“The 7 Necessary Knowledge for the Education of the Future” Edgar Morin
“… I think that Latin America can, today ... foster a new Renaissance, a hope of the possible. I think that Latin American educators can be the gentle initiators of the necessary reforms: thought, education, the institution. ”
Who is Edgar Morin?
Edgar Nahum was born in Paris on July 8, 1921, under a family of Sephardic Jewish origin. His first ten years are spent next to his parents, but when Luna Nahum, his mother, dies in 1931, Edgar becomes raised by his father and Corinne Beressi, his maternal aunt. This loss has a strong impact on his childhood that will leave indelible marks for the rest of his life. Despite having only ten years of age, Edgar tries to fill the void left by his mother's game with literature thus becoming, early, a great reader who devours books of the most varied themes; It is noted that this is the most remote origin of his self-taught and investigative spirit that will characterize him in the course of his life. (Full bio).
French sociologist and researcher (Paris, 1921) of strong ancestry in academic circles. He is the author of The Spirit of the Age (1962), Introduction to a politics of man (1965), The Commune in France: the metamorphosis of Plodémet (1967), The Rumor of Orleans (1970), California Journal (1971), The method (1977), What is totalitarianism. Of the nature of the USSR (1983), Tierra-patria (1993), To leave the twentieth century (1996) and Amour, poésie, sagesse (1998). Awarded the Médicis de Comunicación (1992) award, and the Legion of Honor and the International Prize of Catalonia in 1994.
The seven necessary knowledge
According to Edgar Morin, the 7 knowledge necessary for the education of the future are: Error and illusion, the principles of relevant knowledge, teaching the human condition, teaching earthly identity, addressing uncertainties, teaching understanding and finally, the ethics of the human race, here is a synthesis of these principles.
1. Blindness of knowledge: Error and illusion.
“It is necessary to learn to navigate in an ocean of uncertainties through archipelagos of certainties.” (3)
All knowledge carries the risk of error and illusion. The education of the future must always count on that possibility. Human knowledge is fragile and exposed to hallucinations, to errors of perception or judgment, to disturbances and noises, to the distorting influence of affections, to the imprinting of the culture itself, to conformity, to the merely sociological selection of our ideas, etc.
Folded corner:… the development of intelligence is inseparable from that of affectivity. One might think, for example, that by stripping all knowledge of affection, we eliminate the risk of error. It is true that hate, friendship or love can blind us, but it is also true that the development of intelligence is inseparable from that of affectivity. Affectivity can obscure knowledge but it can also strengthen it.
It could also be believed that scientific knowledge guarantees the detection of errors and militates against perceptual illusion. But no scientific theory is forever immunized against error. There are even theories and doctrines that protect their own mistakes with intellectual appearance.
The first and unavoidable task of education is to teach knowledge capable of criticizing one's own knowledge. We must teach to avoid double alienation: that of our mind for its ideas and that of our own ideas for our mind. The gods are nourished by our ideas about God, but immediately become ruthlessly demanding . The search for truth demands reflexibility, criticism and error correction. But, in addition, we need a certain conviviality with our ideas and with our myths. The first objective of the education of the future will be to provide students with the ability to detect and correct errors and illusions of knowledge and, at the same time, teach them to live with their ideas, without being destroyed by them.
We must open ourselves to new ideas, together, and not cling to blindly believe in accepted or old ideas. (4)
The first objective of the education of the future will be to provide students with the ability to detect and correct errors and illusions of knowledge and, at the same time, teach them to live with their ideas, without being destroyed by them.
2. The principles of relevant knowledge.
You cannot know the parts without knowing the whole, nor the whole without knowing the parts .
In the presence of information it is necessary to discern what the key information is. Given the infinite number of problems it is necessary to differentiate those that are key problems. But how to select the relevant information, problems and meanings? Without a doubt, revealing the context, the global, the multidimensional and the complex interaction.
As a consequence, education must promote a general intelligence that is apt to refer to the context, to the global, to the multidimensional and to the complex interaction of the elements. This general intelligence is built on existing knowledge and its criticism. Its fundamental configuration is the ability to pose and solve problems.
