Thurman’s spirituality was grounded not only in the beauties of the black experience, but grounded as well in the terrors of the black experience, as only someone living in Florida and Georgia could know them in 1915 and 1920 and 1930. At the same time, it was a spirituality that says: “And knowing all that, I also know that all human beings are one.”
This kind of strange combination of spiritual truth with hard political social truth led one young man in the 1930s to say this about Howard Thurman: “I’m disappointed in him. We thought we had found our Moses. And he turns out to be a mystic.” That’s the spirituality that gets people all riled up.
Our current hierarchical view of ourselves and of our consciousness (with “I” at the apex, and “my ideas, my emotions, my experiences, and accumulated skills, etc.”, below) can now be shown to be fundamentally incoherent in a number of ways—the central contention being that in actual fact there isn’t and there can be no centre to our consciousness the same way that there is no centre to a river. Breaking away from the cul-de-sac of the this current/common hierarchical view, this chapter outlines a new model in which conditioned responses of memory—in the form of holarchically ordered, fundamentally interconnected basic assumptions and emotional attitudes—provide a continually shifting structure of consciousness (akin to the changing (infinite, yet finite) structural patterns which may arise in a kaleidoscope)..
Sergio Juárez Correa teaches at José Urbina López Primary School in Matamoros, Mexico — a violent, terribly impoverished border town. His school is often referred to as “a place of punishment.” But when he encountered the educational ideas of Sugata Mitra who famously installed computers in slums for illiterate street-kids to use, and found that they’d taught themselves to use them and were educating themselves, he rebuilt his teaching around leaving his kids alone as much as possible. His classroom became one of the highest-scoring groups in the Mexican educational system.