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Comment on Accelerating the Future into Being

rene Fri, Jul 16, 2010
Olena, I love the way you so longingly respond to certain mindsets, like the Renaissance Man idea from my earlier post and now the educational philosophy of Maria Montessori. Both of those subjects are very dear to me, although in the case of Montessori I wasn’t aware of its power for a long time because I went to these schools from Kindergarten through High School (of which there are quite a few in Europe). In terms of education it’s all I really knew. So I was truly amazed to find out that so many key figures behind the Internet are speaking about their indebtedness to the Montessori system, and the same goes for some of the greatest architects. In fact, to the list of graduates in this post you can add architect Rem Koolhaas who I befriended when we were classmates in a Montessori high school. Even though at the time he and I were critical about what we considered the ‘soft” edges of the system (and by extension the school’s students), it nevertheless turned out to be an essential formative experience that is still very much reflected in the way we collaborate with other people and look at the world as some kind of giant experimental sand box where anything is possible and therefore achievable.

Come to think of it, even SpaceCollective has a Montessori feel about it, creating a shared vision that is spontaneously pieced together by many distinct individual voices. Not unlike the Montessori process which, according to Hermann Röhrs was “not conceived as being linear but rather dynamic, exploding with awakenings, enlightenments, transformations and creative syntheses which lift it up to new heights of evolution, the nature of which cannot even be guessed at.”

Sounds just like what we’re doing here!

And with regards to Infinitas’ comment, Maria Montessori said: ‘A person is what he is, not because of the teachers he has had, but as a result of that which he has done himself,’ an idea she called ‘self-creation’. All of which rings particularly true when we recognize that the Internet itself should to some extent be seen as a spin-off of the same kind of thinking that informed the Montessori system.