Can Empty Words Come to Life? DAY 60

Can Empty Words Come to Life? DAY 60

Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World 
A couple of days ago I was having a discussion about the history of the school system and since I have two degrees in education, a bachelor in pedagogy and a master’s in educational sociology, I saw myself as an expert in the subject of discussion. But as the discussion continued I was shocked to find that I didn’t have many words about the history of the school system – a topic that has been at the very core of my education. I looked within myself expecting to find a ton of information because I’ve literally been immersed in lectures and textbooks for over five years and what I found was but a tiny, vague cloud of key words, theorists and certain historical events. In that moment I had to admit to myself that in spite of my degrees, I’m not an expert in education.
When I started investigating how it is possible that I could have studied for over five years without fully integrating the information I was supposed to learn, I looked at my relationship with vocabulary throughout my life as I’ve also discussed in previous blog-posts.
Because as I’ve been investigating my vocabulary I have realized that I’ve created a glossary of vaguely defined words. Many words I will be able to speak or write and place into meaningful sentences, but I wouldn’t actually be able to explain what the word means. Instead I have observed how other people use words and have learned how to effectively imitate an expansive vocabulary. And it is the same with how I’ve studied for the two degrees I mentioned previously: I have more imitated the process of learning and being a student than actually integrating information and concepts. As such I’ve come to the conclusion that I haven’t really learned anything substantial about education. And this is ironic because I work as a teacher and education and especially the education system is one of my passions. I am sure that there are many people out there with similar experiences which is worrisome, because how many of us do not walk around faking our way through our professional and even our personal lives, using vocabulary that sounds good, but that has no roots within us?
So I have begun a process of reintegrating vocabulary, which literally means going over even the most basic words and actually checking within myself whether I have a sound and clear definition for each word. Ironically I have no problem spelling the words – but what I realized as I begun this process, was how easy it was to fool myself into believing that I knew what a word meant when in fact I didn’t. So I would go over a word and think to myself that I understood it, but when I started asking myself to as soon as I saw the word before me, immediately define it within me or out loud, I couldn’t. And the more I allowed myself to honestly investigate what words I had a clear definition for, the more I realized how shallow my vocabulary has been. What I mean by shallow is what I explained before with how the words aren’t clearly ‘settled’ inside of me. They are more floating in an undefined space which obviously also contains the risk of misinterpreting the meaning of words  – where as words that I have cleared understood and defined for myself are Here and rooted within me, as a part of me that never goes away.
I now see how having a shallow, floating and ungrounded vocabulary can cause severe problems in one’s life – because most of the time I would be ‘winging it’ and actually speaking about and using words I had no idea what meant. However I have also seen how writing my master’s thesis has supported me to expand my vocabulary. Because here I was forced to delve into the information and in order to make sense of what I was writing, I had to re-write what I was reading in a structure that made sense to me. I also underlined each word I didn’t understand and looked it up to afterwards use it actively in my writings – so eventually what I wrote and what I read became a part of me. With the information I read for my thesis I can much more clearly relay details and historical processes because I actually worked with the information actively and immersed myself within it. And it astounds me how ineffective our education systems are at making this a part of the didactic process, because for me, it was only at the very end of my education that I actually learned something in a substantial way and this was even in a project where I was doing all the work alone without lessons or lectures or specific guidance from a pre-established curricular. In fact, such projects are what I have learned the most from throughout my entire course of education.
Our education systems, from preschools to elementary schools, high schools and universities are not ensuring that we integrate information at a substantial level where the words that form our vocabulary become an integrated part of us that we are able to utilize in certainty and clarity. Because of this vocabulary has become ‘muddy’ and open to interpretation, selective even – because we focus a great deal more on how words make us feel than what they actually mean in practical reality. This is also why advertisers so easily can squirm their way into our minds – they are educated in and understand the effects of words and how people respond to them, while we, the meek consumers gladly absorb the promises of existential happiness, freedom and bliss as though these were substantiated in reality.
I am realizing the importance of a vocabulary grounded in reality, because without it, it is so easy to accept shallow illusions as wisdom. Some say that words are empty and that we as humans are the ones breathing Life into them. It couldn’t be more in reverse: Words themselves cannot be empty, because words are rooted in reality – obviously there are fantastical words too, but even these words can be traced back to reality in one way or another, even if it is to the delusional minds of man making up illusions. The emptiness of words is in who we are as we speak and write them and teach them to our children without making sure they are grounded in reality to function as building blocks upon which we live and communicate and interact with one another and the world around us. We must make sure that our vocabulary can become alive and become relevant to our actual living – that is what Education is supposed to be all about, isn’t it?
I recommend reading the following blogs:

