‘for granted’ and learning motivation drops.
To give talent development over to private schools
will make for more professional quality education, for
better and more qualified teachers and professors, for
higher learning motivation of the students, and for
overall higher learning results.

18
I
The Systemliterate Child

I coined the expression ‘systemliteracy’ for the


framework of an education that is geared toward the
understanding of living systems and the functional log-
ic of networks. We know in the meantime what ‘ecolit-
eracy’ is but I believe that without having prepared
children to be literate in systems thinking, they cannot
become literate in ecological thinking. The first is the
basis of the second.
Ecology is not a branch of science but an urgent
attempt to redefine science. All branches of the tree of
science should be ‘ecological’ for this simply means that
they are bound to respect nature and to understand
the patterned setup in nature.

—Note that the term ecology comes from the Greek ‘oikos’
which means ‘household.’ Ecology thus deals with our house-
hold, the household of planet earth.
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

There are a number of important distortions of the


natural systemic view of life that our cultural heritage
has created. I shall outline in a few paragraphs how
this fragmented perception came about historically.
—About 2500 years ago, man turned away from
the until then valid all-encompassing mystical view of
life, and began to intellectualize perception, fragment-
ing the holistic understanding of the world. This is
how the conceptualized and compartmentalized view
of the world was born.
—The split of this unity of perception was marked
in the Hellenic world with the Eleatic School which as-
sumed a Divine Principle standing above all gods and
men. This concept later developed into what perhaps
most marked monotheistic religions: the assumption of
an all-knowing, overarching, monolithic, male God.
—At the same time, thinking and deductive logic
assumed a more important role than intuition and as-
sociative logic, thereby giving more value to the quali-
ties of our left brain hemisphere and to yang, the male
principle, to the detriment of the right brain hemisphere
and yin, the female principle.
—This inner fragmentation more and more mir-
rored the view of ‘the world out there,’ seen as a multi-

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THE SYSTEMLITERATE CHILD

tude of separate objects and events. This is how it be-


came at all possible that obvious organic elements in
the setup of nature were seen as separate parts to be
researched by separate branches of science; at the same
time, the world was split into different nations, races,
religions and political groups.
—The conceptualization of life developed into a
limitative view in all scientific observation of nature.
This is how the mental and intellectual representation
of reality became more important than reality itself.
This is very well expressed by the Zen saying that the
finger that points to the Moon is not the Moon. In oth-
er words, the distorted perception of reality led to a
confusion between the terrain and the map that de-
scribes it.
—The next step in this ‘processing’ of reality was to
develop a mechanistic view of nature, next to a rigorous
determinism. The universe was represented as a giant
machine or clockwork that was imagined to be com-
pletely causal and determinate. This view in turn led to
a fundamental division between ‘Ego’ and ‘Reality.’
—This further distortion of perception led to the
assumption that nature and the world could be de-
scribed objectively, without the mental bias of the ob-
server playing any significant role.

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THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

—Instead of understanding that male and female


attributes are elements of the human personality, the di-
vision between the Ego and Nature led to a static order
where men were supposed to be masculine and women
feminine. By the same vein of thought, men were given
the leading role and women were supposed to follow
as submissive servants.
—This attitude has resulted in an overemphasis of
the yang aspects in the human setup, such as activity,
rational thinking, deductive logic, competition, aggres-
siveness, and so on, while the yin, or female, modes of
consciousness, which can be described by expressions
like intuitive, religious, mystical, occult, psychic or as-
sociative logic, have constantly been suppressed.
However, over the last decades, this distorted scien-
tific and religious view of the world, of nature and the
human setup, which is reflected in our highly frag-
mented educational curricula, began to change.
With the advent of first relativity theory and then
quantum physics, we learnt that all in the universe is
connected, and that we can change our fragmented
worldview and adopt an integrative view of life and na-
ture. The rigorous split between Ego and Reality was
seen as incompatible with the truth, delivered by

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THE SYSTEMLITERATE CHILD

quantum physics, that nothing can be observed with-


out taking into consideration the ‘observer.’
It will take at least a decade more until educational
curricula are going to be re-written in the wake of the
restituted and revitalized integrative worldview that was
the original cognitive approach of man toward nature
and that now has been reformulated as the ‘systems
view of life.’

—See only Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life: A Unify-


ing Vision, With Pier Luigi Luisi, Cambridge: Cambridge Univer-
sity Press, 2014.

To see life composed not of separate parts or ele-


ments but of organic patterns in a whole—or as systems
within systems—is the point of departure of a truly
ecological science. There cannot be any ‘ecoliteracy’
without systemliteracy; logically, I must adopt the sys-
tems view of life before I can in any way come to care
for our household, our ecology. In other words, ecology
is a term coined for the development of holistic science,
while systemliteracy is a term that I coined for the de-
velopment of holistic education.
Children are systems thinkers by nature. They are
keen observers. They want to know how nature oper-
ates and how things work. Their play reflects their

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THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

mental flexibility and openness to understanding more


and more complex interrelations as their intelligence
and their emotional awareness matures.
It is by emphasizing an intellect-based educational
concept that school systems teach children a largely
distorted view of nature in which everything is split
apart, fragmented and un-whole (unholy).
Let me only mention the way reading and writing
even today is taught to children in public schools, and
even most private schools. Letters are put on squared
cardboards and hung at a wall. This and related proce-
dures give children the impression that letters, words,
phrases, spelling, and grammar are all separate ele-
ments of language, while in truth language is one com-
plete whole, and these ‘parts’ of language are in truth
organic elements of the systemic logic of language.
Teaching what is whole in fragments is really not
smart because the same children who are in for learn-
ing to read and write have after all learnt already to
speak without all those tools, simply by picking up the
language spoken around them—their mother tongue.
Research about how children learn their first lan-
guage clearly shows that children do not learn abstract
elements of a language, but the whole of it, including

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THE SYSTEMLITERATE CHILD

syntax and grammar, and without knowing what a


syntax is and what grammar means. Hence, the learn-
ing of a child is by nature holistic and systemic.
When you teach children that we are separated
from nature, however you justify such a view, you will
act against the natural and intuitive understanding a
child has of life and the world. For a child, nothing is
separate because by nature they have an integrative un-
derstanding of life and of nature. They look at the
world afresh, with eyes full of wonder. For small chil-
dren, the divisive, fragmented and distorted view that
observes living systems like one would dismantle a
clock, is not intelligible.
Therefore, it is actually not so much by doing any-
thing specific, but rather by not doing many things
conventional education does that we develop in chil-
dren the systems view of life, or ‘ the systemliterate
perspective.’
This teaching is first of all based on an innocent
observation of nature and our planet seen as one whole
living system. The second step is to explain to children
that the living world consists of nested networks, living
systems that are embedded within greater systems and
still greater systems, and that there is a constant flow of
information between all those systems.

25
II
The Enthusiastic Artist

Getting to know oneself through developing innate


creativity is only one of several realms of genuine expe-
rience the child grows up into, and becomes familiar
with over time, without bothering for the least if, or
not, the parents want it, know it, or support it.
What the child learns first of all through artistic
creation is the dimension and the importance of ecstasy
in life, and ecstasy in turn is leading to the awakening
of enthusiasm, which, as we know from art research, is
a primary trigger of long-term creativity.

—See, for example, Michelle Cassou, Life, Paint and Passion


(1996), Andrew Flack, Art & Soul (1991), Pam Grout, Art &
Soul (2000), Shaun McNiff, Trust The Process (1998), Tony
Pearce Myers (Ed.), The Soul of Creativity (1999).

Enthusiasm develops in the life of the child as a


function of ecstasy on a daily level, and ecstasy is
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

nourished by the very gradual and expansive process


of self-knowledge. The acquisition of self-knowledge
should be gradual, not sudden, for if the educator tries
to hurry this process in the child, this could lead to a
rupture in the child’s natural continuum, and then
things may get messed up and entangled on the level
of the unconscious.
The ideal is the gradual, smooth unfolding of expe-
riencing the world, and generally pleasurable feelings,
in the life of the child. These sensations of pleasure
contribute to the awakening of ecstasy when there is
enough latitude in the educational atmosphere for the
child to learn that enthusiasm and abundance are nat-
ural expansions of the self and should not create guilt
and shame.
With the process of gradual awakening and the dai-
ly experience of ecstasy through the encounter with art,
children grow their cognitive apparatus because the
sensing and feeling, and thereby direct cognition, is
greatly enhanced through the natural streaming of
their emotions, for emotions are but the life force itself.
There is a sense of connectivity that goes along with
becoming an early creator; it’s a feeling of expansion
and embrace, a warm loving feeling toward the world.
It is really the most positive experience a child can

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THE ENTHUSIASTIC ARTIST

make when growing up, but it needs to be imbedded


in a space of personal and artistic freedom that is re-
spected by parents and educators.
This means also that educators give warmth, empa-
thy and understanding, and that they painstakingly
avoid manipulation, educational violence and abuse.
Enthusiasm then develops naturally, and is shared
with the educator who, in turn, gets a pro-life boost
from being around enthusiastic children; it’s simply a
mutually enriching process, and ideally it’s shared also
with the parents.
This is then, what we call joy of life, and joy of life
always is more abundant when it’s shared with others.
This feeling of abundance, of plentifulness, is very im-
portant for the child, for it contributes to material
wealth later on in life; there is about no other sensation
as important for material success than experiencing
abundance early in life.
For this to happen, no expensive toys are needed
nor do the parents need to be rich themselves; it’s
enough to grant the child their personal space and
their time for developing an authentic sense of self;
then the joyful experience of abundance will develop
naturally in the life of the child.

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III
The Communicative Child

Communicating means sharing! And sharing is an


activity related to the heart. Children are naturally
communicative, and they share; if they aren’t commu-
nicative and refuse to share, something has happened
to them emotionally, or they grew up in an uncommu-
nicative, mute family—which sadly usually is a violent
family.
When the parent-teacher communication is good
and constant, children tend to feel at ease, and easily
build trust. Furthermore, in any kind of crisis situa-
tion, this communication flow really pays a dividend!
Another element in the educational continuum is
gratitude; an educator who is rewarded by an intact
emotional flow with both the children and their par-
ents develops a natural feeling of gratitude.
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

This is something miraculous to observe, as grati-


tude is really an expansive feeling, which develops,
when constant, into an attitude that embraces the
world and others.
Gratitude therefore is stronger than compassion, for
it gives freedom to others, while embracing them in a
nonjudgmental way that does not create dependency.
This is very important in the relationship educator-
child; the good educator is able to avoid the bond of
complicity slipping into codependence because that is
about the worst to happen in tutelary relations, and
generally is the soil for abuse.
Besides, the child will of course sense this feeling of
gratitude from the side of the educator, while they reg-
ularly do not talk about their perceptions. In this con-
text, it is important to realize that it is dysfunctional to
admonish children to be grateful; what this leads to is
that the later adolescent will be an ungrateful nerd.
Gratitude cannot be rammed into children; it can-
not be forced, it cannot be pushed to unfold. The only
thing to do is to be grateful oneself, parent or educator,
for children to ‘learn’ being grateful, because they
sense how good it feels, and how expansive and won-
derful that feeling is. In general, children hardly ever
speak about these things, and the wise educator will

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THE COMMUNICATIVE CHILD

not manipulate them into verbalizing psychological


realities.
Enthusiasm develops through sharing; it can be
sharing in a game, or educational activity, or it can be
the activity of sharing as such, without more. Sharing
is a wonderful thing to unfold between people, and for
children, it’s one of the most important things to learn
early in life.
However, I have observed with children from high-
class families most often that their natural ability for
sharing was interfered with by their parents.
These children are often blocked in their emotions,
because their sharing abilities are undeveloped. They
are awkward and clumsy in sharing activities, and this
because of the hyper-egoistic attitudes they have inter-
nalized at home. To be true, the ability to share is one of
the greatest gifts we have received as human beings.
Sharing brings a direct feedback from the universe, a
hot streaming that fills the heart, and that expands the
thorax, and the mind.
People stuck in egotism can be pitied because they
live their lives only half-way; they are unhappy and
often they have simply not learnt the gift of sharing in
childhood; this may not have been their fault. It is not

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THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

excluded that even the hardest egoist may change one


day, after a spontaneous act of sharing, and the un-
known feelings they learn through the experience.
I think sharing is a visceral need and at the same time
a virtue for humans and when it’s thwarted, psychic
pathologies are not far from occurring. This may sound
idealistic, but I am not talking here about a social ideal
but something as natural as breathing and sleeping.
We are all egoists through ignorance, and only through
ignorance, the ignorance of real joy, which always is
connected with sharing!
A wise educator will never talk about virtue, and will
not push the child to share, for he knows that this will
render the child hypocrite. The only way to teach shar-
ing is to share, and to do it as a natural movement,
spontaneously; then the child will adopt that faculty,
through observation.

