INTEGRATING KNOWLEDGE AND EDUCATION FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
William J. Reckmeyer
One of the most remarkable characteristics of Homo sapiens sapiens is our individual and collective ability to generate information about ourselves and our world. In part, humanity's quest for knowledge results from an apparently insatiable curiosity. Often driven by a strong desire to learn about something simply because it is there, we find that "the poetry of Earth is never dead" 1 and thus is worthy of inquiry for its own sake. Yet our quest also stems from practical necessity. Human civilization exists because people are able to carry out a great variety of complex biological, cognitive, and social actions that are essential to our survival. The basic mental architecture needed to effect many of these actions is encoded in the genetic composition of individual members of our species, as it is with other forms of life. Unlike most other species, though, few of our specific behaviors are inherited. Instead, we have evolved fairly sophisticated abilities for generating, sharing, and accumulating knowledge that enhance our innate ability to deal with our complex world.
This highlights why knowledge is power and why modern society devotes so much attention and resources to education. One of the most fundamental notions developed by humanity during the last three millennia is the idea that there is a positive causal connection between education and knowledge. We believe that education improves knowledge and, perhaps more to the point in recent centuries, that people are generally better off for having undergone some sort of formal educational process