Findhorn Fellow and founding director of Schumacher College, Satish Kumar, describes the flourishing of a remarkable place of learning as it prepares to celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary 27 September…
“When in 1990 we were dreaming about establishing Schumacher College at Dartington in Devon, people said, “Your vision is too idealistic. Who is going to come to learn about ecology or spirituality or holistic philosophy and pay for it?” Many thought that Schumacher College might last two or three years and then fold. Now it is heartening and gratifying to see that after 25 years not only is the college still here, but it is blossoming and flourishing.
“The raison d’être behind Schumacher College was and still is very simple. Modern industrial society is promoted and held by the mainstream educational system. The universities are the backbone of this society. Many young people are conditioned to think in an economic and materialistic way. Many are taught to think that Nature is there for us to use and exploit: that we humans are the superior species and we can do to Nature what we like. When students who have been taught this way come out of universities they often exploit Nature and exploit other people in order to make their own lives rich, comfortable and successful. Social injustice and ecological injustice merge.
“Schumacher College should remain small. But more Schumacher College-type centres should emerge in other countries: Australia, New Zealand, India, America, European and African countries… They don’t have to be called Schumacher College. It’s not a franchise. We want people to take their own initiative, based in the culture and ethos of their own country and language, but incorporate the spirit of Schumacher College. How that spirit is manifested doesn’t matter. Whatever the name, as long as it’s holistic and people are learning to serve the community, serve the society and serve the Earth, it is Schumacher College. I want to see new centres of education starting around the world and forming an informal network to support each other.
“Here at Schumacher College, even if you are studying a particular subject you are doing so in the context of a bigger picture. Thus integrated learning and living is the essence of Schumacher College. Here the students are transformed because they have gone through an experience of holistic living. Having transformed themselves, they go out in the world and find a way of transforming the world. They help the world to be a better place, a place where we minimise the exploitation of people and Nature.”
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