The best things in life are…

February 19, 2009

A twelve year old (economically disadvantaged) Tanzanian Kid, with some self-control, and a desire to break out of poverty can do these with an internet connection today, after he has equipped himself with basics of English language.

  1. Just sit back and explore the wonderful access that MIT provides. He doesn’t need to walk around his village trying to figure out what he wants to do; if he’s got time to spare in the late evening, he just needs to point his browser at MIT’s open source website, and start exploring architecture, engineering, health sciences, humanities, management ,science, and a variety of cross-disciplinary topics. If he’s interested, there’s a treasure trove of information inviting him out there.
  2. Complement what’s being taught at High School; there are a bunch of short-term courses available at OpenLearn, and if he walks into his class with the perspective he gains from here – there’s so much more he can build into himself.

Actually there’s so much more. StingyScholar keeps track of what is actually up on the web that’s available free of cost for the motivated learner.

How did I bump into this? They wrote a great review for MotionMountain.How did I bump into Motion Mountain?  Ha – that’s actually a good one.

I found it on Scribd. That’s (one more!) great portal for a document collection – I was actually searching to see if they’d have Herman Hesse’s (I think last) book – The Glass Bead game. (As it turns out, they do have one which isn’t downloadable. If you’re motivated enough, you can read it online in a ppt kind of format. I did not find it in the bookstore I generally visited – I asked twice for it. I just went from the book to another book to George Polya and Terence Tao, and stumbled serendipitously across what has just been the major part of this blog).

I don’t think we’re all that us-versus-them congenitally. The web erasing those boundaries – it is really a silent revolution(  well, not so silent if you listen to Music companies, Book Publishers, and Movie Production Units- not the best thing to happen to them,perhaps).

What’s happened is that there is so much more reason to grow into whatour experiences mould us into; and not the ghosts of our ancestors’ travels. I say ghosts, because Desis like me are typically taught to revere the past – with objectivity that could fit into a (Swadesi MRF) tyre tread.

Are we all on the way to becoming world citizens, then?

I doubt it. We’re still, well, humans. By and large, we tend to be quite selfish, and quite good at transferring that mindset onto the planet. We need to, right; being blessed with large cranial sizes and effective hippocampa (or is it hippocampuses?).

But our environments and societies will cease to be as significant as they were in determining our predilections. There’s a melting pot of left, right, and centre waiting to feast on potentially, every dinner table on the planet.

PS: That wonderful photograph I filched from here. Do check out more there; some of it is copyrighted


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