From Prehumanity To Humanity
Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc.
vol. XVII no. 1
First published in 1987. Reprinted in 2009. Copyright ÂŠ 1987-2009 Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc. Author: Caleb Gattegno All rights reserved ISBN 978-0-87825-331-9 Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc. 2nd Floor 99 University Place, New York, N.Y. 10003-4555 www.EducationalSolutions.com
In 1952, when writing the chapters of what became the book “Conscience de la Conscience” (published first in Paris in 1954 and reprinted in 1967 in Neuchatel, Switzerland), the challenge of understanding human beings as they actually are, forced me to look at the majority of mankind as not being fully evolved yet. Whoever said of him or herself that his or her present state required work to be improved, became entitled to the label of being “pre-human.” “Humans,” with a capital H, were those who had reached the state of total acceptance of their conditions as being just right. Every human being could give oneself one or other of these labels to which no value was being attached not more than when one said of oneself, I was a pre-adolescent or a pre-adult and later dropped the prefix “pre.” Because “pre” refers to time, it can be used to refer to individual evolution and later to that of collectivities. In the midst of pre-human collectivities there may be some individuals who had reached their full humanity. Once found they might be pointed at as sources of inspiration for the spiritual growth of whomever relates to them. In this Newsletter a number of points raised by people working on themselves will be considered, hoping to shed some light on the usefulness of the above distinction. Could it become an instrument for the study of important human matters? Could it open up new areas of research? It seems to have those powers. As usual News Items close the issue.
Table of Contents
1 The Light Of Evolution....................................................... 1 2 The Uniqueness Of Human Beings .................................... 9 3 The Complexity Of Mankind.............................................15 News Items ......................................................................... 25 1 The Efficacy Of The Silent Way Tested On Arabic ....................... 25 2 A Quick Glance At A World Tour Aiming At Reaching New Audiences.....................................................................................30 3 An Intensive Residential Eight-Day Seminar In France ............. 32 Announcements ...............................................................................40 1....................................................................................................40 2 Part 1 Of The Treatise..............................................................40
1 The Light Of Evolution
When biologists believe that they alone can speak properly of evolution, they enter an impasse from which they do not come out while still believing they are doing the only proper work connected with the so-called scientific method. But they only tackle challenges which are reducible to their models and formed with their instruments of study. They keep humans, for example, in the third realm and struggle with the transformation of apes into Homo-Sapiens. It does not occur to them that there may be other ways of facing the actual reality of today in which all sorts of animal species have not become extinct and humans have created many cultures and civilizations, which certainly are uniquely human. All that which, generally, does not fossilize. In a number of texts (articles and books) we attempted to take into account all the realms found on earth and to ask the question: “What is it that evolves in each?” We also found that in fact each realm had reached an impasse in evolution, i.e., evolution stopped and only what it had produced so far was perpetuated to constitute the realms as we know them today. This forced us to consider: 1
“horizontal evolutions” when all that it was possible to generate through a certain dynamic of energy got formed, up to a breakdown of the process which we called the impasse; and
From Prehumanity To Humanity
2 “vertical evolutions” when energy found a new way of working and explored it horizontally for a long time. Although not all the readers of this issue are familiar with this way of looking at the energy and energies in the universe as they unfold in time, we shall not make it explicit again here. But we can say in a few words, that the large cosmos (where men found stars and many other celestial objects of huge sizes and complexities) — which we learned to look at only in this century — is the locus of material evolution. This means that in that realm, energy becomes matter. The earth, as a celestial body, belongs to that cosmos and since men are on it, they managed to study over millennia and mainly in the last 200 years, all that which could make sense to them. In particular, the chemical elements were isolated and studied as atoms first and as atoms and their isotopes later, via theoretical and laboratory techniques which ascertained that only 92 elements had been produced by the processes going on in the stars and clouds and called “fusion” of nuclei. Among these 92, the heaviest displayed a phenomenon called “radioactive disintegration” which we can interpret as the first impasse in evolution, that of matter. The cosmos over time worked on energy in certain ways and could not do more than what men found: that the process of complexation could go on that far and no farther. Atoms at the end of the Mendeleev classification had reached an unstable state and had to break down producing atoms existing already and some particles which were later found to be among the bricks of the first and stable atoms too. Although cosmic evolution is so vast and so complex, it is also limited by the possibilities of the processes themselves. The possibilities form the content of the horizontal evolution of matter. The impasse states the limitations of the processes. Energy displayed another material evolution in the cosmos and which men discovered on earth. It goes with another way of working which laboratory men called the formation of “molecules” via an exchange of electric charges between preexisting atoms. While in the stars huge amounts of energy are used to “fuse” nuclei and particles in order to form new nuclei (and their atoms when electric charges are also integrated) on earth, and other places too, the amounts of energy 2
1 The Light Of Evolution
needed to produce molecules are relatively small and are electromagnetic in nature. The evolution of molecules on earth (and in other places) goes on via what is called “chemical reactions” studied by chemists. That horizontal evolution produced all the contents of the material earth which also contains stable molecules (in large numbers) and, when their size goes beyond a certain magnitude, unstable molecules which break down. Another impasse in the cosmic realm is thus generated. On earth, man encountered a realm in which the process was not reducible to only making new molecules but in arranging existing molecules in new architectures called “cells.” Cells are small portions of space occupied by molecules which both keep their original constitution and can react with others to develop a “cellular chemical laboratory.” Hence in this new realm — dubbed “the realm of the living” — all that which was possible in the cosmos could be called on to produce, in particular, new large molecules (forming “organic matter”) and to attempt new uses of energy outside matter itself, but concerned with matter. We gave it the label of “form.” The realm of the living integrates the molecular realm in order to attempt to create with the molecules the architectures which man can distinguish and classify. If we stress form alone, the living are called plants and represent a hugely rich horizontal evolution which goes from bacteria (monocellular plants) to the giant trees of the American West Coast (the largest in the world). This evolution is also called the second realm. If we add behavior to form we create another huge horizontal evolution which includes protozoans and the giant dinosaurs (even if they are now extinct and only known from fossils). The conjunction of forms and behaviors which use them produces “the animal kingdom” or third realm. Following form within all that is possible, gives the actual content of the second realm, and that is the job of “botanists.” It gives us a chance to witness a vertical evolution corresponding to a new way of working of energy, the generator of forms (which integrates molecular cosmic 3
