In every progressive school, one will hear educators passionately proclaiming they are preparing students for the future. Educators often emphasize that the future is different from the experience of students’ parents and grandparents. In preparation for this future, modern education has also changed.
Schools tout STEM education, project-based programs, and global studies supported by interconnected campuses around the world. The new learning is no longer about simply gaining knowledge. It is about learning how to learn. That is, one learns to ask questions, to critically think and to create. The goal is to prepare students to become experts in fields which may not even exist today and to become leaders to tackle complex global challenges.
Beyond school, tech giants such as Google and IBM are making milestones in quantum computing; Amazon and SpaceX invest billions into space technology in an effort to send humans to the moon and even Mars.
It is truly an exciting time.
Amid all this excitement, we cannot help but notice that our world is becoming ever more divided and torn with conflicts. According to Scientific American, the state of planet Earth is grim―from the perspectives of economic development, social justice and the environment.
We must pause and ask why this is happening.
Thomas Merton, a great American poet and Trappist monk eloquently poses a
challenge to all of us.
“What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.”