The Times of Israel published my new article “What Education for Unity Really Means“
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Israel’s Ministry of Education chose the theme of “unity” for the coming school year. “The State of Israel is suffering from division and polarization right now,” says Education Minister Naftali Bennett, “and the cure for this disease is unity and reconciliation through education.”
Indeed, social division is the primary problem in Israeli society. It radiates to all aspects of life and continues to escalate every year. It’s certainly a good thing that the problem lies on the table and elected officials realize it’s not going to solve itself.
I have not yet examined the programs that the Ministry of Education intends to teach in schools over the coming year, but I find it hard to believe that they are aimed at unity based on the laws of nature. More than that, I find it hard to believe that the Ministry has prepared a systematic plan to achieve such this unity.
Ideally, educators would teach about the unity between all parts of nature. The delicate balance and natural bonds that happen across all levels – still objects, plant life, and animal life. The connection between human beings should be introduced as a direct continuation of this – an integral part of the natural system.
Physics, for example, would teach us about the reciprocity between waves and particles that connect to form the different atoms that make up all of reality around us.
Chemistry would teach us how diverse chemical elements merge to form many kinds of materials.
Biology would show, among other things, how metabolism and genetic information transfer occur between cells, tissues and organs that connect to form the living organisms.
At every level, nature is based on different and opposite qualities that connect correctly to create balance, and allow for the evolution of more advanced life forms. Plus and minus, heat and cold, contraction and expansion, ebb and flow, male and female, and so on – life depends on connection between opposites. Polarization and unity are found throughout all of nature.
In both the still, vegetative, and animate worlds, we see mechanisms of connection that evolve over separation and conflict. At the human level, however, these connections evolve consciously.
If, for example, electrons, trees, and ants connect without a need for high awareness, then for us, humans, the awareness of our connection develops in two stages: first, we develop a heightened awareness of the natural “egoism” that separates, and then, we develop an awareness of the natural binding force that connects us above our egoistic differences.
This is the kind of unity that should be featured in the coming school year. A unity based on the unchanging laws of nature – not on weak ethics and morality.
Education is only a means to an end. The goal is to train the human mind and emotion to perceive the mechanism of connection in nature and mimic it consciously. This education will train us to experience a new quality of life. It is not surprising that in the past two decades or so, a slew of findings from various fields of research reveals that when we make positive connections in our social environments we become smarter, more creative, more productive, healthier, and happier.