Monday, December 21, 2009

Deschooling Quotes: FLEX

All my quote files were moved to pKnatzQuotes blog, then to pKnatz blog.

Deschooling Quotes moved

All my quote files were moved to pKnatzQuotes blog, then to pKnatz blog.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Testing 1, 2, 3

"Who would test me?"

That's what George Lyman Kittredge, Harvard professor of Shakespeare, quipped when asked why he didn't have a Ph.D. Right. He knew more on the subject than anyone: who indeed would test him?

The professors in my graduate English department at NYU proved incapable of testing me. I freely admit that I might have proved incapable of testing them on some idea they are inspired by but that I am opaque to.

God can test us at Judgment, but who's to test God's competence to do so?
Nested incapacities may be infinite.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Ivan Illich's proposed learning webs recommended that the public avail itself of community data bases, cybernetic where the population was large. Illich distinguished between human resources and inanimate resources. Thus a teacher, expert, or skill model would be listed in one yellow pages; a book store, a stationary store, or an art supplies store would be listed in another.

My Free Learning Exchange, Inc., founded in New York City in 1970, did exactly that: and I talked, wrote, and published suggestions that the learning webs sprouting up around the world expand to become general public resource data bases: where doctors, lawyers, and Indian chiefs could advertise together with the "teachers." But today I launch this post to make an additional distinction: one to which human or inanimate is immaterial: I wish to distinguish the category of resources into sub-categories of degree of development.
Developed resources
Under-developed resources
Over-developed resources
Missed resources

Tobacco is in my judgment an over-developed resource: over-produced, over-sold, over-consumed. Intelligence is an under-developed resource: church, school, government ... chase it away with a stick. And the public watches with its thumb in its ass: just like we watched Jesus get railroaded: and then Jesus' followers: and still Jesus' followers ...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Three Internets

You'll see the world clearest if you realize that there have been at least three internets: different, incompatible. First try to understand the internet of local community human resource data bases that I offered to keep and make cybernetic which I and my Illich-inspired Free Learning Exchange, Inc. offered in 1970. My internet was intended as an alternative information system / market place to the state-dominated schools and heavy industrial heavy capital dominated markets we were already pummeled by. The state compels us to study English for twelve years under some string of state-licensed morons. Left alone we could study English for twenty years, or for none: our choice. The watchword for FLEX's proposed internet was free: as in freedom, as in liberty. In other words, my associates and I were offering a purified version of what the state claimed to give but actually made impossible.

(I admit that there was a first internet before mine: a "zero" internet as it were: the internet I'd imagined, and wasn't alone in imagining, as I read futurists: Arthur C. Clarke, Marshall McLuhan, Bucky Fuller (and talked with in Bucky's case) ... But I was the first dreamer to say aloud and in public that I'd do it. (Denis Detzel had spoken before me, but not publicly the best I can tell. My FLEX was on the street in NYC ahead of his Learning Exchange in Evanston.))

Then by the late 1980s there was the internet that universities and university students talked and joked over. But my internet was for everybody, no matter how poor; the universities' internet was exclusive, privileged almost by definition. But it, like mine, was anarchic in other ways. One got published because one had something to say; not because one had the backing of Alfred A. Knopf & Co.

Now Fourth, meretricious beyond belief, today's familiar internet. Run by robots, for robots. More mindless hysterical consumerism.

My internet would have functioned in the ancient Greek tradition: Socrates, Plato, etc: ideally (if not actually) seeking clarity. This internet I now publish this post on is dominated by banners, intrusive ads, popups ... You ask for one things, but first the robots give you something else.

My ideal was like a dictionary: any word could be there, organized by a simple principle: the alphabet, following a known order: A, B, C ... Look up the word "acrobat": no Coke ad should pop up and smack you in the eye. You shouldn't need to fret while an 800 pixel color picture of Pamela Anderson's ass blocks the word "acrobat."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Universities: Cultural Sales Tool

Churches used to pretend that they were a doorway to truth. Some still pretend that. But more and more of us (few of us any too rational either) see that they're but sales tools for butressing the dominance of some superstitions profitable to the priests; not to the culture. Rational discussion is neigh impossible anywhere near a church: of any denomination. Ah: so those who see the fraud flock to universities.

Universities currently pretend that they are a doorway to truth: they pretend that they're honestly trying even if they don't yet claim infallibility.

Ivan Illich showed that schools weren't what they seemed. A few people, very few, actually got the point. So how come no one has allowed my extension of his points, extending "school" to include universities? I say that universities are for the most part merely secular churches: sales tools for maintaining the epistemological errors of our top-down controlled, big-capital-controlled marketplace culture.

Rational discussion is neigh impossible anywhere near a university.

(Boy! And if you think the university is bad, try dealing with the public! with the media!! with the government!!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Free Learning Exchange note

In 1970 I founded the Free Learning Exchange, Inc., following Ivan Illich's saintly genius in trying to offer the public a cheap low-tech internet by which that public could sidestep regulation into freedom: any community with a cybernetic bulletin board of human and inanimate resources, together with both interest matching services and feedback on quality, on behavioral irregularies, could recreate the ancient marketplace into a new Phoenix of liberty, upgrading interfering regulatory government into direct cybernetic democracy at the same time: Congress was designed for representatives to renew information from their constituency annually; with networked cybernetics opinions can be updated at the speed of light. In 1973 my wife stopped paying the bills and kidnapped our son: a handy way of not having to discuss his education with the deschooler.

The above statement recaps my deschooling history with brevity. I wrote it an hour ago at my PaulKnatz blog and now copy it here. Lots of details had been at the destroyed, having previously been at the simultaneously destroyed

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Illich / Shaw

My domain had a section on philosophers who'd influenced my ideas of learning, education, school ... prior to 1970 and my discovery of Ivan Illich. George Bernard Shaw was among them: though I've not yet been satisfied with what I'd posted on this complex and important subject.

Only a small percentage of the materials at have yet been re-posted here at my InfoAll blog. None of my background philosopher writings have been. This post, newly penned this hour, will precede the re-posting. It's an email just sent to the social worker the fed assigned to me after releasing me from jail. More explanations of what follows will follow after:

Sandy, we talk and talk, and the more we talk about the more there is to talk about. The more said—the more understood, the more left out, the more not understood.

Coming into your office yesterday I commented on your cute Frog: No Perfumes sign, but repressed my urge to say anything further, my mind being already jumping balks about1) Waiting for Jean (While Meeting Linda), and
2) Ahn giving me authority over my idea for ballroom lessons, then taking it away from me in the middle of the Social chaos of Wed. July 8.
blog readers, note:
Sandy's "House of Wellness" ask visitors not to enter wearing any chemical scents.
I asked if she herself was allergic. She said she was.

At our next meeting there will again be too much to talk about pressing against me, so let me scratch this itch over a missing detail by sending your this (quick I hope) email:

You know I'm a disciple of Ivan Illich, you know Ivan Illich is a disciple of Christ, I think you already knew a little bit about Illich before I came in, but of course, due to my being a disciple of Illich and Illich and all his ideas being anathema to the kleptocracy, you, like everyone else, did NOT know a thing about me: except that I'm a convicted, confessed, "felon": more kleptocracy-imposed delusion, the confession having been tricked out of me by a combination of threats and mild but continuous tortures (refrigerating prisons, stripping us naked at 55 degrees — a friend joked, "I'll plead guilty if you'll just send me back to my cell, where it's 60 degrees, not 55.")

[The thieves band together, 90% unconsciously, to sift through facts, blocking, shading, blackening, those facts that contradict their illusion of legitimacy. The magicians' illusions will work (on a stupid-enough, conditioned-enough audience) IF the ushers have a free hand to silence the rational skeptics.

