David A Musick (
Wed, 7 Jan 1998 21:35:16 -0500

Abraham Moses Genen wrote that we need an educational system "focused on
an understanding that society functions best when placed ahead of the

Actually, we need an educational system that teaches, among the other
things he listed, that the self benefits greatly by helping other people.
Helping society IS helping oneself. Helping other people is in one's
own self-interest. There really isn't much difference between
intelligent selfishness and intelligent selflessness, as far as the
results go. Society is a symbiosis of humans; we all benefit from our
intelligent cooperation with each other. It's when people isolate
themselves from others and refuse to help others that they are left to
fend for themselves. It's when people are only willing to participate in
"official" transactions of service that they miss out on many benificial
exchanges. Working towards the "common good" is working towards one's
own good as well. There isn't really a division between individuals and
society; a distinction, yes, but we're all in the same system. There
isn't really a division between individuals, either; in the center there
is a distinct individual, but at the "edges", it all blurs together
because so much of what we incorporate into the systems that we are have
come from the systems that others are.

A good educational system will teach humans how the world works and how
to accomplish their goals within their world. Learning how the world
works involves observation and other forms of knowledge construction,
such as critical thinking and reading or experiencing audio/visual
materials. Learning how to accomplish one's own goals involves the
development of sufficient problem solving skills, which requires practice
at solving a wide variety of type and complexity of problems.

Someone who has developed within a good educational system should be
strongly aware of their symbiotic relationship with other humans and with
other organisms. To accomplish their own goals, they will recognize the
practicality of helping others accomplish their goals as well.

Developing a good edcuational system is one of the most extropian goals I
can think of.

David Musick (

- Flexibility and Attentiveness
are the main keys to Improvement,
and thus, to Excellence.