Broad and immediate response, was what detonated this saga of outlined texts on education, culture and society. Thanks for reading me. I write these lines on Sunday. Specifically October 10. We inhabit a perpetual summer. The temperature is oscillating between 34 and 35 degrees. It is October, there is not a tail of cloud and the temperatures for us Northerners are infernal. Simply intolerable. It is that old theory of climates and humors that has been carried along throughout the history of mankind; Even the great Emanuel Kant said it like this, I paraphrase it, I don’t have the exact quote, I don’t have it complete in my pale memory: no one who wants to write a good poem or design a well-structured philosophical apparatus can do it at a higher temperature of 28/30 degrees.
With the heat of the tropics, thoughts such as leisure, dissipation, seeing sweaty bodies are generated, all coupled with generous libations of alcoholic drinks and of course, you cannot concentrate on the pollution of your ideas for hours, which is what requires long study and writing of a poem or article. The heat suffocates, suffocates, gives no respite and one cannot concentrate for hours on studying or writing. What’s with the insane fervor of summer and torrid heat waves? Poets have always known it. Somónides of Amorgos (7th century BC) says that they bring “… without number of plagues and unspeakable misfortunes …”.
For another poet, the Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz, the insane and insane heat and drought flourish where there is no water … “only blood, only dust, only the footprints of bare feet on the thorn, / only rags and insect food and drowsiness under the impious noon like a golden chieftain. ” The sworn sun: a golden cacique. I am writing these lines on Sunday, October 10, and outside there is a sun, a 35-degree golden cacique. Yes, we inhabit a perpetual summer. There is no truce or rest. Go to classrooms in person like this, all year long? In case of returning, of course.
Several texts published here in the various edges of my writing have been well replicated by you. I thank you with my heart, word and thought. What to do with the education of infants and young people? I do not know. For me and in fairness because you know that I am a catastrophist and a pessimist, this is already screwed up. There is no reason to send them to classrooms, when everyone is within reach of a click away on what is called “smart” cell phones. There are “smart” cell phones, “smart” algorithms that know what you need from the Internet; there are “smart” refrigerators, there are “smart” televisions. Everything is already “smart” … except humans.
The heroes of today’s young people (“millennials”, as they call themselves, it does not matter and it is inconsequential), they are not the heroes of always. The one with the swift feet who flew, Achilles, to them he is an old man. David, the biblical and armed with Jehovah’s shield and protection and his sling, is today a sad tribute to oblivion. Beowulf? That mythical warrior, protagonist of the Anglo-Saxon sagas and epics. Nothing, it’s a tongue twister, just that.
Young people don’t know about ancient heroes. They don’t even know about yesterday’s heroes. The boys of today have their heroes in teenage millionaires who never go to school: Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Danna Paola, Macaulay Culkin, Britney Spears … In this society where it is rewarded and is fall in love through the artificial images of Instagram, being old (over 30 years old), is of little or no use.
Point one: the dilemma is old. It has always been present: should the school in its various strata prepare free citizens or should it only focus on indoctrinating citizens who comply with a minimum package of studies and paper in hand to join the labor market as workers? What should be fostered in universities: the individuality of the students and their freedom that we have worked so hard to achieve, or else, promote their cohesion and put them in a community where everyone thinks the same?
Point two: “On too many occasions, parents do not educate to help their child grow but to satisfy themselves by modeling it in the image and likeness of what they would like to have been, thus compensating for their own shortcomings and frustrations.” The previous and instructive fragment is by the Iberian philosopher Fernando Savater in his book “The value of educating”. There are several editions of this book, one of them with a huge draft (100 thousand copies), which were given to the teachers of the SNTE of the then powerful Elba Esther Gordillo (it still is).
Point three: as always, it has been VANGUARD in the voice of its team of reporters who have sounded the alarm with their data and texts. Armando Rios has published the scary numbers: according to UNICEF, 166 million children and young people around the world have diagnosed problems of depression, anxiety and stress. Geez, they don’t last long. So what’s the point of having the world just a click away on your “smart” flat screen? Let’s read what he said Michael Levitt (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013): “The damage caused by confinement will be much greater than any damage from COVID-19 that has been avoided.”
We inhabit a perpetual summer. It’s October and it’s 35 degrees with a panicky sun. “This incurable ulcer to the whole city came …” Solon of Athens.