What there's never been time to add to my introduction of myself to you is that long before I was a disciple of Illich (and long after I was a (yet-minor) disciple of Christ), I was an enthusiastic disciple of George Bernard Shaw. Now: Illich is not normally associated with Shaw, Shaw is not normally seen as related to Illich: but the relationship is there: even if only through me (and I'll relate this where it belongs, next to the idea of No Perfume, in a moment).

I was the better ready to read and understand Illich thanks to my long-trained reading and interpreting Shaw (AKA: GBS).

It's seems odd, but it's not really. GBS was the famous atheist, the famous socialist.
Well I loved Shaw DESPITE that. Because he is the great humorist: who, Twain-like, looks at conventional compositions Up-Side-Down!
It's a good exercise, should Always be done. Take an argument, don't either believe it or disbelieve it until you're pondered it: right side up, as given, and ALSO upside down, as Not given.

That's essential for the reverse engineering behind Illich's deconstruction of contemporary society's institutions:
The school system is supposed to "educate"; look at it: the school system takes potential individuals, potentially fit for democracy, and machines them into robots for industry, with the occasional privileged-robot-executive for industry.
The schools fail to make us literate, numerate, rational ... but succeed in making us conventional, bland, easily foolable ...

Now: things upside down are not automatically true (though things not examined through every possible orientation are, almost automatically, probably false).
But look it over, check it out,
And enjoy laughing at us fools.

OK, now what about perfume?

I love Shaw, that doesn't mean I necessarily agree with him on much: I agree with his comic procedure: look at the idea dressed in a clown suit, as well as posed for the executive portrait.

Now, specifically:
Shaw, acknowledging that majorities rule, accepted society's right to disregard the discomforts of minorities. (I wish I could afford to find the specific literary reference among the plays and prefaces I have in mind — I haven't read any Shaw since 1965, but till then I'd read more than sixty of the plays, most of the prefaces, and lots of letter: meantime, just believe me.)

I disagree, I don't believe that, I don't think it's automatically OK for the majority to blink at booze production and distribution just because only a minority of people are noticed to become drunks. I don't think it's OK for the majority to profit from tobacco while only some start showing symptoms of emphysema, cancer, etc. I accept that the society does not care for the discomforts of minorities; I do not accept that the society has any right to not care about what's toxic. If the one canary dies in the coal mine, get everybody out of the coal mine, don't wait for a million canaries to die.

I also differ from Shaw's acceptance that "government" is a necessary evil. I don't want to accept any evil as necessary. (Unavoidable and necessary are not the same concept.)
(I did my Shaw reading before 1965. In 1965 I too accepted the right of society to make rules, believing that groups could behave rationally; now I don't accept that assumption, at all: I vehemently deny it. I'm an anarchist now because I'm a total atheist with regard to the possibility of any society larger than 200 individuals doing anything whatsoever that is not destructive. THAT may be why I was arrested!)

There are many more distinctions to draw, but this isn't bad for a first draft, written as fast as I can type. (There are also contradictions not yet addressed: I say "get everybody out of the coal mine"; but I do not mean by coercive authority!) (How? except by coercive authority? Simple: just wait for nature to kill us off so no society exceeds 200 members: if there are no such societies, we'll be extinct: and that might be the best thing in the end.) (I don't want it to be up to Stalin, Hitler, Nixon. I don't want it to be up to you. I don't want it to be up to me!) (I don't want it to be up to Jehovah, planning to give every privilege to the Jews, I don't want it to be up to Jehovah, planning to give every privilege to the Christians; I want it to "be up to" nature! Uncapitalized!)

OK OutSide World: the above is better than nothing. If I live long enough, once I've reposted everything of mine that the fed censored (and that the public accepted the censorship of), I'll come back to to recompose the above as a coherent relationing of GBS, Illich, and pk drawing.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Secular Protestantism

Lots of peoples have believed in lots of gods. The Jews' God acknowledged this bedlam of gods; he just insisted on being acknowledged as the best among them: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

The Christians adopted the Jews' God but additionally assigned him a triple nature: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Three quarters of a millennium later the Muslims gave their Allah a more exclusive exclusive: There is no other God!

Watch out: Johnny admits that there might be some sort of "divine" "principle" in existence, then the Creationist claps his hand over Johnny's mouth and declares that Johnny has accepted some Byzantine creed hook-line-and-sinker.

But it's worse: the ambiguities between "religion" and "atheism," already making a near infinite number of fudges, comes in two radically different party systems: authoritarian and "protestant." That too is complicated: and I'm trying to make less fudge, not more. And I see other treacheries ready to sink any boat trying to navigate the shoals of fudge. Since 1970 pk drawing has hailed the great Roman Catholic priest, Monseigneur Ivan Illich, as the great "Protestant" among Christians, yet I have no awareness of having clarified anything (except once to a fellow Mutualist Anarchist, opening his eyes with an Illich metaphor) amid the seas of fudge. (My son instantly got my clarification as wrong as it's possible to get anything: but that was a predetermined snarl if ever there was one.)

My Magic section of's Society section argues that man's basic hope for his relationship with his environment is magical, not rational. We don't want to wait for spring; we want to make spring magically appear. Farmers don't want to wait for rain, they want ... etc. Religion is how we delude ourselves that we are magicians in command of magic. Thousands of years ago the average Joe realized that he, Joe, couldn't make it rain, but he hasn't yet learned that neither can the shaman, neither can the priest, neither can the minister, neither can the congressman, neither can the President: neither can God: and you don't need magic: just wait for the rain, and accept your death if it doesn't come (or have fewer children, need less water) ...

In the Jews' religion, a magical entity created a magical existence and that magical God loves the sad-sack Jews. Everything belongs to God, and God intends to give everything, in time, to the Jews, taking it from whichever Egyptians, Phoenicians ... Canaanites ... he has to.

In the Christians' religion a similar God hates the Jews but loves the Christians in their place: and once the Christians have stolen everything from the Indians, and the niggers, and the Mexicans ... well then ... But God has no need to give anything to the whites; they just take it themselves.

Still: there's a radically different attitude toward authority between the left wing and the right wing of authoritarian credulity. The Catholic Christian is taught, by a bunch of priests, by a bunch of nuns, that every sinning-little-boy-with-a-dirty-mind (and every sinning-little-girl-with-a-dirty-mind too) can only be saved by the direct intervention of the great magical Holy Catholic Church.

In other words: once upon a time, the magical human living in a magical universe in which he wanted spring, or rain, was magician adequate to get the spring, or the rain. But with the Fall, our magic is no good: we need the true professional magic of the true professional priest: and his priesthood: we need a true magical Church!

The Church kept no records (that we have access to) of how many priests came along between the First Century AD and the Fourteenth Century AD and said, You don't need us professionals, do your own magic. We know of none. That does not mean that there were none. We do know though that in the Fourteenth Century AD John Wicliff tried to translate the Church's Latin Bible into the common English of England. That was a stepped-on-hornets'-nest that we do have records of. The Church squashed Wicliff. But a bit latter the Church failed to squash Martin Luther. Luther got a few German princes on his side, the princes none too happy about how much power the sacred magicians had, and so Luther escaped the Pope's hit men, the Bible did get translated: into German, and into English: and "Christianity" divided: again.

First you had your Christian east and your Christian west: Byzantium and Rome. The east split between Greek and Cyrillic. The west split between Roman and non-Roman. And the non-Roman split between Anglican and Protestant.

Anyway, simplifying, unavoidably, "Protestant," for me, here in this writing, pk online, means "no-middle-man": or at least fewer middle men. With the Church, you had a middle man: you didn't pray to God (for spring, for rain ... for a pony), you prayed to Frere John, and Frere John prayed for you to the Divine Father: or, you prayed to Sister Berthe: and Sister Berthe prayed to the Holy Mother, and the Holy Mother prayed to the Divine Father.

