Everybody has a cure for Public Education; it’s difficult to know who is right. What if we changed our Educational Paradigm instead, so we could all be right?
By Robert Simmons
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, create a new model that makes the old model obsolete.Richard Buckminster Fuller
The first so-called Dark Ages was marked by frequent war, heavy migration, a plague, and a feudal system designed to ensure extreme wealth disparity. The earth was flat and fixed, with a universe that revolved around a privileged few. Conquest was perceived as progress, and faith was pushed as fact. Meanwhile, actual facts were suppressed or discounted, to maintain the status quo. In other words, pretty much like our current Dark Ages.
The truth is, most of human history is pretty dark. What we call the Age of Enlightenment was simply a small cluster of hard-won battles in a war that has been raging since time began. We gained a ‘scientific method’, and some Democracy, and forced the darkness to retreat, momentarily, into the shadows; but there it waits, patiently, ready to fill the void, should the ‘enlightenment’ ever be turned off.
Ignorance, of course, is the darkness that always hovers around our edges. Ignorance is generally thought of as the sum of whatever we do not know, which is a volume of knowledge so vast, it would completely overwhelm us, if we were ever inclined to ponder it. Luckily, or brain saves us the anxiety by supplying us with a handy defense mechanism known as a ‘belief system’.
Educational To-Do List
- We need a new Educational belief system, which includes making education part of every one’s personal belief system.
- In this New Belief System, we can no longer seek the MORE from outside ourselves (which is the root of all that ails us), but instead seek the MORE from within ourselves. This paradigm shift is meant to see the difference between ‘Power’ and ‘Control’, and how the imposition of the latter has led to a more cancerous kind of human growth. Switching to the former is an attempt to be more congruent with the universe we occupy, which appears to have sprung forth from a single source, and created itself from an apparent void, which is the opposite of our model: the conquering and conquest of that which already exists.
- Logistically, we will need to mend the disconnects in the current system, where parenting (with its multitude of divergent belief systems) is not in alignment with the current educational belief system (if there is one), and education is not aligned with the belief system represented by the current Economic Growth model of the universe.
- In Practice, the best way forward is to turn the Educational System into a laboratory for research and development, in order to create the Emerging Future. Children must be given true control over their destiny, complete with responsibility and accountability. To do this, real projects will be designed to ‘fix’ parts of the planet damaged from the current model of Economic Growth. These projects will serve to plant a ‘seed’, that will continue to be nurtured, in order to grow a more sustainable Emerging Future for every one, from the ground up. Each new generation can tend to the seeds they plant in their youth, in effect creating their future employment.
There must be a large variety of shared undertakings and experiences. Otherwise, the influences which educate some into masters, educate others into slaves.John Dewey, Democracy and Education
Inductive Reasoning Required
Humans are born with no knowledge of their identity, or of how society functions, let alone their role within it. These things must be learned. It is through the initial parent / child ‘connection’ that a ‘belief system’ is uploaded, through all five senses; a mental framework through which each child can comprehend the world.
Thus, from the beginning, human ‘Belongingness’ and sensory connection become our key to survival, safety, self-esteem, intimacy, relationships, achievement, transcendence; our belief system colors all the observations, experiences and navigational choices we make. Were we stroked, or beaten? Did we hear sounds of laughter, or anguish? Did what we see comfort us, or frighten us? All connection is a form of communication, and later informs how we communicate back to the world around us.
Somewhere during the initial ‘upload’ of early experiences, our internal ‘Will to Power’ circuit is also set. This is a simple circuit with complex ramifications for our personal choices, and while a child’s external environment will trip the circuit one way or another, there is likely a less controllable genetic component involved as well.
Basically, if one feels safe in the world, one will already believe they have ‘Power’, and will be more likely to acquiesce, share, or at least not hoard It. (If they do seek more Power, it might be in the form of ‘realizing their own potential’, for example). When one does not feel safe in the world, one may instead seek to gain ‘Control’ (over one’s environment), mistaking ‘Control’ for ‘Power’. From those who shame others, to those who exterminate others, ‘Power’ is always being sought, but ultimately, only a fleeting measure of ‘Control’ is ever obtained.