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energy since it also produces new molecules) using in each transaction still less energy. This leap of energy into the vital, places it into a “higher” level of functioning than the cosmic — which clearly means that it does not restrict itself to making atoms or molecules — to invent as many of the possibilities of form as can be attempted and of which a very large number have proved viable, i.e., capable of going on for durations measured in epochs, millennia, etc. Still, it too reaches an impasse when all the possibilities have been tried out which are compatible with the earthian cosmic conditions. We have so many species of plants and no more. We can look into the combinations of attributes and often find that there are plant specimens displaying them but also that incompatibility makes them not viable. What evolved in the second realm was cellular form. To get into the third realm, which also starts with the monocellular, we need a new way of working for energy — called animal vital energy — which because it displays behavior as well as form, will be studied in terms of behavior: that behavior which gives itself the form which makes it possible to display itself in the space-time receptacle that is our earth. The energy of animals which energizes the forms so as to make behaviors objective, is called “instinct.” It belongs both to individuals and to species, i.e., individual animals have attributes which make them indistinguishable from some others, thus generating the species as a workable entity. Still individual animals exist and they are the ones who actually display the distinguishable behaviors of the species. Their individual instinct energizes the individual behaviors and is reachable by each as an attribute of itself when it needs to be mobilized for a single concrete action. Every individual animal remains enclosed within the limits imposed by what the species instinct can do and so whole species can vanish if the demands of the circumstances go beyond those limits as in the case of pollution in rivers and lakes, for example. But in order to understand the appearance of new species on earth, it is necessary to see that the coexistence of form and behavior in every 4
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animal leaves room for a given form to be able to display a new behavior beyond the inventory which defines the given species’ instinct, if such a behavior is imposed by some new circumstances. So animals must be close to the energy used in their own instances and know when it is the non-routine one which occupies that instant. This is equivalent to saying that animals must be aware of those dynamics of the energy of their instinct, at least when it is at odds with the routine display of their species’ behavior. Once aware that the odd circumstance lived now can be perceived as compatible with the instinctual set of behaviors and can be integrated because there is no breakdown of one’s life — that single individual may be the one which sees the instinct as capable of extending the original set of behaviors and perhaps would take up that new behavior as an experimental one in order to know what it is. In this way one individual may start a new species, close to the one it belonged to, but differing from it by that single new behavior. For this the new behavior has to be counted like all the others, as energizable by the existing instinct, while at the same time other individuals of the original species don’t suspect its existence and have no reason to vary from the track originally set by the instinct. Instincts are therefore what evolves in animals. Identified with any instinct, an individual becomes a member of a species. The possibility of remaining with their species instinct characterizes all animals, but in the third realm it is also possible for instinct to be changed when the old form is experienced as a new form because it is capable of one extra behavior discovered experientially and held to be worked on. What can happen once may happen again and the animals in question are those exploring the latitudes which go with their instincts and change their form somehow to accommodate the compatible behaviors. In durations which are large it becomes possible to see how variation — as a conscious animal function — generates all those many species close to each other within some segment of time (used to integrate one
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new behavior) and, over the whole duration, how different animal species can be from one end to the other of the spectrum. The third realm is coextensive to all that instincts can do with the dual reality of form (also belonging to the second realm) and behavior â€” energizing the form to display the behavior â€” holding on to the behavior to affect the form. In small steps new species appear which differ little from existing species but through accumulated shifts produce species more and more distinct from all the existing ones. From protozoans to apes over more than a billion years on earth, the third realm constituted itself on the evolution of instincts making use of the objectivations of energy as atoms and molecules and cells, to objectify something new at each step. The horizontal evolution of the third realm did not exhaust the possibilities of the instinct, it stopped because one or more individuals among the apes took the leap of not letting the form condition their behaviors, nor their behaviors to be totally conditioned by the form. There was a place where a wedge could be placed and it was attempted at least once. That is when a hominid appeared on earth. Because the move away from instinct cannot be fossilized, it is impossible to find the evidence of such a shift by the methods of paleontologists. A totally different approach must be found which can account for Man as we know it today and extend the finding backward to prehistoric times, with some plausibility. We use the definition of the fourth realm as that realm in which the members stress awareness (which exists in the third realm) as a reality that is there to be stressed. Thus Man is defined as a being capable of awareness of his awareness, like no animal is. Indeed animal awareness stays within the speciesâ€™ instinct which explains why matter which is food for one species does not appear as such to another. Two or three million years were needed to give to this way of working of energy the durations in which some individuals getting hold of one
1 The Light Of Evolution
of their awarenesses were able to transform it into an instrument for knowing. That is to say that what is experienced within by one individual and is not perceptible to anyone else, is made into something that is visible to others. The sequence knowing-doing is translated in scientific jargon by Homo Sapiens (who knows) and Homo Faber (who does) and that is why tools are proof that humans no longer remained within the third realm. Today, when we consider all the handicrafts, all the arts, all the sciences and what every one of them assumes in terms of awareness, we understand that so many generations were needed to build the contents of cultures and of civilizations one upon the other. These components of cultures are much more than behaviors but each presupposes a large set of behaviors passed on from parent to offspring not by biological heredity but by education. Education is the instrument evolution gave itself in the fourth realm to objectify itself. Over millennia there has been time to give each instance of education a form capable of accounting that the next generation will be ahead of the previous one in some respect. Always facing the descending unknown, it was not possible to ensure that it would be mastered in a given duration and sometimes several generations were needed to be on top of challenges which in the beginning were vaguely perceived and gained gradually significance which led to mastery. The Cro-Magnon people 20,000 years ago solved all the problems of mural representation of the articulated animal bodies in a manner we cannot surpass. Their work proves that their awarenesses were highly developed in these areas in which they left some testimony behind. Awareness is what evolves in the fourth realm. But this does not mean that all that of which individuals can become aware of at a certain age or date, represents all that which man can attain in the fourth realm. People can only live with what they and their predecessors have been aware of. What is left to be aware of belongs either to the “immanent” that holds the contents of the descending future or to the “transcendental” of which no one has any clue and can 7
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only be reached by a new leap upward forming a vertical evolution not deducible from previous experience. In this way a fifth realm becomes a possibility. From such a distinction we draw the justification of calling â€œprehumansâ€? those in the fourth realm of recent times who consider themselves incomplete and strive for completeness by using the time of their lives to become what they are not yet. Man has thus been, 1) integrated in the universal evolution which starts with matter and end up with awareness, and 2) put in a position to create for himself a life on earth in which by knowing himself he reopens his evolution indefinitely.
