The year 2020 is nearly upon us and society has held up that year as a milestone for transformation in a utopian direction. Many grew up on imagery, predictions, and media that made convincing arguments for how dramatic 2020 could be for all. Revolutions in medicine, entertainment, law, space exploration, and global cooperation were among the great achievements highlighted. We would all live in a higher way.
Many who read this know the truth. Reality is much the way as it has been. People are still fighting. Whether on a global stage or in the first world cities over matters of equality, prosperity, trust, and opportunity. A collective subconscious is awakening to the fact that promises on earlier social contracts are not being kept. Meanwhile, another message is that education is the great equalizer.
Much of what I have seen and read shows that it depends. Anyway, I am of the view that the point of education is not vocational, it is a means to enhance our capacity to engage with life. Education is a gift, not a formula for resource acquisition at the individual and institutional level. Better education is possible and the vision for the future world may have to look backwards to achieve greater educational outcomes in the future.
Educational improvement is not based in technology. Many of the leading minds that influenced the course of history had not a speck of electronics at their disposal. Their tools were conversation, writing and basic numeracy. They engaged life within a rich cultural context that incorporated history in a variety of ways upon which these great minds built higher concepts and solutions that transformed society.
Education seems weakened as we have walked down the road of making education a commercial product. Costs have put it out of the reach of the many. That has made those affected poorer in ways that precipitate the conditions of higher than average resource limitation. Technologically delivered education seems like a remedy except for the hyper specialization it often produces, in turn, limited in the contexts to which it may apply. Education then becomes a distinction within social classes that amplifies entitlement. We have yet to teach ourselves to be truly equal. To value the lives of others.
Is the future coming as described in those great days of optimism decades ago? That is actually a much longer discussion. The reality is things like the type of houses we live in, the ways we transport ourselves, and how we live together change slowly over time. Our media can be used to create an illusion of progress that is far distinct from actual reality. As in the events in Baltimore that we see unfold in April 2015, 5 years until 2020 is probably not enough of a window of time to see a hard shift into utopia. Instead, basic work on what we learn and how we live together has to occur before there will be a better tomorrow.