If you recall my model of the modern university system in Part One of this series – describing university students who have had the opportunity to attend college as a full-time freshman or sophomore while living on-campus in the university’s dormitory system – there was an idyllic quality to those years for most students, after later spending time immersed in the real, “work-a-day world.” In the on-campus environment a student can pursue knowledge, education and a vibrant social life without the cares and worry of the outside, “real” working world.
This illustration doesn’t neglect the fact that their opportunity for higher education was paid for through some monetary resource – often including tax dollars – that made this idyllic experience possible for them; or the fact that many students actually squander this precious opportunity with excessive partying, because they aren’t mature enough to realize that this opportunity in their lives may never come again -and before they know it they are faced with supporting themselves in the reality of the, “real world.” My focus however is on this creative and idyllic opportunity that students often have, to pursue their goals and dreams single mindedly, without juggling the realities and struggles of the real world. We know that many students work and attend college at the same time, have student loans and live off-campus in many different types of living arrangements; but the concept is valid for those who have had the opportunity to experience the full-time, on-campus dormitory experience as I have. I also lived off base, walked to campus, took out student loans and worked while going to Michigan State University the second time around, so I know all the various issues and possibilities involved in this discussion. My point is to use this, “ideal university model” to describe how we could use our imagination to mentally deconstruct the world of today and reassemble – or “rewicker it” as I like to say – all the bits and pieces into a different combination for the future.
In my imagination, the nations of the world resemble today’s modern international university system from a structional point of view. Associations that govern these universities – like the, “Association of American Universities” for example – would represent nations in this hypothetical discussion. Individual universities – I’ll use my alma mater Michigan State University for example – would represent the concept of states, and the individual departments and colleges within a university could represent smaller cities and counties. Let’s say that this hypothetical, “university nation-state” model replaced the countries of the world for the purposes of this discussion – what would the world look like then? There would be cooperation and competition both within and between universities without any serious conflict occurring – just healthy rivalries (Go Spartans!) – and people would have a great amount of loyalty to their, “nation” and all of the unique aspects that it represents, such as the green and white, “Spartan Spirit” of Michigan State University.
So what would the leader of this, “university nation-state system” want in his or her budget for this creative environment? How about a beautiful campus filled with distinct buildings and colleges of learning where ideas, knowledge, research and technology are used to improve the lives of its, “citizens.” They would also want a robust full-time student population with individualized attention and opportunities available for those who choose to attend on a part-time basis; an internet presence for distant electronic learning and a totally paperless environment on-campus; an efficient use of clean energy and advanced technology to solve the problems of the community and the other communities in this, “nation-state” world; a vibrant social network and lifestyle where everyone can stay involved and connected throughout their entire lives if they choose to; full employment on-campus for those needing to work; and a campus police system to fight crime, maintain order and serve the people of the, “university nation-state” to ensure the safety and security of everyone in and around the campus.
This model of a system of, “university nation-states” representing the existing countries of the world; is useful for making the main point of this entire series, which is: that countries should one day look and act more like modern universities in concept than the countries of today, because once the countries of the world choose peace through love, renounce warfare and begin disarming – they will be able to focus more on knowledge, education, information, research and technology – for the main purpose of taking better care of the world’s people. If we took out our, “to do list” that this series has created, we would have at this point completed the first two items on the list:
1. All national leaders of the world today would have embraced peace through love for the benefit of their citizens in cooperation with the world community of free nations. (This could be accomplished in a single minute – writing the press releases would take longer than making the actual decision.)
2. With the decision made to embrace peace through love by all the nations of the world, the next item on the list is for all nations to begin the process of disarming to a, “defensive only posture.” This would take some time to accomplish though. Many nations are only at a defensive posture as I write this today, while others could begin the process of disarming without having a signed agreement to oversee the process. For the remaining countries of the world that have substantial militaries and hardware in place today, this step would require a signed multi-national treaty that covered all of the steps and stages involved in the process, that was 100% transparent and done with full cooperation by all of the countries party to the treaty. The only tricky part to resolve and accomplish would concern the major military powers of the world, and all countries would need an oversight guarantee that all parties are complying 100% with the treaty and aren’t hiding equipment away in order to make war in the future. This transparency would have to remain in place for all the countries of the world after having disarmed, in order to show that no country is offensively rearming in the future.
3. The remaining item on our, “to do list” is to provide for and take care of the world’s people – and our planet – which I’ll begin to address in Part Five – which should then bring this series to a final conclusion.