Latest update: October 29, 2017

Lakeside CONVERSATION au bord du lac
Human Learning in the Anthropocene

Lienden, The Netherlands: March 26, 2017

As on all previous occasions, this particular Lakeside Conversation as well was hosted by Lya and Jan Visser. A small and diverse group of individuals joined the Conversation. The above photograph, taken by Jaap Swart, shows four of them: From left to right: Jan and Lya Visser, Paul Cobben and Walter Erdelen. Following is the full list of participants.
  • Yolande Belghazi-Timman: Writer; linguist; language teacher to immigrant communities.
  • Paul Cobben: Philosopher; former professor Tilburg University; actor.
  • Walter Erdelen: Biologist; former Assistant Director-General for Science, UNESCO.
  • Arthur Kok: Philosopher; musician.
  • Jaap Swart: Anthropologist; former General Manager Radio Netherlands Training Center.
  • Jan Visser: Theoretical physicist; president & sr. researcher Learning Development Institute.
  • Lya Visser: Educational scientist; online learning facilitator; sculptor.
  • Koen Wessels: Researcher and co-founder/developer at 'De Bildung Akademie.'
The conversation was prompted by the following statement included in the invitation:
Looking at some of the current developments around the world it is time, I believe, to keep the reality of anthropogenic impact on the human habitat, and on the environment in general, continually in mind. It forces us to think about the profound transformations members of our species must undergo if we are to survive and flourish in the Anthropocene. That's not a minor challenge. But it's a challenge that calls for urgent reflection and action, a challenge of a magnitude never before faced by humans. I sincerely hope it will be seen, by those who participate in the conversation, not merely as a threat, but as a unique opportunity for inspired, problem-oriented, exploration, research and reflection.
The conversation started with a PowerPoint presentation which you find here. It opens in a new window.
We made some headway and scratched the surface of a hugely difficult problem area. We did so in a way that convinces at least me and those among you with whom I since spoke that we should continue this effort, digging deeper into layers of human existence, and plant the seeds for practical solutions to emerge. Awareness that such work should begin now is one of the outcomes of our conversation. Some of the lines along which we should work to create relevant changes in the learning landscape became visible. Multiple foci of attention were suggested, including diversity, complexity, value considerations, the quality of thinking and reflection, compassion, and beauty..
Reflecting on this particular conversation as well as subsequent interactions with other people on these same matters half a year later, it would seem that we need a vision of how life in the Anthropocene will be different from life as we know it today. Four key adjectives come to mind in this regard. Life in the Anthropocene should be enjoyable, compassionate, respectful, and responsible. Having a shared vision inspired by such values is necessary for current and future generations to navigate to a better world.
May the conversation continue.
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