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    Ludmila Matiash
    :   2003-05-27 11:50:45

    I was surprised by this latest feedback from a reader of the Vision Project. Because the education theme was introduced in the Vision Project I assumed that it would be considered in the larger context of the Vision phenomenon. I think that such a reading of both the introduction and the writings by Jose Ortega y Gasset would better show the relevance of this theme to Ukraine's case today.

    First, I don't believe that Jose Ortega y Gasset argued for the "modernization" of education in any language. Ortega's works called for social reform and for a paradigm shift with regards to the role of education in that reform. This is complex (and comprehensive) social change. Complex change can not be a modernization of what already exists. Complex change requires a reevaluation of social values and principles. Complex change can never be motivated by having to respond to some apparent "needs" of society. Instead, the objective of complex change is to enable that same society to identify and achieve higher levels of development.

    In 1930 Jose Ortega y Gasset wrote an interesting and influential work on social theory, "Revolt of the Masses." This work reflects his fear that the lowest common denominator was becoming a standard and was gaining influence world wide. Ortega wrote in Spanish:

    "The characteristic of the hour is that the commonplace mind,
    knowing itself to be commonplace,
    has the assurance to proclaim the rights of the commonplace
    and to impose them wherever it will."

    In other words, a Vision is not for people who are in the system. People with Vision create the system.

    Regarding reward and motivation for change, as a management consultant I have found that even in Ukraine's difficult conditions people who initiate and implement systematic change at the enterprise level are NOT motivated by some reward other than wanting to see improved conditions. The AS-IS case is bad enough for dedicated change agents to risk the consequences of their efforts in ineffective systems. They are ready to create new systems. I suspect that this dynamic may be true for other ineffective systems as well.

    Finally, I believe that, especially during periods of transition, if we sit and wait for Adam Smith's Invisible Hand to move it may slap us in the face. If we wait for a heroic leader, a "prime mover," or for "the right conditions" then we give up the chance to shape the future. In that case we deserve the consequences of choosing to remain disengaged. We become followers in the most common sense of the word. The only limits to action we have are the ones that we make on ourselves.

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