“How to be good, how to be creative, how to respect himself and how to acquire self-realisation. This was the essence of education in ancient Egypt. All children were tested at the age of five in the temples, in order to direct their destiny according to their own natural inclinations”. Ramses Seleem, Egyptian Book of Life (1)
This article is intended to give a brief taster of education policies in a spiritual society. More detailed articles on these themes will follow.
The most important policy area in any society is education. In a spiritual society, the overall context would be the journey of the soul of each individual. The main tasks would be to discover the purpose of this incarnation, and to retain a connection with the Higher Self.
A focus on self-realisation and personality development.
Encourage and promote a connection with the magical and the mysterious. The reading of
fairy tales (2), ancient myths, and fiction like the Harry Potter series.
Encourage a belief in ESP, and the idea that such talents are normal and exciting. Identify children with psychic abilities. Conduct experiments.
Dreams. Children should be encouraged to tell their dreams and consider them important, even if they do not understand them. Studies in dream interpretation can follow later. Parents may have some insight into the meanings, and be able to use such information to guide the lives of their children.
Music, Art, and Drama should be priorities, not luxuries dispensed with in financially difficult times.
Sometimes weird things happen (the paranormal). Many adults are too embarrassed to share their stories for fear of ridicule. Children should therefore be encouraged to tell their stories, learn at an early age not to be ashamed of them.
Secondary school, adolescence:
At this stage the educational process should focus more intensely on a connection with the spiritual, discovering the purpose of the student’s life, vocation in the deepest sense of the word. Therefore…
A study of dreams and divination (Tarot, I Ching, Astrology etc, and synchronicity) would therefore be appropriate.
The ideas of initiation and the vision quest. Tribal societies had a deep understanding of this. The need to separate from the parents in a psychological sense – in the language of Freud and Jung, the overcoming of the mother and father complex.
Trials of strength and courage, physical challenges. Martial arts. Sports.
A study of symbolism in general. This can start with dreams, then move on to mythology and fairy stories, how the hidden meanings of the stories might be relevant to the student. Especially relevant to the journey of the soul would be the Hero’s journey, as understood by Joseph Campbell (3). Also the symbols of spiritual art and sacred geometry.
The academic content:
An attempt to reunify science and religion. Insist that both are engaged in a search for truth. Therefore a study of spiritual traditions, the various religions (without any attempt to indoctrinate), cutting-edge science, including Transpersonal Psychology and Parapsychology. Especially important are the implications of quantum physics for other sciences.
Much of the modern scientific world view is profoundly limited (dare I say completely wrong?) because of its obsession with material explanations. I would especially single out Darwinian theories of evolution (see my posts The Selective Lure of Darwinism and Daniel Dennett), and some of the bizarre statements of neuroscience (see my post The Folly of Modern Neuroscience). Pupils should be expected to read widely, to be open-minded and to think critically for themselves. The teaching of controversial theories should therefore be banned (I am thinking especially of Darwinian evolution), unless students are exposed equally to the opposing arguments, and allowed to judge for themselves.
A course on the nature of the inner world, especially the reality of the psyche as understood from a Jungian perspective, the personal and collective unconscious.
A course in practical psychology, the traps and pitfalls. How consciousness is not the same as the mind. How consciousness can be taken over by contents of the mind – the tendency towards illusion. (This would be especially important for those intending to pursue a career in science.)
Pupils should be encouraged to think that education is a life-long process. If any of the above proves too difficult at the level of secondary school, similar courses should be introduced at universities. There should also be investment in Adult Education.
1. Watkins Publishing, 2004, p17
2. Bettelheim, Bruno: The Uses of Enchantment is especially relevant. Penguin, 1991
3. Campbell, Joseph: The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Bollingen Foundation, Pantheon Books 1949