Tag: <span>Tibetans</span>

Piaget's Project Appeals

Completing Piaget’s Project. Transpersonal Philosophy and the Future of…

Featured Image Jean Piaget By Roland Zumbühl of Picswiss as part of a cooperation project. Wikimedia Commons.

Edward J. Dale. Completing Piaget’s Project. Transpersonal Philosophy and the Future of Psychology.

(St.Paul, MN: Paragon House Publishers, 2014)

Edward J. Dale has written a very useful overview of the intellectual currents in trans-personal psychology;  a broad field in which different practitioners use different terms for roughly the same approach:  Robert Assagioli – psychosynthesis, Ken Wilber – integral consciousness, Abraham Maslow – the farther reaches of human nature, Marilyn Ferguson – the Aquarian conspiracy. Dale provides an extensive bibliography of authors.

Therefore; there are at least two journals which specialize in trans-personal research:  Journal of Humanistic Psychology, founded in 1961 and the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology founded in 1969.

Roberto Assagioli

 Photo of Roberto Assaglioli, M.D. – Taken from the book ‘ Psychosynthesis (1965) By U3195247, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Roberto Assagioli: The Will as a Road to the Higher Self.

Psychoactive Substances.

All the trans-personal authors hold that it is very likely that the ability to develop trans-personal capacities is universal;  under the right developmental conditions. However, these trans-personal characteristics have been developed in many societies and are found in shamanism, in induced trance states, in contemplative prayer-meditation, in the use of natural psychoactive substances; and in more recent times in the use of LSD in psychedelic research.

Nevertheless; there is a possibility of a rapid and widespread emergence of trans-personal consciousness in the near future;  as an increasing number of people undertake spiritual practices of meditation, tantra, Zen, kundalini and other self-development techniques.

Ken Wilber

Ken Wilber. By Kanzeon Zen Center, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Trans-Personal Psychology.

There are basically three avenues leading to current trans-personal psychology. 

The first is a development growing out of therapeutic work. Assagioli began in the Freudian mode;  being the first translator of Freud’s writings into Italian. His work with clients showed that there were deeper aspects of the personality than Freud had stressed;  and thus a need to find therapeutic techniques,  which reached these deeper layers.  Much the same holds true for Abraham Maslow.

A second avenue has been from that of academic research and experimentation;  such as the work of Stanislav Grof, author of The stormy search for the self.

The third avenue  has been the presence of Asian teachers of meditation;  who came to Europe and the USA: the Tibetans after the 1959 flight from Tibet;  and the voluntary departure from India of yoga teachers and from Japan for Zen.

Stanislav Grof

 Stanislav Grof, psychologist and psychiatrist. By Anton Nosik, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Completing Piaget’s Project.

The value of Dale’s book is in its subtitle Transpersonal Philosophy and the Future of Psychology.  What can be confusing to readers is the title of the book Completing Piaget’s Project. Dale draws on an extended poem La mission de l’Idee;  written when Piaget was 19 and published in the French-speaking Swiss Protestant youth journal;  and his only novel Recherche;  written when he was 20 and trying to organize ideas from his college studies; his wide reading and his personal experiences of psychic events and their impact on his body. 

The poem and the novel do have trans-personal elements;  as well as reflecting debates going on at the time in the Swiss Protestant churches;  between more liberal and conservative currents. However; Piaget’s “project” linked to the creation of the League of Nations; and carried out from the 1920s in Geneva is not analyzed.

 

The League of Nations.

Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was born and educated in the French-speaking canton of Neuchatel.  He was a brilliant student;  and at an early age started writing articles for nature and wildlife journals.  He became active in the Young Socialists League and a militant for peace. He was influenced by the destructive violence of the 1914-1918 war.  Many children from France were sent to Neuchatel to take them out of harms way.

