What Keeps Us from Changing the World? 117
The world as we know it is at a crossroads, a crossroads where the old is colliding with the new, where past generations feebly cling onto old ways while new generations spearhead towards the future, creating a gap in between of being stuck in transition: We cannot go back to how things were because the world has changed too much, but we also cannot move forward because we still cling on to old ideas about how the world is supposed to be, that we refuse to let go of, to actually allow the world to change.
It can be seen in the dichotomy between the business world and the political arena; the business world has developed and grown uninhibited to the point where it is almost completely fluid as business owners can move and conduct business on all continents of the world without much regulation or control.
A business can be run from one country while paying taxes in another and manufacturing products in a third. International politics on the other hand, has developed very slowly and is almost non-existing when it comes to providing regulations for those businesses that move on a global level, and that impact lives of people all over the globe. Business owners thereby exploit the lack of regulations placed on their businesses, using lack of infrastructure in lesser-developed countries as an excuse to exploit both natural resources as well as people in many countries.
It can be argued that a solution must be implemented that intercepts the rapid development of businesses without regulation and that this solution requires a modernization of our political systems, specifically in the arena of international and transnational politics – not so much to regulate and control businesses but to protect vulnerable nations and peoples from being exploited and destabilized.
The same dichotomy between the old and the new can be seen when it comes to education.
The school systems (but even the very notion of schooling itself) operate with archaic methods that leave students neither very well educated nor well informed, but with massive student debts that only seem to increase exponentially each year.
The rapid developments of digital technologies and the emergence of the internet has in contrast made it possible for kids all over the world to educate themselves, to gain access to any form of information ever produced, and to even be able to publicize themselves in a vast array of arenas from film production to journalism and photography, often completely free of charge, with nothing more than the push of a button on a smartphone or tablet.
Similarly as to how businesses can operate with great flexibility and without much political oversight, kids today can move more or less freely online, creating social media accounts en mass and often to the great dismay of adults who are in no way as skilled as using these tools and who therefore are not in a position to supervise or even advise the child on how to use these devices and services.
Online bullying and the emergence of easily accessible hardcore pornography are some of the pitfalls of the Internet that many kids are exposed to today, in a much higher degree than most adults are even aware of or capable of controlling.
Very few schools (or parents for that matter) show kids how to effectively navigate, not only the internet but also the thousands of ‘worlds’ sprouting up inside of it, as well as the devices used to access these worlds and when they do, it is again using archaic and condescending methods assuming the kids are at a lesser developed stage of internet mobility and navigation than that of adults when they are in fact quantum leaps ahead of us.
The Internet is a wonderful and chaotic place and it is in many ways the only truly anarchistic ‘place’ on the planet, but because of that, kids also have very little guidance on how to move and navigate online in a way that is supportive for them. It is a double-edged sword.
On one hand, it is the deregulated (and thereby uncensored) nature of the Internet that causes kids to be exposed to things they shouldn’t see, that no one in fact should see. But it is at the same time also what allows kids and adults alike to educate themselves on things that never would have been allowed into schools twenty years ago. There is an enormous potential for personal empowerment when everything you ever wanted to learn is at your finger tips, literally free of charge, and you can do it more or less completely on your own.
It can in fact be argued that schools, as places where kids are supposed to obtain skills and knowledge, becomes utterly redundant when the internet offers everything the school can offer, with the click of a button. And maybe this is exactly why very few schools focus on supporting kids to learn how to navigate the internet in the most effective ways, obviously because most teachers have no idea how to do that themselves, but certainly also because it would give the students the power to take responsibility for their own education and that would cause a potential collapse of the school system as we know it.
The political system has a lot to learn from the business world. Despite its many flaws, especially in the social and ecological responsibility department, the business world has been developed many effective way to structure collaboration and interaction between people all over the world. The political arena has to catch up to that, at least if politicians are serious about regulating for example the way fracking and timber companies are exploiting the earth’s natural resources. Or maybe it doesn’t. Maybe the business world should instead be developed to incorporate the best features of the political arena, the responsibility and accountability towards the public and the land or maybe the two worlds ought to merge, as they are already so intertwined that it is difficult to tell where politics begins and where business ends.
One thing is certain: We are standing at a crossroads in human evolution where we can no longer deny the fact, that what we have taken for granted as being stable structures that support life, like the political and educational arenas, are not meeting the demands of the time. It is time to come up with new structures, maybe more flexible or fluid structures that more effectively adapt to the fluidity of an increasingly global society.
The current political and education systems are built on false pretenses and it has now become evident that neither system in its current format supports the development of a world that is best for all.
This is why we need to support these old systems to collapse because they cannot keep up with the exponential development of our societies but even more importantly, we have to stand ready with new and fresh ideas of how to conduct politics for example, in a highly globalized world, or how to conduct education in a way that honors the sovereignty of kids to learn on their own hand.
We can only come up with these new ideas if we stop clinging onto the old. We have to allow ourselves to, for the first time, think completely out of the box that is this world system and imagine a completely new way of life. We cannot change world as long as we insist on doing things the way we have always done it. That is the challenge of the times we are in, but it is also a unique opportunity arisen from the fact that the redundancy of the old has become evident, and therefore, coming up with new ways of doing things is not only imperative, but in fact inevitable. All that remains to be seen is how long we will remain stuck in transition before we finally let go – and start over.