EDUCATION AS A RITUAL PROCESS

Urmas Kaldveer, December, 1993

Abstract

There is serious concern regarding the educational process as it now stands. A great deal of energy is going into determining exactly what it is that has gone wrong. The consensus within a large and influential part of the educational community seems to be that what is needed, is more stringent time allocation and more electronic input.

The focus of this dissertation is to propose an alternative resolution based on principles established at the very beginning of our (hominid) development. These principles, which involved the use of practical as well as mythical rituals, confirmed an individuals place in a higher order of reality and included music as well as dance. Throughout our early history the incorporation of this belief in ones place in the scheme of things acted as an inducement to the continued search for wisdom. Included in the information were concepts regarding everything from the progression of the equinox to the ethereal elements of a birds flight.The importance of establishing these universal concepts in students today is no less vital than it was two hundred thousand years ago, indeed it may be even more vital.

Through the perspective of history and current research in fields ranging from quantum physics to art, the question of the ultimate intent of education are examined. It is clear to even the most casual observer that somewhere in the history of our western culture the before mentioned concepts began to lose their role in the educational process. A discussion of when and how this occurred sheds light on the origin of some of our current concerns about the educational process. Using these insights, a proposal is presented which addresses the issue of ritual as integral to this process and how that can be effectively incorporated into our current systems. It is also proposed that this system, in and of itself, is a ritual that is common to all peoples throughout history.

It is not intended that this should be a definitive work. It is meant to create dialogue and perhaps encourage a slight movement forward. What is at issue here is what has gone wrong?, are there ways to deal with this issue in untried yet ancient ways?, and can these ways be implemented in our modern times?


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