Peace & Human Security: An Asian Philosophy

Manila Bulletin, August 29, 2007 | Go to article overview

Peace & Human Security: An Asian Philosophy


Byline: Florangel Rosario Braid

WE hope that we could gear up towards vigilant monitoring of the "humanitarian offensive" that Malacanang promises would be the approach to the conflict in Mindanao.

There are also alternative approaches taken by civil society groups and the Church - the Silsilah dialogue, livelihood, training and capacity-building of people who have been dislocated by the fighting.

In our search for pathways to peace and human security, a philosophy articulated by Makiguchi, founder of Soka Gakkai in Japan may provide an alternative approach, even if it is a long-term one. It is based on bringing our individual and corporate lives into harmony with nature where learning takes place in natural systems - within the learner's community rather than in "secondhand" environments. This approach laments the meaningless routine of "memorizing and forgetting" to which is attributed some of the serious problems in society.

In most of his writings, Makiguchi discussed the features of an education that develops interdependence and interconnectedness with the natural and social phenomena as expressed in the six propositions: (1) The earth is perceived as a unity (2) education must be associated with a specific place, a "community," a localized environment, which students can experience directly (3) curriculum consists of the natural and social systems. Books and other secondhand material are used merely as support of the direct personal experiences but never in place of direct experience (4) direct-experience learning implies and requires that learning take place in the midst of the phenomena, natural and social, which constitute the curriculum. Classrooms are for planning, reflecting on, comparing perceptions experienced with fellow learners (5) learning cannot be imposed, but must grow out of each learner's own curiosity, questions, and explorations stemming from personal interests and motivation. Expressed another way, learning must be a process of elicitation, of drawing out and (6) Guidance of the learner in this communitybased learning interaction occurs under the guidance of parents, educators (teacherguides), and other adults in their varied community roles.

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