Resilience needs diversity: diversity means that if one bit of a system goes wrong, other bits, unaffected, can carry on and make up for local failure. Creativity needs diversity, too: as in the case of evolution, you need to try out lots and lots of new things before you eventually stumble on an innovation that works better.
Thus protecting the good things we have and improving on what we have, both need diversity. The nice thing about diversity is that it allows for change and improvement without needing a boom and bust model. Diversity is the bedrock of wholesome, steady, iterative improvement. It prevents boom and bust or slash and burn, where things get really successful then fizzle out and get replaced.
This is something that environmentalists and ecologists have known for ages.
It is also something that traders and investors have known for ages. Diversity your portfolio and you can make the same returns for lower risk.
And sociologists are up on it, too: an admixture of various cultures helps strengthen a society.
Now, what is the one of the most important things we have in society, that ensures that the very fundament of our civilisation keeps going. Education and schooling.
Ouch. National curriculum. Indoctrinated teaching inspectors. Centralised dictats and feverish form-filling. Evaluation and motivation by a single system of statistical rating. This is the complete antithesis of diversity. It means that our education system is bound to fail in its purpose.
A resilient and creative education system capable of raising children to form a vibrant and sound new generation must be diverse. It must allow for failure. Creativity and success can only happen if you also allow for failure. It must allow for experiment. It must welcome thoughtful innovation. It must cherish independence in thought and processes.
Everyone knows that our society is very troubled. Massive social problems need massive creativity and originality to solve them. From the point of view of the Bustard, man’s relationship with nature is one of those areas where work is needed. For that we need to free our education system. We need to choose and train our teachers superbly and then trust them.
If the implication of this is that parents must be free to send their children to any school, so be it. It becomes our responsibility, then, to educate our parents well, too, and hold them to high standards. Let’s not make the rule for the exceptions – let’s treat everyone as if they can handle that, and then help those that can’t.
It will take a couple of generations of great pain to bring about the cultural shift to make this happen. But if we don’t, our schools will become more and more mediocre and less able to raise children to handle the mess we have put them into.