Education in the New World Order    

Education is a Human Right
Deconstructing the Root of All Evil
World’s best Education is based on Equality 
The Fall of our Education System
Application of Knowledge, is it being Fostered in ourEducational Systems? – Education Research Part 1

Why we as Parents Must take Active Part in our Children’s Education: DAY 58

Why we as Parents Must take Active Part in our Children’s Education: DAY 58

In the last blog-post I wrote about a teaching situation with three boys. In the blog-post I wrote about who these three boys were very different in their ability to read and write and I mentioned an episode where one of the boys were writing faster than the others and how I tried to equalize the situation between them.

Afterwards I had a conversation with a friend about the blog-post who assisted me to realize how I had, in that moment where I thought I was equalizing a point of competition between the boys was actually becoming irritated.
What I saw was that I had become irritated because I wasn’t able to effectively accommodate the needs of all three boys. I felt like the one boy that was so good was overshadowing the other two and that it would make them feel worse about themselves, so I actually tried holding him back to let the other two feel better about themselves. Obviously it didn’t work and I see that this is something many teachers face, like the expression says: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
So, as teachers we are faced with these situations time and time again, where we have to teach students the exact same curriculum in the exact same time and it simply isn’t possible to accommodate everyone’s individual needs. And what is even more alarming is that I’m able to see this clearly because I only have three students in my class. So I see very evidently how I’m not able to accommodate all their needs. But for teachers who have 30 or 40 or 50 students in their class, all the individual children with their individual needs becomes a ‘blur’. And even if teachers wanted to give each individual student attention they wouldn’t have time to do it and furthermore, they’re required to teach a common curriculum that in no way leaves room for individual lesson-plans.
The thing is that each child as a natural ability to learnand an equal ability to learn – at least within the spectrum of ‘normalcy’ when it comes to neurological functions. But there are so many factors that can affect whether the child is able to develop these abilities or not, one of them being whether their individual needs are met in the school system.
When I then become irritated and within my self-defined role of being a teacher try to equalize the competition I perceive to be between the students, I’m actually inhibiting the ‘gifted’ student’s ability to learn. Because in that moment where he was writing – a first grade student already able to write sentences – he was simply expressing himself.  And I don’t even know if what I saw between the children was in fact competition. So I was relying on a very limited perception and understanding, which I see is even a problem for experienced teachers. Because even with hundreds of years of child psychology we still know very little about child development, let alone the dynamics between children and between children and teachers.
The bottom line is that every child has a natural ability to learn, but for that ability to come to fruition, we must as adults provide an environment that accommodates each child’s individual needs. And this simply isn’t possible in today’s education system.
So even if I am the best teacher in the world, I can’t possible provide children with such an environment. For example: in the situation I was in with the three boys, each of them had completely different needs for their individual ability to learn effectively could be nurtured. The boy that was more behind the others perhaps needed a one-to-one lesson (which, by the way: everyone does) in a slow and calm setting. The boy that was in front of the other two perhaps needed a lot more challenges than I was given them. Here I was also planning the lessons based on a standard perception of what it is children in the first grade need to learn. But because he can already read and write full sentences, obviously practicing letters won’t be interesting for him and thus he is more likely to be distracted and play around. In an optimal situation I would be able to focus completely on his needs and I would also be able to much more closely observe what exactly his needs were. But when my attention is divided between three children, it’s simply not possible to be completely Here with each child. With these three kids it has been easy to see the two extremes and in a way this is a very cool opportunity to highlight the ineffectiveness of our education system.
But what is perhaps even more profound to take note of is the child in the middle, the child that does good but not great, the child that is easy to be around, that accommodates the teacher. Because how many children are not out there? Children who aren’t noticed because they’re simply following the rules in an almost self-effacing manner? These children’s needs also aren’t met. But we do not notice because they behave, they integrate, they fade into the education system and the fact that they don’t learn to the best of their ability is often never discovered or it only becomes evident when something extreme happens in the child who has now become an adult’s life. And by then it is too late, because by then the individual is supposed to be responsible for themselves, they’re supposed to have completed their basic education so that they can function effectively in society. But when even ‘normal’ children aren’t educated to reach their full potential, we end up with an entire society of ineffectively educated citizens.
Now, in previous posts I’ve discussed how we must change the education system to more effectively meet the needs of each individual child. However it is also important to note that one-on-one education simply isn’t possible in the current education system. And it would take a massive process of restructuring the system, let alone educating thousands of new teachers. So what is the solution?
At the moment in most families the responsibility of educating the child is primarily given to the education system in one way or another. But what if we as parents got more involved with our children’s education? What if we ourselves had the opportunity to educate ourselves and thus our children to develop their natural ability to learn, at least as a supplement to regular schooling in order to make sure that no learning gaps are formed because of an ineffective education system. This is something that I would as a parent consider seriously – because although it seems like one’s child is doing fine, it actually might not be the case. I know that this certainly is not what any parent wants to hear. We want to trust and believe that the education system is working optimally to give our child the proper education that he or she needs. But as a teacher who spends my day in the school system I can say without a doubt that this is not so.
So let us get involved in our children’s education. Let’s not simply leave it up to chance and random events until it is too late to remediate the problems our children may face. Education is not to be taken for granted – because whatever we learn or don’t learn – will determine our lives and will shape ‘who’ we become.

