Societal Equilibrium

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 4 (v.1) - Education

Submitted: January 12, 2013

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Submitted: January 12, 2013



Education condenses years of human innovation, knowledge, and experience into a form that can be handed down to new generations.  Without it, each generation would have to start from the beginning and hope to make it further than those before them.  Our progress would be lost with each new generation and we would be hopeless to advance the way we live and see the world.  In order to progress, we must evolve our ideas and perspectives, and pass this down to the next generations.  

If we want to pass down our current state of knowledge, we need consistency for our entire society.  If the knowledge and expertise varies from school to school, then there will only be one that is at the true pinnacle of our society.  This inconsistency inherently places our students at points we have already been to.  We can only advance if we already know where we have been.  In order for us to reach our full potential, education must be independent of our wealth and location.  

Every neighborhood throughout the world has its own school, with its own teachers, classrooms, equipment, and curriculum.  These inconsistencies destroy the potential of our society, as we are all given different qualities of opportunities.  If education is to be independent of location, then we must all be offered the same knowledge regardless of which school is closest to us.  In order to eliminate this dependency on location, our knowledge must be kept somewhere that can be accessible anywhere, such as a website devoted to education.  

In order to present our knowledge to others, educators should be creating videos so that they would no longer need to repeat the same lectures over and over.  With the use of videos, educators would not be limited by what they can achieve in person within the time of a lecture.  Instead, they would be able to better prepare a lecture by using advanced editing and video software for as much time as necessary.  Furthermore, since educators would be contributing together, they would not have to individually cover every topic.  Since they each have their own strengths and weaknesses, we can become limited by their individual knowledge and expertise.  But by giving all of them the ability to contribute, we would have access to all of their strengths while eliminating all of their weaknesses.  With a database of educators, we would have access to all of our society’s perspectives, expertise, and knowledge regardless of the quality of school we could afford, eliminating the dependency on our individual wealth.  

But even if we eliminate these dependencies, the structure of lectures is still highly inefficient.  A lecture does not always contain relative or important content for each student.  For example, professors often discuss assignments and tests even if we do not require any feedback.  Even the lecture content itself may not be essential to each student.  During any given lecture, there are three types of information that can be presented.  The first type is information that we already understand, which does not contribute to our education.  The second type is information that we do not have the prerequisite knowledge required to understand.  Out of the whole lecture, the only type that is of any educational use to us is the information that we do have the prerequisite knowledge required to understand.  Since this information depends on any given student, it is not possible for all of us to be adequately addressed simultaneously.  In order to eliminate this, lectures must specialize.

Specializing requires a lecture to be broken down into its individual topics and subjects.  Imagine a tree of knowledge with a trunk, branches, stems, and leaves.  Each branch represents a different broad subject such as mathematics, science, or history, while each stem represents a more specific aspect of these subjects.  Each of those stems could be broken down into smaller stems, which represent more specific topics within those topics.  This process continues until finally, we reach a point where we cannot break down these subjects any further.  These fundamental topics and ideas are represented by the leaves.  They are essentially the building blocks of the tree of knowledge because there is nothing further to break down.  This is the most important content because everything past these points uses that knowledge to build up from.  If we do not understand these basic principles, there is no way for us to move forward.  

Generally, these topics would be definitions and explanations of concepts, principles, theorems, and laws.  For the majority of lectures, the only content that should be discussed at a time are these independent topics.  Once each leaf or fundamental idea has been taught, the overarching stem lectures can be made, which link subjects together into how they are related.  These would be broader subjects requiring multiple prerequisites, and would likely take more time to discuss than the building blocks.  However, these lectures should also be specialized as much as possible by focusing on individual topics rather than any prerequisites or separate subjects.  By specializing, navigating through this tree of knowledge would be much more organized and efficient because we would be able to keep track of subjects we have already learned, subjects we have the prerequisite knowledge to learn, and subjects out of reach.  Since we would be learning at our own pace, we would be able to spend as much time as we need on any subject until we understand it.  If we ever have any trouble, we would be able to try other lectures until we found a teaching method that works.  With access to the entire tree at any time, we would be able to learn as much about anything that we desire.

For us to test our understanding, educators could create problems to be solved and questions to be answered.  Each of them would have their respective video for the solution or answer in order for us to verify our understanding.  Tests, in the way we use them today, should not exist.  Currently, tests are a combination of potentially many different concepts and ideas.  Subjects generally have a relation to one another, and so if we fail in some areas and succeed in others, we will not have a solid foundation to our education.  Instead, we should be focusing on each topic separately.  We should test our mastery of each topic as many times as needed in order to fully understand it.  

While some subjects may require hands-on learning, the majority do not.  These exceptions may require physical schools to be given the opportunity to participate.  These would likely be more specialized and advanced topics, and would be justified in having a specific school for.  In a similar way, some of the testing material may require hands-on application.  Depending on the nature of the subject, general testing centers could be used or such testing would be done at the specialized school.  Regardless, most subjects should not require their own schools or testing centers, and should be incorporated into this tree of knowledge.  Using this new system of education, we would have access to the knowledge and teaching ability of anyone from around the world.  

In a society where we can continuously educate ourselves, the potential for advancement is limitless.  While not everyone would be able to contribute something meaningful, many more would be given the chance.  It is rare for people born in a certain social class to change.  Someone who is born poor is likely to die poor, while someone who is born rich is likely to die rich.  The progression from poor to rich is obviously a more difficult task, mainly because it requires many opportunities that most of us never get.  For just about anyone who has made this transition, opportunity was essential.  If it were not for someone with some sort of power or connections, they would have never had the opportunity to make a difference.  By giving everyone equal opportunities, we would all have the ability to help each other.  

Some may wonder how a society where we mainly educate ourselves could function.  With technology, our basic needs would still have the potential to be fulfilled.  If we continue to allow people to work mindless jobs, we will only continue to waste our resources.  By eliminating most jobs through technology, only the creative jobs would remain, such as entertainment and research and development.  But these jobs would not be done for money, but to contribute to society’s advancement and progression.  Ideally, our society would move away from money, and we would own nothing yet have access to anything.  Since money is only a medium through which commodities and amenities are transferred between us, it is not necessary.  We would still have to organize the use of resources, but that can only be addressed once we are capable of such a transition.  The only way for us to truly move away from money is by realizing that we created the need for it, and that we do not actually need it to live.  The most important aspects of this society would be to have consideration for others and to continue education.  In this new society, teaching and learning would be the most important jobs because they provide not only the most opportunities, but the most potential for advancement.  Education is the most important investment we can make in our people.  

Once we have changed the way we live, the way we treat others, and the way we learn, we will have formed the basis for societal equilibrium.  With these changes, we can begin moving forward together as a society.  While our exact destination is unknown, we do know that we cannot continue to live in our own separate worlds and expect to prosper.  We must stand together, lend a hand when we fall, and help each other up when we climb.  

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