At the end of his university studies in Neuchatel;  he went to Paris to work with Alfred Binet on the early IQ tests to measure intelligence. After a couple of years;  he returned to Geneva to teach and do research in an institute devoted to education: l’Institut Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Piaget came to Geneva just as the League of Nations was starting at the end of 1922. Piaget hoped as did many others;  that the League would establish a peaceful world society. Piaget’s project was born in the intellectual currents stimulated by the League of Nations.

League of Nations

 Image: Stanley Bruce chairing the League of Nations Council in 1936. Joachim von Ribbentrop is addressing the council. By Commonwealth of Australia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The League of Nations and its unused Peace Army.

A Peaceful World Society.

His project was to build a peaceful world society;  by developing education for peace that aimed at the full development of the person.  This had to begin with the very start of education in primary school;  and strengthened through education in secondary school.

In order to create primary education that would fulfill this aim;  one had to understand how children learn.  Thus,  began his life-long investigation of the sequences of learning – when does awareness of shapes, colors, numbers, relations to others and a moral sense arise.

However; a world at peace could not be created only by having good education in the primary schools of Geneva.  There had to be a world-wide improvement of primary education;  by bringing advanced child-development knowledge to the attention of educators the world over;  in particular to the Ministries of Education;  which had the responsibility for educational policy  and content.

Alfred Binet

Alfredo Benet Junior (July 11, 1857 – October 18, 1911). By Unidentified photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Rockefeller Foundation.

Thus, in the spirit of the League of Nations; Piaget and some of his Geneva colleagues created the International Bureau of Education in 1924;  which Piaget headed for nearly 40 years.  Intellectually, it was related to the League of Nations and brought together;  usually once every two years, the Ministers of Education of the League members to discuss curriculum and teaching methods influenced by research being undertaken. 

The Bureau was largely financed by the Rockefeller Foundation. Since the USA had refused League membership and so did not contribute to the League’s budget;  much of the intellectual efforts of the League were financed by the Rockefeller Foundation including the impressive Library;  which is part of the League’s Palais des Nations.

After the Second World War;  the Bureau continued its work of conferences for Ministers of Education as an independent organization, always with Piaget as director.  In 1964, the Bureau was administratively incorporated into UNESCO but remained in Geneva.

The Same Learning Sequences.

The International Bureau of Education, housed in the Palais Wilson; the original League Secretariat offices, Piaget’s separate office building and the experimental primary school;  that served for observations were just across the street from my office as professor and Director of Research of the Graduate Institute of Development Studies. 

We would often eat or have coffee in the same places. Of course, I knew who Piaget was and would say “hello”, but I interacted with his team of researchers,  who were more my age. They were working on observations in Africa and Asia to see if the same learning sequences that Piaget had observed for Geneva children were true in other cultures as well. Their findings were that the sequences were the same; but the ages at which they took place differed due to child-raising patterns in Africa and Asia.

Institute International_Bureau_of_Education_-_UNESCO

International Bureau of Education – UNESCO @ Le Grand-Saconnex. By Guilhem Vellut from Annecy, France, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Contribution of Education to World Peace.

Piaget’s project of peace through improved primary and secondary school education has not yet been fulfilled.  UNESCO has a major program “Education for Global Citizenship“. The teachers’ manuals for the UNESCO program owe much to Piaget’s research.

While Dale’s book has many interesting elements and is a useful overview of trans-personal efforts. I think that it is a mistake to try to transform Piaget into a forerunner of trans-personal approaches;  and to neglect the heart of Piaget’s project: the contribution of education to world peace.

Transformation of Education

 Image: Image by Ian Ingalula from Pixabay.

Peacebuilding and the Transformation of Education.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Conscience and Belief Education of World Citizenships.

Upholding Freedom of Conscience and Belief.

Featured Image: Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash.

By Rene Wadlow.

 
25 November is the date anniversary of the U.N. General Assembly resolution in 1981 to proclaim the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. The Declaration is a development of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights highlighting freedom or thought, conscience, religion or belief. The 1981 Declaration is now recognized as articulating the fundamental right of freedom of conscience, religion, and belief.
 
