In grade school our trajectory of attaining knowledge and understanding creates a sense of hope and faith in our future. We experience vibrant community interaction, and are motivated to be the best we can be by our teachers and parents. But what is a quality education, and to what ends does it best serve our local, national, and global community? Our own futures are often times held according to the educational level of our parents, plus their financial wealth, or lack thereof, creating a tremendous influence on our own achievements. This is most evident at the economic extremes of rich and poor.
How are we to respond to care enough and be innovative enough in addressing the issues which affect us all? Once we are clear on the practical solutions that can begin to re-engineer the life of our local, national, and global community, how do we get others in decision-making positions to care enough to implement these? The default reality is that we may see the practicality in solutions, yet may be to busy working and ‘living our lives’ to do something about caring enough to join with others, or create community-focused projects requiring concerted efforts of time and energy.
Ours is a society of great empathy and apathy. In a time of great scientific and technological achievements, the community health of our nation-it could be supposed, that we should be more balanced as a people, but even as there appears to be a relative peace on the street surface, extensive social decay can be found throughout the United States. Science and technology has led to precision medical advancements, greater understanding of causes to good health, and the personal tailoring of lifestyles in what is being commonly known as the internet-of-things. Something is missing in large measure though. Something ancient and yet, altogether vibrant; agape love. Love that is and is given without need to be loved back. Love that is detached from needing to be loved back is a wise form of caring, even godly in its contentment of understanding that in giving itself away, it experiences an unending source of itself. This is not romantic love, or the fondness of friendships, but God’s love wherein we love because we love, and it is not an expected transaction, but more like a river of altruism.
In the United States, we have individuals and entire communities who value and see the wisdom in caring for others to make things better, and we have large swaths of the population literally living week to week, month to month who cannot see past caring for their basic needs. How do we scale ‘caring?’ Where and who should be the initiators of teaching empathy, that it permeate into the economy, into our political discourse, and into every orifice of the land? Sounds idealistic? It is. There is a practical sequence on how to make it happen and it begins with Moms, Dads and our children’s schools. To scale ‘empathy,’ we must make it lucrative. Empathy, I am sorry to say, has to be feasibly practical. But that is actually a good thing, because making it part of the economic system is a major goal in the success of its implementation. Simply put, academia must teach core subjects in relation to a hybrid of financial literacy, business application, and social entrepreneurship.
Imagine an urban reality where a young person from a housing project is taught social entrepreneurship, writing, business skills, and an appreciation of civic service. Instead of dreaming about being a basketball player, they dream about be enterprising architectural engineers. An extensive indifference evident in the stagnant portion of our urban populations who live in ghettoized public housing projects needs such a dreamer, more so than the elected official who secures business to gentrify a neighborhood. What are these ghettos for? What do they do to the psyche of an individual? How would such a social enterprising architectural engineer bring hope and revival to her community? The collective wisdom and understanding of our present society has not adequately answered how to end the ghettoization of low earning ethnic minorities aside from using gentrification (rather than innovative education) to push out one class to make space for another. Gentrification looks nice on the outside, but it sidesteps the core issue of teaching economic empowerment and caring for one another.
A caring, empathic economy replaces intellectual backwardness, with innovative and enlightened thinking then. We add the application of business with community service to the development of scientist, technology laborers, engineers, mathematicians. We need social entrepreneurs who are diverse in their training, and we need a society that makes space for them to function. This should start in grade school, and the rising of such an empathic capitalistic labor force can socially engineer a better way, if not the best way, of rectifying many of our societal maladies.
As it is though, there is a sizable indifference to the creation of a nation-wide scaling of critical thinking, outspoken social enterprisers. Why? Is it not that these same will call into question the work progress of our elected leaders? People who enterprise for the good of community will include a great number of….writers and civically-minded action people (gentle-loving warriors for social good). Socially enterprising writers, in the age of the internet-of-things, will take to the use of social media platforms, and this would create a new balance of political power. Educating people to be critical thinkers does not mean creating people who criticize others, but people who are thoughtful, observant, and desirous to be part of the societal conversation, offering solutions and readily employing themselves, using capitalistic levers, in the business application of empathic solutions. There are a great number of people with bright ideas, enthusiasm and energy, whom together, form a great treasure trove of innovative creativity.
Understandably, not all will be social entrepreneurs, but many would be more interested in being part of how our democratic republic governs itself. This paradigm, made reality on a nationally scaled level changes mindsets and self-messages to the populace that a revival of caring, a revival of empathic capitalism is underway. Only, it requires the participation of Mom and Dads, of Parent-Teacher associations, and school curriculum creators to introduce the financial literacy/ social enterprising framework that educationally re-engineers people’s mindsets to be infused about making things better for others.
Within twenty five years, those who began such training would be leaving university studies and entering the work force. Entrepreneurial work space can be afforded to such job and vision creators through the efforts of town and city governments. Not everybody has to be a social entrepreneur to be a part of an empathic capitalistic revival. Could it be that such constructions in our hearts and minds, supported by community, can lead to a better way of life? Some will not understand, others will scoff… build the vision anyway. We already know what society we get from the present order of politics and economic order, and we know what we get from always looking unto others to make things better. Promises that materialize on magazine covers, and trickle-down economics, all leading to a social architecture that remains lopsided. An educational system that teaches financial literacy, business application and social enterprise as the channels for the freedom and liberty of professionals to innovate in their respective fields changes that.
But wait! As an added bonus, the process itself of ingraining such a beautiful concept as a caring economy is fun! It gives a rebirth to our democratic republic. People begin to feel a greater sense of hope again because the deliverance of such hope rests in them! Communities simply need to identify a practical scholastic curriculum. Universities and colleges can add value to their institutions through the compliment of making social enterprise and business application a requirement. Local government and private industry can step in by creating work spaces for individual enterprise start ups. Federal government can help stalwart students who take on such endeavors with student loan debt forgiveness.
Together we can win a better way of life. Things may never be perfect, but we can be about caring and living with a vision and purpose that says, ‘I do care.”