The Ivium, Greek for way or path, is a method of development that uses the stages of development to map out a plan for educating a child into adulthood, and for adults that have educated themselves to then create an environment that cultivates the critical thinking of their child.
Ivium is the great art of living (the Way). Univium (aesthetic for infants) Bivium (fractal geometry and art), Trivium (grammar, logic, rhetoric) Quadrivium (math, geometry, music, astronomy) Pentivium (Purification, Consolidation, Application, Balance/Mastery, Play/Flow) …
Essentially the result is a culture that has revived from the slumber of ignorance. The author would submit that it is public education, and dependence upon those institutions in the absence of functional society, that has resulted in a gradual dumbing down.
The solution, therefore, is to replace the failing institutions with a functioning, free society via concerted individual effort to actively educate themselves. To do so requires a new economic paradigm of self sufficiency and decentralization, which is antithetical to the current political and economic models. Nonetheless, many of the greatest thinkers of modern times agree with the author, and not the current model.
Having spent some time interning at Heathcote, learning the ins and outs of community life, a vital realization comes to the fore: people in community quickly become like family. But more to the point, our family does not end at the nuclear, blood ties, but branches outward–beyond the tribes, nations, religions and whatever boundaries we may create–towards the stars. If we can allow ourselves to go there, a boundless world exists, in which our unity creates a planet in homeostasis: Gaia, the planetary organism.
Learning about the ways in which we are all diverse but connected, rather than the ways in which we are all different and separate, could have no other outcome than greater compassion and willingness to cooperate rather than compete for resources.
Indeed, a living school, a “school of living” is an appropriate logic towards dispelling the illusory boundaries that plague our world. We all know the phrase, “it takes a village” because this communal extension of family seems vital to the forms of education that are quintessential to what we all know is a better way of living. Moreover, fundamentally changing the forms of our society requires a radical reformation in the forms of our education because both are intertwined. The speaker will briefly go over some of his ideas as to how we can improve education, economy, and assembly in this article; however to find more, a link will be provided below.
Imagine a world that took education seriously, that put education, and not politics or economics at the top of its priorities; imagine a world that put ecology before economy, and which took the duty of stewardship seriously; and finally, imagine a world that took its process of assembly seriously, and which did not have a media that bombarded its audience with mindless entertainments: beer and circuses, bread and football. Allow yourself a moment to seriously imagine such a world, what growing up in that world would mean to you, and how everything would be structured. Now that our minds are a little more open, we can begin to discuss the speaker’s vision of what our imagined world would look like.
Very briefly, such a world starts with birth, and with birth starts the process of education. An infant brain is far more malleable than an adult brain, a phenomena known as neural plasticity (Huttenlocher 2009). Therefore, it stands to reason that we should start linguistic education at that early stage.
As we all know, infants and young children learn faster and better than their adult counterparts. However, maybe this is not true, maybe we have just been going about education the wrong way, perhaps our approach to education is what stifles the majority of us, and perhaps this is the only difference between geniuses and the rest of us: they just never lose their curiosity through indoctrination. According to new research in neuroplasticity and neurogenesis, the brain is constantly changing, but especially in bilinguals (Gaser and Schlaug 2003), and musicians (Mechelli et al., 2004, Wan and Schlaug 2013)
Developmental Education, an idea developed by the present author, using the stages of cognitive development (Piaget 1990) to guide the process of education, is an untested, but scientifically verifiable concept. In a nutshell, the process begins at six months after birth at the latest (, , , , ), with a new language provided by a nanny who speaks a second language (a service provided free to the public). In the United States, this second language daycare service would be particularly available, and would grant any society that is culturally diverse an advantage (Kuhl et al 2003).
Furthermore, those individuals providing that service would be considered members of the education system, and would be paid well for their service–and what woman would not want to cradle a baby and speak to it for extended periods of time? Certainly there will be no shortage of applicants to this occupation. This kind of occupation serves another purpose, however, and that is to make an otherwise disparaged demographic of the population (minorities as we call them) an integral aspect of our society, and of civilization, giving them both a reason to be respected and to have a meaningful purpose in our community (I am thinking of the Spanish speaking population when I say this, but the opportunity should not be limited to any one language or demographic).
