My charming Mary Englebreit calendar page for yesterday showed a happy little boy holding up an American flag against a backdrop of fireworks. The caption said “Let Freedom Ring.” In small letters at the bottom was the word “Everywhere” in white capital letters.  Somehow the placement of that one word spoke volumes, bringing to mind the many places on earth where freedom is still only a dream.

As I was reflecting on this, it occurred to me that there is a place right under our noses, right here in the good old U.S.A. where 50.4 million people are held captive every single day; held against their truest instincts, their wills, their desires, and their abilities to do  anything about it.

Not only is it a tragedy – – it is also a major transgression against mankind.  These are people without clout, advocates, means of organizing their ranks, and usually lacking the vocabulary to even articulate their frustrations.  This evil has been allowed to exist for centuries due to a cultural hypnosis and a plan that was instituted by governments as a means of control for their own purposes.

This number represents “the little people,” who are made to trudge off to a manmade prison and sit there and obey “the big people” for at least 7 hours of every day.

Forget that they were born to be geniuses; that they have unique one-time only DNA; that they have enormous capacities for wonder, curiosity, creativity, inventiveness, skill acquisition, and imagination; that they love to explore and make discoveries; that they have proven themselves to be excellent learners by successfully mastering a complex language by age three; and that they start out among the most joyful, delightful, beguiling, most universally cherished beings known to mankind.

Let it be said here; let it be said now, that I, for one, (even if the only one), stand firm for these little people. I passionately advocate for their rights; I completely understand their need for freedom; and I will speak, write and work for their rights until my last breath.  Yes, Mary, freedom EVERYWHERE is what we want; what all civilized people of every age deserve; and what will make the world a happier, more sane, more wonderful place.

Read more or perhaps read again:





To tell the truth, I have been so incredibly busy lately on the various facets of this project that I breezed right through April without producing a blog.  Sorry!

Standing at my kitchen sink, preparing my vegetables for lunch, it occurred to me that perhaps I should remind you that the most mundane activities of life offer countless opportunities for discovery.  I’ll use myself for an example AND give you free of charge a wonderful little secret I discovered on my own.

One day, as I was preparing a batch of fresh vegetables for the crisping bin of my refrigerator, I got to thinking about my green pepper and how quickly peppers tend to shrivel once I get them home from the store.

I looked at that pepper and sent it a thought like “Honey, what would make you happy and lively, AND keep you that way?”  Instantly, the answer seemed to come back in a wee whisper:  “water –please!”

I thought about that for a moment and realized that the stem of that pepper had been used to drawing its water from the vine to which it had been attached. “Hmmm”. . . I thought. What if I turned that pepper upside down and placed that stem in a small tub of water instead of just placing the whole pepper in the crisping bin?

Within just one day, the most incredible thing had happened!!  That pepper had sucked up about half of the water and was heavy and sloshing when I shook it!  Furthermore, even after I had used a portion of the pepper, if I carefully avoided destroying the stem, I could keep that pepper succulent and fresh for days on end, until I finished using it.

Then I decided to try other vegetables:  zucchini, yellow squash, celery, cucumber, etc. Sure enough, just placing them upside down in a tub of water keeps them ALL fresh and delicious until used.

Never forget that TO DISCOVER  is one of the things you were created to do: part of your neural hardwiring.  Being on the lookout for opportunities to do so makes even daily chores an exciting adventure. Look, ask, “listen” and experiment. You’ll have such fun and help the world too!


Jim Rohn, American inspirational speaker and writer said “If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”

In many schools across America, ordinary “education” means:



belief in external rewards

shallow materialism

treadmill existence


depression, desperation

addictions, obesity & sloth

If we’re willing to risk the unusual, we could have:


bright-eyed seeking

belief in internal self-actualization

mining of our true riches

adventures and excitement of discovery

fresh, original treasures of art, music, science, literature, invention, architecture

enthusiastic right action

vitality, focus and accomplishment

Please study our web pages to learn how this is to be done! 

In the long run, not to risk the unusual turns out to be riskiest of all. .  . 








“American education has evolved in such a way that it will be the
undoing of the society.” R. Buckminster Fuller

Yes, it is that serious. This man thought deeply, cared passionately, put his genius to work on anything he encountered, and was a first class truth teller.

How undone is our society already? Is there a way back? Is there a way forward? Study this website and you will see REVOLUTION – – the only kind always tolerated by everyone – – that by design and invention.


Many people in my circle of friends and acquaintances keep using the word “education” when they ask about my project. At some point, I have to tell them that my project is not about education. “It is about learning,” I say, and  “there is an ocean of distance between the two concepts.” Invariably they look totally puzzled, as if making a distinction between the two is a new thought for them.

The fact is, I sincerely believe we have come to a dead end with “education” as it has come to be practiced in our culture.

Remember that it was a system first invented when books had to be copied by hand and were so rare and expensive that many people lived and died without ever having even seen one. This was also when people who had brilliant, original ideas often died before anything could be written down and saved for others who would benefit. It was when the great religions were busy recruiting and instructing. Of course education made sense then and seemed like the only way civilization could survive.

