Recently I took a look at this report on the world in 2030. It is bleak with little pieces of hope strewn about to make sure we don't get too sad when thinking about the future. The politics, racism and hate of this place make it hard to imagine massive change in a positive sense. It is hard to imagine us choosing to embrace new technologies and new ways of organizing over here. But every now and then I hear from someone who is working in fields that focus on technology and the future and who see the potential that we hold as a species on a daily basis and it opens a door that I had previously shut.
That said. There is too much of everything happening now. Too much information and it comes too fast from too many places. Sometimes I wonder, not if I am going to burn out, but when. I wonder at what point people stop giving a shit about the great big world of politics and technology and war and peace. When is it time to scale it all back and go live on a farm? I wonder if I could ever do that as a matter of intention or if it would only be a retreat from the horrors that humanity has to offer.
That's something that I think about all the time. I also think that many of us feel like half-assed renaissance people. My suspicion is that the vast majority of us (our generation, class, whatever) feel that way. Studying sort of majors to do sort of jobs is what happens to most of us by the time we realize that we are actually supposed to be responsible for all of this.
But I am not usually that negative. It sometimes just pours out. Learning circles beautiful things. They are focused on bringing information and learners together in an egalitarian relationship between facilitator, learner, and subject. It wasn't only bullshit circles and it wasn't only frontal lessons. There was also an ongoing theme in my circles. Ours happened to be Socialist-Zionsim... It doesn't have to be that, but having a thread that ties it all together means not becoming a random menu of random "cool lectures" like TED talks. TED is cool, but it isn't community and it isn't really learning anything in any deep way and it isn't going to solve the problem of 21st century alienation. It is just a menu of cool moments with interesting "factoids".
It may be that no one who didn't have the experience of learning circles misses it, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't set out to expose it to the world. I often think of building a school based on those learning circles and on the critical pedagogy and participatory learning that we practiced and became experts in.
The internet is great for communication, information and entertainment. It is the most important tool that humans have invented ever. Probably. Still, it is supposed to be a tool with which to build the world, not the world itself.
Alienation is real; from each other, from information, from learning and from reality. It is all real. Building (some)thing(s) to combat that dehumanization is absolutely right. Dehumanization, at the end of the day, is what is happening here in the occupation, in the streets and worldwide on the internet. It seems to be a running theme.
It is worthwhile to work practice rehumanization these days.