Tag Archives: century

Old School vs. New School

And when I say old school… I mean OLD school. This article is about appreciating those traits that made Greek Academies so great and the current College System… so, so lame. History repeats itself, they say. And looking at the past for knowledge, is a GREAT way to help build a better future.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Students who went to the academies in Ancient Greece went there because they wanted to learn. It was this thirst for knowledge that drove students to visit their classrooms, not a need for a diploma or social pressure.

Greek students choose their teachers. They weren’t assigned to teachers randomly.

Greeks students honored their teachers by referring them to as “master” or “mentor”. Not Mr. Jones, Missy, or simply Emily. Formalities aside, respect toward educators is a thing that is quickly deteriorating.

Ancient students were free to leave a classroom whenever they wanted, and a teacher could refuse to give classes to a disrespectful student.

Students read books because they genuinely wanted to learn, not because of some test or examination.

Greek Academies ran on donations/sponsors…. not on student’s money.

IN THE END

It’s the over-complicated society, the over-complicated life, and over-complicated regulations that have ruined the education system.

It’s a shame how the entire SYSTEM is geared towards teaching students how to work, but NOT how to live. Sure, it’s the parent’s job to take care of the LIFE lessons … but happens to kids with bad parents? or a dumb ones? or broken homes?….. sadly, there is few people around to guide these lost teenagers.

Old School

Read —–> Learn —–> Be a better person

New School

Read —–> Take tests —–> Get diploma —–> Work —–> Make money

In the Society of the XXI Century

Seems like helping students make “future” money is more important than helping them find happiness.

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The Professor who talked about LIFE

Sometimes when looking at a classroom of students, all I see is a room full of zoombies. Not your typical skin-rotting, degenerate, brain-eating creatures from the grave. No, im talking about a high-tech, de-sensitivized, note-hungry mass of uninspired zoombies.

Students who stare at the chalkboard with blank eyes and open mouths. Peers who instead of taking notes, have their eyes glued to their cellphones or the Internet. Fellow classmates whose attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish. The classroom, in reality, is a lot more like a zoombie wasteland than a educational facility. A place where a few survivors, with the professor as their leader, have to fend off a mass of brain-dead zoombies.

What happens when the survivors have had enough?

Unlike in a zoombie-apocalypse film, the survivors in the classroom can´t stand up and fight. They can´t grab baseball bats and start clobbering zoombie skulls. Instead of melee weapons, all the survivors have are chalk sticks. Instead of bullets, all they can shoot at the zoombies are words. And in this movie,  the protagonist (professor) is forced to keep feeding exam-information to the student-zoombies or run the risk of being eaten alive.

What happens when a recording machine can just as easily carry out the work of a professor? What happens when everytime the professor goes off topic, he is meet with a cascade of falling pencils? – If it wasn´t for those couple students that actually do CARE,  most professors would feel competlely de-humanized, impotent and useless.

Now the reason im writing this reflection, is because of something I witnessed the other day in class.

I noticed how our professor, a shy man, got tired of talking about the same classroom material he always talked about. Mr. Shy decided to take a break from being a teacher, and for just 20 minutes, give his students advice about LIFE.

He didn´t lecture us. He didn´t act as a superior-being. All he did was give us, his students, good advice on the matters of LIFE. Knowledge and wisdom that he had obtained through experience. The kind of desinteristed advice a grandfather gives to his grandchildren.

How did we, the students, thank Mr. Shy for his thoughtful advice?

With cold stares. Eyes saying ¨Who the F*** do you think you are, telling us this¨

With the loud noise of dozens of pens hitting our desk.

With mouths yapping gossip left and right.

With inconsiderate yawns and laughter.

¨Respect your elders¨ they say…

And there I was. Alone, sorrounded by a crowd of inconsiderate, disrespectful, ungrateful XXI-century student-zoombies.

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Mexico, a Superpower?

This post is a continuation of last’s week’s ¨Review – The Next 100 Years¨, a book written by George Friedman, CEO of the largest private intelligence company in the world. In this post we will discuss how Mexico will one day challenge US power in North America.

2080 – Mexico´s rise to Power

Two eagles collide

 

Factors to take into consideration:

  1. Mexican inmigrants don´t usually lose their closeness with Mexico.
  2. Being neighbors with the USA is an economic advantage.
  3. Mexicans still feel like the USA stole their northern territory.

By 2070 Mexico´s economy will be in the top 10.

