What do you mean when you say that our school is a living system? For some time now science has been looking for the “thing” at the center of matter and what this search has shown is that we may be better served not in looking for isolated things but for patterns of relationships. When we seek to isolate the parts we inevitably become blind to that which is most important about something alive, it’s connectedness and relationship to the whole.
Ecology is the study of the relationships between populations of plant and animal species and human ecology involves the study of the relationship between humans and their environment. Deep ecology looks at the inherent connections between the natural world and the human world. What I am attempting to do in my study is to first reframe the question about what is important in schools. If our frame of vision is shaped by test scores and industrial standards of efficiency then we have made the active choice to see only a small piece of the whole. Take those test scores away and how do we envision what is taking place in a school community. I am attempting to help our society to look with the capacity to see the broader patterns, the forces which influence those patterns and ultimately to look for solutions that are not an exercise of greater control but oriented toward a greater sense of ecological health.
How do we escape the paralysis of looking at the whole and not knowing where to begin because we can’t look at everything all the time? How do we continually balance decisions between that which is good for the whole and that which is good for the individual? These answers come from wisdom, from a commitment to complexity and locality, these answers are not found within the context of hegemony, homogeny and broad ideologies. These answers are found in a deep understanding of one another and of systems that support that understanding. As we reorient toward one another and away from ignorance and greed we begin to identify the symptoms flaring everywhere that result from the perspective that controlling living systems is possible. We orient to the perspective that valuable insight is found in fostering the vitality of an ecological whole, we begin to perceive with new eyes.