I recommend reading the following blogs:

Education in the New World Order

Education is a Human Right
Deconstructing the Root of All Evil
World’s best Education is based on Equality
The Fall of our Education System
Application of Knowledge, is it being Fostered in ourEducational Systems? – Education Research Part 1

You are also welcome to view the videos on my YouTube channel here

Something Rotten in the State of Education: DAY 21

Something Rotten in the State of Education: DAY 21

 Today I’ve heard on separate occasions from a parent and a teacher respectively sharing their perspective from within their own current situation regarding the state of the education system and themselves in it. Both were tragic tales but from opposite sides of the education continuum. The parent felt that her child since starting school had become withdrawn and competitive and even that the child had lost confidence in himself. She explained how through the eyes of the child, the teachers are instigating competition through playing favors with specific children. She also explained how she had tried to voice this to the school, but were met only with the blame being placed on the child. The teacher’s perspective was one of feeling that teaching is an ungrateful profession, that the things teachers have to put up with from kids is nearly unbearable and he asked me if I know what teachers have to go through each day. I do know and I do understand how tough a job it can be to be a teacher. As I’ve mentioned previously this is exactly why I didn’t wanted to become a teacher, because I could see how exhausted and worn out many teachers become.

Our educational systems are in a rotten state to say the least.

We have parents and teachers feeling absolutely powerless towards the situation they’re in. Parents often have little choice as to which school they send their child to and even less influence over what goes on in the classroom, let alone the courtyard of your local public school. Teachers are forced to follow curricular that they have had no influence in developing, written out by people who have never said foot in a public school classroom and whose main concern is the next term’s election. Teachers are paid a low wage and are hardly given any time to prepare for their classes, let alone receive any form of support or supervision from their peers. Parents blame teachers for not being attentive enough or caring enough. Teachers blame parents for not sufficiently disciplining their children to behave in school.

However – there is a different side of the story: the children’s side.

And then there is the side of the story where the solution to solving this problem lays, not in parents or teachers blaming each other, but in each group taking self-responsibility for their role in the current education system. Children barely have a voice. This is due to the fact of their status in society as literally being parents’ (and to some extent teachers’) ‘property’ that they can do with and ‘raise’ as they please. And children do become grown-ups. I mean they grow up, but are they really raised? Wouldn’t being raised imply that children are supported to become and be their utmost potential in this world? Caring, considerate, respectful human beings with confidence and integrity? Children also don’t have a voice because it perhaps isn’t as easy for them to express themselves – often they don’t have the vocabulary required to make their voice heard and be taken seriously. This doesn’t mean that they don’t see, that they don’t hear or that they don’t feel the effects of the current education system on their minds and bodies.

As I’ve mentioned previously, seeing a child transitioning from kindergarten to school is often literally like seeing a light going out. It is a tragedy. Children come into this world full of life, embracing the world and other people absolutely unconditionally with curiosity and genuineness and child after child entering into the school system, they are broken down in innumerable ways until nothing is left but a flicker of the potential of what the child could have become, had it had adults around it that understood and cared and honored the life of the child enough to actually provide it with an educational environment that supports the child to grow and develop to its utmost potential.