For this, intelligence uses and combines all particular skills. The relevant knowledge is always and at the same time general and particular. At this point, Morin introduced a pert pertinent distinction between rationalization (mental construction that only attends to the general) and rationality, which simultaneously attends to the general and to the particular
Given the infinite number of problems it is necessary to differentiate those that are key problems. … As a consequence, education must promote a “general intelligence” apt to refer to the context, to the global, to the multidimensional and to the complex interaction of the elements.
3. Teach the human condition.
“We are individuals, species and society at the same time” (5)
A common adventure has embarked all humans of our era. All of them must be recognized in their common humanity and, at the same time, recognize the cultural diversity inherent in everything human. To know the human being is to place it in the universe and, at the same time, separate it from it. Like any other knowledge, that of the human being must also be contextualized:
Who we are is an inseparable question of where we are, where we come from and where we are going. The human is and develops in loops:
a) brain-culture. b) reason - affection - impulse. c) individual - society - species. All truly human development means understanding man as a set of all these loops and humanity as one and diverse. Unity and diversity are two inseparable, foundational perspectives of education. Culture in general does not exist except through cultures. Education must show the individual, social, global destiny of all humans and our roots as citizens of the Earth. This will be the essential formative core of the future.
"We must understand that the destiny of human beings has the facet of the destiny of the human species, of individual and social destiny intertwined and inseparable and that we have a common destiny and condition as citizens of the planet."
Like any other knowledge, that of the human being must also be contextualized. Education must show the individual, social, global destiny of all humans and our roots as citizens of the Earth. This will be the essential formative core of the future.
4. Teach earthly identity.
“We destroy our planet and ourselves because we do not understand the human condition nor do we have an awareness of interdependence that links us to our land and considers it as the first and last Homeland.” (6)
Human history began with a dispersion, a dispersion of all humans to regions that remained for isolated millennia, producing an enormous diversity of languages, religions and cultures. In modern times there has been a technological revolution that allows us to relate these cultures again, to unite the dispersed ... The average European is already in a world circuit of comfort, a circuit that is still forbidden to three quarters of humanity. It is necessary to introduce a more powerful world notion in education than economic development: intellectual, affective and moral development on a terrestrial scale.
The planetary perspective is essential in education. But, not only to better perceive the problems, but to elaborate a true feeling of belonging to our Earth considered as the last and first homeland. The term homeland includes etymological and affective references both paternal and maternal. In this perspective of paternal-mother-child relationship, the same anthropological, ecological, civic and spiritual consciousness will be built on a planetary scale. "It has taken us too long to perceive our earthly identity, " Morin said, citing Marx ("history has progressed on the bad side") but expressed his hope by citing in parallel another phrase, on this occasion of Hegel:
"The owl of wisdom always sets off at sunset."
It is necessary to introduce a more powerful world notion in education than economic development: intellectual, affective and moral development on a terrestrial scale.
5. Face uncertainties.
“Uncertainty is part of life and we must learn that knowledge is nothing more than our idea of reality.” (7)
All societies believe that the perpetuation of their models will occur naturally. Past centuries always believed that the future would be shaped according to their beliefs and institutions. The Roman Empire, so extensive in time, is the paradigm of this security of survival. However, like all previous and later empires, the Muslim, the Byzantine, the Austro-Hungarian and the Soviet fell.
Folded corner:… And there is above all the uncertainty derived from our own decisions. Once we make a decision, the concept of the ecology of action begins to work, that is, a series of actions and reactions that affect the global system are triggered and that we cannot predict. Western culture spent several centuries trying to explain the fall of Rome and continued referring to the Roman era as an ideal time that we should recover. The twentieth century has completely demolished the prediction of the future as extrapolation from the present and has vitally introduced uncertainty about our future. Education must endorse the uncertainty principle, as valid for social evolution as its formulation by Heisenberg for Physics. The story progresses through shortcuts and deviations and, as happens in biological evolution, every change is the result of a mutation, sometimes civilization and sometimes barbarism. All this is largely due to chance or unpredictable factors.