All humans must form a ‘belief system’ in order to navigate the world. The human mind, like a computer, cannot run without an operating system, and neither can any of the larger systems that humans create (economics, government, education, et al). Just as each person has a different belief system coloring their navigational choices, many of our larger human systems also operate under different (and often conflicting) belief systems.
Humans do not like conflicting beliefs, which creates cognitive dissonance, a ‘discordant’ feeling associated with observations, experiences and choices that do not ‘jibe’ with one’s personal belief system. Humans will invariably seek to resolve this mental, social or emotional conflict. They can do this by A) altering their belief system to fit the new information, B) impose their belief system on others, so they do not have to alter it, or C) mentally alter reality to smooth out any perceived ‘conflict’. The degree to which they feel safe (’emPowered’) or not safe (‘Controlling’) will drive this choice.
Our need for continued connection to others (that drives identify, purpose, etc), combined with our particular belief system, leads to membership in groups formed around some perceived necessity. Again, if the group feels safe, it might spread its ‘Power’ around. If the group does not feel safe, it usually seeks some manner of ‘Control’, even over its own members. Often, a harmonious ‘echo chamber’ is formed, meant to drown out the cognitive dissonance of any conflicting knowledge or perspectives, which are seen as a threat to the survival of the group or its members. One well-placed blow, if allowed, could topple an entire fragile belief system, cause Chaos to permeate an otherwise ordered ‘virtual reality’, and sever the comforting connection of the people huddled within it.
When groups who seek ‘Control’ gain any traction, they quickly begin to force their belief systems onto those around them, possibly to A) ‘erase’ any potential feeling of cognitive dissonance, B) make ‘order’ of the perceived ‘Chaos’, or C) gain what they believe is ‘Power’. These attempts at ‘Control’ are the root of Oppression. It is the antithesis of Power, and the enemy of Liberty.
Currently, parenting, with its myriad of belief systems, is not connected to our educational belief system (if there is one), and education is not connected to the larger belief system of Economics currently practiced. One goal must be to align these disconnects so they no longer conflict with each other.
The real problem, however, stems from the economic belief system that currently drives the world, which has mistaken ‘Control’ for ‘Power’. The universe (and thus humanity) share this ‘Will to Power’: both constantly evolve away from Chaos, and toward relative Order. From fear of Chaos comes ‘Control’ – a dark, savage kind of existence dressed up in an expensive suit. From love of beauty comes the kind of Order that makes for an elegant universe, one where Power is the driving force. According to Science and Religion, the universe appears to have sprung forth from a single source, and filled an apparently endless void, which is the opposite of our model: the conquering and conquest of that which already exists.
The ‘Paradigm Shift’ toward empowerment (Giving) and away from Control (Taking), will allow every one’s ‘belief system’ to be seen as ‘naturally occurring’ (meaning there is a good explanation for all behavior, even if we do not yet comprehend it). This will lead us toward policy decisions meant to insure worldwide domestic Tranquility and promote the General Welfare of all people, rather than blaming any individual or group for what may be a logical ‘natural’ reaction to clearly oppressive circumstances.
Science is the only larger human belief system that enforces a continued upgrade of its paradigm based on new observation and experience. We must utilize this ‘scientific method’ to ‘upgrade’ our larger operating systems, which will both align and redefine the role of parenting, education, government, and economics, in order to reduce the negative externalities – poverty / wealth disparity, violence (in all its many forms), division, poor health, incarceration, debt, pollution, etc. – that are the byproducts of the current belief system.
…the scientist does not say to himself: “Before, I used to see the moon as a planet and now I see it as a satellite of the Earth”…[instead they simply say]: “Before, I was wrong!Thomas Kuhn
Toward a New Paradigm
Thomas Kuhn, in his seminal work ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions’, reveals that science can not function without first establishing a working theory or ‘paradigm’ – a belief system – by which all things are measured. A paradigm is a mental box that frames the way we perceive the observable universe. The truth is that none of us really knows the truth. Using what each of us has personally observed or experienced, we form our own ‘paradigm’ – our own version of reality. With it, we navigate the real world, though it could be said that we are each living in our own virtual world.
