Thoughts: What is Essential?

I think it is timely, with the trending change, that we challenge what was taught to us by the dominant institutions. Growing up, we have been taught many things through experience and education. While I am not contesting the validity and relevance of what was taught to us, I am wondering if what they taught us is really the essential for this time. Traditional education strives to reinforce existing structures and maintain order while adapting changes in small and controlled increments. This is so as not to shock the system violently and displace the ruling group who benefit from the status quo especially since the system is also being controlled by the very same people who would be affected the most.

It is akin to how we follow the norms of society and behave in an expected manner and doing things in a specific way. Social media has played a vital role in determining trends and norms as it reflects the core attitudes of those who engage and participate in this platform. It is reflected on people attitudes now on how the current system has reinforced behavior which can be counter-productive at times since what is essential for the past few years have caused an imbalance between an individual’s personal goals and society’s goals for the general public.

The essential, for purposes of this entry, can be simply termed as what society deems as the what the current generation/s need to have learned in order to get the most of life.It can be a specific education, an outlook, a life goal; it can be comprised of a variety of norms which make up what the system deems as essential. For example, the essential for the baby boomer generation is financial success where the focus is material wealth accumulation and financial growth thus the education was leaning more towards liberal concepts. With each passing generation, the essential adds onto itself to have the core idea, which is growth/progress, survive through the times and keep itself relevant. It has evolved from explosive growth to wealth enjoyment to sustainable growth to environmental development and most recently inclusive growth.

This then can be applied into the various aspects of life from education, media, business and politics. Understanding what the essential is at one’s time is important since it allows for one to be able to develop and grow with the times. Being stuck and fighting for an idea which is already outdated is just a sign of stubborn nostalgia, after all, technology and society have gone a long way in the last 50 years. It is also useful to observe and learn what is essential for the current times since it will allow for the adoption of various tweaks which will ensure that one actually contributes to growth and not stifle it. One of the main concerns of our society is that while the idea of what the essential is has evolved over time, the traditional governing system is slow to implement and develop strategies because of the vested interests of those who benefit from the old ways. Progress then has become a purely academic exercise with potential world changing solutions being left in the pages of publications rather than being implemented in real world scenarios not unless it is for the progression of wealth for those in power.

Virtual and Real World Essentials

If one was to study and look for what is essential in our time, one only needs to go to the Internet and observe. The main difference in the virtual and real world is that the virtual world is quick to adapt trends and microshifts in the idea of what is essential while in the real world, the dominant powers sift and filter the trends and allows what change can be implemented in order to minimize its impact on the current prevalent system. The virtual world has then become a hotbed for idea development and testing ground as to whether the general populace would be keen on the idea of what needs to be changed. But the real world can be slow to react and thus the reason as to why the idea of progress becomes academic. By the time the real world has reacted to adapt the system to the change, the essential is again changing.

The values then, differ from the virtual and real worlds. Currently, those in power in the real world are trying to grasp and integrate the virtual into their system. This is evident in the use of social media in various political campaigns and government/corporate programs. But while the virtual world is focused on developing and testing ideas, the real world is working on curating and creating rules to regulate the impact of those ideas in society. This creates a balance to keep the new ideas from going out of control but then it also creates an opportunity where the interests of those in power can mitigate and dampen the effects of the changing essentials if it conflicts with their own interests.

The development in the virtual world is faster since there are no regulations aside from those established by the platforms used in order to bring these ideas which create change into light. This can also be applied in real world scenarios using current laws and regulations but at a much smaller scale with the application of changes in oneself and surroundings.

Why Learn What is Essential?

Learning what is essential is important in order to gauge whether one is progressing or not in order to formulate strategies which can adapt to changes and not be bound by personal investment and interests. The world is changing, the people’s needs are changing. Having rigid structures which are resistant to change serves only to delay progress and mislead people from experiencing a more progressive life. This world’s essentials have been declared by educational institutions which are controlled by those who benefit from the system. By being able to see  through this and understanding what is essential in our time, we can make changes in ourselves while using the current system as a guideline so as not to create such a big opposition to traditional institutions. Entrepreneurs, or rather true entrepreneurs, are actually a disruptive force which opposes the traditional system hence their creation of their own which changes the rules by forcing the more traditional institutions to adapt or slowly get eaten away by the wave of change. Entrepreneurs are a prime example of those being able to see the essential of the time and using that to create an opportunity to impact the industry that they are in.

Learning and understanding what is essential is important for growth (personal or otherwise) since it has various aspects which lay the core foundation and sets the guidelines for progress. It helps in understanding why things are happening and what can be done in order to change things. In knowing the reason behind what is happening, we spare ourselves a shallow interpretation of the world which can easily be swayed by emotions caused by media and marketing.

In knowing and understanding what is essential, one can see beyond the numbers and data presented in a structured report dictated by those who wish for you to see only what they want you to see. For someone who understands the essential, one would not look at the 99% being presented as happy but rather the 1% which was left behind. This can also be applied in business as it can direct you to an untapped market or create opportunity to improve on existing ones. Social media is a good gauge of the trends which determine what is essential in out time. Take the good with the bad because that is really how it is. It is important to be able to sift through all the opinions and information (and misinformation) in order to be able to grasp the essential. Numbers and figures do not matter in the grand scheme of things since they are a representation but not necessarily the truth.

So what is essential in your life? Actually it differs from person to person but the core essential for humanity is progress. Progress that is inclusive and not exclusive. Progress that seeks to grow society and not stifle and gain from it. What is essential is our need to reach out and seek to surpass our limitations for it is in human nature to overreach. What is essential is that we change and progress for the better which means keeping the good from tradition and doing away with the bad. What is essential is not the world built by the past but the world which we will build for the future. We should not fight to keep the world as it is but on how the world should be. Traditional institutions will always be resistant to change, that is why it has to be disrupted from the inside out. In knowing the essential, it is easier to change since it is in the core of everything and the direction where all things gravitate towards.

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”Antoine de Saint-Exupery


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