Obviously that is a question which can only be answered subjectively, meaning there are as many answers to this question as there are human beings on this planet.
We are writing the year 2010, the LHC in Cern has successfully come closer to re-creating the conditions of the Big Bang to answer the Last Big Questions and unsolved Mysteries of Life. (And no, they did not destroy the Universe by creating a Black Hole ; )
There is still trouble in the middle east, a lot of people are still submitted to cruelty, injustice, ideologies, hunger, poverty and lack of basic education and water. Oh yeah, and there is that thing with the Climate Change. But compared to earlier times in history, it is, as the Thai people like to say “Same same but different.”
And yet, there is something uniquely different going on right now: We see a global community emerging from within the cultural rifts of overlapping worldviews through the wonders of modern traveling, and of course – the net!
People living in countries that are officially at war with each other are meeting in chat rooms, teaming up in online games and social interaction by sharing information, music and thoughts with each other, independently of their image as seen in the papers and on TV. Governments world wide are challenged by the forces of free communication , the most recent example maybe being Google’s decision not to go hand in hand with China’s censoring policy.
“It’s easier to split an atom, than to get rid of a prejudice.”
I have always been very fond about meeting other cultures. I had the great luck to spend my early life and childhood in many different places, both in Europe and Asia. And today while I was taking a walk I remembered Einstein’s famous quote again: “It’s easier to split an atom, than to get rid of a prejudice.”
Being an Online Teacher I get to talk to a lot of people from all kinds of places and cultures, so recently I spoke to two students from Morocco and India. Both of them asked me about German Culture, because they are currently learning the language to move to Germany to work and live there with their families. So they asked me about the cultural difficulties they might have as foreigners in Germany and I happily told them that in the city of Berlin I see all kinds of cultures:
Turkish families are having picnics and barbecues right next to churches while next to them young Americans are drinking beer and conversing with French girls while the Germans ride their bicycles past Vietnamese restaurants.
My students were overjoyed at this answer. They said they thought the Germans would be different, and they told me that talking to a person actually speaking from there made them change their mind and question their preconceived notions.
The above story is just a very small example of the sheer amount of prejudices being questioned every day. Like the Large Hadron Collider in Cern the social aspect of the net crashes our different worldviews and prejudices into one another.
Perspectives are being challenged. Prejudices cracked open like coconuts.
So I ask myself, if the idea behind those experiments conducted at the LHC is to recreate Big Bang Conditions in order to find out the smallest element which holds it all together (see also: Higg’s particle) by crashing tiny particles of stuff into one another and analyzing the new emerging particles created by the impact, what is its equivalent in social spheres of human co-existence? In other words: How will it affect our brains and behaviour, hearts and minds to live in a world which is increasingly more a global experience of communication and shared knowledge?
Honestly, I don’t know. I am not a physicist, but I do know that Learning Online is one of the most effective ways of growing into the skills and tools necessary to appropriately behave and react in a global world. Even meeting people on Facebook, Second Life or on Twitter can do that, of course! No doubt about it. But using the tools of the Internet in a focused study situation of a mutual learning and growth is something which continues to blow my mind.
So I also want to thank all of the students taking lessons here with all the teachers at Learn Out Live for making us break a prejudice everyday and learning how to create lessons that are even better tuned to your needs and wishes.
If you feel reading this article did not completely waste your time, go ahead and share it!
It might help others split an atom as well 😉