Yesterday’s talk got me thinking, and I wanted to pick up on some threads of our conversation, but Douggins’ post gave me a push.
What struck me most about the discussion was the number of antitheses involved: individual vs. collective; personal vs. societal; conservative vs. liberal; social vs. economic; private vs. public; cultural vs. global; spiritual vs. material; upbringing vs. education; training vs. education, among others, and the fact that all of those antitheses could have just as easily been listed as complements: as “and” instead of “vs.”, challenges us more than we are willing to admit. If there ever was a multidimensional subject, by nature, “education” is it. Hands down.
And, unfortunately, since every one of us has “gone through the system”, every one of us is somehow an “expert” on the subject. We all know what we’re talking about it, because we all went through it. But I’m not sure that’s qualifying in any meaningful sense of the word.
Having had thought about it for a day, it is clear to me that there is a whole lot more that needs to be thought about. I appreciate greatly that Marco decided to start with the person, the individual; in fact, with the soul. You can’t get more fundamental than that. Every person is unique. We are all different. At least that much should be clear by now, even if it isn’t. I also think it is clear to everyone that the current system, regardless of the cultural flavor, cannot do justice to that simple fact. In this simple regard, the “system” has failed. I also find it noteworthy that with all the technological developments of the past few decades, we have are still nowhere close to being able to accommodate the individual within our educational systems. For me, this is a case of the technology being incapable of keeping pace with the human.
Now, all of the antitheses that I just mentioned cannot be found on the same level, if you will. To me, they indicate a multidimensionality that needs to be kept in mind when thinking about the topic of “education”. This multidimensionality most likely precludes any kind of reasonable political solution, or resolution, of the issue. Our current mode of mentation can’t accommodate anything other than single-point causation with singular results. The fact that any one cause may have any number of possible outcomes is simply inconceivable in our current mode of thought.
What struck me, however, is the fact that any mere reduction of student-teacher ratio can have enormous positive effects on the system as it is. It is not the solution, obviously, But it is an action that can gain us time to think the entire issue through. The fact that this solution is most often rejected out of hand tells me that it is close to a real solution generally speaking. The argument that is immediately raised is always “we couldn’t possibly afford it”. It’s somehow (automatically) financially out of the question. Or is it “economically” out of the question. Or “fiscally” out of the question. Or “budgetarily” out of the question. Just what is it exactly? One thing is for sure: it’s not monetarily (or cash-wise) out of the question.
Why is that? Why is that the question? And how did it get outside the question?
At the time of the 2008 Crash, the value of the CD-Swaps alone was 6x World Gross Product (WGP). Yes, just the Swaps … 6 WGP. It has grown in the meantime. Sure. So, today? Where’s the “money problem”?
Well, I hate to sound like a broken record, but it doesn’t sound like a “money problem”, it sounds like a “distribution problem” to me. And so now, for all you with your hackles up, just what is the issue? You don’t like the word “distribution”? I bet you don’t. But for all the wrong reasons.
Let’s face it: wealth is relative. (It’s actually more than relative, but most people don’t even get the “relative” part.) An example: let’s say there is me. And let’s say I’m worth X. I’m pretty much average (whatever that means). And then there is this other guy, Richard, and he’s worth Y, but Y is 10X. In other words, he has 10 times as much as me. So, for whatever reason, something happens to the economy (or how we count in it, whatever), and suddenly, everybody owns/has 90% less. I’ve got 0.1, or that’s what I’m worth. Y, however, is worth 1.0 … that is, still, 10x more. We both have less money than before, but who is actually poorer? Who is better or worse off? We both took the same hit. Why wasn’t it really the same?
And that’s why the money argument is simply a bogus argument. There’s more than enough money there … to solve any problem imaginable – for the money “on the books” is still several times larger than any- and everything the world is capable of producing ( … remember X x WGP?). We can (or think we can) put numbers on what we (think) we need to fix specific problems. And if you add them all up, you never get past what the world can actually produce; that is, the real GWP.
So, if the money is there, why couldn’t we afford it? But if the “money” is only “virtual”; that is, just “on the books” (but not there in reality), just what is it that’s “there”?
If you ask me, that’s where we’ve got a “problem”. On a number of levels … and I don’t even believe in levels.