Moreover, as a child grows, so too does the intensity of the stimulus that they are to receive, but only according to what will best encourage their “flow” (Csíkszentmihályi 1996). Accordingly, at infancy the children will be stimulated by classical, as well as cultural music and eventually, geometric shapes. The means by which this stimulus is carried out may vary, but for children above the age of three, time tested methods could include the seven classical liberal arts: grammar, logic, rhetoric, math, geometry, music, and astronomy. And were we to refine these arts, refining these subjects with the razors edge of what we now know about reality (i.e. physics, chemistry, psychology, ecology, and so forth) a new renaissance may be the result. (Interestingly, the author has developed an extension to this paradigm for adults called the Pentivium, which we will explore below.)
Imagine that these rigid lessons are merely a means to instill the knowledge of the world, in a sense to domesticate the student, but in no way to break or stifle their curiosity; doing so, students will benefit from worldly knowledge early, so that they can learn to forget such knowledge later on.Indeed depending upon a child’s level of development and self-determination, she or he may want to simply be home schooled; and public school, fundamentally, must be a choice on the part of the parents and the students. However, the point of having free public education is to ensure universal access to knowledge.
In order to perpetuate the child’s innate curiosity, however, unstructured play in nature for forty-five minutes each day for recess must be a universal characteristic of developmental education. Studies have shown that doing so is integral towards a child’s growth and development of self-efficacy, and the book Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv makes this point clear. (However, for more information on unstructured play in nature Google: An Investigation of Unstructured Play in Nature and its Effect on Children’s Self-Efficacy (Paul E. Starling)).
Moving on, to merely play in nature each day would only limit the potential of our prospective students. For that reason, several recesses throughout the day– consisting of practical but fun activities such as: art, meditation, martial arts, gardening,unstructured music, yoga, dance, and so forth–could act to replace many of the trivial activities that children are put through in their early age: PE, sports activities, and so on.
One might ask, how will we be able to fit all of these kinds of activities into one day? By having one primary subject per day, broken up by several recesses of this sort, we can do what the speaker has described. Further, when the students have one subject and one teacher for the entire day, their focus has not been divided and thrown about like a rag doll as in the current paradigm; and by having several practical recesses, the children’s jovial love for life can be indulged while instilling discipline and a sense of purpose and self-confidence. This could also prepare the students for having workdays that are every other day, as we will discuss later.
Recent studies have shown that continuity is beneficial to early education. According to C. Seefeldt |A. Galper 2010, “Because children’s growth is continuous, their early educational experiences must also be continuous (Scully, Seefeldt, & Barbour, 2003). One experience builds on another. A thread of meaning runs through a number of experiences, forming a coherent, whole, continuous learning curriculum for young children.” Therefore, the more methods and techniques for continuity and coherence applied to education, the better. With the right combination of perspectives and techniques, a new paradigm of education can be struck, in which the old limitations do not apply to the degree that they do today (i.e. class size, time with individual students, concentration on specific concepts, etc.).
According to John Taylor Gatto, in his book Dumbing us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Public School
“I’ve noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my thirty years of teaching: schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet. No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes. The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders. This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides and administrators, but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions. Although teachers do care and do work very, very hard, the institution is psychopathic — it has no conscience. It rings a bell and the young man in the middle of writing a poem must close his notebook and move to a different cell where he must memorize that humans and monkeys derive from a common ancestor.”
In contrast to the harsh realities described above by Mr. Gatto, as students in our new paradigm progress through this process–each according to their ability–their teachers become more and more like librarians (i.e. directing them to the sources of information that they seek) and less like a pedagogue, forcing information upon them (Google: Motivation to learn, and learning vs. performance). In this way, the impetus to learn comes from the student, rather than the teacher, or some outside contingent.
