Please write a list of simple suggestions of how an individual, parent, educator, practitioner could make changes to turn the trends you are talking about.
We begin by discovering that our conditioning, as parents and educators, is the greatest source of harm. We are the enemy. We must be free if our children are to be free. Our challenge is to see very clearly that our reality and identity is not grounded in our authentic nature, which is nature, with its implicit immeasurable creative intelligence. The explosive power of our imagination as concept, culture and identity dominates our consciousness. The constant threats imposed by culture create an internal-mirror image of that threat as a defense, the social ego. So pervasive is this threat and response dynamic that very early we falsely assume that the inner-defensive is an independent reality. We falsely believe that this defensive image is who and what we are, rather than identifying with our true nature, which is creative intelligence, empathic appropriateness and transcendence.
We mistake our explosive self-generated mental images for intelligence, when deeper, critical attention reveals that intellect is merely a tool and not intelligence at all. So pervasive is this conditioning that we, the enculturated species that we have become, are completely blind to our true nature. This fatal mistaken identity and misuse of imagination now threatens stability and survival of most life forms on earth. This challenge must be seen directly, immediately, not simply as another concept.
In the present moment, free of conditioned thought with its images, open and sensitive, the wisdom and intelligence that has imprinted and embodied life is there. When the baby cries we respond, not with Dr. Spock or the Bible, ‘spare the rod, spoil the child,’ which is conditioning, clouds in the sky that block the light of millions of years of empathic appropriateness. When the baby cries because of fear or pain, the most direct and appropriate response is to pick the baby up, knowing that affectionate human touch pushes away fear, soothes the pain. One state negates the other. If Spock, some book or concept fills the mind, some formula or rule, we cannot see the baby. We see and respond to the concept and not the baby. Is there any doubt, repeating this, century after century, why we have become so violent and destructive, to ourselves and everything else?
Ultimately, there is no how, no rules or formula needed to access this sensitive, appropriate intelligence that we actually are. Imagine if you needed a concept to take a breath. Thought and concepts block and prevent the flowering of goodness, to use Krishnamurti’s phrase. Direct empathic insight-action worked fine for millions of years, that is, until we buried the light of this deep intelligence in culture, civilization and technologies. Today, navigating the dangers that culture represents, takes more than empty innocence. So, we invent concepts and practices, create habits that counter the negative reflexes that our deep conditioning imposes. Being completely submerged in culture and concepts we turn to culture and concepts to free ourselves from culture and concepts.
OK, we need to start someplace. The first requisite is, do no harm. From our essay; Why go to school, the meaning of education?
Creating an atmosphere in which there is no fear requires a great deal of thinking on everyone’s part; the child, student, parent and educator. No fear physically is fairly obvious; no bullying, no corporal punishments, no spanking, no isolation as in time out, etc. No fear psychologically is another matter; no comparison, which includes grades, no rewards, which include praise and threats of punishment, no humiliation, no shame, no ‘I told you so,’ no, ‘how many times do I have to tell you,’ no, ‘look what you did, or did not do.’ In all these, and many other ways, culture implants deeply, and very early, the seeds of our psychological mask, our coping pattern, our self-image or ego. First things first. When the milk spills attention is focused on the milk, not who tipped it over.
We become sensitive and aware of all the ways that culture creates and feeds the social image or ego with its comparisons, judgements, punishments and rewards, and, with care and attention, negate these powerful forces, these knee-jerk conditioned reflexes from damaging the natural order and intelligence of our child’s new developing brain and mind. Understanding that compulsory schooling, technology and media are powerful agents of culture, we protect our children from being infected by these forces until they have the capacity to recognize these seductive dangers themselves, age eleven or twelve. We protect the physical body from environmental toxins, including fake, processed food, GMOs, hidden sugar, poisoned water, over prescribed pharmaceuticals and, yes, we protect our children from growing list of government mandated vaccines. All of this is simply doing no harm, which in practice changes in scope and our behavior as the child moves through various ages and stages of development.
