אנתרופוסופיה בעת החדשה
פעילויות חברתיות מקדמות עתיד
אין דבר יותר מעשי בחיים מאשר אהבה
אריה בן דוד
THERE IS NOTHING MORE PRACTICAL IN LIFE THAN LOVE
Reflections on Education and Economy in light of the essence of life
BY ARIE BEN DAVID
Children are born with a natural capacity to joyfully learn through playing. They also thrive through being engaged in discovering. As adults, we are led to believe that children should learn from us according to the way we think about the world. We want them to fit into the world we created. But there is a lot we can learn from these little humans. One phenomenon that illustrates this point is that, between the age of 2 and 3, a child learns more than a university student does over seven years on their journey to getting a PhD. This raises the question, “What makes the child so efficient in their learning process?” The answer is very simple: the child is playing. Childhood is the period of our lives when we are the most open, curious and impressionable, yet our traditional schooling often results in children with anxiety, low self-esteem, competitiveness, reduced creativity and happiness, and other maladaptive traits. It is vital for us to reevaluate our teaching strategies to ensure that education builds learning capacities and nourishes collaboration.
Research has shown that, although most efforts of traditional education are directed to feed children’s intellect, IQ is something that can barely be improved. Furthermore, a high IQ doesn’t necessarily correlate with happier or more fulfilled lives. Rather, creativity has shown a strong correlation with a child’s capacity to achieve their life purpose. It allows them to navigate their lives kindly and wisely—even in difficult times.
The word ‘pedagogy’, originated from the Greek paidiá, means “childish play, amusement.” It captures the essence of learning—a creative, playful process. Since my early years, and during the past five decades of being an educator, my observations have confirmed the importance of play in the learning process. When we learn through passive listening, we may only retain ten percent of the content that was taught. On the contrary, when we are creatively engaged with others in the learning process, and share our lessons with them, not only do we have much more fun, but we also retain 90% of what we are learning!
My observations, paired with my practical experiences, led me to concluding that a strategic approach to education needs to consider life itself. A good place to start is the earthly cycle of life and death. There is a saying that “the shroud of death has no pockets.” This reminds us that, when we die, no physical object or material comes with us. The Earth doesn’t care whether we are famous and rich or unknown and poor. It treats us all the same when we pass. It skillfully integrates our bodies back into the soil. Thus, we must ask ourselves: What is life all about?
BY ARIE BEN DAVID
Throughout various life experiences and through my inner spiritual exploration, I realized that I have likely lived past lives—in different bodies, in other cultures, conditions and times. I was led to the understanding that some of the people who play a significant role in my current life also played an important role in my previous lives.
When we die, we may continue to evolve separately from the particular body we inhabited. When we consider our own unique individuality, we can reconsider the question, “Do we take anything with us beyond the gate of death?” We all have our own karma that is unfolding, independent of our bodies and all the temporary aspects of who we are.
“I don’t know where it goes, but I am delighted with how it goes.”
During my journey of researching the questions I touch on above, I asked myself: If I will truly have a life after this one, what are the most significant experiences and activities that will enable me to have a happy, meaningful and resilient life and that will potentially even be relevant beyond this life? I identified two major aspects that I will happily travel with:
1. The capacities I have developed, as life has unfolded, amidst all the challenges. Even Warren Buffet, known as the oracle from Omaha for his investment success, recognized that there is one investment that supersedes all others: The most important investment one can make is the investment in one’s own capacities.
2. The relationships I have built, all the interactions that have unfolded in my life— from family members and friends to people I have worked with and strangers I have only met once or twice. One may say that we gradually co-create our karma with the people who are part of our lives.
Every Human Is an Artist and Our Life Itself Is Our Work of Art
The artwork of life is made up of all the activities, relationships and life choices we make in our individual journey. Our biography is constantly being written. As I find myself engaged in ‘creating the script of my life,’ I cast my own main characters—as the ‘stage director’ or ‘conductor’ of this play. And that really is what life is: a play. In this play, I find myself performing the main actor’s role every day as well. The essence of this artwork may be carried further into the next chapter of my life and potentially even beyond. Creative, mindful education provides the tools and enhances our capacity to artistically and effectively create a life of purpose through our biography.
I have found that a major factor in how much I am able to fulfil my life’s purpose is my own inner development and, specifically, my ability to receive guidance from higher sources. The love and wisdom they bring allows me to expand my consciousness and enables me to fulfil my Individuality (written with a “big I”), rather than feeding my personality (written with a “little p”). Our personality, with a “little p”, our “little ego,” is very sensitive to whether we enjoy something or not, whether it’s pleasant for us, and how we are perceived by others. While the “little p” is superficial, all of its experiences should not be suppressed, as they have a lot to teach us. However, the “little ego” has the tendency to miss most of the teachings due to its propensity to get distracted by feelings of guilt, resentment, fear, and blame. The “little ego” likes to create emotional drama.
On the other hand, our Individuality with a “big I” is guided and inspired by the sources of love, abundance and wisdom that surround us. Our daily activities and relationships are nourished through these sources. The Individuality with a “big I” is guided by questions such as, “What is the truth?”, “What is needed in the world?” “How can I serve the Common Good?,” and “Regardless of whether it brings me pleasure, what are the healthiest actions to take?” The more I can take free, authentic and ethical actions, the more I can experience the joy of being in coherence with the world, understanding that we are all different parts of one Whole. Effectively fulfilling the purpose of my life requires me to develop the capacity to cultivate healthy and loving relationships.
How would our education systems change in light of this perspective? What would our economic systems look like?
