The Occupy movement has gotten yet another blow yesterday as the campsite on Liberty Square (Zucotti Park in New York) was 'cleaned up', simply because they have a critical, minority opinion which is in favor of most of us. Peaceful occupation on ideological grounds is a worthy cause, so why is it that in many cases it is a risky business? I feel that crushing freedom of opinion is actually a very practical example of suffocating critical thinking and true education overall. Crushing freedom of opinion does not coincidentally happen at the same moment in which most countries decide to cut down on education or welfare to get them out of an economic crisis. Educated citizens will question regulations and policies, and powers that be do not like to be questioned no matter what era, what region.
Being critical is a human asset which lifts all of us
Being critical, demanding transparency of policy makers and the powers that be is a very democratic action. Strange enough, it is also mainstream corporate action, for transparency allows for improved business action. So why are demands for financial transparency that affects citizens then crushed by people in power positions? For it is simply a sound policy action. Unfortunately the action is undertaken by non-policy people (or mostly).
Being critical, engaging in discussion to enable mutual growth and free speech is at the basis of us human beings, it is also at the core of education. It demands looking into current situations, analyzing it for its strengths and weaknesses and coming to conclusions on which you or we want to act. To me it is the basis of any critical learning of any movement to strengthen our evolution towards becoming more human. Crushing down on a small group of people, simply because they use their voice to get their opinions out in the open, is a brutal yet very open act of censorship and of what some powerful people feel should be numbed. How can transparency and human, peaceful action ever be a bad thing? And what if even believers of economic power structures propose themselves to give back to the country in order to give back to the people (e.g. Warren Buffett asking for higher taxation of the rich)?
Where do we go? Where can I grow?
In ‘grapes of wrath’ the Oscar winning 1940’s movie directed by John Ford in which a Midwestern family seeks fortune in California amidst the depression there is still an illusion of the new frontier, the new world. But even then it was clear that it was only an illusion. 70 years onward, amidst another economic crisis that is affecting the tired, the poor and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free … there is no longer a lamp beside the golden door.
Where do we go? Where can I go? There is no longer ‘the Western frontier’, no longer the land of the free no matter where we look, it is not in the America's, it is not in Europe... It feels as though when I really want to be free, the only frontier left, is my own inner voice, my inner space in which I can ask ourselves: who am I, what do I do in these changing times?
Enable, promote, follow open education to enhance critical thinking
To get an action plan going, there is only one option: to learn. And to be able (financially, socially) to engage in education that will allow ideas to emerge to better the world around us – all of us. For as an educated citizen, I will be able to engage, to put my two cents into causes that I belief in. Hence there is only one option: promoting, following, building critical education, education open to all. In order to lift us towards a more human world where citizens from all regions can live a happy life in their own country, region, part of the world.