Conversely, the recesses at adolescence become more practical and technical, corresponding with the ability of the adolescent, and can be selected or deselected at any time. As the students progress through these stages, they may decide to check out of education, and they will be more than welcome to do so, but they can always choose to jump back in at any time, due to the less structured nature of the program.
By the time the students reach young adulthood, they will be given courses on architecture, hydroponics, electricity, plumbing, carpentry, and mechanics (really whatever the people decide is practical). The purpose of these courses, being to instill self-sufficiency and independence, the graduating requirement of all students will be to pass their drivers course (assuming that people are still driving at this time), which will act as a certificate of their graduation. However, graduating and getting a drivers license is not the same as requesting and earning citizenship.
The purpose of this kind of education has not been to ensure that those coming out of it are functional workers, but rather as beneficial members of a community and society. An experiment of this kind cannot come without some degree of controversy. However, given the track record of the current public education paradigm, we are not going to get any improvements from it any time soon. Let us remember Einstein’s famous quote that, “ We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Therefore, given the current failure of our education, as a system despite the efforts of individuals, we must reinvent the wheel of our mind, and think in brand new ways to solve the problems that our world faces.
Indeed, the next step in changing our way of thinking is with regards to adult education. Once one has reached adulthood, and requested and earned citizenship, they may desire to enter into a free adult education academy called the Pentivium. The Pentivium, as you may already glean from the name, is composed of five subjects, which compliment the subjects of the Trivium and Quadrivium of the classical liberal arts. It will please the reader that all of these subjects are plant and or consciousness oriented, rooted in fractal equality a concept coined by the author to describe the balance inherent in natural inequalities, which give rise to the beauty inherent in all varieties. Separate from college, this program does not include specific subjects or compartmentalized views, but rather depends upon the community, and would act as a community-building forum in places like the city and suburb.
The academy facility may be old malls, repurposed, and would be a perfect fit for green revolutions everywhere. How poignant, you might be thinking, how ironic, that the infrastructure that once perpetuated the consumerist, materialist view, now should be the edifice for its ultimate destruction, and the vector for a new, green paradigm.
The pentivium starts with purification. Through meditation and medicinal therapy and study, the neophyte explores their own individuated consciousness, and dispels the illusory boundaries within themselves. (By medicine the author means plants, not synthetic chemicals, though the choice to do even that is the individuals, and while not entirely necessary, the process of purification can take substantially longer without the aid of our plant brethren.)
The purification process will also go hand in hand with the local organic economy, in which the participants have access to locally grown organic food. A full spectrum purification can then take place, therefore, in which diet and exercise are aiding aspects of the mental and spiritual purification. Acting synergisticly to magnify the process, a full spectrum deconditioning can take place, in which the attempts of the world to bog one down with nonsense and false notions of who they are may be loosened enough to leave room for a more rational, caring, and self-empowered individual.
As we progress, and as the purification process takes place within the individual, their mind has expanded to be open to new ideas; without fear, ego, or formal belief systems the individual can now be introduced to esoteric concepts, which will further help their endless process of purification. We may call this a consolidation, because it is an act of collecting one’s thoughts, and a re-examination of one’s reality according to occult—or what were previously hidden—texts, and what could be considered divine (experiential) study of the sacred.
This could be anything from reading ancient texts, or modern texts devoted to their analysis, meditating on natural forms, to spending time in an isolation tank, even skydiving, depending upon the person’s temperament and general character—all of these may be applicable, or none of them. Everyone has different definitions of the profound, but that is exactly what one is seeking in this stage of the pentivium.
The third stage could be considered a form of exertion. Learning the practice of self-healing, a practice of thought manipulation is the key to what the author calls “magik,” but really there is nothing magical or unrealistic about what quantum physics calls quantum entanglement. By practicing intent, critical thought control, and using the tools expressed in the previous stages of the pentivium, the neophyte can begin to change their reality by changing their thoughts, perspectives and choices. At this stage, each of those involved may begin to have positive, demonstrable effect on the planetary organism’s healing process. One step closer to homeostasis and conscious evolution, we continue to the next stage.