34
IV
Emotions and Cognition

The natural counterpart of wholeness is holistic


thinking. Intelligence, sensitivity and understanding
for the complex functions of life can only be developed
if cognition is imbedded in the emotional life of the
child and thus a result of wholeness, and not of fragmen-
tation.
Cognitive capacities that are imbedded in emotion-
al sanity can only grow on a basis of readiness, of emo-
tional maturity. A child voluntarily accepts instruction
once emotionally ready for it and not under any other
circumstance. And here I speak about the individual
maturity of a child, and not a standard concept, since
there simply are no standards.
Education must logically proceed in a one-to-one
relation and interaction between educator and child,
for only then the uniqueness of the child can be vali-
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

dated. The emotional bond in this relation is of over-


whelming importance.
Only love can be the bridge for the transmission of
values. Group education therefore is an impossible
quest. It seems to be more effective while truly it is
much less since the child, in a group, is treated at a
bottomline level and not according to their emotional
and intellectual complexity.
The integrative approach to education also stresses
that education should be down-to-earth if it is to avoid
an ‘ivory tower’ intellectualism as a result. In olden
times this was called ‘education of the heart.’ This is
being done through giving spirit to daily activities, and
to fulfill them not as ordinary duties but enchanted du-
ties which serve to bring order and sobriety not just to
the environment, but to the beholder, the soul.
When nature is not interfered with, children have a
supple body, an open mind, learn easily and joyfully,
and are very balanced emotionally.
The intellect of the child, the rational mind, will
naturally unfold when their emotional life is balanced
and free from energetic blockages and anxieties. Our
mental faculties cannot be separated from our emo-
tional life.

36
V
Developing Musical Talent

Music plays an important role in our psychic compo-


sure. Good music balances our mind and strengthens a
sensitive and open mind.
Bad music drives the psyche into a state of overex-
citement; this state of mind is like a closed loop in that
it prevents us from accessing our center, the infinite in
us. A mind that is regularly bombarded with modern
music cannot be reached by educational wisdom be-
cause it knows no silence, and there is no inner space
of rest and quiet contemplation. This in turn leads to
shallow thought and lacking understanding of life and
the world; such a mind stays at the periphery of things
and events.
The effect of music on the child’s mind can be as-
sessed under two angles, actively and passively. We all
suffer music passively at certain places, in the café, in
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

the cinema, in the supermarket, in department stores


and nowadays also in airports, post offices, public
halls, and subway stations, without even talking about
nightclubs and discos where loud aggressive music is
considered to be a stimulant.
And yet, it seems that most people never bother
about how such music affects their psyche! Research
on sound healing has shown that music directly affects
our emotions, our mind, and our thoughts.

—See, for example, Jonathan Goldman, Healing Sounds


(2002) and Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages
(1928/2003).

Actively, music plays a role in education in teaching


musical structure, and the notion of time, and how
time transforms emotional space; this was even a topic
dear to traditional education, at a time when score
reading and playing a musical instrument was still
considered good and useful for the education of chil-
dren from well-to-do families.
But unfortunately in most countries today, this pos-
itive and important tradition has been almost entirely
lost, except in costly private institutions for the educa-
tion of upper-class children. The reason for this change
to the worse is probably the fact that children today

38
DEVELOPING MUSICAL TALENT

only in rare cases have a piano, cello or violin at their


disposition, and most parents find acoustic musical
instruments bulky, noisy or too expensive.
As the house music tradition of the 19th century
has found its end, most parents do not see a value in
sending their child to musical classes. In addition, as
television became a replacement of parental care and
instruction, what we have here is clearly a major cul-
tural deterioration that shall have consequences on the
general education level, and the level of sensitivity of
our whole population.
Before I further comment on the importance of ac-
tive musical education, I would like to briefly discuss
the passive influence of music upon our psychic compo-
sure. It has been established by musicology and psy-
chology that music has a far greater impact upon our
psyche and our emotions than the general public is
aware of; the effects of music we passively endure in
public places, are considerable, serious and astound-
ing, to say the least. From there to mind manipulation
really is only a tiny step, for subtle messages can easily
be embedded in the musical carpet, even without us-
ing subliminals; a sound clip can trigger emotions, or
keep certain emotions from unfolding.

39
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Much research has been done on the effects of mu-


sic in strategic places such as major department stores,
and it was found that even without the use of sublimi-
nals, which is legally forbidden in most modern juris-
dictions, music can have an effect on purchasing vol-
ume. It would lead too far to explain the details here,
but the fact as such is corroborated by scientific re-
search.
Music is actively used today in the media, in most
public places, in department stores and fashion bou-
tiques for influencing, and positively stimulating, the
purchasing motivation of consumers. As most of this
knowledge is hidden to the public, and to be found
only in specialized publications, available to a scientific
audience and to marketing bureaus and advertising
agencies, the average consumer is barely aware of this
sort of subtle manipulation through sound carpets and
fashionable music that serves other than musical pur-
poses.
Scientific research on sound and memory has
shown that when two different sound stimuli impact
upon our psyche, our subconscious mind will register
the underlying stimulus or music, not the dominant one.
Dr. Georgi Lozanov, a psychiatrist from Bulgaria,
has positively used this specific characteristic of our

40
DEVELOPING MUSICAL TALENT

brain to design a revolutionary method for learning


foreign languages, originally called Suggestopedia, and
today sold under the brand name Superlearning.
Students are put in a relaxed state of mind, seated
in comfortable arm chairs, and listen to Baroque string
music. Over this musical carpet which is the dominant
sound, the teacher recites texts in the foreign language,
as an underlying sound, while the students are told not
to listen to the speech, but concentrate on the music,
and breathe in the rhythm of the music.
With this revolutionary method, people learn diffi-
cult languages such as Arabic, Russian or Chinese
without any accent in two months.
Lozanov used the technique originally for teaching
reading and writing to school children and found that,
in the regular case, a child would learn to perfectly
read and write in about six months only.
What happens is that the brain passively registers
not just the words of the foreign language, but whole
patterns, which include grammar, pronunciation, syn-
tax and all that is needed to speak and understand that
language, and all this without ‘studying’ anything. The
learning content is first passive, and at the end of the

41
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course will be activated through conversation in the


foreign language.
There are no translations, there is no grammar to
learn, and there are no mistakes to make; the whole
process is smooth and no effort is needed for learning
complex languages.
The key to fast learning is our subconscious mind,
and also our access, during self-hypnosis, to the uni-
versal library of the collective unconscious where all
grammars are stored, and a lot more knowledge.
Now, what most people ignore is that we are invol-
untarily often times in a state of reverie which is similar
to the alpha state, the predominant wave length charac-
teristic for deep relaxation, hypnosis and self-hypnosis.
Research also found that children naturally are
more often in the alpha state, and even the theta state,
than this is the case with adults; thus in these mo-
ments their minds are easily accessed by, and imprint-
ed with, outside stimuli. Hence, in those moments,
children are easily influenced and manipulated with
publicity. This fact is one of the main reasons why
medical doctors, psychologists and parent organiza-
tions increasingly resort to activism and public awareness

42
DEVELOPING MUSICAL TALENT

building against the dangers of violence in our televi-


sion programs.
Educators who love the children they care for will
do all they can to protect them from such kind of neg-
ative and dangerous conditioning to violence, and they
have to find a modus vivendi with their students to con-
trol their television diet.
The best method for avoiding a child being endan-
gered by a certain kind of music or a certain kind of
television or movie program is to subtly divert the
child’s attention from it, by offering alternatives, and
not just fake alternatives, but things you know the
child will be enthusiastic to do.
Why most parents and educators don’t use this
strategy is that it involves time and effort. It’s easier to
let children enjoy what they like and trust that because
‘everybody is doing it,’ it can’t be that bad, after all. For
example when you know that the children in your
class enjoy running outside in the rain, and you divert
them from a violent television program with the sug-
gestion to ‘go out in the rain and play,’ you are part of
the game, and your getting wet can’t be avoided. That
is the simple reason why most educators and most
parents don’t do what they know is right to do. They
don’t want to get wet, to ride the bike in the hot sun,

43
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to go swimming in the cold water, to take the car out


of the garage for ‘driving to the ice-skating arena’ and
so on and so forth. The power of television would be
none if we could offer children natural and sane alter-
natives on a consistent basis.
Now, regarding active musical education, what I ob-
served is that today it’s rather difficult to accompany a
child who is musically gifted, when the family is not
musical and doesn’t bother to build something like a
‘musical culture’ in their daily family life. Then, what
happens, and it happened to me, the child will quickly
feel to be an outsider and a marginal freak within their
family context.
That is why I think it is better, in such cases, to not
push children into active musical practice, without being
assured of the full collaboration of their parents, but
instead showing children the beauty of music by lis-
tening to good music, and by doing that on a regular
basis.
I am conscious of the fact that in this context, to
talk about ‘sensibilizing’ children for musical input, as
it’s often put in educational forums, is a ridiculous
concern because natural children are anyway sensitive,
and they are especially sensitive to music. What educa-
tors have to do is to protect this natural sensitivity of

44
DEVELOPING MUSICAL TALENT

the child against a very insensitive culture that system-


atically desensibilizes children and adolescents.
This is even more true in the case of gifted children,
and it’s about those children I am talking in this book,
for ordinary children have very little interest to invest
time and energy over years and years for learning and
mastering a musical instrument.
I learnt from experience that if children are not re-
ally musically gifted, it’s a torture for them to learn
playing an instrument for, as we all know, musical per-
formance requires much sacrifice, consistency and a
basic mastering of stage fright and negative emotions
in the form of recurring frustration. It’s only when the
child experiences a genuine enjoyment with music that
they will build the endurance to master a musical in-
strument with all that this entails over long periods of
time.
When the talent is there, the child doesn’t need to
be much encouraged, as genius has a built-in ability
for realizing itself. Another essential benefit that comes
with studying music is that children learn musical log-
ic which is pure cosmic logic comparable to mathemati-
cal logic, and the child’s mind will gain in clarity and
clear communication ability.

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In my long years of experience with musical per-


formance and composition, and having met many mu-
sicians in my life, I can affirm that among all possible
people from all possible cultures I met in my life, mu-
sicians are by far the clearest, most intelligent and most
wistful people I met, and also the most harmonious
people. Their emotional life is balanced.
There is another benefit for children who learn a
musical instrument; they become more humble because
they learn that all great mastery is to be paid with
‘sweat and tears.’ While genius certainly is inborn, it
needs to be developed through mastery, and self-ex-
pression, and a lot of persistence! This explains why
children who perform early in life, and so much the
more when they are prodigies, are more disciplined,
more mature and more sensitive than the average
child. They also tend to be more responsible in their
daily dealings with others, and they understand others
better than ordinary children.
By contrast, a child who only plays all day long and
was never exposed to the harsh sides of life, who has
not learnt self-discipline for mastering an instrument, a
sport, a computer, or anything else of value, will never
attain the brilliance and elegance of children who are
on their way to genius. In most cases, those masses of

46
DEVELOPING MUSICAL TALENT

children remain mediocre consumers who regard life


as a residual concept, or a set of standard behaviors,
without penetrating into the depth of life and soul, and
without participating in the cosmic drama of living.
That is why learning a musical instrument and get-
ting involved in musical performance as a long-term
endeavor is one of the greatest and most intelligent
ways of achieving to become a complete human.
I have actually found that many ordinary children,
and many neurotic and hyperactive children have
artistic talent, but the problem is that they are too rest-
less, and too shallow for doing anything in a consistent
manner. It is not enough that a child be gifted for mu-
sic or arts if parents are indifferent to their uniqueness,
and if the children themselves came to value icecream
and television more than learning. In such a case the
precious essence of innocence is lost forever.
I came to believe, over the years, that the signal for
genius is more of revolt, than of adaptation. Children
who easily adapt to the status quo and who go along
with all kind of adverse conditioning, without voicing
their needs for one time, will later in life often become
depressive. For depression really is nothing else than
the inability to express oneself, one’s deepest will and
one’s emotions!

