The Encyclopedia Britannica defines education as “transmission of the values and accumulated knowledge of a society. …Education is designed to guide [children] in learning a culture, molding their behaviour in the ways of adulthood, and directing them toward their eventual role in society.” But to find that definition, you’d have to scroll down the page. The encyclopedia begins the entry on education by declaring that it is a “discipline that is concerned with methods of teaching and learning in schools or school-like environments.” This is the prevailing interpretation of education, and it’s very misfortunate for all of us that we forgot about the real meaning of the word.
Therefore, I would like to offer a definition that is both concise, yet offers much more than accumulation of notions that are here today and gone tomorrow. The education I am talking about is called “Integral Education” (IE), where “integral” means whole, complete. According to the definition of IE, “Education is the process of man’s adaptation to the laws of nature.”
IE will not teach you social manners; it doesn’t deal with table manners or other social norms. IE teaches how to sync oneself with the laws that govern all of reality. While regular education strives to adapt the individual to society, IE strives to adapt human society to nature. In the process, each person learns the integrality of nature, how everything is connected, what it means for each of us as individuals and for all of us as a society, and how and what we should adapt in our lives in order to be congruent with nature and thereby achieve long lasting confidence and happiness.
Today, nature is manifesting itself as a closed system that surrounds us. It is most evident in the way the coronavirus has emerged as a pandemic within weeks, but it was also evident in the rapid spread of anti-racist protests and basically every trend and phenomenon that manifests today. This omnipresence of phenomena is nature’s way of saying that everything is connected, integral, and we are accountable for one another whether we like it or not. If we grasp this, we will achieve a whole new level of existence. If we do not grasp this, we just might not survive as a species.
According to IE, we can divide the laws of nature into three basic laws:
The first, and most important law, is the “law of integrality,” which states that all parts of nature constitute a single, interconnected system.
The second law is the “law of mutual complementation.” This means that all the laws that appear as contradicting are actually complementary through the interactions between them.
The third law states that “Every being in nature necessarily obeys these laws, except for humans,” who can follow them only according to their level of development, and according to their own free choice.
Potentially, man is the zenith of creation. Man is not only an element in the integral creation, but has the potential to grasp it to the fullest. However, this is only in potential. Before one receives the proper education, which fosters this perception, man is at the nadir of creation: the most vile, ignorant, and noxious element of creation. However, man is created in this ignobility on purpose, since only when one acquires nature’s wholeness consciously, having risen from the depths of detachment to the heights of connection can one appreciate the beauty, subtlety, and true meaning of nature’s wholeness. When one achieves that consciousness, one is regarded as having “graduated” and earned a “degree” in Integral Education. That person will never feel alone, weak, insecure, or unhappy, having achieved the ultimate goal of life—connection with all of reality.
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