Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Teacher Dependence

The (ahem) higher the organism, the better capable of learning from experience. Kleptocracies don’t want citizens learning from experience on their own, and the kleptocracy’s solution is a state-run school system: learn what the state-appointed teacher says when the state-appointed teacher says it.

Not learning what the state-appointed teacher says when the state-appointed teacher says it gets penalized: you may be left back, you may not be promoted. But no left-back is punished like a drop out; and no drop out is punished like an opt-out.

But the individual most severely punished may be the one who learned something before the teacher gave the command.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Today's first scribble:
Institutions structure and channel a society's illusions, especially its self-deceptions. We have laws, therefore we must be lawful. We have a Justice Department, therefore we must be just. Having a Defense Department proves that we're safe.

Churches prove that we're spiritual, schools that we are learned.

They prove it: if the proved-to are as naive as a typical audience at a typical magic show. But the magician said that the box the coin disappeared into was an ordinary box, he said he had nothing up his sleeves ...

See? If we're fooled by our own lies, then God must be fooled too. If we tell God we're innocent, he has to believe us, doesn't he? And if we say we're sorry, he has to forgive us. So we can all get into heaven: whole, with our stolen ideas, deeding our stolen lands.

The museum is very careful to show the provenance of the Van Gogh: donated by Mrs. Eli Watkins. The scholar at the university cites his college at the other university. Still: God knows, and we all know: Van Gogh didn't get paid. Mrs. Watkinds can't have owned it. And it doesn't matter if Professor Smith credits Professor Jones if both are hoarding water that nature gave to everything.

Institutions PS

Second Draft:
Institutions magnify our natural tendency to confuse map with territory. We think the word is the thing, the actor is the character. On top of that old established and bloated institutions can milk the confusion. Gathering together for hymns, the church encourages our deception that we're godly, spiritual; not thieves living on stolen land with the royalties for our ideas largely unpaid.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

School's Purpose

School's Purpose: Pogrom from the Populace

The more words that go up at InfoAll.org, at Knatz.com, at Macroinformation.org [all pk domains censored, deleted, destroyed in 2007], the more embarrassed I become at how incomplete it all is. It isn’t just that the zoo is never the environment, the terrarium never the forest; I leap to start first tier ideas, then leap to jot stuff for the second, third ... tenth tier. The nth tier is a lot easier to write for than the top. The top is so complex, so full of uncertainties, so embarrassing. And dealing with it at all, even thinking of dealing with it gets one into so much trouble. Isn’t it bad enough that I’ve already been ignored, fired, beat up, shunned, misunderstood, lied about ... for most of the past half century?

I posted a section to gather thoughts on the purpose of school soon after posting a home page. Most important, it mentions Lauter and Howe’s 1969 analysis. Equally important it mentions Illich’s 1970 analysis. It mentions that Lauter and Howe quickened my receptivity to Illich. I have never doubted that Illich knew the Lauter and How material: they all published in the NYR. But my own additions quickly became, and remain, a mess: despite numerous starts at improvement. Indeed, one of my thoughts in starting this blog was to provide an easy place to straighten out my School’s Purpose section.

Women proposed Ms. to replace Mrs. and Miss, but instead of one title they wound up with three. Here I intend to simplify, to coordinate, but at the moment it’s just another damn file.

I want to emphasize two points, to blend them, to relate them to all else. I don’t have the time to see where I’ve already made these points or to coordinate them all. There is no final variorum edition of human learning; just ever more rubble. Yet understanding, learning, even wisdom, is possible. But you have to do some of the work.

No culture will allow political leaders to be chosen by a robot simply selecting the highest IQ, the most compendious learning. Schools, including universities, express a culture’s homeostasis: we want to nourish these ideas and starve those, we want to reward this behavior and punish that. At no point are the standards objective. A scientist can scarf public funds and get tenure falsifying obscure technical theories, but not popular beliefs. The public will tolerate the honing of technique -- build bigger bombs, seek bigger, quicker profits -- but will tar and feather any individual or group that threatens to become too wise for the entire group’s comfort or convenience.

We say that schools pursue excellence: we leave out the necessary qualifiers: in some things.

And that’s why unemployable, never rewarded pk (what more can you do to me?), more and more inventories well know exceptions: from Jesus to Abelard to Galileo ... to Reich, Leary ... Illich, pk.
If the group sandbags you, you’re in elite company.

Any university can display a stack of geniuses it honored. What we need to see, next to its list, is an inventory of genius it was blind to. Who did it ignore? Who did it fire? Whose work got subverted, smeared, invidiously caricatured? Ditto any institution. Oh goody, Olympia published Lolita when no one else would (one of the great modern novels, THE quintessential Twentieth-century love story); what DIDN’T Olympia publish? Oh, goody, the MLA published this and that, supported him and her; but the MLA rejected Henry Adam’s Mont Saint Michel et Chartres!