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Albert Einstein is a vivid example that comes to


mind, as it shows that somebody who loves music and
was a brilliant violinist doesn’t need to ‘make a musical
career.’ But the genius Einstein is unthinkable without
the gifted musician in the physicist, and the rebellious
freak in the musician.
That is the secret of genius, it’s not one-sidedness,
but a cosmic inner setup that somehow embraces the
whole of creation in one flash of insight that lasts a life-
time!

48
VI
Embracing Technology

Our old idea of ‘general knowledge’ cannot be rea-


sonably maintained because the amount of knowledge
today is so immense that no human being can ever
even remotely attempt to embrace it.
This was certainly different two hundred fifty years
ago, at the time of the Enlightenment when a man like
Denis Diderot could write an encyclopedia that em-
braced almost the integrality of the knowledge of that
time.
An extremist educational approach that tries to ex-
clude technology is however as wrong as one that puts
all its hope in modern information technology. We cer-
tainly need computers as a creative tool and we need
to use them wisely; this is what we have to tell chil-
dren. Especially today, at a time when technology is
part of the network technology we are using to inter-
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connect the world, any kind of escapist approach that


tries to put on stage Rousseau’s ‘back to nature’ is an
illusion and doesn’t work in practice. And more im-
portantly, it’s not useful to the children we educate; they
need to grow into the world, not out of the world, and
this by dealing wistfully with all they got, including
hyper-technology.
I know that many high-class parents love the idea
of the new age school around the corner where children
are invited to eat vegetarian dishes and play with
wooden toys, where there is no television and no com-
puters, and where they are informed about the ‘dan-
gers of modern life.’ Parent meetings are of course held
in a room lit with candlelight because ‘it’s depriving
children in poor countries of resources to use too
much of electricity.’
I honor simplicity, but driving education toward
extremism really is not useful. We do not need extrem-
ism to give our children a sane education; extremism,
any kind of it, sorry, is as insane as patriarchal hubris
—even if it’s all very decent, smart and natural. Our
offices do not run on candlelight, and children’s natu-
ralness is not really a factor for employment when they
don’t know how to handle a computer. What extrem-

50
EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY

ism does is to distort children’s innate common sense.


Have you ever seen an extremist child?
Yes, of course, when they imitate their parents who
are members of the communist party and therefore eat
only red food, breathe only red air, wear only red
clothes and think only red thoughts! But not a natural
child. Never.
Children are amazingly balanced, they do not reject
anything, they use technology when it’s useful and
when it’s fun to use it. And that, after all, is a good and
productive attitude. Every artist, every intellectual has
the same attitude, except they have sworn revenge
against ‘society’ because they project all their personal
hangups upon the meta group.
Good education is not one that excludes things, is
not one that renders things, thoughts, feelings or be-
havior taboo, but one that embraces all, while teach-
ing, on a daily basis and a little step at a time, the wis-
dom to use all we’ve got.

51
VII
Teaching Choice-Ability

Television contains many good and useful pro-


grams, information about technology, about cultural
events, about great people, about cultures you will
perhaps never visit in your life because of the harsh
climate that reigns over there, or because of places too
remote for visiting without incurring great discomfort.
And there is footage useful for children because it is not tar-
geting children. I believe that children instinctively are
preferring serious information over information baked,
cooked and spiced for children; they do not like to be
addressed as ‘children’ but simply as spectators, along-
side adult spectators.
And honestly, I can’t see how stupid, senseless, vio-
lent and frivolous cartoons should be in any way ‘edu-
cational’ or ‘good’ for children? They are money-mak-
ing devices, that’s all, they are a global business in the
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hands of a few powerful corporations. That’s all there is


to know about that.
With television, all is choice; when there is choice,
television is a good thing, when there is no choice,
television is a bad thing; it’s as simple as that. The
more consciousness-based your education is and the
less authoritarian, the better for your children’s choice
ability. For to make choice has to be learnt as well, it’s
not put in our cradle.
To make good choices in life is according to the I
Ching the real crux in life and where ordinary people
and sages most differ in their attitudes and capabilities.
The Book of Changes defines a sage to be a person who
knows to make good, sane and beneficial choices for
themselves and those they care for, while ordinary
people tend to make bad or wrong choices, which
bring decay, and destruction, loss and failure.
Often we do not know for sure if a certain choice is
good or not, as we do not know all implications of our
decisions; however, somebody with a truly spiritual vi-
sion of life and lots of experience knows these mostly
invisible factors and therefore can make good and vi-
able choices.

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TEACHING CHOICE-ABILITY

Now, when you see how difficult it is already for us


other adults to make good choices, how difficult must
it be for young and inexperienced children! To say, it’s
one of the most important topics actually in education
to assist children in gradually developing a sane ability
to choose.
This requires two things from educators that both
must be present simultaneously; the first is that the
educator leads himself or herself a life where the basic
choices are right and sane, and remembered with a
certain gratitude, and second, that the educator has
enough patience with children’s making lots of wrong
choices at first; for if you don’t let them make wrong
choices, choices that hurt, how do you think they are
going to make right choices later on?
Or are you one of those who choose for children,
while pretending it was the child’s choice? That, excuse
me, simply is dishonest. Once you discover that, you
will understand that being an educator is challenging
because children tend to mirror your bad qualities;
they may begin to question your integrity.
Mediocre educators often get angry in these mo-
ments, and that is how they differ from those passion-
ate educators who are really gifted for their work.
Good educators react by momentarily cheering up but

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subsequently questioning if there is in their behavior


any residue of self-pity, of pride or of arrogance?
When you practice this approach, it can serve you
to make a personal evolution that will not be a minor
one. And it will rejuvenate you and lift you up from
any depression you may be stuck in; in addition, you
will make real discoveries about yourself.

56
VIII
Nature Heals

Nature, and natural life, has undoubtedly a


special attraction for children; while it’s also
healthy and good for adults to be outdoors and en-
joy nature, the importance natural life has for chil-
dren cannot be overestimated.
I have found that disturbed and ‘difficult’ chil-
dren calm down and improve spontaneously after
having spent a few hours in open air, enjoying the
wind and the sun, and moving their bodies as
much as they can. It seems that this simple fact is
little known among teachers.
A rain shower, a thunderstorm, snow and ice, a
walk at the river side, wading through mud, run-
ning over beach sand, picking some flowers at the
roadside—all these activities, which most adults take
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for granted without seeing their dimension for the


child, have healing qualities.
Nature heals. It’s as simple as that. Nature
widens inner space, and it unwinds inner knots, it
heals emotional stress, and it lets us breathe
deeply, which by itself already is a powerful trigger
for healing. In addition, it has to be seen that con-
trary to many adults, children are indiscriminating
regarding the weather conditions; they take nature
as it is and derive joy from any kind of weather,
and the educator should learn doing the same.
I have never met a child who was not enjoying
an excursion to the seaside, or to a lake. Besides,
the high ionization, and the salt-contained air near
the ocean are of course very beneficial for chil-
dren’s health, as it purifies our bronchial system,
and recharges our vital batteries. Generally, the
ocean has a strong metaphorical quality; it is associ-
ated in the subconscious with the matrix, and the
eternal feminine, with the cosmic flow, and with
sexuality.
Children love to search for shells and snails that
symbolize their intimate parts, and they are obvi-

58
NATURE HEALS

ously reassured of their sexual identity by so doing.


I have always observed that children gain incredi-
bly in expressiveness when close to the sea, that
they are exuberant and full of joy, energized, and
that even when they come from dim or abusive
home conditions, at the seaside they can really for-
get their sad milieu for a few hours, and relax.
The intrinsic value of the ocean and generally of
wild untouched nature for children is that they can
exhibit their full desire for discovery, for the ex-
pansion of the known.
Children are much less scared of the new, the
unknown, than most adults; that is why they are
generally more courageous than adults. When they
explore something, be it the nature around them,
be it the nature within them, they want to go as far
as their courage reaches.
They may not go through, but when they
don’t, that should be within their own discretion,
not the discretion of the educator.

59
IX
The Value of Silence

Silence is essential for the mind. Without silence, the


mind drowns in the turbulence of daily life, and of all
our conflicting desires, thoughts and feelings.
Traditional education hasn’t understood a bit of this
fact. Children are silenced by force, held in shut-up
compliance with ‘law and order’ by the use of educa-
tional violence, only to explode into outbursts of ha-
tred and stupidity, once the class is over, and they get
out of the school house.
Silence cannot be imposed upon the mind. It’s a
fundamental error to discipline children for silence; when
children lead a balanced life, and when their emotions
are respected and rendered conscious, children are not
any more noisy than adults. It’s typical for our mod-
ern-day ignorance to state something like ‘Well, chil-
dren are children, and so they are noisy.’ No. That’s a
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projection, and a prejudice. There is no reason why


children should be substantially louder, and substan-
tially more unruly, than adults. It’s through imposed dis-
cipline that children become noisy, and unruly, not
through a sane and understanding education.
First of all, when children are noisy on a constant
basis, you can be sure that their parents and educators
are noisy as well. Modern life doesn’t need to be noisy.
To have a television doesn’t imply it must yell. The
same is true for a stereo, a video game, or whatever.
But I have seen time and again that parents who have
noisy children are just as noisy, inviting you for a
drink while having the television run at full volume,
and then shout at you because ‘it’s so noisy in the room
today’ so we have ‘to speak a little louder.’
Many of them are so used to their constantly run-
ning televisions that they don’t even hear them any-
more consciously; so as a matter of automatism, they
begin to shout instead of talking. And then I want to
see the child that doesn’t adopt such an example and
becomes a noisy rat!
When children are noisy, you have to whisper, for
that will get them back on track. What helps in the
long run is meditation, or silent relaxation, or yoga,
any activity that makes sense only when done in si-

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THE VALUE OF SILENCE

lence. And you will see how much children will begin
to like that, how much they ask for it!
I have talked with educators from Krishnamurti
schools in India, and they told me that from their ex-
perience, most problems with discipline come from the
mind being too turbulent, and to remedy that, silence
is needed, only silence! When they start their day, they
go outside with the children and watch the sunrise, for
no more than about ten minutes, the same in the
evening, they go out watching the sunset, for another
ten minutes. That means twenty minutes per day si-
lence, real silence. They told me that twenty minutes
of silence per day is enough for a child and even for
most adults to keep the mind silent for the whole day!
Research has shown that a silent mind is much bet-
ter coordinated, that the brain hemispheres work more
in sync, that the mind is more open to absorb knowl-
edge, and that emotional balance is easier to maintain.
I think everybody can understand that, it simply
makes sense, and it’s not something that ‘works only
for Asians.’ Krishnamurti schools are not imbedded in
Asian culture, they are imbedded in international cul-
ture. In ordinary schools in India, children are as noisy
as in the West, and they are as much, or even more,
admonished ‘not to be noisy.’

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An educator anywhere in the world who day by


day has noisy children around him or her, is a noisy
person, do what you will, a person with a noisy chat-
ting, turbulent mind, and unruly emotions! This is
simply so, as a matter of action and reaction.
Put a group of children around a sage, do you think
they are noisy or will be noisy after ten minutes sitting
there? They won’t. I have seen it at several occasions in
Asia, in Indonesia. The sage will talk so softly that
every child, in order to understand what he says, will
keep a completely silent posture, and you can hear a
needle fall on the floor. Why? It’s because the silence of
the sage’s mind fills all the minds in the room; it’s his
aura, his intrinsic energy that does that. And his atti-
tude. He speaks softly and all of his gestures are soft
and yielding, and he smiles. There is not one word he
utters that is said out of balance, there is not one
movement he does that is not graceful and beautiful to
watch.
The children absorb the man, eat him virtually with
their eyes, in awe, watch attentively everything he
does, says, how he cuts a fruit, to eat a small piece, and
then offer the rest to the children. And they leave radi-
ant, but silent, and their faces say ‘I have received a
gift!’

