Generation Skip — Education Broad and Open

I want to make it clear that these utopian frameworks and structures do not negate or destroy what currently exists as our world.  In creating these utopian frameworks I am not turning my back on humanity or what humanity represents.  I am not dictating that all of humanity must conform to these utopian frameworks.  These frameworks do not deny or limit what is from continuing on its current course.  In fact, I need what exists and what existed to develop these utopian frameworks.  I view what currently exists and what existed as the parents to these small utopian upstarts.  The greatest gift these parents can bequeath to their children through love is their knowledge and altruistic support.  The parents, if they truly love their children, want them to reach greater heights and fulfillment than they themselves achieved.  Humanity has much to offer their children or utopian frameworks.  Humanity has fought so many battles, reached great heights and also plummeted to great depths, and continues to fight with all of its existence to push forward.  And, as other people have pointed out in comments on previous posts, how do we know that this current human construct isn’t absolutely perfect or exactly as it should be?  Perhaps what exists is complete, natural, as it was meant to be.  As such, I am not destroying what is, I am merely offering a small skip and alternative path that can be possible because of what was and what is.    

The greatest gift humanity has to offer these utopian frameworks are history and knowledge.  History and knowledge encompasses all – art, history, philosophy, religion, architecture, music, language, economics, science, technology, engineering, and the list goes on and on.  I am so grateful for all that humankind has endured and recorded in the form of knowledge and this is the greatest gift we have to offer our children.   So many utopian frameworks attempt to deny what is and what was.  I on the other hand, fully embrace these things and in fact define these things as the ultimate gift, right up there with the earth, the rain, and the sun.  I thank you noble humankind for your ultimate treasure, and I kneel before you in gratitude. 

Now, just as you find that altruistic strain to help the poor, the weak, and the suffering, I also ask you in a similar vein to employ that altruism to support the potential of a strong, healthy, and vibrant upstart culture.  I am asking you to play the role of parent, where the children are given all without expecting money or a return on investment.  Indeed, in time, they will be in a position to become self-sufficient and fly from the nest, but in the beginning, these upstart frameworks are going to need your support on all fronts that involve creating, building, nurturing, and maintaining a small town full of infants and youthful beings.  The key assumption is that money is not part of this construct and the return on investment cannot be measured in terms of financial theories.  All that I ask is that this support come from the most talented and worthy individuals society has to offer, with particular focus on the teachers.  For the teachers would be the most admired, respected, and noblest of professions in these upstart frameworks.    

My key principal for Generation Skip, which is the first generation to occupy these upstarts, is that Education is continuous from birth to death.  Education is the primary goal for Generation Skip.  In order for this goal to be achieved, money and profit cannot be a part of these utopian frameworks.  There must also not be an expectation or defined point where one is pressured to go from learning to doing.  These beings must be given total freedom to absorb, explore, and contemplate the gift of knowledge that we lay generously before their feet — the books, technology, and art that will fill their schools and libraries.  In fact, I wouldn’t impose a time restriction on any one of the following generations in these utopian frameworks where they are required to transition from knowledge absorption, contemplation, and thought formation to action until they have reached a point where they believe they ‘re in a position to begin acting.  For they have much to absorb and contemplate.  It may take several generations to come to terms with what is and what was before they can formulate an intelligent response.  Not only must they absorb what was, what is, but they also must absorb what their previous generation recorded as thoughts about both.  In fact, one could argue that Education is in fact action.  Now we must attempt to describe Education in a very broad sense, for I have already mentioned in the previous post that I do not in fact have answers to the questions posed there.

I envision an educational construct that not only begins at birth and continues up until death, but also one that is extremely broad and open.  Broad incorporates not only a varied curriculum (philosophy, world religions, art, music, math, languages, literature, engineering, economics, astronomy, anthropology, chemistry, et cetera), but also practical and hard work.  Open incorporates not only the education methods where the students constantly learn to ask why am I learning this right now, but it also includes outside excursions, travel, and exposure to real life learning.  I do not envision this generation to be locked up in a temple reading dusty old books isolated from all that exists in the outside world; rather, I envision book reading supplemented with a traveling classroom throughout the world that observes firsthand history, science, art, religion, people, culture, language, nature, and current events.  Education will become life, breathing, exhaling, smelling, touching, seeing, hearing, observing, absorbing, and then ample time to contemplate and compose thoughts in leisure, pleasure, beauty and solitude. 