  • It´s currently #14 in GDP (production)
  • The second largest flow of money into Mexico, is the money Hispanic citizens in the US send to their families in Mexico.
  • Much like the millions of dollars produced by illegal alcohol sales in the USA during 1930´s, the billions of $$$ made by the drug cartels in Mexico will one day be ¨cleansed¨ through reinvesment in the country.

By 2070, the Hispanic citizens and inmigrants will constitute over 70% of the total population in former Mexican territories.

 

Source - US Census Bureau (2006)

 

Around 2080, tensions between USA and Mexico will escalate:

  1. Hispanic commnity will have a large representation in Congress.
  2. The rest of the US citizens will start feeling threatened by the growth of the Hispanic community.
  3. A Mexican secessionist movement will be born calling for the reintegration of these ¨Latino¨ states back to Mexico.

This minoritary Mexican secessionist movement (within the USA) will fuel the fire of the US conservative base. The American right-wing will label this movement an ¨insurrection¨ and will start calling for the inmediate deportation of all ¨Hispanics¨ back to Mexico.

The American goverment will respond by deporting all Mexicans who are not citizens back across the border. The Mexican seccesionis will then turn to vandalism and start revolting. The US will try to contain the revolt by mobilizing the National Guard and the US army.

The Mexican goverment will also mobilize its army to the border. The American actions will be viewed as racist ¨ethnic cleansing¨ by the Mexican goverment, whose right-wing party will start gaining massive support. While militarily superior, the US will not be facing the Mexican army. Instead it will be inmersed in an inner struggle to keep it´s southern states under control.

Territorial shifts aside, Given that the Hispanic community will be the biggest one in the US by 209o, the question will be:

Washington D.C or Mexico City?

Which city will be the capital of North America by 2100?

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Review ¨The Next 100 Years¨

A lot has changed in the last century. And, these changes don´t show any signs of slowing down.

Goverments paying inmigrants to come in? World War III? Mexico as a superpower? These are just a handful of predictions from George Friedman´s bestselling book ¨The Next 100 Years¨. Friedman is the Texan founder and CEO of STRATFOR, the world´s leading private intelligence company. So with a clear mind and open eyes, let´s take a glimpse at what the future might have in store.

Highlights of the Next Century

There is one basic principle in which Friedman bases his book on… The United States of America ¨superpower¨ status isn´t fading anytime soon. The Americans have merely hit a rough patch, but will continue being a superpower for decades to come. Trying to maintan it´s status as the #1 country in the world will be a task the US goverment will take very seriously.

2010s – USA / Islamic War

Whether United States is defeated or Iraq/Afghanistan remains a stalemate, that really won´t matter. As long as the Muslim world remains ethnically divided and fighting between themselves, it won´t pose a real threat to the US.

2020 – China´s expiration date

China´s current economical growth is the result of the country opening it´s market to capitalism. Such tremendous economical growth is causing stark differences between the rich coastal cities and poor central goverment. The coastal cities will eventually want more liberty. This in turn will leave the central chinese goverment two options: let the coastal cities drift away weakening the union or impose a more control over them. Both outcomes will cripple China´s economic power as a country.

2025 – Labor Force Crisis

Are you 18 and worried about finding a job? Don´t worry. By 2025, the ¨job crisis¨ will turn into a ¨labor force crisis¨.

With birth rate´s falling through out developed countries: a new laborforce will be needed to sustain the big, retiring ¨baby-boomer¨ generation. Currently, the birth rate of Europe and Japan is below the 2.1 child/woman ¨replacement level¨. This means that in a couple decades, developed countries are going to be filled with old people and lacking young ones.

European and japanese goverment´s will have to compete over inmigrants by offering them money and medical care packages. For the USA, whose birth rate level is higher, more lenient and open inmigration laws will solve the crisis. This increased flow of  inmigration and future innovations on robotics will help solve the 2025´s labor shortage.

2030 – Third Fall of Russia

Oh, yes! The Russians are back for a rematch. This next decade we will see Russia get economically stronger. This economic strength will in turn lead them to expand their military branches. With a strong military, the Russian goverment will then be interested in re-establishing the Soviet Union´s former sphere of influence in the Balkans and Eastern Europe.

Western Europe won´t help Eastern Europe, because Germany (EUs key player) depends too much on Russian gas. Thus Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe will turn to the USA for support. The United States will gladly ¨contain¨ Russia through its support of Eastern Europe (west), Turkey (south) and Japan (east).

The resulting ¨Cold War¨ will be very much like the last one, but shorter. This time a non-direct confrontation, alternative energy sources, a declining population: will all play agains´t Russia. Their economy will collapse, followed by their military. And once again Russia will disintegrate into an even weaker nation.

