Unraveling the Cross: Communicating beyond Group Mind Education

By José W.I.M. van den Akker.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

My PhD research focused on the metaphor or symbol of the cross to unravel the dynamics in crosscultural
education. Though an intuitive choice, I felt a focus on the cross-metaphor was timely for its
religious connotations, which seem to powerfully affect world politics, including globalising education
with constructs such as ‘sin, guilt and other mistakes as part of an energy process, not the fault of individuals’
(Bethe, 2008). Whilst the cross metaphor seems to lead its own life, it is promulgated by a
group mind that is rarely acknowledged and subliminally reinforces the idea that humankind has no
sensory relationship with earth-bound and celestial forces, with dire consequences. Perhaps the most
exciting result from the study was its capacity to bring back to life an ancient universal symbol that,
over time, had lost its dynamic meaning. All those involved in the study learned that we are not free
to the extent that we identify with the part of the mind that is structured in time and space, which sees
subjects and objects but also symbols as separate from meaning-making systems. We recognised the
cross as something other than static. Provided it is recognised as such, the cross is a medium, a facilitator,
a dynamic flow that propels humanity forward as it rehabilitates the self-in-relationship.

Keywords: Cross-metaphor, Group Mind, Sensory Self, Evolving Cross-cultural Education

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp.235-250. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.006MB).

Dr. José W.I.M. van den Akker


I am a migrant between cultures, especially the Dutch, white Australian and Aboriginal Australian culture. My background is in cross-cultural education and (re)integration. My research-interest is in exploring what it will be like to meet others beyond the ego boundaries that usually keep us separate, to inquire into life’s biggest questions from a place deeper than the mind, beyond the normal flow of time, in the liberating space of enlightened consciousness. Deeply committed to the active role of holistic and ecological ideas in transforming contemporary society and culture, my study aims to explore how a bigger space can be held by teacher-educators across cultures and to ‘open (up) dialogue among intercultural and interpersonal researchers’ (Ting-Toomey & Chung, 1996: 257) where viewpoints are considered to ‘develop awareness of our conditioning and its responses, both collective and personal’ (Krishnamurti, 1955:67-68).


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