Recently, S. Korea announced that despite all the hostilities and tension with N. Korea, they would deliver food aid to the flood ravaged nation. (see AP article here.)
This got me thinking about my own views on food and then knowledge.
You see, I’ve always, always, always been adamant that food isn’t something one owns. It is to be shared and it is anyone’s right when at my house or in a restaurant, to share anything that is in my cupboard or on my plate. Food is sacred, life giving and not something to covet. It is the source of all our being and like one wouldn’t bottle and refuse air or oxygen to others in need – so to food.
Now I realize the practicalities and don’t take it to an extreme. “Need” is the definitive word here. Someone not hungry and who just wants to clean out my cupboard and resell my food – would get a swift kick. S.Korea is giving food aid because N.Korea needs it and that supercedes all else.
A brief aside. I remember once in Corsica, a very famous German politician came and visited us. We had an amazing evening of wine and food and conversation, laughter and music. The politician drank voluminously but finally, jet lagged and it being late, got up to go to his room. Dead drunk, he pulled out his wallet and threw some money on the table. Then, proceeded to go into the house where he fell upon the first visible “comfort” , a sofa and passed out. Hilarious but it solidifies the point that food is to be shared, it isn’t something just bought and sold.
What about knowledge? I truly believe that much of the bounty and abundance of modern society is because of the free and mostly unfettered flow of information. It is about access to the food of the brain – knowledge/information. Those that need – our students, the curious, the motivated and creative – they all should have access to it.
It is becoming abundantly clear that something is going and growing amiss. So many organization and individuals covet and commoditize knowledge. We put it into books beyond the access of many people. We take open source products and sell them, when it costs pennies (and I know about this – I offer free video conferencing and Learning management systems to schools or teachers and I am far from rich. But I find individuals selling these same products for hundreds of dollars / month!). Ads are with everything, even though cost is not prohibitive. Access is being charged to a higher and higher degree – in many cases, extravagantly almost to the point of usery. (one small beam of light, Tim Berners – Lee, one of the creators of the Internet, has called for FREE access for all). Why do so many go blind to this? As the internet consolidates, the walls ARE closing in and I think more educators should push back.
I won’t rant on. My post today is just to give everyone some food for thought. What about giving education a pass and letting students truly have full access to the world of knowledge. Allow teachers full reign to use knowledge and information in an educational setting?
Utopian? Yes. As Shelly said, “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”