Research at AIIT

Dialog with an Uncertain Future / Excerp (Irregular updates)

The 12th Installment“Idle Talk”

by Yoshinori Kanno,
Professor, Master Program of Innovation for Design and Engineering

We talk about methods of education and research, and what is right and what is not. But if the answers came easily, things would not be so difficult. People say, “Do this, because this is the correct method” or “This is how it’s done.” But I think that is exactly when things have already gone down the wrong path. Everyone is different and that’s fine (as Misuzu Kaneko said). You get one gem from a mix of stones. People do not always have to achieve good results. What is necessary though is to sweat and put in daily effort. It does not matter if it results in failure. Failing may even present you with the opportunity to create something big later. You need to maintain a positive attitude. Things will happen! Que sera sera. Never give up.

To add to this possibility of encountering “the opportunity to create something big,” I think people these days aim to achieve good results in too short of a time. Under this notion, you never know who creates what, where and how; and I am speaking in terms life, methods of doing things and achievements. You lack the notion of identifying them as functions of time. You constantly focus too much on “now.” Everybody has their own function equation for growth. Some see it peak when they take their entrance exams for a private junior high school, some during their high school entrance exams, some in their college exams. Some see it peak when they complete their doctorate, some in their 40s, some in their 50s. Some may see it peak at their retirement or even right before they die. It is different for everyone. Under the laws of nature, movement occurs under increased entropy, constantly toward a state of equilibrium. Equal distribution of energy levels is the principle. Humans also work under the principle of equal distribution of energy levels. Opportunity comes to everyone with equal chance. But it only applies to those who have put in persistent effort! It will never come to those who are playing around. Can it come merely from money games? ...No, never. Technicians need to sweat for it... that is their prerogative.

I am skeptical about enforcing uniform education, which is a thing of the past. I am also a skeptic about unpractical, classroom education of ideals, “fantasy education,” education that teaches that success is right and failure is bad, and education that only cares about points on paper. What are test scores? Is getting higher scores that important? What is wrong with failing? It’s okay if you failed after putting in your best effort. I hope that we will see more people who do not care about points at all.

To comment further about doing “uniform education, which is a thing of the past” – The laws of nature are complex.

Things do not always follow theory. You never know what will happen. Uniform education cannot deal with matters that change flexibly. The skill to deal flexibly and adapt to chaos comes from the notion that “everyone is different and that’s fine.”

“This is correct.” “Do this.” “You have to do this.” “This is how it is.” “This is what it must be.” – Such obligatory education treads on the buds of new species. This is Qin Shi Huangdi. It looks like it is unified, efficient, and great, and people will tell you it is, but growth stops right there and rolls downhill. Everybody is unified under the same opinion, so they do not realize that they are going at it all wrong. The buds of growth lie where there are many diverse opinions.

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