2 The Uniqueness Of Human Beings
Although every individual is obviously unique to be recognizable by itself and by others as an individual, in the case of human beings, this goes beyond that kind of recognition. Because of the stress on awareness there is an opening at every moment for choices between involvements. Humans’ wills make them enter a situation or refrain from entering in it and this judgment alone can account for the fact that the experience of every individual has a singular physiognomy. Human beings’ awareness leads them to have access to their past in the form of evocations of memories and by dwelling in them. Even when so much of their experience has become automatic and habits, humans find something which they can recall for use in the here and now. They relate consciously to some of their past and relate to that relating, thus knowing that they have their own experience and have access to it. Already in the third realm the young have developed games to dwell in so that some kinds of experiences are known so as to master skills needed for survival. In the fourth realm “play” is the way selected by individuals to relate to those activities which may have some relation to survival, but may also gain an independence to become arenas for testing oneself and for going beyond where one can take oneself spontaneously. Games become the preferred channels for learning some skills but also for taking those skills one or more stages beyond what their playmates show they have done. Games are generally
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collectively preserved so that they serve the education of the young generation, but they are also molders of special states which feed back to singular individuals whether they have excelled to the level of others or even moved ahead of them. We can therefore see that the first steps of the first humans result from the new work which awareness can do â€” when it becomes aware of itself â€” upon sets of behaviors found in the third realm and thus belonging to those animals humans will separate from. That evolution, from that start, is of awareness. In the absence of actual facts and dates about the actual workings of successive generations, all that is legitimate to do is to acknowledge for awareness its possibilities and assume that a certain duration is necessary to achieve the going through exercises which may lead to a certain mastery of a certain skill. Since there are many skills which can be combined to generate higher skills, generations are needed to go through the multiple layers of learning represented by those experiences. Standing, walking, and running are achieved by many animals in the third realm, but being with the learning after each skill is reached, is solely human. Men can get absorbed in what makes the difference between walking and running and work consciously on speed just like athletes do nowadays. For that language is not required. But entering into that awareness, which one day will affirm that humans can get into language and produce so many of them, will give us another example of a long accumulated experience of generations of humans taking one step beyond another to master actually what is demanded by such human enterprises. While each individual life must be filled by the actions and activities which consume the time of a life, there is also a fabric of the mutual interactions of the members of any given community which at the same time sustain individual experiences and is made up of these experiences. The uniqueness of each individual is enhanced by both, for it is required in everyoneâ€™s life and in the connections of each individual with the human environment surrounding him. This 10
2 The Uniqueness Of Human Beings
uniqueness will manifest itself on all the planes of human expression at the level of evolution reached collectively, and individually by everyone. This includes actions, emotions, affirmations of the wills in harmony or in opposition, projects and the involvements in them, judgments on oneâ€™s states and status and how they agree with oneâ€™s idea of oneself and of others. There is plenty of room for variance and therefore in living with others each individual stresses the personal traits and manages to adhere to some image of oneself. All this does not require our present social and cultural sophistication but may have been the rule of conduct from very early in the evolution of Man. The literature of a few thousand years ago confirms that and we can easily imagine that once awareness has been at work there were plenty of opportunities for comparison, for strife and for adjustments among the first humans. After a certain number of generations, enough of what awareness can reveal must have been at hand for our ancestors of fifty thousand years ago, to feel as much at home in their natural and social environments as we may do today. Indeed who can deny a high degree of perception, of virtual action, of aesthetic feelings, to the peoples who chose the caves of Altamira in northern Spain and those of Lascaux in the Perigord Noir of France, to execute their remarkable art around 20,000 years ago? We are still quite unable to imagine how prehistoric men lived and felt, just as we are unable to conceive of the conscious lives of our own babies, mainly because events of such periods cannot easily be recalled. But we are learning as we become more adept in the use of our awareness, to enter those vital periods of our evolution and understand how humans actually evolved. To be in the process of human evolution does not mean that we are in a process that makes us reach peaks, but only that the use of our time is capable of putting us face to face with ourselves and of expressing what we see in terms of change and transformation. The constant increase of our complexity leads us to become more and more sophisticated and slowly too, more able to describe ourselves as not ever being complete and finished. Only a few of the humans ever become aware of their own awareness to the point of staying with it and know themselves in these
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terms. The rest remain in contact with that content of their awarenesses which they say is the content of Reality. Of course, there is plenty to do in those states and as a result Reality is structured in terms of contents and not in terms of awareness. All that we hear about, read about and now see on video, is clearly content and it becomes easy to see our lives in terms of the events we go through, the people who impinged on us; of our ambitions and disappointments; of our successes and their rewards, etc. The outer environment thus gains more and more significance and dwarfs our inner lives although only these give reality to the outer ones. Our uniqueness comes from the fact that our environments differ but also from the component of our inner lives which is allowed to affect our vision of our outer world. In the concrete world of our actual lives, we notice the conscious as well as the unconscious items in them, but we can only call on the conscious ones, when we want to make sense of our lives. On the whole, our lives look to us as fragmented and the whole of Reality as beyond us. Though this is part of our uniqueness we do not arrive at that conclusion spontaneously and often; while we definitely feel our uniqueness, in contrast we accept schemas as representing the others since we can only think through schemas and our direct knowledge of others is so reduced. It is our uniqueness that serves as the basis of our pre-humanity for we identify with its content and stress our self-centeredness (though not necessarily in words) and our self interests. We sense that there is room for our growth and dedicate ourselves to it provided it is expressed in terms of achievements, rewards, happiness, etc. And this not necessarily in modern times alone, pre-history has room for such happenings too, even if no evidence exists to refer to this now. Pre-humanity encompasses all the moves of human beings who have slowly known themselves over the hundreds of past generations, as owning something animals donâ€™t own which is capable of altering the environment to their own benefit. That something we called awareness 12
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of the awareness which leads to a certain amount of self-knowledge, amount that varies from one individual to the next. Those in closer contact with it have always been the shapers of the communities, to make them more human with respect to one element or another, that which others could also become aware of and could be taken up as compatible with the evolution of that group. So pre-humanity is part of evolution and its transformations caused by the evolution of individuals who are part of it, set it in motion as a whole towards what we can call humanity which is reached when awareness is realized in its entirety. Human beings live in their prehumanity to the extent they are unaware of their awareness or unawarenesses. They move towards their humanity to the extent they first suspect they can be unaware and second, work on themselves so that awareness fills more and more the actuality of their lives. In both pre-humanity or humanity, human beings are defined by their attribute of being aware of their awareness. In both realms they are unique because of the functioning of that awareness and in their uniqueness they can remain pre-humans all through one life and adhere to their choice, or find that at certain privileged moments, they come in contact with their inner evolution and give it their attention. To that extent they are on the move towards their humanity. Some, more than others, see this as the main trend in their lives and can give themselves to becoming more human every moment. Some may even manage it. Whether they are the ones who state those developments for themselves or let others do it, makes some human beings into hermits or into spiritual leaders. The latter pull those who relate to them as susceptible of entering a similar spiritual path ahead with themselves. The isolated hermits are not less entitled to their transcendence of their pre-humanity than those hailed as spiritual leaders. Essentially what matters is that human beings who know themselves as of the four realms have noticed that even the fourth can be transcended and that as Humans they will produce uniquely their part of a Fifth Realm.
3 The Complexity Of Mankind
Once we avoid generalities and hollow schemas when addressing ourselves on the subject of mankind, we are confronted with concrete individuals who personally know what their lives have been and which events have had the greatest impacts on them. Because of the number of these impacts and the variety of the events what we are confronted with is a very complex plurality indeed. So long as we can hold onto the complexity of mankind and onto the uniqueness of each human being, we can be sure that we shall avoid the numerous categories into which human beings are generally classified and thus avoid remaining on the same old tracks that only seem to suit philosophers. The uniqueness of human beings can best be summarized by Goethe’s words: “To live the whole man we need the whole of humanity.” Which, on the one hand, reminds us that it is only possible to live one life, whatever it is, and that on the other hand, we need to find other human beings to see what it is to live that which is excluded from ours. Contradictory traits are immediate illustrations of the second point: one cannot be very thin or very short and at the same time be very fat or very tall. In the above, “to live” means to actually change the time of one’s life into that which one will call one’s experience.