And this is what we call our education system – this is what we accept as normal.

On one hand we have the teacher who has become bitter and spiteful and who feels powerless and who pities himself against the image of a horde of obnoxious students. On the other hand we have the parent that feels completely powerless towards teaching her son values that truly matter in life and see him slowly slip out of her hands and into the world of brutal competition, lies and deceit. And this is in no way to saying that ’teachers are bad and parents are good’ or to judge either group – because at the end of the day parents and teachers are equally responsible – along with everyone else, for the current state of the education system.

It is absolutely unacceptable that we’re accepting an education system where we have teachers who hate to teach and students who hate going to school. It is absolutely unacceptable that education is seen as a production facility for the competitive ability of a nation on a global financial market. It is absolutely unacceptable that we as parents and teachers blame each other as well as the system AND our kids while we do absolutely nothing to change the situation. I mean, don’t we realize that what we’re creating through the education system, is the future of our world – literally?

Parents feel powerless, teachers feel powerless, children feel powerless – but we can’t just leave it at that and then go on our merry way, because as we’ve all noticed: the way we’re currently living on this planet is not very merry.

The solution is simple yet requires all of us to make perhaps the most difficult decision of our lives: to realize that we are each co-responsible and self-responsible for the state the world is currently in and to through that realization allocate ourselves and how we are contributing to safeguarding the status quo of the world. For most of us it is the very fact that we’ve abdicated all responsibilities to government organs that doesn’t in fact support our best interests because these organs are now entirely embedded within a corporate rule that is slowly but surely laying the earth barren and destroyed. In many countries we have implemented democratic systems but these systems are rather ‘consumer-democracies’ than actual democracies where each of us partake in voting for causes and values that have a substantial impact on our lives – causes as for example education and values such as the equality of all beings. As such neither teachers, parents nor children stand a chance of a different education system, a system that we’d all like to wake up and go to – if we don’t take co-responsibility – and self-responsibility for changing the entire world system as it currently exists.

This is exactly what we’re doing at the Equal Life Foundation working towards Real ACTUAL Human Rights and with the Equal Money Movement, researching ways to implement a system of equality where all supports each other in living the best possible life and at Desteni and with the Desteni I Process where we take individual responsibility to face and change ourselves and educate ourselves so that we can stand in and with the world-systems in equality and direct them to become living systems that supports what is best for all life. Whatever else happens – we decide.

 For more information about Equal Money and Education, I reccomend reading the following blogs

Education is a Human Right
Education – Equal Money Wiki

As well as viewing the videos on my YouTube channel here and on the Equal Money wiki channel here
The Imperative of Creativity in Changing Education Paradigms: DAY 18

The Imperative of Creativity in Changing Education Paradigms: DAY 18

In this post we are continuing with having a look at educational principles, paradigms and philosophies concluding the series about Célestein Freinet’s teaching pedagogy.

In this post we will be discussing the role of creativity and ‘hands on’ learning and teaching methods and I will depart from my personal experiences with attending a Freinet school that had an explicit focus on creativity.

In most schools these days, creative and practical subjects are becoming less and less prioritized giving way for more ‘heavy’ and theoretical subjects such as math, sciences and language.

Esteemed educational speaker Ken Robinson has quite a few important quotes on this subject:

“The fact is that given the challenges we face, education doesn’t need to be reformed — it needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions.”
Ken Robinson

“We have to go from what is essentially an industrial model of education, a manufacturing model, which is based on linearity and conformity and batching people. We have to move to a model that is based more on principles of agriculture. We have to recognize that human flourishing is not a mechanical process; it’s an organic process. And you cannot predict the outcome of human development. All you can do, like a farmer, is create the conditions under which they will begin to flourish.”
Ken Robinson

“Our task is to educate their (our students) whole being so they can face the future. We may not see the future, but they will and our job is to help them make something of it.”
Ken Robinson

So – what’s the problem?

Kids are expected to come into school at the age of six (sometimes even younger), sit down on their asses to put it bluntly – shut up and receive information like ‘empty barrels’ ready to be stuffed full of knowledge. As many teachers and parents know, most kids have trouble sitting still for longer than ten minutes. And often the blame is put on the children themselves, that they’re being mischievous or naughty – where little attention is given to the actual physical state of a child’s developing body nor to the way we’ve constructed our societies to be focused primarily on what goes on in the head, while the body is considered nothing but a service vehicle for our minds.

