Sunday, June 30, 2013

When Knowledge Use Is Limited, "All Good Things Must Pass"

...Yes, thankfully, only eventually. Civilizations generally prosper for a quite a while before the Taxman wins out. And, the prosperous good times generally last long enough, that to see the real connections between redistribution patterns alongside limitations in knowledge use is an "inconvenience" to the status quo. If we could condense the idea of economics to the thought of a small village where a few locals have a locked money (skills) chest which is mostly brought out for special occasions and bragging rights, i.e. honorary healing perhaps, it becomes easier to see how eventually no one really gets healed anymore. And that's healing in a direct sense...let alone the healing that needs to happen between disciplines where sickness generally occurs in a body's connecting points. Much of economic life is like that as well.

Better than any science fiction novels, which provide better opportunities for retreat and reaction than real offense (yes I'm diehard non fiction), are the countries which show - how in fact - good things do eventually pass. Being the oldest by ten years, one might say my brother was lucky in any number of respects, for he had a chance to learn not to do what I generally learned from doing...yep, the hard way. (By the same token I inadvertently tend to make people grateful for what they have...) And so Greece is like the "older sister" that my country would do well to learn from (HT Marginal Revolution), in terms of safeguarding what we still have even in the face of inevitable change.

By no means do I mean any literal translation. For one thing, many in the U.S. do not have the same kind of close association with agriculture - on any number of levels - which people in Europe have, and thus job market hopefuls here are highly dependent on the knowledge based skills they still hope to tap into, in the 21st century. What encourages me, as to the above link, is knowing that not every intelligent individual in Greece has "left the premises". And by no means should anyone leave their knowledge skills unused, just because one's nation is finally falling down in the job of supporting said skills. It's mostly a matter of thinking about knowledge skills use differently. Plus, anyone who has been keeping up with these posts knows I'll be "hunting" for further rationale as to starting from the same vantage point, in terms of knowledge use, because I believe a whole new world of potential is opened up by doing so.

However, it's not so much the healthcare angle I wanted to touch on here as the educational angle, which is also a continuation from an earlier post. Even though the monetary valuations of teachers are not so limiting (for economic access) as some skills sets, we are nonetheless running into limitations problems as to actual ability for students to hope for teaching positions, even with a PhD. As for new educators still capable of being "folded in", monetary rewards are no longer as reliable, given the associate positions which are the most commonly available in the present. And in the humanities, fewer students than ever major in these areas for fear of not finding work afterward.

Communities have the capacity to stabilize education and make it far more relevant (especially in economic terms), but I want to address some important underlying questions which don't always make into the discussion. First, how do we not only preserve, but also expand those aspects of education which hold such meaning for educators, students and peer to peer participants at individual levels? Social settings matter, although not necessarily in the forms we tend to utilize now. Much about the settings we think of as "holding" education need to be reconfigured into wider definitions of both form and space, especially in that some of the more public settings involving large groups need to move towards special occasion and other spontaneous gatherings.

What really matters is getting away from sterile routines where knowledge is taught with little immediate purpose or larger connection, something a charter or private school could be equally as guilty of as any public school. (Jonathan Finegold's quote of the week seems appropriate here.) While it will always makes sense to bring individuals together in similar timelines, they need to be able to easily adjust for individual circumstances, and ongoing activities which do not necessarily involve entire groups. Just the same, the process of reestablishing community trust at local levels, also means making much of the environmental redefinition of both work and education activity as public in orientation as possible.

A second question: how to further integrate local efforts into a collective societal level? Not just in the sense of coordinating both ongoing education and work with the use of our own time sets, but making this activity renewal a way to actually solve larger issues that today's institutions grapple with mostly in their protected domains. Somehow, we can evolve the idea of education back into the idea of ongoing community economic activity of all kinds: therefore not just in the limited sense of apprenticeship connections with business, by any means.

The school experience is quite important for anyone, even those of us who didn't necessarily feel like a central element in the process, perhaps! Rather than abolition of schools in community (which only hurts them further), the idea is to make them more open, informal and casual in broader orientation, while somewhat more formal and specific in individual orientation and work/activity related contexts. In other words, break apart the silos so the real work of life can once again take place  amongst the grounds that exist between them. By so doing, the arbitrary timelines of graduations and consequent social exclusions those graduations imply, can also fall away. Which would also mean the ability for all members of community to remain in combined processes of coordinated work and related education at any point in their lifetimes.

One of the greater paradoxes of late is the implied need to let go of the greater hopes for our own  efforts, which were supposed to be so important in the first place. And the fact that we believed our own abilities important enough to invest in, should tell us that what we deem vital is indeed important to others as well. There are ways to make that knowing matter, for all who believe it is worth the time to invest in knowledge - whether by money, or by the use of our own time and dedication. When nations can not realistically support their citizens efforts, by no means should a nation's cities and individuals be crippled because of the lack of resolve on the part of their power holders for economic progress.

No comments:

Post a Comment