Through experiencing exertion, at the fourth stage of the pentivium one comes into one’s self, and begins to exhibit a union of their body, mind, and spirit. This union, then coming into balance,represents a state of mastery. Few who enter the pentivium will reach this stage of mastery, but the benefits of such an evolution are greater than the bliss of ignorance, and the imbalanced disharmony, confusion, and chaos that otherwise plague human existence. This mastery will only further aid the neophyte in their relationship to others, their chosen field of collegiate study (assuming they go to college), and their overall appreciation of the world at large.
To become a master of one’s realm represents a total shift in personal ownership and responsibility by far. However, as we proceed, the fifth and final stage of the pentivium is simply play. At this stage, one’s development has reached a nexus point, from the domestication of the trivium and quadrivium to a complete freedom as an experienced adult– i.e. they are completely capable of virtually anything that they put themselves to. Purification, consolidation, exertion, union and balance have resulted in the transformation of the individual from a person with an ego to a character with a connection to the Kosmos.
Widening the scope of education beyond the boundaries of the schoolhouse, the true schoolhouse must come to be the world, our true family the world also; only then can our species evolve past its arbitrary limitations, and come to inherit its divine role as co creators with the sacred. Indeed, only by having this implied trust can we evolve past the money paradigm, and act synergistically as a global consciousness to create what the author calls a planetary organism. This, and not the United Nations, is the solution to global warming, the poverty rampant in the disparaged world, and dictatorial governments bent on our indoctrination.
The “way” that the author has described may not be for everyone, but that can be said about enlightenment in general. Nonetheless, this program, and its potential to create community and enlightenment should be pondered and considered—before our materialistic, bread and circuses, beer and football culture retards and regresses into confusion and ignorance, making the vast majority of us entranced, and reduced under absolute tyranny, dragging the rest of us along with them. (Some may think it is already too late, but that is flat wrong given the revolutionary spirit happening right now.)
To move forward, towards describing an alternative paradigm, we must first get on the same page. Many visions of an alternative economic structure exist, but few of them are comprehensive, coming with them an education and assembly schema as we are discussing now. However, these ideas may seem unfamiliar, idealistic, even nonsensical, but this does not mean that they are worthless. Again, as Einstein wisely stated, “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” And though the alternative economic structure below may seem far-fetched, or impossible to some, the only thing making it impossible is the thought structure, which believes there are such impossibilities.
The new economic paradigm, which we will be exploring, is something the author calls reciprocism: a social and political contract in which a cooperative interchange of favors, industrious goods, privileges, or labor is the medium of exchange—rather than moneys, debt, or fiat. In other words, the project of civilization becomes the currency.
Citizenship, a chosen and then earned title through beneficial activity of any kind, therefore, represents the medium of exchange. Requesting and earning citizenship grants an individual the universal basic income of free food, clothing, shelter, transportation, information, medical care, and whatsoever the people themselves shall deem deserving of a citizen.
Beyond this definition, a few qualifying aspects of this alternative economy must be disclosed to the reader. First, this concept requires economic democracy; second, a participatory economy, and third, this system requires that individuals chooseto be citizens. Further, a redefinition of the profit motive from expenditures over returns (getting more than you give) to human or ecological benefit (getting in equal proportion to what you give) would act to transform the entire impetus of human activity, increasing human productiveness on the whole due to cooperation and competition instead of just competition.
Those who choose not to participate may become homesteaders, and because this system does not claim ownership of the earth, and prevents private citizen ownership, anyone can, within reason (as in no toxifying or contaminating the environment), homestead freely. Similar to the Amish community, they may start organic agrarian communities, and if they are productive, they may receive gratis payments of resources from the civilization that they have decided to divorce themselves from.
In many ways, the idea of a reciprocity-based economy is different from a pure economic democracy– at least according to the work of J.W. Smith et al. First, because it does not involve money, and for that reason does not require banks; reciprocism is more fluid, and more applicable anywhere, including the third world; second because this idea truly makes a radical reform towards a more purely communistic (i.e. cashless) paradigm, but without the central control of previous communistic iterations (e.g. Soviet Russia, Maoist China, North Korea and so forth), reciprocism is more egalitarian. In this respect a reciprocal economy is much closer to a participatory economy. Nonetheless, because it consists of a commons of information, land, technology, and so forth, this idea does resemble economic democracy.