From Prehumanity To Humanity
Such an exchange assumes that each of us, who owns the time given to him or her in this life, has many occasions at which choices have to be made to put one’s time and energy into certain objectifications. The choices determine the shape of one’s life, but also state that that shape could have been different. This awareness has led Jean-Emile Marcault, at the beginning of this century, to intuit (as a complement to what Goethe told us) that in every human, potentially, there is the whole of Man. Because of this connection we can understand that we can understand others and as it is indicated in the Gospels, “to understand all is to forgive all.” With all these doors open, we can never lose sight of the real complexity of mankind. Unless we close ourselves to them. Our effort in this writing is to make readers feel that behind the words, the concepts, the schemas, there are real people who have a say in their own lives. That every one of the persons we meet is indeed a person who can, like ourselves, feel, act, think, observe, be careful and be careless, fall into traps and come out of some of them, engage in concrete relationships with other people, with items of the environment, like sunsets or flowers; generate for oneself value systems which have links with those of others or may be original and singular, and contribute to collective evolution through their own evolution. Those who can maintain in themselves this aspect of the truth of life, will put themselves into a much stronger position than those who are lived by pre-conceived ideas and hollow schemas. In fact, they would not claim for themselves more than their actual inner moves permit them to demonstrate; they will have a shaded view of the human collectivities they encounter and avoid falling into the trap of only being concerned with sets of marionettes with themselves as the puppeteer; they will sense how enriching it is to feel the throb of life in others. They will find the meaning of pre-humanity not as a lower state of being but as a spectrum of stations at which anyone of those they know can spend one’s life experimenting and reaching a stage of 16
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evolution translating what they did with themselves so far, and how. They will know pre-humanity as an actual humanity at those stages of evolution which stress some absolutes in which people live passionately and with the dynamics these absolutes generate. They will also know that in that spectrum of being there is room for everyone. In particular, for those who have seen that pre-humanity is a prelude to humanity. Essentially by this effort to make explicit the roles of Relativity and of Evolution in human existence, we are giving ourselves a chance of knowing the truth about the human reality we are part of. The truth which liberates. Mainly of the paralyzing effects of prejudice and preconception. Relativity tells us that every human being operates as if he or she were the center of the world; that it is normal to do so, because one is in one’s bag all the time, views the world from the observation tower one gave oneself and has, on the one hand, only a direct experience of all one experienced but has, on the other hand, only a differed experience of what others experienced. This state of affairs, if well understood and dwelt in, will help maintain the reality of complexity at the center of one’s Weltanschauung and make us do justice to the actual state of the world. Evolution tells us that the only thing all human beings share is that they are in time and that their awareness of their awareness says that the justification of any life — those which are useful and those which are wasted — is that human beings come into the world to take care of their personal evolution which realize them in the concrete form that each life actually takes. Once in contact with complexity and able to use the instruments of Relativity and Evolution, it becomes clear that there is no principle which can account for the reality of life, that all attempts at placing humans in boxes and keeping them in, have failed and cannot be rescued by whatever clever manipulation of a priori principles.
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The complexity of humans cannot be reduced, though it can be ignored. The peril in that ignorance is that somehow complexity will catch up with us and one day put us face to face with it and, what is so painful, with its consequence: that we lived an illusory life, a life without insight which allowed so many traps to spring around us. The complexity of humans being the reality we have to live with, its maintenance at the center of our awareness, its cultivation through sensitivity and reflection, will help us move from a life made narrow by our possible neglect, towards a state of being which foreshadows the Human state, the fifth realm. In that state, awareness of complexity removes the cobwebs of preconceptions, opens us up to the dynamics of everyday living which is structured by wakefulness and all it allows and by sleep which takes us back to ourselves and all our past. Awake we are concentrated and related to the non-self; we know we are conscious of just a little of reality and we must respect this finding by being alerted to all that escapes us. Awake we have to make constant adjustments to the impacts of all that around us which is not dependent on our will and may have no respect for what we are; we have to give time, energy, attention to so many unforeseeable items that we lose sight of all that which only depends on us. We may reach an idea of ourselves which may be useless to us because it has lost its roots in our own living. In sleep we do much repair work and often restore our integrity, to be ready for the assaults of the next day and all their randomness. In sleep we take our new departures and can respond to life more knowingly and confidently. The fragmentation of human lives because of the natural alternation of sleep and wakefulness is at the same time the actual process of maintenance of human integrity. This integrity is also maintained by our growth from conception to any state corresponding to any age. Growth is the appearance of change over time, caused by evolution but
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not necessarily seen in terms of evolution since such appearances can be directly apprehended by any onlooker. Once we concentrate the searchlight of awareness on growth we see a very differently reality. We see the actual exchange of time into experience through the means learning puts at our disposal. We see the process of reaching mastery in every learning and the structuring of larger durations when one learning makes another one possible and together open up new paths for more complex ones. Growth of experience is wider than the growth of appearances of which the somatic one is but one. Growth of experience is susceptible of being described in purely individual terms but also in the terms of interactions of individuals and groups. In individual terms, the days, from conception to death, have to be given some things to work on to represent the exchange of time for experience. Although this is a very new preoccupation of epistemologists, it has been my occupation for 50 years and readers can find in a number of volumes the details of this growth of experience which we cannot summarize conveniently in this space. In individual collective terms, it is still a newer preoccupation than the previous one for, historians and prehistorians remain at work within frames of reference that do not allow relativity and evolution to bring their contributions. The understanding of the complexity of mankind demands that a number of new problems be considered so that cultures and civilizations, as exclusively produced in the fourth realm, yield their significance for collective evolution and through it for individual evolution. Among those problems, the collapse of civilizations seems one of the first that would attract attention. But we have in this field also need to see how a new civilization emerges and which cultures are compatible with it.
