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  • Curriculum and the Dream Paradigm

    - Stephen Schafer

     The majority seems to have figured out how to rationalize their responsibility for such collapse, but this is cold comfort since it begs the important question.  We have avoided responsibility by repressing the problem and, perhaps, projecting responsibility onto the terrorists.  Repression and Projection are psychological defense mechanisms-cognitive processes employed by the human mind to protect the self-image.  Psychologists and a few educated people armed with knowledge of the psyche may have a fair understanding of the issues and trends of the day.  But the vast majority of citizens are ignorant, fragmented, and essentially powerless within the dream.  

    Worst of all, our educational system has put a governor on enlightenment.  A number of ill-advised and reactionary policies implemented over the years have dimmed the light in our classrooms.  This symptom of darkness is reflected in the popular media where dimly lit stages cover many deficiencies of art.  So far, educators have not attended to their responsibilities with due vigor.  Many thinkers have warned that we are facing a life-or-death crisis-complex.  Many would agree that in some obscure way, solutions reside in the realm of metaphor where the patterns of reality are seeded, the medium of dreams is cognized, and the DNA of biological structure is precipitated.  But beyond lip-service, no one in the educational curriculum business seems to understand or value the role that the media and symbolic language play in the process of enlightened reality-formation.  The products of such a curriculum are dark magicians that wield mostly destructive power. 

    For at least the last sixty years, the best thinkers of the age have been warning us, but their scientific prognosis has rarely been integrated into the sphere of practical education.  Eminent thinkers in all disciplines point to a new-millennium reality-view in which all aspects of that reality are holistic, interactive, and, in some way, "conscious."  One would hope that these parameters would have been addressed in every educational field ranging from the conceptual to the substantive, epistemology to teleology, economics to advertising, physics to biology, mediated reality to natural reality, computer science to psychology-but they have not been addressed.  Ecological emphasis should have achieved priority status in our curricula long ago.  By now, principles of function in a unified field of psyche-physics ought to be priority areas of concern throughout the field of human endeavor.  Instead, when we look at such fundamental educational areas as medicine, law, business, engineering, public policy, economics, industrial policy, foreign policy, ad infinitum, we find them emulating specialization, profiteering, compartmentalization, and pride. There is precious little content that can be considered authentic within a new-millennium paradigm.  Our educational perspective remains insular and defensive in a reality that is universal, interactive, and inclusive.  In a variety of ways, the many voices of enlightened thinkers have called attention to the need for a radical change in our thinking to accommodate the radical change in our reality-a reality that now appears to be "organized mind-stuff."  No matter how you cut it, we have failed almost totally in our efforts to prepare the nation's youth for a paradigm in which reality is a thought.  As Carl Jung says:

    "It would be so much simpler if we could only deny the existence of the psyche.  But here we are with our immediate experiences of something that is-something that has taken root in the midst of our measurable, ponderable, three-dimensional reality, that differs bafflingly from this in every respect and in all its parts, and yet reflects it.  The psyche may be regarded as a mathematical point and at the same time as a universe of fixed stars.  It is small wonder, then, if, to the unsophisticated mind, such a paradoxical being borders on the divine.  If it occupies no space, it has no body. Bodies die, but can something invisible and incorporeal disappear?  What is more, life and psyche existed for me before I could say "I," and when this "I" disappears, as in sleep or unconsciousness, life and psyche still go on, as our observation of other people and our own dreams inform us.  Why should the simple mind deny, in the face of such experiences, that the "soul" lives in a realm beyond the body? I must admit that I can see as little nonsense in this so-called superstition as in the findings of research regarding heredity or the basic instincts (Jung, 1933, p.  184)."

    Given the challenge, the prospects for serious games in education aught to have priority status.  Throughout the world, there has been a virtual explosion in research relative to the efficacy of using serious games in education.  Such research will play a critical part in the development of my thesis, but, as yet, no research has addressed the salient point I wish to make in this prospective.  That point is that serious games as curriculum have the potential to heal culture, humanity, and the planet. 


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