Education will also incorporate physical work and activities.  They will participate in collecting and disposing of garbage, cleaning dishes, working on farms and ranches, constructing or maintaining buildings, plumbing – they will learn and know how to use their hands as well as their minds.  There is no such thing as child labor laws in these utopian frameworks.  These children and young adults will learn to work to maintain and create the society in exchange for living and learning in that society.  Not only will they learn by doing, but they will also gain an understanding of how things work.  Each one of these beings will be fully capable of surviving on their own if needed but will also develop a sense of how much more can be created when they work in groups or as a whole.  One man can build a house over a certain period of time, but a group of men working together can get the job done in less time to enable additional time to be allocated to other individual or group pursuits.  In practical pursuits, man does not become specialized and focused in one field to serve man; rather, broadly trained men and women tackle practical matters together to free eachother to pursue higher levels of education and or leisure.  

Given this broad and open education, it is clear that these beings will not be confined to prison like structures for eight hours and then returned home with a back pack full of homework which is tossed aside in favor of the TV or X-box and a bag of chips.  These beings will go to some sort of freeing and spiritually uplifting structure for instruction but only for the number of hours that these beings can fully concentrate and absorb what is being taught.  After those instruction hours are complete, they then go about their practical and physical education within the community.  Of course there would be ample time for playing, sports, martial arts, or what have you, but these things would be balanced with other community needs and responsibilities.  The pace of life does not run to a time clock or rigid structures loaded with stress and deadlines; rather, the pace is relaxed, productive, and self-willed.  The time clock is the sun rise and the sun set, the incoming and outgoing tides, the position of the earth relative to the sun. Beings learn how to take the time to communicate and interact with one another, how to savor a moment, how to work and learn together and as individuals for a slow and steady progression forward.  People know one another.  People know what makes each one of them who they are.  People recognize each other’s faces and observe behaviors and deeds which define who each individual is within the community.  People smile and say hello or frown and ignore and mean it.  There isn’t anywhere for a free loader to hide. 

The family unit doesn’t consist of three or four beings in a house isolated to pursue their direction behind closed doors with lightly tied relations with neighbors or friends.  The family unit is expanded to in fact include the community.  As mentioned before, the father and mother are really considered guests in this utopian framework at the upstart.  They serve their roles and contribute like all the other outsiders, but they don’t serve as the primary influence on these young supple beings.  They aren’t taking them to church on Sunday, or to the temple, or to the mosque, or influencing them to pursue practical and safe careers, or mocking their imaginative or misfit notions.  They are present, they are there, to give love and support to promote these young beings pursue their open and broad education.

The next post will discuss the types of questions these educated beings will confront including their potential impact or involvement with the outside world and other upstart utopian frameworks.

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13 thoughts on “Generation Skip — Education Broad and Open

  1. I really liked the point you made about education and how it should be made a continual process from birth to death. Perhaps this is the greatest flaw of our current educational system: everything taught is taught merely for its pragmatic weight, for the end goal. We learn just as much as is necessary to get a well-paying job. We lose curiosity, passion, inquisitiveness. I think, in some ways, we should go to back to a classical education — learn Latin, Greek, and many other languages, study philosophy, rhetoric, psychology, literature, science, all extensively. But then of course, in a utopian world, this all should be taught objectively — nothing should be presented as truth, so that these students could reevaluate without the blinders of our society what is realistic. I am sure that without the indoctrinating and brainwashing, many if not most of our day to day practices would seem chimerical and downright silly.

    • Yes, an old wise man would be a valued a human being and still reading and writing his thoughts up until the point where his mind begins to go. Old people would once again be loved and admired as they should be. Ha ha ha…Rhetoric was my undergraduate major (along with business minor….yep…oh well) so I agree with you sentiments and respect for the classical liberal arts education. It would certainly be a big piece of the education…although I am like you biased. That is one of the interesting aspects that would come from this fantasy…how would they view us?

  2. “Education will also incorporate physical work and activities. They will participate in collecting and disposing of garbage, cleaning dishes, working on farms and ranches, constructing or maintaining buildings, plumbing – they will learn and know how to use their hands as well as their minds.”

    This stood out to me as something I could appreciate. Knowledge is often a shared treasure that resides in the mind with the intent of visiting the hands. Great work!

  3. I’ve been reading your posts regarding Education and how capitalism effects us esp. our children. and really like them! You put a lot of thought into this! I like what you envison. I really like the line from this post, “Education will become life..” It makes me think of children as experiencers, inhabiting their bodies. I feel that it is so easy now for children to become disconnected from a sense of nature and the sensation of living in and respecting their bodies in terms of health, due to the increasingly sedentary lifestyles many people have. It takes a lot of focus and effort on behalf of the parent to counteract this. I worry about this with my own daughter.. I have an 8 yr old. I want to instill these qualities in her, but it is so much work! It is hard to counteract a sedentary lifestyle, esp with a nerdy, homebody child who just wants to stay inside and read and draw and play videogames..