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Mankind has lived for a few million years on earth; we only know a certain amount of what it did during the last hundred thousand years and not all with sufficient understanding to generate certainty. The reason is that the investigators must educate themselves in a proper use of the instruments of relativity and evolution and not many are ready for that. Most are still captivated by the scientific method although they are not clear about “human facts,” which become “historical facts.” Only recently have some questions been allowed to emerge as legitimate questions among historians. Those which dialectical materialism considered central for understanding vast political, economic and social matters which molded history, rather than letting specific people do it, had more than a century to test themselves. And today a more articulate approach is taking precedence, in which ideas (correct or faulty) may take hold of people and for a number of years lead them astray or forward. For ideas to exist, someone has to propose them, make them attractive and see what is needed to make them adopted more generally. Individuals as sources of ideas are gaining ground against soulless forces getting hold of people to manifest themselves as the true historic forces. Society, as a concept, is losing its preeminence. An openness towards much more complex and encompassing instruments seem to attract thoughtful people in the economically advanced countries. Humanity in its complexity is seen to be moved forward by what individuals actually do with the help of collective forces or against them. The move is towards discovering the dynamics on “nothings” which are precisely those of evolution which made its greatest splash when the intellect of the Westerners became the instrument of investigations and of applications. A hundred and fifty years of social experimentation in the West has made clear how much can be done through institutions but also where institutions (and their bureaucracies) become hindrances on the path of evolution. Today all the instruments developed in the West over 2000 years are needed to make sense of present day challenges to the West. The last two: the intellect (from the time of the Renaissance), and social engineering (from the time sociology was launched in the 1850s) are now deeply integrated in the most modern approach (not
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yet labeled) which uses everything at reach. We lose something of the complexity of human living on earth if we adhere to any one of the most successful approaches which still impress us to the point of not attempting the corrective move which is needed to give every one of us a place under the sun on earth. Evolution does two things, 1) it manifests itself “horizontally” by showing people the unfolding possibilities connected with the passionate living in one absolute (as is witnessed in the West by the flourishing of all the sciences, testimony of the riches of our intellects, and by the flourishing of institutions, testimony of our social grasp of interactions between individuals), and 2) it manifests itself by taking people to the threshold of the “vertical leap” needed to make sense of what the powerful instruments of the previous absolutes fail to make sense of. At this historical moment, in the complexity of mankind, we are being forced to acknowledge all the good the polarized living of a few generations in the Western Civilization has bestowed upon us (the material well-being being one of them) and also to acknowledge the awkwardness so many of us experience at the sight of our confused world of today. So many aspire to a “better” world which seems at hand and still is shrouded in a mystery which makes it unreachable. That “better” must be understood too in terms of Relativity and Evolution for it transcends all the proposals for it which stem from pure intellectuals who find in themselves comprehensive schemas satisfying their criteria, or from pure social engineers who can only think in terms of larger and larger institutions (of which multinationals, United Nations types of entities, federations of states, are a few examples) also satisfying their criteria, when perhaps what is required is a totally new insight capable of respecting all states and stages of evolution on earth and in a Relativistic model, account for everyone’s right for being oneself. Today, the mere contemplation of such a proposal already tells that humans can shake themselves off all the ties their own spiritual growth (in terms of evolution) has offered them as possible stations in which to dwell for the whole of their lives but have been gone beyond already in this life and can be gone beyond again and again. If to adhere to one’s
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views of of oneâ€™s stations is the correct description of pre-humanity, then evolution without adherences is the correct view of humanity. From such a view of the complexity of humanity we sense the importance of human education seen as the means evolution gives itself to realize itself. The many aspects of human living we have access to do give us enormous means for education we could not find in any one of the successive absolutes which actually form the content of the histories of small or vast groups of people on earth. All the proposals for education to date are stamped with the characteristics of the absolutes majorities live in here and there. Effective to a certain point, they are utterly useless to meet the challenges to humanity conscious of its earthian attributes, its capacity for change and the potential of its realization at a new level of evolution, i.e., as a functioning humanity on earth integrating the evolutions of the four previous realms (the fourth being described now as that of pre-humanity) and clearly working towards making a fifth realm also a reality. Because all the realms have the right to be, pre-humanity can still be itself, but in contact with a Humanity being every day more conspiculously present, its dominance on earth will diminish and it will find its place as easily and as clearly as rocks, plants and animals have in the successive phases of the universal evolution. As accepted as babies, children, youths are, pre-human adults will find their territories in which they can live their functional lives within the restrictions imposed by their sense that so long as they are not fully conscious of the limitations absolutes create, they are not complete or finished. By seeing a new meaning for completeness, as simply being in constant evolution in an evolving universe, pre-humans will display the attribute of the budding fifth realm. They will consciously live every one of their pre-human traits from which they will subtract the adherence and thus find within themselves the signs of their evolution towards humanity. Remaining pre-human or becoming human is an alternative offered by evolution and relativity to all of us. We can be educated so as to know which are the actual criteria of each and entertain new choices all the time. Becoming constantly more human is a process which today we see open to
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everyone because so many examples of shifts in awareness fill every life of every pre-human and are there to show what the moves towards humanity are. By making such moves part of our awareness we make available to everyone of us the levers required by the passage from prehumanity to humanity. Education then consists in the education of that special awareness capable of offering techniques on the “nothings” resulting in the desired changes. Nothing metaphysical separates the states of pre-humans from those of the humans. Awareness of both being possible, every human being can spell for himself or herself what there is to do and strive to do it. If “grace” is to be invoked it will only be a posteriori, to acknowledge the gratitude one feels that something significant and important has taken place in one’s life. Like all temporal layers of evolution this one will be a reality to consider once it has taken place.
1 The Efficacy Of The Silent Way Tested On Arabic This News Item covers a set of four tests, two in Japan and two in Israel, where the public could clearly see why the Silent Way succeeds where other approaches fail. The third weekend of April 1987 was taken by an International Language School in Tokyo to offer a two-day 14-hour course in Arabic. 50 people registered, most of them Japanese teachers of their language. 45 were present at the end of the course. A month later â€œThe Centerâ€? in Osaka offered a 20-hour weekend course which drew 21 students. Of course, more could be achieved in 1 times the duration of the Tokyo course. Four days in June in Tel Aviv (21-24) attracted, in the mornings, 13 teachers not knowing any Arabic and in the evenings 40 adults from many walks of life. In both these classes, there were 30 or so observers: in the morning these were the target audience for which the University of Tel Aviv arranged the 15-hour seminar (including the 10 or 11 hours for the class within the class). In the evening, the observers were not specially attended to and only a dozen or so went through the 16-hour course of Arabic. The first Tel Aviv course was helpful to make the second smoother and more efficient. Both of the courses in Japan made the teaching in Israel 25
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again more effective, and the two courses there were affecting each other every day: teachers and the general public were treated differently, each group generating in the teacher new insights into what needed to be altered so that they could be more effective. The large Tokyo class took longer to abandon its old habits of learning than the other three groups, precisely because of what their resistances taught the teacher. Memorization was the natural, spontaneous approach to language learning of all those forming the four classes. When told that there was no need for such time-consuming way of learning, that criteria are what the teacher passes on to the students, confusion created distraction. But the instruments used in the classroom and the ease with which a certain number of those present managed to master the tasks, generated a climate which removed resistances and constantly increased the number of these who were successful. In each of the two classes in Japan, by chance, there was someone who could let the other students know how much they were learning and how well they were doing. This they could not have known by themselves. In the morning class in Tel Aviv, the feedback of the observers served that purpose. In the evening class it was remarkable that the students provided their own analysis of what they knew they had learned and found it to be considerable. Indeed, what was clear to those who knew Arabic, or to those who taught it, was: 1
that in less than two hours all those who played the games offered on the Sound/Color chart, had acquired a great ease in producing the sounds of that language whether in the form of vowels or syllables or of these strung into words of various lengths for which they had not been given a model by the teacher who did not say a single word of Arabic;
2 that in less than another two hours, the students had â€œinventedâ€? the Arabic numeration out of less than twenty items given to them from Chart N (or numeration) which means that they at the same time, 26
learned to read (from the colors) those items associated with the Arabic figuring of the numerals,
attempted to copy in black and white the written forms, i.e., learned to write words or strings of words in Arabic whose meaning was plain to them and, what is more, could offer their neighbors their own choice of a 6 to 15 figure numeral for which they took responsibility and was meant to elicit a flow of words uttered well and with a proper melody to be understood by everyon including natives. [This impressed the teachers of Arabic who volunteered so much, that they felt they could never obtain such ease, accuracy and self correction in many months in their present teaching. And they added: “without having heard a word of Arabic from their teacher, nor a reference to their own language through translation.”];
that, through a reading of Word Chart #1 or of this with #s 2 and 3, they showed they could master in minutes the proper pronunciation of a vocabulary which could be used with the help of a set of colored rods and some clear manipulations, to produce new strings of words whose meaning could be made evident and included a variety of commands requiring display of a number of sentence structures each of which triggered a definite action which proved total comprehension. This chunk of the activities, in addition to a vocabulary of about 40 words, gave them the means to produce: the singular, the dual, the plural of nouns and adjectives; the masculine and the feminine; the order of words in sentences; the form of commands which took care of whether it was one person (man or woman), two people (of one sex or mixed) or a group of three or more people (again of one sex or mixed) who said the words, was addressed directly or referred to by pointing, acted appropriately by taking or giving or placing any combination of rods corresponding exactly (as natives would) to what was put in circulation orally.
