Redesigning the School System

Edmund O'Sullivan (2003):
'Transformative learning involves experiencing a deep, structural shift in the basic premises of thought, feelings, and actions. It is a shift of consciousness that dramatically and irreversibly alters our way of being in the world. Such a shift involves our understanding of ourselves and our self-locations; our relationships with other humans and with the natural world; our understanding of relations of power in interlocking structures of class, race and gender; our body awareness, our visions of alternative approaches to living; and our sense of possibilities for social justice and peace and personal joy'.

I've had an idea for using film or TV investment for a documentary about building a new kind of school.

The school would be one which attempts to be an environment that naturally encourages cooperative, conscientious, creative and constructive interactions with the world as a primary goal - with the outcome that the children have a good experience in the 'school society' and choose to learn for themselves.

The film or series would take an enlightened scientific approach aiming to inform the public and hopefully show how film investment can be used to truly create positive change, or further our understanding of ourselves.

The school would almost be like a microcosm of an 'ideal' society (one that is constantly improving itself), where the children can learn all the important science that we rely on to understand the world and sustain ourselves. As well as learning about their emotional selves and how to communicate nonviolently. Also with an emphasis on problem solving and critical thinking. With the resources available the kids would be allowed to learn whatever they liked, and teachers would be more like informative mentors.

The school grounds would have to be bought or donated and then developed around the same ideals of sustainable development, efficiency and cooperation as are taught at the school. Engineered for the wellbeing of all who attend and constantly optimised in method and design over time.

The filming itself could be done as an ongoing school project which would act as feedback from the kids so that they can have a democratic part in what their school is like. How great would that be?

See also my idea for a free, online, learn-at-home school:

Some related videos:

Further Reading:

Paulo Freire
Jack Mezirow

An Open Letter to Peter Joseph

Dear Peter,

I have begun to notice quite a valid concern that is building up in the wider internet community about the movement. The fact that The Zeitgeist Movement does not go beyond its stated goal (to raise awareness in The Venus Project), means that people involved in the movement begin to mimic those who promote it without a real lucid understanding of what they are promoting, and as such, often fall down trying to express the fundamental philosophy in their own words.

This mimicry has created a loosely defined 'cult' following. This is by no means a bad thing, films often have cult followings, and I'm not saying these are not smart people. The problem is we, as a movement, are not encouraging more independent thought by organising our own research groups('think tanks') or vocational classes for our members.

Education is very important for any society. So if we want to show the world that the principals behind the movement can drive and define the movement, we should become a source for free learning and personal development. Knowledge of all aspects of our existence, sustainability and interactions should be examined, even graded.

I am certain that we have the resources to start such a project. The ultimate goal would be to become a recognised international university. We have enough introductory lectures. Why not put more effort towards compiling lectures on other subjects, and then slowly build a cirriculum? There are already countless bite size math classes on youtube. A structure that enables people to educate themselves to professional standards would be a great achievement.

A good way to allow this to happen would be for individuals going to an established university to compile and share their course structure and documents. But I believe more could be done. Members could create a web-app that releases the course content in parts, and has regular online tests to ensure knowledge retention and good study practice. For example I am taking a foundation year in engineering, which covers maths and physics, at University of Southampton, a prestigeous science and engineering university in the UK, and could share my documents.

I look forward to your response.

Kind Regards,

Michael Morley-Clarke

Chapter Six: The Calamity

by MikeMHz & Troubled Herman

Incredible stonedness gripped the room. Inside the box was a tool of destruction. They looked at it with great fear for it contained not only the key to their hopes and dreams, but also a reminder that they had little time to correct their mistakes.

Bunce stood up, his face forming a terrible grimace."I can't feel my heart," he declared to his companions, who were seated in enormous leather chairs around him. Before them, Rendlebloom, their beloved teacher, lay dead. He had died of a cause that had been through no fault of the three. The tone was of complete silence, Herman and Mega sat in a trance, their souls were filling with terror as the seconds ticked by on the old grandfather clock. They all had thunderous doubt as to what could be revealed in the coming minutes. A great shock wave roared out of the box and flung the men across the room. They landed, sprawled in heaps on the floor. Their limbs felt heavy and weak. Bunce grasped his chest, and thrashed madly screaming again, "I can't feel my heart!"

Mega and Herman knew that only the magic that was invested in their minds could possibly change the course of things to come. Mega inhaled, summoning a pulling force, which brought forth the powers that he sought. He stumbled toward the table and grabbed the remote control which powered the armed defense system. Clenching it tightly he let out a sharp, dry laugh.

Herman could see the madness was taking control of Mega already. "Be careful Mega, you could kill us all," he boomed, raising his head from the ground with urgency.

Mega breathed out and his mind was still. An ethereal harmony descended upon the room as Mega stood, his arms outstretched. He pulled the trigger and with a strength that defied even the gods, he crushed the tool with his bare hands. In a torrent of screams, all hell broke loose. Demons and evil spirits had been released from the box into their midst. Their only hope was the armed defence system which had protected them thus far.

Destruction rained down upon those sent to destroy. The three companions had no time to grieve the loss of their close friend. They had to escape. Bullets thudded into the floor around them. A joist cracked and one by one the others buckled around it, sending the inhabitants of the room down into a whirlpool of rubble. A savage dust filled the air. Herman's lungs were burning as he choked on the hot ash which rose up and blinded all. Still bullets rained. The three men landed on the ground floor in a crouch, showing skill that surpassed any mortal man. They fought their way through falling debris only to find themselves confronted by a large iron door.