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THE VALUE OF SILENCE

It’s an enchanting experience, one that you never for-


get, and it teaches without a word that for sane educa-
tion, no discipline is needed, but wisdom, and si-
lence—which is exactly what Krishnamurti said all
throughout his life.
And he also said that silence can in no way be im-
posed, because when it’s imposed, the result is artificial
conduct, not authentic behavior. This is generally so,
and it’s even more true when you try to impose silence
upon children. For you will have to cope with total
failure, you will see that it’s all going to go in the oppo-
site direction and that you will drive out the last little
bit of silence from the children’s minds. So don’t even
try, but first practice to be silent, yourself, even if it’s
only for five minutes a day.
Before you do that, and regularly, don’t even think
you could work around poised and halfway silent
children. Forget it. If your mind is a clutter box, do you
think you are going to make order in the mind of the
children sitting around you?
And keep this in mind, in all matters spiritual, coer-
cion does not work. It’s not important how you find in-
ner peace, only the result counts. The only thing you
can do for the children is to render them conscious
and sensitive to noise, by at times gently telling them

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to listen to all the sounds around them, and identify each


sound, and then the whole symphony. This will by and
by render every child conscious also of manipulatory
input, advertisements, ambient music, and the like.
Silence, all silence comes about spontaneously, it
cannot be invited. In the Tao Te Ching, Lao-tzu wrote:
‘If you want to expand something very much, you first
have to contract it very much.’ When children are very
much disciplined for being silent, the result is that they
become hyper-noisy, every moment they step out of
the constraint, every time they leave the room, go to
the toilet or do whatever, go home or meet other chil-
dren. Then they explode. Then they fight, they hurt
each other, they yell, they kick, they spit, they curse, in
one word, they do all that they are not allowed doing
in class. Hence, discipline is useless, or even counter-
productive, or let’s say that any kind of discipline is
useless when it is based on coercion.
Self-discipline is not useless, and it is not counter-
productive. What we learn from this is that the goal is
not teaching discipline, but the educator teaching self-
discipline, first to himself, then to the children. Without
having learnt self-discipline, no educator can convey to
children what it implies. The educator must walk his
talk before he can expect the slightest improvement

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THE VALUE OF SILENCE

with the children he cares for. This is so much the


more the case as self-discipline is not really a behavior;
it’s an attitude. And attitude cannot be transmitted ver-
bally, it’s always transmitted non-verbally and most of
the time unconsciously.
When we give up coercion in all of education, we
put an end to the insane dualism that has pervaded our
culture since the beginnings of patriarchy. For when
we stop coercion, we open the door to self-regulation,
which is the functional modus vivendi of all living sys-
tems. Dualism manifests in our cultural history as
mind-body dualism, male-female dualism, right-wrong
dualism, noble-ordinary dualism, rich-poor dualism,
win-lose dualism and constraint-freedom dualism.
The latter is probably the most destructive of all these
forms of either-or dogmas as it’s against life itself. Life
is freedom, not constraint, not coercion, not imposed
will or domination, and its motor is self-regulation.
There is self-regulation to be observed everywhere
in nature, in our own organism, in the tides and the
weather, in the growth cycles of plants, animals and
humans, in the moving of the planets, and so forth,
and even in our global economy. Self-regulation is con-
sidered one of the most important principles in the
functioning of markets, national, regional or global.

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THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

Children, when you let them free, are naturally self-


regulative in all they think and do. They simply obey
nature, and nature is self-regulative. And self-regulated
children are stronger, and have a better immune sys-
tem, they are healthier, and they can endure more.
Children who have been impeded from regulating
themselves are emotionally fragile, and physically sickly,
cranky, and frail. It’s the babies that were put in dark
rooms for sleeping alone, instead of sharing the bed of
their parents, it’s those that were hung at the wall, as in-
fants, in bandages, and those whose hands were at-
tached to the bed, to keep them from enjoying them-
selves. It’s also those modern children that are TV-regu-
lated instead of self-regulated, the TV having been
their babysitter, and their pacifier.
Being self-regulative, children at certain moments
do make noise, but that’s not the obsessionally noisy
behavior I was reporting previously. It’s rather short
moments where the child needs to ‘pull the registers’
so to speak, like an organist pulls the registers of the
organ before he sets out to play. For example, when
the child comes home from school, they often shout,
or they throw their jacket in a corner, and they do that
in a ‘noisy’ way, and that noise says something. It says ‘I
am glad to come home.’ That’s all.

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THE VALUE OF SILENCE

To resist the noise in that moment and admonish


the child is as good as telling the boy or girl ‘I do not
like you to come home, better you stay in school.’ And
that really hurts. So it’s okay when a child pulls the
registers for a moment, which is, to repeat it, not the
‘noise.’ It’s a different story, not a noise triggered by an
unruly mind, but simply the body talking a moment
for balancing the mind.
Have you seen children and toddlers jumping in
the arms of their mothers or fathers—and have you
heard the noise they make when doing that? They
howl, or they yell, or they sing, but it’s almost never
silent. These noises are natural and they must not be
complained about or you tell the child implicitly ‘I do
not want you to live.’ And that, then, is what I call
death education.
Often, when children pull the registers they do a
suite of rapid movements together with the noise they
make; it’s kind of coordinated, like a stage clown prac-
ticing one of his sketches, a twist, a turn, a click, a
stamp, a shout, and a yawn, all that in fast playback.
In my experience, boys pull the registers more of-
ten than girls. And these moments, I equally observed,
are almost always getting the child into a yielding, re-
laxed mood, and what they most like, then, is to be ca-

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THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

ressed and sit quietly, for some time, next to their pre-
ferred educator, or, at home, with a parent. So it seems
to me that pulling the registers has for the child a re-
laxation effect, and that may be the hidden reason they
do it. It’s not unlike the saying of Lao-tzu I quoted
above, first they expand and tense, then they contract
and relax.
But here I am talking about basically sane children,
not those raised in authoritarian schools and homes,
who are obsessionally noisy.
In general, it can be said that the sane child ex-
presses himself or herself in a varied manner, never the
same behavior pattern, but a smooth sequence of motion
patterns. This is perhaps how children most differ
from adults, as the behavior pattern of adults is much
more uniform when you compare it with the rich pat-
terned structure of children’s behavior.
And this variety in behaving, and the rapidity of
changing behavior patterns, may have a balancing ef-
fect upon the psyche and emotions, and that may be
one of the reasons why children generally are emotion-
ally more balanced than most adults.

70
X
Concentration or Contemplation?

The faculty to concentrate is directly related to the


silence or turbulence of the mind; the more silent the
mind is, the more and the deeper the person is able to
concentrate.
The faculty to concentrate is not something the
small child possesses, and it’s harming toddlers and
small children when educators force them to concentrate.
Small children do not need any concentration abili-
ty; the faculty to concentrate is intrinsically something
belonging to the mature mind. Only a mind that is
trained, that is focused, can concentrate. The child’s
mind is contemplative, which is a mind that is always
fresh, and open, it’s also a mind that thinks holistically
because it is not fragmented.
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

Krishnamurti often said that concentration impedes


the mind from contemplation and from meditation;
this is so because concentration is goal-centered, pur-
poseful, teleological, while meditation spontaneously
comes about when the mind is not purposeful and not
focused, and when concentration was dissolved by re-
laxation.
Small children are most of the time in that medita-
tive mode, and to get them out of it by training them
to concentrate is really insane, as it deprives them of
their intrinsic wisdom; in addition it can render them
sick and depressed.
Typically, the faculty to concentrate goes along with
the fact that the mind contains an observer. In the small
child, there is no observer, as much as the other inner
selves are not yet built.
As a general rule, the observer is built when social
awareness begins to form, and a sense for society’s
morality codex, from about age seven to twelve. Before
the observer is built, the child is in a state of bliss, for
all their perception is direct and immediate, because
the intellect is bypassed.
You can also say that concentration is thought-re-
lated, and where there is no thought, because the mind

72
CONCENTRATION OR CONTEMPLATION?

is contemplative and perceives reality directly, no con-


centration is needed.

73
XI
Facilitating Self-Acceptance

Nobody can teach us to love others or ourselves. To be-


lieve it is naive. Whoever loves himself loves others.
Why does one love himself and another hates herself?
It’s a question of self-respect. Self-respect can’t be
taught. When children grow in a milieu where they are
respected and loved, they have enough self-respect.
You can’t quantify self-respect, you can’t quantify love.
You can’t teach it. If you are honest, you can’t even talk
about it. What you can do is live it, live by being full of
love, respecting others by respecting yourself, by hav-
ing high self-respect.
When you see that, you become aware that the
only one who can be possibly addressed for being
taught these values, is yourself, the educator. People
who talk a lot about love do not love. Children know
to love, and they do it daily, but never talk about it.
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

They do it spontaneously, they love as they breathe, as


they eat, as their sleep, as they play.
Loving is something real, and something living for
the natural child, not something to worry about, to
think about, to make a hassle about. If you know chil-
dren, you know that what I am saying is correct.
When the child accepts their body and knows it,
they incarnate fully in this body, and this in turn is the
condition for realizing excellent physical and mental
health and emotional balance.
Children who are psychotic or assessed with schiz-
ophrenia simply are not incarnated in their bodies;
they are floating in the air, lacking grounding. Their
first chakra is blocked and they are hardly conscious of
their body.
Only on the basis of the full acceptance of the body
can we build a sane education, and as a result, a sane
society! How do we build self-esteem in children when
their minds are pervaded with compulsive morality?
It should be obvious that self-esteem cannot be
build on shame, and body-denial, but on acceptance.
To bring about emotional and mental sanity, all denial
of nature has to be rendered conscious; once you are
conscious that you are actually working against nature

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FACILITATING SELF-ACCEPTANCE

in all you are doing, you will change. The very aware-
ness of your denial attitude will bring the change, and
open you for embracing nature as a result.
Beauty, physical beauty, is not a chance event either
but a result of body acceptance or of body denial.
There is no inborn beauty. We form our body through
our thoughts. When we think beautiful thoughts, our
body will be beautiful, when we think ugly thoughts
our body will be ugly. When we fix our attention on
what is ugly, we render our life more ugly; at any mo-
ment we contemplate beauty, we will be more beautiful
as a result. This is the law of consciousness, the law of
resonance; what we focus our attention on, we bring
about in our life, we realize, and we strengthen.
Most of us have suffered from having belonged to
society, to our parents, to religious authorities, but not
to ourselves, in our younger years, and this is why our
identity is weak and fragile. That is why so many of us
are constantly suffering from emotional stress, and
from recurring anxiety and depressions, that is why we
are only randomly positive toward life, if we are not out-
right negative for some hours every day.
Sanity cannot be built on the soil of a distorted
emotional life early in childhood, it cannot be built on

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THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

the grave of freedom, not upon oppression and denial of


our most basic longings.
There is no long-term physical health without a
sanely balanced life where the self is not pervaded by
guilt and shame, nor by obsessions and perversions,
but imbedded in sane relationships with others. As a
slogan I would coin it in ‘Humans are sane when they
are fully human.’
The self-regulated child is obviously smarter, more
mature in dealing with others, more respectful, more
outgoing, more social and less egotistic, and very little
narcissistic, and way more balanced than the bulk of
repressed and emotionally deprived, unhappy children
that are still today our cultural model.

78
XII
Educating the Heart

The divine steerer in us is the heart, and connected


to the heart, a natural striving for goodness, for posi-
tive impact upon self and others, and for harmony
with all-that-is. This is a spiritual desire, within all of us,
and within all children, while an education based sole-
ly on ‘material’ conditions will not satisfy the complete
human.
Not only my research on shamanism and on native
populations, but in a way my whole life showed me
that the desire for religio with the whole of creation,
call it God, or otherwise, is ultimately the quest to un-
derstanding the meaning and the purpose of one’s exis-
tence.
All native cultures value art, and natural spirituality,
while they are considered ‘poor’ according to modern
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

standards. In truth, spiritually speaking, they are richer


than all consumer cultures taken together!
The human soul expresses its originality always in
paradoxes, and it cannot be reduced to social values
only; this means that caring for a child to meet their
needs is not all there is to draft a sane, consciousness-
based education, an education that helps the child dis-
cover the true meaning of life, and that leads to joy of
living, to a purposeful direction and to harmonious
social relations. It would be a misunderstanding if the
reader thought I took so much time for explaining how
to meet children’s true needs for reducing the whole of
the educational quest to the mere satisfaction of needs
and natural longings!
No, I believe that having our needs met is not
enough to give us the spiritual direction and fulfillment
we long for, as a natural and authentic quest of the
human soul. People caught in the biological, scientific
or social little critter of life often forget to open the
windows of their inner house to see the greater pic-
ture. This greater view of life isn’t possible when you
stay on the biological and social levels of the human;
while these levels, to repeat it, are important, they are
not all there is to make a human life meaningful and
ultimately successful.