2050 – World War III

With Russia and China out of the picture, by 2050 the most powerful nations in order of strength will be

  1. USA
  2. Turkey: with a sphere of influence over the Middle East and lower Russia.
  3. Japan: with a sphere of influence over the Pacific and western China.
  4. European Union
  5. Poland: with a sphere of influence over Eastern Europe and Russia.

The Americans will see that its spot as the #1 country is being challenged by its former allies Turkey and Japan. The USA will do all it can to ¨contain¨ the expansion of these two countries. Turkey and Japan won´t enjoy feeling ¨contained¨ and will become secret war-allies. Japan will then stage a ¨Pearl Harbor¨ in space, taking down as many U.S satellites as it can. Then in less than 15 minutes, most of the US Airforce will be destroyed.

With Poland, China, and Britain as allies, the USA will strike back with it´s reserve forces. The result of the war will be determined by whoever controls the air and space. No nuclear devices will be employed (as they would be seen undesired by all). The European Union will remain mostly neutral.

After almost 2 years of war, by 2052 the USA will be able to take full control of space (high ground) and win. The war won´t  be a ¨total war¨ of societies destroying societies. Instead a peace treaty will be drafted in which the defeated nations won´t lose much and the USA (and allies) are allowed military control of space.

2060/2070 – Golden Decades for the US

Years of economic, technological and social prosperity.

2080 – Mexico´s Rise to Power

To be continued on next week´s post – ¨Mexico, a Superpower?¨


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Meaning of Life in the XXI Century

Exisitencialism, emptyness, constant boredom… all signs of the XXI century man struggling to find a meaning to his life. A struggle for meaning that only seems to be getting harder decade after decade, generation after generation. Capitalism tells us its money, Goverment tells us its work, Religion tells us its God, Hollywood tells us its pleasure… the list of meanings goes on and on… and so does the number of people that feel their existence is meaningless, that they have no control over their lives.

But what if there was a a way to find meaning to our lives… what if the reason we are not finding that meaning is because we are not looking in the right places. Here is where Viktor Frankl’s theory of logotherapy comes in. Frankl was a jew with a loving family, a prominent career as psicologist/neurologist, a pregnant wife and unpublished book. Then came 1942. His family was put on a train. His dad died in his arms. His mother was sent to the gas chambers. His wife was forced to abortion and sent to another camp.  His unpublished book was ripped to shreds. Everything he loved… gone in the blink of an eye.

So there he was standing in front of Auschwitz’s electric fence. With every right to want jump… end his life… escape the suffering. But right then, another prisoner touched his shoulder and said “Don’t, wait till to tomorrow”. And thus he waited. Waited 3 years in 3 different concentration camps before finally being liberated in 1945. What keep him alive? His willingness to reunite with his wife and rewrite his lost book.

His experiences in the camps taught him a lot about the human being. It showed him that even in the most miserable, inhuman conditions where a people were reduced to numbers: humans retained the ability to choose. Even in Auschwitz, prisoners could still to retain some dignity. “The pigs were unmasked. And so were the saints. Hunger revealed them” It’s this experience and his own professional formation that motivated Frankl to elaborate his theory of logotherapy.

Don't stop looking...

Logotherapy  focuses on the meaning of life and man´s search for that meaning. Not an abstract/universal meaning that applies for all, but rather, a concrete personal meaning that life holds for everyone. Instead of dwelling in the past, logotherapy encourages us to look at the future. A personal meaning that has to found in the world outside, not inside.

According to Frankl there a 3 different ways of discovering/carrying out the meaning of life:

1. Meaning of  action: having a goal, a mission in life. Wanting to write, create or achieve something that one can later look at and be genuinely proud of.

2. Meaning of love: being able to accept and love that which sorrounds you. Being able to enjoy nature, art, company, friends and family.

3. Meaning of suffering: when one faces an inescapable destiny (terminal disease, death), life offers one the opportunity of carrying out a supreme value: accepting the suffering. Valor resides not in the suffering itself, but in the attitude in which one faces that suffering. By accepting the challenge of suffering, life maintains its meaning to the last instant, all the way to the very end.

Frankl admits that the our meaning of life can change with the passing of time, but the important thing its that never ceases to exist. In summary, what his experience in the concentration camp taught him was this: “The human being is not just an object among’st objects; things determine other things, but men, at the last instance, determines himself.”

Even Nietzsche, a devout existencialist, once said: “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how”. The trick is in finding that “why”.

Quoting the last words of  Viktor Frankl’s short book Man’s Search for Meaning (which I highly recommend)

“We have come to know man as he really is. After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s prayer or the Shema Yisreal on his lips”

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