The Coexistence Model of Education
Despite the long history of education on this planet, the outcomes for us as individuals, families, society & our impact on our natural environment are far from satisfactory. This is because the content and process of humane education yet remain to be identified in a universal manner: While theism/spiritualism could not enunciate their proposals in a universal manner, materialism/science has not been able to provide a way for universal goodness.
Whereas, we can observe that every human child expects justice since birth, desires for right behavior and work and speaks the truth. The child does not know the above realities (Justice, Right behavior-work & Truth). It depends on education & human tradition (the environment) in order to understand these. Since human tradition as yet does not have a common clear understanding of the truth, beliefs by name of Justice, Right behavior-work & Truth are commonly accepted by various human communities. Accepting such beliefs, or the combination thereof, we grow up to be adult citizens, with our own varying set of notions & assumptions of right & wrong. This has resulted in the confused state we are in today.
We can hence brief the need for human education as follows:
- We humans live our lives based on our assumptions, beliefs and understanding. Humans conform to their assumptions/values or sanskar, unlike animals whose behavior and living is according to their race. If our beliefs change, so do our behavior, goals and actions.
- Humans have the ability of imagination & freedom of action. This is why we end up having different beliefs and differing behaviors.Whereas, we see that every other entity in nature: be it soil, metals, plants and animals exhibit a definite conduct. Humans are yet to have a definite conduct.
- There is a basic innate expectation & desire in every human to have right understanding and live rightfully with definiteness.
- There are realities in existence in the form of Justice, Religion (innate-order) & Truth. (nyaya-dharma-satya) and the right humane way of living
- We can use our imagination abilities to understand these truths and the correct ‘way of living’
- The role of education thus is to enable every human to use their faculty of imagination to understand these realities of existence & human life as they are and live accordingly: spiritually, intellectually, emotionally (in behavior) & in occupation (materially). This leads to definite human conduct & then reflects as coexistence & harmony in living in families, society, nation-states and with nature.
We can hence summarize as follows:
- Human beings belong to the ‘knowledge-order’. Our fundamental need is knowledge.
- Humans have the expectation to understand the truth about everything, including their living
- There are such realities in existence and the possibility that we can understand them
- Humans have the capability for such understanding.
- The role of education is to enable this understanding.
2. View of Reality/world view/ Ontology
Our content and pedagogical process of education is based on a fundamental and deep understanding of the human conscious, mind & psychology as it is in reality. This is enabled by the Madhyasth Darshan philosophy, or saha-astitva-vaad (coexistential thought). Simply put, existence (reality) is in the form of coexistence, is in harmony. There is spontaneous evolution in existence, and the occurrence of the world consisting of conscious entities – both animals and the human beings as we know it.
Humans on this planet are in a state of ‘awakening progression’ in our consciousness, in a state of illusion, wherein our understanding is partial and our plane of living is akin to that of animals. The human being has been identified as belonging to the ”knowledge-order’ (gyan avastha). Knowledge is the fundamental human need. The basic need for the human being is happiness, and this is possible via knowledge that leads to development to ‘human consciousness’ & living with ‘awakening’. See here for a brief summary of this philosophy.
There are realities in existence and the meanings & understanding of these realities reside in the teacher/guru. Since words are the most potent means of communication, they are used to provide direction to the pupils imagination.
Education thus, is the process of transferring this understanding or right values (sanskar) from the teacher to the student enabling the student to have these impressions of reality & live accordingly.
Our process of education has the following characteristics:
1. Addresses the ‘self ‘ directly
- Addresses inquisitiveness and exploration by each child, since the innate need for every human is to know – in place of mere memorization and rote learning
- Respect: Respects the freedom of imagination and freedom of action in the child allowing for their creative thinking & expressions (कल्पनाशीलता, कर्मस्वतंत्रता)
- Critical thinking: Enables students to scrutinize & evaluate using their own freedom of imagination and decide between right & wrong, true & false in their own right.
2. Recognizes human relationship
- Based on sound teacher-student relationship – between one who knows and one who wants to know: as against it being a ‘job’ alone.
- Based on values & evaluation, as against fear and enticement. (punishment and rewards)
- Fosters cooperation and mutual fulfillment with other children/ humans – in place of seeing them as opponents to compete against.
- Promotes excellence – everyone can be excellent. As against specialty & competition.
3. Integrated approach based on reality
- Subjects taught in an integrated manner – as the inter-related fabric of the cosmos, to human life on this planet and our roles as individuals, in families, society, nation-state etc – as against fragmented teaching leading only to specialization
- Addresses all dimensions of human living: realization, thought, behavior and occupation – as against the current goal of education largely for an occupation, or ‘to make a living’
- Based on the reality of Coexistence – of Existence being in harmony, that can be known – as against material-centrist chaos/instability based view or mysticism/god centrist views.
9. What to add in the current educational content
Students don’t get complete knowledge in any single subject in the current Education system. Study of the following missing aspects need to be inculcated to make prevalent education complete: –
- addition of Conscious aspect (jeevan) in Science.
- addition of Mental-impressions (sanskar) in Psychology.
- addition of Ethical utilization of the material and conscious aspects in Economics.
- addition of Culture and Civics of Humaneness in Sociology.
- addition of Conservation and Encouragement of Humaneness in Political-Science.
- addition of Activity of Matter in Philosophy (Darshan-Shastra).
- addition of Human being and Humaneness in History and Geography.
- addition of Essential Reality in Literature.