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EDUCATING THE HEART

While I do not think it’s useful to talk about ‘spiri-


tuality’ as a special independent quest of the human,
because spiritual values can’t be separated from our
soul values and not even from our social values, there is
no human being on this globe, big or small, that is not
spiritual. This is simply so.
In all of us, there is an inner quest, which lives in
us alongside our quest for having our needs met, and
the two quests are not contradictory in the ideal case.
They can be contradictory when the mindset is
schizoid and emotions are not balanced, but not in the
case when the person has received a positive, and life-
affirming education.
I have always seen that people whose inner setup is
basically sane do not stress spirituality or religion as
something distinct from basic goodness, and they in
most cases not even mention these words in their daily
exchanges with others. While they live these values
through their attitude, their way to meet and respect
others, their capacity to really listen to others, they are
spontaneously supporting those in need.
This is actually what all our religions ask us to do,
it’s that we irradiate natural goodness, and conduct
positive, meaningful existences that leave a trace, and
bring light to the world, and to others. Only that most

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THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

people as it were take the finger that points to the


Moon, for the Moon, and they worry about the specific
precepts of their particular religion, the little critter,
while they overlook that the details are of minor impor-
tance compared to the ultimate goal they contribute to
realize.
Now, how to realize this in education, without los-
ing the regard on the whole of the question, without
arrogantly trumpeting one should give children a ‘spir-
itual’ education, and without getting stuck in the little
critter of religious dogma and ritual? Honestly, there is
not much we can do about it, but quite a lot we can stop
doing about it.
First of all, educators who are not complete humans
because they have not responded to their spiritual
longing, cannot do the job. It’s similar with shamanic
healing; our doctors give us medicaments for healing
us, but the shaman takes himself the medicine that is
going to heal the patient.
When the educator is a complete human, they
don’t really need to do anything to bring spiritual val-
ues over to the children they are around day by day.
That happens automatically, as a matter of personal
charisma or telepathy or morphic resonance, however
you want to explain it. But as I said earlier, there is

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EDUCATING THE HEART

much that educators can stop doing for not negatively


interfering with the spiritual quest that is dormant in
every single child. The most damaging kind of inter-
ference, in this context, is to establish a ‘religion class’
or even to call the whole of the educational method a
‘religious education.’
This, in my opinion, will from the start destroy the
seed that naturally loving relations sow for fostering
spiritual growth. Where there is love, spiritual growth
is present on both ends of the relationship, and there is
nothing additional needed to happen, to do, to trigger
or to manage for the child to become a truly spiritual
and wistful person.
I think it’s absolute nonsense when parents or edu-
cators suddenly are on the ‘spiritual’ track and from
day one of their new lifestyle tell children they’d better
pray every day, better eat vegetarian food, better be al-
ways nice and loving to others, and always do good,
because the world is so bad … it’s simply ridiculous.
The world doesn’t change if you are a materialist nerd
or an enlightened sage; the only thing that changes is
your regard upon the world. You can keep the whole of
your lifestyle, and you don’t need to infringe upon the
other, material, social and emotional values you cher-

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THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

ished once you feel you are beginning to embrace spir-


itual values.
When you do that you are actually leading a split
existence. To split life off in a spiritual and a non-spiri-
tual part is not philosophical, it’s schizoid, and when
you do that when you educate children, you better
change your job, or remain a simple human, without
‘spiritual’ pretensions.
I believe religions are a natural attempt for an inte-
grative lifestyle, for completeness, not more and not
less; they are an attempt to catalogue spirituality, to
make it like an alphabet where you can read the letters
from A to Z, where you can write down what actually
can’t be written, can’t be said and can’t be expressed in
verbal language.
So actually, religions are an impossible thing be-
cause they attempt doing something which is impossi-
ble, that is, to express the divine with the words of the
world the divine created for manifesting itself. Natural-
ly, the divine can only be expressed through itself, the
divine; accordingly, it expresses itself through divine
language. That happens when two sages sit together
for an hour; they don’t need to talk, because the inner
god of one speaks with the inner god of the other, so

84
EDUCATING THE HEART

divine is talking to divine. In such a case, there is spiri-


tual communication.
In writing a book called Holy Bible, those who
wrote it certainly wished to establish spiritual commu-
nication with the reader; but this attempt is accident-
ed, simply because the communication media is inad-
equate.
I would like to apply this idea to education; it
means that educators actually should not talk about
spirituality, but live as much as possible in accordance
with the spiritual values they subscribe to and have
accepted as guidelines for conduct. Then they will, as a
matter of resonance, bring about the light, the joy, and
the goodness that shines within them.

85
XIII
Art, Creativity, and Spontaneity

Spontaneity is not just the art workshop where the


kids can draw whatever they like, and where they can
compose forms and colors.
The meaning of spontaneity in life is a vast space,
and cannot be confined to specific activities, while it is
true that spontaneity can be enhanced by doing things
spontaneously, and doing every day more things sponta-
neously. But the meaning of spontaneity knows another
dimension.
Let me give an example taken from the Krishna-
murti school concept, which I have mentioned earlier
on. In his book Education and the Significance of Life
(1978), Krishnamurti writes about spontaneity without
mentioning the word spontaneity, seeing spontaneity
as a direct outflow of creativity: ‘The freedom to create
comes with self-knowledge; but self-knowledge is not
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

a gift. One can be creative without having any particular


talent. Creativeness is a state of being in which the con-
flicts and sorrows of the self are absent, a state in
which the mind is not caught up in the demands and pur-
suits of desire.’ (Id. p. 128).
This is a wonderful description of what spontaneity
actually is, and how it can be invited. It is pure cre-
ativeness and it comes about when the self is tem-
porarily put at rest, and when the mind is at peace.
Now, what I would like to discuss here is how we
can learn spontaneously. It is agreed that spontaneity
serves self-expression and of course especially artistic
expression and that it thus is a part of creativity. But can
the learning process, the activity of learning, be self-
regulated and spontaneous?
I think the question is important for finding an al-
ternative to the endless ‘directed activities’ that pervade
the mainstream educational curriculum and that I my-
self in my work in pre-schools found to be not only a
terrible bore but also a blunt violation of the child’s
self-direction, and thus a form of manipulation. The ar-
gument I always got to hear when I criticized directed
activities was that ‘children do not learn spontaneously,
but have to be led toward study.’ I question this as-
sumption. Perhaps not all children learn spontaneous-

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ART, CREATIVITY, AND SPONTANEITY

ly, so let us inquire why certain don’t, and why others


do? What are the conditions for a child to get on a
track of spontaneous learning? Is there anything that
can be setup for it, or is it impossible to influence the
creative flow?
Now, before I am going to answer these questions
below, let me report another particularity of Krishna-
murti schools. K writes: ‘Most children are curious,
they want to know; but their eager inquiry is dulled by
our pontifical assertions, our superior impatience and
our casual brushing aside of their curiosity. We do not
encourage their inquiry, for we are rather apprehensive
of what may be asked of us; we do not foster their dis-
content, for we ourselves have ceased to
question.’ (Id., p. 41).
The danger when ‘transmitting’ knowledge through
the activity of teaching is that the teaching distorts the
knowledge; the activity of teaching, thus, must have
some quality of humility to be non-obtrusive enough so
that the original content, the knowledge itself, is
transmitted as is, and not through the personal lens of
the teacher.
That sounds quite theoretical and in practice such a
clear-cut distinction cannot be done. Yet, there is a way
to circumvent the teacher, and it is practiced in Krish-

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THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

namurti schools. All subjects that are requiring a tech-


nique, that are either artistic or belong to the realm of
crafting are taught in K’s schools not through teachers
but through the artists and craftsmen, or musicians,
themselves.
That means a painter will come to paint, a musician
to play, and a puppet maker to make puppets in front
of the children. The children simply watch, if they like
to. They are not tight up on their chairs to watch these
people do their art or their music, or their craft. These
people bring their world to the school, not by teaching
eloquently, not by doing anything specific ‘for the chil-
dren;’ they are simply around, got their workshop or
piano, their canvasses or atelier, and they do what they
always do. And the children know they are there, and
that they can watch them for a moment or longer, if
they like to.
This is really a smart way to bring spontaneous
learning in without actually bringing it in; through the
presence of professionals other than the teachers, chil-
dren get into a resonance field with each of those more
or less charismatic or famous personalities, with each
of these exceptionally creative people, with each of
these living examples of creativity, and spontaneity.
Thus what happens is that not only do the children

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ART, CREATIVITY, AND SPONTANEITY

learn what they can learn, spontaneously, while being


around these artists, but they can also learn how spon-
taneity manifests in life, how it is used by an artist, by
a creator, and how it is built in the creative process and
workflow.
This, then, gives another, vaster dimension to spon-
taneity; it shows that spontaneity is something that we
can hardly define, that is invisible, that is not some-
thing very common in the daily life of ‘ordinary peo-
ple,’ and as a second step, then, spontaneity can be
shown to be a quality related to spiritual awakening.
Krishnamurti’s teaching posits that spiritual awak-
ening, and spiritual insight are not gained through
thought but through the space in between thoughts or the
realm that is beyond thought; and accessing this realm,
K always said, can only happen spontaneously, and it
cannot be invited, or prepared to happen.
From this insight into the spontaneous nature of
the divine, to open children toward the greater dimen-
sion of spontaneity really makes sense, because it pre-
pares them for spiritual awakening.

91
XIV
A Brainsmart Learning Approach

How does a teacher have to perform in a school or


pre-school with a brainsmart educational curriculum in
place?

—Brainsmart is a neologism created by neuroscience special-


ists that means that learning is adapted to the structural func-
tioning of the brain and the memory surface as a passive learning
matrix that is self-organized and that arranges learning content
in patterns instead of memorizing single elements of learning
content.

I would say upfront that such a teacher has to per-


form in much a different way than in ordinary and tra-
ditional educational institutions! In one word, he or
she simply have to be brainsmart in their personal and
teaching styles and corresponding behavior. However,
teachers cannot be blamed for the current situation in
the educational field; it is certainly not teachers who
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

are the culprits behind the deplorable ineffectiveness of


the educational systems worldwide.
This being said, teachers will gladly accept a
brainsmart educational style for they will realize that
such a curriculum is way more relaxing as a work en-
vironment and far less stressful than the traditional ed-
ucational system, and also rewards teachers far more
for their creative input than this is and was ever possi-
ble thus far in educational institutions.
Here are some of the basic advantages of a brains-
mart curriculum:

‣ Increased Intelligence, Creativity and Memory

‣ Improved Academic Performance

‣ Increased Use of Hidden Brain Reserves

‣ Increased Coherence of Brain Functioning

‣ Benefits for Health, Energy and Wellbeing

‣ Decreased Fatigue and Insomnia

‣ Reduced Health Care Costs

‣ Benefits for the Personality and Relationships

‣ Increased Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem

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A BRAINSMART LEARNING APPROACH

‣ Higher Levels of Self-Development

‣ Decreased Anxiety, Depression,


Aggression, Hostility

‣ Increased Emotional Stability and Tolerance

‣ Increased Appreciation of Others

Our school systems worldwide are not only ineffec-


tive but they are outright opposed to brainsmart educa-
tion. With all the insights we gained through brains-
mart educational approaches such as Suggestopedia, we
know that children who have to sit upright on hard
benches are about in the worst position to learn in a
relaxed mood, which is the way the brain learns. An-
other secret of Suggestopedia is that it was not at all de-
veloped, as later propagated in the media, as a method
for diplomats to learn a foreign language as quickly as
possible. It was developed by Bulgarian psychiatrist
Georgi Lozanov for children to learn to read and write.
The results were jaw-dropping. Children learnt to read
and write in less than six months and adults can learn
a difficult language like Arabic or Chinese in only two
months. And they speak the language without any ac-
cent, just as a native speaker would express himself or
herself.

