Ensō Education Institute is a network of innovators interested in transforming education, schooling and learning to meet exponential changes in the world and imagine, design and create a world that works for everyone.
Ensō Education Institute draws its inspiration from the classical Ensō circle representing enlightenment, strength, and universal thinking. The symbolic circular form is reflected in cultures around the world in such forms as the Native American “dreamcatcher” and the African “circle of life.”
In Zen Buddhism, an ensō is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create. The ensō symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and mu. It is characterised by a minimalism born of Japanese aesthetics. Drawing ensō is a disciplined practice of Japanese ink painting—sumi-e. The tools and mechanics of drawing the ensō are the same as those used in traditional Japanese calligraphy: One uses a brush to apply ink to washi. Usually a person draws the ensō in one fluid, expressive stroke. When drawn according to the sōsho style of Japanese calligraphy, the brushstroke is especially swift. Once the ensō is drawn, one does not change it. It evidences the character of its creator and the context of its creation in a brief, contiguous period of time. Drawing ensō is a spiritual practice that one might perform as often as once per day. This spiritual practice of drawing ensō or writing Japanese calligraphy for self-realization is called hitsuzendō.
Schools focus primarily on 1D communication – lines of words and strings of numbers. Imagine the rich universe we can create when all students have basic skills not only in language and math but also in 2D visual communication on pages and screens; 3D objects and everyday things that surround us; 4D spaces and places in which we live, work and play; and 5D experiences which are immersive and interactive.
We all have within us certain fears about the uncertainty of the future, but we also have curiosity and courage to overcome those fears. We will all have times when (1) we are reactionary and would like things to be the way they were in the past. At times we are (2) conservative and would like things to remain the same as they are today. And at other times we are (3) progressive and believe that the world can be made better by the things we do.
In June, 2019, we held a symposium in Florence, Italy (the center of the Italian Renaissance) to launch a new Renaissance for the 21st century and we identified many of the problems with the current system of education. In July, 2019, we held the “Gamechangers” Institute to begin generating possible solutions for the problems we identified with education, schooling and learning. Now, November 15-16, we will be meeting in Orlando, Florida to develop boots on the ground strategies for transforming education, schooling and learning in the Decade of Imagination 2020-2030.
The exponential growth of information today makes it impossible for anyone to learn all there is to know. The best we can hope for is to learn how to curate information and draw from it that which is of most value. We must have a general understanding of the nature of the Universe, our Solar System, Life, Consciousness, Civilization, Science, Technology, and Information.
Mindfulness is a word used today to describe the ability to live a purposeful and meaningful life by being present to the people, places and things around us. While learning from the past and preparing for the future, we can’t lose sight of taking in and enjoying the present. Along with “what” we know, and “how” skilled we are, it is important to develop “who” we are as human beings.