BASTIAT FREE UNIVERSITY
rediscover the pleasures of self directed learning
BFU self-directed learning for visionaries
"All men who have turned out worth anything
have had the chief hand in their own education." — Sir Walter
REVIVE RENAISSANCE EDUCATION
"True learning - learning that is permanent and useful, that leads to intelligent action and further learning — can arise only out of the experience, interest, and concerns of the learner." — John Holt
Renaissance education mixed all disciplines into a total life experience; History of sculpture may be accompanied by art creation and followed by the study of anatomy which leads to psychology, through architecture, and then to sculpting itself. The student defines their educational needs by their desire to answer questions. The student follows these answers with new questions on a now higher level. Learning is an enjoyable, all day, all life, self directed endeavor.
Joy of discovery and satisfaction from personal growth impels further research. Innovative action adds substance to knowledge gained, and also raises more questions. The broader the learning the more aware a student becomes of their lack of an encompassing knowledge. Education is thus pushed beyond style and substance toward wisdom and accomplishment. The milestones of success are personally defined by each student in relation to their individual goals, this act alone helps return pleasure to the learning experience.
Why should we return to Renaissance education? The first step is to consider where we are, in time and in process. We are at the end of the industrial age, huge bureaucratic organizations that developed in the industrial age were based on economy of size dwarfing the needs of the individual. Success was defined by many in society as being part of the system; supporting it as the system promised to support you. As the information age matures the required size for a system to be effective decreases. System inefficiencies involved in layered vertical communications make huge organizations increasingly dysfunctional. Many bureaucracies now find it unreasonable to keep promises if those promises will force them to change standing policies.
In Renaissance times a Condotta pledged to their Condottiere even as the Condottiere pledged to his Condotta. Until a generation or two ago the implicit social contract of organizations and associates was still loyalty for loyalty. This is no longer the case. Increasingly large organizations are asking for sacrifice, and their correlative promise is only to continue the existence of the organization. There is a rapidly evolving unilateral nature of hierarchal association. This has been necessitated for bureaucracies by transitions toward a social order based on individual empowering technology. Long term reciprocal relationships are now the exception. Many individuals are now pledging to give no more loyalty to their surrounding organizations than the organizations give to them.
There is today an ever increasing need for adaptable and creative doers. Society's survival now requires innovators originate and develop ideas outside obsolete and decaying organizational structures. In a world of increasingly temporal promises, small efficient groups now count on reputation to chose their affiliates. Small and nimble teams, we call them the Netcohort, of independent entrepreneurs are developing to fill the void being left by the first spasms of collapse from industrial age powers. These netcohort teams are aligning in a fluid way with other groups in what may become a "netcohort society." In contrast there is a steadily decreasing need for bureaucratically conditioned human drones, just as our schools are creating far more of them.
"In a time of drastic change it is the learners
who inherit the future.
Modern education is a bureaucracy designed to create industrial age conformists. We will limit our discussion of the current educational system to this paragraph, we will then return to more positive matters. Education is currently a factory creating human parts for a social machine. Stratified and oppressive rules define student indoctrination in a centrally planned, one size fits all, bureaucratic structure. Machine part graduates function well only in their appropriate role. In short, public education is obsolete.
How do we create innovators that will lead us to greater success? We don't. Innovators create themselves if they are provided freedom to succeed and fail. All we can do is provide tools that allow the netcohort to grow, and remove the many bureaucratic regulatory and tax hurdles that now block their path. Small business now creates the majority of new jobs, as big businesses cut their work force. Innovators and entrepreneurs will create fast ideas that force growth in the netcohort society. In a Schumpeterian wave new entrepreneurial structures will create a better life style for all even as old bureaucracies crumble. The Internet provides ready access to innovator's tools; knowledge, new ideas, and many classic ideas that at this turning point of society are of renewed value.
There are many sources to access your own renaissance education. Our Renaissance style school, Bastiat Free University, is just one of many sources for materials allowing individuals to control their own education. These sources offer free or low cost self directed learning. This is key to your personal renaissance. Find something that ignites your passion, research it, and create based on it. Learn, act, accomplish; do it for yourself this time.
Challenge and interact with those that share your passion. The final piece of renaissance education is to interact with those that share your passion. As you create, watch and learn from what others create. Talk to and exchange ideas with the world, everyone gains as everyone shares. At Bastiat Free University the final in each of our courses is to post an essay in the class forum. This is a symbolic bridge of commitment to sharing our best with the world.
"Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man." - Sir Francis Bacon
Enlightened self education is in everyone's best interest. Do what is best for you, without hurting the rights of others to do what is best for them.
There are several potential routes future society may take. As the industrial age crumbles there can be violent tribal groups, resurgent feudalism, or an open netcohort society. Perhaps that is why I value the words of C. F. Bastiat, his guidance from a similar transformational period may illuminate needed options for our own societal metamorphosis.
"The risks and rewards for you from creative entrepreneurship are greater, and of far more value to society, than illusions of security that enslave a human cog in a social machine." - Allan Wallace
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"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery." - Winston Churchill
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