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THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

But not only are our educational systems not


brainsmart, they are also on the social level not foster-
ing the development of culture, but are rather the
breeding cages for chaos. To express this truth in even
more general terms, we can say that our schools do not
bring about integration of knowledge, but disintegra-
tion of intelligence.
At the secondary level, the problems of school
drop-outs, antisocial behavior, lack of motivation,
dullness, and even despair are symptomatic of the
great frustration students experience when they are not
educated to systematically unfold the unique creative
possibilities latent within each of them.
The segmented and fragmented experience of
studying separate disciplines and specializing in an
academic field, without the concomitant experience of
the wholeness of knowledge and the wholeness of life,
not only fails to develop the brain’s potential; it actual-
ly hinders the development of the mature intellect and
personality by directing students’ attention only to par-
tial values of knowledge. In other words, scrutinizing
educational curricula worldwide delivers the result
that education is not offering the knowledge for actual-
izing human potential. It is not enough to grow; true
growth is always nonlinear, balanced and integrated,

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A BRAINSMART LEARNING APPROACH

not linear and cancerous. To grow in a balanced man-


ner means that the various elements are integrated in
the learning process. These elements are to be found
on the social, economic, environmental, technological
and political levels. Graduates from traditional educa-
tional institutions generally lack the breadth and depth
of comprehension to spontaneously make decisions
that will serve the progress and wellbeing of everyone
in a networked global culture.
Krishnamurti pointed out in his book Education or
the Significance of Life (1978) that rather than giving
students the knowledge and experience to live the full
value of life, formal education restricts the students’
awareness to narrow boundaries, and in so doing pre-
vents the total development of the brain toward higher
states of consciousness.
It is not that we did not know what to do about the
deplorable state of education in the world. We know
very well because research showed that students at
some elite universities and schools improve significant-
ly in mental capacity, academic achievement, health,
and social skills and behavior, compared to students in
other institutions.
It is known from institutions such as Maharishi
School of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, United States

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THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

and their affiliate schools that at elementary and sec-


ondary levels, year after year classes of students who
enter at an average level of performance, score among
the highest in their nations on national standardized
examinations by the time they graduate. They also dis-
tinguish themselves by winning top state and national
prizes in an unusually wide range of subjects, includ-
ing science, mathematics, speech, history, poetry, dra-
ma, art, music, and sports.
Why is that so? It’s because this educational ap-
proach makes greater use of our brain’s potential,
which is why I call this education brainsmart.
Research on brain development in a variety of
species shows that specific types of experience are nec-
essary for the brain to develop properly. For example,
in the early stages of life, sensory experiences are criti-
cal for the development of the corresponding sensory
structures of the brain. It has also been found that an
enriched sensory and motor environment in infancy con-
tributes to significantly enhanced development of the
brain.
Brain development is thus intimately connected
with experience. From this perspective, the purpose of
education, including early education in the family,
should be to provide the appropriate experiences, at

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A BRAINSMART LEARNING APPROACH

every stage of growth, that develop the full potential of


mind and body.
Even if educators do not attend to the process of
brain development in childhood, they do select learn-
ing experiences that suit the state of sensory, motor,
and cognitive development of school children.
In so doing, they are in fact selecting experiences
most suitable for the children’s current state of brain
development. For example, preschool education and
family interactions in the first years of a child’s life nat-
urally stimulate the development of sensory and motor
competencies, and basic but important language skills.
Unfortunately, education has not included a sys-
tematic means to directly promote integrated brain func-
tioning. Rather, education primarily exercises the indi-
vidual’s logical reasoning ability in relation to specific
bodies of knowledge. It is true that reasoning ability
depends on the maturation of the brain’s integrative
systems; however, limiting the educational experiences
of students only to the continued exercise of their rea-
soning skills is not sufficient to develop the brain’s po-
tential, and to unfold higher integration of brain func-
tioning.

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Evidence that current education does not promote


full development of the brain is found in research on
human cognitive development. From infancy to ado-
lescence, during the period when the brain is rapidly
maturing, there is concomitant growth in general intel-
ligence, ego development, field independence, and
other related cognitive variables. However, after ado-
lescence, when the initial maturation of brain process-
es is largely completed, these cognitive abilities do not
continue to develop. This indicates that despite all ef-
forts of secondary and higher education, higher cogni-
tive processes, and the corresponding higher potential
of the brain, are not being developed.
Stagnation of development has been rationalized as
‘adulthood;’ it is assumed that with physical matura-
tion comes the end of fundamental development of the
brain and cognitive processes. Accordingly, higher ed-
ucation students apply their already developed intel-
lectual skills to increasingly specialized bodies of
knowledge. That is, education remains ‘intellect-pre-
dominant;’ and as students advance in their education,
they focus on increasingly segregated or isolated areas
of knowledge.
As educational experience continues to be restrict-
ed to narrow channels, the adult brain in fact contin-

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A BRAINSMART LEARNING APPROACH

ues to modify its functioning to accommodate those


specific narrow channels of activity. For example, when
perceptual or motor skills are learned, as for example
playing the piano, the adult’s brain modifies its func-
tioning: the cortex has been found to re-allocate the
proportion of its area that is devoted to the sensory or
motor inputs that are most used.
In practical terms, this means that the skill gained
in playing the piano or in any academic discipline does
not lead to skill in all the other activities of life. In oth-
er words, it does not develop into mastering life as a
whole.
Another type of research indicating that education-
al experiences do not develop total brain functioning is
the study of brain activity during mental operations.
The conclusion of this research is that specific cogni-
tive processes and specific domains of knowledge are
associated with activity in specific localized areas of the
brain. For example, research indicates that the mental
activities of reading words and of speaking those words
each activate different and very specific cortical areas.
Similar studies show that separate areas of the brain
are activated by memory of different categories such as
tools, animals, and names of people. Thus, the educa-
tional experiences of mastering specific areas of knowl-

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edge or engaging in a variety of focused cognitive per-


formances activate only very specific areas of the brain
rather than develop higher integration of brain func-
tioning.
What are the consequences of such an educational
approach? The ineffectiveness of education can be
viewed as resulting from focusing the brain’s activity
only in narrow channels without also developing holis-
tic brain functioning, particularly greater integration of
brain functioning.
The research findings that directly pertain to in-
creased integration and effectiveness of brain function-
ing can be summarized as follows:

‣ Greater integration of all cortical areas through


meditation, yoga and whole-brain activities;

‣ Greater integration of diverse styles of brain


functioning, as measured by greater activation of
each brain hemisphere, and by experiencing
higher states of consciousness through integrated
learning.

Tasks that require analytic cognitive skills (verbal


and mathematical tasks) involve greater activity of the
left hemisphere of the brain; tasks that require spatial
ability involve greater activity of the right hemisphere of
the brain. These findings indicate more flexible func-

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A BRAINSMART LEARNING APPROACH

tioning of the whole cortex, in which diverse cortical


areas are more capable of active involvement, as re-
quired by the task.
Cognitive processing involves a sequence of re-
sponses in a variety of neural structures; faster process-
ing thus reflects more integrated and efficient brain
functioning. Research shows that experience directly
shapes the development and modification of brain
functioning.
Research also suggests that the type of experience
most valuable for brain development after childhood is
greater integration of brain functioning, which is not
systematically provided by education.
Many aspects of cognitive functioning have their
basis in the growth of higher, or more integrated, brain
functioning. Despite the efforts of educators applying a
variety of teaching and curriculum approaches, these
cognitive abilities have been found to stop developing
after adolescence.
This lack of continued growth of cognitive abilities
is compelling evidence that education fails to continue
unfolding the full brain potential of each student.
Research also shows that the brain continues to
adapt its functioning to specific channels of learning

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and behavior. The cognitive activities typically exer-


cised in education (reading, speaking, memorizing and
recall), as well as specific categories of knowledge, ac-
tivate highly specific areas of the brain, rather than
promote more holistic or integrated brain functioning.
The conclusion from the research is that the seg-
mented approach to knowledge that characterizes edu-
cation today restricts the awareness and brain func-
tioning to narrow channels of activity. Restricted
awareness leads to problems, mistakes, and the inabili-
ty to evaluate the environment and act in a way that
consistently favors progress and happiness.
Educators who are sincere in their desire to do the
most for their students and to eliminate the weakness-
es of education will avail themselves of this knowledge.
The result will be generations of students who are en-
livening their total brain functioning, on the basis of
which they will lead increasingly problem-free, pro-
ductive, and fulfilling lives, directly contributing to
progress in every area of national life.
But a brainsmart educational approach is only half
effective if it does not also care for learning motivation.
It is obvious that children today are naturally motivated
for electronic learning. They are enthusiastic about
handling electronic learning devices and have a natural

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A BRAINSMART LEARNING APPROACH

ability to handle these devices better and faster than


we other adults do.
This has of course an ultimate advantage because it
clearly constitutes a factor of learning motivation. But
for that matter it is equally important to not overdo the
intake of radiation all such devices emit on a constant
basis.
Another reason for the success of the e-learning en-
vironment is that the applications that today are avail-
able on the market have reached a high standard. They
are versatile and offer virtually unlimited opportunities
for small children to discover their creative and intel-
lectual abilities, and to use these abilities in a way that
is playful and ‘fun.’
On the other hand, children tend to be to a high
degree addicted to these devices if the teacher or par-
ents do not offer other, that is, non-virtual activities,
such as playing outside or discover nature other than
through the eyes of an electronic application and de-
vice.
The third reason for the success of the virtual learn-
ing environment is that parents can easily interact with
their children using mobile devices, sharing privileged
moments with their children around these devices, in-

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stead of needing to buy a whole room full of learning


material. It’s all ‘in the box,’ handy and mobile. In ad-
dition, as there are many free Apps and many that do
not cost more than about five dollars, the virtual
school is actually more savvy than the old-fashioned
school. And it is certainly more fun!
Of course, some teachers and parents still foster the
outdated view that education needs to be hard and al-
most painful. Statistics however show that high learn-
ing is the result of learning by playing, not the result of
learning by discipline! While people would agree that
when something is fun, we are more motivated doing
it, they apply this wisdom strangely only to them-
selves, not to their children.
This is of course but a shadow of old traditions that
have no place in a secular and highly organized society
that needs fast and highly effective learners!
How can children profit from the freedom to play?
Playing is essential for children because it is their pri-
mary and natural mode of learning. Traditional schools
have bypassed play in an attempt to improve nature,
while the result was exactly the contrary.

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A BRAINSMART LEARNING APPROACH

The more children play, the more they learn, and


this is even valid for adults for we all have an ‘Inner
Child.’

—See Peter Fritz Walter, Walter’s Inner Child Coaching: A


Guide for Your Inner Journey (2017).

In other words, play and learning cannot be sepa-


rated or the learning experience and output of the
child will be and remain poor.
All research on peace versus violence has shown that
human beings need freedom for unfolding their cre-
ative potential and for leading happy lives! When we
work for a smooth and creative learning environment
for our children, we are working for peace, for world
peace: it is as simple as that!
All intelligent human beings require a basic amount
of freedom for their full blossoming, and this is valid
for children just as much! Freedom to learn with plea-
sure is the starting point!
What is rendering children’s brains more creative?
Neuroscience has made huge progress over the last
twenty years. It has given us a chart of our brain that
shows how important it is to have both brain hemi-
spheres working in sync. High learning input and cre-
ative output are namely the result of a more or less

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perfect coordination of our brain hemispheres. While


the left brain hemisphere fosters deductive logic, the use
of language, rationality and order, the right brain hemi-
sphere fosters inductive and associative logic, the use of
dream, irrationality and disorder. Both these realms are
important for our living and learning.
Every creator knows that for creating something
new we need to dissolve the order of the old. In such
tiny moments of chaos, the old order is dissolved and
space is made for new order. This is how for example a
painter or composer abandons an old style in order to
find a new one, for a certain period of time.
Children learn in the same way. They need both
order and disorder, both language and dream, both ra-
tionality and irrationality. When children are held from
behaving in an irrational manner, they become dis-
turbed! This is one of the main reasons for learning
handicaps as they are so often to be found in tradition-
al schooling.
When children can learn according to the internal
logic and structure of their brain, they learn with ease,
fast and effective, and with a high amount of pleasure.
Then learning is fun and there is a never-ending cre-
ative flow that motivates the child to continue and ad-
vance on the ladder of learning input.

