(Read David Brooks' article in the New York Times: Everyone a Changemaker.)
We now live in a world where everything is changing faster and faster and where each change ripples out and sparks more change. These are facts, not an opinion.
An everything-changing world must be an "everyone a changemaker" society.
The old game was efficiency in repetition. Everyone learned a skill, be it banker or barber, and repeated it in walled workplaces for a lifetime. This world is fast dying.
The many from such lives who haven't learned changemaking's complex skills are being pushed aside. As are their kids. They are deeply angry.
A bidding war for changemakers and the dysfunction of hiring those without these skills is why income distributions are getting worse everywhere — and why poisonous us-versus-them politics is spreading.
Unless we ensure that everyone is a changemaker, we will be ever more bitterly, hurtfully divided.
However, how confident can we be that a world of powerful changemakers will be a good, ethical place?
The prophets and science both confirm that expressing love and respect in action is what brings happiness, health, and longevity. In the far better "everyone a changemaker" world that is now upon us (and that is Ashoka's goal), every aspect of society needs and helps everyone do so. A key part of being an effective team member in this team-of-teams world is to help all team members build this core strength.
That's why "cognitive empathy-based living for the good of all" is the first and the foundational skill everyone must learn to be a part of today's society. Without it, you will hurt others and disrupt groups. With it, you can learn sophisticated teamwork, an opposite type of leadership, and changemaking, the other three critical (learned) skills and become an everywhere-needed changemaker.
People intuitively want this, and the "everyone a changemaker" society needs and will consistently encourage/insist on it. But people have to have the skill. That requires their learning how to get their mirror neurons ("I feel your pain" — the common definition of empathy) to mesh with their cerebral cortex and the lifelong work of consciously understanding the world of ever more numerous, interconnected, and fast-changing contexts.
If we give every child this skill, they can have a welcomed, needed life expressing love and respect in action. Without it, they will, regardless of intent, hurt others and be marginalized.
A society of such givers/changemakers will be structurally, powerfully ethical.
It is also a world where, again structurally, people treat one another far more as equals.
And when everyone is an ethically driven changemaker, and where changemakers know how to work together well in fluid, open teams of teams, there is no way the problems can outrun the solutions.
To deny any young person the growing-up opportunities to become a changemaker today is to deny them (and their family) a life. Economically, socially, emotionally, even in terms of health.
It denies them opportunity, hope, and dignity.
We as a society are doing this to hundreds of millions of young people right now.
If we consciously knew what we are doing, it would be criminal.