They call it the "human potential movement" or the "new education." It includes—but isn't limited to—"encounter groups," "sensitivity training," "sensory awakening," and a variety of body techniques. The New Education is taught in "growth centers" and institutes" around the world, and in businesses, churches and people's living rooms. It is even sometimes taught in colleges and universities, but it is unlike any traditional college class. Some think it's a fad that will soon be forgotten; others, including this writer, believe it to be the beginning of an educational revolution that will change our lives. It has grown up working with adults, but has equally important potential for children.
The New Education differs from traditional education in its concern with the body and body movement, the emphasis it places on feeling and emotion, and in its effort to teach and foster close human relationships through group processes. One segment of the movement emphasizes learning to live in the "here and now," another stresses learning individual responsibility, initiative and purpose. Both agree on the importance of learning and practising honesty and integrity, both in groups and out.
The biggest spur to the growth of the New Education is the massive deterioration of the old. Academic education has become increasingly bureaucratic, tradition-bound, and irrelevant to the content of the lives of most of the people being "educated." It has become a huge establishment, much like the established church of the middle ages. It is dominated by the task of assigning status (= privilege), classifying and sorting us all with degrees, grades, tests, diplomas and certificates that do much to determine our positions in society. And it has become corrupted with various forms of compulsion that make its services mandatory, not only for children but for college-age adults, if they are to get a desirable job. Also—and this point is crucial in the present context—it is greatly overconcerned with the head, the intellect, to the neglect of the whole balance of the person—his body, his emotions, his character structure, his human relations, his habits and style of life.
New Education offerings can be divided, somewhat arbitrarily and with much overlapping, into these five categories:
1. Education in feeling
2. Education in purpose
3. Body learning
4. Education in perception
5. Learning encounter.
Each of these will be briefly reviewed, with an emphasis on groups in which the author has had personal experience.
EDUCATION IN FEELING
One of the biggest categories of the New Education can be described as "education in feeling." It is concerned with freeing and opening up the student's emotions, helping him become more able to express feelings of his own and to be sensitive to the feelings of others. All emotions, negative and positive alike, are to be released and expressed, though not always acted on, of course. Some leaders specialize in teaching one type or aspect of feeling. For example, some leaders specialize in teaching couples and family groups to fight—to express their anger and aggression openly—to their intimates. Some workshops and classes are called training in "how to fight fair" [Bach and Wyden, 1970]. Most encounter groups encourage free expression of angry or hostile feelings, though many forbid violence or threat of violence—some much more strictly than others.
My experience is that any group in which there is real freedom in expressing angry feelings requires an absolute, strictly enforced ban on violence or threat of violence. Groups without such a ban are subject to the intimidation of members with "short fuse" physically aggressive character structures. Such groups tend (usually unconsciously) to avoid the deepest levels of anger-provoking material. Groups with strict anti-violence rules, such as those of Synanon, reach much deeper levels of anger, and are, in consequence, more effective.
Other groups do not stress the release of negative emotions, but endeavor to foster intimacy, joy, and love. Those with wide experience in New Education groups know that deep and moving contacts with other people sometimes do develop in surprisingly brief periods in the emotionally fluid environment of a good encounter group. Nor are these contacts necessarily superficial; they can be as serious and real and lasting as any contacts we make in our lives.
Yet there is a problem of fake superficial intimacy in many groups, of indiscriminate "caring," often expressed in physical touching or hugging without reciprocal emotional intimacy. The dilemma of the group leader is how to get group members who are fearful and contact-shy to reach out to those that they are drawn towards, without indulging those who cover their feelings by superficial contactless fondling or embracing. In the good group, the search must be for authentic feelings and genuine contact.
Varieties of meditation study can be thought of as "education in feeling," though their objectives are different and in many ways opposite to those of encounter and emotional release. The most widely practised forms of meditation derive from Eastern religions, and stress control rather than release and expression of the emotions. There is often, but not always, an association of meditation with mystical religious belief, e.g., a striving towards a "higher consciousness." Meditation is of real value to the over-active frenetic westerner, a way to help him slow down and bring his life into better perspective. It is a disvalue to mystically inclined or passive individuals, for it can encourage and rationalize the tendency to withdraw from life, to avoid vigorous activity and strong emotion. Meditation ought to help one pause and find his center in order to better prepare him for an active productive life, but it should never become a substitute for that life. Meditation as an end in itself is a cop-out, an evasion of the problems of life.
