I was yet again asked by a caring parent to advise their child on choosing the higher education that is aligned with a rightful career. While I do talk to the youth time and again like this, this made me reflect on what I really would like to suggest. As this is the day of pursuit of knowledge traditionally, I decided to put down my thoughts as an article.
What are the skills, knowledge, and perspectives that youth today need to have to ensure their survival? What do they need to know to sustain not just themselves, but, also the planet. We know that the consumerist lifestyle of the current generations is unsustainable and we are living in the end of the irresponsible times.
Responsible times begins with the awareness, methods of practice and acknowledgement in every life act of the interconnectedness of all. Whether it be Islamic or Jewish people dying in Gaza, or Russia and Ukraine or in any of the million wars of Nation States on their own people, amongst people of different strata in society and people in smaller communities, and families – the biggest challenge is the lack of sensitivity that we share the same planet and breathe the same air. If we recognize the inter-connectedness and incorporate in all actions, majority of problems at the societal and State level can come to an end. This is the first practice that the future generation needs to incorporate in their life.
Capacity to respond with confidence in the face of unexpected / unknown challenges. The pandemic has taught us that we cannot ever really comprehend whatever is unfolding before us. Essential to future knowledge is the capacity to respond with confidence each time someone encounters a challenge that has no precedence. What are the fundamentals of such a response will be something every young person today needs to learn.
In an age of information overload, language has been a collateral damage. We have all come to communicate in common languages with least precision. Due to the lack of nuanced language learning, loss of biodiversity, vagueness in understanding phenomena and deliberate campaigns, individual capacity to express with clarity has been dumbed down. Regaining this capacity is critical in an age where machines are the only ones that can poorly mimic and make us forget the need for clarity in articulation to sustain the clarity of thought.
Sharpness of mind will continuously be made to feel unnecessary and human beings reduced to secondary citizens of the planet within their own created machine learning driven systems. Machines however are not humans and cannot be regardless of how much their learning capacities may feed them. To sustain sharpness of mind, and capacity to creatively think through solutions in out-of-box manner, it is critical that humans discover new ways of non-machine based activities.
Staying fit has been a priority at the individual and collective level since the pandemic. However, we live at times of highlighted commodification of both physical and mental fitness. The commercial market commodifies all illnesses as a package and has presented to us several ways of addressing them. The modern healthcare system is the worst example of how a greed driven industry can sustain itself at the cost of human wellbeing. It is critical that youth rediscover and adopt staying fit and being well through methods that step aside from this commodification.
Producing the food and herbs one needs or at least the knowledge of how food is produced and processed is critical knowledge moving forward. Land, its capacity to produce food is the first wonder of the world. Taking it for granted and growing farther from this knowledge is the bane of human society. Youth need to reclaim this knowledge for their own safety and security.
To me these need to be part of every new curriculum and pedagogy that is emerging today. Failing to address even one of this is to add to the long list of collective failures as a human society.