For scientists, if something does not appear to fit inside their established paradigm or ‘box’, it is seen as an ‘anomaly’; sometimes, it is ignored – a very human thing to do, as most of us dismiss anything that does not fit into our personal belief system. At some point, however, an anomaly comes along that cannot be ignored, and within the scientific community, a new paradigm must be established – a different, or perhaps larger box must be built, capable of fitting these newly-discovered ‘anomalies’, and thus turn them into rational phenomenon within this new expanded awareness. As part of the scientific community, scientists agree to this arrangement, in order that Knowledge, and not Ignorance, is ultimately served.
What Kuhn found is that those scientists who either built the original box, or whose training had always been inside this box, had no tools to help them think ‘outside the box’. Thus, it takes newer generations of scientists, who are constantly compiling new anomalous data, to see a bigger picture, and shift the paradigm to better explain everything that is currently known.
Unlike scientists, the rest of us are under no constraint to progress in our thinking; we can be as ignorant as we choose. Arguably, this is the current definition of Liberty: to be as ignorant as we wish to be. While Ignorance has been a past source of human fear, and a present source of human shaming and shunning, it must be said that a desire to move away from Ignorance still needs to be instilled, or It will always rule over us.
Since humankind managed to subdue the Earth, the only real danger to people has been other people. FDR quipped that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”; we will add that the only Ignorance to fear is the Ignorance of our own Ignorance.
While saints are engaged in introspection, burly sinners run the worldJohn Dewey
The Current Societal Paradigm: Economic Growth
Cosmologists, physicists, etc., will talk all day about how the universe works, but do not venture out of their lane and explain how humans fit into this larger picture. Apparently fools rush in where scientists fear to tread, because the Third Option has no such inhibitions. Knowing thyself unleashes the truth, and the truth not only sets one free, it is the ultimate form of Power. It is fear-less, and to go forward, we need to be fearless.
When we look above us, we see a universe of well-organized stars within communities of galaxies – there is an occasional implosion or collision, but nothing too violent at this point in time. We might surmise a kind of Liberty is derived from this arrangement, where stars or galaxies each have a separate fate, although in the bigger picture, a kind of Unity or Balance is still retained. Perhaps our existence will eventually be this peaceful. Apparently, the smaller universe of quantum mechanics is a real hot mess; if we compare our existence to that of quarks, electrons and neutrinos, we might not have cause to complain.
We are, it is said, the ‘stuff of stars’, and stars definitely consume MORE (although what they consume is actually themselves), and the universe continues to expand outward, also consuming MORE (although it might simply be filling the nothingness, or through expansion, create the dimension of Time, which allows us to exist).
The current human paradigm, however, is definitely driven by consuming MORE, reflected in our quest for Economic Growth. Luckily, as our Will to Power drives forward, full throttle, a Sun gives off light and radiates heat, and an Earth provides sustenance and facilitates shelter.
We humans do seem to have an abundance of ‘Will’. Arthur Schopenhauer cites a “will to live“, Sigmund Freud sees a ‘will to pleasure’, Alfred Adler makes a case for self esteem, and Viktor Frankl frames it as a search for meaning. Abraham Maslow conveniently summed all of them up in a Hierarchy of Needs, which includes survival needs, pleasure needs, power and esteem needs, and the need for self-actualization and transcendence.
To be blunt, there is not enough MORE to go around, if the definition of MORE is to remain attached to the acquisition of external or material wealth, and if POWER is to remain attached to it as well. In the service of MORE, humans have cloned each other, and in constantly mutating strains, usurped more and more of the planet. Economically, we have formed a paradigm that embraces this quest for MORE, only to uncover a depressing paradox: while people crave the ‘liberty’ to pursue the happiness that comes from MORE, they do not do well with the Disparity (or creation of LESS) that must surely emanate from it.
In the Second Age of Enlightenment, when we finally comprehend the futility of seven billion people all fighting to get enough MORE from outside ourselves, we will begin to embrace the infinite supply of MORE within ourselves.
