Protopian Education Conclusion: Connecting the Eight Pathways

Summary So Far

By now—if you have read the previous articles that outline the eight pathways to a new planetary paradigm of education—a vision of the future of global education has begun to crystallize. Briefly put, I have roughly suggested an educational system that:

  1. Emphasizes the cultivation of a multi-dimensional ecological relatedness.
  2. Works to counter and adapt to the disruptions of technological innovations.
  3. Leverages tech for purposes of tailoring education to the individual and supporting learning through modelling.
  4. Emphasizes inner work and creates safe spaces for this to happen, while cultivating trust and training teachers in how to do so.
  5. Is organized as a network, connected to other spheres of society through real-world projects, and managed with sociocratic principles of self-governance.
  6. Is tailored to prioritize the cultivation of basic traits and meta-skills over specific knowledge content, while still prioritizing the hard work of learning to study more efficiently, and includes an expanded sexual and gender-relations education.
  7. Gives Global South countries a say in how world history and social science are taught in the Global North and makes Big History the backbone subject of all other subjects.
  8. Has a second layer of virtual networked education, tailored for the needs and concerns of global refugee populations

… but this series is not here to present a vision of the future of education. These particular suggestions may be revised or exchanged. Our main emphasis is, and remains, to present the map of the eight pathways from education as we know it, to a new paradigm of education.

What’s Holding Us Back

Through this study I have come to believe that a major shift in the world of education is held back primarily by three factors:

  1. That key agents do not have a shared map or understanding of the basic shift between paradigms of education, and thus find it hard to work together and achieve consistent results.
  2. That key agents at the top leadership level hold each other back by failing to align interests, goals and projects in accordance with a shared understanding and mutual aid.
  3. That political and economic systems limit the degrees of freedom that reformers have to act.

Simply stated, agreement upon a shared map of how education can and should be transformed is necessary for real progress to be made—what are the different pathways and how do they interrelate? The map does not have to be perfect to be usable, nor is agreement required about the details. It only needs to be “good enough for now, safe enough to try”; it just needs basic consent from key stakeholders (as the formerly discussed sociocratic method of governance states). Not consensus—only consent.

And it is by having such a shared map, that rifts between different global organizations, countries and other key agents can be bridged. If key stakeholders show up at a workshop with such a shared framework in mind, the ability to reach shared understanding and align interests may be increased. Again, even if the map may need improvement, it can offer a place to start from.

And from there on, strategic alliances of reformers can be forged around the different pathways, or other projects that relate to them and have synergies with them, or in synergies across and between them—and this can help to escape the political and economic constraints that hold the field of global education, and its key players, in check.

This requires a kind of non-linear leadership; not the leadership of going from A to B, but leadership that works synergistically—or even, as manner of speaking, alchemically—to transform gridlocks into opportunities, to travel through a maze of pitfalls and opportunities for change. The more people have a shared map, the easier they can cooperate and find pathways through the maze. May non-linear leaders emerge and rise to the task.

It’s All Connected

Synergies between these eight pathways are possible in more ways than can be imagined beforehand, not least as the pathways still need to be trodden and further explored—but most of all, because each synergy effect is case-specific and must be discovered within its own unique situation.

That being said, let us look at some of the chains of synergies and interrelations between the different pathways.

  • Strategically countering the negative effects of mobile technology’s tendency to hijack our attention and take us out of the present moment is necessary for serious inner work to take place in educational settings.
  • Serious inner work and being present in the moment is necessary for us to be fully engaged with the beauty of nature and our sense of connectedness to the biosphere.
  • Connectedness with the biosphere and direct experience of nature is nurturing for our mental health. • Good mental health is necessary for cultivating meta-skills such as compassion and sensemaking.
  • The meta-skills of compassion and sense-making are necessary for the perspectives of other cultures to be truly understood, such as if the Global South perspectives are included into the curricula of the Global North.
  • The Global South perspectives are necessary for populations around the world to better understand the realities and perspectives of refugees, the vast majority of whom are from this region, and this can boost the support for their education via virtual systems of empowerment.
  • When networked virtual systems of education are created for refugee purposes, this can also spur innovation in the leveraging of tech in other parts of global education, leading to Big Data being used there to tailor education to individual needs according to algorithms.
    Big Data and AI-driven education can free up teaching time and let teachers focus more on connecting personally with their pupils, engendering greater mutual trust.
  • Greater mutual trust and freed-up teacher time can help shape education in a more networked direction.
  • A more networked education can offer greater support to the introduction of more real-world projects.
  • Real-world projects can offer a bridging out to other systems of society, thus creating a basis for more community-based schooling.
  • A more community-based schooling can offer a more experiential and less cerebral kind of learning.
  • A more experiential and less cerebral learning can offer better prerequisites for serious collective and individual trauma work.
  • Serious trauma work can help to heal not only painful histories and issues of ethnic identity, but also issues of gender conflict and identity.
  • Healing painful ethnic relations and histories is necessary for members of the Global South to leapfrog into a new economic, technological, and cultural era of greater planetary equality.

The list could go on. The point is, again, that these pathways interconnect. They all point in a similar direction: towards a new paradigm of education. Exclude one of the paths, and our non-linear road to a rewired global education becomes more difficult. If the map takes hold, more non-linear leaders will become skilled at seeing and navigating these connections, grabbing the moments given to transform education through strategic alliances across nations and sectors.

Of course, the pathways interconnect not only with each other, but also with the wider systems of society, culture and economy. To transform education is, ultimately, to transform society itself. By extension, transforming global education is to transform global society.

At this moment in history, East and West are meeting as equals and finding ways to integrate. North and South are meeting as equals. Industrial society is giving way to information society. And society is shifting from the national to the transnational and global. Each of these shifts occur within and through education, since education is the largest interface between each individual human being and her society.

To transform global society into what it must become, we must grow as cultures, nations, and human beings.

And growing means learning. And learning means playing.

So let us play.

Hanzi Freinacht is a political philosopher, historian, and sociologist, author of ‘The Listening Society’, ‘Nordic Ideology’ and the upcoming books ‘The 6 Hidden Patterns of History’ and ‘Outcompeting Capitalism’. Much of his time is spent alone in the Swiss Alps. You can follow Hanzi on Facebook, Twitter, and Medium, and you can speed up the process of new metamodern content reaching the world by making a donation to Hanzi here.