A rapidly growing form of New Education which emphasizes "education in feeling" is the "co-counseling" or "reevaluation reeducation" of Harvey Jackins. New students in co-counseling classes learn techniques to facilitate the discharge of feeling with each other. These they practise in pairs, reporting on difficulties in their class. Laughing, trembling, sweating, crying are common forms of discharge that occur. "Validation" of oneself and others (positive statements) to develop good self-feeling is another important feature of reevaluation counseling groups. Reevaluation groups develop strong mutual feelings among members, and there is a tendency for those involved in reevaluation counseling to form a mutually supportive "community" involved in a variety of educational, social, and work projects.
Probably the most important single influence in "education in feeling" is a man who never worked in groups, and who died in the early beginnings of the New Education movement. Wilhelm Reich was the psychologist who, more than any one man, put the body into the center of psychology. A psychoanalyst and student of Freud, Reich broke away from Freud and the analysts in the 30's to go his own way, focussing on body tensions as the key to emotional blocks. Reich's central idea was that emotions are an expression of movement of body energy or life force, and that chronic muscle tensions dam this flow of energy and so block the emotion. Reich called these chronic muscle tensions "muscular armor," and showed how, by relaxing the armor, the emotion held in is released, or, more accurately, the flow of the life force which is responsible for the emotion is released.
The extent of Reich's influence on the New Education can hardly be overestimated. For example, three of the most popular forms of New Education are the Bioenergetics of Alexander Lowen and his colleagues, the "Gestalt therapy" of the late Fritz Peris and his associates, and the "Primal therapy" of Arthur Janov. Bioenergetics and Gestalt therapy were largely shaped by Reich's analysees and students, and I have shown elsewhere that Primal therapy derives its power from the use of Reichian body techniques [Kelley, 1971].
Reich is also the most important single influence shaping the "Interscience intensive," the form of group feeling work developed by this author. The "Interscience Intensive" employs emotional release techniques derived from Reich in a small-group setting. Powerful involuntary discharges of fear, rage, and grief or pain typically occur. Repeated Intensives can change a person profoundly. The release of blocked negative emotion opens the capacity for the positive. Thus the release of rage opens the capacity for love, and the release of pain opens up the capacity for pleasure. Appearance may change dramatically, primarily as a result of changed emotional expression.
EDUCATION IN PURPOSE
As significant as "education in feeling" in the New Education picture is "education is purpose." This category of New Education is primarily verbal. It uses the power of the group process to help members understand themselves, clarify their values and objectives, and learn to live in accordance with them. The sharp contrast between education in feeling and in purpose is shown by their goals [Kelley, 1970] :
These goals are in many respects antithetical, and the proponents of education in feeling and education in purpose are often at odds. "Feeling" advocates tend to regard work in purpose as intellectual headtripping, isolated from what is most significant to them, which is deep emotional experience. Advocates of work in purpose often consider work in feeling to be spur-of-the-moment and short-range, with no capacity to produce long range change.
Inspection of the contrasting sets of goals above should make it clear that the complete human being cannot neglect either area of development. Man must learn to live purposively and with feeling. The rational, over-responsible, future-oriented, modern, civilized man has too often lost his capacity for spontaneity and joy in the here-and-now; he needs education in feeling. By contrast, the drifting hippy, living always by his here-and-now feelings, has failed to learn the discipline required to get his life on track and going somewhere worth getting to. He needs education in purpose.
