Holistic Education as the Conduit to Humanizing the Economy

Holistic Education as the Conduit to Humanizing the Economy

Ana Martins (University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa), Isabel Martins (University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa) and Orlando Pereira (University of Minho, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3132-6.ch010
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Abstract

One of the main challenges of contemporary society is its incessant focus on developing individuality and personal objectives. A shift in paradigm will remove the dominant logic paradigm which impedes holistic development that is necessary for spiritual development to occur. A balanced society requires two perspectives, namely, the materialistic and the humanistic. Widespread materialism characterizes the dominant system, is associated with that which is rational, visible and tangible. In direct contrast, the humanistic perspective is uniquely concerned with values, beliefs and feelings. Humanism is only visible through the inner self and felt through the goodness of the heart; it is based on that which is associated with emotions, the spiritual and the inner conscience. Education is an instrument for developing society. To educate is an art and not simply the performance of a task, it is to liberate the learner for life and thereby giving the learner meaning for existence. The shift in paradigm also takes into account a holistic model of spiritual leadership. This chapter will present a critique on extant literature and emphasize the humanizing aspect of education development that contributes to a more humane workplace enriched with collective leadership, compassion, respect, enriched with emotional, spiritual and social awareness as well as wellbeing.
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Holistic Education And Solidarity Principles In The Path To Humanization

The dehumanization of the economy is extinguishing values, norms and rules considered essential for the social coherence of contemporary society. Moreover, this loss distorts social structures as well as the very life project, of both individuals and society (Vásquez, 2006). This dehumanization impedes the realization of dreams and harmony between citizens. On the other hand, if the economy were to adopt a more humane stance this would entail privileging equity in both the distribution of wealth as well as in strategic investments, such as in education, learning and development. If the latter were more in line with an economy characterized by solidarity (Zamberlam & Silveira, 2012), this would transform society.

In order to create a more humanized economy, there is a need to reflect on human values in order to see others’ as thinking and creative beings, who need to be valued, motivated and cared for. It is necessary to take care of the ever-present ‘roving’ side of humans, to accept, tolerate and motivate it towards constant improvement, in the supposition that humans learn by doing through constant practice in the trial and error process. All processes that ignore this can lead to a dehumanized society, with negative side effects on people’s quality of life. Given its liberating character, humanization unleashes stifling behaviors and attitudes that individuals may have and instead, leads them to the essence of things. It liberates individuals from corrosive individualism and blinding materialism, because humanizing processes guide people towards unity and synchronicity, to the convergence of people and happenings, focused on one and the same purpose.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Sustainability: Organisations need to channel their resources, both tangible and intangible, in pursuit of competitive advantage and longevity. Organisational strategies should be equitable, social and transparent.

Education: An individual’s long-term commitment to gaining knowledge, skills, competencies, awareness, social and individual consciousness. It is a process of nurturing different intelligences, ranging from social, emotional, spiritual to existential.

Performance: The organisation’s pursuit of accomplishment, individual and group in nature. The achievement of collaborative talent and effort which leads to triumph and competitive edge.

Spirituality: Principles related to the intangible, sublime and immaterial set of values that the individual has. Integrity, ethical behaviour and sense of dignity related to that which leads to wellbeing and happiness in the organization.

Leadership: the capacity, skills and expertise of an individual to guide other individuals in the workplace. This person should provide initiative, show direction and vision to the organisation.

Humanization: An attribute that ascribes true value to the individual in the workplace. It is the awareness of core ethical values, fundamental individual worth. The concept highlights the true inner core, the noble, virtuous aspect of human nature. It dignifies the social perspective of the economy.

Wellbeing: Refers to happiness, prosperity, comfort and security which individuals may achieve in the workplace. This state of being is accomplished through individual passion, thoughtful and desirable aspirations, and is further promoted by organisational welfare.

Emotions: The individual’s personal awareness of humor, mood, attitude and feelings. The individual’s ability to deal with personal and work life as well as to build and cope with the idiosyncrasies of personal and workplace relationships.

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