Ivan Illich was a Roman Catholic priest, but he wanted politics to be secular. He wanted each of us to be able to find what we wanted without having to go through a priest: and that includes especially Not Having To Go Through a Secular Priest: no sacred middle men; no secular middle men either: no doctor, no lawyer, no teacher, no bureaucrat! (That does not mean that Illich would forbid you to go to a doctor or a lawyer: no, he's against coercion either way. But principally he's against the magicians creating artificial needs for magicians.)

I was "born" a Protestant, Illich became a Catholic priest. This Protestant is still not used to the idea that I became associated with a Catholic. (Illich may not have been at all comfortable with being associated with someone conspicuously non-Catholic.) I warn any newcomers against believing that I speak for Illich in all things. Don't confuse my history of religion with his. I don't doubt that he would agree with me on many a particular. Unfortunately he and I never got much of a chance to discuss anything.

My secular metaphors come basically from him, as does this particular metaphor of Protestantism.

I am in 100% agreement with Illich on "deschooling": in being against compulsory rituals whether the ritual is claimed to be sacred or secular. I have extended some of Illich's arguments in the thirty-nine years since 1970, and believe that he would in large agree with my expansions. I have no expectation that we would agree on God, or on Christianity. Don't blame him for my theology, or for my philosophy.

Of great importance though: I recognized him as "divinely" inspired. I feel sure that he recognized me as similarly inspired.

On meeting him at his CIDOC in Cuernavaca, I put my arms around him, but felt I wasn't lifting and whirling a human body but rather a bolt of pure almost-levitating energy. I don't know what he felt. We never really did get to talk. But I hope he too felt something not exactly average.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Interrupted Orals: Original Version

pk School Stories: University, Grad School

pk's Interrupted Orals

See the foregoing summary. Now I read in the HTML code (My old HTML doesn't display well at this blog: I'll tighten it later):

Path: / Personal / Overview / Training / Academic Bestiary /

Module initiated 1998 10 28

Ph.D. Orals:


(School of Anti-intellectuals)

This file climaxes my biographical narratives on pk's indoctrination by church and state. It offers personal evidence that private schools and universities are at one with the homeostatic tendencies of the culture at large: including major private universities: famous ones, universities with celebrated faculties. Universities answer to the conservatism of the society at large. Look for what ails us, but don't find it. If you do find it, even a clue, universities have an infinitude of feudally-derived (stone age-derived) devices for not getting the message, assuring that the message does not spread.

This file is a keystone of It pairs with the deschooling keystone of my life's work, climaxed in my founding
The Free Learning Exchange, Inc.
Ivan Illich was the main spokesman for the group that invented information networking for a free society in 1970: the internet that was shunned: left to die on the vine: thirty-some years ago. My FLEX expanded the idea beyond deschooling: toward a wholly free marketplace for public information. But of course state, church, and universities prefer their own managed (false) version of history: and, apart from abbreviated,
the gull public remains ignorant of the path to survival it ignored. When we're all dead, soon, within a century in all likelihood, I hope some alien intelligence notices the path offered and not taken. The morons didn't have to go extinct; they chose to.

Original file resumes:

The purpose of school
is to shade any light
before it can illuminate anything

Unfortunately the latter is still true even at the university level (even in the Ivy League).

1999 09 01

My companion directory for Meta-Oxymoron is now, finally, getting to a point where it makes more than a couple of my most basic points about Shakespeare's sonnets. Once I get a bit further with it, I'll have to return here to rewrite as well as "finish" the story.

"To Prove":
that however schools and universities (see my
History of Universities,
see also
are equipped to propagate knowledge both long understood and approved, they are not equipped to recognize let alone encourage new knowledge, new ideas. The phenomenon is simultaneously one of
and Big Brotherism. Once anything becomes institutionalized any genuine content initially present gets replaced by imitation content, healthy tissue becomes clogged with fat. And the fake can never tolerate the real.

My Doctoral Orals

The Final Straw in pk's Decision

to Divorce Himself

From Society's

Disinformation Machinery

Church, State, School ...

I'll postpone relating incidents between junior high school and the end of graduate school in order to, as they say in Hollywood, cut to the chase.

It's the morning of my doctoral orals. The medievalist asks the first question: "Tell me something about the Wife of Bath's Tale."

You're not likely to follow the significance of what happened next if you haven't already perused my thesis on
but don't jump there yet: I'll partly rephrase, partly duplicate the relevant parts here while hoping that someone knows enough history, literature, and philosophy to see the truth of what I say:





Its own

Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Tale appears in his Canterbury Tales.
It is preceded by the even more famous Wife of Bath's Prologue. Chaucer's first words for her are:


though non auctoritee

Were in this world is ryght enough for me

To speke of wo that is in marriage

God bless my good fortune. The medievalist had hung one right across my power alley. The fans will never see this one come down.

As my Shakespeare thesis explains, I'd conceived its basic points the first time I'd reread the sonnets after hearing MLA Secretary John Hurt Fisher analyze the Wife of Bath's Prologue in terms of heretical nominalism in guerrilla conflict with the Scholastic Realism which had become enthroned by the Church as Christian orthodoxy. Chaucer's Wife of Bath was a greased chute to my Meta-Oxymoron. I'd weave a spell with this answer and segue right to the next period: the Sixteenth Century (Shakespeare having primarily penned his sonnets in the 1590s).

I've been linking references to Realism and nominalism since the earliest days of this site. The linked-to files are just fragments, this file telling the story of the first series of reasons my thesis never got written beyond the original series of sketches until I started resketching it here.

Realism: Scholastic Realism

Realism with a lower case r is one of our trickiest words and I doubt that any two people mean quite the same thing by it. But Realism here refers to the philosophy of the Medieval Scholastics which became Christian orthodoxy. In simple: God is real; the world — its people and events — are shadow. Sounds like Plato, doesn't it? But the Scholastics had little to no access to Plato: they invented it for themselves.

Plato had it that the world was filled with imperfect "shadows" of ideal essences or i>Forms. Once Churchmen did have access to Plato they embraced him as theirs.


Medieval Christendom, however, was not perfectly homogeneous. There were philosophers who mistrusted metaphysical vapors, preferring to emphasize concrete particulars. Peter Abelard maintained that reality is composed of its parts: there is this chair and that chair and the other chair; people were Alison, and John, and Geoffrey ... The philosophy that "abstract words do not stand for objectively existing entities"

(Random House Unabridged)

came to be called nominalism. Their dissent did not come cheap, not once they went up against the concept of Trinity. Abelard's castration may be the most famous in the history of the West (though reference to it is usually linked merely to ire at his secret marriage to Heloise).

The nominalists lost the battle in their own centuries. Realism was enthroned. But the war, a war that's still with us, had turned by the Renaissance.
William of Occam was defending nominalism by the mid-14th Century. His impatience with fanciful metaphysics yielded his famous
"entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity," without which science could hardly have become modern.

Back to the chase: I quote her opening sentence in my excellent Middle English, my out-loud recitation of poetry already having long been second to none, as any number of students, teachers, and coffee house audiences will attest. Next, I repeat the quote, expatiating on the significance of the diction:

First word, "experience." That word tells her audience — which

the story, includes a Monk, a Friar, an Abbess, and a priest (and that

the story, includes us) — that she's on the side of the martyred Abelard. Occam's work had had a half century of influence before Chaucer composed The Canterbury Tales.

The second significant word is "auctoritee": authority. Chaucer's Wife of Bath embeds it with reserve in a negative phrase: "though non auctoritee." "World" has a significance I'll return to in a moment: more important, the word "ryght" appears smack in the center of line two: "right." Fourthordinally, the word "ryght" is

cardinally: Right. True. The Truth. Experience gives the truth; not the negatively embedded (false-)authority of this (falsely-governed-)"world."

