Thursday, 1 December 2011

The Future of Humanity - Educating Our Children

Recognized divisions in the life cycle are sometimes known as age grades and very often important ceremonies mark the transition from one age grade to the next. The rites that mark the passage from being seen as a child to being seen as a young man or woman have been investigated by anthropologists in many societies. Such rites are very visible and often marked by physical scarring or the subsequent wearing of different clothes. In this way all will know just how anyone may be expected to behave and how in turn they should behave towards those they meet. In our own society there is much difficulty in knowing when transitions from one age grade to the next do occur.
The future opportunities in life, or in the terms used here, the possible pathways through the social structure open to an individual, are largely determined by the nature of the social positions into which he is put willy-nilly. In other words the roles that he may achieve are in many cases constrained by his roles. In our society, though this is perhaps not so true of socialist societies, boys have more chance of becoming engineers or bus drivers than do girls, who in their turn are more likely to work as librarians or typists. There is also a greater probability that children born into the middle class will achieve an occupation of higher status than boys and girls of working-class parents. Basically these two examples draw our attention to the manner in which the social structure may be seen as providing tracks or pathways through life from which it is very difficult, though not impossible, to deviate.