Strategic Approach to Education Inspired by Inner Reflections On the Essence of Life
A child that is born in 2023 will be 28 in the year 2051. What will the world look like 28 years from now? How can our education systems adequately prepare our future generations to skillfully meet the challenges of our modern times? As the world is constantly changing, there are many unknowns. One thing that is clear, however, is that schools lie at the heart of communities.
Schools are not just a place of learning, but a place of transformation. They don’t just affect the local ecosystem inside the school building. They also have a great potential impact on the whole neighborhood. The collapse of natural ecosystems as well as human communities underlines the importance and urgency of curating environments
BY ARIE BEN DAVID
that teach children to co-create solutions which serve the common good. These insights inspired our team at Haim Tov. Our platform is designed to empower collaboration among children and teachers schools, nurturing a fundamental and systemic change in communities.
The more I can take free, authentic and ethical actions, the more I can experience the joy of being in coherence with the world, understanding that we are all different parts of one Whole.
From Smartphones to Smart Children
To provide the tools that enable mutual learning and co-creation in schools, we developed an app which we implemented in pilot school communities in Israel. After reviewing our first pilot schools, we realized that Floweavers EDU is a very effective entry point for transforming the way teachers work and children learn. The platform invites teachers and children to co-create the learning process together and enables them to experience the principles of mutual learning, regeneration and circular economy. The app aims to organize the collaborative learning process in a sensible and simple way, minimizing the time children spend on screens—and maximizing real-life interactions.
While AI has become increasingly popular, NI (Natural Intelligence) and EI (Emotional Intelligence) have not evolved to the extent AI has. They both have a long way to go to even touch the surface of their transformative potential. Human intelligence and, more so in the last few years, AI, has led to inefficient and often unhealthy systems of governance, decision-making and self-organization.
Eco-Governance, an emerging, biomimicry-based approach developed by Dr. Shelley Ostroff and others, offers a unifying compass to follow for organized action, decision-making and mutual accountability. It affirms that the “purpose of governance is to protect and cultivate the health and vitality of the planet and all its inhabitants for generations to come.” In its essence, Eco Governance brings collective issues front and center and guides the decision-making processes through questions. Introducing these concepts to children and helping them integrate these qualities into their learning enables them to contribute to the creation of a healthier future for all.
We create the conditions for a joyful learning environment that nourishes creativity and healthy interactions with nature and each other. Floweavers EDU facilitates co-creative learning spaces where contributions are encouraged as an expression of gratitude and reverence.
BY ARIE BEN DAVID
The Joy of True Collaboration in a Mutual-Learning School
Schools are natural meeting places within a neighborhood which have the potential to become the heart of the community. Collaboration among children, parents, teachers and other staff serves as a good foundation for building familiarity and trust, and for exchanging resources and skills.
Most schools today are still centralized in terms of how they are managed, leading them to realizing only a fraction of their social, environmental and educational potential—while facing issues such as bullying and problems with discipline. Teachers are often perceived by children as scary opponents, rather than partners in the learning journey. When we change this dynamic, we give our children a most-important gift, nourishing them in their capacity to explore unknown realms with others. We invite them to be curious, to ask questions and to inspire each other. The capacity to do these things will serve them in many ways in their lives—in friendships, family and work.
Our collaboration and sharing tools are specially designed to facilitate decentralized, mutual teaching and learning in a platform that supports children and teachers in activating their creativity and in fulfilling their purpose while engaging in activities that contribute to the Common Good in a playful way.
Our experience has shown that:
Within a few weeks, we can turn a class of 80% passive children into 80% active children.
Violence and discipline problems are reduced by more than 60% in the participating classes.
A Strategic Approach Activating the Economy of Love and Abundance
As a social and educational entrepreneur, I observed that we have become servants of the economy, rather than the economy serving us. 97% of all new money that is printed comes into circulation as debt, which leads to dependency, scarcity, and loss of freedom for many people and enterprises. The outcomes are stress, stress, anxiety and fear, that lead into a significant negative effect on the Common Good. While economic development (based on the current money system) has led to great innovations and technological solutions, this development comes at a very high price: the massive extraction of ecological and human resources.
These extractive patterns have led to the rapid collapse of natural ecosystems, human communities and the economy itself. Peoples’ basic needs, such as access to healthy water, food, soil, energy and affordable housing, are neglected. People are met with the excuse that “there is not enough money to take care of everyone.” Thus, they are fighting to receive personal gains from the Common Good. The extreme competition that our dysfunctional system has created has become an existential threat.
By continuing to engage in these extractive behaviors, an Economy of Love and Abundance, which is profitable and efficient, stays mostly dormant. The potential reach of this unutilized economy is enormous.
Our main purpose we are following at Haim Tov, is to activate the Economy of Love and Abundance by providing resource-exchange platforms for networks and communities to create their own circular economies. We enable this through our marketplace solutions that are specially designed for collaboration and sharing. This way, people can effectively utilise unused resources and skills to fulfil core needs that are not being met. This ensures that resources aren’t wasted—and value can be re-generated. In our first implementation and use case Shareitt we began with families and, more specifically, women. In Israel, Brazil and Switzerland, Shareitt grew into vibrant peer-to-peer marketplaces with more than 80,000 users that exchanged over 300,000 items for reuse without spending conventional money.
One of the ways we recognize positive contributions of participants is through gratitude points. By encouraging collaboration and sharing, new relationships and meaningful friendships are nourished—and the walls between people of different social and economic backgrounds start to disappear. Loneliness is significantly reduced among our users, through the easy and natural way we have them relate to one another. Our innovative platforms provide multiple tools that enable communities to determine their own governance and reward what they value—uniting people and allowing them to thrive beyond money limitations.
To create a healthier future that allows humans to live in harmony with nature, we need to transform both our education and economy. Together, let’s joyfully create the Mythology of the Future.