Shallow teaching is anthropocentric, striving to create in students a sense of superiority and control over the natural world. Teaching human power relationships as defined by modern Western culture is the foundational principle of shallow teaching.
Shallow teaching also emphasizes the separation of fields of study, physical laws as the basis for all life, the perception that there are unchanging truths in our world, and that knowledge is gained by those who memorize the most raw data. Shallow teaching emphasizes the importance of the individual and reinforces the concept of rigid boundaries in the individual and in society.
Deep teaching emphasizes the lack of clear boundaries in the world, the interdependence of all life, the fleeting nature of scientific “truths,” the ever-changing character of our universe, and the importance of perception in our journey through life. Deep teaching is a style that recognizes the intrinsic sacredness and value of all living and non-living beings and sees humans, as Fritjof Capra says of deep ecology, “as just one particular strand in the web of life.”
Deep teaching recognizes ecology as the central field from which all others must emanate. It redefines our notion of power, restructuring our relationship with the natural world by teaching that one gets the most power by sharing all that they have.
Strength comes from sharing, not from taking. In this new paradigm, for me to be strong, you do not have to be weak; for me to have all that I need, someone else does not have to go without; for me to be safe, I do not have to build high walls; for me to be secure, I do not have to have large amounts of money. The notions of power, strength, safety, and security are redefined in terms of sustainability, not the attainment of personal isolation and wealth.
I have developed an approach to teaching and living that assumes that we must face and embrace the bad news in order to fully appreciate the beauty in our world and to be motivated to preserve that beauty. This approach also involves improving our personal health and connection with our body. How can we appreciate that changing our consumption behaviors will result in improved health from fewer toxic substances in our world if we are used to not feeling all that great anyway?