Major among the groups which practise education in purpose is Synanon, the self-help center for ex-drug addicts. Credit for its success with addicts is given by Synanon to their New Education technique, the Synanon "game." Some years ago I joined Synanon to experience their "game" first hand. (Many nonaddict members of the community have done the same.) We met in groups of 12 to 24 once or twice a week to lay bare our problems and what we were doing—or resolving to do—about them. The Synanon game is tough and aggressive, and often loud, angry and attacking, although violence or threat of violence is forbidden under the sharpest penalties. In my months at Synanon, I observed dramatic changes in attitudes and behavior as a direct result of what occurred in the game. I came to understand how it was that addicts, alcoholics, criminals, and prostitutes could change themselves into effective moral human beings as a result of the learning of purpose. Good articles on Synanon are those of Enright (1970).
A type of education in purpose similar in many ways to the Synanon game is that of the "Integrity Groups" operated by psychologist O.H. Mowrer and his wife Molly. I found the Integrity group I was permitted to join to be much gentler and more analytic than my Synanon "tribe," but with the same emphasis on honesty, responsibility, and commitment or involvement with the group. But I missed the angry direct confrontations that occur in the Synanon game.
The "Reality Therapy" of Dr. William Glasser is another significant form of education in purpose [Glasser, 1965]. Glasser deals with problems of criminality, delinquency, and drug addiction as forms of irresponsibility, and employs group techniques to teach members to accept full responsibility for their own behavior. Frank Goble, champion of the third force psychology of Abraham Maslow, places equal emphasis on responsibility. He refers to the form of education in purpose he espouses as "character education" [Goble, 1970].
The "Biocentric" psychology of Nathaniel Branden also belongs in the category of "education in purpose." Branden is a former student and colleague of Ayn Rand, and is much influenced by the philosophy of Objectivism, with its emphasis on individuality and intellectual values. Self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-responsibility, and self-esteem are cornerstones of Branden's view. He adapts techniques from many sources with innovations of his own, in group work that is highly dependent on Branden's ability to come up with appropriate exercises for group members on the spur of the moment [Branden, 1971].
The Interscience Work Shop teaches purpose using a confrontation-type encounter, plus a paired "coconfidant" technique. Neo-Reichian techniques are combined with verbal conceptual work in the coconfidant pairs to trigger powerful levels of emotional discharge that have a conceptual orientation, being directed towards particular problems or people in the student's life. The confrontation group is a tough honest encounter, with a great emphasis on habits and life style as the chief determinant of direction in life [Kelley, 1970].
The single thread running through every form of education in purpose is the conviction that each person is responsible for his own behavior and his own life. Much of psychology and philosophy is a denial of the existence of choice, and so of responsibility. It is fashionable to view man as an essentially helpless pawn of instincts and/or environment. "No," say the educators in purpose, "choice is real, and learning to accept the responsibility for one's choices is central to learning how to live."
Radical changes cannot be expected without reforming muscular and postural habits. Indigestion, faulty breathing, crooked toes and feet, faulty sexual behavior, postural rigidity and muscular tension go together with emotional disorders. The whole self, diet, breathing, sex, muscular and postural habits, must be tackled directly and concurrently with the emotional reeducation.
The whole problem is a social one and reeducation has much better prospects of success if conducted in groups.…
So wrote Feldenkrais (1949) in a prophetic and insightful statement. As was noted, the most important feature running through virtually all the diverse forms of the New Education is its concern with the body. There are dozens of approaches to body structure, realignment, expression and movement. Among the best known are body movement and expression workshops originated by pioneers such as Mary Whitehouse, Charlotte Selver, and Trudi Shupe, and the attention to body postural dynamics exemplified by the students of F.M. Alexander and by Moshe Feldenkrais, whose quotation appears above. Ida Rolf has originated a direct approach to body realignment which involves a forceful (and painful) stretching of muscle fascia and tendons, with a resulting reshaping of the body. She calls her technique "structural integration," but it is verbally referred to as "Rolfing." Ida Rolf's followers now number in the hundreds.
The New Education has "discovered" that the orientals have for centuries cultivated several forms of "body learning" to a high level of development. One of the best known is Yoga, which exists in several forms, generally (but not always) in association with Hindu religious beliefs. T'ai Chi, a disciplined, slow, graceful dance-like movement, is less known than Yoga, but has developed a large following among New Education students. And in this context one should not forget Karate, Judo, and Aikido, which are rightfully popular forms of body learning as well as techniques of self defense.
