Wednesday, April 08, 2015

New World

Unless you are Elon Musk and contemplating colonising Mars, we don't get to be old school explorers. I wonder what lessons we would have learned if we were to suddenly discover a portal to a New World? I took the ferry from the Taronga Zoo to Circular Quay next to the Sydney Opera House today. Coming into iconic harbours like that, like New York and the Statue of Liberty, always makes me think of the first explorers coming across only vegetation, or waves of new immigrants coming into countries that had open arms. New Worlds and new lives. The extent of the difference nowadays was confirmed when I bumped into the headmaster of the school I went to when I stepped off the ferry! Mr Hall was more than 10,000km from where I was a blazer wearing school boy, and I don't blame him for taking a second or two to place the hairy individual saying 'hi Trevor, it's Trevor.'


I was chatting with a friend today about whether or not I think people are inherently good or not. She has a little three year old empress who is having to learn that she isn't the boss. I think we are similar. The difference is that little empresses have patient parents to teach them. We had to learn to behave through trial and error. We have made lots of errors, but I think we are learning. I have come across very few consistently malicious people in my life. I think we learn from our mistakes and we are starting to treat people better. Because it is better for us if we do. In the case of the empress, it means she gets to watch Octonauts. In our case, it means we can work, live and travel more freely. We can engage with interesting people without fear. We can enjoy some of the good stuff life has to offer. We only get to do this once we start playing nice.

Mr Hall is a spectacularly good headmaster. He was an old boy of our school and cared deeply about the community. But another reason is that he is open to ideas and always learning. We had a coffee next to the harbour and he told me about what is going on there. Part of what he does is look at other countries and where schools are doing awesome things, and then try to bring that back to Westville. We get to learn from others mistakes and successes. We get to learn from best practice and choose the bits we want.

Two Trevors - Mr Black and Mr Hall in Sydney

That is why New Worlds and particularly countries that open their arms to all sorts of different cultures do so well in my view. We aren't constrained by what we are individually. We get to be empowered by what we are together.

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