The world is becoming more and more complex. In certain ways becoming better and in certain ways becoming worse. but either way, it's easy to agree that the world requires more from us as individuals. And it's also easy to agree that slowly this complexity is outpacing our abilities - we are in over our heads. So…..now what?
that's what The Collective Unconscious is, an attempt to answer the question of what to do next. A group of individuals - free thinkers, creators, activists, students, professionals - we all come from different places and with different backgrounds and expertise. But what unites us is a drive to create a better tomorrow and the realization that we share a collective responsibility to make it happen. Our core mission is something that every member of TCU takes seriously and believes is possible.
To accept responsibility for the psychological well-being and development of all world citizens and to create viable solutions to achieve this. Leading by example, and encouraging others to follow, we believe that it is possible to catalyze effective and positive change at any level - family, community, state, country, world - by focusing on the psychological well-being and development of individuals.
"...the demands for psychological wellbeing and good social networks have become greater. A deeper welfare is necessary, one that increases our average psychological health and wellbeing and thereby our functionality in this bizarre new global society. We need to be stable, flexible, mature versions of ourselves, because we spend our lives playing on an increasingly complex and multi-dimensional arena, where social skills and the quality of our relations make all the difference."
- Hanzi Freinacht, author of The Listening Society
To make our big idea possible we had to take action. Some of us decided to start at the university level, specifically at the University of Twente. Why University? Because university acts as a liminal space. A place where open minds go because they are willing to learn and grow. What if we were able to help students develop? These students will go on to work in all sorts of fields. They will become lawyers, doctors, policymakers, engineers, CEOs and managers, teachers - but more importantly parents, spouses, and friends. Their mindset will shape and mold the minds of those who come next.
At the University of Twente, we have created two main initiatives. The first is a student well-being program. The goal is to create a community where students have access to tools, techniques, and resources proven to increase well-being.
Then we remembered that there is an entire psychology department at the university with students and faculty who are probably really passionate about student well-being and development as well. So we're starting a student organization with one big question in mind: what if psychology students could receive credits towards their degree for supporting the psychological health of their fellow students?
"Paideia is a Greek word with wide-ranging connotations. It is broadly about the raising of younger members of a society in the context of a polity, or political community. The creation of a collective paideia was believed to transcend and include the creation of a polity. A well-functioning paideia is a community drawn together by commitment to an explicit philosophy of the good life and a related praxis of education. A paideia is a community that is focused on the creation of a certain kind of virtuous human, a community in which economics and politics are subordinate to an explicitly educational vision. This is a society in which life itself is understood as a process of deliberate cultural and ethical aspiration across generations. According to this way of thinking when new forms of social life are created, when new polities are founded, when revolutions are undertaken and sustained, they require more than legislating new laws and transferring property and sovereignty. Remaking society requires remaking education - instituting a new vision of the paideia. Groups can change society by establishing alternate modes of education; new modes of education shape the future of all political and economic life because they involve the creation of a new kind of human."
- Zachary Stein, author of Education in a Time Between Worlds
If our initiatives are successful, the University of Twente will have more autonomous and competent individuals who graduate more often. Thinking one step ahead, what kind of effect will this have on the community? On the region? On the economy?
"This is a cynical part of the argument, admittedly, but an important one. It is not just that the listening society is kinder and more ethical. The listening society is, plainly, much more powerful in a digitalized global economy, than is the capitalist liberal democracy. It saves so much tax money, it boosts enterprise, entrepreneurship and innovation, it attracts talent, and it attracts capital in different forms – and it grows human and social capital. We have seen similar macroeconomic effects with HDI-rankings (Human Development Index): human development drives economic growth. In the internet age, a deeper and more complex form of human development is highly likely to drive a deeper and more complex form of economic growth."
- Hanzi Freinacht, author of The Listening Society
These solutions do not have to be expensive. Let's not forget the internet. A tool that truly connects us in a global way. Ideas can spread like wildfire from just a small spark.
For example: Take our collaboration with Global Drug Survey creating a series of Harm Reduction videos.
For no-cost, two guys with some camera equipment created Videos that have reached more than 1.2 million people and watched for over 3.1 million minutes.
And this perfectly brings us to our final point. It doesn't take much to help the people around us. Keep your feet on the ground and your eyes on the stars. Create something cool. Make someone smile. Realize that you play an integral role in all of this.