The Wife of Bath introduces her (double-edged) tale of woeful experience in marriage (a Church sacrament, don't forget) with a three-line disquisition on
one more worthy than many a learned that has followed.


whether or not there is "authority" in this world,

experience gives me all the truthful right I need

to speak of the woe that is in marriage.

She's claiming herself, much experienced in marriage, as an authority on the subject. (How her tale is multiply-edged
would be a thesis in itself as would be how the tale and the prologue interrelate.)

But my subject isn't the Wife of Bath. Neither is it Chaucer. My subject is two-fold: my doctoral orals and why the opening minutes of them finished convincing me that a university is the wrong place to seek or to seek to publish the truth (unless your truth is trivial or already four-fifths understood).

Refutation by Interruption

I've reported the first question of my orals. I've recreated the introductory part of the answer I was prepared to give. I've recounted the following few seconds as I began to answer. I was no further than important word #2, "auctoritee," when the medievalist, who'd been receiving my answer blankly, interrupts: "I thought it was a poem about the "wo that is in marriage."

Science is the only human enterprise not routinely rigged

so that certain truths are excluded:

contrast church, state,


family, the press, law ...

This woman was on the same faculty with John Hurt Fisher. She should have been able to give me the bibliography for what I was saying. Did she really not know this material? Or was she just pretending?

That response I might have anticipated had I tried to say the same thing around the cracker barrel in Faulkner's The Hamlet, but I was in a room with five supposed doctors of English literature!

Within any important issue, there are always aspects no one wishes to discuss.

George Orwell

2002 12 18 insert: Robert Anton Wilson writes:

Intelligence is the capacity to receive, decode and transmit information efficiently. Stupidity is blockage of this process at any point.

You know it ain't the heat that gets to me; it's the stupidity.


Indeed, this was the same woman who'd told one of my still favorite jokes:

High holidays at Temple Beth Shalom. The temple has expected such a huge turnout that guards have been hired to make sure that members of the temple have priority in seating. Just the adult male members have already filled it. No more admitted.

A boy arrives, stating that there's trouble at home: his errand is to fetch his father, a member.

The guard says he can't enter. Boy puts up a fuss. Fuss becomes a distraction.

"I'll only be a minute," the boy insists: "I know where he usually sits."

"All right," the guard relents, "only one minute. But I'm going to keep my eye on you:

and if I catch you praying ...!"

She'd told it as a deliberate analogy for the anti-their-own-purpose tendencies of institutions: universities and university libraries in particular. But here she was, in perfect harmony with Faulkner's rednecks: not just anti-educational; outright anti-intellectual!
See the story, but miss the significance. Marshall forces to deny the significance.

Asleep at the wheel and proud of it


Resistance to new information ... has a strong neurological foundation in all animals, as indicated by studies of imprinting and conditioning. Most animals, including most domesticated primates (humans) show a truly staggering ability to "ignore" certain kinds of information — that which does not "fit" their imprinted / conditioned reality-tunnel. We generally call this "conservatism" or "stupidity", but it appears in all parts of the political spectrum, and in learned societies as well as in the Ku Klux Klan.

Robert Anton Wilson

Whew! There so much going on here: what to point to first? How about cutting straight to the conclusion and then flashing back to the flesh?

I had already multiply-read
Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society.
I had already published and somewhat distributed the early invitations to join FLEX.
It was my firm determination never again to teach through any institution but the latter. So what did I need this degree for? FLEX forbade the listing of degrees. I couldn't use it to be hired by my students: I was already committed, as founder and CEO of that institution, to offer myself on my merits alone. (I had hired myself, unfortunately without pay). (See the
Meaning of FLEX.)

I wanted to complete the degree:


Because I had already put years toward it. I'd wanted to finish what I'd started, however foolishly.


I wanted to write my thesis. I still regard it as core work, work which could have introduced the benighted profession of English to modern thinking, brought literature studies into the Twentieth Century.


It had existential appeal. Illich had a Ph.D.; yet he wrote Deschooling Society.

His disciple having one would be a good joke: like a buggy whip on the early automobiles, or like my Creator in
The Model
first using a barge to track the Sun across the heavens when he had put all the waters on the Earth.


I think it meant something to my wife. Her family had after all fed us more than one meal and paid more than one rent check in the years when I was studying rather than teaching and the fellowship retarded the accumulation of bills only somewhat.

What's the opposite of diversity? ... University?


Did I get up and walk out? No. Inertia is a force stronger than most humans most of the time. The medievalist, having insultingly interrupted my attempt to answer her first question was asking me another. That wasn't her last interruption. The others followed suit. (I've been the more keenly aware of interruptions by "authorities" ever since: cops, lawyers, judges ...) I tried to muddle through, hoping I could latch back onto the important track.

Even if I was on the right track, I could be in the wrong century.

Andrew Wiles

But the damage was done. It hadn't started there; it had started within the first five minutes of my first class at NYU. It's in retrospect that I see that that's where it ended. I had mentally walked out whether or not I was aware of it at the time.

Perhaps academics have occasionally understood part of what pk says-writes-does: they just pretend that they don't:

Just as both Pilat and Caiaphas may have understood Jesus, understood that their jig was up
(Scorsese's Pilat (David Bowie) understands Jesus very well indeed, but is still a Roman kleptocrat)
Just as kleptocrats truly know, deep inside, that they live on stolen land, that all their labels are wrong: deliberately, synchronously wrong: choreographed to be wrong.

God won't have to cast anyone into hell or elevate anyone into heaven. Under the right circumstances — remove artificial interferences — everyone will know their correct, comfortable place. Creation and destruction — Eros and Thanatos — will distinguish themselves naturally.

(By the bye, I must now wonder: I'd passed FLEX literature around NYU. If people at NYU knew how to read, they'd know that cheap, non-coercive networking was being offered to them, the egg of a politically free internet, an educational free marketplace: in 1971! I can identify at least one grad professor I showed this literature to. I've already
how he harrumphed to it. It's possible that my orals committee had gotten wind of it. Could they have decided before my orals commenced that criticism of universities would not be tolerated? that no solutions were to be found? Were they united to guarantee that I wouldn't be able to get a word in edgewise even when it was finally my turn to speak?)

(We've all seen that done. I have a reference here to a "debate" in which the show opened and closed without the invited speaker ever having been allowed to complete one sentence.)

I decided that bringing the Information Age to the peoples of the world was even more important than my wished for transforms via
even more important than my hope of getting the public to see how Shakespeare had delineated the muddles of our own minds. (Once delineated, shouldn't we, finally, be able to work our way out of the maze? Jesus showed us some key elements of how to get along as humans. His own disciples didn't get it. His "Christians" still don't: not as a group.) We celebrate Shakespeare while the best clues
as to what's before us are blocked.

That's the tip of the iceberg. Apropos of my orals, there are also stories I have to tell against myself. But my aim of short files dictates that the story continue in the next
Post Scripts I move to a
Orals Scrapbook

The relationship between my life and my orals is digested in a number of condensed versions here. Several appear at the
Archive Menu.
My Macroinformation directory contains another.

2001 09 03 I add a new weave under Teaching / Social Pathologies / Society as Kleptocracy /

And, 2003 09 20, add a relevant quote from Swede Momsen to my piece on Gregory Bateson's metaphor of tram vs. bus.

This is the key module in this section. It recounts a key moment in my life. Had my cheap internet been claimed by the public, not stolen by the government, by CERN, and the universities, it would have been one of the key moments in the history of civilization, a turning point. As it is it anticipates a key moment in the long string on Homo sapiens' missed opportunities.

Dates: The bulk of my modules have been edited and reedited since first being mounted. This module is among those most tortured with reworking, though I never had time to recompose from scratch: not here, and in few cases elsewhere. Alas.


