Influencer Carlo Monsanto
Interview March 2020
Could you share with us some information about your family life?
I am married, have one daughter and two stepsons. I have one brother in The Netherlands, and my mother lives in Curaçao. My parents, to a certain extent, were supportive in whom I have become. They didn’t fully understand my life-purpose, vision, and mission.
I was born in the Amsterdam, Netherlands and I grew up and have lived, most of my childhood, and adolescence in Curaçao. I went to Maria Goretti Kleuterschool, St Fransiscus College, Mgr Zwijsen College, and the technical faculty of the University of the Netherlands Antilles (now University of Curaçao). I worked in Curaçao as a computer technician and consultant, before I started traveling. Since then, I have lived in the Republic of Panama, The Netherlands, again in Curaçao from 2006 through 2009, and 2012 through 2013, and United States, and since 2018 I live in Medellin – Columbia. I come from a multicultural and multi religious family with a mixed Jewish and Christian religious backgrounds, which has made unity in diversity something, that I considered normal.
Could you share with us some of your educational background and past professional experience, which has led to the work that you are doing now?
I was trained in electronics as an engineer. I wasn’t happy of the educational system as such, as it was purely academic. I gravitated more towards exploring life experientally.
My search in life, started around age 9. I explored emotions to find out what they caused in me. I explored this through touch, visually, sound, and through other senses. When I was around 11 to 12 years old, I wanted to more deeply explore the spiritual side of life. I wanted to engage in comtemplative practices, but when my parents refused, continued my training in martial arts, among which Judo, and Tae Kwondo. When I was around 21 years old, I decided to start working in Curaçao and soon after that, at age 23, I moved to Panama (1983) to further my personal and professional exploration. During the period of 2.5 years that I lived in Panama, I mostly concentrated on studying ancient texts, seeking after the meaning of life. Experiential learning had become the new normal, which helped me discover my calling. After moving to the Netherlands (1986), I did my non-traditional training in health science (BA) and ayurvedic psychophysiology (MS). Several years of research and development in both The Netherlands and India, further shaped the basis of my current work. During those early years I practiced Yoga, and since I returned to Curaçao (2006), I started the practice of Qi gong, which I am currently combining with the practice of Wudang Tai Chi. All of these leans towards experiential exploring the body, mind and spirit. During this period in my life, the conscious side of my development drove my academic training, research, and work in systematizing discoveries that relate to experiencing life, from the inside out.
During my research in the 90’s, my main question was: “Why do people have to work so hard to become what they already are?” It was during this period that I made a 180 degree shift in my perspective, starting not from perceiving, structuring and managing the limitations in life, but from observing how life emerges from the depths of our being, and “how” limitations that block this from happening, can be effortlessly “integrated”, thus promoting conscious evolution, including physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
As a research scholar affiliated with the Ronin Institute (USA), you have studied so many disciplines, where does this drive come from?
This stems from my childhood, wherein I was drawn to exploring many aspects relating to living, which then grew into my more formal research of conscious evolution, both as an original thinker, inventor, scholar, and researcher. My research included the exploration of disciplines such as process philosophy, complex adaptive systems theory, psychology, and psychophysiology, and other scientific perspectives, but also various wisdom traditions, contemplative and health cultivation systems from different cultures. I consider this transdisciplinary work the basis of my current work. From an early age, my parents wanted me to follow a more traditional educational path, but I chose to do it my way, from a very young age onwards.
How do you develop your work as a social entrepreneur?
In order to spread the work, which involved the development and training in the use of a new open learning framework for conscious evolution called – IOLEE – Inside Out Learning Experience Ecosystem, we founded – IOLEE ECOSYSTEM – in New York state. This venture is just part of the journey, which incorporates contributions of an increasing number of people. Apart from our for-profit corporation, we are also in the process of evolving different non-profit organizations, among other places in Curaçao, The Netherlands and India, so that we can cater to differing needs for social change in different cultural contexts. In order to create a sustainable business model, we are going to increasingly use the for-profit side to fund social and educational programs. We are guiding these processes towards operationalization.
Do you have any people employed?
We don’t work with employees, but we train a growing number of facilitators and trainers, who work as part of our network. They all contribute to our joint cause.
We know you to be a very pro-active person. We have known each other for some years and you have always been involved in promoting personal well-being as an original thinker, complementing more traditional routes. Where does this come from?
Well-being is part of my life purpose, which is: “…to empower individuals and communities towards conscious evolution and wholeness.
What is the difference between what IOLEE offers compared with Social Emotional Learning (SEL), and approaches that are directed towards well-being?
IOLEE as an open learning framework for conscious evolution offers an intrinsic language of emotions framework, which guides you in better understanding your inner world. You’ll understand how everything you feel, think and sense are transparently interconnected as processes. And these processes relate to behaving, communicating, acting, and other objective processes. It lays the groundwork for seeing life from the first-person, which is the perspective that we were born into. It also lays a basis for educational practices such as Social Emotional Learning. Educational experiences focus on offering structured tasks that can be measured in terms of their objectives. From an IOLEE perspective we start from the emergence of life, looking at how life wells up from a potential within, which is greater than yourself, guiding all physiological, mental, and emotional processes towards a dynamic balance. These processes continuously adjust to complex external and internal circumstances, weather changes, what others say to you, what you eat, the feelings that arise in contact with different situations. Hence, working with a team of researchers in Japan, China and India, have made it clear that this opens up many new opportunities for research, which merge the experiential with the purely scientific. Within the framework we refer to medical research, complex adaptive systems theory, educational theory, psychology, but also to the process view of age-old wisdom traditions and health cultivation systems.
You are very internationally oriented, where does this come from?
Whether it was traveling with my parents to Venezuela and Colombia from Curaçao with the Ferry, or moving at age 23 to Panama, The Netherlands, and afterwards to the United States. Throughout my life, traveling was the norm. Apart from being a Dutch citizen, having been raised, in the European and American continents, I am also a citizen of India, a resident of the USA, and of Colombia. It will therefore not sound strange that I have been equally in tune with the planetary level as well as the local level. Everything is and has always been interconnected since the beginning of time, but in Curaçao we have lost touch with this until now. When we go back in the history of Curaçao, it was always more internationally oriented, connected with other countries. I guess increasing individualization has contributed to all nations becoming more segregated, until now…
Recently, you attended an international conference on “well-being” in India. Could you notice a shift from the more externally oriented approaches to well-being, towards the more internally (emergence) oriented approach that IOLEE proposes?
What I saw there was an organization that wanted to shift towards holistic well-being in education, but looking from the same old externally oriented frame-of-mind. Overly structuring, wanting to measure outcomes, creating change teams to bring about planned changes. Not allowing space for the connection between participants to emerge through spontaneous heartfelt connection. So my role there was, to bring forth questions that made us all think about the perspective from where we can observe wellbeing as a process of harmonizing our understanding of the world, with the understanding of self. By asking these crucial questions, I hope participants will sooner or later self-discover the answer.
And when do you consider that you have been successful in your business/professional life, let us say 5 years from now?
If I have helped a critical mass to expand their perspective to include their inner world. I consider myself a Yu Di Korsou and as such I would like to first help grow this process in Curaçao and the other islands of the Dutch Caribbean, as a basis for the whole Caribbean region and beyond. I do not limit my thinking, that is why I work from a global perspective.
What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be whom you are right now?
I go back to when I was 9 years old, which is when I became aware that there was something greater then I that was guiding me towards realizing a greater purpose, vison and mission, which I didn’t yet understand. It was a key period in my life. It is at that age when I had vivid intuitive visuals of what I am currently realizing.
What are the challenges that you are dealing with? And how are you dealing with the same?
The challenge is tunneling a vast amount of knowlegde and experiences that the framework stands for, in such a way that it becomes easily accessible to the majority of people, education, scholars, and researchers.
How do I deal with this challenge? Well I am working with a busines strategist to create viable ways in which IOLEE can serve different populations, ranging from individuals, educators to corporate leaders, to teams and communities.
Do you use your inner voice to evaluate when dilemma’s show up? How does that work for you?
I always let myself be guided by my intuition, using what I feel, think and how I act to serve this inner voice. There is no specific practice involved, just a deeper understanding of self. And I use Qi Gong, Tai Chi or other comtemplative, system and other practices to support this more Emergent way of living and guiding myself and others towards a dynamic balance, inside and out.
How are you trying also to keep up with your personal knowledge and skills levels?
