Life - Peter M. Senge


ESSENCE OF EDUCATION. HARMONIOUS lives


Peter: In fact, it’s been very interesting to watch over the last 10 years also, more and more emphasise in the U.S and I think around the world is what people called early learning. 2-4 years old, because clearly from brain, development stand of point, very important time, so subjective education is, obviously very important. The contemporary Chinese, word for education, didn’t even exist in China 150 years ago. It came to China from the west. So in a sense, our responsibility as parents, as teachers, as citizens, is to help young human beings, grow and develop as human beings, not to be educated. And if you look at the western education model, so much of it is influenced by its earliest formation, which was really in the early and middle part of the 19th century. When basically the societal imperative was to train factory workers. So literally, it was set up to train factory workers. And that’s why it was organized Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4. It was an assembly line. So, the student will get used to working in an assembly line. So, it is a very machine-like concept of education. So has nothing to do with human development. So, as you also say, today in this kind of unique historical turning point, it’s probably more important than ever to really think again what it means to grow and develop as a human Being. Master Nan used to often say that the greatest danger to humankind is virtual reality, you look how rapidly this process has accelerated, could this be the last generation of humans. Humans are a very young species. If you look at the species on the Earth, you might say, we are in a prototyping phase, what it means to be human beings, is not very clear. And from a biological perspective, we know that the species always exist in a Niche. And the species in Niche, they call of all and when they really become stable is the combination this species and the Niche. So for me, a lot of the deep interest in sustainability today in the world really can be interpreted, from the standpoint of if human beings are to live in the planet as a whole, as our Niche. How do we have to be to really live on the planet or in mother Earth as a post to just in a geographic or locality? You may say in a philosophic cornerstone, whether it’s Confucianism or Taoism, and even to some degree, Buddhism is the harmony of human and nature. But I think the foundation of education really needs to be how human beings grow and develop to learn how to be in harmony with nature, both our own nature; the nature of our social reality, and the nature of Mother Earth. If we don’t learn how to do that, this could be the last generation of humans.

Peter: First principle is every human being is different, so I think the first job is as a parent or teacher is the connection with the person, and what is the natural for them. But in general, I would say the first necessity is that the child, even at a very young age, needs to feel at home in nature. Climbing in the tree, rolling in the grass, talking to the rocks, kids do that naturally, they talk to everything, because their innate sense is that everything is alive. It is a great tragedy that many children today grow up in there basically afraid of nature.


Be the self.start from the vision


Liang:Now people do not know who they are.

Peter: I don’t think it’s any coincidence that if you look at human history, for of almost all human history, sometime between the age of 11 or 12 or 13 years of age, you went through a rite of passage. Cultures do this in many different ways, but if they are granted, you might say intelligent culture. They understand that somewhere in that age, you are going from becoming a child, to becoming an adult. And if you look at the traditional cultures, like Native American cultures, because I know those the best. They have the vision quest for the 12 or 13-year-old. And if you look at what the purpose is. The first purpose is to connect, as an adult to the natural world, and ask the question. “Why am I here?” And much of your preparation, from a very early age, at 5 to 6 years old, is to be relaxed, to be pleasant, to feel at home in the natural world. So that when you get to the stage in life. When asking the right question, you can hear the answer. So it’s really easy to understand. Why are so many young adults lost? Because what they fundamentally need never happened. But of course, their parents are also lost. So, who’s to guide them.

Liang: How can you find yourself?

Peter: May be I still haven’t. May be I’m still looking. I think two things come to my mind with that question. First it, it’s just my good fortune starting probably when I was in my early thirties, we began the work in organisational learning and one cornerstone is always personal vision. So, for many many years, working with people, to every flake down and clarify their personal vision, it really opened that door for me, too. Every month, I was in the workshops, and when you help other people, you do it yourself first. So in a way, it was like preparing the soil. Before the farmer plant something, the framer pays a lot of attention is the soil already. And there did come a particular event. It was right about the time, when I met Master Nan, probably around 1 or 2 years earlier, a good friend have been telling me about the particular place. It’s called the flat top wilderness. So we drove to the area, and started to drive up, and up and up. Just like when you’re climbing a mountain. And the higher up you got, the further you could see. And till you got to an elevation you could see 360 degrees, all these very beautiful mountains all around. This is when I was a child how I imagined about heaven. So you will be really high up, but it will be all green. And they sky was deep blue. And the clouds were so slow. You really felt you could touch the clouds. And I remember just standing there, and all of the sudden, this very clear message came, I was here to reconnect human and nature, very simple, very clear.


the guide of creativity.Find the vision


Liang: How can a person to find a vision?

Peter: Well may be my own personal story is a good illustration, I think it is an on-going process, and the first part, you have to start asking the question. You have to start to opening yourself. And I think as I look at the story I just told you, I realise that be being around people for many years, starting to practice, opening themselves. And you say in Chinese. opening your heart. not just the head. You start that, But then let it takes as long as it takes. you know everyone all different. But I think the opening process, is really important, and that will be very simple, it can just start with being quiet,