However, in contrast to Michael Albert’s vision of a Parecon, the idea of reciprocal economy, or recipreconrests on the idea that we get what we give. In essence, generally we are all the same, but specifically we are all different. For this reason, we may derive equality through a universal basic income of the necessities–regardless of our effort, hours worked, or the intensity of our occupation–, but where Albert and I differ is that we should be paid differently for our ability to acquire luxuries when we include effort and sacrifice etc. That is to say luxuries and necessities are tabulated differently, one with our specific effort and sacrifice, the other with our general citizenship respectively.
Every other aspect of a participatory economy, including worker councils and consumer councils, even facilitating agencies are included in my treatise called, The Merits of Reciprocism. Links to this and other works will be included blow.
If this concept is still vague to the reader, it may be necessary to ponder the words of Allan Watts on the matter of money:
“Money is a way of measuring wealth but is not wealth in itself. A chest of gold coins or a fat wallet of bills is of no use whatsoever to a wrecked sailor alone on a raft. He needs real wealth, in the form of a fishing rod, a compass, an outboard motor with gas, and a female companion. But this ingrained and archaic confusion of money with wealth is now the main reason we are not going ahead full tilt with the development of our technological genius for the production of more than adequate food, clothing, housing, and utilities for every person on earth.”
What Allan and many other visionaries, including the current writer are saying, echoing really; is that we have the potential to move beyond these forms, if only we could see past them into the reality of things. To do so, we may have to look inward, and recognize that it is not the material world that matters, nor the conventions of human invention, but the spectrum of life, its various contingencies, and the synergy of information networks that “matter”. Communication matters, love matters, community matters, but not money.
Further, once money, and the entire paradigm of work and labor has been changed, we can also work on changing our schedules of work as well. For many religious folks, Sunday should always be a day of rest, and that could still work perfectly within the premise that we are about to explore, but as we shall see, there is much more to life than work, and with more days of rest, we can begin to focus on the being experience of living rather than the having experience of surviving; perhaps we can even make our world the temple it deserves to be, and our daily actions the religious practice–what a strange concept, I know!
Imagine if, instead of repeatedly working five days on, two days off, if you worked every other day. For one thing, twice as many people could work on the same project, and for another, we could then have three to four days off if we so chose. The question of, “how are we going to pay all of these people?” has become irrelevant, because those people hired will not be paid in profits, but in the available resources. Further, a person’s access to the necessities is not measured by their time at work, but by their contribution whatsoever, meaning that everyone has equal access to the resources, regardless of their degree of contribution.
(Note that the every other day concept falls in line with the education paradigms segmented schedule of on and off and on again, and while this may not directly prepare people for the work force, it does get young people into a habit of thinking in those terms, and living in that way.)
Now that we have covered some of the basics of alternatives to the education and economic paradigm, our final key to creating a brighter future rests in polity: our approach to assembly.
First, lets face it; our government is a corrupt gang of oligarchs, ministered by money, but not by the will of the people. The collusion between government and finance is obvious, and while this is not fascism out right, it is tantamount to it, and in many cases it is merely gross capitalism. However, the blame does not rest entirely upon the government we call ours, nor upon our elected officials, because “We the People” have allowed this corruption to take place, and for so long. But is this because of human nature, or is this more the result of residual feudalistic practices and power structures, causing the general population to resemble sheep more than lions? If violence, greed, or just plain evil is the nature of humankind, how have we come to exist for so many millennia without totally eradicating ourselves? How did humanity make it this far if it is totally evil?
Assuming humanity is evil, there is no ground to move forward, and the case rests. However, if we can accept that humanity, like life, is determined by our choices and perspectives here and now, the reader and speaker can move forward; not doing so is like casting seeds upon a desert floor, and saying that they were not meant to grow. But to say that humanity is not evil, on the contrary, is not to say that we should simply trust those whom represent us. Indeed, we must always be critical constituents of our government, scrutinizing it at every opportunity; to trust blindly in government of any sort is to hand over one’s better judgment to the whims of lesser men at best, and tyrants at worst.
