global generation 12: not too close a link to Human Rights activity


With this post I am going to try and wrap up what I believe will be my last thought article on this initiative and then I plan on updating with updating all the posts … and then let the chips fall as they may on that idea. I spent a couple days over my holiday vacation basking in the sun and writing. You have seen most of what I wrote, on this initiative, and this is it.

Anyway. I have written two back-to-back project global generation articles, one on the power of global collaboration and one on impact of conflict, referencing human rights and human rights initiatives as reference points.

Therefore, before anyone got too far in putting Project Global Generation initiative into a Human Rights bucket I wanted to take a moment and discuss kids’ education and Human Rights.

How close a link should there be? Not too close I suggest.

I am more interested in the “stimulus” within this particular ‘stimulus-response’ model.

The intent of this Global Generation education plan is the betterment of children’s minds. Sure. Somewhere down the road (let’s say when they are adults) this plan of action will probably benefit Human Rights initiatives.


I said two things specifically at the end of Global Generation 6 (actually 11 on enlightened conflict site and 6 on  that I wanted to use as I discuss the impact Project Global Generation can have on human rights (and yet not be a human rights initiative):

In the end, society benefits from groups performing productively with another. Of course, teaching the basics of all of this at the preschool age means a greater likelihood of kids continuing positive collaboration abilities as they progress in life.

This is an idea of molding a people from diverse origins, cultural practices, languages, into one collaborative group of thinkers, within a framework which has to be democratic in nature (because it crosses any and all geographic boundaries, yet it can be absorbed within any cultural construct).

And by doing so it mitigates conflicts and adversarial interests without oppression and injustice but rather through expanding brain power.

I try and always am careful when discussing this global education initiative and the use of the word “values” or human rights … as well as ‘democratic’.


Democratic in this sense has nothing to do with government not each city-state’s constitutional beliefs. Democratic in this sense has to do with the belief of a collective friendly collaborative framework.

Second. About values & rights.

I am less willing to get into some debate of whether one country’s values are better or more important than another’s (The Economist gave a nice snapshot of this discussion in a recent EU versus China article pointing out what is right in one country does not always make it right for another country .. nor healthy in terms of constructive relationships).

That said.

Simplistically I am proposing an education initiative for the betterment of minds and not a betterment of values. There is a sharing of ideas, and I assume values (or let’s call this … some belief system) will follow, because all of that is inherent in the “global collaboration” aspect simply because it is a web based initiative.

But (please). This is not a Human Rights initiative.

Sure. I do believe some rights are basic to all … but some are not universal (because of cultural differences). And I do believe that ignoring cultural differences (i.e., what is right in the minds of Americans, or even someone in the EU community, versus what is right in the minds of, say, a Muslim based country or a Monarchy directed country) is imperative for the success of a children’s global education initiative.

And, yes, I did use the word ‘ignore.’ Global education has to be religion/governmentally “blind” (or agnostic if you would like).

All that said. Interestingly there is something called “the 2048 initiative” which is more focused on a global legal platform – the overall intent of this adult legal program is similar to the Project Global Generation children’s initiative.

And I actually believe the 2048 initiative has the right perspective on human rights, i.e., side step sterile arguments about whose values may be better and focus on building a global legal platform and help individual countries obey their own laws (and the global foundational laws). And, interestingly, there is a good current debate on how effective this is (if you care about this kind of stuff pick up “The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions are Changing World Politics by K. Sikkink).

note: the first part of this sentence is not my idea but rather The Economist.


I avoid human rights and debating values when discussing a global education program and focus on respect for choices (within some basic values construct such as ‘killing is bad’ and high level non debatable values type things).  It should probably be noted that I actually placed these human rights initiatives on the left hand side of my tactical plan on action chart (highlighting the fact I believe they are important but separate).

A global education movement like I am suggesting is going to have to redefine traditional education itself. It will be expansive and non directional (meaning open-ended) in terms of values definition, governmental beliefs & religion.

All that said.

It would be foolish to ignore the fact that education at a very young age does affect morality (or, maybe better said, some values-based critical thinking).  It is just inherent within learning.

In children, morality is typically reflected in judging, or in other words, the capacity to make good/bad distinctions. And that is all I care about within this initiative (although it has been brought up in discussion that this initial young child foundation evolves in teen years into a more principled behavior/decision making and, ultimately, in adults as a sense of obligation to contribute to the well-being of others).

Each step begets the next. If we elect to implement the first step in childhood then, bigger picture, as adults it is embodied as empathy (or tolerance as Helen Keller has suggested) for other humans.

This initiative, through the collaboration aspect, teaches children to treat each other with dignity, to act with concern for others, to take personal responsibility (all of which inherently benefit humanity … but, once again, is not Human Rights as such).
I believe Project Global Generation should be free and ‘choice neutral’ and accessible to all children (or via parent).

Through education we should all be aiming to empower children as they grow into a more educated adult to understand and critically reflect the conflicts of interests surrounding them, as well as to reflect one’s own individual role within a larger global community (and how they can impact as an individual within their own smaller community).

The inherent collaboration, or learning by lurking, aspect of Project Global Generation has the added benefit of encouraging an entire generation to actively shape the global future (in big and/or small ways).

Ultimately the intent is to provide a foundation of learning for children so that it actually leads to “understanding of choice” (even if you do not actually have freedom of choice).

Why do I feel this way?

Rights are often in the eye of the beholder, with some of them clearly demonstrating a perplexing and perhaps even contradictory side.

So this initiative really has nothing to do with ‘rights’ but rather values.

