This blog continues our series on Cosmic Education.
The next key element of Cosmic Education—that Evolution is a Key Process in Life, is a way to further insure the child’s understanding of and connection to the Universe. In addition to evolution in history, we have an opportunity to emphasize that evolution is not over. We can point out the cycle of evolution in the past, and how it involved the Cosmic Task. For example, the Crinoids giving way to the Coral Polyps once they had finished their task and a new one was presented. The Crinoids had reached their highest level of perfection, and had done their best for the environment around them. This definition of Evolution, which Dr. Montessori says is “[the] process of self-perfecting,” can be brought to the child as a challenge. What beings in the world have reached their evolutionary peak, this state of self-perfecting? Has mankind perfected itself or is there still room for improvement? What does man need to work on in order to reach perfection in himself and to benefit the rest of the Universe? By considering these questions the child is brought naturally the question of “Why am I here?” and begins his steps in discovering his own Cosmic Task. By bringing the existence and pursuit of this task to the child in the Elementary years we begin the development of his citizenship of the world.
In realizing that he is a citizen of the world, the child also comes to realize the universal Interdependence in Nature. This is easily pointed out as the child learns the Fundamental Needs of Humans. Through story and study he is made aware that there are “needs” artificially imposed by commercialism and there are true needs—material and spiritual, that are common to all humankind. However the needs are met, the child is shown that they cannot be met without the existence of the plants, animals, Earth, Sun, or even the Universe itself. What better way to impress upon the child the vital purpose of everything on the planet, the planet itself, and the surrounding atmosphere? In a time when we are warned of the detriment we have caused the environment and planet thus far, when our fellow mankind is being ravaged by starvation and war, I feel this is one of the most vital of the key elements of Cosmic Education. By breaking out of the independence generally taught in society, of breaking the child free from the bubble created by ignorance to the complex web that holds life together, we are empowering them to lead us to peace. This was Dr. Montessori’s intent, and she considered the child “a messiah, as a saviour [sic] capable of regenerating the human race and society.”
Please check back next week as we continue our discussion of the importance of cosmic education.