Saturday, December 5, 2009

Socrates, Alvin Toffler, and Attempting to Catch the Wave

To follow up on Jon Rowe's lastest post on the ongoing debate between many of us, including Dr. Gregg Frazer, I would like to add that most of what we have been discussing is the meaning of words.  This is classic "Socratic Dialogue".  The problem I see is that everyone is talking at each other trying to give their answer and be heard.  I see it all day in my classroom.  When everyone is talking all at once no one hears anything.

So here is a suggestion in the spirit of the "Socratic Method":

Let's attempt ask the right questions in a pursuit to raise the level of discussion.  In other words, if we are asking the wrong questions(I think we are) then lets spend our time trying to formulate the right ones.  In that vain I think Jon has done an excellent job of taking this discussion toward where it needs to go when he brought in "Cato Unbound's" series on how we came into the Modern World.

Why?  I have been teaching about the 3 great waves of change in history based on a book by Alvin Toffler called "The Third Wave".  He says that wave one was hunter to agriculture.  Wave two was farms to factories. Wave three is factories to information.  I have been telling my kids that we need to study wave two(Industrial Revolution) and apply it to wave 3 to understand where we need to go as a society.  This will require bringing in the new without throwing proven principles from the old.

With that said, I think this is what the founders did with America.  They studied other eras and applied what was tried and true to some of the new ideas that progress made then deal with.  It was absolutely not throwing out the old and starting something completely new.  That was the French Revolution.  Why does this matter to us now?  This is because the same battle is going on right now.  It seems that are three main groups:

1. Those who are set in their ways and do not want to embrace change because they favor their traditions
2. Those who want to throw out all tradition and start over
3. Those who want to glean the principles that have worked and use them in the new context

If history really does repeat itself then we are on the right track at this blog when we study this period.  It was pivotal.  Chooses were made that shaped the world for hundreds of years.  Some of them good and some of the bad.  There were ideas behind these choices.

In this vain, I proposed two questions that I think will bring this discussion into a much clearer focus:

Which Christian ideas, if any, helped bring us into the modern world?


Which Christian ideas, if any, helped try to derail us from progressing toward the modern world? 

I am not saying that I have the right questions and it is surely debatable whether these questions will take us down the right road to find the truth about American Creation.  But I do think it is possibly a good starting point that all can participate in.  It possibly sets ups all different flavors of "Cultural Warriors" for an interesting debate.  It also begins to move us toward a discussion of "Jihad vs. Mc World" and "The Clash of Civilizations".  

The "Third Wave" is here and we are going to make decisions as a society now that affect the next few hundred years of history.  We better get it right!  This blog is a step in that direction.  Lets spread the joy and invite our friends as we continue to raise the discussion.

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