Education of the Integral Man – Part 2

Hello! Wow, I don´t write here for a long time (the life, the time, and the ways …) but I am very happy to be back!

Today I will continue the theme of education of the integral man!

According to Hubert Rohden in his book “Education of the Integral Man, ” the integral man can be represented by three circles partially overlapping and partially independent, leaving the center a common area to all circles:

 According to physics, the colorless light is the synthesis of all colors. When colorless light passes through a triangular prism, it unfolds in the seven colors of the rainbow.

Taking as a symbol of the soul the colorless light of the center, we understand that all circles can be affected by this light. Thus, the true education of the whole man can only come from the center of your Self, because just this colorless light hits the body, mind and emotions.

So we understand that the true education of the integral man only can be self-education, from the center of human nature, not an allo-education, based on any of the peripheral circles.

Now you may be wondering: then what is the role of the teacher? And I say, guess what? Show the way by which students can self-educate (remembering that education is different from instruction, see more in the previous post).

Or as Herman Hesse (literature Nobel Prize) wrote:
“Nothing can give you that there isn´t in yourself,
I cannot open another world of images beyond the one who
there is in your own soul.
Nothing can I give you unless the opportunity, the impulse, the
I will help to make visible your own world, and that’s all. ”

Still according Rohden, the supreme scope of education is to make man happy, really happy. True education shows man the way to be happy, be in joy, be in suffering. This happiness is not a “prize” given to the good man, happiness is himself, when his consciousness is in harmony with the soul of the Universe.

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Education of the Integral Man

Hello! I chose for the first post of this year a theme that I love and which I intend to dedicate myself this year, which is the Education of the Integral Man. But wait … you must be wondering what this has to do with sustainability? And I say everything because sustainability is promoted (or hindered) by guess who? By man, so if we, human beings, are not properly “educated” guess what we will promote? The ” non-sustainability”…

Let’s start with a thought of Albert Einstein: Science is wonderful, but it cannot value human life, a 100% scientific man can be 0% good, 100% of instruction is not necessarily 100% of education, precisely because values come from another region.

Well, then it seems that there is a difference between “education” and “Instruction.”

Hubert Rohden (Brazilian educator and philosopher) in his book “Education of the Integral Man” says:

“The instruction is intended to provide man with knowledge and use of objects necessary for their professional life. The education is intended to awaken and develop at man the values of human nature, because human nature exists in each individual only in potential form, embryonic. ”

Still, according to Einstein: “The discovery of the laws of nature – the science – makes the erudite man, but does not make a man good. A good man is one who holds the values that are within your consciousness.” Thus: “The instructed man is erudite. The educated man is good. ”

Interesting, is not it? So it means that only transmit scientific knowledge does not means educating. What makes perfect sense, because the same knowledge can be used to destroy the planet (in search of immediate profits) or to live sustainably (environmentally, socially and economically), depends on education, consciousness of the person who is using this knowledge.

In the next post we will see about the meaning of “Integral Man”, and ways for this “education “. See you soon!

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New Year Message

Dear readers,

As this is a special time, for the first time I will talk a little about me …

2010 was a year of transformation for me, I left a conventional job for working more broadly, with more people, issues and challenges …
Ideas that although they make my eyes sparkle and my heart beat faster, were not easy to start, as the new scares and unexplored field contains not yet imagined obstacles.

But all this has helped me to evolve as a human being, to understand that everything just “flows”, regardless of the direction that we think is “right”, I also learned to feel and to see new views and to love humanity, regardless from their mistakes and successes.

Changes, joys and learnings …

Yes, this was a year of major internal changes, a thorough review on everything,  that made me “intuit” better instead of just “thinking ” (I’m an engineer, remember? then the “reason” has always been easier than “feel “).

And my work is starting to germinate … the seed was strong and safe, it could live millennia this way without appearing (it was safer in conventional standards), but with special care, love and high purpose, resolved to open up and show … and now I can see their first leaves … 2011 will be the year of flowers and fruits … just wait …

This blog is a wonderful way to spread what I believe and to show that I don´t believe alone, as a song by Raul Seixas (a Brazilian singer), “dream you dream alone is only a dream you dream alone, but dream you dream together is reality “.

So, dear readers, my heartfelt thanks for sharing with me your ideas and feelings, for having thought about what I wrote, for giving me the opportunity to sow hope …

Wishing you a blessed Christmas and
A 2011 full of love, discovery, growth, peace, happiness, humanity …

Kind Regards and see you soon,

Ana Marques

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Theory of Living Systems – Part 2

Hello! Today we will see how the basic principles of ecosystems organization can be used to build sustainable human communities. Thus, taking into account the experience of over three billion years of evolution of Earth’s ecosystems, following are their principles (based on the book “The Web of Life” by Fritjop Capra):

Interdependence: all members of an ecological community are interconnected in a vast network of relationships, the web of life. Then, the interdependence (mutual dependence of all vital processes at organisms) is the nature of all ecological relationships. Thus, it is important to change our perception of parts to whole, from objects to relationships, content to standard, i.e., think in a systemic way. A sustainable human community is aware of the multiple relationships among its members, nurturing the community means nourishing those relationships. So the success of the whole community depends on the success of each of its members and the success of each member depends on the success of the community as a whole.

