An Interdisciplinary Approach to Understanding


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It is the dynamic interaction of this head brain (intellect) and the heart brain (intelligence), of biology and spirit that allows transcendence from one evolutionary place to the next we are, quite literally , made to transcend. Transcendence is our biological imperative, a state we have been moving toward for millennia.

– Joseph Chilton Pearce, from his book The Biology of Transcendence

How is it that we came to know what we know?

Is it our brain that thinks? Does the heart have a role in learning? Is the metaphorical heart real? If our heart is connected to what we are doing, does it affect our learning?

This website is the result of two project courses that I have completed to fulfill a Master of Integrated Arts Degree with Athabasca University, Canada’s first university without walls.

I have chosen a Post Modern view point, and the definition that I am engaging is: postmodernism = many truths, plurality of experiences, questioning the concept of “rationality” as it has been traditionally understood as somehow standing outside and above other view points. The theoretical lens that I have chosen to look through is Critical Pedagogy, as it is concerned with the issue of power in the teaching and learning context. It focuses on how and in whose interests’ knowledge is produced and ‘passed on’ and views the ideal aims of education as emancipatory.

..Pedagogy in the critical sense illuminates the relationship among knowledge, authority, and power.

Giroux, H.A. (1994). Distributed pleasures: Learning popular culture. New York: Routledge P. 30)


As an Educator, the choice of a Post Modern and Critical Pedagogy theoretical framework was a natural fit. I believe that the education must free and empower, not as catch phrases but in the most practical way possible. To believe in oneself, to strive to know and understand more, to question and research, and to be free in ones thinking, are practical ideals I believe are worth striving for.

Update on the website format: the original website was deactivated when the free Mac websites were. I have recreated the research site as true as possible to the original.

I have designed this research project in a learning module format, with the goal that we will learn together and be equally prepared to explore the connection between the heart, learning, and education. As an enthusiastic, untrained computer geek, I have used a website template, with various types of pages to assist in the presentation of the research information. I have used a blog format for the Critical Paper, a movie page for the Spoken Word component, and Power Point Slide Shows for the Group Poetry and Participant Comments.

As I have been involved in interdisciplinary research, I have looked through four different lenses:

  • A Medical Lens to explore the roots, basic tenants, and view of the heart of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western Medicine, and Anthroposophical Medicine,
  • The Heart Brain Connection Lens to explore the concept of Emotional Intelligence, the work of Joseph Chilton Pearce on the Holographic heart, and the Science of the Heart – Heart-Brain Neurodynamics, from The HeartMath Centre.
  • A Spiritual Lens to explore the Native American view of Spirituality, and the Anthroposophical view of the heart as an organ of cognition.
  • A Creative Lens that holds the results of the Social Inquiry and Performance Research project that high school students and elders participated in.
  • The conclusion is a Meeting Place; a literary and pictorial web of how the first four lenses speak to each other.


Historical Note from 2006: I am bringing the results of this research into the design process of an independent high school that I am a part of developing in Nelson, BC.