Session 13 - Changing the Influence of the Environment on Man, Part 2


If everyone treats each other well, it will be good for everyone; that's obvious. If there weren't any cruel people on the street, we would be happier; that's also obvious. If children could safely go out to the streets anytime during the day or night, and if we would treat each other nicely, we would help one another, and everyone would have what the others have. If we arrived at such a state in our miserable lives, it would be better. Right?!

To come to such a state we must remember one thing—society affects a person. We learn this from our life experience. We see it in education, and in every other area, that people are influenced and greatly affected through the use of social pressure.

Through social pressure, you can even force a person into thinking that black is white, if 20 or 30 people around a person say that it is so. These are empiric, undeniable facts. Therefore, because society affects people in this manner, we can help to guide our development by building an artificial society in which we all do good to one another. That way, we will compel everyone to behave favorably toward one another. We will also be able to treat situations regarding anyone who doesn't yet understand, and rises against this good attitude. First, we will deal with them nicely and gently, with careful explanations that help them to join us. But if we don't succeed with this approach, we will increase the pressure, even through punishments, and possibly expulsion from society, if necessary. Expulsion is only necessary if we know for certain that we have no choice, because we want everyone to have a good life, and for that we must together build a good society.

We want everyone in our society to have everything a person needs—food, housing, family, health, pension, and freedom. One should always have what one needs—breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a cup of coffee, a glass of beer, some TV, a good family—we need that; we're human. To obtain that, we must build a good society where everyone takes care of everyone else.

In the beginning people will treat each other nicely, even if only because they have to. But afterwards, something much higher will appear. Through a game in which we treat each other well, out of the bogus behavior, the play-acting that we have taken upon ourselves as a code of behavior among us, we make it into habit, and truly become like it and transform our nature.

Up to this point, we were "savages." Through our selfish egoistic behaviors, we wanted to consume each other. Yet from this point forward, if we play this game between us, we will invert ourselves and our nature, just like you turn a glove inside out. Then each of us will turn from a savage into a human being. This is how we will arrive at a completely different humanity, and completely new opportunities will open before us. Through our balance with Nature, we will feel Nature, discover completely new opportunities, and build new instruments. We will turn the entire world around because we will already know all the laws of Nature by becoming like Nature, and we will therefore be as Nature itself, as the whole of reality.

At first, we will play simply because we'll have no other choice, and build among us a system of loving and caring mutual social relationships. It all depends on appropriate education and then the infusion of that education into the stream of affectiveness, through utilizing the influence of the society. We are all adults, we're smart, we've suffered enough, and we see the ominous future ahead if we do not change course. This is why we recommend the solution of taking these measures.

This is a fun, yet serious approach. It is not about mysticism, or anything of the kind. It is simply that we can't avoid these necessary measures any longer. We must take preventive measures because all the negative effects that we perceive as coming from Nature, are due to our incongruence with the environment. Any suffering that I may feel is actually a helpful tool that we can use, since it points to imbalance. When I feel cold, I have to warm myself, perhaps by wearing something warm. If I hear a noise, I need to either turn it off or plug my ears. For each phenomenon, there needs to be an appropriate response.


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If we "play" relatively nicely with each other, in a simple form, without much "intelligence," getting in the way, we change our relationship to each other out of good habit.

Main Points

  • The influence of the environment on the person has the power to convince him that black is white.
  • It is worthwhile to begin with a change in the influence of the environment on the person, even without a choice.
  • In transforming our relationship to each other from exploitation to love, there can be additional discoveries that appear in our world, which we are unaware of today.


"True community: Having worked through emptiness, the people in the community enter a place of complete empathy with one another. There is a great level of tacit understanding. People are able to relate to each other's feelings. Discussions, even when heated, never get sour, and motives are not questioned. A deeper and more sustainable level of happiness obtains between the members, which does not have to be forced. Even and perhaps especially when conflicts arise, it is understood that they are part of positive change."

