The Great Work is a phrase that has been used for centuries to identify the dynamic, even mystical, contribution of a culture or individual towards the enlightenment of humanity for the greater good of the Earth community. Cultural historian, Thomas Berry in his 1999 book, The Great Work, proposed that the Great Work of our time is a response to the recognition that the ecological devastation we are witnessing is the result of human activity. He asserts that the task before us is to reinvent the human to become a gentle, and yet active presence on Earth.
Each of us begins this task by responding to what Cosmological philosopher, Brian Swimme, describes as “the allurements that beckon us, by following our passions and interests.” The Great Work involves aligning our personal sense of purpose with the larger creative dynamics of the Earth community.
Maria Montessori embeds the notion of cosmic task as the envelope for the future of education. This cosmic task is the intersection of one’s gifts with the needs of the Earth community. She declares, “As servants of the child, teachers can only help the great work that is being done. Doing so, they will be witness to the unfolding of the human soul and to the rising of a New Human who will not be the victim of events, but will have the clarity of vision to direct and shape the future of human society.”
The Institute for Educational Studies Master of Education program provides an opportunity for students to contextualize their own interests. It is an integrative-holistic approach that supports the transformative dimension of learning. In many ways it is essential to the Hero’s Journey as articulated by Joseph Campbell.
The TIES community approach to learning underscores Berry’s sense of commitment:
In reality there is a single integral community of the Earth that includes all its component members whether human or other than human. In this community every being has its own role to fulfill, its own dignity, its inner spontaneity. Every being has its own voice. Every being declares itself to the entire universe. Every being enters into communion with other beings. This capacity for relatedness, for presence to other beings, for spontaneity in action, is a capacity possessed by every mode of being throughout the entire universe.
education for the public
In addition to our two master’s degree programs in Integrative Learning and Montessori Integrative Learning, TIES organizes and hosts symposia which are open to the public and take place on our custom, online learning platform or in person.
Please sign up on this page to receive announcements of up-coming symposia.
the people of ties
Founder, Academic Dean and Program Director at TIES.