At this point, there will be an intellectual explosion. Education will become a hot commodity. Art, music, athletics; people will seek to consume and be consumed by products found in infinite supply. Knowledge might even become hip, sexy, entertaining, or fun. One can only hope.
In the New Paradigm of Human Interaction, three essential shifts must occur:
The quest for MORE must shift from seeking it outside ourselves (a finite source) to seeking it from within ourselves (an infinite source).
- If successful, education will become an end in itself, a consumable good that will fuel an economy where all can become rich in knowledge.
- Meanwhile, we will all gain access to the same knowledge, which is the only way Democracy can break free from its current gridlock. We cannot draw similar conclusions without access to same information. In the current Economic Paradigm, Knowledge is hoarded as a conflict resource. Once we deem it an ‘essential need’, like water, then it must be allowed to flow freely and benefit every one equally.
- By necessity, important terms must be redefined to better fit this shift in our thinking. *
Our ‘Fates’ must be better tied together, such that wherever the MORE takes any individual, the rest of us get pulled forward as well. Thus, the paradigm still satisfies the liberty for individuals to seek MORE, while solving for the disparity that occurs if the liberty of one is allowed to encroach upon the liberty of the rest.
- To this end, gains that benefit all would be rewarded over purely selfish gains.
As Kuhn points out, progress is necessarily spurred by newer generations, who can see the bigger picture and think outside the box of earlier established paradigms. Thus, some measure of power must be relinquished to youth, in order that they may create the future into which they someday hope to step.
- Many among the older generation have discovered that in order to stay ‘young at heart’, one must adapt to change rather than resist it. For this reason, the chance for adults to be re-educated needs to also be built into the system, in order that they may join in this Emerging Future, rather than always serving as an obstacle to such progress.
* Examples of Terms That Must be ReDefined
- Ignorance – lack of knowledge on any subject, particularly of human nature, and what drives it. Ignorance is no longer a derogatory term. We are all ignorant in that we all lack knowledge. Overcoming ignorance is a worthy lifelong pursuit, that will better connect us around our various shared endeavors, rather than around our various shared fear.
- Progress – the drive to overcome Ignorance.
- Power – the measure of what one can do for others.
- Control – harnessing another’s Power for one’s personal gain, through oppressive means; this limits the liberty of another in order to enhance one’s own liberty.
- Freedom – to do as one pleases.
- Liberty – the responsible use of freedom, so as not to infringe on the liberty of others.
- Economy – efficiency, effectiveness, as in ‘economy of motion’ ‘economy of language’.
- Economics – the method of resource allocation. Implied: the most efficient, effective (and sustainable) method of distribution available
- Legacy – the sum of either one’s power or control during their lifetime. If someone wants to ‘cement their legacy’ from now on, they need to be ‘forward-thinking’ enough to still be viable in the future – those who oppressed in the present will not be honored in the future.
- Language – any method of communication.
- Tradition – something from the past that somehow has been forced upon the people of the future, infringing on their liberty.**
** Due to the burden of ‘Time’, that for humans only moves forward, there is a natural tendency to build our various belief systems on past ‘traditions’, which will always be based on less knowledge. Because humans cannot function without an infrastructure (belief system) in place, we at least must create a system that can adapt to new knowledge, rather than fight it. Building a green energy grid, removing cancer-causing products, or replacing un-recyclable plastic with infinitely recyclable plastic, as examples, should not be so difficult a task as we currently make it.
That savage tribes regard aliens and enemies as synonymous…springs from the fact that they have identified their experience with rigid adherence to their past customs. On such a basis it is wholly logical to fear intercourse with others, for such contact might dissolve custom.John Dewey Democracy & Education
The Factionalism of America
Factions. This is what we have always called them. Races, tribes, gangs, cliques, armies, et al, that all seem to work against each other. Why? Because they each seek ‘Control’. Like electricity, Power can ‘bring good things to life’. Control, however, is a drain on Power. In the second Age of Enlightenment, we need to ‘convert’ from Control into real Power.
