"Rejection. That’s what makes a college great. The exclusivity of any university is judged primarily by the amount of students it rejects." -Dean Van Horne in the movie Accepted
Why do many of the brightest university students suffer from an "extreme intellectual precocity combined with a profound emotional immaturity?" This was the question Oxford University psychologist James Hemmings asked after treating many of the most gifted students at Oxford.
Mr. Hemmings coined the term Oxford Psychosis to describe this phenomenon: hard working, academic achievers who paradoxically had failed to develop the most basic levels of emotional maturity.
Ken Robinson’s book, Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative, traces the convergence of the many social and cultural forces which allow this type of unbalanced development to flourish.
But, Mr. Robinson is after much larger game.
In 1990, Alvin Toffler predicted the emergence of the highly skilled, autonomous knowledge worker. These employees would posses an ever expanding knowledge base and take responsibility for making key decisions which could effect the financial health of their employer.
Toffler described this new work as, " a continual cycle of learning, unlearning, and relearning, workers need to master new techniques, adapt to new organizational forms, and come up with new ideas."
The rise of the autonomous knowledge worker is made possible by two powerful forces: the innovation imperative and the accelerating pressure of an advanced economy. If a company expects to thrive or even survive, it must be the first to create new products and bring them to market before the competition.
Out of Our Minds makes the case for a new approach to education which develops the thinking skills needed by the autonomous knowledge workers of the future. He believes everyone has the capacity to do creative work and it is shameful to waste so much human potential with an educational system designed to produce workers who are no longer valued in the work place.
This is how Mr. Robinson sums up his important book: