Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Challenge of These Times

The challenge and crisis of these times is the aging of the developed countries -- and the emergence of the formerly undeveloped countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, etc.) -- because those countries are getting younger rather than as the demographic poster-child Japan, becoming overwhelmed by the aging of society, and more importantly, their institutions.

Most aging Baby Boomers forget that "the torch was passed to a new generation," whereby it was acknowledged that the present status quo should give way and embrace an idealistic generation then coming out of the colleges (50 years ago!) -- who now have obviously become the defenders of the present status quo -- rather than passing the torch and giving way to that new generation. When that happens, cultures and societies lose their dynamism, as well as new ideas, who are then regarded as threats to the way things have always been -- and henceforth should remain forevermore.

Most people have in fact been educated (indoctrinated) to believe that the "liberal arts" curriculum represents the vanguard of scientific inquiry, progressivism and enlightenment -- rather than as it was originally conceived (as a medieval institution) -- to defend the status quo of authoritarianism AGAINST the challenge of scientific inquiry by anyone up to those challenges, and that is why they're still teaching the old classical curriculum of the liberal arts rather than the fewer, newer skills that enable one to learn (think) on their own.

So now we have 2 year olds learning and mastering the iPad -- simply because they're born wholly into this new world. They have no preconceived notion that they can't learn anytime, anywhere, from anybody -- and not just the duly certified and authorized "teachers" who haven't learned much since they were formally educated -- because that was the world they were born into.

The clearest example is that instead of first teaching a child (or anybody else) to use a calculator and quickly obtain those skills, we insist they have to learn all of arithmetic and geometry before they do -- as though that are the prerequisites for doing so. Even now, the debate rages that cursive writing (a mainly obsolete skill) should get the time instead of keyboarding. And so that is what our learning institutions have largely become -- the repository and transmission of obsolete, time-consuming and useless skills -- while the essentials, are practically forbidden because that would threaten the job security of those with seniority -- which then cripples institutions in favoring the old ways of doing things -- to the exclusion of the innovative new.

Another closely related problem is the hoarding of the old -- as they try to hang on to the world they are familiar with -- in preference to the dynamism, innovation and even impertinence of the young questioning everything -- including their authority that that is the way things must be -- even if they're not working very well and failing to address the very problems they were created to resolve and eliminate if possible. Instead, they require evermore more manpower and compensation to do less, and eventually, anything at all.


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