First article in a new series
Gems of Neohumanism
By Eric Jacobsen
In the process of applying the philosophy of Neohumanism to the education of a new generation, we discover that while the general public is likely unaware of the philosophy, certain facets of it are easily appreciated and strike a resonant chord of agreement. This series will explore some of these as they were discovered in an ethnically, religiously, and demographically diverse setting—New York.
Gem #1 Pseudo-Culture vs. True Human Culture
Idealism is strong when it comes to one’s own child. No parent wants to see their child become a slave to the money making mass media machine. Even those who are themselves addicted to the products of this machine will try to keep it from their children for as long as possible. Not only is it an expensive habit for a parent to maintain, but it also tends to lead to materialist stagnation at best, and moral degradation at worst. This is not to say that all modern cultural expressions are evil. However, due to several factors there is a great likelihood that these new expressions will become a crudifying influence once they are internalized in a child’s mind, hence deemed “pseudo-culture” by the author of Neohumanism.
Here are three primary reasons why so much modern expression falls into the pseudo-culture category.
1) The priority is to make money. Content is owned by profit making corporations. Since the content of music, movies, television, books, fashion, etc., is primarily valued for its money making power, the long term effect of that content upon a child’s psychology, or upon society as a whole, is not a determining factor in what gets chosen for publication and distribution.
2) Human mind moves more quickly down than up—down being towards animal instinct gratification, toward the basest of impulse; up being towards human self-realization, towards the subtlest ideas and states of consciousness. This is related to point number one. In order to meet the primary goal, the quickest path is chosen—titillation.
3) Those artists with great subtlety of ideation and expression face such enormous odds stacked against them in today’s society that most cannot survive as artists. So, cultural vitality is left in the hands of those who do not have the character or insight to lead humanity forward. As you can see, this is also a clear outgrowth of point number one.
Here’s where a Neohumanist school steps in. A NH school must protect the child from pseudo-culture. Protection doesn’t come from the attempt to ban media or technology. Nor does it come from living in the past, as other movements promote. These simply cause a delayed overreaction in the opposite direction. Protection should be proactive—develop a taste for true human culture in the young mind. A taste can be developed by proper exposure and practice!
A NH school should be a positive place. It should not pulsate with a fear of keeping pseudo-culture out, or in a hatred of it. Rather it should celebrate in the love of joyous expressions of true human culture. It is light that banishes darkness. Therefore, a NH school should be well-versed in all the local, national, and global examples of true human culture. The focus should be there, not on attacking the pseudo-culture, but on replacing it.
This concept finds sympathy within every race, religion, and age group. I submit that we could be successful starting schools around the world even if they only had this one gem of Neohumanism as their offering to the community.
To accomplish this, a NH school will need an art, music, drama, dance and cultural director. Better five than one if possible! These people are the soul of the school and their selection should be given the highest priority. It is they alone who can sift through the heap of modern culture and find any valuables worth saving. It is they who can pull from the past the great expressions that pass on the history, values and aspirations of its people—and then give those old vibrations new life and vitality in the hands and hearts of today’s youth. It is they alone who can unearth the new true human culture waiting to be discovered and nurtured.
In the next issue we will share Gem #2 with you. Upcoming gems will include: Awakened Conscience, Ecology, Applied Learning. Food, Health, Life as a Mission, Not a method, Wholistic approach, Multiple Intelligences.