It's not a casual thing


The fact that I should decide –at forty one years of age­– to take a break from work in order to peep into the world of education is by no means a casual thing. I am a qualified engineer with a technical profession, a frustrated aeronaut and convinced atheist who refuses to accept esoteric explanations, incarnating rationalist discourse through lifelong daily observance, having never practiced –at least not consciously– meditation for a single minute… I believe this is no casual thing. But let's see –­if only just to provide myself with an explanation­– who and what has led me to think this has not happened out of mere chance.

 To start with, there's the primordial “causal” circumstance, in absence of which none of this would have happened. Yes, it is no doubt quite a singular event, but it's also something which happens to countless people on a daily basis, without leading them to pursue a change of lifestyle. At least not in this way. Our daughter is born, the first and only up till now. But this won't do as an explanation.

 Then there's the discovery –together with Diana– of a whole new world in relation to child-rearing; things do not have to be as we've been incessantly told, both explicit and implicitly, tradition-wise and consumerism-wise. For that's been our experience. It's possible to bring up happy children –very happy children, in fact– away from hospitals, cribs, pacifiers, buggies and trollies, infant formula and baby bottles, disposable nappies, expensive toys, brand new clothes, all kinds of accessories, practices and endless advice which seem to be vital in bringing up a child. But lots of other people have a similar view, so this won't do as an explanation.

In addition, a series of political, social and technological events which have concurred in the last few years, both in space and in time, have called my attention. New technologies have become intertwined with our social and personal fabric to the point that we are unable to conceive of a world devoid of them. Our identities unfold in a mouse click, taking part in a fascinating public game of mirrors, scattering as seeds in the wind which will spread our DNA over lands that we can't even fathom at this point. All this is directly connected with “glocal” scale movements including 15M protests in Spain, Occupy actions in the US and the Arab Spring, where citizens are self-organizing in an exercise of collective imagination which attempts to rewrite, in the margins of a book they never chose, the new common history. To cap it all, the framework supporting everything is a political and economic system where people are taken for consumer goods, oligarchy is dressed up as democracy and freedom is reduced to choosing between given options. But FB and Twitter are used by many people, many of whom also attend demonstrations or sign petitions. Besides, the political currents carrying us along come from far-away mountains. This won't do as an explanation.

Furthermore, I become conscious –though rather late maybe– of the silent revolution that's taking place around free culture. This began with the Hacker Manifesto, almost thirty years ago, and has diversified in various forms throughout the years. A revolution of shared knowledge, of collaborative authorship, of a consumer metamorphosed into prosumer, and which is rising up and threatening to emerge anywhere and everywhere. It's little wonder measures seeking to constrain the world of internet are growing, in a vain attempt to create a vessel for this ever-flowing tide. Power is –understandably– wary of such developments that may soak its very pillars. But this won't do as an explanation.

On an altogether different plane, many people around me are experiencing a personal crisis. All sorts of crises, some serious, some transient, some constructive, some destructive. It´s a time for change, a time to readapt. Families are created and destroyed. It's a constant evolution and revolution. We try to find ourselves, change our lives or at least, dream of changing them. Did I believe it would not happen to me? But this, of course, this won't do as an explanation.

Finally, education, which is entangled in all of the above, which serves as its underpinning, support and reference, which will lay the basis of our personality from the moment we take our first breath of air. Education, which will shore up our ability to describe, understand, explain and transform everything else. But many people were aware of this much before I was, and this won't do as an explanation.

I must admit that I find myself incapable of finding an explanation. What I can say is that I have the certainty that this is not something casual, not because everything is happening at the same time, but because the fact that it's happened at the same time (and that might be coincidental) has been quite a blow. It's a combination of factors that results in a higher-order function. A new paradigm, be it personal or collective, and definitely a unique opportunity. Like the alignment of several moons in the sky, an appealing melting-pot of possibilities, a siren call in the middle of the ocean I was sailing with my rudder hung, enticing me to imagine myself free to explore other seas. A call much too beautiful to be ignored.