An Empowering World View

During my 9 years in manufacturing, at every place I worked, I had at least one coworker with missing fingers. I never asked them how they came to have missing fingers and they never told me. One of my many jobs in manufacturing was as a machinist, working with machines that could remove a finger in the blink of an eye, so I began to accept the missing fingers phenomenom as something that goes with the territory. One day, after becoming an educator, thinking back about the manufacturing workplace and in society in general, I realized that humanity is surrounded by machines, some big, some small, some we understand, most we don't, but we assume that SOMEONE does. What I fear is that, as those machines become more complex, there is less and less understanding, and with less understanding comes less control, so that machines are starting to control man, not vice versa. Fortunately, the process of technological implosion-as opposed to explosion-where the technology itself is shrinking in size, makes it more accessible to the average person. Now the average person holds the world's most sophisticated technology in their hands (literally).

But possession does not mean understanding, so the next step is to understand the technology that we put on our desks and in our pocket. The analogy of the car is a good one to understand modern technology. A person can drive a car perfectly well to get wherever they need to go without knowing one thing about how a car works-the same with technology. We have a wonderful opportunity to teach young people how their technology works. They have it already, now we just have to explain to them what they already have. When this is done successfully, it leads to that wonderful thing called empowerment, which will overcome fear, gender and racial discrimination, negative socialization, self-esteem issues and all the other things that hold young people back. When empowerment is a habit, and a routine, and something they acquire every day, they develop an empowering world view, which is what we are focused on every day at the Border Education Project.

So in the big picture, theoretical sense, the Border Education Project is meant to restore the balance in the struggle of man versus machine. But it's not so much a battle between man and machine, but a battle between mankind and the people who understand and control the machines for their selfish ends. This struggle should not have a winner or a loser, but society needs to balance the scales between the two.

Peter Honan
Executive Director
The Border Education Project