Friday, March 09, 2012

The Dangerous Child Curricula: Part VII

The early childhood curriculum which has been excerpted over the past several postings was not developed in a vacuum. It was developed as an important part of an overall approach to the transformation of modern western society into a more ethical and creative society. Here are some excerpts from chapter 6, "An Educational Alternative" to provide a larger perspective into the project:
The curriculum is one that can be started by young children and continued into old age without being exhausted. A person wishing to maximize creativity in the shortest possible time would follow the curriculum approximately in the order given; but anyone should be able to take many different paths within this curriculum, including specializing at any time. All students would be counseled on the consequences of their actions, but encouraged to follow their instincts by doing what feels right for them without fear of making a wrong choice.

The objective is to make the totality of human knowledge readily and easily available to as many persons as possible in such a way that, if they wish it, they are constantly maximizing their rate of growth in creativity relative to their present intellectual and ethical potential. In order to do this we plot an optimal course through the curriculum for all octets or other groupings of students and let them modify the courses according to their own personal inclinations. We also make the feedback on their progress and that of other students readily available to them whenever they wish it, but on a private basis so that any particular student's progress is known only to the student and his/her counselors. All other data is in statistical summaries and protects the anonymity of each student.

The expectation is that, under this system, learning and creativity will be seen as among the most joyful of human experiences. Students will learn to play the Game of Life for the joy it brings--without fear of punishment or expectation of extrinsic rewards. If their studies are disassociated from external reward and punishment and all students are respected for whatever choices they make, the students will optimize the curriculum for themselves. The essential requirements are to have the totality of human knowledge available and accessible at all times without extrinsic rewards or punishments associated with it. This may be done as follows:

We divide the totality of human knowledge into three primary areas, or dimensions, because human beings normally perceive the integrated whole of the cosmos as three distinct types of phenomena. These are the physical, the biological, and the psychosocial. There are many levels of knowledge within each of these dimensions that are normally associated within our archaeological and cultural history. Indeed, what integrates the three dimensions into a whole is the evolutionary perspective (as in the first four chapters) by which we see human history as a continuation of our biological evolution and biological evolution as a continuation of material evolution. Therefore, at each level the student is presented with the three distinct areas of study--plus a fourth discipline, which is an ethical evolutionary-historical-artistic integration of the first three.

Art integrates knowledge at the unconscious level. The entire program integrates knowledge by having ontogeny recapitulate phylogeny at the psychosocial level. Students learn in an order, context, and manner similar to that in which the human race learned the same material and are given an opportunity to rediscover this knowledge. Everything they learn is always related to everything they know in a meaningful, practical way. _Educational Alternative _ Chapter 6 of Creative Transformation
More from John David Garcia's early childhood curriculum:
Physical Biological
Physical Theory Physical Practice Biological Theory Biological Practice
9.00 11.00 Begin advanced calculus
and partial differential
equations; detailed study
of the work of Lagrange
and Euler, the calculus of
variations from Newton to
Lagrange, elementary
probability theory from
Pascal to Cauchy and
LaPlace; applications in
optics, astronomy, theory
of heat
Begin construction of
simple steam engine,
making from scratch, doing
all machining of parts by
treddle-driven lathes and
water and windmill power;
check the detailed
mathematical models
against astronomical
Conclusion of the study of
human anatomy and
Conclusion of dissections
and microscopic
observations; the general
functioning of the human
body has been observed
9.25 11.25 Continue work of previous
quarter; detailed theory of
steam engine, the work of
Lavoisier, Priestley, and
Continue above project,
switching to electrical
machinery; do early
experiments in electricity
by Gauss, Coulomb,
Amp^ere, and Volta; the
atomic model of chemistry
and experiments
Begin study of animal
physiology and describe
biochemistry through mid
19th century; repeat
experiments of Helmholtz
in biophysics
Experiments in basic
physiology showing how
human body consumes
oxygen and produces
carbon dioxide; human
body as a heat engine
9.50 11.50 Continue work in
chemistry; the work of
LaPlace and Carnot, the
laws of thermodynamics,
the experiments of
Faraday; advanced studies
in partial differential
equations; wave mechanics
in optics; begin study of
the works of Gauss
Continue chemistry
experiments; finish work
on steam engine; test
efficiency using Carnot's
concepts; begin repeating
the experiments of Faraday
and empirically derive the
basic laws of electricity
and magnetism, including
Ohm's law
Animal physiology and
biochemistry continued;
the work and life of
Experiments in animal
physiology and
biochemistry continued
9.75 11.75 Maxwell's work on the
wave theory of light and
the derivation of Maxwell's
equations and their
applications; continue
study of Gauss'
mathematics and physics
Electromagnetic motors
and generators,
construction of batteries,
transmission of
electromagnetic waves,
early work of Tesla, the
telegraph and the wireless
A course in botany and
plant physiology; begin
experiments in plant
genetics after Gregor
Study and dissection of
major plant species; field
studies, microscopic
dissection, plant breeding
per Gregor Mendel

