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  • Curriculum and the Dream Paradigm

    [09.29.06]
    - Stephen Schafer
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     Enlightenment has always been the objective of education, but the nature of education and the process by which cultures sought it have been quite different.  Life experience has always been the primary guide to enlightenment, and Nature has been the wise teacher.  In the modern age, Nature has been displaced with man-made environments and the "workplace" had displaced wisdom as an objective of education. More than one observer has characterized this inconceivably unfortunate trend as the enslavement of the human mind and spirit.  That educational reform has perpetuated this trend is more than a little disappointing-not just because of the prodigious financial losses associated with failure; but because, according to some observers, the consequences of our failure to adjust will be dire.  It would seem that our reform educational objectives remain the same-achievement of our full potential-but our sense of self and what that potential may be has shriveled.  The strictures of the scientific-materialist paradigm have clouded the human mind, dulled its spirit, and dashed its hopes and dreams. Many have argued that if humanity does not adjust to its new parameters of potential self, humanity will probably not survive.  Failure to adjust is portrayed universally in the apocalyptic myths and more recently in the media genre of apocalypse based on scientific projections (atomic holocaust, global warming, et al) Jung observes:

    The modern man has lost all the metaphysical certainties of his mediaeval brother, and set up in their place the ideals of material security, general welfare and humanness.  But it takes more than an ordinary dose of optimism to make it appear that these ideals are still unshaken.  Material security, even, has gone by the board, for the modern man begins to see that every step in material "progress" adds just so much force to the threat of a more stupendous catastrophe.  The very picture terrorizes the imagination (Jung, 1933, p. 204).

    In a psychological environment, terrorization of the imagination results in cognitive annihilation.  This non-survival usually begins with symptoms that take the form of anti-social, neurotic, and psychotic behavior.  Civilization can only tolerate so much insanity before it collapses.  So, aside from the threat of apocalypse by collision with a meteor, the human challenge is to avoid, if possible, the complete collapse of civilization due to uninspired human choices. 

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