Book - The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace

"Education, knowledge and wisdom are very powerful tools for the survival of humankind. The more thought we put into our survival, the more solutions we will get. An open dialogue is the key to our success because it addresses differences, difficulties and barriers, and creates co-operation.
Although the media tend to sensationalize destruction, exploitation, greed and sexuality, there is a way in which the media can, in fact, exalt ecological culture, peace and the values associated with this.

"Ultimately, this Earth can be saved from mankind only if people are prepared to live with nature, rather than upon nature. We have been taught that this world, and all plants and creatures thereon, were created for man's use: that he was given dominion over all other forms of life and that he must go forth and multiply. It is now clear that if he follows that belief his extinction is inevitable. Therefore, his whole relationship with Earth, with nature, must change rapidly. But relationships between individuals or between man and his environment are intellectual and of the spirit, rather than of material gain or loss." - Sir Mark Oliphant (Father of Australian Science) - personal communication to Dr Michael Ellis.

A substantially new manner of thinking is required integrating all sciences and creating a holistic approach which takes into account the inextricable relationship between life and all phenomena. Such a science needs to integrate scientific materialism and consciousness and requires a profound change in human values and attitudes."

Article from - "The Crisis of Values and Attitudes on The Planet"

"Learning--significant learning--is a natural characteristic of the organism in its inherent tendency to maintain and enhance itself, to develop and utilizeits potentialities. Such learningoccurs when the subject matter is perceived as being relevant to this basic motivating tendency. But change, particularly change in the self-organization, is threatening, and tends to be resisted. However, such learning is more likely to occur when external pressures or threat are at a minimum when the envronment is accepting, understanding, supportive. When threat to the self or self-concept is minimized, learning is promoted, since experiences can beaccurately perceived in a differentiated manner and can be explored, analyzed, taken apart, and reintegrated in a meaningful manner."

Carl Rogers and Humanistic Education

Engage Yourself

Question 1: How would you behave if you were sitting in a room with some other people, and thick smoke began to rise up from one corner of the room?  How would you behave if a fire alarm went off? 

Seemingly, the answers are clear. We would leave the room as quickly as possible.  And how would you behave if the rest of the people in the room remained sitting in their chairs, as if the smoke hadn't risen and the alarm hadn't gone off?

In this next video we have the answer to this, as it was recorded in the course of an experiment on the influence of the environment on a person.  Philip Zimbardo, one of the most famous social psychologists in the world, begins the clip with a short introduction about the experiment. [link to video here, if needed.]

How can we use the influence of the environment on the person in a positive form and build an environment that supports correction of the connections between us? Write at least 2 solid suggestions.

Question 2: According to the text of the lesson, what is the best way to use the influence of the environment on the person?

Question 3: How does an environment that supports correction of the connection between us and gives an example of the need for mutuality look to you? 

In the year 1971, an American social psychologist, Elliot Aronson, developed an innovative system of learning that encourages the quality of participation, over the quality of personal attainment.  Much in life has happened since then, but the idea that stands as the basis of the method and the method itself, are continuously relevant.  You are invited to be impressed by this science yourselves by viewing the below clip. [link to clip here, if necessary]

According to all of the illuminating ideas that you have acquired up to now in this integral education course, learning the course in integral education, what, in your opinion, is the reason that the educationalsystem that Aronson revealed was not accepted as the essential educational learning system, at least in places where it was tried? (choose the most meaningful reason, from the following reasons.)

Question 4: Following is a quotation from the transcript text of this session:

"Any suffering that I may feel is actually a helpful tool that we can use, since it points to imbalance. When I feel cold, I have to warm myself, perhaps by wearing something warm. If I hear a noise, I need to either turn it off or plug my ears. For each phenomenon, there needs to be an appropriate response. "

What is the imbalance that we feel on the level of connection between humans? Give an example from your life and write how, in your opinion, we can correct this imbalance.