The New Education emphasis on the body has brought a flowering of techniques of massage in many forms. It has been said that if everyone were to give and receive a one-half hour massage each day, the troubles of the world would be over. An overstatement, surely, but it would be a great help. A centuries old and highly respected art in countries such as Sweden and Japan, Americans have heretofor been too shy of body contact to accord massage the status it deserves. Now massage is accepted widely within the New Education movement, and a variety of massage techniques are practised. An excellent recent book on massage is that of Downing (1972).
I have found that body learning disciplines can help, hinder, or be irrelevant to progress in "education in feeling." Massage is of real value in freeing the feelings. Body movement and dance techniques are of clear positive value also. The Alexander Technique couples especially well with neo-Reichian body techniques, and Feldenkrais work should do the same. Rolfing has been generally helpful, but not to the same degree as the Alexander technique. The emotional release effects of Rolfing have been overstated. No passive technique, where the body is, in effect, turned over to a practitioner to be changed, can hope to be as effective as the best active techniques, which depend on stimulating a process of development within the student. Rolfing is a passive process.
Yoga is a form of body learning with both positive and negative effects on education in feeling. Many of the breathing and body techniques of Yoga are closely related to Reich's body techniques, as is the emphasis on autonomic functioning. The direction of development in Yoga is precisely opposite to that in neo-Reichian work, however. In Yoga the objective is to extend conscious control over the emotions and other autonomic functions, while in neo-Reichian work the objective is to surrender such control. A small amount of training in Yoga can be helpful in centering the student and developing body awareness, but extensive Yoga training leads to habits that interfere with spontaneous emotional expression.
Freer and more open sexual attitudes typify the New Education in general, and body learning in particular. Consider attitudes toward massage and nude encounter groups. There is no escaping the problem of tawdry and commercial sexuality under the name of massage. Some massage parlors are essentially whorehouses, just as some encounter group operators peddle nudity as a commodity.
I am not opposed in principle to legalizing the sale of sexual services; in a free society sexual transactions between consenting adults, commercial or otherwise, are not regulated by the state. It is because commercial sex is illegal that it is sold by subterfuge in the name of other services, such as massage and encounter;—ask the professional masseuse, who must deal with male customers who have learned to equate being massaged with being masturbated.
Leering pornographic sex and most commercialized forms of sex are a product of sex repression. We have a long way to go to free ourselves from the effects of centuries of sex-negative living. There are plenty of sex hang-ups in the New Education movement, but there is also decided progress. One of the healthiest sexual atmospheres I have experienced is that of Esalen Institute, where nudity for all ages and sexes is accepted "dress" at swimming pool and baths, and sexual intercourse is a private affair. The Esalen residents I have met treat sex very naturally.
Just as he has split sex and love, modern man has split mind from body, and in the New Education there are important efforts in progress to put mind and body together again. This is not a simple task. The goals of body techniques such as T'ai Chi or Rolfing are not related in any obvious way to such objectives of education in purpose as developing responsibility and honesty, for example. The bridge between mind and body lies in education in feeling, especially in neo-Reichian work where bodily tensions are shown to be the agent responsible for emotional blocks. Thus neo-Reichians place special emphasis on the body, and see a close kinship between a student's character and personality and his body [e.g. Lowen, 1958]. Neo-Reichian techniques are in large part physiological, yet the objectives of their use are psychological.
Discussion of body learning should include such long range activities as weight control, exercise programs, addictions (smoking, drinking, drugs) and establishing habits and styles of life that are healthful. It is amazing how many students fail to get adequate exercise and rest, or to eat properly. Education in purpose combined with appropriate forms of body learning is often the appropriate approach.