In nature, various atoms combine to make molecules. Hydrogen will likely achieve some future fame going ‘solo’ as a fuel source (because it burns clean and is sustainable), but it first made a name for itself when forming a bond with oxygen. Similarly, the smallest human building block, the individual, when given some overarching purpose, can become powerful, through his or her connection to a group. What we need is a purpose that is so intrinsic to our beings, as to form us into a machine, that could drive every one forward together.
In the current Control model of human existence, realized in the Economic ‘Growth’ imperative, War is generally the closest we come to combining our human potential toward some larger purpose.
When the goal is extraction, for some perceived gain, people will naturally line up against each other. It is the purpose of this article to help people align together, by creating an infrastructure, or belief system, that brings out the better angels of our nature.
The tools for building an ‘Emerging Future’ based on human ‘Power’ will not be much different than the ones we use currently; the key will be to always use the best tool for the job. Economics, for instance, has an entire toolkit, and we may still need to utilize every tool in this bag. Capitalism is a very specific tool, for example – like a hammer. A hammer is good for knocking in a nail. It could also be used to knock in someone’s head – not its intended use, to be sure – but whoever holds the hammer and is motivated a particular way, will use or misuse the tool as they see fit. Capitalism has one main purpose – extracting profits – and on occasion, it has hammered a few people with wealth inequality, pollution, war machines, hastily-fashioned healthcare, reckless transportation and addictive consumerism.
Because of factionalism, if Harry the hammer-carrying Capitalist came upon a screw, rather than admitting his Capitalism is not capable of fastening anything with a screw, might simply claim that screws are a “communist” or “socialist” plot to get rid of the hammer, though any free-thinking woodworker would argue that nails are good for some things, but in certain situations, screws do a better job.
In the Second Age of Enlightenment, we are not going to fight about hammers and screw drivers, we are simply going to use the best tool for the job. All the tools will fit in the box that is our New Paradigm.
It remains but to organize…our school system…to make each one of our schools an embryonic community…active with types of occupations that reflect the life of the larger society…When the school introduces and trains each child of society into membership within such a little community, saturating him with the spirit of service, and providing him with instruments of effective self-direction, we shall have the deepest and best guarantee of a larger society which is worthy, lovely and harmonious.John Dewey
From Theory to Practice
Paradigms are literally a way of life for us humans. Teachers live in a box. School boards live in a box. Students. Families. Businesses and Employers, Government and Economics; each lives in its own separate box. Lots of Walls, not enough Bridges.
We were not (consciously) present when the universe was created, or we would know how it works. Instead, we are forced to guess, and while forming our individual hypotheses, many of us tend to look at the bigger stuff because it is the easiest to see. As the Theory of Relativity itself proves, our ‘big ideas’ will usually break down at the smaller ‘quantum’ level. In this Second Age of Enlightenment, we can no longer, for example, ‘helicopter’ money down from the top in order that it might economically trickle down to the bottom. We can no longer make rules at school board meetings designed to help individual students we have never met before. We must abandon the ‘top down’ approach to problem-solving, and proactively build things from the bottom up.
Humans, as well as any species, have a strong ability to adapt to the environment around them. In a war zone, humans will fight. In a library, they will keep their voices down. Go into any child’s athletic training program and witness the atrocities parents are perpetrating on their own offspring. The commodification of our children by their own parents, because they have taken it upon themselves to ‘make’ their child a success within this virtual world of oppressive ‘control’ peddling, would cause any sane society to pull back in sheer horror of what they have created.
This is the power of habit, the ability of humans to adapt to any environment, and ‘normalize’ it, especially if it is seen as a box from which they cannot escape. No matter how bad it gets, economists, born and trained inside this same box, will double down on reinforcing the paradigm, even at the expense of the people trapped inside it.
Humans, luckily, can be ‘nudged’ into doing the behaviors that are most healthy for them, simply by setting healthy boundaries. It is time to build a box designed to grow healthy sustainable people. Education will be that box, and it will include parents, and will be solidly connected to a more inclusive kind of economics. Currently, children are sent through a rigorous training to become an ‘asset’ to a capitalist employer, but not really to be assets to other people, or even to themselves. Education must instead become a lab for creating the Emerging Future into which they hope to someday step. We will give our children a future job: to fix various pieces of the planet that have been broken during our quest for Economic Growth. These projects will serve to plant a ‘seed’, that all of us will continue to nurture, in order to grow a more sustainable Emerging Future for every one, from the ground up. Each new generation can tend to the seeds they plant in their youth, in effect creating their own future, complete with employment opportunities they create for themselves.
