Learning from Looking at Nature

The ability to perceive or think differently is more important than the knowledge gained. ~David Bohm


Students reflect on this thought.

Sandeep: If we learn about a cat by reading a book, our knowledge is limited. If we learn about a cat by observing one, our knowledge is more complete. If we learn the same things as everyone else, we will gain knowledge and end up doing the same things as everyone else. 

Dinesh: Looking with our own eyes comes from ourselves. We can discover something new, do something different. It is better but also more tough. To discover something new you have to work more hard because the whole world will try to stop you. You will be criticised. People have the tendency to make us like others. We also need an empty mind. A full mind cannot look with fresh eyes. 

Shilpi: When we look with the same eyes we will not see new things.

Madhu: Nature makes the world different. Day by day we humans are polluting the world more. Children are learning at school not to pollute. Why does this have little effect? Because the way nature organises itself and the way we organise the world are different. Nature shows abundance and interconnectedness. Humans are destructing the planet. 

Dinesh: What Madhu is trying to say is that we can also create systems that are inspired by nature. The the world is organised in a destructive way is because we humans have never really looked closely at nature and learned from how nature organises itself. 

Educator: How will the progress of your village look like if you organise it in a way that is inspired by nature?

Dinesh: First we have to start now with looking closely at nature, to deeply observe the natural world around us. Only then can we answer that question. 

The next day students participate in a Slow Looking exercise. They choose to look more closely at a mango tree.

Sandeep: On the branches I noticed eggs, probably of an insect. Honey bees are sucking nectar from the mango tree’s small flowers.

Dinesh: The flowers have different colours: white, pink and black dots. There was a bird nest made of different types of grass and lentil pods. I wonder how birds make their nests so nice and round without having hands only their beaks.

Shilpi: There was a spider web. It was made very nicely. It was partly destroyed,. People get angry when somebody destroys their house. I wonder how a spider feels when somebody breaks its web? Spiders put so much effort building such a big house with their small bodies.

Madhu: I observed how leaves create shadows on each other. How light enters the tree. 

 Shankar: A black and red insect was eating the tree’s leaves. 

Sanatan. I first observed the tree from far. It all looks shining a bright from a distance. It made me think of a team or an organisation. Maybe it is like Loka. When moving closer you notice all the different leaves and flowers and how it is actually quite a complex whole consisting of so many parts working together. 

Ankit: I noticed how the different holes in the leaves created by insects all had different shapes.

Dinesh: May I end this conversation by noticing that if a bird without hands can create such a perfectly shaped nest by just using its beak, how it is that we humans with our hands are unable to shape our world more beautifully?

At Loka students are invited to reflect on various topics that are present in their local surroundings and often connected to global issues. These reflections are translated into thoughtful action through which students can shape the progress of their surroundings in new ways and inspire the world towards ways of learning that keep our interconnectedness at the core of everything. 






/ In: Blog

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<h4>Charlotte Leech</h4>
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Charlotte Leech is co-founder of Loka. Before Loka, she used to work as a Project Manager and Policy Maker for Art &amp; Culture in the Netherlands. Currently Charlotte manages Loka’s communication and educational vision and researches (new) ways of learning through daily interactions and activities with students.


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