EDUCATION IN PERCEPTION
Along with its emphasis on emotions and the body, the New Education focuses strongly on the senses. "Sensory Awareness" techniques such as developed by Bernard Gunther at Esalen form the principal subject of some classes and workshops, and a major component of others [Gunther, 1968], The techniques of sensory awareness bring the student to attend fully to sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches. Through the senses he becomes aware of the "here-and-now" of his existence, and sense experience can grow enormously in intensity and significance as the senses "awaken." (Some New Education workshops are called "sensory awakening.") The sensory channels themselves seem to develop from the practise; sounds and smells intensify, colors and shapes clarify and become more vivid.
Techniques of vision improvement that were originated half a century ago by the ophthalmologist William H. Bates have found their way into this aspect of the New Education, and with good reason. Bates was a major prophet of the New Education, and his techniques are effective. Workshops and classes in vision improvement featuring Bates drills have been offered at such New Education centers as Esalen, Kairos and Aureon Institutes, and at the Interscience Work Shop. The techniques of Bates fit beautifully with those of Reich, Lowen, Gunther, and Alexander, to name a few. At the same time, the techniques developed since Bates add an important new dimension to work with vision improvement, especially the techniques of tension release derived from Reich.
Common eye disorders such as myopia (near-sightedness) and hyperopia (far-sightedness) are treated as inherent and fixed mechanical conditions by traditional medicine and optometry, yet these conditions are not inherent and fixed; they are acquired and plastic. The eye is a living organ, responsive to use and (especially) to chronic emotional tension. I have elsewhere presented the thesis that myopia is produced by chronic eye tensions due to childhood fear, while hyperopia arises from the tension associated with blocked anger [Kelley, 1971], Education in feeling combined with education in perception, i.e., the combination of neo-Reichian emotional release work with Bates eye drills, provides a new and highly promising approach to vision disorders.
Unfortunately, no one has as yet tried to apply New Education techniques specifically to the improvement of hearing, at least to my knowledge. This important area for exploration and development awaits its pioneer.
THE LEARNING ENCOUNTER
While many teachers of the New Education have incorporated the teaching of facts into their groups and workshops, the marriage of intellectual forms of learning with the New Education is still being developed and experimented with. Synanon has made an important beginning in this direction with its "cerebrations" and "reaches," which are extended learning encounters for groups of no special academic qualifications, and which explore together problem areas in philosophy, science, and engineering [Enright, 1970],
The true learning encounter is an entirely different approach to education than is found in schools and universities. School and university learning deadens the body and emotions while the intellect is stimulated. The physically and emotionally still bodies of students in traditional classrooms are very wrong in the New Education view of things. Says the Interscience Work Shop brochure in describing its learning encounters:
A learning encounter is not the transmission of information from "authority" to student, but an encounter group exploration of a topic of interest and concern to each member. Each group member must play an active role. The main blocks to learning are not intellectual but emotional, e.g. unwillingness to speak out for fear of looking foolish, excessive respect for and reliance on authority, ideas held rigidly for emotional reasons. The learning encounter sorts out and works through the emotional hang-ups of group members that interfere with the learning process. Non-verbal interaction and body learning techniques are interspersed with verbal exploration over the days of the encounter.
The learning encounter attempts to marry the emphasis of the New Education on emotions and the body with intellectual forms of learning. The marriage is much to be desired, but is not really fully consummated as yet. The intellect has been the first line of defense against the emotions for too many, for too long. This is one reason that anti-intellectualism is so strong in many segments of the New Education.
Conceptual thought is one of the two uniquely human abilities underlying purpose. (The other is volition.) The problem of integrating conceptual with feeling activities is thus an aspect of the problem of reconciling purpose and feeling. That rarity, the good traditional teacher, retains his deep feeling for life, and imbues his intellectual activities with an emotional aliveness, with a sense of wonder toward nature, of challenge of the unknown, of joy in intellectual discovery. The good New Educator must learn to maintain his respect for the human mind and its achievements, and to work for its larger development. In the largest sense, emotion and conceptual thought are compatible and reciprocal in their development rather than opposed. As I have indicated in discussing the bringing together of feeling and purpose:
Feeling and purpose can become reconciled, can be made to complement and extend rather than to negate each other. To do so requires that feeling be subordinated to purpose, so that the energy underlying feeling moves the individual towards his long-range goals. It requires, at the same time, that purpose operate in the service of feeling, in that it leads the individual to a life which in the long run is fulfilling to him…
…Feeling will not be sacrificed to purpose, nor will purpose be abandoned in the face of strong feeling. Feeling, will, however, gradually come into the service of purpose, to provide the desire, the motivation for goals to be pursued, and the reward for their achievement. At the same time, purpose will serve feeling by establishing a direction in life that becomes, in the long run, emotionally satisfying.