Naturally, to go over all this took a few hours but, to everybody’s assessment, incomparably less than through other ways of teaching. The learners and the observers could not fail to notice that everyone
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was his or her own teacher, that responsibility for learning was squarely placed on each student who joyfully accepted it. Retention was very high in spite of the absence of drill and repetition. The speed of utterance from the start was that one required by the good speech of natives. Speaking and reading went together and writing was easily integrated, on a number of occasions mainly to prove that it did not present insuperable difficulties. [The study of the Arabic Fidel was introduced in some of the classes, was used to rationalize the writing of words with its demands often thought of as very discouraging. The complexity of the Fidel presents the “truth” of the way Arabs chose to represent what they say in writing, but leaving out the short vowels and requiring some guessing. The more familiar such incomplete form, the easier it was to drop the colors and retain the proper sounds.] Compared with the hundreds of hours students ordinarily spend acquiring — and not so satisfactorily — such a curriculum it was for most, almost a miracle which let a doubt linger that the ground covered could be remembered in the near or far future. Too much that was unusual was part of the four experiments and only a few saw through the techniques and the materials what guarantees a good and lasting retention. Or perhaps, later reflection on the anatomy and physiology of the lessons, would yield its illumination. Among the most salient contributions of the feedbacks let us note: a number of people in the evening class of Tel Aviv (from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.), stated being less tired at the end of the evening than on arrival after a long day of work; a coordinator of ESL classes in the city mentioned having been more alert all through the four evenings than ever before in any class given or taken; a skeptic with respect to retention stated that indeed she could retain so much that now she knew she does not need to try to remember; one or two remarked that accepting responsibility for all they were doing in the lessons, relaxed them and made them more effective. In the morning classes in Tel Aviv, the sophisticated audience expressed puzzlement at what made things move so smoothly and at the extent of the contents of the course 28
— though in terms of vocabulary there was not so much — which made people function as natives do, spontaneously and freely and with a feel for the language. In Japan, students who were teachers (i.e., most of those present commented less but not less profoundly. One told another, “If so much can be done in such a short time and of such quality, what are we doing in our classes?” In contrast with Israel where learning Arabic is perceived as more vital every day, in Japan, no one needed Arabic. Still, once they understood the role of the discipline of learning demanded by the Silent Way they worked well and learned a lot. In Israel where everyone knew Hebrew (another Semitic language), it was interesting to discover where that knowledge helped in the progress of acquiring vocabulary. But it was not allowed to interfere with the new language. Only if concentration was directed to each of the challenges met in Arabic and practiced per se, was there noticeable progress. In a way Hebrew neither hindered nor helped students in acquiring Arabic, just as it would have been the case if it were a nonSemitic language which was offered. Much has been learned in both contexts of the experiments in Japan and Israel, and may one day be made public. The condition for such learning was that the tasks of teaching would not absorb all the energies of the teacher, who could then note how the minds of the learners were being mobilized in their own circumstances. In Japan, in such short courses the Arabic pronunciation attained was so much better than their English, which is worked on for years, that it was obvious that the approaches to this important component of language learning (and teaching) were to be held responsible. In Israel, in also very short periods, in relation to the new language, it was possible to hold the interest so high and consequently show remarkable yields per hour, that no one could dream of using the usual boring approaches after this event. Making every lesson into a challenging but learnable game obtained everybody’s approval. Since Arabic can be viewed as a systematic and even mathematical set of structures, it was possible to show how much can be extracted from 29
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very little. Both the little and the much can be estimated with some precision and used as criterion to judge the teacher’s input (what cannot be invented) and the students’ yields. Sometimes, in literally seconds, students understood how they could invent words and their variations without ever having heard them and feel they would be right. A great feeling which filled the students with joy and served as a further motivator to mobilize themselves for the next time. Watching someone teach in this way was mystifying. It all seemed so easy and still not at all accessible. Observers concluded that they could not adopt the approach, however much they wished to obtain similar results. No doubt they witnessed an approach which worked, worked well and through a number of lessons tackling linguistic challenges they had labeled “hard.” The statement that what “the teachers does is to pass on some criteria he has to the students to use by themselves,” was intellectually intelligible but, practically, very mysterious. In fact, everyone has to take his or her time to master the technology. It is only possible to teach that way by trying, the best one can, to see which moves work in the classroom and which have to be strung together to produce a smooth technique. Some decided on the spot to take the plunge either in a language other than Arabic for which materials already exist in print, or wait till those for Arabic are available (hopefully in a few months time). The curriculum covered in those courses was much larger than the items mentioned above and that too impressed the observers. But since what mattered most was to show students enjoying language learning and be sure they were making swift progress, nothing will be said here on this. There will be follow-ups on this project and possible further re-reports.
2 A Quick Glance At A World Tour Aiming At Reaching New Audiences Already in the June ‘87 issue of this Newsletter, some items covered some of the visits in parts of the world included in the trip which began
in January in Haiti and later referred to Tahiti and Hawaii, in which Dr. Gattegno volunteered to go to people who would not come to him spontaneously. Two days at the end of May were given to Hong Kong and four to Bangkok. Almost a first exposure to the techniques which, by subordinating teaching to learning, made a big difference in language teaching — the only teaching which interested the contacts it had been possible to make in these two places. Both short visits were considered fruitful by all parties and may have some follow-up. Five weeks in Japan, mainly in Osaka, did not limit themselves to language seminars although there were four of these. Those for Arabic are reported briefly above and longer assessments will appear in Japan possible this year. On four evenings teaching English to advanced students (mainly Japanese teachers of English in a number of institutions in the area and in Tokyo) took place. A weekend was dedicated to The Silent Way for newcomers to the approach as well as for old hands. The day on Computers in Education, a weekend “On Love” and a longer five-day seminar on “Only Awareness is Educable in Man,” were trials to see if there was a wider public in Japan that Dr. Gattegno could touch. The organizers were satisfied they succeeded in this. There would be much to tell on these events and what was learned from them. All we can share here is that there are more and more people sensitized in Japan so that they can contrast the wasteful general rote learning imposed in the schools of that modern country, and a truly modern technological approach to education which yields so much so quickly. The Japanese teachers of Japanese to foreigners are the first to respond en masse to this news, by organizing themselves to be made better acquainted with what to them looks like a permanent miracle. “The Center” of Osaka under its director, Fusakosan Allard, is playing a leading part in this dissemination which a year ago looked very remote and now is supported by the rank and file of the membership of the Association of Japanese Language Teachers (AJALT).
