Learning & Education 01

Educatin is not learning
Joseph Chilton Pearce

The environment is the greatest teacher of the child.  It's estimated that probably not more than 5% of all the structures of knowledge that take place in the brain, not more than 5% of all the structures of knowledge or all that learning takes place from our verbal directives as adults on the child.  Our teaching of the child will account for no more than about 5%.  95% of the learning will simply be automatic and spontaneous, beneath the awareness of either the child or ourselves.  As they simply become who we are not who we tell the to be, and as they become what the world itself teaches them to become.

As every child grows they reach out to explore the world in new and expanding ways. What they learn gives meaning to life and changes how they feel about themselves.  In the next few minutes we are going to look at learning and what we call education in completely new ways.  We will be joining Joseph Chilton Pearce, as he explores with parents, educators and health care professionals, what it means to learn and how education is changing as we move into the 21 century.  For more than thirty years Joe has challenged audiences around the world by questioning why, as human beings, we haven’t developed to our full potential.  He has written six books including Crack in the Cosmic Egg, The Magical Child and most recently, Evolution’s End.  He brings to us a unique vision of human development, one that blends vast amounts of research with personal observations and experience.  It is a privilege to bring to you Joseph Chilton Pearce on Learning and Education.

Joe Pearce: Today we're talking about learning and education.  We can say first of all that learning certainly starts in the womb.  Education starts after birth.  Education leading forth into knowledge, but learning goes on from the very beginning.  The environment is the greatest teacher of the child.  It's estimated that probably not more than 5% of all the structures of knowledge that take place in that nine brain system, that brain of his or her, not more than 5% of all the structures of knowledge or all that learning takes place from our verbal directives as adults on the child.  Our teaching of the child will account for no more than about 5%.  95% of the learning will simply be automatic and spontaneous, beneath the awareness of either the child or ourselves.  As they simply become who we are not who we tell the to be, and as they become what the world itself teaches them to become.

That is all of the environment teaches the child.  We hear of the little kittens, who raised in an artificial environment where everything simply vertical stripes, that those little kittens when they are mature and taken out into the ordinary world will be only able to cognize anything of a vertical nature and will stumble right into anything of a horizontal nature so to speak.  We are more flexible thank God but a certain element of that you'll find in our life too.  The world environment we are in teaches us and brings us forth into that world.

We mentioned, we talked yesterday a great deal about the nurturing environment.  If the environment is nurturing, if the child feels unconditionally accepted and wanted by his environment, ushered into it.  They open up continually into the higher structures of the brain, etc., they're opening up to embrace their world.  If that world is threatening there is a closure toward defensive of self against a hostile world, the most natural thing in the world.  So we find that the first great imperative of education or leading forth into knowledge is that the child never be threatened.  That they never feel attacked by the world or questioned or judged by the world but that an open acceptance of the child must be reflected by the world itself.

I think of Piaget, I think it was, his great statement that the one hallmark of the early child is an absolute unquestioned acceptance of that which is given them.  The world is just there, they never question it.  The actions of adults they never questions, they simply accept unconditionally, everything as it is.  This unquestionable acceptance, this open acceptance of that which is given and through that we have what Montessori calls the totally absorbent mind.  You don't need to teach which is to cram in from on top, you need to simply provide that environment which openly accepts the child in return and the absorbent mind will absorb that world and learn about it.

We spoke yesterday of betrayal of intimacy, which is a term my friend Michael Mendizza uses and someone mentioned the fact that the greatest betrayal the child feels is when they open up in total acceptance and movement toward a parent and the parent fails to perceive this which the child then interprets as rejection.  And don't think this is not the same all through life.  The little kindergarten child going into the first classroom, there's an absolute open acceptance of that teacher.  They have no choice except to unconditionally accept everything given, and unless that's reflected back then that child will feel betrayed and little by little begin to build up a shell of defense and that will be a block to their true education.

The other thing about this is if the world is not accepting in return, now we'll have to go back to the triune nature of the brain, don't forget we have this ancient reptilian structure as we call it and then the old mammalian structure, this reptilian structure which presents us with a physical world and knowledge of that world and body and then the emotional, we call that the "R" System, and then the emotional cognitive system which is our qualitative evaluation of this world body experience and our relation to it and then the great neo-cortex, the great huge new brain, the ability to reflect on this and play with it and all sorts of things that happen later.  

We find that if the child’s open acceptance is betrayed there will be a tendency to use all the higher structures of knowledge in behalf or on behalf of a defense system of maintenance down here in the lowest evolutionary structures.  Remember yesterday we spoke of the brain growth spurts at birth, age 1, age 4, age 7, what happens at 11 and 15 and so on.  Now we pointed out that each one of these opens the blocks of intelligences inherent within these areas of the brain and these open up on target.  That is, nature has a certain agenda.  So many spins around the sun and this ones going to open up.  So many more spins around and this one’s going to open up and so on.  Six year molars don't wait until we have a perfect diet for them to appear do they.  They're going to come in somewhere around 6 or 7.  Twelve year molars don't wait for anything, they come right on in.  Same thing with wisdom teeth around 18.  So nature's agenda is a timed process.  