Gradually, a step at a time, the student will find himself growing into a new relation with himself and his own life, one in which feeling and purpose function together instead of in contradiction to each other [Kelley, 1970, pp. 23-24].
In the same spirit and for analogous reasons, the New Education will find conceptual and emotional development becoming reconciled in forms of learning, like the learning encounter, that allow them to function together instead of in contradiction to each other.
A PERSPECTIVE ON THE NEW EDUCATION
Choosing a New Education group or program to go into is a haphazard process for most people, and many are turned off because their first choices were unfortunate. Even those with broad experience in the New Education may find that there are a bewildering array of programs available that they know little or nothing about, taught by leaders they have never heard of. Programs are frequently entered because they are convenient in place and time, priced attractively, or are promoted effectively. These are poor methods for making a sound choice, as the best programs may well be inconvenient, relatively expensive, and promoted badly or not at all. Good programs come to sell themselves. (The Guide to New Education Programs, presented in a booklet available from the Interscience Research Institute [Kelley, 1972], may aid the prospective student in finding the New Education program for him.)
Some New Education programs function on the premise that they offer the exclusive road to a super-state of mental health or consciousness. Nor is it only the weak and insecure programs or those that are frankly mystical, rooted in religious convictions, that do this. It is also (and most significantly) programs that open deep feelings, and so provoke intense loyalties and powerful mystical expectations. There is some degree of this mystical-chauvinistic attitude in many programs, and a high degree in a number of them. The worst offenders are those which hold out the hope that those coming to them will reach a transcendent state, beyond or above that of ordinary men, if their efforts, devotion, and checkbooks hold out long enough. Principle examples are: orthodox Reichian therapy (medical orgone therapy), with Reich's concept of the genital characters, special human beings stripped of their armor; Primal therapy, with its post-primal patients, devoid of defenses and neurosis; and Scientology, with its clears and superclears ("operating Thetans"), freed of their engrams by Dianetic auditing [see Kelley, 1971]. To most of the leaders in these programs, for one of their clients to become involved in another program is a heresy, and is liable to result in excommunication if it is discovered.
Serious if less extreme chauvinism toward the ingroup is also found in Synanon, in Bioenergetics, and in Reevaluation Counseling, to name some of the other programs of New Education that are affected. Unorthodox individuals in each of these programs take exception to this tendency within their group.
The unfortunate effect of this narrowness of attitude is an inability of those within to consider and make use of what is discovered outside of the group. Orthodox members of each of the groups I have just mentioned are unable to see their group as part of the larger whole which is the New Education. Instead, in each case, the in-group is believed to be the exclusive agency possessing special new knowledge and skills that will transform mankind. With this conviction often goes a demand for orthodoxy in belief and behavior, and (most objectionable of all) a surrender of autonomy to the practitioner, who may decide for his student questions not only of what other New Education programs, if any, he may enter, but also such personal decisions as marriage, separation, abortion, political economic decisions and beliefs, etc., based on the practitioner's interpretation of the collective values governing the program.
Of course, many students want a strong figure to take over responsibility for them. New Educators are often pressured by their students to assume a parental role in their lives. Few realize the degree of helplessness that prevails among people in deep emotional questions. Greatest respect is due the New Educator who requires each student to assume responsibility himself for decisions on which his life depends.
The student may find he has to fight to preserve his self-autonomy in a New Education program that is in major respects just what he needs. The New Education is not education to many, but instead religion, philosophy or therapy or some kind of mixture that requires a surrender of autonomy. The prospective student will do well to explore this aspect of a program carefully before he commits himself deeply to it.