Some network is currently featuring "good news" on the news: common people "trying to make a difference." In 2005 no news organ has yet given honest coverage to 1970’s FLEX!

Everyone pretends not to notice the fart at the wedding. When Illich’s work got near the heart of our dilemmas, suddenly his fortunes reversed: the world’s most famous priest disappeared, right before our eyes: a conspiracy of the craven. The public can doubt the Warren Commission, but the public must never doubt itself: no matter what crimes its commiting. We’ll die of stupidity before we’ll admit to stupidity.

Driving a couple of students to go skiing back in 1968 they were grousing about the college interfering with their liberty to smoke dope, to fuck in the hallways. I assured them that the in loco parentis the-hell-with-due-process administration was the only thing keeping the whole campus from getting burned to the ground by the good witch-hunters of Salem. The college knows how slippery its foundation is. A little bit of flouting the culture is OK, so long as the students are branded as YOUNG, so long as they’re unemployed, so long as they’re cloistered. But the privileged-to-be-useless Mandarin larvae had better leave their Saturnalias -- and their thinking -- far short of the threshold that will trigger a pogrom from the populace.


A Michael Crichton character says, "Third world countries can leapfrog. They skip telephone lines and go right to cellular."
True. And so 1960s Ivan Illich.

I remember Illich saying that in the future developed countries would have to call on undeveloped countries for aid.
I remember Illich saying that Third World countries shouldn’t try any new drugs until the First World had had several decades in which to fail to kill themselves with them.
1970s Illich didn’t seem to go in so facilely for dramatic prophecy: safer, wiser in a way, but I still have a soft spot for futurist balderdash: much of which DOES come to pass.
Early on in his deschooling, like 1970, I remember Illich saying that children would have to discipline their parents.

Yes, yes.
That’s a cartoon of evolution. It’s 1984 though when the kids report dad and mom to the AUTHORITIES!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Illich on Cultural Imperialism

Just minutes ago I posed comments at my Iona Arc blog (that I look forward to icorporating into Knatz.com and into InfoAll.org [both now censored]) detailing some of what Ivan Illich was up to before he devised deschooling (thereby inventing 50-90% of the internet).
You can see the raw stuff at IonaArc.

[My five domains as of 2006 were censored by a federal court, 2007 Feb. 21. This 2008, 2009 I'm trying to recreate some of the roughly 3,000 files as blog posts: like painting 4D in 2D.]

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Meretricious Internet

I’ve said it before, everywhere, but I must say it again today: Illich’s design for networking public information offered anyone, everyone, an ad, as many ads as they wanted; but no ad would be highlighted. My implementation at FLEX, my plans for further implementation as FIX, had no place for popup ads.

Just now I was doing some of my daily my.Yahoo.com browsing and an animated ad for some current TV shows intruded right into the news coverage. I’d asked for selected Reuters sports stories, and an ad flashes under my nose telling me that Las Vegas is America’s Most Outrageous City: see it on some channel.

Any institution, even ideally, is supposed to channel human behavior somewhat. Imagine the bride coming down the aisle of the church. Guys are not supposed to be hitting on her as she walks. No whores are supposed to solicit the groom as he waits by the altar. Once they’re back out on the street, they’re on their own. But the church is supposed to give them a few moments peace.

In my offered internet of 1970 -- FLEX was in NYC, but I offered to coordinate all the world’s FLEXes, expecting of course for NYC and the world to pay me. My habits were scholarly (as well as dissolute, indulgent). When I roamed the stacks at Columbia, at NYU, I took protection from whores, blaring radios, billboards, assault by TV ads ... for granted. Sure, somebody could try to move in on you: more likely some queer than a chick, but mostly it was peaceful, quite: distractions absent. When I moved into the Shakespeare section, the contents of the books on the shelves were by Shakespeare. Nearby were books about Shakespeare: his period, the plays, etc. No porn ads flashed among the Tragedies. If there was porn, it was by Shakespeare, and in the plays. Nothing jumped out at me from the Comedies caterwauling about Ford trucks.

Do you see what I mean? You could have had an internet as quiet, as cheap, as non-intrusive as a nice dictionary. You look up the word "man." There it is: alphabetically ordered, there for you, but minding its own business. No links blink at you for the word "woman," or "dyke," or "faggot." What words there are are to the point, the point you’ve chosen, and merely in black and white. You don’t have such an internet; because you didn’t support it when it was offered.

Hell, I still offer it; but it’s too late now. And I’m so pissed off that if you did suddenly support it, I might just sell central, loud space on it to Las Vegas. I’m so pissed off, I might give it to Caesar’s Palace.

I wrote that before I was arrested! (2006) Before my online writing was censored! (2007) Imagine how pissed off I am now!

I add new comments today, 2009 04 10.

Monday, November 07, 2005

School mot

School isn’t just where we imprison and brainwash children (brainwash immigrants, retro-fit adults ...), it’s also HOW we do it.

Like viruses injecting their DNA into other organisms.