Authentic learning is becoming the author or designer of your self, and selfdesigning is the theme and self-descriptor of learners in the newly named SelfDesign Learning Community.
We have developed an understanding through experience to defer to the authority of the other who has more knowledge and position than we do and to give our control over to them. We learn through years of school to listen to the authority of other instead of our own inner voice. Consequently, we learn not to value our own thoughts, intuitions or feelings. Born as the authors or designers and creators of our own lives, we gradually, become the puppets of others, giving up our will to those in power. Through the dual extrinsic motivators of fear of failure and need for success, we create a society of externally focused yet inwardly bereft individuals.
On the contrary, if instead we assume that human beings are designed to collaborate and cooperate and to realize their own personal and collective positive potential as a fundamental condition of their design, then we can create an entirely different kind of society based on the richness, integrity and sense of fulfillment of every individual in community. This condition requires that we trust and acknowledge the inner integrity of design of the individual as a self-sustaining organism.
Imagine the possibilities if we assume that a human being is designed to learn and designed to design itself through this learning in a way that actualizes our attributes as well as builds our sensibilities as compassionate human beings. If we align our educational process with these assumptions about our positive essential nature, then our politics of relationship will shift from obedience and dominance to nurturing and respect. We will include the body and the emotions in our intellectual processes as well as we allow for the authorship of every individual for him/herself. If everyone is the author or designer of their own life, and if we realize that we can best achieve our full integrity in meaningful relationship, then we create an authentic learning community whereby each individual matures and develops naturally within a context of well-being and fulfillment.
During the past twenty-five years, I have appreciated the ethic of “operate” in cooperative learning and “labor” in collaborative learning: however I would like to emphasize the transformative nature of SelfDesign which goes beyond doing into the domain of being. I have recently, through the influence of Kathleen Forsythe, realized that inspiration is at the heart of SelfDesign, and that the nature of “co-inspirational” relationships is essential to inspiration. SelfDesign, as a learning methodology, focuses on the quality of relationships that engender the optimum actualization of living as authentic human beings in harmony with each other and ourselves.