Mystical and chauvinistic attitudes are widespread within New Education programs because they are based on mass psychological factors that are widespread in the population. It is the same deep self-doubt and longing to be taken care of on the part of the masses of people that brings about religious cults and government-fostered authoritarian professional establishments. At the same time, it is the best among the New Education programs that attack these mass psychological factors at their roots in individual character structures.
Education in purpose in particular, with its emphasis on self-acceptance, personal autonomy, and self-responsibility, is a force directly counter to self-doubt and the longing to be cared for. Education in feeling can also be such a force, since through it the student can come to feel good about himself, his feelings, and his body. It is only when the feelings released are channelled into excessive unthinking loyalty to a group program that mystical-chauvinistic attitudes, going beyond natural loyalties, develop.
As yet, the New Education is making its major headway in the education of adults. The educational establishment has a stranglehold on the education of children, sustained through the government coercion that underlies public school education. Yet this is also being challenged increasingly by those able to envision a new and different process of emotional and intellectual growth in our children than that fostered by government schools.
The free school movement is based on self-regulation by children as described by Wilhelm Reich and put into practise by Reich's student and friend, A.S. Neill [Neill, I960], Neill is the founder of Summerhill in England, the prototype "free school." Summerhill type free schools are much like adult "education in feeling" groups, stressing, as they do, emotional expression and development. Montessori schools, which have grown significantly in recent years, offer a much more structured program of development, emphasizing the stimulation of natural patterns of intellectual growth. They are thus more closely akin to "education in purpose" than to "education in feeling." The Synanon school (for the children of Synanon residents) employs a modified free school model, the exciting feature of which is the successful adaptation of the powerful Synanon group technique (the Synanon game) as a tool of children's education.
It is this latter kind of development that holds the hope and promise of the New Education for children. We have not yet learned how to apply the powerful techniques of education in feeling and purpose, body learning, education in perception, and the learning encounter to the education of children. The main obstacle is the dead hand of government control over the schools. The New Education for children, as for adults, can only grow effectively outside the framework of tax supported government control over the schools. Every development attempted within government schools, no matter how sincere, able and creative its originators, is doomed ultimately to be corrupted or destroyed by the evils of government control.
Summerhill schools are private schools; Montessori schools are private schools; Synanon's schools are private schools; the significant new schools yet to grow will be private schools. The future of the New Education lies entirely in the hands of educators willing to operate without tax support, outside of the educational establishment.
The dead hand of the establishment extends its baleful influence into adult forms of New Education, of course. Its effort is to bring the New Education under government control. It has a powerful ally in professionalism and in the medical model of New Education processes. The rationale is that New Education processes are not education but therapy; that those who come are in some way sick and come for treatment of their mental or emotional illness;—and, of course, that all such treatment should be under the control of government licensed or certified "mental health" professionals, the psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and state-licensed counselors.
I have stated elsewhere my criticism of the medical model as a model [Kelley, 1971], It is a poor model. New Education students are not sick, should not be led to think they are coming for treatment or therapy of disease, nor to expect "cure" as the result of their work. Growth centers are not hospitals or clinics; they are instead truly centers for a new kind of education—the New Education.
The medical model has been created and given its power by pioneers of New Education techniques operating within the medical-professional framework, men such as Wilhelm Reich, M.D., Fritz Peris, M.D., Ph.D., and the grandfather of them all, Sigmund Freud, M.D. These men would probably not have become known had they not attained professional status, and it is natural that they lived and worked within the confines of the model upon which their profession was based. But the professional who wishes to identify with and truly advance the New Education in the future must first be willing to climb down from his professional pedestal, to be a human being with the rest, to throw away his government licenses, certificates, and special privilege, and to function solely on the basis of the knowledge, skill and leadership he can offer.
