Kudos 🙂 You know how much I love meta-thinking!
IMHO you’re right, the “21st century skills” meme is stale. I always kind of thought “Yeah, like nowadays we need to be able to communicate, whereas in the 15th century we didn’t? WTF?” Much more valuable to my practice has been the deconstruction of “21st Century Skills” into meaningful (and actionable) maps and definitions (e.g. WebLitMap or even, more broadly, elements of 21st century skills).
“our humanity begins when behavior must conflict with instinct.” Yes, I think you’re right on this but those behaviors are wildly influenced by cultural and social backgrounds. “Self programmable” will be shifting depending on individual contexts. Although I like to think that I can create participatory learning environments for any social context, I’ve seen push back from communities where certain aspects of “participatory” is antithetical to their cultural or social values. I’ve used varying strategies when this happen, most often eliminating certain practices – for example, I drop evangelism fairly often. Even in certain 1st world countries evangelism on anything at all is met with distrust.
I like where you’re going and would think about which of these practices are context contingent and which are not.