Beyond GDP: Measuring the True Worth of a Civilization's People

Beyond GDP: Measuring the True Worth of a Civilization's People

Most people are not interested in learning. They don't want to listen, nor do they desire genuine self-transformation. They seem content with barely surviving and withering away. Such is the individual.

However, for a state, nation, or country to endure and prosper, the larger human group must also strive for its own evolutionary aspirations. If a democratic government is established, it becomes imperative to engage the uninterested public in matters beyond their immediate concerns. The individual must develop a sense of care that extends beyond oneself for the system to function effectively. The aim of a 14-15 year education is to prepare individuals to become non-harmful and potentially useful citizens.

The role of the teacher, therefore, becomes one of coaxing and selling despite the reluctance of the "customer" to accept what is being offered. Teachers are tasked with performing near-miracles, making heroic efforts with little reward.

In almost every instance, when we encounter a "popular" teacher, we observe some form of pandering—an effort to bend and appease students, using childish means to generate interest. After all, just like a child needs its toys, the parent must understand this and cater to the child's needs.

Nevertheless, civilization faces peril when the average "citizen" remains a child at the ages of 25 or 30. How can these so-called citizens exercise their rights, fulfil their duties, and make democracy work? All a child is capable of is crying out in a hoarse voice, making demands, and leaving behind a trail of litter.

This raises the question: what truly defines a great civilization? Is it the possession of technology? Economic strength or GDP? Military prowess? No, these elements are perhaps necessary for enabling a great civilization.

Ultimately, the greatness of a civilization is determined by the percentage of mature adults who contribute to its survival and prosperity. The maturity of the citizenry primarily depends on capturing the citizen's interest, which, in turn, relies on teachers' skilful efforts to make the hard sell and engage students in matters larger than themselves.