Mega halted the other two men. Herman was using his protective aura to deflect any attack from the demonic hoards and the stray missiles that bullied all within range of the armed defence system. Bunce now seemed well and able to fight. Although his wounds were serious, Bunch was able to retain his balance and fire a blast of chi. The slab of iron shook and rung loudly, resonating throughout the battle. Heads, or shapes, turned away from the weakening armed defence system and stared hollowly in the direction of the sound. Their shadowy faces took on various expressions of murderous rage.

Mega and his friends knew that they could only fight, they had no other option. Mega turned to Bunce with his face drawn into a tight frown, "I don't want to die Bunce,".

"We must perform the deadly pencil technique that Rendlebloom taught us when we were young," said Herman as the last defence turret was destroyed.

"Very well," Mega concurred. Bunce nodded as they drew their weapons. Meanwhile the narrators discussed whether they could be arsed to describe each weapon and thus write 'as they each drew their weapons'. The three men took a second to recall when they had been trained in the art of pencil fighting. Mega, Herman and Bunce's minds raced through thousands upon thousands of ancient teachings, searching deep within the recesses of their memory for a single day, five thousand years before.

Chapter Five and a Half: Balance.

They discussed the matter with a solemn tone.

"He is probably depressed about his drug-taking," Mega stated, hunching within his enormous, padded chair.

"He should calm it down," summerised Herman.

Mega grimaced, "He doesn't know how. He's addicted,"

The two of them shuddered in the shadowy grasp of their armchairs, the firelight burning in their eyes. They sipped upon their bulky glasses of deep red wine, considering the days past. Mega had been pondering life and many thoughtful revelations had formed in his mind. While Herman, having been grated upon by the anchors of his life, had recently been invited into the Circle of Trust and was dubious about the future.

Chapter Five: The Fence and the Style.

I revelled in the dirt and grime that smudged my cheeks and clogged my finger nails. The sun hit my face as I breached the barrier between light and dark. My dusty brown battle scarrs were my proof, they declaired my worth. I had just scrambled, tripped, clawed and pulled myself to the top of a tretcherously steep slope, one that I had attempted to conquor many times before. This time was different. This time I had made it with incredible ease. The momentum was feirce. The last foothold was solid. I lept into the air, landing with skill and grace on sweet terrafirma in a cloud of dust.

I didn't have time to rest. A force I couldn't see or understand kept pushing me forward. I stood up. The world was bright and vivid. I no longer needed anything but my eyes to see it this way. My first step was perfection and the subsiqent steps did not dim in ease and quality from the first. There was a bend in the path further up ahead. I steadily plodded my way towards it, brimming with confidence that nothing could stand in my way now that I was here. But soon my step faltered and tears welled up in my eyes at what I was now confronted with.

A great chasm, with sheer sides of ugly grey stone sliced my beloved colourful landscape in two. Down there, the darkness seemed to move in great waves, currents of dispair ready and waiting to smash anyone caught in their grip against the sharp rocks. Swells that sounded like death rattles reached up and licked a lone plank of wood that bridged the ravine.

For a moment it seemed hopeless. Yet with resolve and certainty that welled up from my very core, I stepped closer and saw that the plank was bolted down tight. It was strong, stirdy and reliable. I followed its passage, imagining the wind and the fear and the pulling darkness until I reached the other side and saw a fence, with a style. At that moment I realised this was the only way. I realised that this terrible darkness was going to be a part of my journey and I would reach other challenges such as this. I also realised, to make a mistake now, would send me down deeper than I had ever been.

Chapter Two: Over the Edge.

My inner monologue was on a loop. The same three words echoed around my head again and again. Had I been too sure of myself? Was this great plan, this earth shattering epiphany just wishfull thinking? I sat there, unable to engage with those surrounding me, staring blankly at a brick wall that happened to be in my line of sight. I had time to take in plenty of detail; it was red brick and had a sharp, white night-light about three feet to the left of an upstairs bathroom window. Amazing.

I tied up my brain and threw him in the closet, instead, deciding to listen to the banter of the group. With great effort, an absurd comment forced its way out of my mouth. The delivery was poorly timed and I didn't even think it was funny, but my mouth was now buying me time and inspiring me to say more. I realised then that the plan alone was not enough. I needed to jump off the cliff before I could be free in the sea of possibility and swim away. And that took guts.

Chapter One: The Plan.

Yesterday I woke up on a bench in an airport, 1000 miles from home. I was wearing my army issue DPM rain jacket and it rustled loudly as I sat up and pulled back the hood to reveal the state of the world, it looked exactly as it had done for the past 24 hours. I felt like a groggy, homeless crisp packet. I rustled some more over to the bathroom to be confronted by a short furry spanish man grooming his shockingly large hair. Confused, I brushed my teeth, splashed my face and attempted to mask the three days of travel which had gathered in my armpits, then returned to where my companion slept.

Physically, travelling long distances and sleeping rough can be pretty tough. But with enough food and a few memorable experiences under my belt, I found that my mental clarity was better than it had been in months, perhaps even years. I no longer had television, world news, computer games, house chores, work, college, that girl or any other necessary evil that usually clouded my thoughts during my life in London. In this most simple state of cognitive freedom, I formulated a plan.