What Then?

When all kids have grit, what then?

When every school is outstanding, what then?

When every target is reached or surpassed, what then?

When everyone’s mindset is switched to growth, what then?

When all is meritocratic and we all get to where we ought to be, what then?

When every twenty-first century skill has been adopted and learnt, what then?

When every child attends the college of their dreams, when every child is fluent in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, what then?

When all children are creative, empathetic, can move from job to job with ease, what then?

When every school leaver is able to commune happily with artificially intelligent machines due to the new jobs that have yet to be thought of that they can now be employed in the exciting never thought of industries of the future… What then?

When the tense is future-perfect, what then?

Gentlemen, there are questions that worry me; solve them for me. You for example want human beings to give up their old habits and adjust their will so that it accords with the requirements of science and common sense. But how do you know that human beings not only can but must be transformed in this way?*

Isn’t the way of things that mankind is drawn to destroying the very things that might, in all sense, be to our advantage? Even in the life of one person don’t we sometimes do the very things we know do us no good whatsoever? Eat that extra bit of cake, drink a couple of glasses too many, wake up in the wrong bed on the wrong side of town…?

How many people will it take to make the system perfect? Won’t we get bored in this utopia, that we stick pins in our eyes, or the eyes of others?

If a system is doomed to fail is it just a vain hope? Has our vision of the future written out the awkward, rebellious, self destructive anti-heroes or zeroes that so many find themselves to be? Oh we are such disappointments us human-beings. We are our own nemesis. Give me a target and I might deliberately miss it and even I won’t know why.

In the meritocracy will schools be there for the inhabitants of the de-meritocracy?


*Dostoevsky: Notes From Underground (which is the inspiration for this piece)


6 thoughts on “What Then?

  1. When I met to sign a form to become a SGI Buddhist and accept the object of worship in 1985, my friend said, “When we are all actors and artists and creatives and doing what we want, who will clean the drains?” The answer was, “Well, you are very socially-minded.”
    My answer now would be that we will all do the necessary, because it is necessary.
    Picasso, Einstein, Plato and Austen all had to have clean toilets.
    In the promised land neighbour will join hand with neighbour and all go out together to sweep the streets. There will be no class or hierarchy involved. Just necessity and the joy of production line unity.


    1. The actual reality of those who seek such utopias is that they destroy human lives because the world won’t bend to their ideas. This week alone you were publicly denouncing three of us and given any kind of power would sack us for simply having different ideas to your own. One of those people has two children but if people will dissent from you ideas then they (and their families) deserve the harshest of treaments. Siging up to the Buddhists is no equivalence to having a conscience.

      What do you know of ‘production line unity’? Part of the reason I achieved academically was because every person I knew growing up who worked on one did not want to be there, the steel workers and textile machinists who made up the bulk of the adults I knew seeing as my parents did these jobs, wanted nothing more than for their children to get out and do something other than that.

      Martin – there will always be tensions in life, there will be no perfection, but the pursuit for good, truth and beauty exists all the same. The move away from the spiritual and moral is a problem of our time. Sam Harris deals with this. Some of the problems we will face will be the eternal ones whereas others will be of our time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for that Martin. Always, always hitting a raw nerve, somewhere!
    “People are always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn’t believe in that. Tomorrow wasn’t getting ready for them. It didn’t even know they were there.”
    Cormac McCarthy The Road

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Everyone could do with a dose of reading John Gray (Straw Dogs and Other Animals) for his debunking of Utopias.


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