Multiply-Edged Tale

Authority Divorced from Evidence

The crux within Christianity came when the cardinals (and the academics) refused to look through Galileo's
They put the beliefs of their tradition above facts.
The Earth was the center of their universe. All things revolved around the Earth. Their vanity could not admit the idea of other bodies also having satellites. Therefore, the "moons" that Galileo had seen revolving around Jupiter had to be delusory.

Why look when your eyes will deceive you?

The logic is perfect. But logic and truth had been divorced long before: if not from the beginning).

Galileo is a high point in the Church's decline, Luther another. But the Church's authority had been in doubt for some time as Abelard and Chaucer's Wife of Bath show.

Best Clues
Literature: living and dead

Marshall McLuhan paraphrased Shakespeare's Marc Antony to mock his fellow Shakespeare teachers:

Friends, Romans, Countrymen: I come to bury

Shakespeare, not to praise him

Art may be seen as of two types: art which
and programmatic art. Mozart is a familiar example of the former; Beethoven of the latter. The latter is frequently also tendentious. If you learn from the former, it's bound to be at a higher level than a "lesson."

Before I relate this point to Shakespeare, let me quote something that Joseph Conrad, a conspicuous example of the former said to H. G. Wells. (Wells' Fabianism makes him the more conspicuous among the latter.)

The difference between us, Wells, is fundamental. You don't care for humanity but think they are to be improved. I love humanity, but know they are not!

I personally, as much as I revere Wells and Shaw, as much as I have learned from them, as much as I imitate them, am more deeply on the side of Conrad. And Shakespeare.

Shakespeare wove things into his art without any apparent expectation, not even a hope, of our finding them.

No Contact with NYU

At FLEX I attacked "school" unilaterally: I deliberately didn't whine about my personal experience. Though I liberally illustrated my points from my own experiences where I thought it was appropriate. In other words, though I didn't go out of my way, my orals story did get told to the public more than once: on my soap box in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in my speaking engagements at Columbia, at the New School for Social Research, in my FLEX correspondence with educators ... (in my fiction). The story has been told in this file on-line now for more than a half a dozen years. Yet not once has NYU (in any form) or any other educational institution contacted me to call me a liar, to refute me with counter or discrepant claims, or to apologize ... and certainly not to repair damage. Thus, their silence could be claimed as a form of confession.

2008 05 01

Finally, they contacted me: by having the FBI arrest me! After that the US court pressured me out of any expectation of a fair trial, my public defender, a lawyer of extraordinary intelligence, who seemed very well to follow all of my point, to see the justice, the wisdom, of them, nevertheless convinced me that he would not help me in any way to insert relevant issues into a trial. No, he was there to "help" me by making sure that the Nazis followed their prescribed rituals while scourging and crucifying me: ie, trying, convicting, and further incarcerating me. He did though see that they gave me a short, not a long sentence: and in exchange for that, he had my full cooperation. (He earned a $3,000 bonus for saving the US the expense of a trial: by getting me to lie about my "guilt." I did it to get back to these files the sooner.

Now the US forbids me to contact NYU for any reason. Thus, the fed protects its criminal institutions against complaints for fraud. Bear with me till I can rewrite all this: if I can live long enough.


Gilbert Mros has cautioned me that in his understanding of the story it was the professors who refused to look through Galileo's telescope and that the cardinals were willing. I could have my details wrong. Until I can research it (or until someone provides me with adequate documentation), I pull my horns in and fudge some of my many references to the historical scandal.


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Friday, April 03, 2009

Rewriting Twain

The grade school teacher was reading Mark Twain to us: Tom Sawyer. She organized a play. Tom and Huck were off on the river bank, camping, loafing, fishing. I was appointed to play one of the boys. My instructions were to do the cooking, I complied. Oh, boy, Tom: bacon, beans, eggs: this is gonna be great.

No, no, our imprisonor interrupted. You're not supposed to be enjoying this: you're boys, on a river bank, you're cold, you're lonely, the food is terrible; you miss your mom ...

But I'm a good cook, I protested. This occurred after the incident around the fourth grade where I baked cookies for the class and not only did the teacher not thank me, not prepare time for the class to thank me, but she called me a liar: a boy could not have baked such great cookies. But I had. Teachers, doctors, cops, judges, prison guards: anti-Christian morons, all.

Have you read Tom Sawyer? Huck Finn? Was the teacher's interpretation supported by the text? Or was she making up her own propaganda: that boys are helpless, inept, need their mom? My interpretation too may not be supported by the text: I haven't read Tom Sawyer since then, and don't recall any such situations in Huck: though I've read Huck many times since grade school.

I'm just reading Bart Ehrman on how the assemblers of the Bible read this manuscript of this gospel and that manuscript of a similar story in another gospel, and a later follower's account in one of the Pauline epistles ... and wind up writing their own version in their own gospel, trying to blend different accounts as though one story were being told, in the same way, with the same finite set of facts. Uh: we've got a new gospel for each Christian! I do the same. I know I do it, I admit that I do it. I say that I'm writing the Bible. Everyone ignores me: pretends that they are reading God's MS; that I am simply off the page...

We make up our religion as we go along.

Modern Christianity is premised on an article of faith that God has said nothing new to anyone for two millennia. The Jews had done the same. Old messages count, the ones the priests have total hold of; there are no new messages, we crucify new messengers. School is the same: unless new propaganda is called for: then state trained morons become the new oracles. And God will never get a word in edgewise: not past the perpetually new Nazis: where a Miss Tilly is every bit as good a Nazi as any Herr Helmut or Herr Gerhardt ever had been.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

pk School Stories (moved)

I'm moving all pk blog posts to and resurrecting all pk domains modules at PKnatz.
As I move things there, I'll delete them here. Finally InfoAll blog will just redirect to pKnatz blog.

School Stories Menu

pk's personal experiences with school
from grade school through high school, college, graduate school,
teaching, deschooling, founding FLEX ...
Being the deschooler ...

pk Stories: HierCon

My early home page made teaching points, fleshed with illustrative stories, many of them personal stories.'s main organizational principle was to distinguish between personal materials and teaching materials though of course most modules mixed both elements. Some teaching sections spun off into their own domains. My DeProfessionalizing / Deschooling materials spun off to My information theory spun off to Both of those domains then acquired blogs of the same first name: InfoAll, as here, and Macroinformation (all at Many a module, from any folder, sported personal stories, but once I began telling personal stories where the initiating motive was to tell the story, however many didactic points I then also made, I put them in the personal section: / Personal / Stories (/ stories subdivisions: youth, college ...)

That's where my school stories went. Then I got arrested. Then the fed court censored my Jailed, my son and family took over my accounts, my internet host emailed bills but my daughter-in-law only paid bills sent by snail mail. The next thing my son knows, all my domains sank without a trace: and he didn't put the theoretically uncensored ones back up! Good Germans avoid the Jews when the brown shirts show up. My 3,000 files evaporated with my business: no more pk science, philosophy ... stories: not online (except where I'd sketched stuff to blogs).

Back home, my computers returned to me a half year later (though my parole officer warned me against trying to remount anything (off the record, of course, no witnesses: kleptocratic intimidations avoid a paper trail.) (Macbeth hired the murderers in secret: of course.), too broke to do anything but yield to the threats, my computers, printers no longer synergizing properly, their system destroyed by the FBI, my DSL gone, out of reach, I restricted my work to preparing future republication. And in doing so I decided that stories, personal or not, about Deprofessionalizing / Deschooling / and Illich conviviality-related subjects belonged in my NoHier and DePro sections of the Teaching division.

I second Illich's recommendation that society deprofessionalize itself in general as a part of weaning itself from compulsory schooling. We shouldn't tolerate coerced education, we shouldn't tolerate the state telling us which services we must subscribe to or which services we may not subscribe to. You want to go to a doctor, an AMA member, go ahead, who's stopping you? But if you want to go to a shaman, or a midwife ... or a snake oil salesman ... that should also be your right. Organizations who disapprove can warn you, but they shouldn't be able to stop you. If the deracinated hip surgeon is driving a taxi in Manhattan, why shouldn't you let him work on your hip? Why should you need official permission? Officials should mind their own business. That is: rightly, officials have no proper business!