A Two-Step Educational Logistics Plan
- Supply children first with the tools through age twelve, known as a period of ‘Language Acquisition’.
- Empower them (from ages 13 through 18) to change the world by giving them a piece of it to ‘fix’.
- Securing the ‘Environment’, our ‘Essential Needs’, or ‘Peace’ through collaborations with other countries are some of the proposed ‘Projects’.
- These will all be implemented under the guise of ‘paying back’ their education, which will no longer be seen as ‘free’, in order to instill the concept that all human progress comes with great effort and cooperation.
Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy…
Per our upgraded definition, a ‘language’ can be any form of communication that helps people exchange information. Art is a form of communication (cinema, theatre, music, painting, sculpture and graphic design). Math is the language of Science, together with its practical offshoots, engineering and technology. Computers have many languages, and our children should become fluent in as many as possible, but without question, the most crucial language for moving us toward the next enlightenment will be the Language of Emotion.
The Universal Language of Emotion
‘Speaking’ is arguably the third (to fifth) most important use for the big hole in the front of our face. Meanwhile, we have two other holes on the side of our head used for hearing, and two in the front for seeing. Unfortunately, speaking and hearing and seeing are in many ways a useless exercise. The transfer of knowledge actually happens through Communicating, Listening and Observing, which require our brain to be present. This, of course, presents a further obstacle, as belief systems within our brains are designed to filter, flag, like, and tag (label) all information that enters through the seven holes in our head.
Parents might tell their child to ‘do as I say, not as I do’, but alas, their children are not listening. They are, however, absorbing what they observe beyond the words; observations that will shape their belief system, which in turn will shape how they interact with the rest of the world. To say learning is ‘experiential’ means that each of us ultimately must observe (or sense) it for ourselves. Different experiences will necessarily lead to different beliefs; these will inform our choices. The Third Option has a plan to help build Communities that are fair, certain, and inclusive, so that people might have more shared experiences. Until then, our belief systems must be expanded manually, in order to encompass the widest range of knowledge possible.
Luckily, our brain is like a muscle: it can be exercised and grow stronger, through straining to comprehend how all points of view can exist harmoniously within our otherwise singular belief system. Like any form of exercise, however, one has to have some motivational purpose, in order to get us up off the proverbial couch. Besides ‘self’ motivation, the only mentors we have are other people, who oftentimes do not appear to be ‘speaking our language’.
Sometimes, to understand the world, we need to ‘go big’. Sometimes, it is better to ‘go small’. We need to strip away all the words we are hearing but not understanding, or the sights we are seeing but not comprehending, and get down to the bare bones of communication, where we all can connect. There is a universal human language. We just have to get better at utilizing it.
Brene Brown, Simon Sinek, Daniel Goleman and Michele Borba are a few of the leaders in the Social-Emotional Language space; their current push is in the area of Empathy. Someday soon, Empathy will be an entry level course in the study of human emotion, but for now, it is all we humans, as a species, are capable of attaining.
Empathy is ‘in progress’ when you notice someone yelling and throwing their arms up, and think to yourself “that person is angry.” Upon further reflection, you realize that “I get angry, too.” The next step gets more difficult: to tell that person “I know how you feel”, because maybe you believe that would leave you ‘vulnerable’; it is, after all, a world at war, where people are pitted against one another, every man and woman for themselves.
Imagine the difficulty if they happen to be directing this anger specifically at you. Now you are vulnerable. This would require Empathy Training 201, where you deflect and disarm and de-escalate the anger. rather than further inflame it. In Empathy Training 301, you would have already reflected on the circumstances that make people feel anger, which you could use in moments like these, to further ‘step into the shoes’ of this person and move past the turbulent surface of the conversation. This could turn an otherwise uncomfortable experience into an opportunity to disarm someone who has been trained by society to shoot first and ask questions later.