And when I came to that conclusion I searched value systems definitions and discovered this:

–          Indications for understanding of value systems

It would seem useful to distinguish sets of value functions. It is also useful to attempt to distinguish for each case between: a positive interpretation (p); a negative interpretation (n); a paradoxical negative interpretation of the positive (pn); and a paradoxical positive interpretation of the negative (np):

Class I: Efforts at recognizing ‘the’ one fundamental underlying value governing human society, readily labeled by different constituencies as ‘love’, ‘profit’, ‘peace’, ‘justice’, etc according to orientation (p). This then tends to be used in an overly simplistic or fanatical manner resulting in a form of behavioural blackhole (pn). These value terms are however readily deconstructed into a referential void that is characteristic of this class and the (entropic) pull that it exerts on the constructions of other classes (n). Such seemingly ‘negative’ aspects of this function are also recognized in references to existential despair, alienation and emptiness (n) — which is valued in spiritual disciplines for the perspective (np) that it gives (‘dark night of the soul’, ‘ego death’, etc) and its mysterious relationship as a catalyst or matrix for the creativity of Class IV (Nishitani, 1982).

Class II: Value sets as assiduously elaborated by international constituencies in an effort to achieve universal consensus on a framework for action and governance (p). Such sets are also characteristic of religious dogma (eg sets of virtues). They may be viewed as essential to society for the reasons well argued by their advocates. They can also be viewed with suspicion as straitjackets on that very development of value sensitivity and diversity which ensures their relevance to living systems (pn). From a Class III perspective, such value sets are quite claustrophobic and inappropriate to a learning environment, to the point of being associated with outmoded patterns of dominance (n). Such sets may thus be seen as continuously decaying into Class I in the mindsets of the disabused and alienated. But it is precisely their ‘outdated’, predictable, dependable, disciplined quality which constitutes a vital complement (np) to the chaotic and evanescent value experiments of Class III, providing the stability through which Class IV can emerge.

Class III: Value systems created by individuals and groups to frame and enhance their particular, and often private, experience (p). The freedom and experimental quality of such value creation reflects the views of social constructionists and an appreciation of diversity. Not necessarily viewed as (to be) widely held, permanent, coherent, or systematic. They are essentially unstable and unaccountable (pn) and may be quickly abandoned (through a decay process into Class I) although they may undergo a form of reification (into dogma) into Class II, possibly accompanied by some form of institutionalization. Some, notably those advocating Class II frameworks, severely question and condemn the social incoherence and irresponsibility of such value relativism where ‘anything goes’ (n). It is however precisely in their role as an evanescent, exploratory complement (np) to Class II that Class III creates a dynamic environment through which Class IV can emerge.

Class IV: Emerging, surprising, new value patterns reflecting new degrees of sensitivity, coherence and fundamental groundedness as a source of inspiration (p) that contrast with those of Class II. In contrast to the chaos of Class III, these carry a recognizable quality of stability and integrity (failing which they decay into Class III, or directly into Class I). They tend however to attract a pathological enthusiasm, in a manner somewhat analogous to Class I, as offering ‘the secret elixir’ by comparison with the perceived irrelevance of other classes (pn). Through a form of value narcissism, they distract from the vital functions of other classes (n). They can be confused with more familiar values in other classes through a failure to recognize their originality and as such run the danger of being coopted under the frameworks of those other classes. It perhaps precisely in this manner that the new strengths renew the values in the other classes (np).

< Note: I apologize in that I lost the source for this but please note I cannot take credit for this extensive insightful analysis of value systems >

Although that may have sounded quite clinical, in an academic fashion, I believe it is helpful in uncovering how Project Global Generation can positively impact children through education – and its inevitable impact on a global value system.

In summary.

If you believe in the words you have just read, i.e., a more educated individual educated within a collaborative global community creates a strengthened global value system, then it is difficult for you to not be a proponent of this initiative.

I strongly believe that if we want individuals to benefit a more global community perspective then we have to work for it … and the best place to start is by giving our children an education.

And education that includes problem solving skills, critical thinking skills and collaboration skills.

I believe if we do so then we endow in them a consciousness and respect (for others ideas & ideals) all in “a spirit of brotherhood.”


I believe very strongly that all human beings are born equal and free and are guaranteed certain inalienable rights that can never be taken from them and, in this case, I am speaking of education.

Project Global Generation is simply seeking to secure a higher standard of life for future generations – through education.

And through education at the youngest ages and, with that, I will go back to the beginning of this post:

In the end, society benefits from groups performing productively with another. Of course, teaching the basics of all of this at the preschool age means a greater likelihood of kids continuing positive collaboration abilities as they progress in life.


While Project Global Generation is not a human rights initiative, with its successful implementation, it should benefit what is right globally. Is that a play on words? You bet. But it gets me out of the Human Rights morass that could bog down this idea and be able to focus on the bigger education opportunity.

Using a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, then chairman of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, here is where I believe the Global generation education plan and Human Rights meet.

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world … Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.”

Therefore … education can be viewed as a right. And it is so right to think of it that way because it isn’t about a country or a culture … but rather ‘so close, so small’ that it is unseen on a map. So. As with most relatively good ideas this idea circles back to the beginning as you read this quote – community individualism.

It will be the main characteristic of the global generation.

A generation retaining a strong sense of “small places, close to home” and the culture they hold each & every day … yet balanced by what they have learned in a larger global society collaboration of learning and shared ideas through education.


I don’t want an education initiative to get bogged down on a human rights discussion. What I do know is that it is our responsibility, as adults, to uphold educating our children as a promise for bettering future generations.

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Written by Bruce