This article is reprinted from the Spring 1991 Cascadence, later printed in the December/ January 1998-99 New Tidings (an EWS publication), written by LeeAnn Ernandes. She is one of the founding members of our school community and has taught here throughout the years both at EWS and in the WTEE program.
The words we speak are a reflection of our inner moral ideas about life and an influence on the inner pictures and ideas of all those who hear our words. Uncensored language and concepts, filled with images and ideas about the human being and the universe, seep into our soul from every direction: parents, friends, teachers, media and the street. And there in the soul, they meet what lives in the moral imagination where the hearer gives place value, unconsciously perhaps, to what has entered.
Now consider briefly the situation, or dilemma, in which we live. We human beings are spiritual beings living in physical bodies in a particular time. Our “time” has its unique advantages and disadvantages, but one can safely say that we live in a milieu of mechanistic thinking. Most every phenomena has its finite explanation and its hypothetical functional relationship to the rest of the universe. And we put a lot of store in these “answers.” The concrete has great appeal. We learn that the heart is a pump; the brain is like a computer; the sun, a ball of burning gases. We think we understand gravity and electricity and how stars are “born.” We take air and water as commonplace, as if we understood them completely. Human relationships too, reflect underlying materialistic and mechanistic values.
In our time, the mechanical, materialistic outlook inevitably penetrates language and thinking processes to some degree. To that degree, people will unconsciously bear within themselves, images of self and the universe which have lost their spiritual heritage and become hardened, matter-of-fact and mechanical. These images will “recycle” in attitudes and language and be passed on as if they were circumspective truth.
This is where one significant illness of our time begins. The pressure to conform to modern concepts is so strong that we may learn to say what isn’t true. In our heart of hearts, we naturally bear a holy feeling about ourselves, humanity, and the world. We do, that is, until it comes into doubt when held up to modern ideas. Left to media and modern myth, that holy feeling may be squelched. We may choose to ignore or suppress the pain we feel when we speak in a way which belies our inner knowing. This is a process of annihilation of soul. Our own language denies the true nature of our being. We become disenfranchised from ourselves.
If children are subjected to information and reasonings which do not resound in their hearts as being true, education does not heal, but only increases disenfranchisement. We must continually search for and speak only that which is circumspectly true. This will help to heal what ills our time has wrought. We must endeavor to cultivate alive, warm, holy and true pictures and thoughts about human beings and the universe. Every thought, word and deed should lift us to the highest true ideals for humanity to which we can aspire.
~by LeeAnn Ernandes
Drawing by Anyasha Aragon-Herbert, 7th grade in 2009