The same with the opening of these higher centers for their full focus and development.  Now, if the lower structures have not been completed or we're stuck in them in effect, then these are going to open anyway.  We will have access to those higher intelligences but we will use them on behalf of our maintenance system and that's where the whole devolutionary process sets in and we get into trouble so never forget that education or leading forth into knowledge is to lead us out of these maintenance systems.  That is, we should be able to turn maintenance surviving in the world over to the automatic pilot, over to the autonomic system.  We ought to be able to take it for granted at a certain period and move on into the higher realms of human possibility.  We don't have to take thought of the morrow, we don't have to worry about food, clothing and shelter and all of that, that should be part of the automatic maintenance system.  We should be able to leave it, forget about it, move on.  But instead most of us stay locked in it all of our life fretting and worrying and so on.  Why?  Because of a failure.  A full development and a failure of moving out of that embedment into a higher one.  So education, leading forth into knowledge is really leading into our full biological possibilities up here rather than staying locked in down here.

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Associative Processing Breaking Down
Joseph Chilton Pearce

Jean Healy, in Endangered Minds, described how the associative capacity of children is breaking down. They cannot hold one idea and connect its meaning to another or sequence of ideas, an obvious capacity developed by the brain in response to storytelling. Children are unable to imagine the logical sequence of ideas or consequences. Every event becomes an isolated, now you see it now you don’t affair, not unlike television commercials. This diminished capacity impacts one’s ability to build up a body of knowledge of a particular subject. Recent information can be mimicked. Long term retention does not stick. All of this is the natural and predicted result of fully and appropriately nurturing each stage of development in its proper sequence compounded by technological counterfeits of process the brain is designed to produce internally.

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Brain Development – Concrete to Abstract
Joseph Chilton Pearce

Researchers found that the ability of college freshman to comprehend semantic meaning, different from concrete meaning, has diminished. Only 50% of college freshman could think in abstract semantic concepts which had historically been assumed to open at age twelve. The rest were stuck back in their early childhood concrete language patterns. This anticipates and predicts an inability of young people to interact with abstract concepts such as the bill of rights, beauty, philosophies, and even more the abstract languages of science and mathematics. This reflects a biological failure to develop the necessary brain-structures needed to produce the internal imagery that give these abstract word-symbols meaning.

There was a study done in the late 1980’s at a big western university, now let’s see what state it was.  At any rate I was there for about a week and they had made a study of their incoming freshmen to see where they stood in what we call the Pieje in stages of development centering around the development of concrete operational thinking which depends on concrete language and interacting with your world in a very viable real way at age 7, which runs from about 7 to 11 when the child is in this state of what we call concrete operational thinking.  Then around 11 or 12 there opens up what we call formal operational thinking which is the ability to comprehend, understand and use Symantec language which is not concrete language, not language designating things and objects but language designating meaning, ideas or concepts.   And the discovery was that only 50% of their incoming freshmen could sent in Symantec language which had always been assumed to open up at age 12, only 50% of the incoming and these are the university students, supposedly the cream of the crop of your whole state, and only 50% of them have arrived at a 12 year old stage of development.  The rest of them were still back in their concrete operational stage which means a word had to have a direct physical correlation in their immediate comprehension or the word was meaningless to them, which meant also that there was no way in the world you would ever be able to explain the meaning of something so abstract as The Bill of Rights or The Constitution or The Sermon on the Mount, or more less getting into how level abstractions such as Science and Chemistry and so on.  They just didn’t have this available.  The neural structures weren’t there.   So now we find that 50 years ago the average American child, high school student, had a working vocabulary of approximately 25,000 words.  Now today that’s been reduced to 10,000 words which means that there has been a serious loss of the scope of what, the language which is what we call descriptive and they’re left only with the concrete images or language, of concrete imagery of tangible physical touchable stuff.  Now unfortunately you can’t touch metaphoric symbolic thinking.  You can’t touch Symantec language.  It isn’t available on the sensory system.  You can’t convert into a concrete language or an image the principles of Chemistry or Physics or any of that, or Mathematics or the higher ethical domains of experience.  None of that is available on a concrete level but only on a Symantec meaning level.  And so we have eliminated the descriptive aspects of the child’s language system and left them only with the concrete immediately physical aspects of language.  And what did this do, it’s thrown them into some very severe boundaries of their own comprehension, their own ability to perceive.