It continued to get a stronger and stronger foothold before there were public libraries, great museums and art galleries; before there were cars, airplanes, radios, televisions and personal computers. Every philanthropist and legislature came to believe that there was no way to miss if they simply threw dollars at “education.”

Who am I to go up against so time-honored, noble, and distinguished an institution? Heaven knows that I delight in being a private nobody. But truly,  somebody has to do it and the sooner, the better.

Education is defined as the giving and receiving of systematic instruction. Stop and think about this:

1.The one giving it is doing the action. (Engaging his own brain cells.)

2. The one receiving it is being passive and supposedly receptive (but often dozing, daydreaming, and wishing to be free.)

This was the perfect set up for CONTROL. We have had centuries of control. Things seemed neat and tidy. Knowledge presented as “curriculum” was basically kept in quiet,  red brick boxes called schools, academies and universities, places mostly unattractive to the really bad actors of the world. Teachers were told by authorities that keeping control was their first duty.

Meanwhile, the amount of money spent on education worldwide every day is in the trillions of dollars and growing by leaps and bounds.

Learning, on the other hand, is an active process that involves choice, movement, fulfillment of a need, happy satisfaction of a real hunger, the great pleasure of accomplishment.

Learning is something permanent and useful, and is an interaction between the learner and the environment which involves the senses.

Unlike “education,” learning energizes.

“Learning never exhausts the mind” said Leonardo da Vinci.

Learning is really too mysterious to yield to tight control. All we can do is provide the setting where it is likely to take place.

Google was born September 4, 1998, and named after “googol” which is the number “one” followed by one hundred zeros, a term its inventors chose because it was a symbol of the infinite number of connections made possible.

Woops! Things quickly got “OUT OF CONTROL.” We know this in the very marrow of our bones, and thus while we are thrilled at the new possibilities which have opened up, we are also terrified by the ramifications of this much knowledge and connectivity being at the fingertips of thugs and barbarians.

Knowledge, information, and invention are exploding everywhere these days, and people worldwide are soaking it up by millions of gigabytes every day. Used wrongly, it could produce insanity, chaos, and devastation.

What’s to be done? My solution may sound strange and could unsettle you, but here goes:

1. We can’t go backwards. Pandora is already dancing with glee on top of the box.

2. Human beings love to explore, discover and and acquire new skills. That’s a given.        Just notice babies.

3. Learning (enlightenment) can be a mighty force for good, curing diseases, providing the necessities of life and labor saving devices, presenting the best literature, art and music of civilization, helping us understand our planet, galaxy and the universe. I really don’t think we really want to revert to cave man status.

4. The fact is that human beings no longer want to be passive and have education DONE TO THEM, often against their wills, contrary to their choices, and their timing. They want to be free to satisfy their own curiosities. Linus Pauling said that “satisfaction of one’s curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life.”

5. Instead of spending billions and trillions daily trying to CONTROL this mighty force, why don’t we provide safe, carefully prepared, and fascinating environments, accessible to all people, where learners can freely explore and discover knowledge as part of a kind and caring community? It would provide help when needed, but allow learners to discover themselves, their natural talents, their passions and their life work. Our happiness quotients would increase even faster than our intelligence quotients and all of us would be the better for it.

And what about education? Turn the lecture halls into documentary theaters. Let lectures be on youtube videos. Let education still exist in universities for serious scholars who want to sit at the feet of great masters, or be guided while doing important projects in marvelous laboratories. But take away the pressures of tests, grades, and shame spawned by control. Embrace “failure” as simply a necessary step in the learning process. Let evaluations of learning be what individuals do to detect gaps in their learning or discover their strong suits. Let the learner take a mastery test when ready to show off a bit and prove to others the high levels achieved.

We can still have education if we wish, but for heaven’s sake, let us have active, adventurous, bold and thorough learning, and with it joy, excitement, satisfaction and true mastery.









I start catching sight of the “Christmas Mountain” about the week after Halloween, and it is scarier than any witch or goblin I’ve ever spotted. This terrifyingly steep and imposing peak consists of monumental boulders of expectations – – not only of myself, but of others, of my home, of events, of obligations, of outcomes, and pretty soon just the thought of scaling it seems impossible. (When I was a child, Christmas was about a 2-week deal, start to finish.)

I know that  Baby Jesus never intended the thing to get so out of hand.  He was the very model of the simple life – – in the end, boiling his own life down to one small word – – love.

Since this blog is about the human potential for learning, can we learn to simplify:  to open our eyes, our senses, and our happy hearts so that, like babies, we can take in enough to fill our deepest souls and no longer have to construct mountains for each other to climb? (I’ve seen babies play with empty cardboard boxes with greater joy than adults display with gifts of pure gold, for heaven’s sake.)

When I feel stretched to my own limits at this time of year, it sometimes helps me to just shrug and remember my favorite Christmas quote – – one written by Madeline L’Engle:

“This is the irrational season, when love blooms bright and wild.  Had Mary been filled with reason, there’d have been no room for the child.”

