Education: Brain Processes:
The Master in the Heart
by Mr. Iain Kirkaldy-Willis,
Dear Fellow Contributors and Readers,
We are all members of BWW for serious professional work in our individual fields of expertise. I would like to write to you about the contributions I am making to the Journal at present in this context.
Looking back, I realise that my own field was
already defined for me before I knew about it.
As a volunteer English language teacher in India, I moved away from
school teaching to issues of human distress and environmental degradation at
the time of U Thant’s address to the 1969 UN Plenary Session on the ‘State of
the Planet’, the Club of Rome’s ‘Limits to Growth’ report and the Ecologist
Magazine’s ‘Blueprint for Survival’, with questions that dogged me, like, why
are these people in the slums of Calcutta?; how did they get in this
predicament?; what are the factors at play?, and, what is their way on? It was the same with deforestation and
population overload in the
Becoming involved with social forestry and
organic agriculture simply led to the next crop of questions. How can such practices really succeed for
people in the
For me there is no question about our being in a serious predicament. It was forecast by that lot at the end of the ´60´s, who saw a point of no-return in 40 years, if a change of direction did not come about. My own work over the years has had me monitoring the process. Most recently, another agency, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, that has been keeping what is called, The Doomsday Clock, since 1947, has just moved the time to 5 minutes before midnight, due to the collective failure to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, act on climate change and find safe and sustainable sources of energy! Just add the crumbling growth model of economics and the world-wide indignation that is gathering mass to that and the brew is toxic!
When our editor,
Contradictions of orthodoxy and heresy, mainstream and fringe, the serious and the bizarre, the pedestrian and the avant-garde, are often left hanging in juxtaposition. So it goes, as each series emphasises and elaborates on something or other with regard to the general body of material.
This approach is stimulating, provocative and inspiring. It is an approach that has evolved over the years from a wide variety of applications – as a gardener in Finland, piecing together a holistic agricultural approach to an adult educational community’s land and then making that part of that Folk High School’s curriculum – in use with villagers in the foothills of N. India, as a tool for awareness, healing and empowerment, in the face of socio-environmental collapse – in the designing of courses to meet adult needs for healing and change in the face of different kinds of personal crisis.
There is a challenge here, for the way we think and feel is just not good enough. This includes you and me! I mean, we all think we are doing our professional best, with humanity and the planet in mind. So, how come we are failing as the Doomsday Clock’s ominous tick advances? Who are we kidding? Why is humanity’s failure worsening despite the efforts of people like you and me?
Though the matter would seem to be practical, the problem is one of attitude. This means that there is a certain philosophical and psychological dimension to the matter. This is where this material has its purpose, as something facilitative for everyone’s thoughtfulness, whoever they may be. Having the curiosity to consider difficulty can hearten us to look beyond ourselves. The shifting focus of looking at the many sides of any issue makes us cooler and more objective in our reactions, helps us to see things in the round, to have compassion, to take a broader stance and to un-learn the evil human attitudes and behaviour breeds.
That being said, presented here is the fourth segment of this series…
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