It is difficult to not take other people’s feelings about you ‘personally’. Oddly, the less people know about you, the more they might hate you, thus the new thinking is to ‘lean in’ and attempt to connect around our shared emotions, otherwise no one will bother taking the more difficult step of listening to someone else’s ideas, no matter how cleverly phrased or well-reasoned they may be.
Empathy and listening speak to a deeper issue, which is genuinely caring about what other people are feeling or saying. It is difficult to think of other people’s feelings if one has never spent time reflecting on one’s own feelings. Thus, personal reflection needs to be part of our Empathy Training. Some people may have no positive feelings to think about, because they have suffered from abuse at the hands of their caregiver. Perhaps they have repressed all feeling, which only occasionally escapes to the surface in ‘unexplainable’ acts of violence. When parental abuse is finally explored thoroughly, it would lead to the realization that inappropriate emotional responses are simply a reflection of early childhood trauma. This might lead us to retrain this person, and instead of punishing the caregiver, extend empathy to its furthest limit, and retrain them as well.
Bottom line: in the New Paradigm, much of our education must center around how to better communicate with each other, and emotion will be the key to getting our informational foot in the door. Witness the many voices from the silos related to climate change, or social injustice, or even around this topic – education: so many people saying the same thing, but none of them getting together to show their collective might, because they have probably never met, and therefore have no emotional connection to drive collaboration. Meanwhile, our economic model divides and conquers any real change by handing each of them a few bucks for a speaking engagement and a book deal; their words eventually sit on a page somewhere, rotting, along with the rest of the good ideas we will never implement.
At the same time, Emotion is being manipulated to drive further division, through movements such as populism and nationalism, which get every one all riled up – not in the service of any real change – but instead to divide and conquer us – to thwart change. Cornered animals will fight. If an animal has been attacked its whole life, it is guaranteed to see confrontation or provocation at every turn. The New Paradigm needs to push us toward proactive decision-making, and not allow reactive ‘non-thinking’ choices to prevail. Intellectual enlightenment is about moving away from our historically ‘brutish’ existence.
The Third Option Plan
The Third Option plan is to create a National Public Bank, through which all U.S. currency would eventually flow; this would tie all our fates together, as everything we create going forward would be funded by loans locked in at a 4% interest rate, essentially giving every citizen a 4% ‘share’ in whatever we individually or collectively create.
Education would start from birth, in order to help parents from the beginning. Healthcare would be extended from birth until death, providing both physical and mental-emotional support. The work projects given to our children will help them ‘payback’ their education, which will no longer be seen as free (the lesson being that all things worthwhile come from great effort). All projects will center around bringing ‘essential needs’ to their communities, then outward to wherever disparity exists, until the world is more fair, certain, inclusive and sustainable for every one.
There are several voices which need to be heard within the educational space. In the New Paradigm, we need all good ideas to be known, in order that others can build upon them or even improve upon them.
Communication is an ‘essential need’ within a knowledge-driven paradigm, which is why The Third Option would create a Department of Communication within the Government, and through the National Bank build a Communication Grid to connect the people of each Community together, and also connect each Community to all other Communities. This Communication Grid will be central to Education and Healthcare, but will also serve to connect us to all our other essential needs.
All future innovation will come from the merging or synthesis of disparate fields (such as Bio-Physics or Bio-Mathematics, for instance), where human needs meet technology or engineering. Without advanced communication ability, people from these different silos of knowledge will be hard pressed to collaborate to the degree necessary.
Finally, research has shown that the best predictor of good outcomes for children is a stable safe home where parents are present. Only a holistic approach to our issues will have any positive effects. Every child needs socially and emotionally stable living conditions in which to grow sustainably. The National Bank is designed to build communities equally, with jobs and housing, a living wage and benefits for every individual.
Education Philosopher John Dewey was all about bringing people out of their silos and seeing how we are all part of a larger picture. The Third Option will celebrate the legacy of John Dewey by trying to make school a tiny microcosm of our larger society. The only difference is that our school will beta test the intellectual products of an ever-evolving Future.