I've now transferred my personal school stories from Personal/ Overview / Training / School Stories to / Teaching / NoHier/DePro / Conviviality / School Stories and thence to here: the InfoAll blog. Soon I'll start transferring church stories, army stories. Today though I want to tell a previously untold story. It's about my late girl friend, Catherine; but it concerns the unconscionable health care she got when terminal. The next post will tell it: for the first time.

2011 06 22 I'm moving all deschooling (and other) posts to pKnatz blog: school stories first.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Perverjiariazing Jesus' Internet

Perverjiariazing: perverting while plagiarizing

When a Massachusetts publisher reprinted Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer without bothering to pay Twain any portion of the income, that was plagiarism: or pirating: theft. It wasn't however at the time illegal, not in Massachusetts. It was theft, not perversion; or, it was perversion only in that the author, while acknowledged, was not paid. If some Massachusetts lawyer had both printed and sold the novel and claimed to be the author, that would have been both perversion and plagiarism.

My post here from November 2005, which I named at the time "Meretricious Internet," told how Ivan Illich prescribed learning networks for an over-schooled world in 1970. Likewise in 1970 I offered to run the networks, to become the community's cybernetic librarian, tracking and publishing digital records of volunteered information about public resources for learning – who taught English (or bridge), who wanted to practice English (or to play bridge), and what English speakers (or bridge players) had to say about the teachers (and players). I further offered, via correspondence with the more than one hundred other learning networks burgeoning on all continents around the world in 1971, 1972, to coordinate this public information: establish the data base, maintaining the data base, share the data base with other data bases ... Say someone in Tokyo is planning to visit Manhattan: thinking ahead, they know that they will want a local English teacher upon their arrival, and will also want to meet with other Japanese speakers learning English for practice. Additionally they want to know if any of the teachers or practicers might have a reputation as a rapist. Their Tokyo learning network contacts my New York exchange: available data could be sent to the traveller while still in Tokyo.

Additionally my network recommended expanding learning resources to include all kinds of public information. The same system could be used to list healers, attorneys ... auto mechanics, firemen ...

Illich designed the learning networks in the religious spirit of the great priest and saint he was. I recognized his design as not only the science fiction I valued but the Christian simplicity that I valued more. Illich's networked public could slough off not only the ghastly intrusive coercive school system but also the ghastly intrusive all-but-coercive hegemony of the military-industrial complex. People could free themselves of government while they were freeing themselves of school. We moderns could begin to live for the first time like "Christians": no matter what superstition we did or didn't embrace!

If you didn't want your phone number published, then your phone number would be no business of my Free Learning Exchange. No one in Tokyo would be given your phones number via my digital library. (What the FBI or CIA did with your phone number would not be in my control.) (But: together, we could have starved all such federal agencies by ganging together to refuse to pay taxes!) (We would however have had to pay, voluntarily to pay, the networks – this world didn't come into being not for impossibility but because the group didn't will it so, didn't support it.)

What the group did do was wait decades, government and commerce leaching resources the while, and then offer a perversion of my internet: utterly plagiarized because no credit was given to Jesus or to Ivan Illich or to yours truly, Paul Knatz.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

American Chieftains

Sure there were slavers, Arabs maybe, who trekked into dark Africa, came upon some people, threw a net over them, hauled them off to sell as slaves. That's not hard to imagine, and for sure it happened. But I was sickened when I first heard that lots of slaves imported into the Americas from Africa were actually sold to the slavers by the chieftains. The chiefdom had excess population, some undesirables. Chieftains came to be regarded as "owning" their people. Hell, if you own something, you can sell it: right?

Oh those benighted Africans.

But what about American chieftains selling their people? Haven't heard of it? Think a minute: how else did the school system get the right to tell your kids what to do where and when?

One group kidnapped the kids to sell them to another group: industry. Present chieftains grabbed our children to train them in slavery to their future chieftains: Dupont, P. Lorillard ...

(this could be done better, that's just a scratched note, finger string)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Contempt for the Natural

School's Teaching of Contempt for the Natural

No matter how stupid, illiterate, and ignorant the schools make us, the schooled nevertheless learn to hold those with less schooling in contempt: very much the way the Temple priests in the story of Jesus held Jesus in contempt. I'm just reading and enjoying John Grisham's new novel, The Appeal. We start with a verdict: a chemical company has knowingly polluted a rural area of Mississippi, made billions and billions, bought off both law and justice for decades ... Now their patch is a cancer cluster, so polluted that when the fire department used city water to hose a conflagration, the liquid actually quickened the fire: the "water" was combustible!

The jury awards one victim, bereft of health and family, $3 million plus $38 million in punitive damages, the jury knowing that the sum represents one month's profits for the company. Grisham switches to the reaction of the principal owner of the company on hearing the verdict. He vows that his "ignorant" victims will not receive one penny of "his" hard-earned profits!

Kleptocrats deny the humanity of their victims by attributing to them some denigrating attribute: "ignorance" comes handily to mind among the schooled. If only there were an objective correlative, a God, to Judge between the abuser and the abused. I want to see who's "ignorant" at Judgment.

I trust you recognize that the above is all very "Illich." I'll add details another time, if I live.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Anarchists Left & Right

When I was founding the Free Learning Exchange my first statement to the public published in a west side paper resulted in my getting an invitation to join some people in a radio discussion. My hosts turned out to have been active in a Free U and were currently active in a People's Yellow Pages. I'd never heard of either and was glad to meet them. In fact I was delirious: I'd never met people with philosophies compatible to mine before, not in a group. They met in a church on West 4th, just off Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village. My activities went public there in 1970; they'd already been public through the 1960s.

Before long I heard them call themselves anarchists: and at one meeting I met a bunch of other anarchists visiting from Europe. These decades later, my son having researched my philosophical background with a thoroughness I never felt a need for, tells me that I had run into the left-wing anarchists. It makes sense: there was an awful lot of something damn near Marxism in the rantings of some of my new friends. Meantime my son tells me that there were also right wing anarchists around New York: Murray Rothbard and friends, for example. They too had their own alternate university. I didn't know of their existence. If they knew of mine, they ignored me. They were busy arguing against government. Only I was offering a tool that used by the public might pry government off their back; the Rothbardians just talked. And they're still talking. I'm still talking too. Only nobody pried government off of much. Government has just grown and grown: and serves us right, since we didn't, as a group, support my FLEX.

These days my son ignores my deschooling (when he's not misstating it, misunderstanding it, misrepresenting it) from the right, Rothbardian wing of anarchism. In those days my left anarchists turned on me, accusing me of being a federal spy.
Paranoia and political radicalism go hand in hand.
In the last days of the Nazis they were all accusing each other of treason, were busy assassinating each other. They killed Jews, fags, dissidents: then they killed each other.

(There's billions of people on earth, so clearly they didn't kill enough.) (That's a joke: a black joke, to match my black mood.) (I'm not aware of the right-wingers killing each other, but that's probably more due to my ignorance than to lack of examples.)

The gal who first phones me to invite me to join her and her friends in a radio interview I remain fond of, though I haven't seen her since 1976 or so. Her group shortly after we met began renaming themselves. She became Mercury. Alas, I don't remember what her "real" name had been.

One thing I did Not like about my new friends was that they seemed to be 100% homosexual. There were plenty of WASP "genes" in the group: English, German, Scots-Irish ... Dutch ... I don't remember anyone seeming Jewish. There were no blacks ... But they were all fags and dykes. Boy was I jealous of one of Mercury's little girl friends.