    I have been thinking a little bit about the capitalism issue, that I think relates and it has to do with our capitalistic traditions that we pass on to our children. I’ve mentioned working retail, involving children.. and each year I become more and more uncomfortable and appalled whenever the holiday season rolls around.. It’s kind of messed up the holidays for me.. Our babies start out innocent and unmaterialistic and even from first b-day where we teach them about presents.. and every month another holiday focused on spending money.. If we grow up “fortunate?” enough to participate, we get it so ingrained, that even without much, you still feel hard wired to consume and pass it down.. I think you catch my drift.. it is a big problem.

    • Ha…I have an 8 year old boy so I understand what you are talking about on both of your paragraphs above. I have tried, since my boy was relatively fresh out of the womb, to take him outside to breathe the fresh air. He now loves being outside but have trouble getting him to just go for walks out in nature…he would rather play sports with me outside. I need to work on this some more…maybe snow shoeing in the mountains would be good this winter…cheap and good exercise in isolation. At least your daughter likes to draw and read and be alone…that is great! Besides, do you want her going on “play dates”? My ex always sends him to these which I don’t like for a myriad of reasons.

      As far as capitalism goes…my son just made a Christmas list….15 items. I said, you need to reduce this list to ten and prioritize the list…and if you are lucky you might get five of those. Of course my parents will spoil him and probably ensure he gets all 15 and more! My friend has two daughters. He is Canadian with American citizenship…my god…when his daughters have a birthday party there are at least ten or more presents…then more from kids when they have a birthday party at some rented out facility where it becomes an absolute frenzy.

      I grew up under a fortunate roof…it was certainly engrained in me…which has led to a very consumption oriented lifestyle that I now realize was foolish expecially since my financial situation is a mess. I will have more to say on capitalism…the idea isn’t bad…but there are many aspects where it has run wild and…most important…with the combination of debt, financial institutions, and corruption…system can be easily manipulated by a few to amass a disportionate amount of wealth that isn’t any where near what these individuals actual created in terms of innovation or value. There is no way in hell a broker, trader, investment banker should earn $10 to $20 million dollar annual bonuses…sorry…their work is merely shuffeling money around.

      • It is really sad, how deeply we have been brainwashed. To this day, going to the mall at Christmas is simultaneously exciting and disgusting. The mass consumerism. The ruthless materialism. What is it all for? When you get down to it, it stems from nothing more than the base desire to seem better than your neighbors, like male birds who have the brightest feathers. I wish we could rise above it. I think some people have, though it has to be a constant and conscious decision; and it would utterly change one’s entire life, rendering them outcast and other. It is tougher still when thinking about how to raise our children. I don’t have one yet, but my partner has a twelve year old son who I care for deeply; some things about him make me sad, like a lack of desire for the woods, for nature, and his constant attachment to video games and TV. These are things I wish I had the chance to erase; but I’m not sure we really can separate our kids from all of it anymore. I think it is perhaps too absorbing and prevalent :(.

      • Beverly…you can always become a “Tiger” mom…I was most recently with a wonderful woman that is about a 3/5 Tiger mom and although it was somewhat foreign to me I can see some of the wisdom in such methods….

      • Ha ha…Westerner! Yes this is a tough one. How to do you guide and nudge as a parent versus becoming an absolute dicator possbily driving the kid to rebellion once freedom rings. Hmmm…well…you wll find out someday LOL

      • Haven’t celebrated the Christ-Mass for many years now–very liberating and joyful. My heart is light this time of year, freed of so many burdens. I’ve even reached the point now of deriving great pleasure from watching the whirlpool of vacuous materialism consuming the panicked consumers.

        Also haven’t participated in Procreation. Procreation has an almost irresistible power to bring one back into the fold–one inevitably starts thinking in terms of “Other” instead of Self. For instance, how can one possibly deprive one’s children of the experience of Christ-Mass, even though one has renounced it oneself, when “everyone else is doing it”?

        Same thing goes for “video games and TV”.

        Procreation weakens the human being’s resolve for purity and higher endeavors–it should be the opposite, but unfortunately it is not. Instead, parents succumb to the conditions around them, because they are afraid their children will be “different” and “stand out” or “miss out”. It is the “herd instinct” prevailing over the individual, the “survival of the species” triumphing over the upward development of the self. Yet ironically, it is this “triumph” that is the very defeat of the species, putting its continued survival under a nimbus of suspicion and doubt. Certainly the species survives, but at what cost and to what end?

        Salubrious Solstice,

        ~DS~

    • I am glad you liked it catcherofstars…cool alias by the way. I am no educator but simply looking at education from life experience peaking back on my life and experience in that realm. I would be interested in your additional thoughts if you want to chime in.

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