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A BRAINSMART LEARNING APPROACH

What is the benefit of e-learning for pre-schoolers?


E-Learning is important because the learning experi-
ence should be relaxing and enjoyable. But e-learning
is even more important for small children than for big-
ger children because it is between ages 4 and 6 that
most of the ‘preferred pathways’ are laid in our brain.
Since the groundbreaking neurological research of
British neurologist Herbert James Campbell in 1973,
we know that all our main characteristics are formed
until the completion of the age of 6.
The brain forms all major neurological pathways in
our brain very early in life and it is later rather difficult
to change these ‘preferred pathways’ again. That means
that all our major character traits are laid before the
age of 7, the so-called ‘Age of Reason’ (Piaget).
That means also that our attitude toward learning,
and how we tend to experience learning, are built be-
fore the age of reason. For example, if we experience
learning as difficult in Kindergarten and Pre-School
there is a high chance we will experience it as difficult
and tedious also later on. But if we experience learning
as easy and joyful as a pre-schooler, we are positively
conditioned as to being an ‘easy learner.’
Then we remain an easy learner!

109
XV
Advanced Teacher Training

Education can be seen as a prolongation of concep-


tion and pregnancy; it’s an organic process that is re-
flected both inside educator and child. There are
changes effected and a growth process triggered both
in the child and the educator.
An educator who wants to understand the child
must first of all understand himself or herself. Accord-
ingly, an educator who wishes to understand the child’s
desire to be educated should meditate about his or her
own desire to educate. The secret is that these desires
depend on one another, and complement each other.
This means that educators have to render conscious
their motivations for educating children, for if they
don’t, their motivations will remain unreflected upon
and can as a result lead their own life; repressed de-
sires easily get out of hand, and they can turn violent
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

because the energy polarity contained in the desire will


change from positive to negative.
Hiding the motivations of our actions only creates
guilt and fear, and is not conducive to educating a
child responsibly. In addition, educators who do not
want to develop emotional awareness will have more
difficulty in adopting and respecting the rules of the
sane educational setting.
We all need professional training, whatever we are
doing, and somehow, our society doesn’t think of edu-
cators needing an awareness building for handling their
emotions. Such an awareness building is essential for
the educator to become a true companion of the child,
in the sense of a mentor and friend, who is not manipu-
latory.
However, educators who understand their body
sensations, and are familiar with them will be able to
effectively accompany the child in what is the most es-
sential in the child’s life: their feelings, their desires
and their most fundamental wish to love and be loved.
Only educators who truly know themselves will be able
to get on this track without either being bewildered by
the complexity of the task, or tempted to act out their
own sensual longings to the detriment of the child.

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ADVANCED TEACHER TRAINING

In consciousness-based and brainsmart education,


the agenda of vocational training for teachers is differ-
ent, on one hand, and more varied and expanded, on
the other, than in conventional vocational training for
teachers and day care workers.
There are some rules of conduct and of attitude
that are really different in such an educational setting,
compared to traditional education. The stress is name-
ly on consciousness, the way a teacher handles percep-
tion and expresses it, and to develop self-awareness. In
this context, emotional awareness assumes a very impor-
tant role in order to avoid the common projections that
are rampant in traditional education.
Projections are not the result of reflection but in the
contrary, the result of repression. Repression brings
about regression and projection. All content of con-
sciousness that is not embraced but repressed falls out
of the cultural frame, and thus regresses into archaic
behavior models, and in addition, the repressed desire
or emotion is subsequently projected upon others.
That means for teachers who have such an attitude
that they will project their unassumed desires and fan-
tasies upon the children with the result that verbal and
nonverbal communication becomes distorted and
children receiving ambiguous messages.

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However, in a progressive consciousness-based ed-


ucational approach, communication is a major pillar
for helping children to widen their conscious percep-
tion of life and of themselves. This communication
must be truthful and whole if it is to serve its goal.
As a result, teachers must learn to handle their in-
ner trials, their contradictory emotions, feelings or de-
sires, and their shadow self. For this task, they need to
receive appropriate vocational training which goes be-
yond the usual vocational training provided to teachers
in that it is nourished by the insights of neuroscience,
child psychology and psychoanalysis.
The present approach does not go as far as the one
practiced in so-called ‘psychoanalytic’ Kindergartens as
they have existed, back in the 20th century, in Russia,
Germany and France. For example, the famous ‘Mai-
son Verte’ in Paris that was founded by Dr. Françoise
Dolto (1908-1988), France’s leading child psychother-
apist at the time, was requiring applicants for the work
with children and babies to be psychoanalyzed. I visit-
ed the Maison Verte back in 1986 and subsequently
was invited to interview Madame Dolto in her apart-
ment, Rue St. Jacques, in Paris.
We had an extended talk about various subjects
and my first question was why teachers or facilitators

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ADVANCED TEACHER TRAINING

in her communication center had to be qualified psy-


chotherapists? And Madame Dolto told me more or
less what I was just writing here. She spoke about
childhood hangups, repression and projection.
However, I believe that it is not needed to have
gone through several years of a Freudian psychoanaly-
sis just for developing emotional self-awareness. And I
have met dozens of people in my life who had gone
through years of Freudian therapy and who had abso-
lutely not the slightest emotional self-awareness and
would have been horrible teachers!
So in my view what we need is an extended voca-
tional training for teachers, and not the transformation
of the school system into a whitewash of Freudian psy-
choanalysis!
This being said, how should we go about to foster
emotional awareness in our lives as teachers? Can we
do something for it or should we wait until the voca-
tional training for teachers has gone through a total
overhaul? I believe that we can do something for it,
individually, and with an effort that about everyone
can deliver without adopting the sometimes ridiculous
mannerisms of a ‘psychoanalyst.’

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This doesn’t mean that my insights have grown in a


vacuum. I am well aware of the origins of my ideas and
do not hide their sources. They namely come from Eric
Berne’s teaching of Transactional Analysis (TA) and from
Frits Perls’ approach to Gestalt Therapy.
Both of these therapies are holistic approaches to
self-healing and have developed way after the prolifer-
ation of Freudian psychoanalysis. They offer much
more effective therapeutic approaches and do not ‘in-
tellectualize’ psychoanalytic knowledge.
And there is another source of knowledge that we
cannot disregard; it is Bioenergetics, the teaching of the
bioenergetic logic of the body, and of human emotions,
that was developed by Wilhelm Reich and later popu-
larized by Alexander Lowen.
Many concepts and ideas around that mysterious
word ‘education’ are obfuscating the simple truths of
life. One of them is the insight that no real education is
ever done by preaching eloquently, but by living the
truth. A teacher is not a politician in the sense that
truthful education is most of the time done non-ver-
bally, not by holding speeches and still less by blame
or admonition.

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ADVANCED TEACHER TRAINING

It may sound extreme but when a student says or


does anything indecent, this is a signal not to be over-
looked by the attentive teacher, a signal that says
‘Where is my part in this behavior’?
A responsible attitude requires the teacher to be
sensible to perceiving the complexity of the psychological
intricacies in the relationship s/he maintains with every
single child in his or her class. When student behavior
derails from the social code, the appropriate response
is observation, and as a consequence, self-observation.
In this sense, education is always also self-education,
and this is an ongoing process. We are not perfect and
we know that. But as educators we often overlook that
‘playing the game’ as the majority defines it means ul-
timately to be hypocrite; it is easy to do as if and pre-
tending one had achieved a certain level of perfection,
thereby suggesting to the child that he or she is imper-
fect. ‘Oh, poor thing!’
This paradigm of the old school of teaching was
not even questioned as the teacher was put on the
same pedestal as the father whose omnia potestas was
one of the pillars of patriarchy. Authority figures were
idealized yet silently feared. Carl Jung’s saying comes
to mind that ‘the cabinets of psychiatrists are filled
with people who had ideal parents.’

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Yet to think we have put behind us all of this, as a


matter of our ‘advanced psychological understanding’
is equally a fallacy. Real understanding of children
comes as a result of teachers understanding them-
selves, and their behaviors and reactions! This cannot
be taught nor can it be learnt other than by a process
of continuous self-observation.
Behold, I have not used the term self-criticism, and
for good reason! In fact, self-criticism often leads to
guilt and toxic shame for we all have in us an inner
critic who is an opponent to our healthy ego. Progress
can only be made when we learn to observe ourselves
passively, without the blade of obnoxious criticism that
all-too-quickly tends to undermine self-esteem.
As a matter of projecting repressed behavior, the
person who is very self-critical is also very critical to-
ward others, which leads to a double toxicity. The per-
son with her self-esteem ruined by constant and outra-
geous self-denial will tend to deny the reality in all
others around her; such a person will unconsciously
undermine the self-esteem of others. An educator who
is sharp toward their own self-esteem will be sharp to-
ward the children in their care; such educators tend to
be harshly critical to a point to ruin the learning moti-
vation in the student. This is so because learning moti-

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ADVANCED TEACHER TRAINING

vation is fueled by the positive emotional and affection-


al relationship between teacher and student.
As a teacher, responsible to keep the relationships
with your students intact means to be harmonious and
gentle in your overall demeanor and to be positive and
encouraging, not negative and overly critical.
Lack of self-criticism is often misunderstood as lack
of format, lenience and emotional indulgence. But to
repeat it, we have to see the difference between self-
criticism and self-observation. The first behavior is
negative, the other is positive. I do not need to criticize
myself, to make myself down, in order to improve my
behavior and attitude; once I become fully conscious
of it, there will be a change. This is so because con-
sciousness always is self-cleaning and self-correcting.
Passive self-observation is the key for any kind of per-
sonal transformation; in addition, teachers who master
this technique are much more at ease in informal situa-
tions, especially in the day care and pre-school setting.
They are not only more relaxed and experience much
less emotional stress, but they also tend to bring over
to the children this valuable technique of introspection
that fosters inner peace. While self-criticism leads to
inner war!

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As education is an ongoing process, so is the educ-


tion you give to yourself—also called self-education! It
requires an acute awareness of one’s emotional pro-
cesses, one’s inner life. All our desires and fantasies
have an impact upon people around us, especially
upon small children. This impact is positive when we
assume our inner life, and negative when we repress it
and project it.
That is why emotional self-awareness is so impor-
tant for teachers. Of course, this is not really an agenda
point in the vocational training for teachers and day-
care workers and it is for this reason that I stress it
here so much. I believe that teachers have to be trained
to develop this passive self-awareness, which is why
they should learn to meditate.
Meditation is but that, a peaceful, stress-free and
lucid form of self-observation, the awareness of all our
thoughts and desires.
Last not least, self-education also means that teach-
ers are constant learners; it is barely conceivable how
teachers can come over as vibrant and charismatic if
they think of themselves as wisdom dispensers for un-
developed youth. Education is not a one-way street if it
is to be effective.

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ADVANCED TEACHER TRAINING

When children perceive their teachers are stagnant


on the intellectual level, they are not really motivated
to participate in the wisdom quest. I have seen it over
and over again, in schools that those teachers are given
the greatest love and respect who are humble enough
to learn together with their students! These teachers
also score highest in learning output per class, and per
student, if this can at all be measured! It is in this sense
that I feel education and self-education really hang to-
gether, for one is the reflection of the other, and both
are but head and tail of a coin.
In this sense, a great learning institution is one
where all and everybody learns, not just the students.
This is an idea that today is even discussed in man-
agement training, not just for the management of
schools but for all kinds of businesses. It is called a
‘learning culture.’ I would go as far as saying that if
this is true even on the general management level, it is
certainly an inseparable element in the curriculum of a
progressive pre-school.