Imagine that instead of an executive office, council structures are formed, deriving their members through lottery, rather than election, and once in office, are monitored in a similar fashion as with reality television: in other words, total transparency. Taking into consideration that everyone chooses to be a citizen, and agrees to the social contract, one’s service in council, like jury duty, is a part of their civic duty. That being clearly stated removes any probability that someone will disagree to the potential inconvenience of serving in a public office once they are randomly selected. However, due to the relatively easy means of selection, anyone may choose to pass on their opportunity to serve, providing a reasonable five thousand word explanation.
The same policy of transparency would ensure a limit on the level of corruption that could take place (taking place on the higher stratum that branch outwards, from borough, to city, to region, and so forth). Further, doing so creates a medium through which people can be entertained by monitoring their public officials. While this may result in something more boring than C-SPAN, the overlying outcome will be a major check on the ruling powers, and a transformation of the democratic process.
Participatory government with a reciprocal bent resembles anarchy more than it does the traditional power structures; but, nonetheless, this is exactly the character of the kind of government, or lack there of, which the writer is proposing. A kind of government that has few boundaries, in which the average citizen, locally, gets to participate in the process of his or her local decisions, and have an impact depending upon the degree to which she or he is affected.
The concept of a council-based assembly structure falls perfectly into harmony with a participatory economy. Those most affected by the problems discussed would be the ones brought together in council, or at the very least they would have veto power via supermajority. Far more democratic than representative republic, due to the direct involvement of the people, the democratic council structure represents a more egalitarian circle in every way, where the present order represents a box with a pyramid.
A framework into which all of our legal rights and laws may be contained; the “box” of our current governmental structure is the constitution. The pyramid, however, represents the residual feudalistic practices, which linger on in the form of the Federal Reserve and the corporate dominance of the financial elite. The pyramid rests on top of the box, preventing any substantial reformation or legislation from coming into the box. If we are to take the world back from the money masters, it is our right, it is our duty to throw off such forms of tyranny, and draft newer, more liberating forms.
Therefore, the council structure, bestowing power equally to its members, is far more egalitarian than the feudal pyramid, or the enlightened box alone. And with a constitutional framework added to that council structure, our new paradigm may be given great integral reinforcement. So long as that council circle or planetary sphere (acting like a protective bubble) contains that box structure–meaning as long as the people maintain their power to control and amend that underlying constitution–a pyramid may never be able to work its way atop the box, perverting the constitution, and usurp the levers of power as we have seen today.
Moreover, creating meritocratic councils could benefit society in many ways. In the context of this new paradigm, where councils populated by average citizens may lead to greater freedom, not guided by parliamentary representatives appointed by financial interests unaccountable to the people, it may not lead to the most efficient, productive, or logical conclusion. For this reason, emergent councils of scientists, engineers, designers, technicians, and many others could act as mediators, formed for the purpose of guiding public opinion, and proposing new public projects.
Other councils, formed emergently by the people themselves, could act on behalf of the people for the purpose of organizing cultural events for the community.
In such a flexible form of governance, we can see how close to anarchy we can get before absolutely no governing authority exists, while simultaneously improving the lives of those involved. Beyond democracy, a people can be informed by its most and best, while having little to no chance of being guided by its least and worst. If you believed that you had the ability to make a positive difference, and were selected for office, more than likely you will affect positive change; contrariwise, if you believe that you have no impact on the system, or that humanity is not worth benefiting, you more than likely will just pass on your opportunity. Moreover, if you were corrupt, the lack of privacy would prevent you from perverting from the purpose of serving the public interest.
A world without money, and with a sophisticated education system, combined with a cultural green revolution, would make this kind of government and this kind of a vision a mere choice away. The choice is between fear, ego, belief–and love. Choose wisely!
Lets be the divine creators we were born to be!