As need arises, I develop the required skills. I keep on learning every day.
What are your strengths?
Perseverance, using my intuition, and teaching, and guiding internally, using various skills.
Do you have hobbies or interests that you are also passionate about?
I have been passionate about photography since my teen years. As an example, I joined the photo club at Peter Stuyvesant College, around my 15th year, and later also joined activities at the photo club at Radulphus College. My other passion, which has overtaken photography, is videography and editing.
If you (as Carlo) would meet a stranger in the bus (let’s say in The Netherlands or the United States) and they would ask you to introduce yourself, what would you answer?
I would answer that I am a research scholar and professional. As a professional, I assist individuals and groups to come in touch with whom they are and harmonize their lives with that self understanding, harmonizing the external with the internal.
How would you describe Carlo in one word or one sentence?
An original thinker and research scholar who explores and teaches about life from where it arises, causing present moment awareness and wholeness.
Who are the persons that have inspired you the most in your career?
I have always been inspired by little things in life and how people behave, act and how they relate what they feel. I have chosen not to follow one idol or person. I firmly believe in being authentic and grounded in life itself.
What is a trait that is still a work in progress?
I guess evolving how I communicate and my business skills.
What was a defining moment in your life?
When I was 42, when I saw and became aware of what I had to do next to grow this important work. Different from when I was 9 years old, I could share this with like-minded friends. What’s more, I exchanged with like-minded practitioners from different disciplines, as to grow by getting to know their perspectives. This encouraged me to follow my journey.
Where do you want to be 15 to 20 years from now with your career?
I would have contributed in the evolving education and research, enriching it with more of the experiential aspects of learning that IOLEE relates to, creating a basis for social change, and social emotional development in all human beings. I know that is a grand vision, but I guess we ought to set our goals high in order to work towards it.
What do you think your loved ones, family, friends and others will say about you let’s say 20 years from now?
“Okay … now we get what you have been working towards ….now we get it!”
Curaçao has now been shut down because of the presence of the Corona virus. What makes you stay optimistic about the future of Curaçao and humanity in general?
What I would like to say to fellow people from Curaçao is, that the “corona virus” is here to teach us something. It brings us in contact with our own inner fears, blocks, burnings, heat which are expressions of undigested feelings. These are the emotions, that have not been faced and processed at the time they were created by trauma in early childhood and afterwards. Those that are guided by these feelings, may feel trapped and fall pray to feelings of isolation and depression. Those whom are guided by their interest to grow, exploring well-being, will seek ways to grow from this “corona virus”- crisis. Our on-line programs that we will organize with Uplifting BV, will be geared towards this learning and growing experience.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
I would sincerely like to contribute to the community in Curaçao, that which I have learned about how to cultivate understanding of self, well-being, evolving emergence of life, and how we relate to self and others. Evolving not only our society in Curaçao, the islands of the Dutch Caribbean, and all communities in the Caribbean, and beyond.
One of the 250 Influencers
Carlo Monsanto is an authentic original thinker, scholar and conscious evolution teacher that at the age of 9 got a clear vision of what his purpose in life would be. He was trained in electronics as an engineer, but wasn’t happy of the educational system as such, as it was purely academic, while he gravitated more towards exploring life “experimentally”. Carlo never stopped exploring the road less travelled, as he practiced on the one hand Yoga, Qi gong, combining this with the practice of Wudang Tai Chi, all of this leaning towards experimentally exploring the body, mind and spirit. On the other hand, he also explored the conscious side of his development that drives his academic training, research, and work up until this day. In systematizing discoveries that relate to experiencing life, from the inside out, he is now one of the leaders in the world in his field. As he is still on the path to realize his purpose in life that is “…to empower individuals and communities towards conscious evolution and wholeness…” starting from Curaçao, he is definitely influencing an increasing number of people in Curaçao and the rest of the Dutch Caribbean, the Caribbean and beyond. We deeply love and respect Carlo and consider him one of the 250 Influencers in Curaçao, representing the Educational and Spiritual sector.
hq: 10411 120TH St., S. Richmond HL, NY 11419, USA
Research: Circular 4 #73-64, Medellín, Colombia
Weaving System Shifting Networks
Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship
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Montclair, NJ 07043-2314
Tel: +1-(609) 791-9779