In the processes of the Darwinian “struggle for existence” and “survival of the fittest” human beings depend a lot on training, unlike most of their lower beings. Right from the mother who helps the baby in suckling her breast properly to the doctor who helps the dying man breath easy, human beings undergo training (formal / informal / overt / covert) continuously throughout their lives.
Darwinian principles of the struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest are significant while attempting to make out the meaning of life. If we attempt to combine both these (which, in a way, is what living is all about), we get a combination which would appear something like “struggling to achieve a fitter state of body and mind in order to ensure existence”. Through training and development we attempt to achieve higher levels of “fitness”. I would like to call this as the urge for “fitterness”. In a way, our quest for success, wealth, greatness, luxury, dominance, destruction etc. stem out of this urge. Training, from its most primitive to the most advanced forms, had been the strongest enabler in this chase for fitterness.
From the military academies to the corporate organisations world over, the traditional concept of training had been revolving around either teaching or awareness generation in the trainees. Also, as a tool for dominance by people trying to control fellow beings, the not-so-desirable objectives of training involved indoctrination, mental conditioning, emotional manipulations etc. In all these, the most damning factor had been the presumption that people’s behaviours can be changed by “administering” training by a “trainer”. However, the fact always remained that any activity like training with a view to modify the behaviour of people did not work unless they (the trainees) directly got involved in it. Many smart and manipulative trainers succeeded in extracting this direct involvement using concepts like God, nationalism, guilt, revenge, relationships etc. The proliferation of terrorism can be cited as an example of this.
Training in the larger sense is probably the best tool to change the world into a place where people can live and work in a mutually supportive and collaborative way. The sad part of this dream is that the current social and organisational ethos world over do not allow the trainers to view training from beyond the point of a “piece of work”. Moreover, when trainers get trapped in their own conditioned belief systems, unknowingly, they impose them onto the trainees, be it the corporate ones or the growing up child. An unending and vicious chain of delusions and mental conditioning are thus created by such trainers, whereas their actual role should have been to help the trainees gain awareness to make informed choices on life’s options, on their own.
Training as a tool for perceptual changes had largely been manipulative till recently. However, the time for manipulative training, especially in the case of adults, is on its way out not because most trainers have become more sensitive to the fitterness needs of the trainees, but because the trainees no longer have to depend on the trainers for learning and awareness generation, courtesy the information technology explosion. This brings about the end of the role of “trainers”. The emerging situation is that at best there can be “facilitators”. The real trainer in this scenario would be the trainees themselves!