One thing I remember distinctly about Mercury, from our very first in person meeting – she came to my house – was her ghastly body stench. I'm confident she was on speed. The whole group, always except-for-pk drawing, may have been speeding on A's.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Teaching Illusions of Democracy

I first placed this in my piece on Illusion at
c. 1995
When I was in the seventh or eighth grade (1951 or so) the teacher announced that we were going to have class elections. First, we'd "want" to form political parties. "Who would like to nominate a name for the first party?" Um, err, one compliant girl fumbled. Er, the Republican Party! "Good. Now: who would like to second that nomination?" Uh, I second. "Excellent. Now: who would like to nominate an alternate party?"... I ... I nominate the Democratic Party. "Very good." Etc. She got a second. Four kids were off the hot seat. "All right then," she continued, "are there any other nominations?" This last was said perfunctorily, without really looking. Why should she look? We were Americans. We had now independently recreated our political culture.

My friend Joe and I were exchanging nauseous glances. I don't imagine either of us could have articulated our disgust at the time. But I can articulate mine now. We weren't rehearsing for democracy: we were being rehearsed, scripted. The director says to the actress, "Now say I love you. Sincerely. With all my heart." It's bad enough that marriage vows have been rehearsed and directed, scripted by people dead for centuries, people who can never have met you, know nothing of your relationship. But how shallow is the farce when the voice of the people is practically lip-synched?

So the teacher was asking if there were any other nominations. Joe & I are exchanging retching signs. One of us — I'm fairly sure it was Joe — blurts, "Communist!"

The teacher, as I say, wasn't looking, wasn't listening. But she heard that all right. (McCarthy Era, remember.) "You're going to the principal's office, right now, " she says. The other of us — I'm fairly sure it was me — reflexed a protest. So the two of us were marched out of the room. Leaving the others to "practice" their "democracy."

Let me assure you: I know I didn't know what "communist" meant. I'll bet Joe didn't. I'm not sure we knew what "pledge allegiance" meant either. Does a ten year old girl know what she's saying when she opines that something or other "sucks"?

I recommend that the reader see the context in which I placed this story in Illusion. There the context was society's pathologies as a whole; here the context is specific events in pk drawing's own schooling that prepared me to recognize the truths presented by critics of schooling from Samuel Butler & R. Buckminster Fuller ... to Ivan Illich and others.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Kleptocracy's Schools

moved from K. to pkKlep blog to pKnatz blog

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

pk's Doctoral Orals

The original of this post had been at, K. got destroyed, I recreated it here; but now will maintain all such materials at my PKnatz blog. I'll delete it here once pKnatz blog is mature.

I entered graduate school braced to endure a meaningless ordeal of an initiation for the sake of teaching at the college level. Encountering another school in which information flowed downward easily, but upward only with difficulty, was no surprise. I did however foolishly believe that with persistence I would eventually succeed in communicating my understanding of literature, art, and life. Failure only rededicated me to trying. That was in 1962, at age twenty-three.

But by 1971, a tad past thirty, married with a child, having already founded the world's first grassroots learning opportunity network, volunteering as it were to act as the world's cybernetic librarian for volunteered public information, already corresponding with other would-be cybernetic librarians on forming the world's first internet, having already figured out a half a dozen years earlier how to read Shakespeare's sonnets so that their relation to the history of Western orthodoxy was transparent, my orals committee merely interrupted me.

The first interrogator interrupted my answer to her first question. My answer contained a précis of my entire Shakespeare thesis, the way the Mandelbrot Set contains in any detail the whole of the Mandelbrot Set (the way a small cloud, out of scale, is the same as a huge cloud): and this authority simply cut me off, asked me a different question. The other four professors on the committee kept their silence as she did so. They too, all but one of them, would do their own share of interrupting when their turns came. (When it was over did a single of of them know that they still didn't know my answer?)

My thesis advisor had been reading installments on my thesis since 1965. But by 1971 he showed no more understanding of what I was saying about the Sonnets that he or any of the NYU professors showed of the significant of my passing around Free Learning Exchange, Inc. fliers.

My grammar school teachers taught that the modern school system respected individual learning, that it abhorred rote answers. But here I was, being allowed to speak while the teachers, certified original scholars by their own doctorates, waited impatiently for me to give the individual's pretense of spontaneity — accompanied by — The Expected Rote Answer.

My committee tortured me for their alloted two hours. I wasn't sure what I would do as of that date. What I did was concentrate on what I'd been concentrating on: creating an internet to replace the school and university system, the media, the government ...

That it doesn't exist is not my fault. That we still have the same old same old is your fault ["your" plural, "your" collective].

From 1970 onward I preached deschooling everywhere I was, setting up literature tables around town, regularly camping on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum. I asked the public for funds. Specifically I asked for a van from which my volunteers and I could set up our table in neighborhood after neighborhood: the people most in need of deschooling not always frequenting the museum or Fifth Avenue. I did not specifically preach against my own schools. I did not spend public time complaining about the frauds visited on me personally, on me in particular. My critiques were on behalf of the world. That changed in 1995 when I added a personal home page to my offerings on the www that the public's institutions plagiarized from Illich's and my work. My indoctrination modules were among the first up. A file specifically devoted to my Ph.D. orals wasn't added till 1998: since which time it's been one of the most worked and reworked of all of my 2,500 text posts.

Now I have to translate it, with its dozens of links, down to a blog entry, where none of the links work: like representing the Mona Lisa with a chess piece, or a chess piece with a subway slug.

Check back: it will be the next post here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Training vs. Brainwashing

There's a difference between shoving somebody away from you and nuking a city. Both may be examples of violence but at some scale a quantitative change can become of qualitative change. Training is necessary for complex species. Birds learn to build better nests, sing better songs ... Willie practices the piano, the girl perfects her seeing the boy without looking at him. Culture institutionalizes some training. Fine. But at some degree it becomes brainwashing.
2003 01 11

Wherever "education" is coerced then it's brainwashing. If education is state controlled then our "brains" are state-washed. If education is church controlled, then our brains are church-washed. These days there's a temporary truce of sorts between church and state: like two Mafia families agreeing (for the moment) You take prostitution; We'll take drugs.

For the moment neither the Pope nor "Billy Graham" would dream of interrupting Congress. Neither Congress nor the President would dream of interrupting Easter mass. But such a day may come. Then we'll know who's really in charge for that era.

If a father twists his kid's ear until that kid practices the piano, that's coercion: but it's coercion within the family. Children before puberty are chattel no matter what the law says. Mama "owns" the baby. Mama doesn't need the baby's consent to change its diaper. Once the baby is an adolescent, it can run away if it doesn't like it. Neither state nor church nor sheer human numbers have yet eliminated the possibility of running. But running is hard: once upon a time banishment from your immediate cultural group was the worst possible punishment. These days you can find a Macdonalds where you run from and another where you run to. (Therefore maybe there isn't any place left to run to.) (The pimp who draws the runaway girl to his bosom on the street may shortly prove no better a papa than papa at home.) But in civilization both papa and baby (and mama) are chattel. The state can take your front yard by eminent domain, right up to your bathtub, whether or not you're still in it. The state can take your baby if it doesn't like how you're changing its diapers. The state does not have to demonstrate that it's any better at changing diapers: the state doesn't have to demonstrate anything but that it holds the gun: and that while it's holding the gun, you may not hold a gun back on it. And once upon a time, not long ago, the church was no different. (With the possible difference that once upon a time The Sheriff of Nottingham really wouldn't arrest Robin Hood while he was in the church.) (These days the state only looks to see if anyone's looking (who happens to have a TV camera turned on).) (I mixed state and church up there for a moment, but you'll follow anyway if you're trying.)

Papa owns mama (unless she meets a divorce lawyer). (Then mama owns papa.) (And the lawyer owns mama.)

