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Colección: La Educación
Número: (119) III
Año: 1994

6. With respect  to the fundamental ideas you just mentioned, which do you find most interesting, or are working on, or are planning to develop in your future research?
This is also a very complex question. Let me mention three problems. One is the problem of peace. We must recognize that our growth does not become more peaceful. Many said that since we have seen the fall of communism, the danger of a world war is over. I do not agree. Peace is one of the main tasks of human kind, and education should be much more concerned about peace than it has been. Preparing people for peace is not only an educational question, but a political, economic and social question as well. Another problem closely related to the problem of peace is the problem of inter-cultural understanding. My friend Daniel Bell, a sociologist at Harvard, once convincingly showed me that we have two antagonistic social movements. On the one hand, the world is growing. If you wish to travel from New Delhi to Calcutta, India, you can purchase your ticket in Washington, DC one year before you want to travel. On the other hand, the world is small. We have a computerized information system that goes from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska that uses the same language and in the meantime, people are concentrating on their limited local cultures. We speak of a worldwide culture of intercultural understanding while at the same time, we try to isolate and defend our little local cultures, our dialects, our Oktoberfests and so on. I think the future of mankind depends on the degree to which we will be able to resolve the problem of intercultural, interreligious, intersocial, intereconomic understanding. A third problem I see relates to European unification. The euphoria that we had ten or fifteen years ago is decreasing. Why? I think the idea of mankind is a rational, illuministic idea, an idea that stems from illuminism, an idea sustained and supported by reason. On the other hand is the idea of the local identity, or gens (a Latin word). I am German, you are American and he is Argentine. I am Jewish, you are Christian, he is Catholic, she is Protestant. It is the tendency to identify people according to local particularities and it is a Romantic idea. It was Romanticism that said that man is defined by the land in which he was born: Germans have German blood, Americans have American blood. This is an antirational concept. If you show me your blood it is going to be like my blood because it is human blood. Romanticism supports the concept of land and town, not the nation. Nation is rational concept, but the town is where the man was born and is rooted and he has to defend this place. So I think war is not between man and man, but between German and French, between American and Japanese, between local people. This antagonism between reason and emotions is a very dangerous development. I think we live in a period of growing antirationalism, that means dangerous neoromanticism. The cult of emotions is very dangerous if it leads to a devaluation of reason. Pestalozzi, the famous Swiss educator, said education must consider the three aspects of man: hand, heart and mind or head. The global view of education today gives priority to the hand and heart: action and feeling. We should be careful not to decapitate man because when hand and heart get into conflict, it is reason that has to be the arbitrator.