Psychosocial Integration
Psychosocial Theory Pyschosocial Practice Integrative Theory Integrative Practice
9.00 11.00 Detailed analysis of the
American and French
Revolutions; detailed
analysis of the writings of
Jefferson and his
comparisons between
Jefferson, Washington, and
Napoleon; how Napoleon
betrayed the French
Revolution in the pursuit
of personal power; how the
U.S. government betrayed
the Libertarian ethic
Write essays comparing
the ethical course of the
American and French
Revolution; relate the
ethics of Spinoza to these
revolutions; relate to
evolutionary ethics and
show where they went
Artistic synthesis in the
early work of Goethe and
the music of Beethoven;
ethical synthesis in the
philosophy of Lessing,
Goethe, and Moses
Mendelssohn and their
interpretations of Spinoza
Reorchestrate and perform
Beethoven's Grosse Fugue
for octet; read Goethe's
prophetic poetry; write a
sequel to the Sorcerer's
9.25 11.25 The philosophy of Kant,
biography, The Critique of
Pure Reason and The
Critique of Practical
Reason; compare to
Spinoza; Kant's cosmology
compared to LaPlace;
explain Catholic hostility
Write essays on the
scientific and ethical
implications of Kant's
philosophy; analyze in
terms of the evolutionary
Artistic synthesis
continued in the work of
Goethe and Beethoven;
Goethe's Sorcerer's
Apprentice and pessimism,
the romantic hope and self-delusion
Produce as a group project
Goethe's Faust and
performance of
Beethoven's Ninth
Symphony for several
9.50 11.50 The philosophy of Hegel--how he could be so wrong
and so influential; Hegel
and the misinterpretation
of Spinoza; Hegel's theory
of history and ethics; Hegel
as the father of Marxism
and Naziism; de
Tocqueville as a visionary
and prophetic historian
Essay explaining Hegel's
influence through present
times; a comparison of
Spinoza and Hegel--how
could Hegel so
misunderstand Spinoza
and deceive himself and
others? Why was de
Tocqueville so accurate in
his predictions?
The romantic poets, Byron,
Shelley, and Wordsworth;
the art of Watteau,
Houdon, David, and
Degas; the music of
Berlioz and Liszt; Wagner
as the musical equivalent
of Hegel
Write epic poetry on a
hopeful future from a
romantic perspective; do a
musical satire on a Wagner
opera; paint a heroic
romantic painting
9.75 11.75 A history of the world
from 1775 to 1910;
development of major
ideas and philosophies,
with particular attention to
USA, Britain, France,
Germany, Japan, and
Russia; basic economics
from Adam Smith to Marx
and Engels
An essay explaining the
Newtonian model and its
influence on the intellectual
history of the world; why
Islam, India, and China
were so far behind, why
Japan was able to catch up
An ethical analysis of
European and American
imperialism; libertarian
and socialistic ethics; the
ethical turmoil of the age
of liberty and social
obligation; read War and
Peace by Tolstoy; the
paintings of Turner and the
Read and analyze Pushkin,
Melville, Dickens, Hugo,
Balzac, Dostoyevski,
Tolstoy, George Eliot;
study the music of Mahler
and perform Das Lied von
der Erde

It is fascinating how well Garcia's "Creative Transformation" approach parallels a number of other transformative ideas and projects being discussed by people who see many current trends in government and society as providing nothing better than a dead end. Example:
  • Become self-sufficient in education, economics, health, defense, and everything else, in this order of priority. Only a fairly large network can become more self-sufficient than a current nation-state.

  • Help other [groups], in your own network first and then in other networks, to achieve the same degree of self-sufficiency through education, trade, and mutual defense agreements.

  • Extend the protection of the self-sufficiency networks in the form of a libertarian society to any person who wishes to join it on equitable terms. Doing this will provide security for all human beings who need it and eventually leave the central government without power, wealth, or a creative population to govern. Remember that both security and insecurity are illusions. Only the Game of Life is real. The central government and its willing subjects, if they are not nurtured by creative persons, will consist entirely of parasites and will eventually collapse--to be replaced by a libertarian society. It is unethical to nurture parasites.

  • Extend the process to other countries through education, trade, and mutual defense until the entire world is a creatively transformed libertarian society on the way to becoming a Moral Society. Never impose your way of life on others by force, but allow them space to be different in their own territory. Human intelligence without human ethics leads inevitably to self-destruction [280]. Similarly, you fight to the death to defend your liberty and that of affiliated octets. It is unethical to tolerate destructive behavior, however strong the culprit. Creativity can only grow through liberty, never through force. Every tyranny is worse than anarchy.
_Creative Transformation Chapter 5
These are clearly dangerous ideas, at least as seen from the viewpoint of the central established order. And yet Garcia's ideas were developed according to a far higher level of ethics than virtually anything one will see in the modern public sphere.

Creativity is dangerous. Transformation is dangerous. But stasis is death. And that is what modern humans are facing in the contemporary synthesis of power structures and societal trends.

Growing dangerous children is not just about chronological age and early childhood development. Remember: It is never too late to have a [dangerous] childhood. (Apologies to Tom Robbins)

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