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The currency that counts

[Note: A grand unification theory that suggests a comprehensive framework to integrate Rathergate, the 2004 campaign, the circus of the United Nations, and education while offering reason for optimism.]

The critical significance of the internet isn't interconnectivity, but the emergence of The Sound Idea as the currency that counts.

In interactive collective consciousness, ideas bubbling to the top undermine the dated world of unchallenged positions exercised by political parties, pundits and main stream media anchorpeople. Public affairs -- and the news generated from it -- no longer stand untested. Just as good science is forged through the heat and pressure of public scrutiny, public subjects will be shaped under community examination guaranteed to pull the rug from under both dogmatic liberals and equally dogmatic conservatives.

A sea of individuals simply connected and so inclined can dynamically and recursively analyze premises, fact selection, logic, rhetoric, and conclusions. At every turn, one small voice now has the opportunity to convince others to concur. Those others, if in agreement, will interconnect with different clouds of communities until, in a wave of growing comprehension, they overwhelm those vainly shouting to hold it back.

Community implies two corollaries:

  • A good idea can come from anywhere, and
  • A bad idea can come from anywhere.
 The Great Wave
The Great Wave Off Kanagawa
by Katsushika Hokusai
Together they embrace the core principle of democracy -- which, unfortunately, is not part of our common wisdom and quite lost among the knowledge-based emphasis of current schools. Democracy institutionalizes feedback. Democracy codifies humility -- the core understanding that there may be a better way to do things and a process of peaceful problem resolution to get there.

This is not a new revelation, but you'll cast far and wide to find it exercised. The operational world view is stuck 60 years out of date. That is when the United Nations was manufactured out of what was possible in 1945. That is far less than what a new charter might encourage today. A charter that did not tolerate abuse labeled as internal affairs would relieve tension between a UN hamstrung and a subset of its members willing to forge a better world.

Society has wallowed in soft luxury afforded by insulation. Comfortable, secure, protected and somnambulant, most schools and their masters have been afforded a sixty-year sabbatical from real education. Real education isn't easily testable, so don't look for it in official standards.1 Real education develops tools for thought, such as Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric, that even medieval educators understood to be essential.2 Real education develops a sense of time and place that, for its own safety's sake, leads to humility, character and community. Real education justifies itself because these are the only tools you've got to plan your best future.

Re-emergence of thoughtful conversation will encourage:

  • The patience to listen through what is said,
  • The skill not to feed selfish trolls,
  • The wisdom to weave its truth into your own experience,
  • The care to phrase a useful response.
While feedback challenges news, it is also the tool to make news better. Project a sensible future: News will be participatory, yet resistant to the tyranny of the masses. News will discard sizzle and splash in favor of usefulness. People will value contributions by both professionals and amateurs. A better mental map of reality to assist with decision-making will reward us all.

The internet will drag media, governments, and schools into the 21st century despite their resistance. Where do we plant our fulcrum to help it along?

1 Thinking clearly seems to be the seredipitous result of that which is itemized in the New York State English Language Standards. It must be serendipitous or otherwise it has simply been omitted.

2 Medieval educators considered Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric to be the first three of the Seven Liberal Arts.


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This page was last updated: Friday, January 14, 2005 at 3:53:22 PM
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