It is not an accident that so much of the vital creative force in the New Education today comes from outside the established professions. Chuck Dederich, founder of Synanon, has no letters behind his name, nor have the assorted ex-addicts that with him make Synanon the significant New Education center that it is. Operators of growth centers such as Esalen know how many of their finest group leaders have no professional degrees. Reevaluation Counseling, one of the exciting movements in the New Education scene, is successful, I believe, precisely because it makes such effective use of non-professional human-to-human communication. The followers of F.M. Alexander, Ida Rolf, W.H. Bates, Bernard Gunther, Mary Whitehouse, Moshe Feldenkrais, Charlotte Selver, Trudi Shupe, and scores of others do their work outside of the established professions, and it includes the finest work done in the New Education field. Too many in the New Education field are too aware to accept the point of view which divides mankind into two levels, into parent figures and child figures, the doctor and his patients, the professional and his charges. In the New Education we are all human beings, trying to learn together. Some of us have learned special knowledge or skills that we teach, but this does not elevate us into a different order of humanity.
I am much aware that although I hold a Ph.D. degree, the most valuable knowledge and skill I possess came, not from the graduate courses in psychology I completed or in years as a professor, but from sources entirely outside academia. It was derived from Wilhelm Reich and William H. Bates, from Ayn Rand, D.H. Lawrence, my Synanon tribe, and several other sources. It was obtained by that independent and individual process of conceptual growth that began before I was school age, and that has always received its most important nourishment from outside the walls of state-approved educational institutions.
Because it is not encumbered with the deadwood of governmentalization and professional claptrap, the New Education can eliminate the useless drudgery required to learn to teach or lead. It can forget the endless sequences of courses, exams, degrees, certificates, and licenses that are the professional's union cards and his means of limiting entry into his field. It can focus instead on the vital central content that is to be taught. Yet it must insist on competence, on developing high levels of knowledge and skill in trainees. In giving up professionalism, the New Education must accept the responsibility for discovering alternative means of developing excellence in its practitioners.
New Education teachers are trained by the hundreds at centers and groups within the movement, and the training is frequently haphazard. Yet the diversity of training is surely one of the strengths of the movement, the sources of originality and vitality are so many and varied. The prospective teacher must search out his mentor or mentors. Books provide a fund of information on what is available. Paperbacks abound dealing with New Education disciplines. Then the student is given a great opportunity to try techniques and leaders at workshops offered at growth centers around the world. The wise student will sample widely in searching out what is for him. If he then becomes interested in teaching some form of New Education he will have to find who has a training program and what their requirements are. Although there are many who restrict training to those with professional backgrounds, there are dozens of opportunities within the New Education for would-be teachers who don't want to go the professional degree route.
At the Interscience Work Shop we are learning how to teach New Education teachers. We are best known for our neo-Reichian "education in feeling" work, and for our work in vision improvement, so most prospective teachers wish to specialize in one of these areas, while our "purpose" work is beginning to attract interest. Our training program is thorough but it is new, and we are still exploring how to combine theory, discussion of technique, demonstration and practise [Interscience, 1971], Clearly, the most important of these, and the one around which the others must be organized, is practise. New Education skills are learned by doing them.
Our teacher trainees are recruited from our students, and there are no formal educational requirements for admission to the training program. Our one concern is that a prospective teacher show the potential for doing the work well. Because New Education activities are governed by the free market, the rewards are great for the able, and those we have trained charge from fifteen to thirty dollars per hour or more for their services. There is none of the security and protection supplied by the professional's union, with its lobbies and laws and licenses, of course;—we are happy without it. Those of us in the New Education movement feel we are part of an incredibly vital, growing, significant field of work. More than that, we are taking part in a revolution—an educational revolution—that is placing the future in our hands.
Charles R. Kelley, Ph.D. is Director of the Interscience Work Shop, the California facility of the Interscience Research institute Inc., founded in Connecticut in 1960, its program of instruction includes Education in Feeling and Purpose, and Education in Perception (Vision Improvement). Kelley is an applied experimental psychologist and has served on the faculties of several universities, most recently (1970) as George A. Miller Visiting Professor of the University of Illinois.
Outside of academia, Kelley was a student of Wilhelm Reich's and contributed to Reich's journals during his life and to study of his theories in the years since Reich died.
Copyright 1972, Interscience Research Institute.
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