So what went wrong? What happened to us that we stopped taking care of each other and our environment? These questions have made me think about our educational systems. Clearly, humans are not being educated to value and look after each other or our planet. So can we change that? What's needed?
Looking back at my own schooling, the closest I got to learning something about the environment, was in the scouts, but that was more about how to make use of it, not how to look after it. At school, it was how to prepare for an adult life of work. Teamwork was there in both the scouts and school, but always in competition with another group. Learning to value oneself and each other was never part of the curriculum. On the contrary, it was about shoehorning people into standard boxes of behaviour and aspirations, never about finding out what talents a person has hidden inside them.
Religion, as always, showed the way, by keeping the unwashed and ignorant, unwashed and ignorant. That's why Latin was favoured for so long, because you had to be educated to read and to know the language and the poor were deliberately kept in the dark, to keep the rabble pliable. That was the case in the past. Has it changed? Yes, religion has lost it's significance, as people get better education and can see through the sophistry of the argument. But the vast majority never reads the history or questions the beliefs and rules and regulations and rituals, so education only offers the possibility to remove ignorance. On the whole, it is always in the state's interest to keep people in the dark and to manipulate them into following the lead of our glorious leaders.
No, what we need is to be taught that each of us is result of millions of years worth of the universe's experimenting and as such is a unique individual among unique individuals. That life is a special state which needs to be cherished; that it's a one-off event which we have a limited amount of time to experience and that joy and kindness and respect and clarity are the things worth striving for and the rest is incidental.
Sadly we make the incidental important and forget the really important stuff, especially that we are not here forever, but a very limited time and the joy is in each other, not against each other. Looking at the current COP26 meeting in Glasgow, it's clear that we understand that we have to give up some of our toys and baubles, but it's equally clear that those making the public decisions do not want to give up anything. Keep the private jets flying, keep the cars and trucks rolling, keep throwing away stuff so you have room for new stuff. Whatever you do, don't change things! That's the message inside the meeting, despite the science and everyday showing us that it's the path to hell.
People are weird! There is no shame or honour anymore. Even I remember a time when, if some sleaze came out about a person in authority, they would resign. Nobody resigns anymore, not without a golden parachute of vast proportions. And that's what is taught in our educational systems: winning is all, better, bigger, faster, those in the way are the losers and they don't count, cannon fodder. Educators take note: this is what drives the current generations.