My point is that coercion within the biological reproductive unit, the family (and I don't mean anything politically correct by family: I just mean the minimal reproductive group, minimally social) and political theory are irrelevant. We don't need to invent an ethics about the family; we need better ethics among people who aren't family. (Or, we should just kill all we encounter that we don't need for our immediate gratification and live as solitary creatures: like spiders. We're already camouflaged predators, costumed liars, natural genocides ... Tricky business for such as we to become social, to have institutions we're supposed to trust. Mama smacking baby is none of our business. Neighbor smacking neighbor is. Political gangs, like gangs of priests for some superstition, coercing individuals to be gang members, or to support and service the gang, is very much our business. Or "should" be. Anarchists say "No coercion." I say "No coercion." (But I ask you, I recommend it to you, I entreat you. I don't force you.

I add that my son includes the concept of "fraud" in his use of the word coercion. I fear that that broadens the concept dangerously. Eliminating it though might cause worse trouble.

I'll come back and say something relating brainwashing to the liar paradox. Statements that involve meta-statements about themselves such as "This sentence is a lie" are nonsense. Maybe they "work" grammatically, but not philosophically.

2011 11 05 duplicated at pKnatz, to be deleted here.

"Education," Yuck

Learning0 comes with our genes: our body knows how to grow eyes, a liver ... hair. Learning1 — how best to look for food, how to find water — is a process common to living things: non-sentient as well as sentient. Fancy Learning1 — how to jump higher, how to throw the fastball ... how to read, how to add — is a process possible to any human. Education though is not a process but a thing, coercively marketed by kleptocracies, administered by the kleptocracy: used to be a church, now it's a state, telling us what to do: telling us how to do it, when to do it ... how long it should take and what it should cost.

Education is centralized, top-down. Quality control is in one direction only. The student must understand the teacher; but there's no way to tell if the teacher understands the student, or the source material.

Key thought: I have no reason to believe that any university is competent to understand my science. No appropriate feedback has come my way. Neither do I know of a single teacher who understood my Shakespeare thesis forty years ago: or since: or any of my other original work.

In nature, that's just misfortune: evolution not being ready; but in civilization, it's fraud: fraud that the fraudulent are too stupid to understand or too dishonest to admit. How can they pretend to teach if they don't also understand?
2005 12 27 talks about education, learning, indoctrination, training, propaganda ... This section addresses pk drawing's personal experiences with it.

The visitor cannot understand properly without knowing that pk founded FLEX in 1970, the world's first offer of a public internet, with the express hope of destroying the school system, replacing it with every community having its own network-library-bulletin board, all the networks worldwide able to exchange information.

Officials can cite Jesus to interrupt Galileo,
and cite Galileo to interrupt Jesus.

The visitor cannot understand pk's founding FLEX properly without knowing that pk's own experience with school had proved communication to be another kleptocratic vanity. Again: top-down only: my Ph.D. orals committee actually interrupted me, prevented me from answering their questions. Five of them ganged up on me. I saw no way to gang up on them; but I'd already founded FLEX: to replace them. To this day I see no reason to believe that any university I have ever had contact with is capable of understanding my contributions. Alas the public is no better (but no worse either).

The same system could have replaced governments, markets, media ... all the old institutions.

The design for replacing schools was Ivan Illich's. The expansion of the same design to include every kind of information exchange was pk's. Coordinate the anarchy; record and publish all; prescribe nothing (but the free system itself) ... And so forth.

Who better than pk to have done it? School for me had never been anything but Lucy offering to hold the football for Charlie Brown, then pulling it away: so he falls flat on his back.

Public Information

What could be more preposterous (or more predictable) than for a modern kleptocracy to coerce the young into schools and then tell them that they are "free"?

I simplify Ivan Illich's (and my own) deschooling into Four D's of Public Information:
  1. Disestablish School
  2. Deregulate Information
  3. Decentralize Everything
  4. Delicence Skills
I'll go into details after I've rescued the most basic modules from the censored

Learning vs. Education

People who would become free must distinguish learning from education and divorce them.

Learning is a process, common to life; education is a thing, coerced and administered by kleptocracies: for purposes of social control.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Church & State: Kleptocracy's Binary Monopoly

2001 10 14
Both church and state dictate morality on stolen landChurch and State are presented to us (by Church and State) as rivals. The dominant ideal since the American Revolution has been to keep them balanced: the church mustn't run the state; the state must not interfere with the church. Pick one of those positions to argue and you'll have your Ph.D. at twenty-one and be dean of the graduate school before thirty. You may be running for the White House barely past forty-five.

I point out that Church and State are rivals the way Cain and Abel were rivals. One's always killing the other but the other never actually dies completely. They're brothers: almost as close as twins. They seem opposite only if you let them draw the distinctions for you.Church and State compete for an imaginary monopoly on playing God.Church and State are like different wings of one party: the kleptocracy party. To listen to the Democrats and the Republicans you'd think they were opposite: rather than almost twins. They're just right and left wings of the one party of America: the Property Party (the stolen property party!) (Rule the NonPlusUltra: Hang On To It!)

Church and State are both magical entities, both offering salvation. The Church offers spiritual salvation, the State offers secular salvation. Whether you're supposed to get pie in the sky when you die or you're supposed to get pie next week (as soon as we've routed the opposition), you're still promised pie in the future. The only pie you're likely actually to get from either source is in the face.

Before Churches promise salvation shouldn't they prove they can actually deliver? shouldn't they show someone actually in heaven through their ministrations? (shouldn't Satan have proved to Eve that he controlled any of the things that he promised?) shouldn't the State have to prove that secular salvation is real, that they have it, that they control it? Otherwise are all entities for sale something like the Brooklyn Bridge? Maybe you have a piece of paper, but is the bridge actually yours?

So long as Church and State can maintain the illusion that kleptocracy is the only game and that they're the only two legal players, they can go on till we run out of reality to delude ourselves in. (If we're all drinking acid rain and breathing acid air till we can drink and breath no more, then no one will have won.) False dichotomies and false choices are the common fare of kleptocracies. Remember the "choice" we were reduced to in Vietnam? Not: Prove you belong or get out but When will our prisoners of war be released?

Something else they have in common, the promise is never delivered, and it's never the promiser's fault. It wasn't Stalin's fault that communism was never delivered: only worse and worse forms of tyranny. It wasn't Washington-Jefferson-Nixon's fault that democracy, education, a genuine prosperity ... never arrived: it was the Catholics, the Irish, the Jews, the Communists, the Niggers, the Terrorists ... the workers, the owners, the Martians ... that betrayed us.

Funny thing is: if we just lived in small bands, and found a mate ... or didn't, and found food ... or didn't, and killed each other ... or didn't ... nothing would be anyone's fault: because no one would have promised anything: at least not with the weight of an institution.

If I say I'll take you to the movies, and I don't: I get drunk instead; big deal. It's just me. Avoid me. Tell everybody. But if priest N, in a series of generations of priests, takes your money as he took your grandfathers ... and you don't wind up in heaven ...? Isn't that infinitely worse?

Wouldn't it be better for no one to go to heaven after no one's been sold heaven, than for everyone to have been sold heaven, with not one demonstration that anyone's there?

The parent file, on pk's childhood indoctrinations, was one of the first written for A number of important themes were introduced there first: conflicts between freedom and coercion, between church and state, between individual and group, between faith and evidence, civilization and its discontents ... Though only a half-dozen years ago, I carried a couple of handicaps in my first writings here that I no longer have: 1) I hadn't yet encountered Jared Diamond's all-encompassing coinage "kleptocracy"; 2) I was most practiced then at "creative" writing, not at exposition.

The digital drawings I did to accompany those early files characterize a ricocheting do-si-do (unfortunately non-cybernetic, not learning anything) between church and state for power over our minds. Another early file, my history of Magic, observes that church and state are siblings: offshoots of each other.

pk drawing

2011 11 05 Duplicated at pKnatz blog, to be deleted here once all is moved and checked.