We find a child not distracted and damaged by identifying with all the threats and comparisons that cultural conditioning imposes through church, compulsory schooling and all the cultural counterfeits found in exploitive corporate media, that they retain their astonishing capacity to gather and focus complete attention in continued and expansive learning called original play. This play encompasses language, literacy and inventive story beginning at age two which continues to grow and expand naturally, opening the child to the amazing world of books, and the qualities of mind that books develop, all spontaneously if give appropriate adult models.
As the capacity for abstract thinking develops, beginning around age five, but most certainly by six, seven and eight in an undamaged child, we help them understand and negate all the false social-images and their behaviors that culture has imprinted in that child and in the children and adults they encounter. Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication comes to mind, seeing and responding to the feelings and needs behind the social mask. And this negating of the false images and strong emotions we have about ourselves and others, continues to grow in importance during adolescence. Imagine not being seduced by all these zombie social-images during this critical period of metamorphosis, now projected directly into the brains of our teens by social media, how preventing this will protect the natural order of the human mind from these incestuous mental worms. Imagine all the energy and attention that will be conserved, freed to be directed into empathic wholeness and wellbeing as nature designed. In this way we redirect the powerful period called adolescence into the service of light and wholeness rather than darkness, depression and despair, with suicide now being the prime cause of death for young people.
By the late-teens and early-twenties, a body and mind free from the vampires of culture will not be attracted to the zombie-personalities who inhabit what Buddhists call the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, the realm that our counterfeit culture lives in. Being free from the spell that created these zombie-personalities, the natural order of the heart and mind will attract and be attracted to light, not darkness. Thought and knowledge are seen as the tools they are, rather than being agents for social comparison and pecking order. Their energies and attention, being free from the addiction that empty-identities crave, will naturally move in ways that increase the light and new possibilities that they see, for they embody and live in a completely different reality, finally free from the spell that has endarkened the human mind for centuries.
Am I suggesting that all rules, limitations and constraints imposed by culture are wrong or evil, that we should not be educated or use technologies? Not at all. By what standard or value do we discriminate between stopping at red and going at green, and the holocaust or forced mandatory vaccinations or sterilization without informed consent? It is argued that these measures are practical and necessary for the wellbeing of culture. Marinating in culture for centuries renders us so conditioned that we can hardly imagine a form of intelligence that is free of enucleation; nationalism, racism, sexism, and many other isms, for example. Cultures, including compulsory education and organized religions, are fundamentally conservative. They enforce strict codes of allegiance and conduct. Self-actualization, as I and my teachers have suggested, is sacrificed for the disembodied, abstracted greater-good. This sacrificing, limiting and constraining of individual human potential is anti-nature, anti-design.
Implied in this collection of essays is an urgent need to identify more deeply with our authentic nature, and from this, watch a new culture emerge. Doing so threatens the dominate self-centered basis of culture as we know it, a force that will do everything possible to repress the emergence of another foundation for culture. In there lies the Rub, a Rub being a hidden dagger in Shakespeare’s time, and our real challenge. Ideally culture, being grounded in nurture, would support and enhance its essence, which is transcendent self-actualization, based on empathic cooperation, not in trampling and enslaving other species and resources as sapiens have done selfishly for millennia.
This new reality can only come into being when sufficient energy and attention is free from seductive images that culture continually spews, like hypnotic smog. The prerequisite is for parents and adults to gather a sliver of attention that is not infected so they discover in themselves the profound distinction between an enchanted mind and a mind free from enchantment. Once this insight unfolds, we have a new reference and can return to the embodied experience of a state of mind and heart that is free. Instead of culture conditioning as thought being our default state, the embodied experience of a state of mind and heart that is free becomes the norm. Now, we have a carabineer, a secure starting place, to climb Mt. Everest, the perennial reawakening from the dream-clouds that block the light that we are. In this sense, we and our children begin the journey of Always Awakening. And with that awakening a new reality and new culture is born.