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The Creative
Curriculum
An Integral Approach to Education

The Child‘s Individual Integrity


Any school that wishes to serve both children and
their parents needs to see and recognize the existence
of individual, and individually gifted, children. To
serve the individual child we need to safeguard the
child’s natural sensitivity and focus upon the individ-
ual talents that this child manifests and desires to de-
velop.
Education should go beyond the teaching of skills
as any kind of skill is embedded in something larger
that we may call a personal gift or talent.
Hence, teaching skills is of minor importance com-
pared to the awakening of the intrinsic individual talents
of the child. With this perspective, the goal of educa-
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

tion is not to merely finding a good job and making a


living, while this is well the case for most educational
institutions.
The short-sightedness of educating humans for ‘fit-
ting in’ a scheme of existing jobs is that tomorrow this
scheme is different, and after-tomorrow it once again
changes! This is today more true than ever before in
human history and a reasonable curriculum therefore
can only be built upon the talents inherent in each and
every child.
In fact, even in highly expensive private schools,
the individual child is often degraded into becoming a
career-hawk because the curriculum makes no attempt
at developing the soul qualities of the child, while be-
ing outright focused on left-brain or yang qualities and
the almost total neglect of right-brain or yin qualities.
When we bring yin and yang out of balance, associ-
ated systemic and ecological thinking is mutilated and
so-called rational, logical, strategic thinking is hyper-
trophied and wins the overhand.
To look at every individual child is only possible
when, from the start, we have a qualitative and not a
quantitative approach to education. The quality ap-
proach does not ask for efficiency, but for integrated

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solutions that serve every child in the community. A


natural part of wholeness is holistic and systemic
thinking. It can only be brought about on the basis of
the integrity of the child.
Intelligence, sensitivity and understanding of the
complex functions of life can only be developed if
cognition is imbedded in the emotional life of the child
and thus the result of wholeness, and not of fragmenta-
tion. Intellectual capacities and skills that have no con-
nection with the emotional life of the person and that
are disconnected from the right brain hemisphere as
well as the heart are truly dangerous. Only sensitivity
can act counter to cruelty, not the cultivation of
thought systems, ideals or religions.
Cognitive capacities that are imbedded in emotion-
al sanity can only grow on a basis of readiness, of ma-
turity. A child will voluntarily accept instruction once
s/he is emotionally ready for it and not under any oth-
er circumstance. And here we speak about the individ-
ual maturity of a child, not a standard concept, since
there simply are no standards.
Education must logically proceed in a one-to-one
relation and interaction between educator and child,
for only within such an affectional relationship the
uniqueness of the child can be validated. The emotion-

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al and affectional bond in this relation is of over-


whelming importance. Only love can be the bridge for
the transmission of values.

The Child’s Emotional Integrity


Modern education should restrain from training the
child only intellectually. A human being, whatever age,
is always composed of both intellect and emotion, and
what education should do is assisting the child in
maintaining a healthy balance between them. It makes
little sense to train children to be able to achieve doing
every kind of puzzle or to have them educated in bril-
liant small-talk while the price we pay for such dres-
sage is that children become hyperactive, emotionally
unbalanced, and sickly.
In addition, education does not mean to clone
children into molds of their parents but to allow them
to become autonomous persons with their own talents
and their own unique intelligence. In addition, to
make tin soldiers of children regularly disregards the
true needs of the child and triggers guilt and fear early
in life which in turn builds up a barrier to self-knowl-
edge.
To mold children into the ideological positions of
their parents hinders the birth of their true intelli-

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gence. Education based upon ideologies fosters abso-


lute, rigid positions, stubbornness, conformity, imita-
tion and, in last resort, violence.
In order to grasp an idea of the emotional life of the
child, we need to understand what is intelligence. Most
people confuse intelligence with knowledge and intel-
lectualism without seeing that the accumulation of
knowledge is mechanical and not a sign of intelligence.
Intelligence is something entirely different from
knowledge. It is not mechanical, but a dynamic
process of understanding our surrounding world and
ourselves in this world. Our task in the education of
small children thus is to safeguard this natural intelli-
gence and this wholeness of the child, and to prevent
fragmentation as much as this is possible today in a
highly fragmented society.
Our rational mind (left brain hemisphere) only func-
tions at full capacity when it is connected to our emo-
tional mind (right brain hemisphere) so that intellectual/
analytic and intuitive/synthetic thought processes be-
come complementary. Then, regularly, the rational and
the emotional part of us are in a state of functional uni-
ty and this in turn brings about inner peace. This is
achieved through validating the child’s right-brain ca-
pacities and through helping the child express their

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emotions, through spontaneous dance, painting and


music, and later through creative writing.

The Child’s Social Integrity


Within the group, children learn social behavior
without being directed into standard behavior pat-
terns. We have to avoid modeling children as partakers
of a game of ruthless competition as it is unfortunately
done in many schools.
When stress is too high, it may help some children
to achieve higher, but it will also push some other
children into retardation. What the stress of competi-
tion within the group will thus do is to divide the
group into several entities, a small circle of high
achievers who will ‘lead’ the group, a larger part of
rather mediocre achievers that almost automatically
then take the role of the ‘followers,’ and the marginal
group of those who are pushed into revolt and de-
feat—regularly to be seen standing in the corner, cry-
ing often and developing rather asocial behavior pat-
terns.
In order to avoid this mistake, we have to develop
group activities that are peaceful and that do not trig-
ger emotional stress. This means first of all that the
teachers themselves are as stress-free and relaxed as

128
THE CREATIVE CURRICULUM

possible and that the relations teacher-children are as


harmonious as possible.
In general, children should not be segregated into
different age groups, but play together while the older
ones naturally take care of the younger ones. The ideal
balance is a small group setting where children can
work together in creative units and individually still
receive the nurturing attention of educators who have
the time and the desire to lift each child to his or her
full potential.
The group then becomes not a rank and file
arrangement, designed to pigeonhole each child, but
an interactive environment in which the child can dis-
cover his or her individuality whilst still developing
crucial social skills.

The Child’s Creative Integrity


An integral approach to education consists of activ-
ities that stimulate the child in various ways, physical-
ly, emotionally and spiritually. Activities are always in
conjunction with affectivity, and embedded in the
unique affectional relation between teacher and child.
There are basically five different kinds of activities:

‣ visual activities

129
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

‣ auditory activities

‣ physical/sensory activities

‣ literary-poetic activities

‣ mental-analytical activities

Visual activities are those where children express


themselves through painting and drawing as well as
through maquillage and mask-building, spontaneous
theater play, photography or video-production.
Auditory activities are those that center upon musi-
cal expression, instrument play, the creation and expe-
rience of sound carpets, relationships between colors
and sounds and sound healing.
Physical and sensory activities are those that focus
upon the body, spontaneous dance, rhythmical self-
expression, affective touch and tactile communication,
massage and water-related activities. As a matter of
fact, the child’s psychosomatic health greatly increases
with abundant tactile stimulation. For toddlers, water
and movement are natural stimulatory means that as-
sociate their prenatal environment.
Literary and poetic activities reintegrate poetry and
literary imagination into the educational relation, for

130
THE CREATIVE CURRICULUM

example through fairy tales and the spontaneous draft-


ing of theater plays.
Mental and analytical activities, while they are clearly
over-stressed in most contemporary educational set-
tings, need not be thrown out entirely. Many children
enjoy this kind of activities and they can be introduced
in many ways. For example, the Apple Mac OS X
computer system is quite ideal for teaching logical and
analytic as well as intuitive thinking, because the com-
puter serves a practical purpose at the same time as it
teaches logical and analytic thinking. It has become a
technical tool of an importance such that it can’t be
unthought, and it would for this reason border neglect
to not teach children how to handle it properly and for
the best of the child’s individual capacities.

Team Philosophy
It is essential for an effective curriculum to insure a
highly creative work environment for teachers, and the
setup of an organizational culture that favors the build-
ing of respect for diversity.
Experts in employee relations found that best effec-
tiveness as well as optimized client satisfaction is the
result of proactive and loyal staff relations that empha-
size open dialogue, empathic exchanges and a suffi-

131
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

cient level of empowerment for every worker to unfold


a maximized level of creativeness in doing his or her
job.
In the school setting, that means there must be a
high level of effective communication between educators
and parents for the best of each child enrolled in the
school. This implies ongoing training for workers on a
daily basis and with a sufficient amount of introduc-
tion time so as to being sure they will fully implement
the creative curriculum presented in this book.

A Value-Based Curriculum
Experts developed the values that are essential for
parents in the situation of seeing themselves unable to
provide the necessary care of their children, for various
professional and career reasons. I have pondered long
about these values and needs and found that commu-
nication with parents is a major issue in taking care
responsibly of their children. It is for this purpose that
I find it of high importance to maintain a constant and
fruitful dialogue with the parents to ensure the follow-
ing values:
—Continuity and non-friction in providing for
each child an education that is from the start in accor-
dance with the deepest-felt values of their parents;

132
THE CREATIVE CURRICULUM

—Openness and transparence in the daily running


of the school for parents being empowered to have a
direct impact upon the education of their child
through a system of proactive communication.
This communication structure enables parents to
make suggestions and provide special information
about their child at any moment they wish to;
—Regular parent meetings that are opportunities
for them to learn more about professional child care as
well as for educators to know more about problems
and concerns parents may have as to the education of
their children or their family situation; this enables
both parents and teachers to tackle issues that, while
they may not be obvious from the start, can help better
understand each individual child and his or her special
needs;
—Ad-hoc meetings on parents’ demand that ad-
dress a particular issue important for them and their
child, illnesses of their child that might have psycho-
somatic reasons, allergies, or special diet concerns for
the food provided in our pre-school, or any other is-
sues of this kind.
Sigmund Freud, one of the major child psycholo-
gists, has found that a child’s education and upbring-

133
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

ing is basically finished when the child completes his


sixth year of life. This astonishing insight means that
pre-school is actually more important than primary
school in the formation of the basic intelligence, tal-
ents, and emotional integrity of the child.
This insight leads to understanding the importance
of every day of happiness and emotional nutrition that
the nursery and pre-school setting provides in the life
of small children, so as to properly prepare them for
the tougher courses of later primary and even high
school and university.

Educational Goals
Here is an overview over the basic educational
goals that Creative-C Art and Music School pursues:
—Being a facilitator for high talent and gift so as to
ensure that the human potential in whichever form it
manifests, is respected, recognized, promoted and de-
veloped into its full realization, and this without regard
to social status, religious, ideological or political orien-
tation and free of any discrimination by race, gender,
caste or heritage;
—Building a spirit of self-activation, responsive-
ness, flexibility, synergy and active participation;

134
THE CREATIVE CURRICULUM

—Educating toward effectiveness, using network-


ing with others as a primary tool to achieve visible re-
sults;
—Helping to surpass the ego by creating a spirit of
sharing and contribution and a feeling of enthusiasm
for synergistic solutions;
—Educating towards a positive mindset that is
based upon the truth of unlimited substance;
—Helping in a non-discriminatory manner those
who, by their giftedness and motivation imperatively
need support, help, care or sponsorship for developing
their talents;
—Helping build a generation of people who know
to effectively use their resources while respecting and
helping building the resources of others so that a re-
sourceful community can be eventually created.
This curriculum is based upon an integral worldview
which sharply opposes the current fragmented world-
view. This creative worldview considers problems and
solutions as one interconnected field.
Accordingly the answers to current problems are
systemic and holistic, so far not to be found on any of
the reigning educational agendas.

135
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

To give a simple example. You cannot bring a defi-


nite solution to our environmental problems, global
warming, without changing the curricula of our
schools. It is not through a global tax or stricter laws
that we achieve people to behave in an ecologically lit-
erate manner, but only through educating children ear-
ly in life to respect the environment.
Hence, many of our global problems today boil
down to the need to improving education and thus
raising educational budgets. The systems approach
teaches us that pretty much all on the human agenda is
a direct function of our educational wisdom, the wis-
dom to bring up our children responsibly.
It is for this reason that many social scientists con-
sider the 21st century as a key turning point in human
development and the blossom of the ‘learning society.’
I have thought through about every possible prob-
lem in human society today, from child-rearing to
crime statistics, from youth suicide to health reform,
from new science to the understanding of the econo-
my. And I saw that all, really all, is a direct function of
the way we have been educated and conditioned to
deal with life, on both the individual and the transper-
sonal levels!

136
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THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

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139
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

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141
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

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143
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

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145
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

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147
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

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A Step-By-Step Guide to Starting and Completing
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149
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

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151
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

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153
THE CREATIVE CONTINUUM

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154
Personal Notes