Yes, it’s totally unreasonable. We have to hope that amid all the fluff,  tinsel, stacks of catalogs, packaging wastes, and garbage trucks something of true value manages to get through.

Psssst. . .here’s an irrational idea:  how about getting rid of everything but the love?




Have a look at this!  Finally, maybe the world is catching on to the fact that only self- chosen learning sticks.


Finland’s education system is considered one of the best in the world. In international ratings, it’s always in the top ten. However, the authorities there aren’t ready to rest on their laurels, and they’ve decided to carry through a real revolution in their school system.
Finnish officials want to remove school subjects from the curriculum. There will no longer be any classes in physics, math, literature, history, or geography.
The head of the Department of Education in Helsinki, Marjo Kyllonen, explained the changes:
“There are schools that are teaching in the old-fashioned way which was of benefit in the beginning of the 1900s — but the needs are not the same, and we need something fit for the 21st century.“
Instead of individual subjects, students will study events and phenomena in an interdisciplinary format. For example, the Second World War will be examined from the perspective of history, geography, and math. And by taking the course ”Working in a Cafe,” students will absorb a whole body of knowledge about the English language, economics, and communication skills.
This system will be introduced for senior students, beginning at the age of 16. The general idea is that the students ought to choose for themselves which topic or phenomenon they want to study, bearing in mind their ambitions for the future and their capabilities. In this way, no student will have to pass through an entire course on physics or chemistry while all the time thinking to themselves “What do I need to know this for?”
The traditional format of teacher-pupil communication is also going to change. Students will no longer sit behind school desks and wait anxiously to be called upon to answer a question. Instead, they will work together in small groups to discuss problems.
The Finnish education system encourages collective work, which is why the changes will also affect teachers. The school reform will require a great deal of cooperation between teachers of different subjects. Around 70% of teachers in Helsinki have already undertaken preparatory work in line with the new system for presenting information, and, as a result, they’ll get a pay increase.
The changes are expected to be complete by 2020.”

“…a totality of freedom, freely operating, will always end by finding its  road.” Teilhard de Chardin





http://Finland Will Become the First Country in the World to Get Rid of All …… 3 days ago – Finland Will Become the First Country in the World to Get Rid of All … Finnish officials want to remove school subjects from the curriculum.

(If “Safari Can’t find the server,” copy and paste into the Google bar.)

At least one country finally gets it!  Self-chosen learning is the only kind that really takes root and blooms.

“…a totality of freedom, freely operating, will always end by finding its road.”

Teilhard de Chardin



Sometimes the way things randomly happen provides a total jolt to one’s consciousness. This happened to me yesterday.

I had discovered a wonderfully rich new website to peruse about children in art history, and I had stumbled upon it, drawn by my lifelong fascination with American illustrator, Jessie Willcox Smith. Here was a cache of dozens of her illustrations I had never seen before – –  treasures, every one.

What is the great attraction, I wondered, as I simply couldn’t stop going from one to the next. Mainly, they depict very cherished and carefully tended children: well fed, well dressed, well groomed and in lovely rooms, beautiful gardens or by the seashore.

Do they look spoiled? They most certainly do not. They look totally innocent, curious, imaginative, joyous; often deeply absorbed by their observations and discoveries, sometimes wide-eyed with astonished wonder. (I find it interesting that they only appear unhappy when they are in school.)

Ms. Smith single-mindedly dedicated her entire life to her work. I believe she had a sacred calling: to show us humanity at its very best- – such love is there on every piece of her art. “I enjoyed watching children busy with their own affairs,” she said.

But then the jolt: I was told I should Google “The Boy of Aleppo,” the little fellow caught in the crossfire of the terrible Syrian war, undoubtedly one of many.  It so happens that he looks just like my darling part-Lebanese grandchild, Jack, at that age. My heart nearly stopped beating – – had it turned to lead? How unthinkable that we live in a world where any child should ever be so traumatized! May that precious little boy’s image cause all people on this troubled planet to find ways to rise far, far above their politics, religious dogmas, prejudices, hatreds, greed, and fear. It’s all about the divine child. It really is.

http://  (Be patient; it takes awhile for all the images to download.)



If you have not seen the movie “Happy,” produced by Tom Shadyac, make it your business to find it and quietly take in its beautiful messages. Tom traveled the world to document both cultures and individuals who are just simply happy. The film is full of profound clues.

If you expose yourself to the current news, it becomes obvious that our culture in this country is not as happy as it could be. There are now 314 million firearms, for example, as people struggle with their fears and hostilities on a daily basis.

A major contributor to this state of mental malaise is compulsory schooling, which takes young tots and gradually destroys their happiness, which includes their naturalness, their drive, their powers to invent and imagine, their self-determination, their freedom to move, their immense creativity, and their joy of discovery. Every day 49,800,000 children in our country are having these things taken away from them.

My work with Hamilton Learning Foundation is to replace ignorance and fear with learning ecstasy, respect and true community in time for humanity to save itself.

“American education has evolved in such a way that it will be the undoing of society.” Buckminster Fuller