The other day I was talking to someone. They mentioned how, in a news report they heard, it was mentioned that the kids of other countries (China was mentioned) are more educated than ours in the U.S. As a result, it was like our school system was trying to force our kids to be ‘educated’, going through ridiculous lengths to make our kids better than in other countries. This seems like its causing problems for our kids.
I agreed with this and remarked that this shows the ‘myth of education’. That is to say, people think education has this great power and magic in it. Its as if education is like waving a wand that will make everything better. I do not believe this is true.
I went on to say that the comparison between other countries is a reference to how the U.S. thinks its this great powerful economic country at the forefront of the modern world. Because of this, the U.S. has to do everything to stay on top, such as forcing its kids to be ‘educated’ and have every kid, and their dog, go to college. The mistake they are making is the assumption that the rise of the U.S. is a result of education.
It is not.
I said that there were two common myths that this refers to:
- The ‘education myth’. This is the myth that education, and educated people, is what created the modern world. In actuality, many of the people who were innovative, and created the modern world, were not highly educated nor did they necessarily receive good grades (if they went to any higher schooling at all). In fact, many did not show any signs of ‘promise’ at all.
- The ‘qualification myth’. Most of the people who created the modern world would probably not be considered ‘qualified’ to do anything nowadays. Many would not be considered as having the schooling, the credentials, the experience, and such, to be considered for employment. They simply do not have the “qualifications” people, nowadays, think they should have. But, yet, they created the modern world. I’ve always said that “if the people of the past had to be qualified to do what they did then very little would of happened”. In other words, there would have been little innovation and development as a result, and the modern world would not of been created. To put it another way, what people think “qualifies” a person actually does not . . . its a myth.
It appears to me that these two myths the U.S., in particular, have created as a result of its success and, because of this, they naturally emphasize their ideals of individualism and achievement. This makes it so that they tend to view ‘personal education and qualification’ as critical and the ’cause’ for their greatness. Really, they are distorting things to make it fit their ideals.
In actuality, it appears to me that what made the U.S, and Britain (who started the creation of the modern world), become innovative, and create the modern world, is actually a result of the conditions of the times, not the education or qualifications of people. I said that “they can educate the kids in China till information starts coming out of their ears but if the conditions are not there then it will come to nothing”. I have always felt the conditions were everything. In fact, it was the unique conditions of Britain and the U.S., which had particular and unique qualities never before seen in history, which made the innovation and modern world happen . . . not because of great education or qualification in the people.
Sadly, because of these myths we have created conditions that are actually hampering and suppressing the very conditions that created all this innovation which led up to the modern world. In other words, the emphasis on education and qualifications are actually suffocating the development of innovation. I feel that I can see this in the U.S. in ways such as:
- With the emphasis on education and qualification they have made it so that only certain people are in a position to do anything at all! The people who are innovative often don’t have a chance under these new conditions.
- With the systemizing, organization, and controlling of knowledge and development they’ve created a condition where things must but be a ‘certain way’ all the time which does not allow for innovation. Generally, things must be this ‘certain way’ for anything to come to anything.
- It creates a pre-conceived notion of what the conditions are that create innovation. As a result, they try to replicate it. One of the ways they do this is by trying to make everyone “educated”. The problem is that their pre-conceived notion doesn’t work! In some sense, they are victims of their own misconceptions.
The effects of all this is actually the suppressing of innovation and creativity which, from my observation, is exactly what’s happening.
I often feel that what created the innovation that led to the modern world was actually a result of things like:
- The fact that people were not educated or qualified to do things. As a result, they had complete free reign to be innovative and create. This made it like a great ‘brainstorming’ of ideas, with ideas that worked and some that didn’t.
- The lack of control of knowledge and things. There was no regulation, control, laws, red tape, and other things that hinder things nowadays. This allowed a condition of freedom for everything without hindrance.
- The conditions of the time was receptive and needing of innovation. Society was willing to use innovation.
- The fact that the innovation was innovation and something new. Now that the modern world is ‘established’ none of it, really, is all that new anymore. In this way, any new modern thing lacks innovation to begin with . . . we are no longer in the era of innovation anymore.
The important point here is that the conditions that created the innovation of the modern world was actually a result of the lack of control of things (such as peoples education and qualifications) . . . conditions that are no longer seen today. Basically, we are not in the conditions that inspired it all nowadays. As a result, trying to make everyone ‘educated’ and ‘qualified’ isn’t going to recreate it again.
Copyright by Mike Michelsen