When ecosystems change and inflexible institutions collapse, their members disperse, abandoning old beliefs, trying new things, making their living in different ways than they used to. It’s easy to see the ways in which collapse to simplicity wrecks the glories of old. But there is one compensating advantage for the people who escape the old system: when the ecosystem stops rewarding complexity, it is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future.
Shirky doesn't talk about education but my thoughts have been on Scott McLeod's recent talk about education and the premise that schools are becoming irrelevant. I look at the reforms and suggestions around me and they all seem to be aimed at making our educational system more complex. More rules. More forms. More tests. At what point does our educational system become too complex? Too unwieldly? To the point where some group of different thinking folks just make an end run around "how things have always been done" and leave us cleaning the chalk dust off our trousers wondering what just happened.
[Image: "Theatre Entrance"; Flickr: Uploaded on October 19, 2007 by iamtheh; http://www.flickr.com/photos/iamtheh/1640228985/ (creative commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)]