Recycling: being open systems, all organisms in an ecosystem produce waste, but what is waste for one species is food for another, so that the ecosystem as a whole remains free of waste. One of the main disagreements between economy and ecology comes from the fact that nature is cyclical whereas our industrial systems are linear. Therefore, we extract resources and turn them into products and waste. Sustainable patterns of production and consumption need to be cyclical, as in nature. To achieve these cyclical patterns, we need to redesign at a fundamental level our business and our economy. As examples, could be used more solar energy (which is the basic source of energy for ecosystems) and gradually implement ecological taxes (to prices better reflect the real costs).

Cooperation: at the ecosystems the cyclic exchanges of energy and resources are sustained by widespread cooperation. In actual human society, the economy emphasizes competition, expansion and domination; but the ecology emphasizes cooperation, conservation and partnership (seems that we are going the wrong way …). In human communities, partnership means democracy and personal empowerment, because each community member plays an important role. As a partnership proceeds, each partner begins to better understand the needs of others. In a true partnership, confident, both partners learn and change, they co-evolve.

Flexibility: in an ecosystem, is a consequence of its multiple feedback loops, which tend to bring the system back into balance whenever there is a deviation from the standard, due to changing environmental conditions. The lack of flexibility manifests itself as tension and this occurs when one or more system variables are pushed to its extreme values, which will lead to an enhanced rigidity throughout the system. Thus, administering a social system (an enterprise, a city or an economy) means finding the optimal values for the variables of the system. If we try to maximize any variable instead of optimizing it, this will lead to the destruction of the system as a whole. The principle of flexibility also suggests a corresponding strategy for resolving conflicts. In every community there will always be contradictions and conflicts that cannot be resolved in favor of one or the other side. For example, the community need for stability and change, order and freedom, tradition and innovation. These inevitable conflicts are much better solved by establishing a dynamic equilibrium, rather than hard decisions that favor one side only.

Diversity: at ecosystems, the role of diversity is closely linked with the network structure of the system. A diversified system is also flexible because it contains many species with overlapping ecological functions that can partially replace each other. In ecosystems, the complexity of the network is a consequence of their biodiversity and thus a diverse ecological community is an elastic community. In human communities, ethnic and cultural diversity can play the same role. Diversity means many different relations, many different approaches to the same problem. However, diversity is a strategic advantage only if there is a really vibrant communication, supported by a web of relationships. If the community is aware of the interdependence of all its members, diversity will enrich all relationships and thus enrich the community as a whole as well as to each of its members.

Now consider how these principles can be applied in your life. Thinking to understand, feel, change…

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Theory of Living Systems

Hello! Do you remember ever having seen before the following expression?
“The whole is more than the sum of its parts.”

Well, this is the basic notion of systems theory, which is currently opposing the mechanistic paradigm for the ecological (systemic) one. To better understand, let’s talk a little bit of history (based on the book “The Web of Life” by Fritjop Capra).

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with new discoveries in physics, astronomy and mathematics, a medieval world view based on the philosophy of Aristotle and Christian theology, has changed completely. The vision of an organic world, living and spiritual was replaced by the notion of the world as a machine. 

So, at that time Galileo Galilei restricted science to the study of phenomena that could be measured and quantified and Rene Descartes created the method of analytical thinking, which is to break complex phenomena into pieces in order to understand the behavior of the whole from the properties of its parts. The material universe, including living organisms, for Descartes was a machine, and could in principle be fully understood by analyzing it in terms of its smallest parts. Then Isaac Newton, with its Newtonian mechanics, completed the concepts of Descartes and Galileo, i.e., the world as a perfect machine governed by exact mathematical laws.

All this was very important for that epoch and allowed many advances in science, but cannot explain everything; after all “we are not machines.” As William Blake wrote in a funny way: “May God protect us from the single vision and sleep of Newton.” And as Goethe wrote in a philosophical way: “Every creature is just a standardized grading of a great harmonious whole.”

But speaking more scientifically, according to the systemic view, the essential properties of an organism or living system are the property of the whole, which neither party has. They arise from the interactions and relations between the parties. These properties are destroyed when the system is dissected, either physically or theoretically, into isolated elements. A very interesting example is the taste of sugar, which is not present in the atoms of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, which are its components.

See the following video with an interview with Capra about this subject:

Below is a video (part of the film “Mindwalk”) that exemplifies these concepts didactically:

In the next post we’ll see how this system theory can be used to build a sustainable society. See you soon!

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What is Sustainability?

Welcome! This is my first post at this blog, and then I decided to start with a basic question… let´s see what sustainability means.

In dictionaries can be found various meanings for the word “sustain”, for example: “maintain”, “support”, “endure”.

But since the 80’s the term sustainability has been used more in the sense of human sustainability on planet Earth. Then in 1987 came the term from Brundtland Commission (United Nations) “sustainable development“, i.e. development that meets needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

This means that yes, we must meet our current needs (but be careful with what needs means, ok?! This doesn´t means consumerism …) but without compromising the planet’s resources so that our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and all future generations can also have their needs met.

The term sustainability encompasses three important items, called “three pillars”: environmental, social and economic sustainability.

So it is very important not to confuse “sustainability” with “environment” as sustainability doesn´t include only environment but also the social and economic aspects.

Here is a nice video about the concept of sustainability:

I hope you enjoyed it! See you soon!

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