By LONE BELLING, President of the Kulturprinsens Board

If we as a society are to be able to solve today's and tomorrow's problems, we need to recreate the way we understand education and training. We need to challenge the governing paradigms, thinking and patterns of action and ask what purpose they serve. In particular, whether they support our ability as humanity to navigate the challenges of the 21st century.

In many ways, our approach is camped in a past industrial mindset of more, bigger and more, with a focus on productivity and competition. So we also demand and generate more data, big data, Big Data - because we can , because we now have the technology and because the others do. Data - processed in the right way - can create useful knowledge, but it can also create noise and 'jam' our attempts to get an overview and clarity on who actually will use the data for what. At the same time, it is also becoming increasingly clear that when algorithms take over, it can be at the expense of ethics, empathy and professional judgement.


The gap between knowledge and action

Big data can support horizontal literacy and science, but it must be combined with vertical literacy and science skills - and that requires Deep data. This is one of several central points in Otto Scharmer's article Education is the kindling of a flame: How to reinvent the 21st-century University in Huffington Post 5 January 2018[1]. The title of the article is based on a quote from Plutarch who, almost 2000 years ago, stressed that education is to feed a flame - not to fill a container. Therefore - if educational processes are to be beneficial to both the individual and the community - the inner flame must be nurtured and the human being formed. This requires deep data.

It is not that we as a humanity lack knowledge about some of the fundamental challenges on the planet such as climate, pressure on the planet's resources, fundamentalism and growing inequality. Many also translate their knowledge into values that point to more sustainability, solidarity and community. But there is still a gap between what we know and our actions, between our values and what we choose to do. This is why we need deep data, that can strengthen vertical scholarship, something that should permeate our entire education system from primary school to university. It is about knowing and feeling oneself and being able to look at oneself through the eyes of others - and perhaps in doing so also recognising one's blind spots. It's about being able to shift perspectives and understand oneself as part of a whole with a systemic view of connections and patterns supported by an emotional connectedness.


From ego to eco

Recognising that what I do matters to others, and others matter to me, is the first step to taking responsibility for the community and the whole, be it in the classroom, in the community, nationally, regionally and globally. When consciousness thus shifts from less ego to more 'eco' in the individual, we can also move as a community towards values and actions that are much more based on 'eco-system' consciousness - from the anthropocene to the biocene.

There is a need for forms of work, methods and technologies that both support the individual's vertical education project and weave it together with collective education processes where we evoke and create the necessary deep datawhich can make the underlying patterns visible.


Scientific arts and culture

In ancient Greece, they used the theatre to become aware of what was going on in society. The original meaning of theatre is to make visible something that is important to the community - to bring it to the fore. In the aesthetic and sensual form of theatre, something can be sensed and understood, which can provide a starting point for further reflection and action. In the same way, we need to integrate aesthetic learning processes throughout the education system and to use art and culture as both an eye-opener and a way of discovery.

Often arts and culture are seen as something extra that does not contribute to economic growth, prosperity and useful skills - something useless. But it can do more than that: "I think it's important to have experiences that speak to our senses, something that feeds our imagination that feeds thought and can make our world bigger. It's not so useless after all." was Queen Margrethe's call in her New Year's speech.

In this short quote, The Queen highlights the importance of sensuality, imagination, thought and the wider world. For it is precisely about having sans for. Sense yourself through an inner anchor and sense others through empathic exchange. A sense of nature and our deep dependence on the natural environment, and a sense of the whole, which in the 21st century is so global that we need to act at local and regional levels. It is about nurturing the imagination and our stories of the good life we can create together without depriving others of the same opportunity. It is about thinking big and considering the wider world we are part of in all our actions.

A vertical knowledge creation connects a systemic awareness of the interdependence of everything with a heart formation that understands and feels the connectedness with the biosphere. Key aspects of sustainable education as a basis for sustainable development.