The introduction and the topic of this article were triggered by a recent visit paid by the Master of the European Affairs to a high school in the suburbs of Paris. The aim of the Master’s students was firstly to inform the pupils about the European Union, but what nobody was able to predict was a mutual influence and a series of unexpected, but honest reactions.
The adolescents, to whom the word “Europe” didn’t sound difficult but unfamiliar seemed enviously unburdened by the world and expressed clear views and simple solutions to the European current issues.
For years now, when entering higher education, one is being told that being informed is essential to human growth and there is a subconscious development of “capitalism of knowledge” with constant growth as an imperative.
As an example, one can often hear professors highly recommending reading Le Monde every day. It is important to say that a good reader takes at least 1 hour to read most of the sections and to get a glimpse through the parts that seem less important at a given moment. This translates in 1 hour of keeping up to date with the daily prices of a barrel of oil, memorizing the exact date of the Chilean-Peruvian maritime dispute or confronting conflicts from Syria to Colombia.
« Drowning in information but starved for knowledge »
– John Naisbitt
However, such information can easily make one too informed instead of well informed. The importance and the power of information is in its conclusive and applicable value. The purpose of it is being able to ask intelligent questions about that same price of a barrel of oil, which is a clear reflection of the relative volatility of commodities and the macroeconomic insecurity of certain regions while the Chilean-Peruvian maritime dispute engages directly in a debate on the importance of countries’ reputation in international law.
In regards to global conflicts mentioned above, the lack of historical awareness is keen on creating informed pessimism based on the amount of current violence. Nevertheless, a simple reminder that today’s citizens are almost instantly informed about any tension potentially leading to a conflict doesn’t mean that the amount of violence in general has multiplied throughout the history.
Hungary and Poland prove that, for the past couple of years, the word democracy has been distorted and reshaped in the heart of the European Union member countries. One of the pillars of a true democracy has always been informed citizenry and it is one’s responsibility to determine relevant information in order to be well informed and get involved.