Sunday, March 1

school demises and other collapses

Like these seals, we all were floating on some kind of rigs during the 90's, not clearly knowing the extend of our confinement and the rigid posts we were still tied to invisibly. All we did then was to consume what was given to us without asking pivotal questions of how our life purpose could extend beyond the parameters of a crowded pier.
Human society has in many respects a disadvantage when you compare them to animal-world. Animals are happy when they find their prey, get fed, lurk around and mate. Humans have made their own life miserable by adding a component of "consciousness" to the multiple pallet of existence. This dwells in the background of every move we make. Some of us even strive to reach enlightenment despite all odds, may it be through meditation, a change of life-style, a focused orientation on a path towards compassion, or even an enhanced understanding of all the wonders and secrets to this very nature that surrounds us. However, this "human urge" to find clarity and "consciousness" is both a blessing and a curse. How many of you would't like to take Solomon's sword and see the tied knotted riddle cut in half, thereby exposing the truth of the matter... and solve it?

In respect to Waldorf Schools, and perhaps also the so called other independent organizations in the educational sector, this time we live in represents a wake up call.
As you all know, civic human life is categorized/organized into three main sectors, law, free spiritual activities (for example education/ arts) and economics. It is so, even if you don't comprehend or acknowledge the issue, it really still remains a reality and will exist no matter if you want to see it or not. These three categories need to function independently from each other, thrive autonomous, otherwise there will be even more trouble on the horizon in the future if continued "prostitution" across floating platforms breach boarders and are indiscriminately allowed to blackmail each other. Today we see this happening all the time. Politicians are the lackeys and servants of economic/corporate interests who dictate the lawmakers to create laws in their favor, politicians dictate the rules of how schools should run their programs, streamlining people to be part of the project - and the "free" spiritual life of schools have no say in it. So the three ideals of equality in the "rights sphere", liberty in the "economic sphere" and freedom in the "spiritual sphere" have been severely compromised. Unless we untangle consciously the dependency from one to the other, our lives will be ruled by the very few, those who could care less about equality, liberty and freedom in the first place and only strive to promote personal gain, their own personal agenda.
To view this in a more practical manner, the demise or "downfall" of Waldorf or any other private school with a mission is simple. They give in into the illusion that diversity will create more enrollment by scrapping the foundations they originally stood for. As an example I name Sunbridge College, the institution I worked for over ten years. For the last five years they have striven to schmooze with the state of New York, spend horrendous amounts of money to be compliant, including a person who's sole function was to run around campus smiling, and meeting with state officials now and then. That position was $65,000 or so, wasted cash that could have been spend on improving educational programs. This is just one example. It all went sour thereafter because you can't just "schmooze" the system, that is a illusion only acceptable to a con-man.
Same thing is presently happening in front of my own eyes, at the school where my wife works. Low enrollment, and as a result substantial cuts in programs. Bad choice. In the crisis we experience right now, the emphasis should not be on cutting, but strengthening the things we already have in place, enhance the "product" at hand, if you wish to put it that way. The technique of bowing down to unknown entities that might or might not be helpful are a waste of time and resources. There is no bail-out package available for schools that are truly free spirited. That would be against the very grain of what the establishment stands for. Independent thoughts and an education towards a liberated and free mind was always a thorn in the eye of the political, and mostly the economic apparatus, no matter if it happened in the east, west or at a somewhere altogether different location.
So the survival kit I propose, is that educational institutions (who rightfully belong to the sphere of free spiritual activity) reorganize and focus their mission on grounds they once cherished when they started, invigorate the impulse that inspired them to begin with and then rejuvenate the life-seed that was planted in the past. Only then, by focusing on your original mission, without watering down what you have to offer, only then you will have a chance of survival in our trying times. (this sounds almost "religious" I know, but I did not place it that way...)
One positive aspect of this present recession/depression is, that all of us have to reinvent ourselves, dig deep into the coffers that we carried around, unopened for years, find that little genius tucked away, like the genie of the fairy tale who needed to escape the confinements of the bottle. By raking through these assets, a crisis can turn around and become an opportunity to lift our very life existence to new levels of being. May YOU be on your way!


Aggie said...

Governments really do need to re-think how they do things. Doing it the same old way just isn't going to work in future. And you are right, individuals will have to dig deep into their own strengths for sure.

Zee said...

Thanks Aggie for your response, it means something to me. After all it took me a while to write this thing up. And I know it is not at all perfect and only scratches the surface. But I had to say SOMETHING!!!

gfid said...

i think we've become so accustomed, as a society (and pretty much all of north america is included in this blatant generalization) to being affluent, and yet paying less than the real value of the things we buy, that we have no idea what the real value of them is. less affluent parts of the world 'subsidize' our lifestyle with cheap labor, because we won't pay the person who makes the goods at a rate equal to what we expect to be paid ourselves.... that would be ridiculously expensive! and the same applies to our schools. they've become Wal-Marts selling a cheap imitation of learning that won't stand up to any hard use. they're pumping out volumes of mass produced schlock that will be tossed out the first time it gives trouble. and they're populated by sheep. kids who actually think have a hard time in mainstream schools. but, like all Wal-Marts, they're giving people what they've been told they want.

Zee said...

Granny Fiddler
Thanks for your comment. It feels good when someone like you comes along.

Gary said...

Good essay Zee. And I agree with lots of it, although here in BC, the government gives independent schools lots of money without a lot of controlling (50% of what a public school gets). So there is a balance sometimes. But yes, to keep those realms alive, we have to act on principle and on our own strengths.

My brother teaches in an interesting Waldorf School in South Africa (multi-racial, multi-social/economic levels and near a Camp Hill Village).