THOUGHTS ON QUALITY AND COHERENCE

Lack of coherence (consistency) is a relatively common disorder. Do we act the way we say we do or are we fooling ourselves? How can we be demanding of others if we are not equally demanding of ourselves? Clearly, in certain situations, coherence can be a very valuable, and in many cases, highly desirable concept. Surely the quality of life in general suffers from inconsistencies. Well, perhaps, but it is equally important to note that coherence and quality are mutually exclusive characteristics, the former only guaranteeing equality of treatment, not the standards by which the treatment might be measured or judged. Some of the most abdominal events I have ever witnessed have been perfectly coherent.

Quality is a far more complex affair, involving as it does a combination of theoretical and practical concerns in a wide range of areas that encompass aesthetic and philosophical, as well as purely technical questions. Furthermore, when we consider the fact that in today’s global environment, there is a cosmopolitan aspect to the measure of quality that must be integrated into any serious discussion, it becomes obvious that education must be multilayered in many different ways if it is to prepare students for today’s world. It must be able to instill the values and preoccupations of a host culture while teaching respect and admiration for the achievements of other cultures in the past and in the present. It must therefore be multi-lingual and multi-cultural and promote exchange at every opportunity. Instead, it is often the contrary – closed and fearful of differences and challenges, preoccupied with maintaining coherence on a local level. 

Quality is (or should be) an ever-evolving goal – a fluid and dynamic quest for a level of achievement we can never attain. Coherence, so impotent alone, only realizes its potential when in the service of this quest.