The efforts for such a U.N. declaration began in 1962. Two conventions were proposed by African States, many of whom had joined the U.N. after their 1960 independence. One convention was to deal with racism. Since racism in the minds of many delegates was largely limited to apartheid in South Africa, work on a racism convention progressed quickly and was adopted in 1965. Freedom of religion was more complex. The effort was led by Liberia, but ran into East-West Cold War devisions. Work on a convention was largely completed by 1967 when the Six Day War in the Middle East broke out, making religious issues all the more sensitive at the U.N.
 
Human Rights
Eleanor Roosevelt holding poster of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (in English), Lake Success, New York. November 1949. By FDR Presidential Library & Museum, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

you might be interested on Human Rights: The Foundation of World Law.

Thought, Conscience, Religion or Belief.

 
One issue was that there was no agreed upon definition as to what is “religion”, thus the longer term used of “thought, conscience, religion or belief”.
 
Work was still slow. Thus, it was decided to change the proposal from a “Convention” which is a treaty which must be ratified by the parliament of the Member State to a “Declaration” which can be voted by the U.N. General Assembly.
 
The second modification was to change the declaration from a positive one – “freedom of religion or belief” to a negative one “elimination of intolerance and discrimination” based on religion or belief.
Work on the Declaration had begun at the U.N. in New York. When the human rights bodies of the U.N. moved in 1977 to Geneva, a working group on the Declaration was set up in which representatives on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as the Association of World Citizens, were particularly active. By the summer of 1981, the drafting of the Declaration was complete. The text was sent on to the delegates in New York and was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on 25 November 1981.
 
General AsemblyBasil D Soufi, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
After 1981, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (become since the Human Rights Council) created the post of Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion in 1985. The post continues today. The Declaration has given NGOs an agreed upon standard to which to hold governments. The 1981 Declaration cannot be implemented by U.N. bodies alone. Beginning with the shift of the U.N. human rights secretariat to Geneva and the closer cooperation with NGO representatives, the role of NGOs is more often written into U.N. human rights resolutions, calling on NGO cooperation, education and fact-finding.
 
Thus in the 1981 Declaration there is a paragraph which:
 

“requests the Secretary-General in this context to invite interested non-governmental organizations to consider what further role they could envisage playing in the implementation of the Declaration.”

 
Thus, the Association of World Citizens has continued to play an active role in the U.N. human rights bodies when the right of belief and conscience has been under attack in different parts of the world. Our policy has been to take a lead when a community under pressure was not part of an NGO in consultative status with representatives in Geneva who could speak for them.
 
In practice, the World Council of Churches speaks for Protestant and to a lesser degree for the Orthodox Churches. The Vatican, which is considered a State, participates actively in human rights bodies and speaks for Roman Catholic churches. Thus, the Association of World Citizens has, in recent years, raised the issues of the Mandaeans, also known as Sabian Mandaeans, in Iraq, the Yazidi in Iraq and Syria, the Rohingya fleeing Myanmar (Burma), the Baha’i in Yemen after having raised starting in 1980 the persecution of the Baha’i in Iran.
 
Religion

The Falun Gong.

 
Starting in 1985, there being no active Buddhist organization active at the U.N. in Geneva at the time, we raised the condition of religious liberty of the Tibetans in Tibet. This was followed by presentations of the fate of the Falun Gong movement in China. They are basically Taoist but consider themselves as a separate movement or belief. There was no Taoist NGO at the U.N. that I knew of.
 
There is a worldwide erosion of the freedom of belief and conscience in many parts of the world causing large-scale suffering, grave injustice, and refugee flows. Belief and conscience are efforts on the part of individuals and communities to understand and to seek to live in harmony with the laws of Nature and often to communicate their understanding and devotion to others.
 
The anniversary date of 25 November should be an opportunity to consider how to strengthen freedom of conscience and belief.
 
The Falun Gong
 Falun Gong members exercise in Sydney, 2021. By Kgbo, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
 
Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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