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Walden Ecovillage/the Ecoversity
"Education is the acquisition of the art of the utilisation of knowledge." Alfred Whitehead
To provide a Free Anarcho-communist University education to all. We will develop the efficacy of people, systems and technologies that deliver social and environmental justice, individual well being and strong cohesive communities, and in the process promulgate Anarchist Communism, Secular Humanism, sustainable development and self-sufficiency.
While engaging in relevant education, research, training and entrepreneurial activities, we will create a learning environment that fosters creativity, collaboration, compassion, excellence and passion for truth and learning, and disseminate those systems and practices freely- for non-commercial use.
A Social Revolution
"...in every problem there are two vital things: first, to know clearly just what you want; second, how to attain it. Revolution, and particularly the social revolution, is not destruction but construction. ...It is the rolling up of your sleeves preparatory to starting the actual work."
Alexander Berkman, What is Communist Anarchism
Many contemporary Anarchists (and other activists) recognize the current epoch as critical, to the struggle for global, social and environmental justice; this awareness is fanning the many fires now burning in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. By making salient to the masses the injustices we all find untenable, our brave comrades are attempting to garner some measure of immediate relief to some of the most vulnerable among us.
As important as are these activities, to both the individuals involved and our common struggle, they do not, in and of themselves, constitute a strategy for revolution. Protest, like the strike, is a tool, a tactic; it is not a battle plan; it will not deliver the social outcomes we desire. We, as a movement, are expending the majority of our limited resources on: calling attention to the plight of the oppressed; and bringing the fight to the oppressor. It is our contention, that in order to ensure the success of the revolution, we must prepare ourselves for and develop that which will replace Capitalism.
According to Berkman:
...the social revolution must be prepared. Prepared in the sense of furthering the evolutionary process, of enlightening the people about the evils of present-day society and convincing them of the desirability and possibility, of the justice and practicability of a social life based on liberty; prepared, moreover, by making the masses realize very clearly just what they need and how to bring it about. Such preparation is not only an absolutely necessary preliminary step. Therein lies also the safety of the revolution, the only guarantee of its accomplishing its objects.”
Walden Ecoversity is the organization through which we intend to do our part. We will: develop alternative social institutions and processes; educate, first the revolutionaries and then the masses about those alternatives; facilitate the transition to our new, more equitable future; and participate in the ongoing evolution of that Social Revolution.
The course is clear. The time is now.
A Walden Education
"Education is what survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten.”
B. F. Skinner
As Scientific Naturalism is one of our core principles, it follows that education is one of our most important considerations. Given that Radical Behaviorism (I.e. the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and Applied Behavior Analysis) is the only Natural Science view of human (animal) behavior, all of Walden's pedagogical practices and social engineering strategies are rooted in the Science of Human Behavior (influenced by Cybernetics). Together, Scientific Naturalism and Radical Behaviorism fulfill the criteria for "a serious educational theory" described by Bertrand Russel:
"Any serious educational theory must consist of two parts: a conception of the ends of life, and a science of psychological dynamics. ..Two men who differ as to the ends of life cannot hope to agree about education.In communities, civilization demands respect for law, justice as between man and man, purposes not involving permanent injury to any section of the human race, and intelligent adaptation of means to ends. If these are to be the purpose of education, it is a question for the science of psychology to consider what can be done towards realizing them.
...The conception which I should substitute as the purpose of education is civilization, a term which, as I mean it, has a definition which is partly individual, partly social. It consists, in the individual, of both intellectual and moral qualities: intellectually, a certain minimum of general knowledge, technical skill in one's own profession, and a habit of forming opinions on evidence; morally, of impartiality, kindliness, and a modicum of self-control. ...(and) zest and joy of life.
Bertrand Russell (1935)
The Walden educational experience therefore, begins when a person enters our community milieu, and is expanded by formal exposure to the WSC. The EcoUniversiTute will provide Students and Members, with a comprehensive curriculum that includes coursework and experiential learning opportunities in a variety of academic, professional, technological and vocational disciplines; the curricula will be selected and informed by our Vision, Mission and Goals and by resident expertise. For community Members, both formal and informal education will continue throughout life at Walden, and end only with incapacitation or death.
Walden’s research and education entity is an amalgamation of the university, intentional community and corporate business models. The university is our organizing entity, its campus is Walden Ecovillage and its all volunteer faculty and staff the Ecovillage Membership. The Ecoversity, Ecovillage and Wellness Resort together, function as the experimental therapeutic milieu.
The fact that we plan to incorporate a Liberal Arts University, an Institute of Technology and a Vocational School into our education and research organization, likewise adds to Walden’s unusual institutional character. The configuration of the EcoUniversiTute enterprise, described in what follows, was developed from deliberations and discussions on how to best execute our Mission, realize our short and long-term Goals and ultimately, actualize our Vision.
We will obtain accreditation so that our degrees and certifications are internationally recognized. Our degree offerings will include: Vocational Certifications; Undergraduate Degrees; and (post) Graduate Degrees. *We will do our best to mitigate the undesirable effects to our community that are associated with these decidedly Ceremonial practices (conferring and recognizing Honors).