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Computers in Education were discussed in Osaka (one day) and in Melbourne (Australia) (one day). In both cases, the participants were surprised to see software for education which could captivate them and which they found very promising. The notion of “forcing awareness” and how to use the programming for that was new to all but also very welcome and appeared important for the recuperation of the powers of the mind as we see them in early childhood, to serve the overall education of every human. The other notion which found favor with everyone was concerned with programming in such a way that it is the user who decides whether the practice needed was sufficient or could be adjusted in more or in less. Responsibility for the amount of practice needed can be left today to the student thanks to the existence of the microcomputer in the classroom or in the home. The disks which were used as examples in both places were among those presented in this Newsletter under the names of: Infused Reading; a Study of Spelling and Visible and Tangible Math I or II. To sum up the value to others of this four month around the world seminar and workshop tour, let us say that it brought hope to many who were either burnt out teachers or people despairing of ever seeing education serve human evolution as it should.
3 An Intensive Residential Eight-Day Seminar In France Under the title: “The spiritual disciplines which free us and allow us to be happy,” fifty people gathered in a hotel in the Alps near Grenoble, at 1340 meter altitude. As everywhere else the weather was not clement, but it was not too bad either, cold, rainy, stormy with occasional sunshine. But there was much sunshine in the hearts of the people in the 35 or so sessions of the week.
Of course, the vagueness of the title allowed people to imagine anything they wanted for the week. What happened took everybody by surprise. At the end almost all were so pleased they had come. From the start they heard: “This seminar if not practical, will be nothing.” To make it practical meant that essentially exercises had to be devised session after session with examination in between to see if the work had been according to the rules. “Spiritual disciplines” had to be seen not in a theological context as some did, but as those disciplines displayed by humans in their day to day activities involving them fully. No one slid from that meaning to the other and there was nothing to worry about the use of spirituality in lay, secular contexts as synonymous to human. The first exercise was decisive and gave the tone to the week. Participants were asked to work by themselves and to produce a list of items each of which was capable of answering the question, “What am I?” It was made clear that there was no request to answer the very difficult question, “Who am I?” which could easily become too philosophical and metaphysical. The one put to them was down to earth, empirical and immediate, like: “I am shy” or “I am spiteful.” No one had a problem producing a list in 40 minutes. This list was not to be tidy, ordered or hierarchical; items were put down as they came to mind, provided they illustrated the question. At the meeting of the whole group which followed, no one was asked to tell the content of his or her list. Only to share whether it had been easy or hard to face oneself in that way. For most it had been easy and several lists were long. But some people had difficulty distinguishing “what” from “who” and were attracted to an inner intellectual dialogue rather than to a search for attributes which told what one was. Then it became clear that there were disciplines involved in working on the assignment. Some could be singled out, described and acknowledged as belonging to more than oneself. The second exercise was about the first. “Select in your own list that item which seems to hold the greatest power on yourself and appears more prominent than many others and relate to it alone in order to 33
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find out what it actually means for yourself.” This time it was not necessary to do all the work by oneself and small group work helped or not in such investigations. The whole group then assembled to examine what the participants had to say about their solitary or group work. It was clear that the short time of that day had been sufficient to do some valuable work in coming closer to oneself than so far in these people’s lives ; that the original list had been helpful to focus on some of the items and given them importance and had the power to stimulate reflection. It became clear that the seminar had started well, that all were at ease because they talked to themselves and kept to themselves what came to the fore. No judgment was hampering the scrutiny of what one was and this scrutiny could be free because there were no requests to go public. Many expressed satisfaction in the rich returns of such a simple technique and saw that it could be extended beyond these sessions. The third exercise was only mentioned since it was to be worked on in the sessions the next morning. “Select any one of the items on the list because of its weight on your mind and consider what you had to do with yourself so that that attribute of oneself be acceptable, first to yourself, and, if there were time left in that study, to others.” The discipline of remaining with some aspect of oneself and the one of looking at this aspect with the stress placed on being acceptable to oneself, as one that is inherent to oneself and is not to be eliminated because of some external, or even inner pressure, was to be looked at too. The first day had had the power of relaxing people, particularly the more nervous ones; the next morning with its stress on being acceptable to oneself, released so much affective energy that it was palpable when the whole group reassembled to look at what had happened to each and to all.
No one had expected that the mere consideration of one of one’s traits with the light of it being one’s identity and without any value attached to it, would generate so much peace in oneself. The empirical reality was taking precedence upon the mechanisms which, until then, had associated some negative feeling with that item and had dominated it; negative feeling which was assumed to be part of it and not superimposed on it. The spiritual disciplines were producing returns and these were found to have powers beyond what had been associated with the traits unexamined so far. The assembled group stayed together in the two sessions of the p.m. and worked on the ease with which we let our lives being mortgaged to environmental forces because we stop being vigilant and soon seem to consider that so many people are entitled to look over what we engage in. The truth is that everyone is so busy with him or herself that on the whole there is very little time left to be taken by other people’s involvements in their own lives. A liberating thought results from being with the discipline which brings to us that we cannot be the center of interest of others. Although a new idea to most of those present it had the effect of liberating them from the surveillance of others who in fact very rarely exercised it. The third day was dedicated to an empirical study of presence. Everyone knew the meaning of the word, but it took some doing to put that meaning at the level of direct perception. A game was offered which had been tried out in Bristol, Besançon and Geneva in November ‘86 and again in Osaka in early May ‘87. All that previous experience had refined the game and from that morning on it became a source of inspiration on many occasions. Here is what it is in a few words. Everyone is asked to stretch out three fingers and to look at them. Then they are asked: “In how many ways can you count them to reach the cardinal 3?” Quite a number of the participants panicked believing it was a math question and responded as usual as if they were trapped. But for some it was so simple that they had the answer, 6, at once. To shift everyone from the move to answer the question to observing oneself working out 35
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the counting, took many minutes. Finally a slow examination of the actual choices available when looking at the set and the suggestion that once a first finger is chosen it may be held tight with the other hand, forced everyone to see how the exercise became one on presence, a byproduct of which would be the answer. Of course, the subtle contact with oneself which is not a usual preoccupation and is verbalized as being “present in this choice,” now “one’s mind is looking at the remaining two fingers,” now “if one of them is chosen,” then, “the third one occupies one’s awareness,” needed going over more than once so that all knew what the task was about. All managed to recognize that the self can be present at the same time on several tasks and can verbalize the awareness of these presences and of their dynamics so that others can concord, as well that that was what they were doing. Two things had thus been achieved by that primitive challenge concerning three fingers. One was that “presence” had acquired a concrete existence and could hold one’s mind on it, and the other, that a language was being created to relate to that subtle reality, acceptable to all as legitimate for this realm as the ordinary is for everyday actions and thoughts. Those hours appeared to all as well spent since it was not easy to move in and out of the realm of presence and be sure of what one was doing. An immediate application of that conquest was in the extension of the task of counting to more than three fingers. Very soon one could hear from people earlier panicked, that they believed they could make a sense of mathematics now and even enjoy such mental activities. But the purpose of the exercise was to give new instruments of study of one’s inner life so that spiritual disciplines became second nature in a short time. Going back to accepting oneself and accepting to look at one’s fears, inhibitions, prejudices, were more appealing and some time was spent