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Computer Screens & Brain Development
Joseph Chilton Pearce

Researchers looking at children who spend a great deal of time with computer games found using brain imaging that these activities bypassed the prefrontal lobes and the neocortex. The activity is essentially sensory motor. The regions controlling the fingers and thumbs got a lot of activity. Most of the brain however, was silent. The prefrontal regions control all the other brain centers. The implications are profound. Dexterity in the thumbs was drawing developmental resources from the entire higher more evolved and complex brain centers. No activity, no development in these regions. Later when more complex responses are needed there is no biological founding for these functions to express, clearly a de evolutionary pattern.

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Play, Imagination, Television & Media
Joseph Chilton Pearce

Historically imaginative play involved acting out the story suggested by the Saturday matinee. It wasn’t mimicry, reflexive copying. It was acting out the story line, let’s pretend, which is a vastly different developmental activity. Watching a radiant screen impacts the brain differently than the light reflected off a traditional movie screen. Television-computer screens produce a passive, trance-like state that is extremely difficult for the child to withdraw from. Producers of children’s programing insist on a minimum number of violent acts per minute to insure continued attention. All of this deeply conditions the developing brain in was that are far different from storytelling and imaginative play.

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Biology of Transcendence – Education
Joseph Chilton Pearce

True education, leading forth into knowledge, is leading forth into life itself and that includes spirit. What we have is conditioning, conformity, comparison, judgment and obedience training. Waldorf education encompasses culture, is based on the arts, creativity and honors the child’s spirit along with his or her intellect. 

Well an education that addresses spirit starts at conception practically.  It’s an automatic part of life itself. We speak of education is leading forth into knowledge.  Knowledge of what? Of life itself.  Everything in the child drives them toward that.  They’re driven by this huge force to interact with the living world and build what Piaget calls the “construction of knowledge,” the neural imprint of that world.  They can interact with it on a relationship, in a relational way, and there’s this enormous force that drives the child to do that.  Just like the same force that drives them to play, the same force that drives them toward imagination, moving into their inner world of creative play and so on.  Why it is they want to play all the time, of course that’s the way they can interact and learn in this world and relate to it and so forth.  All that bubbles up from inside the child expressing outwardly.  That’s education.  

Anything that blocks that, any negative that comes along, is in effect a restraint and I would call it, like William Blake would call it an evil force.  The child comes in assuming, comes into the world assuming, that the world welcomes him or her and that it’s the right place to be and that it’s their possession.  The world is their playground and they move out with this assumption that the world welcomes their interaction with it and learning of it, and so on.  And they’re hit on every hand with obstacles to that.  And being hit by obstacles through it such as the constant negation of the world, everything is out of reach of the child.  You can’t do this, you can’t do that.  No, don’t” every few minutes from everybody. And then the fact that the failure to meet the child’s needs as they move out into the world, what we call the bonding process and so on, the failure to meet those needs is in effect a great negation from the world.  So the world is responding to the child’s great affirmation and embrace with the negation and they’re shutting off.  This in effect kills the spirit of a child eventually.  

So for us to sit around talking about soul in this case, leaves me kind of cold because I don’t know what the soul would be unless you want to relate it to mine, just the awareness of self, but the child coming into the world comes in with the assumption that this whole thing is their playground and they’re driven with this great force.  Again that force that through the green fuse drives the flower, drives that child to embrace the world.And then he hits the great negative force of culture and something in that child dies at that point.  

So education would be not how we can engineer the child’s life or anything like that, not a curriculum that’s going to do that.  The true education would simply be to keep that affirmative state open in the child’s mind at all times and never let them be driven into a negation, into a negative constraint, but to keep them open and moving and embracing their world.

Critical & Creative Thinking

Joseph Chilton Pearce

We hear a lot about self-esteem these days, but few have really give it much thought.  To have self-esteem we must be able to reach inside, see a new possibility and then allow that inner vision to act upon and change the world we live in.  This going within and developing the inner vision and skill to change the outer world, is perhaps the most important lesson we will ever learn.

Learning & Education

Joseph Chilton Pearce

As every child grows they reach out to explore the world in new and expanding ways. What they learn gives meaning to life and changes how they feel about themselves. Here Joe looks at learning and what we call education in completely new ways.

Imagination & Play

Joseph Chilton Pearce

It was Einstein who said that imagination was more important than knowledge.  He understood that our greatest discoveries and most profound works of art have come to us through imagination and play.  Far from being idle day dreaming, the fantasies of childhood, build the foundation for all higher learning. 

Dumb is Good - Dumber is Better

“TV and compulsory schooling do the same thing but differently…” John Taylor Gatto

Bored, reparative, rote, uncritical, uncreative, unimaginative, easily influenced, subservient to authority, behavior modification and obedience trained… the perfect consumer. Herd mentality is the goal of both.

'Form is Content' and when conditioning is the goal content and standards are a hoax, a distraction to hide from view the deeper conditioning agenda. This is no secret. It is in plain view, but he conditioning is so good that few have the capacity, attention or ability to question how the system operates.