Reply To: 26.5.2014 Ancient Futures

Author Replies # Posted on May 27, 2014 at 09:01

Question from Gao to Maria: What is the impact on local peoples’ knowledge from modern education system?

My opinion is that it would improve peoples’ lives, as it would give them the opportunity to obtain information, among other topics, about environmental, health and sustainability issues and support them to develop their own judgment about their situation. This view on modern education is valid mainly for a system that provides theoretical knowledge. In many “traditional” cultures without, or very little, influence from modern societies, practical knowledge, as many practices used for agriculture have been tried out to work well. Often, these methods are based on results from trial and error during long periods of time. However, new techniques which have been invented thanks to modern understanding of physics, chemistry, etc need initially to be tried out in a small scale. Today, many small companies put a lot of effort to find new solutions for a sustainable utilization of natural resources, reducing energy consumption, building better houses etc. Without the knowledge acquired from modern education, these innovations would most certainly not have been possible to formulate . Co-operation together with people from local/traditional societies, adding their experience to modern/scientific knowledge (acquired thanks to modern education) is a concept that is of great interest among many entrepreneur s.
If modern education also includes modern/scientific medicine and health care, many lives would probably be saved. Moreover, diseases acquired from living at a high altitude (as in the case of Ladakh), and for example, from using only fires to heat badly ventilated homes could be avoided or treated more efficiently than going to the shaman. As with traditional agriculture practices, traditional medical knowledge should also be studied scientifically, as many drugs are derived from herbal medical practices. To my mind, to encourage believe in and trust in shaman medicine is not ethical justifiable and must be abolished.
Unfortunately, in reality, modern education would inevitable, or unintentionally, come with advertising for “bad” or unnecessary products and commodities which are used in a modern society. This is a problem that is important to discuss and work against when taking modern education to societies which have no previous experience of this bad side of the Western world.