in considering one’s relation to one’s death. At the end many said it had been liberating to look at those dynamics face to face and find paths to reach them concretely. The fourth day was taken by the liberating impact of living in truth. Rather than get lost in a discussion of whose truth we are talking about, solid ground was found when “the sense of truth” as an attribute of one’s self, was acknowledged as a guiding light all through our lives. It became possible then to see “accepting oneself” as a manifestation of our sense of truth and a guarantee of a simplification of our lives burdened by so much which is fictitious. Entertaining the ways our sense of truth develops spiritual disciplines and how we can practice them day in day out in all our involvements, added to the readiness of all to enter into a study of learning free of prejudices. The notion that what is expected from the various learnings can be considered as a byproduct while the product was being with the activity, was illustrated during the fifth day devoted to a study of learning Arabic. Except one participant (a Moroccan) no one knew Arabic. Most had not even heard it was written from right to left. The purpose was not to teach the language but to force awareness that if the students are present and play the games proposed, Arabic can become an inner reality which can be summoned at will just like one’s native tongue. Also to illustrate that the product is “to liberate oneself from all the obstacles which stand in one’s way of learning” and that that product (a spiritual one) allows the by-product (knowing Arabic) to become real. The day in that respect was very successful. The Moroccan witness could not believe what was happening, so fast, so well, so smoothly and unrelated to his beliefs about memorization, drill and repetition of which there was none. Everybody (or almost) was delighted with the many facets of the experiences of that day. The last session of the fifth day allowed for a summary of what had been happening. In that summary, many participated who showed that our memory is selective and that we need everyone to complete a true 37
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picture of what happened actually over five intensive days. Generally, the impression that a great deal more had been achieved with ease than anyone had expected, made the group feel ready to move to the subject of happiness. The last two days of the seminar were tackled as a fresh challenge since it was the first time it got raised in meetings with Dr. Gattegno. Everyone was invited to contribute by saying what he or she associated with the word happiness. From all that was said it became clear that humans experience from the beginning of life that his well-being is supported or violated by what is happening to them. So â€œwell-beingâ€? is a reality known directly by everybody and happiness one of the forms it takes when it is spoken about. Thus the few sessions of those two days could become research sessions rather than occasions to tell stories about happiness and how one or the other stumbled into it accidentally. If well-being does not need definition, because it is known directly in the act of living, and surely before one has words to say anything, it can serve as an instrument to study its vicissitudes over oneâ€™s life. This chartered the course of the two days. What can be retained from the experiences of well-being can give a very very young baby criteria so that events involving it can be assessed directly as contributing to it or countering it. In this way every one of us can own a system of reference which at once yields answers in our encounters. The various reasons for the variety of cryings stem from that. By being with our well-being from the start of life will endow us with the direct and proper knowledge which makes us knowers in those areas for the rest of our lives. The spiritual disciplines are therefore with us from the beginning. We need to ask no one whether we are happy or not. As we grow older and our experience widens we modify these criteria so as to embrace a larger set of activities but still only count on ourselves to conclude about our happiness. In particular, we
relate to learning in that way and the reaching of mastery triggers the happiness most commonly experienced by all of us. The words remain the same but the content they cover is a function of the absolute we are in and which generates the concreteness in the examples. Once we extend beyond our own self and involve other people as is done in friendship or love, complications may arise and new disciplines must be left in to take care of the new components. Pleasure can become a form of happiness which we cultivate by our selves and then with others. Achievement of goals in social undertakings generates happiness. The pursuit of happiness thus takes so many forms from the beginning to the end of life and it is possible to give these forms more specificity through the light of a theory of relativity like the one developed in other seminars concerned with the successive absolutes of evolution. The two days on happiness provided still more spiritual wealth to each of the participants already fully charged by the previous five days. So, when the final feedback session arrived, and everyone was attempting to say what had been the most salient gains of this week, the human tone of the group grew to the point that no one doubted that the spiritual disciplines lived experientially were to be considered as definite steps in oneâ€™s evolution. The sincerity of all, the free gift of oneself and the veracity involved in each statement, came out as a serenity everyone had reached and could be taken home in all humility. If the week had been so beautiful for the participants, the final feedback session by its own power and beauty became a send-off charge that could be recallable at will and used as reserve when facing the actual demands in oneâ€™s everyday life and its pettinesses. Fifty people will speak of a memorable week transcending memories and reaching a deep climate within which can affect all actions and thoughts with presence and surrender. ***
From Prehumanity To Humanity
Announcements 1 A group in Besançon (l’Association pour une Education de la Conscience) continues its relentless work and in 1987 alone has produced eight volumes as transcripts of seminars with Dr. Gattegno. Peut-on changer son passe? — Psychologie de la petite enfance — Une théorie Générale de la Relativité Humaine — De l’Amour (Vol. 1 et 2) — De la Liberté (Vol. 1 & 2) — La santé. No doubt the two volumes of the seminar on the spiritual disciplines mentioned in this Newsletter will be worked on diligently by a team keen to make it available to those who could not manage to be there. For orders write: 7 Rue de Belfort, F. 25000 Besançon. Ask for a price list of all the texts published since 1978. 2 Part 1 Of The Treatise THE SCIENCE OF EDUCATION has been published this summer in New York and can be obtained from Educational Solutions, Inc. at U.S. $14.95 per copy. This volume contains six chapters forming the Theoretical Considerations needed to understand better why the technology of education which subordinates teaching to learning is so widely successful and held so by so many teachers in many countries of the world. Four of these six chapters had appeared separately since 1977 and can still be obtained (at U.S. $3.00 per chapter) from the same source. The Table of Contents reads: Preface Introduction and Chapter One: How a Science is Born Chapter Two
Awareness of the Awareness
Facts of Awareness
Affectivity and Learning
Memory and Retention
Chapters Two to Five have been slightly edited for this publication. This is a restricted printing, order your copy as soon as possible. Part 2 will be printed as separate chapters of which #13 already exists. In Japan order from: Fusakosan Allard, Director The Center 204 Shirono Building 3041 Manzai-Cho Kita-ku, Osaka 531 JAPAN In Australia order form: Claude Arnould 2 Southey Street Blackburn, Vic. 3130 AUSTRALIA *** Â
About Caleb Gattegno Caleb Gattegno is the teacher every student dreams of; he doesnâ€™t require his students to memorize anything, he doesnâ€™t shout or at times even say a word, and his students learn at an accelerated rate because they are truly interested. In a world where memorization, recitation, and standardized tests are still the norm, Gattegno was truly ahead of his time. Born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1911, Gattegno was a scholar of many fields. He held a doctorate of mathematics, a doctorate of arts in psychology, a master of arts in education, and a bachelor of science in physics and chemistry. He held a scientific view of education, and believed illiteracy was a problem that could be solved. He questioned the role of time and algebra in the process of learning to read, and, most importantly, questioned the role of the teacher. The focus in all subjects, he insisted, should always be placed on learning, not on teaching. He called this principle the Subordination of Teaching to Learning. Gattegno travelled around the world 10 times conducting seminars on his teaching methods, and had himself learned about 40 languages. He wrote more than 120 books during his career, and from 1971 until his death in 1988 he published the Educational Solutions newsletter five times a year. He was survived by his second wife Shakti Gattegno and his four children.
Published on Nov 17, 2009