If we have a look at the young men and women that come out of the other end of our basic school systems, many are completely unfamiliar with real life. What this means is that they don’t know how to cook, they don’t know how to pay their bills, they’ve got no clue about sex or how to care for their own bodies, they don’t know how to build things or maintain a garden or perform basic maintenance in their own home. They know very little about how the world works. Few learn how to draw, play music or do theater. Only the elite of this world have any opportunity to attend schools that provide such courses, given that their parents support them to attend such a school. The rest (and here we’re still talking about kids who even have access to education) have no choice but to walk every day to public schools with teachers that are dispassionate at best, often in beat down classrooms with old tables and chairs, poor indoor climates more resembling a prison ward or a hospital wing than a place where life is supposed to expand and unfold itself through education.

As a contrast to this bleak image, the school I went to prioritized creativity and ‘hands on’ subjects as a priority in concordance with Freinet’s philosophy. We had music lessons from the first grade and were able to select various creative courses from grade three. So I picked music as one of my subjects and therefore attended music classes all throughout my years at school. We played concerts and learned how to play all basic rhythmic instruments such as guitar, drums, bass and keyboard. But this wasn’t the only creative subject I was able to participate in. I also had ceramic classes, drawing classes, sewing and cooking classes. The school even offered aikido classes. So throughout the week we would both have mandatory practical classes, such as the sewing classes that I didn’t enjoy, but we were also able to sign up for a wide variety of classes. Each year, all December month we would drop all our regular classes and instead would go to various workshops in learning to how make candles or soap or key chains. At the end of the month we would hold a Christmas sale where we would sell the stuff we had made as well as being able to bring home things to give as Christmas gifts to our families. And who paid for all of this? The parents did through their monthly fee to the school. So as I mentioned previously, obviously it is only the elite of this world that has access to this type of education. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that creative and practical subjects virtually have been siphoned out of the public school system.

The arguments often made is that kids need to become competitive in the current global market and for that they need ‘hard skills’ and to develop cognitive abilities that enable them to become ‘players’ in the global ‘knowledge economy’. As such what many proponents of a competitive capitalistic system claim is that creative subjects and ‘soft skills’ such as the ability to collaborate does the children a disservice through not preparing them effectively for the world they will face as adults.

What people who aren’t familiar with this type of school system might not realize is that even in ceramic classes the students can learn for example math. They learn how to measure diameters without even realizing that they’re learning math because it is part of a creative and productive process. And this was exactly what Freinet realized. When you’ve got your hands on something and are a part of the creative process, it is much easier to learn and understand the abstract principles behind it. And from personal experience I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed school. The downside to the school I attended was unfortunately as I’ve mentioned in previous posts that there weren’t sufficient emphasis on subjects such as theoretical math. So obviously there has to be a balance.

The thing is that the ‘global competitive market system’ isn’t a natural way to live together on earth. It is an artificial contraption that we’ve designed and agreed to ourselves through our participation in it and through our tacit endorsement of it. What this means is that we can’t simply say that ‘this is how it is’ and that we’re doing kids a service by preparing them to compete through an explicit focus on abstract knowledge. Obviously one has to prepare one’s children to be able to support themselves – however the point that I’d like to make here is that the way the state of world is currently, what we need is not more abstract and theoretical thinking in complete separation from the physical reality. What we need is to get back to physical reality – to nurture, respect and take care of our physical world and reality. And to realize that is it in fact ourselves individually as well as together as humanity who decide what kind of world we will live in. Because although we are hesitant to admit it, that’s what we’ve already done with the world we’re currently living in.

We’re actively busy killing our own habitat through ignoring and disregarding our co-existence with the physical. And one of the primary ways this relationship to life on earth is established is through the school system. When kids learn that they have to ignore their physical bodies and what they feel, when they are taught that how their bodies want to move is ’wrong’ and ’obstructive’, how does their relationship to physical reality become? Virtually all ’physical education’ such as gymnastics and sports classes are based on competition, preparing kids to enter into the ’battle field’ of the world, where they are in a constant fight with everyone else to be the one that comes out on top. What does that teach them about their relationships to their physical bodies and life on earth?

