Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
I can't claim to "study war no more" like in the song, as "war" (the concept) permeates our collective thinking too deeply to ever be excised.
Those of us who think outward weapons are for losers, may still have a Lamb's War to fight, with inward weapons only. Our enemies are psychological complexes, meme viruses, damaging ideologies. "You can't kill the devil with a gun or a sword" goes the popular tune about our founder George Fox. Outward weapons are semi-useless where pure psychology is concerned.
I'm concerned that young people in our culture have so few opportunities to develop the skills and self-reliance currently associated almost exclusively with military training: how to read a map, navigate a terrain, adapt to a potentially dangerous environment.
I see two venues for such skills training: scouting and Junior ROTC. Oh, and lets not forget Young Marines, a program wherein a premium is placed on obeying orders issued by those of higher rank and not questioning authority. "Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do or die." These are not Quaker virtues or principles.
When it comes to developing "leadership skills" the schools have a tendency to outsource, or to use team sports for that purpose. Guys train to be aggressive team players while the gals learn cheer-leading and how to play in supporting cast roles. The cultural standard is male heroes with female fans.
My thought is to counter this monopoly on leadership training with a somewhat homeopathic approach. To develop antibodies to militarism we need to learn from it.
Perhaps the best antidote to militarism is less outright anti-militarism (direct opposition) and more para-militarism, thereby allowing a more indirect reshaping of currently militarized institutions. Like when people advise "working within the system" to become effective change agents; how do we do that?
My culture is already heavily militarized. So how to work with the grain? When in Rome...
IT skills are somewhat akin to basic survival skills in a more literal sense. Reading and writing, on an industrial scale, is done using SQL these days. Not knowing any SQL is akin to being functionally illiterate in an industrial setting. Should Quakers, known for their ability to found and run schools, wade in to the "boot camp" business? I know this Quaker has. I've joined the team of a boot-camp offering code school.
I was recently contacted by a gentleman of Vietnamese heritage interested in setting up more code schools and boot camps in Vietnam. What's the latest and greatest thinking, when it comes to curriculum? That question gets me thinking, leading to this blog post.
The current picture of a "boot camp" is one of staying indoors, keeping laptops from getting rained on. Even if the word "camp" gets used, there's no sense of literally camping. But there's a lot more to technology than software, there's hardware, and the Internet of Things -- things such as tractors, greenhouses, power-generating windmills and river turbines.
Looking ahead, I'm thinking of a more integrated vista. We could converge the more physical outdoor activities of scouting and farming with the indoor activities of coding, and cooking (for groups of people).
One goal is to build a cast of self-reliant types not afraid to start entirely new high tech eco-villages, perhaps by revivifying ghost towns or abandoned bases. We'll create a next generation of pioneers. Agricultural skills will be important. We could learn some lessons from Cuba, and how it adapted during its Special Period. As a member of the Python-Cuba Working Group, an initiative of the Python Software Foundation, I'm looking forward to learning from there, as well as from Vietnam.