1996 Published in: Technocracy Digest, 3rd quarter 1996, No. 321
What does the word `education’ mean to you?
A modern definition of education would include: `the development of the human being to such an extent and in such a way that it can grasp and cope with social change as it occurs, rather than rebel against it’ (as we are doing today). We will have to adopt this concept because technology is forcing social change so fast that conventional education is entirely inadequate for the coming generations.
People Resist Change
Education has had to surmount immense obstacles in its growth through the centuries, the hardest one of all being humans’ resistance to change, good or bad; and only the force of circumstances will make them adopt or discard it. About the only thing that has kept resistance to change from winning out completely has been our curiosity, and even that has been effectively stifled at times by another all-too-efficient obstacle — superstition.
Teachers and leaders of Galileo’s day were teaching Aristotle’s theory of gravitation — which a ten-pound weight would fall ten times as fast as a one-pound weight. Galileo refuted this statement and demonstrated his point successfully from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Despite the physical proof of his argument, he was scorned by the learned men of the time; they continued to believe — and teach — what they wanted to believe. But, you’ll say, that was a long time ago; it could not happen now. How wrong you would be! The enforced ignorance of the actual law of gravity is in no way different from the enforced ignorance of imminent social change that is perpetrated today.
Another obstacle in the path of education has been our economic system. As demand for education grew, it attracted the attention of big business, and the very nature of the business system is such that any new process must show a profit; so, the school systems of the U.S.A. and Canada became a `billion dollar’ concern. Big business is not concerned with the lack of facilities, accommodations and educators that exist; it is concerned only with how much profit can be squeezed out of the sequence of education.
Not only is our education inadequate; much of what we do have is practically useless today. Of what functional use to society are the time and the energy spent in the study of banking, insurance, and stock manipulation?
One of the most gratifying trends observable today is the thirst for knowledge, evidenced by the large attendance at evening classes and night schools. Some students and adults realize their need for increased education and welcome this opportunity to learn. Another trend, not so gratifying, that is in growing evidence today, is that toward commercialization in our public schools. For example, a Credit Union is donating a large sum of money to a school district to teach children about money. “Students are given the opportunity to dream,” says their Career Development Coordinator. “Then they face reality.” No mention is made of the `tough reality’ student’s face today because of the interference of money.
The press, radio, and TV are means that could be used to great advantage in education, but are they so used? The whole educational effort of these media is expended on boosting our present way of life, presenting programs that attempt to blind our eyes to what we could have. It is true that they do publish and show a few controversial and informative ideas, but there is never any mention of a solution to problems; the reader and viewer are just left with the idea that “this is the way it is, and nothing can be done about it”, mostly because it is too costly.
Naturally, these avenues of education are closed to any idea or program which is contrary to the status quo. Witness the way the columns of the press were closed to Technocracy overnight, and across the Continent simultaneously, as soon as it was discovered that Technocracy was not going to allow itself to be exploited by the big fellows in the business world. Of course, television, owned and operated by the same propaganda machines, follow this trend today.
Despite the above, there is evidence galore of widespread recognition of the fact that our children’s futures, and the entire social structure, are threatened by the lack, not only of basic schooling, but also of the advanced education which is essential to a high-energy civilization.
A Positive Education
Technocracy’s whole program is educational, but because it does not follow the orthodox pattern, its Organization is restricted to only those means of education that it can provide through its own facilities for publication and other methods of dissemination. But, though these are limited, yet it is presenting a program of positive education that can be found nowhere else.
Technocracy is presenting to the people of North America a program which will achieve not only a much higher standard of health and general welfare, but also an educational standard that will allow every child born on this Continent to have all the formal education they can absorb, plus every conceivable opportunity to develop themselves physically, artistically, and mentally, to their utmost capacity. Furthermore, when the Technate is achieved, every citizen will have full opportunity to make use of, and enjoy, the education they have acquired, since they will not be obliged continually to keep their `noses to the grindstone’ just in order to live.
See the Difference Between the Occasional Bus Trips In the PriceSystemSchool Set-up, and What Technocracy Envisaged Education Would Be Like In A Technate
In the Technate, schooling will not be a matter of merely sitting in classrooms and acquiring knowledge, second-hand, from textbooks. Students will be introduced to fine arts and music, and their talents encouraged along this line. They will have sports training, if this is their inclination. It will be a vital, living process of learning through seeing and experiencing, as well as reading about the facts of life.
In their own local areas, they will become acquainted, not only with the geography, but also with the various fundamental processes of production and distribution of the products they use in their everyday living.
As they grow older, they will go further afield, until, by the time they are old enough to choose their line of work, they will have first-hand knowledge of all the various elements entering into the production and distribution of goods and services throughout the entire Continent. From then on, their training will be specialized to fit them for their chosen fields, and when they have reached the age of twenty-five, they will be prepared to step into the function for which they are trained. If they still want further education it will be available, and there will be plenty of time for it, and there will be an opportunity to live `the good life’ which such conditions will, for the first time, make available to the entire population.
Perhaps you are thinking that the cost of this type of `traveling education’ would be prohibitive. In the Price System, of course, it is out of the question, except for the small percentage of the well-to-do, but in the Technate, with all the various operational sequences coordinated and cooperating to that end, it will be entirely feasible. Every individual will have ample consuming privileges, no matter where they may be located; transportation facilities will be arranged to accommodate shifting groups of school-age people. Their transportation, and also traveling classroom and dormitory facilities, will probably be tied in with the movement of slow freight via marine trains on the inter-connected waterways of the new Continental Hydrology system. Since speed would not be important, the many thousands of marine trains could be designed and constructed so as to carry classrooms and dormitories on their top decks. Thus the various class units, with their own teachers, could be carried all over the Continent on extended schedules, going north, south, east and west, and taking time for side-trips to interesting or important points. The intriguing possibilities of such a system stagger the imagination, yet they are entirely practicable. But it is a job for engineers, not politicians.
Under such an educational system the country stands to gain immeasurably by making available the fully developed talents of vast numbers of children who, under the self-vaunted free enterprise system, would never have a chance, even to find out what they are capable of doing, because of the interference of the ever-present price tag. And it is safe to predict that, when that time comes, the problem of `juvenile delinquency’ will simply disappear, to be recalled only as a disagreeable nightmare among the other nightmares of the Price System days.
The installation of Technocracy’s design of education does not call for the importation of anything at all from any other country. It requires merely a redesigning of factors and facilities already at hand, on a scientific basis, and their extension, to provide every boy and girl on the North American Continent a kind, and degree, of education never before possible in the world — an education on which to build a life worth living.