May 08, 2018

By Gonzalo López Martí - Creative director, etc. / LMMiami.com

  • Protestantism began because the Catholic Church was selling indulgences: documents that exculpated the dead and the alive from spending time in hell or purgatory.
  • Yup, the Holy Church literally was, and possibly still is, a “salvation retailer”.
  • In the 1500s some mid-level religious staff mostly in Northern Europe “protested” this questionable practice.
  • Politics kicked in.
  • Assorted monarchs saw an opening to cut loose from papal influence.
  • The rest is history.
  • It must be noted that Protestantism was not simply a consequence of internecine struggles in the Church.
  • Many historians claim that it was a byproduct of the creation of the printing press.
  • Before the printing press, books were scarce handwritten vehicles of knowledge only accessible to those who had the power to own them and the education to read them: namely priests.
  • The illiterate masses of Christianity had to believe what priests taught them verbally.
  • As more and more lay folks got hold of cheaper printed books and learned how to read, more and more people began to have their own interpretation of, among other works, the Bible.
  • The church lost its monopoly of gospel dissemination.
  • Ouch.
  • This is precisely what the internet is doing to higher education as we speak.
  • On steroids.
  • To an exponential extent.
  • It is snatching the monopoly of scientific and professional authority away from the hands of the high priests in their Ivy league ivory towers.
  • Pardon my heresy but, if I may ask, what is a university’s value proposition?
  • If Christianity sells “salvation”, what does a university actually sell?
  • Diplomas.
  • Professional certification.
  • How long until a new, disruptive concept calls into question the monopoly universities hold on professional certification?
  • Let me elaborate.
  • A lot of people claim to be religious, or at least “spiritual”, yet they never set foot on a church /synagogue / mosque under the logic that they “do not believe in organized religion”.
  • What if the same happens in the realm of education and professional certification?
  • What if more and more folks start eschewing formal education to become autodidacts?
  • Are we ready for self-taught doctors, surgeons, engineers, architects?
  • In the age of postmodernism and post truth when a male of our species can self-identify as a woman, how long until a plumber decides to self-identify as a neurosurgeon?
  • Can you stop a consenting adult from choosing and procuring medical treatment from the self-identified specialist of their choice?
  • Just a generation ago, marrying a person of one’s same sex was illegal and considered a depravity.
  • Today, it is commonplace.
  • There’re are millions of parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids.
  • Millions of mothers are opting to bear their children at home with ancestral methods of so-called alternative medicine.
  • Highly educated individuals in complete use of their faculties who are seriously suspicious of modern medicine and the pharmaceutical industry.
  • How long until alternative medicine becomes mainstream?
  • Case in point: Steve Jobs, he of Apple Computer fame & fortune, opted to pursue an alternative treatment for his pancreatic cancer.
  • It is a matter of individual freedom of choice, isn’t it?
  • Are you rolling your eyes yet?
  • The medical community is.
  • Doctors HATE Google.
  • And Wikipedia.
  • With all their guts.
  • They are tired of patients questioning their treatment decisions based on “science” they found on the interwebs.
  • Then again, can we stop grownup in full use of their mental faculties and civil rights from believing the specialists and scientific sources of their own choice?
  • Can we stop a consenting adult who in full use of his or her faculties if he or she wants a “healer” without a degree from medical school to treat them for a disease?
  • Not only medicine and the pharmaceutical industry has a serious credibility problem.
  • Scientists, lawyers, architects, engineers, property developers do too.
  • We regard them with suspicion.
  • We have the unnerving sensation that these formerly respectful professions are just fallible human beings at best or just greedy bloodsuckers who want to take us to the cleaners like everybody else.
  • Nothing is sacred anymore.
  • Public opinion has never been so mistrustful of authority and institutions.
  • Politics, Washington D.C., Silicon Valley, the Catholic Church.
  • All the pillars of Western civilization are covered by a mantle of suspicion.
  • Did I say a mantle of suspicion?
  • Add technology to the equation and voilá.
  • All professions will be disrupted.
  • Not necessary by “alternative” stuff.
  • How long until artificial intelligence renders your physician practice obsolete?
  • How long until engineers & architects are given the pink slip by autodidacts with 3D software?
  • It’s happened to graphic design already: anyone with a laptop can “design a logo”.
  • Get ready for what’s next.
  • To be continued.

 

 

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