There is a lot of focus in education on 21st century skills. The kinds of things our kids need to know in order to be successful in the future. Problem solving, systems thinking, critical consumption…
More and more I wonder what occupants of the current century have the right not to know. About which topics may we remain blissfully ignorant?
Ignorance of city, state and country laws is no excuse from obeying them. Also, it’s probably a good idea to have a passing acquaintance with the laws of physics so as to avoid personal injury. Seems like a fair trade; mild litigiousness for personal safety. Social contract and all that; sold.
Now, as good citizens we should all know our neighbors, but we don’t absolutely have to. And because of that, we usually don’t. We should know lots of facts about history so that we do not repeat the bad bits and maybe have a shot at continuing the good parts. Again, most of us don’t.
So what do we have a right not to know?
I don’t want to know about the Kardashians- so far only one image has butted its way onto my radar. I don’t want to know about the customer service survey at my grocery story, fast food restaurant or box retail store. I don’t want to know about out-of-state car chases and I do not want employer SPAM notifying me of a special deal they made with a retailer to offer me massive savings on items I did not express interest in purchasing. None of this information prepares folks for 21st century living only 24-hour consumption.
Yet it is difficult to not know about these things. I suppose that if a person truly didn’t want to know about these things they would only have to stop watching TV. And quit their job. Probably shouldn’t read newspapers. No more internet either. Oh, and don’t buy anything ever again.
Who knew it was so simple?