So the bottom line is that we can learn a lot from scholars such as Freinet, who took what he saw working in his living community and applied that to the development of a education philosophy that was based on children learning in a way that is fun and enjoyable and that more importantly enables them to become healthy, dignified and independent human beings who are capable of compassion and respect for the life around them.

If we have a look at the principles that direct the current public education systems on earth as they exist now, these aren’t based on supporting children to expand and develop to the fullest of their potential. Because that potential is only measured in context to how much money a child will either cost or generate for the global market economy. Children’s potentials are seen and measured in context to how good they are at sitting down in submission receiving abstract information and regurgitating this information as part of making the wheels of the global economy turn. As such we’ve develop education systems – which literally means the places on earth where we develop what life will be in the future – that absolutely and totally disregard actual life on earth. The primary focus of ‘enjoyment’ is on teaching children how to live in imagination, in virtual realities in their minds and in dreaming ‘big’ of catching a lucky break of becoming a celebrity. Where’s the respect for nature? Where’s the care and consideration for those that suffer? Where’s the training and exercising of practical and creative skills?

A paradigm change and reform of our education systems is imperative for us to change the current direction of life on earth, which is literally heading towards the total destruction of nature as well as civilized societies. As much as we can maintain and sustain the status quo of our current world system through the education system, we can also utilize that same system to plant a new seed of life on earth. So please take a moment to investigate what we’re proposing with the Equal Money System because this is a real practical solution through which those of us passionate about education will receive the required support and funding to actually rethink what education is and should be and finally for the first time provide children with a school that is fun and enjoyable and that takes their individual needs and skills into careful consideration while being integrated into a global movement of establishing a life on earth that in fact is best for all – not only humans but also the planet as a whole and all the life that co-exist here with us.

The question is whether we want children who as adults become the same cloned zombie robots that we’ve become and who make the same mistakes that we’ve made, just because we’re too proud and scared of admitting that what we’re doing on earth, isn’t really working or whether we dare encourage children to become and develop their utmost potential to actually be able to change life on earth for all? The thing is that we are as humans not simply here to take a backseat on the ride of life. We can’t deny the fact that we’re creators and co-creators in and of this world – because every day we see the consequence of our creation. And therefore it is vital that the process of creation is incorporated into the class-room where kids not only can be creators through their direction of creative and collaborative processes – but also that because we are the creators of the world we’ve created on earth, we have a responsibility to make our world the best possible world it can be.

For more information about Equal Money and Education, I reccomend reading the following blogs

364.Education is a Human Right

As well as viewing the videos on my YouTube channel here and on the Equal Money wiki channel here

I leave you with the following lecture by Ken Robinson that is a definite MUST WATCH and LISTEN to as Robinson paints the picture I’ve been describing here in stark detail and specificity to show what it is we’re actually doing – not only to our children – but to life on earth in general.

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”– Ken Robinson

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What does Catching Butterflies or Dissecting Frogs Teach a Child about Life? DAY 17

What does Catching Butterflies or Dissecting Frogs Teach a Child about Life? DAY 17

How are we as teachers contributing actively and directly to maintaining the status quo of society? How are teachers’ parts of the problems we are facing on earth from the perspective of being at the forefront of the brainwashing of our children, supposedly making them effective (and competitive) participants on earth?

It is spring here in Sweden. It is the time of year where butterflies go about their cyclic ways from larvae, through cocoons and into fully developed butterflies. And as such in schools and kindergartens across the country, teachers find it appropriate and timely to teach children about butterflies. So today when I went to work, I firstly went to a kindergarten where the group had bought a ‘butterfly kit’. It was a tiny class jar with five butter fly larvae in it. We watched a film about the butterflies’ process of transformation. The teachers told me that the plan is to transfer the larvae to another jar from where they’re supposed to grow into butterflies and then they will release them. Perhaps for most people this is a sweet and educational project that in no way is amoral or harmful to the butterflies. But all I saw was five creatures, five beings forced into an artificial prison-type environment, desperately trying to get out and back to their natural habitat.

Later in the day I went to a school that also turned out to be doing a project on butterflies. All over the walls there were pictures of butterflies and texts describing their process of development. On a table near the window, two boxes had been made, presumably by the kids, made of white paper with translucent plastic covers as lids. Inside the boxes were butterflies and with them were various forms of resources that they’d need to survive, water, flowers, an orange. Again, this would probably appear as an innocent project, a nice project for kids to participate with, learning about nature. But all I saw was two prisons, with butterflies vehemently trying to get out. There wasn’t room for them to fly at all in the boxes.

