on MineCraft and Garudas pt. 2

IMG_3715Progressive education is leaning into the challenge of a slogan that serves the development of critical intelligence- “teaching not what to think but how to think.”  But an element that is often missing here is not about thinking at all.  It’s how we feel.  Being smart enough is not humanity’s challenge right now.  It’s whether we feel good enough to wield our intelligence with creative bravery.

The element that instructs and informs feeling is culture.  Culture isn’t made by a teacher, a parent, a student or a child.  It’s an entire environment.  It goes beyond individuals, which is why it’s powerful.

Shambhala represents brave culture.  It is based on the vision of creating good society.  “Creating” implies an outrageous trust in humanity and its ability to wield power.  It’s not difficult to find examples of the abuse of power in history and in the world today, but power is not inherently corrupt.  It is an expression that is vivid and potent.  It can be artful, compassionate, and clear.

The way the world is today is simply a creation- the expression of someone’s story and values.  We have to accept the challenge of living in this world as it is, but we don’t have to swallow the stories that go with it.  If they’re stealing our power we should drop them, not feed them to our children.  Other stories are available, ones that can unleash our power and help us create the world we long for.

The whole story of Shambhala culture and power is symbolized by the Tiger, Lion, Garuda, and Dragon.  They represent an unfolding feeling of fullness, intelligence and power that prowls through our lives, soars in our bellies, dances in our magical heart of possibility, waiting to be uncovered.   When we feel good and powerful as we are, we can learn and create without fear.  We can fully participate in our world.


2 thoughts on “on MineCraft and Garudas pt. 2

  1. Interesting Noel. I like the connections you’re drawing in these two posts between disempowerment, power, and creativity. The desire to create is pretty fundamental to being human. You could frame it as the desire to have power in our worlds. Power in the positive sense where we’re in sync with our environment and able to affect it for the better.

    I also experience the disempowerment wound (as in flesh and fabric) in our culture. We get the message that ‘the world is the way it is’, as you say. All these big forces of climate change, global economic crisis, overpopulation, and religious conflict just seem too big. So much bigger than one person’s ability to shift it. Which isn’t true, but when you have enough people despairing it seems true.

    I’ve been enmeshed by computer games in my life to the point that I consider it an addiction as powerful as any drug. I’ve come to understand my draw to these alternate realities as a search for a world in which I can exert some ‘creative control’, because the desire to play the games peaks when I feel disempowered in my life.

    Your reflections are larger than about Minecraft or a specific game. But I think you’re on to something. Games/Alternate realities are potent ways of experiencing some form of creativity/visualization but it seems crucial to tie that experience back into this world, especially in an educational context. Otherwise the disempowerment logic could swoop in and make kids feel they can only be powerful and creative in some other world.

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