INFLUENCERS

Maria Montessori was born in 1870 and became the first woman in Italy to receive a medical degree. In 1907 she was given an opportunity to work with street children in Rome, applying the same principles she discovered while working with challenged children. That was the inauguration of the Montessori approach. This method of teaching and learning was not constructed by theories but built upon through scientific observation. Montessori’s Post WWII works reveal the culmination of her contributions to education published in: To Educate the Human Potential, The Absorbent Mind, Education for a New World, Reconstruction in Education and Education and Peace. She had come to witness profound changes in children which, in her own words, would lead 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.” (Education for a New World)

Marsha Snow Morgan collaborated with Philip Snow Gang to create the Master of Education programs in Integrative and Montessori Integrative Learning. The main focus of her work perceives systemic patterns in the design and creation of learning communities. She explains, “We are storytellers, mythmakers and symbol designers. Addressing the present planetary crises through education may provide possibilities for Gaian renewal. Her graduate thesis was titled: “An Ecogenesis for Education: A Context for Learning.” She is founder of Nova Montessori School in Christchurch.
Imagine twin stars coming together for love and creativity. That was the essence of Marsha and my life in partnership. PSG

Jeddu Krishnamurti was a speaker and writer on matters that concerned truth. His subject matter included psychological revolution, the nature of mind, meditation, inquiry, human relationships, and bringing about radical change in society. He constantly stressed truth is a pathless land as he explored the need for a revolution in the human psyche, emphasizing that such a revolution cannot be brought about by any external entity, be it religious, political, or social.
I have been reading Krishnamurti’s works for 40 years and continually grow into new revelations of what it means to observe without the conditioned mind; to be at attention. PSG

Brian Thomas Swimme is a professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies, in San Francisco, where he teaches evolutionary cosmology to graduate students in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program. Swimme collaborated with Thomas Berry to brings the context of the Universe Story to our understanding of the 13.7 billion year trajectory of cosmogenesis.
While visiting U.N. Assistant Secretary-General, Rober Muller, in his New York office, Muller gave me a copy of Brian’s first book, The Universe is a green Dragon. That initiated a long friendship with both Muller and Swimme.

Ralph Metzner PhD is a psychotherapist, and Professor Emeritus of psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, where he was formerly the Academic Dean and Academic Vice-president. He has been involved in consciousness research, including psychedelics, yoga, meditation and shamanism for over 45 years. He is a co-founder and President of the Green Earth Foundation, a non-profit educational organization devoted to healing and harmonizing the relationship between humans and the Earth.
I had read some of his works in the 80s and then began a friendship that took root while we were both at CIIS in the early 90s.

Fritjof Capra Ph.D. is a scientist, educator, activist, and author of many international bestsellers that connect conceptual changes in science with broader changes in worldview and values in society. Over the past 30 years, Capra has been engaged in a systematic exploration of how other sciences and society are ushering in a shift in worldview, or paradigms, leading to a new vision of reality and a new understanding of the social implications of this cultural transformation. His most recent and groundbreaking book is The Systems View of Life.
I met Fritjof in the early 90’s when I was invited to participate in several dialogues at his Elmwood Institute, the predecessor to the Centre for Ecoliteracy. We have continued our connection for 20 years. PSG

Thomas Berry C.P., PhD (November 9, 1914 – June 1, 2009) was a Jesuit, cultural historian and Earth scholar. Among advocates of deep ecology and “ecospirituality” he is well known for proposing that a deep understanding of the history and functioning of the evolving universe is a necessary inspiration and guide for our functioning as individuals and as a species. Concerning this, in 1992 he was given a copy of Maria Montessori’s To Educate the Human Potential; he rang Brian Swimme and said, “We have been scooped by 50 years.” Berry said the transformation of humanity’s priorities requires what he called “the great work” — the title of his 1999 book.
Thomas Berry and I first met in Costa Rica in 1990 and I later visited with him at his home in Riverdale, New York where he met with Nina, Dorothy and me to endorse the book we were writing: Conscious Education. PSG

Francisco Varela was a Chilean biologist, philosopher, and neuroscientist who, together with Humberto Maturana, is best known for the Santiago Theory of cognition, which introduces the concept of autopoiesis, and for co-founding the Mind and Life Institute to promote dialog between science and Buddhism.
His work has had a profound affect on my thinking about the nature of life, relationship and creativity.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a Jesuit paleontologist who worked to understand evolution and faith. He participated fully in an intellectual life through the development of his imaginative, mystical writings on the evolutionary nature of the world and the cosmos.
My life changed in the 70’s after I read his Phenomenon of Man. PSG

David Bohm was an American scientist who has been described as one of the most significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century and who contributed innovative and unorthodox ideas to quantum theory, neuropsychology and the philosophy of mind. Bohm developed a mathematical and physical theory of “implicate” and “explicate” order. He also worked with J. Krishnamurti to advocate for a non-adversarial form of communication called Dialogue.
Bohm’s work on dialogue is one of the cornerstones with our work with graduates students. Communication is immediately lifted from advocacy to exploration without judgement. PSG

Mario Montessori, Sr. was born March 31, 1898. He was the only child of Maria Montessori. Though he did not have any formal training as a teacher, his love of children and intuitive understanding of his mother’s work and approach put him in the international world of education for his entire professional life. Mario was instrumental in supporting his mother throughout her lifetime often acting in the role of personal advisor and business partner. Together, Maria and Mario founded the Association Montessori Internationale or AMI in 1929.
Mario befriended me in the 1970’s when I was working on the Montessori approach for adolescence. He introduced me to his son, Mario Jr, who became a confidant and member of my doctoral committee. PSG