Despite having two college degrees, I emerged from my formal education pretty clueless about what it means to be an informed and involved member of society. Sure, my earning potential had increased, but in all the frenzy of career making, Economics sadly remained a big black hole around which I mostly played at the edges. Politics and Government remained something delivered to me, like pizza, and if I didn't like it, I couldn't really send it back, especially when someone else had called it in. History and Current Events seemed more like mere entertainment, some of it not even that good, most of it having nothing to do with me at all.
As for discussions surrounding Philosophy, Ethics, or Environmental Sustainability? Forget it. I recall nothing of those subjects ever being brought up.
Maybe it was just me.
But it is still curious, despite the abundance of all the degrees among us, how we've allowed so much to go way beyond comprehension. For instance, how have we allowed consumer technology to evolve and dominate faster than what our minds and wallets can even keep up with? How have we allowed unintentional health consequences and dependencies to insidiously make their way into our lives without our conscious awareness of how we've even played a part? How have we allowed the demise of smaller communities of intention and ritual while national and international quests for unbounded economic growth leave the ideas of accountability and sustainability mostly unimaginable?
Here we are in the midst of a crisis era. We've got an ever-widening gap between the haves and have-nots and an opioid epidemic to go along with it. We've got global climate change. We've got widespread terrorist activity. And we've got spiritually wounded leaders with access to nuclear arms. It's hard to accept business as usual in education when so much is at stake.
If we first come to terms with our own psychological motivations, solutions might have a chance to be found. While we're at it, we could also stand to focus more on fundamental ecological knowledge, communication skills, and conflict resolution. Unfortunately, all of these are largely missing from today's curriculum. Our educational systems appear to focus less and less on the humanities and more and more on new technologies to perpetuate an economy already way out of control.
Common Good Learning is an attempt to shine light on our educational oversights. It is an attempt to help life-long learners become more ready and willing to take right action, connect through empathy, and reason dispassionately. It is an attempt to help us all become more wide awake for the sake of ecological, economic and spiritual integrity.
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