So how is this relevant to the context of teachers being active participants in upholding the status quo in the world – where billions suffer, where our means of producing animals gets more vicious and brutal the more advanced our technologies become? Did you for example know that it is considered perfectly normal in the name of science, to drill a hole on the side of a cow for children and adults alike to be able to observe (and touch!) the cows digestive system?

What dissecting frogs in school for example teach us about nature has nothing to do with respect for nature or animals and has everything to do with the delusion of grandeur of man’s dominance over life and the aggrandizement of science as a religion of evolution. In dissecting frogs in school children learn that the life of other living creatures is less than theirs and that they have a right – and perhaps even a responsibility given their dominance as part of humanity – to examine and understand the biology of frogs. Arguments are made that this is the stuff that doctors are made up – but haven’t technology developed enough that it shouldn’t be necessary to kill innocent animals just so that we can get ‘inspired’ about the ways of biochemistry and anatomy?

It is the same with the butterflies in the school class room. Supposedly it is to bring children closer to nature and teach them about the ways of life. But what kind of life is it in fact they’re learning about? They’re learning that they can do anything with nature that they want. They learn to take animals out of their natural environment and enslaving them for educational (and entertainment) purposes.
Conversely they learn nothing about the equality of all living beings or the importance of butterflies for the sustainability of the planet. And as a consequence they are inadvertently learning to inferiorize their own lives, as they too are a part of the equilibrium on earth. And what kind of adults do the children grow up to become? Adults that don’t appreciate respect or understand the importance of supporting all life in equality, adults that believe that they have a right to do with nature and other living creatures what they want as long as they can justify it as part of science and evolution.
And the world we see and live in today is the consequence and result of such education. And as teachers it is like we exist as nothing but ‘zombie-instructors’ only serving the purpose of drilling children into becoming consumer zombies in complete separation from life.

There are so many ways we could teach children about nature in a way where they actually learn to care about nature, to take care of nature, to understand and respect nature. So why don’t we? The answer is simplistic and enigmatic at the same time: Because we were born and raised in and through the exact same education system.

As such the problem with teachers is that they would first have to walk a process of deprogramming and delearning their zombie ways before they can stand as examples and guides of what it means to be a dignified human being and what it means to care about life. I am sure many teachers would like to do this in their classrooms. But there are many reasons why they aren’t able to do that. Often the curriculum doesn’t allow it, the budgets doesn’t allow it. The teachers are too focused on making a living, making it through the day to dedicate themselves to make a real difference in the world – even if they wanted to. Teachers become apathetic just like anyone else. But the problem is that they more than anyone (except for parents) stand as examples for children, whether they like to or not.
So what is the solution?

For children to learn how to care about life – how to respect life, we need teachers that care about life. And for us as teachers to care about life, we require walking a process of self-education and self-responsibility to change ourselves. But this is not enough – because our education systems are a reflected mirror of the consumer society – where all we care about is using and spending and satisfying our own self-interest, no matter the cost. So even the teachers who do understand this, doesn’t stand a chance in terms of being able to actually educate children in a way that is sound and common sensical. This is why we are in dire need of a new political and economic system in this world. We need a system that actively support people such as teachers to create an education system that has as its highest priority to assist and support children to care about life.

We are proposing an Equal Money System as a solution. In an Equal Money System, all professions will be supported equally in accordance with what is best for everyone in society. In an Equal Money System, we will through a democratic process of voting make life and the equal value of life the highest priority and the first priority of how we live together on earth.
If we want children to learn to respect lives, respect themselves and each other – we can’t simply tell them to do that or that this is the best way to live. We got to actually show and share with them an environment where this is the principle we stand and live by.

The Equal Money Foundation’s Bill of Rights is one of the first steps in the process of establishing an Equal Money System on earth. If you agree to its principles and premises I urge you to make the decision to dedicate yourself and your life to create an Equal Money System – and to become an example of dignity and equality on earth, so that we can begin supporting our children to learn how to care about life and in turn create a life where all are cared for in equality.

For anyone that’d like to learn more about the importance and relevance – and equality – of butterflies, I reccomended listening to the following interview:

The Consciousness of the Butterfly – Part 1