Monday, August 31, 2020

Change or Be Changed

Gulliver Taking His Final Leave of the Land of the Houyhnhnms
photo credit: Artist-Sawrey Gilpin (1733-1807), Yale Center for British ArtWikimedia Public Domain

Gulliver's visit to the Land of the Houyhnhnms, at one level is an engaging exploration of values, scrutinizing the good and bad sides of reason versus emotions. Perhaps horse-lovers feel comforted focusing on the nobility of the calm and rational Houyhnhnms versus the wild Yahoos.

Without delving here into the layers of Jonathan Swift's satire, this episode of fiction certainly raises concerns that matter right now. For sure, re-reading Swift is recommended.

As we chart the future, we probably need little reminding that today's juggernaut of the inappropriate framing of much public communication does not serve us well. With the endless news cycle, added to social media and other community gossip, the communication landscape continues to grow more challenging - especially with the continuous fog of the not-really latest "breaking news."

Yet, with the ever-widening gap between the theory and reality of any Hatch Act enforcement to keep public officials accountable, this is no time to be faint-hearted, inattentive or distracted.

It's truly unfortunate to recall that in my first blog, little more than three months ago, I suggested that "after some trial fits and starts... much education at all levels might be mainly online - for a long time." With children and teens in many places returning to school over recent weeks, we now start to learn that new COVID-19 infections are greatest in children and teens in some areas.

Although much is being done by many in efforts to protect and treat people, much more change and inventiveness will be needed going forward. It looks like everyone who cares will have to keep alert to how to remedy the effects of Yahoo behaviors.