Saturday, 10 April 2010

What if Mozart became a computer science graduate?

In response to Sir Ken Robinson's vision of education for the future I wrote the article that follows the original TED Talk below:-

Is the Global Education system so entrenched that it isn't flexible enough to absorb such a vision as Mr Robison's?
If this vision of creativity equating in importance to science, mathamatics and literacy; could be adopted in schools now, it would also have to be adopted by society. There are few enough jobs now for the creative masterminds who sit twiddling their thumbs in classrooms waiting for the chance to escape and free their spirits. Geniuses are working in Walmart. The Mozarts of our day have been told not to study music, but computer science. The Michaelangelo's have had their mud taken away and been given equations to sculpt, or told to speed up on the factory floor.
I discovered, online a great thinker, through his comments on blogs and different news stories, and had been following him for sometimes; in my mind I had him dressed in expensive suits, a Director, an executive, a successful self-employed entrepeneur. It was a shock then when I discovered he works in Walmart stacking shelves. What a waste I thought; his hours should be spent teaching, writing, uplifting others with his insight which is great. Why isn't he running a newspaper? You can find his blog here
Only its not a waste is it; he has bread on his table and he has a blog where he does impart knowledge just as I thought, of course he does that's his destiny.
And there are a host of great thinkers, geniuses, literary master, sculptors, dancers, philosophers; all thinking, writing, sculpting, dancing and philosophising in their own time. I remember working in a health food store some years ago. My boss was a friend of mine he had a masters degree in biology and molecular science and could tell you the atomic structure of the Vitamin C and Creatine we were selling on the shelves. He opened up shop - he sold vitamins and supplements - he shut up shop - he quite probably would give you the best advice on your product choice that you could find anywhere.

So we need jobs for the creative. We need a different educational system that brings out the creativity in a student and nourishes it and allows it to bloom at the end in the form of a career.

A career should allow the blossoming Mozarts to create their masterpieces, rather than corralling potential composers into the objectives outlined in a company's Mission Statement. Unless that company's objective is 'To bring out the Mozart in you....'. And why not?
It is arguable that if the art is within you, it will out. But it is also arguable that the reasons there were Mozarts, Michelangelo's and Carravagios, is that back then their work was highly valuedand schools flourished in European cities where these talents were nurtured under the guidance of grand old masters.

What happens if within me is the answer to global warming, or the political/military genius to end terrorism or the inventive creativity to bridge the vast realms of space, not because I am a scientist but because I had a crazy idea that it was possible? Only because I have been corralled down an ever narrowing path of academia, only to come out into the open and discover there are no jobs. I get whatever work I can especially as I have a huge student loan to pay off, and I am too tired to share at the end of the day these ideas I had one day when I was dreaming.

How do we find potential and prize it out? How do we make the most of it? Life itself is a great university and now we have the internet which is like a great library. But how does the wisdom therein reach our environment, raise our society to greater heights and gently restore the earth so her rivers are clean again for our children to drink from?

Will the syllabus change? Will they allow a child to choose their own way according to their joy and passion as well as their abilities? Will the world change because the Creatives among us nurtured to a certain level of literacy and ability, force it to change by the same creative wellspring that lent us our existence in the first place?

I think of Star Trek; there is, in this futuristic series, a kind of utopian understanding; a harmony between technology and nature; an ideal balance. I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where you know your talents will not get lost. To grow up with every enthusiastic exploration encouraged and enlarged upon, so that our minds and our bodies unfold their greatness.

A computer as it is is a great resource, but it ties the body to it like a shackle. It would be good would it not, for life to be explored once again on its own terms and not second hand. I think we need another era of exploration. We need to find things all over again; the North Pole, the summit of Everest, penicillin. We need to awaken our inner explorers; we need those philanthropists back again, the Dr Livingstone's of today to help us put an end to slavery - it never really ended.

I knew something was amiss with the education system when I could see that the major problems of the world weren't being solved but added to and expanded upon and new ones constantly appearing. A flaw of ignorance runs right through the middle of society; if you want it to stop at your doorstep, or in your neighbourhood; that is no one else's job but yours.

Those who can change the education system are the educators, but also the students and parents of students. And those who can change the manner and method of employment are all of us. You can be beekeeper, landscape architect, inventor and astronaut. We can make it possible for dreams to come true, and we can reroute the education system so it optimises the potential of all who pass through its gates. The question is which piece of this puzzle is your sphere of responsibility.

In my mind we have some priorities on this planet. The same way that if you're in a survival situation your priorities are shelter, water, food. It is not hard to see where our efforts are needed. Sir Robinson talks about 'human ecology' and he quotes Jonas Salk the inventor of the Polio vaccine 'If all the insects were to disappear from the earth, within 50years all life would end. If human beings were to disappear from this earth, within 50years all life would flourish'.
So in a way a measure of our positive/negative effects, would be to determine our level of creativity; how much life we cultivate and nurture around us. Are there gardens in our midst, or concrete jungles that do not give us breath? Do our actions extend life; are all creatures nurtured by our day to day actions?

I can tell easily if we are progressing or not. I just look and see if the starving are still starving, if the homeless are still dispossessed; if races of people and species of flora and fauna are dying needlessly. And I look to my own back yard; has my life here brought new life or less?
People tend to think of wealth in terms of things. I don't. I think of it, in terms of life. The most precious commodity there is is life. Life is held up, not by GDP, your annual salary or insurance. Life is held up by the diversity of microroganisms in the soil. Life is held up by people striving everyday to lessen the violence of human kind against, against what? Against none other than our own self. The air you breath is lent to you, by trees and plants. The blood in your veins you borrow from rivers and rain. Your flesh and bone is made of subtle compounds and elements intertwined with one another; into our nervous systems into our thinking and feeling machines.

I should think it a grave error to educate a child so that they do not know from where they derive their existence. To educate them so that they have no concept of 'environment'. So that they do not want to walk on grass because it is 'lumpy' as a child I was teaching once indicated to me - she had come from the city and had only ever walked on pavements.

It is a grave error to educate a child thus, but an even graver one to sustain the myth among adults.

You should go out and find out the journey of air, water and food to your body. Really find out what your body is made of. That would be an education.

Education is related to the word educere; 'bring out', 'bring forth what is within, 'bring out potential'.

What is your potential? What is our potential?

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Subscribe to Positive Impact Living Newsletter

For the latest news from Positive Impact Living.blogspot join today, and find out how you can be involved.
For life recipes, a little get up and go, and an infusion of heartfelt positivity.
Join the Mailing List
Enter your name and email address below:
Subscribe  Unsubscribe