But uncertainty is not only about the future. There is also uncertainty about the validity of knowledge. And there is above all the uncertainty derived from our own decisions. Once we make a decision, the concept of the ecology of action begins to work, that is, a series of actions and reactions are triggered that affect the global system and that we cannot predict. We have educated ourselves acceptably well in a system of certainties, but our education for uncertainty is poor.
In the colloquium, responding to an educator who thought that certainties are absolutely necessary, Morin qualified and reaffirmed his thinking:
“There are some nuclei of certainty, but they are very small.
We sail in an ocean of uncertainties in which there are some archipelagos of certainties, not vice versa. ”
Education must endorse the uncertainty principle, as valid for social evolution as its formulation by Heisenberg for Physics. The story progresses through shortcuts and deviations and, as happens in biological evolution, every change is the result of a mutation, sometimes civilization and sometimes barbarism.
6. Teach understanding.
“Communication without understanding is reduced to words. True globalization will come when we are able to UNDERSTAND. ”(8)
Understanding has become a crucial need for humans. That is why education has to address it directly and in both directions: a) interpersonal and intergroup understanding and b) planetary understanding.
Morin found that communication does not imply understanding. The latter is always threatened by the misunderstanding of the ethical codes of others, of their rites and customs, of their political options. Sometimes we confront incompatible worldviews. The great enemies of understanding are selfishness, ethnocentrism and sociocentrism. Teaching understanding means teaching not to reduce the human being to one or more of his qualities that are multiple and complex. For example, it prevents understanding from marking certain groups only with a label: dirty, thieves, intolerant. Positively, Morin sees the possibilities of improving understanding through: a) empathic openness towards others and b) tolerance towards different ideas and forms, as long as they do not threaten human dignity.
True understanding requires the establishment of democratic societies, beyond which there is neither tolerance nor freedom to leave the ethnocentric closure. Therefore, the education of the future must assume a seamless commitment to democracy, because there is no understanding on a planetary scale between peoples and cultures except in the framework of an open democracy.
Teaching understanding means teaching not to reduce the human being to one or more of his qualities ... Positively, Morin sees the possibilities of improving understanding through: a) empathic openness towards others and b) tolerance towards different ideas and forms, as long as they don't pay attention to human dignity.
7. The ethics of the human race.
Ethics is not taught with moral lessons. It is the awareness that the human being is an individual and at the same time is part of a society and a species: A triple reality. (9)
In addition to particular ethics, teaching a valid ethic for the entire human race is a requirement of our time. Morin presents the individual - society - species loop, as the basis for teaching the coming ethics.
In the individual-society loop, the ethical duty of teaching democracy arises. This implies consensus and acceptance of democratic rules. But it also needs diversities and antagonisms. The ethical content of democracy affects all those levels. Respect for diversity means that democracy is not identified with the dictatorship of the majority.
In the individual - species loop, Morin bases the need to teach terrestrial citizenship. Humanity ceased to be an abstract and distant notion to become something concrete and close with interactions and commitments on a terrestrial scale.
Morin dedicated himself to postulate concrete changes in the educational system from the elementary stage to the university: the non-fragmentation of knowledge, the reflection on what is taught and the elaboration of a paradigm of circular relationship between the parties and the whole, what Simple and complex. He advocated what he called epistemological tithing, according to which universities should dedicate ten percent of their budgets to finance reflection on the value and relevance of what they teach.
Morin dedicated himself to postulating concrete changes in the education system from the elementary stage to the university ... He advocated what he called epistemological tithe, according to which universities should dedicate ten percent of their budgets to finance reflection on value and the relevance of what they teach.
As we can see Edgar Morín is another one of the authors who presents us with important and essential elements for the educational processes which commit in addition to the educational system, to any training / education space (Family, organized groups, socialization spaces ...); so that, in this way, we continue in the process of assimilation-accommodation of the evident changes in our society, in our planet earth.
Compilation: Monica Betancur
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