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 Conversations Toward a New World View: Human Potential: From Esalen to Mainstreet 
 
Interview with George Leonard
   as interviewed by Russell E. DiCarlo

I have often thought about this: Let's say that learning is done in segments. I am not sure that's even the right way to do it, but if learning is done in segments in school, at the end of each segment, the teacher should not be necessary. In other words, the teacher should fade from prominence. Maybe one of the jobs of a teacher is to set the learners on a course of learning, and then gradually fade himself or herself, so that the last day, the students wouldn't even notice the teacher there.

DiCarlo: That would be a switch..

We need to cultivate a real respect for learning. You know, people's thought of the human potential movement does not normally include calculus. I think it does include calculus. Mike and I both feel that way. Another requirement we had in our Integral Transformative Practice Club (ITP), was that everybody would agree to read assignments and write essays. That doesn't sound very New Age does it?

DiCarlo: Not at all...

Leonard: But that's integral transformative practice-it's across the board. We feel that to neglect any of those four aspects of being human-mind, body, heart or soul-is a big mistake. People will do things if they know why they are doing them. If they have some kind of vision as to why they are doing them. We need vision. Every viable culture and every successful individual needs at least two guardian angels-vision and practice. Both of those have been totally lost. They have become endangered species in the culture of the freeway and shopping mall.

Vision is given away to obsession with short term goals; practice is given away to the quick fix. "The One Minute Manager", "Total Fitness in One Week". Almost all "how-to" books; New Age books are mostly quick-fix books. And you don't learn anything by the quick fix. It takes long-term regular practice.

There's an old Eastern idea that "where there is no practice, nations fall into ruin." I think we have to get the idea of long-term, regular practice for everybody, rather than "10 Easy Lessons" or "Fast, Temporary Relief"-all the slogans you hear in this culture.

Just take a look at the areas in which we have our biggest problems: the economy; health care; politics; pharmacology; crime; and environment, the most important one of all. Look at each of these. The factor that is common to each problem involves long term versus short-term. In all of those, we tend to do what seems best on the short term, but what we are really doing is losing the long term. Almost always, the short term is inimical to the long term. Sometimes you have to do both, but we've almost totally neglected the long term. So I think that factor, long term versus short term is something people need to take a look at.

When you adopt a practice, you're in it for the long haul. You work, and work and work on a thing. You diligently keep practicing the same thing over and over again. You are not getting anywhere- or so you think. But you are getting somewhere. It doesn't show itself. Then finally when it clicks in, you have this little spurt of apparent progress. But where did the learning take place? It took place on the plateau.

Just think about all those years people worked against the whole communist system. Then in a period of a few weeks, the Berlin wall goes down. Then a few months afterwards most of the eastern satellites had given up communism. Some said, "My God, change occurred very fast." But in reality, that change was occurring over the last 20 or 30 years. The change occurred because of long time learning. And the learning occurs on the plateau. So if I have any message, I want to preach the plateau...you have to preach the plateau to young people. Just hang in there.


Excerpted from the book Towards A New World View: Conversations At The Leading Edge with Russell E. DiCarlo. The 377-page book features new and inspiring interviews with 27 paradigm pioneers in the fields of medicine, psychology, economics, business, religion, science, education and human potential. Featuring: Willis Harman, Matthew Fox, Joan Boysenko, George Leonard, Gary Zukav, Robert Monroe, Hazel Henderson, Fred Alan Wolf, Peter Senge, Jacquelyn Small, Elmer Green, Larry Dossey, Carolyn Myss, Stan Grof, Rich Tarnas, Marilyn Ferguson, Marsha Sinetar, Dr. Raymond Moody, Stephen Covey and Peter Russell.

Russell E. DiCarlo is a medical writer, author, lecturer and workshop leader who's focus is on personal transformation, consciousness research and the fields of energy and anti-aging medicine. His forthcoming book is entitled "The Definitive Guide To Anti-Aging Medicine" (1998, Future Medicine Publishing). DiCarlo resides in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Copyright 1996. Epic Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

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