Meaning in Times of Crisis: New Narratives 3 | Benjamin Freud, Ph.D. | 14 Min Read

August 25, 2022

Sometimes you just need a good ol’ crisis to shake things up, to get things moving. It’s like the story of the frog you put in tepid water and slowly turn up the heat. The frog won’t ever realize it’s being cooked. Throw the frog in boiling water and it will try to jump out. (DISCLAIMER: I don’t throw frogs or any other animal in boiling water.)

There isn’t just one crisis today, there are converging crises that we can call a meta crisis: climate breakdown, socio-economic and racial injustice, income inequality, war, disease, hyper-consumerism, competition, alienation, scarcity, malnutrition, and perhaps others you can think of. I don’t believe there is a solution to the meta crisis, at least not in the way the conversation is often framed. I don’t believe we can have faith in goals toward sustainable development (yes, I mean the SDGs) when one of them is “Zero Hunger” and we allow almost 830 million people (yes, over 10% of the world population) to be malnourished and 2.3 billion people to experience food insecurity. Before we point fingers at COVID and Ukraine, there were already around 680 million malnourished in 2019. 


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Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

Benjamin Freud, Ph.D. is the co-founder of Coconut Thinking, an advisory that supports schools and learning organizations to co-create, co-develop, co-stress test, and co-implement ideas that nurture the conditions for emergent learning. Benjamin is also the Head of Upper School at Green School, Bali. He was previously the Whole School Leader of Learning and Teaching at Prem Tinsulanonda International School in Thailand. He was the Academic Coordinator at Misk Schools, one of the most prestigious and high-profile school in the kingdom. In 2018-2019, he was also the Head of Upper Primary and Middle School at Misk. Prior to this, he was Vice-Principal of the Middle School and High School at the Harbour School in Hong Kong. He holds a Ph.D. in History, an MSc in Education, an MBA, an MA in International Relations, and a BA in International Affairs. Benjamin was born and grew up in Paris, France. He moved to the U.S. when he was 15 and spent 11 years there in different cities before living in the U.K., Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and now Bali, Indonesia. He started his career in consulting for Internet start-ups in Silicon Valley in the late 1990s, working with people whose ambitions were no less than to change the world. This experience had a profound effect on Benjamin's outlook on education, innovation, and entrepreneurship.