Our goal is to eventually develop the capacity to provide a FREE education for all. Initially however, we will necessarily participate in local, state and federal educational grant and student loan programs, and originate as well as contribute financial assistance for prospective students. Some of the social entrepreneurial aspects of our Mission will be served by these accommodations (e.g. need-based scholarships, repaying the loans of students who become Members).
Experts (learning facilitators) in each discipline will organize the Learning Center Circle (department), of which they are a Member, as an educational enterprise. That social entrepreneurial business will: conduct research; create educational programing; and develop both, products and services, and the capacity to deliver those products and services to internal and external customers.
Despite the apparent separation of the departments and schools within the EcoUniversiTute that is suggested by these terms and our organizational chart, no such boundaries will exist in reality. We contend that the strength of our organization is related to our ability to remove the walls and avoid the competition between the areas, schools and functions that have traditionally plagued higher education.
Our goal (for all educational programming) is to establish a blended, seamless, supradisciplinary curriculum with cooperative functionality, across departments, schools and the entire community. We will mediate the tendency of organizations to separate into distinct groups the same way we tackle all cultural and behavioral challenges at Walden: by the thoughtful application of the principles and technologies that we have at our disposal.
"Be it handicraft, science, or art, the chief aim of the school is not to make a specialist, from a beginner, but, to teach him the elements of knowledge and the good methods of work, and, above all, to give him that general inspiration which will induce him, later on, to put in whatever he does a sincere longing for truth, to like what is beautiful both as to form and contents, to feel the necessity of being a useful unit amidst other human units, and thus to feel his heart at unison with the rest of humanity.”
Peter Kropotkin, Brain Work and Manual Work
Organizational structure aside, the primary means to create a blended, seamless cooperative functionality across departments and schools, is our supradisciplinary curriculum. Our appreciation for Holism, Cybernetics and Radical Behaviorism undergirds our commitment to developing educational programming that accounts for all relevant factors.
Marion Brady's Model reflects a design not too dissimilar from our own conceptualization. The primary difference between our models, are those that exist between Brady's theoretical footing in Cognitive Psychology, and our foundation of Radical Behaviorism.
Schools within the Eco-UniversiTute:
Liberal Arts University
Institute of Technology
As was described in brief above, the Ecoversity, in addition to its research and educational functions, will develop products and services, and the capacity to deliver those products and services to internal and external customers. Businesses will be created by participation from all learning circles with expertise related to the business's products and services.
Second only to the basic research and education Mission of the Ecoversity, the activities of the Eco-Community Development enterprise (discussed below), is the most relevant and vital to the execution of our Mission and realization of our Vision.
The consultation, and other community development services we provide, will, by increasing the number of viable ecovillages, contribute to the critical mass necessary for the paradigm shift we desire. This enterprise, because of its essential organizational role, includes Learning Facilitators and students from all the 'schools' within the Ecoversity: the Agricultural College; the Liberal Arts College; the Technical Institute; and the Vocational College.
Eco-Community Design, Development & Management
Our Vision of a better world is attainable, but it will not materialize all at once. It will develop gradually, from the influence of many small successful groups, who share our ideals and federate with us to create a 'new organic whole'. Our Mission is essentially to facilitate the development and efficacy of that federation.
Contemporary social and environmental justice and sustainability movements are comprised of a cacophony of people and groups, who are as diverse in structure, strategy, scope, size, developmental status and metaphysical orientation as they are vast in number. Despite the varying degrees of difference between many of the groups and ours, we share a general set of ideals that justifies collaboration; any positive influence we have on this global community, will facilitate the actualization of our Vision for a better world.
Our comprehensive Community Organization Program is designed to respond to the variety of needs this diverse group presents. All of the professional workshops that constitute the Community program, are empirically-derived, best-practices approaches. And, because they can function as stand-alone trainings, they can be combined to create individualized programs. Our facilitative consultation services are flexible as well; they can be tailored to fit any clients unique organizational needs.
For a complete description of these services visit communalroutes.wordpress.com.
A Eupraxsophy Center
In addition to the functions outlined above, the Ecoversity will operate a Eupraxsophy Center, that will serve the needs of the the Secular Humanist community. Paul Kurtz, in Living without Religion:, wrote:
"...some needs of human beings cry out to be satisfied. I submit that if humanist eupraxophy is to be an effective and enduring social force, it can do so only by creating institutions that will satisfy some of these needs. ...we can create Eupraxophy Centers that will interpret what we know about nature and human life in meaningful terms.” (Pg. 145; 154-155)
The 'scientific' literature on why people attend church is sparse and dubious (e.g. no functional assessments). A 2007 Gallop poll reported however, that out of the top five reasons Americans attend church, only one related to belief in God, the other four were about spirituality and fellowship.
Secular Humanists, like everyone else, have the need to experience spirituality within a community of supportive, like-thinking others; perhaps even more so, given our hyper-religious, anti-nonbeliever global context. Walden's Eupraxsophy Center will provide a forum, physical space and programming for that supportive, cultural experience. We will also engage in research, digital publishing, community outreach and a variety of other socially relevant activities.
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I just wanted to check in here to be sure that y'all know that www.waldenecovillage.info is redirecting to a chinese website. I also wanted to recommend the .earth domain ending if there is need for a new domain address, but there are many more that could be used as well. ~mwaulife Jan 29, 2017