Thursday, December 23, 2010

FLEX, Life, & TIME

Whew. I've not given quick versions of my stories about FLEX & IBM, FLEX & Ma Bell. At least some of what I told at / is again somewhere. Here's a three syllable forecast of the most important of such stories:

1971, 1972: TIME-Life hired a guy. The guy saw FLEX's cable show, listing FLEX community learning resources 24/7. TIME told their new guy: find that guy: "that guy" meaning me: find the guy who was implementing Illichian learning webs in real time, real space, in a real city: New York City. The guy found me: it was no trouble. All that data was on the cable show! (How stupid did TIME have to be not to have seen it themselves?)

The guy interviewed me, got all excited. That got me all excited: it was about time that somebody recognized the revolution we were living. Newsweek had considered of giving FLEX seed money, as had IBM. But they didn't; not one penny. By this time NYSCA was stealing my (and Illich's) ideas. NYS was cringing from FLEX by founding pale imitations, run by the kleptocrats: schools without walls, school credit for life experience ... Cheez.

TIME's guy brings me in: to Madison Ave.: to introduce me to his bosses. He does. The bosses interview me: and shunted me out the back door: no trumpet blasts: not even the sound of a flushing toilet.

Now TIME puts the founder of on its cover! Forty years after betraying the human species, entrenching kleptocracy, protecting the owners from information revolution. There isn't any part of FaceBook that doesn't devolve from Illich's Deschooling Society and from my Free Learning Exchange. Ditto Google, Yahoo, ... It's all plagiarism! Kleptocratic-kleptocracy encore.

I see it as simple. TIME wanted the information revolution. It wanted to control it. To ride it. To master it. I wanted to ride it, lead it, goad it, in a sense to master it; but not to control it. I didn't want TIME controlling the information any more than I wanted the school board controlling attendance, curriculum, costs ...

Help! Ma Bell

The first company I solicited to help FLEX was the phone company. Realize: in 1970 Ma Bell was a monopoly. But I addressed the phone company in the person of an elder in my childhood church, Mr. Kraus, the father of two of my public school classmates. Had I a budget, a paid secretary, stationary to spare, I would have made copies of all my proposals. But no: in 1970 I was proposing digital data keeping for the world, but still had none myself. I typed a letter on erasable typing paper: and mailed it. Take my word for the accuracy of what I report: or wait till Judgment: I've trusted all along that God will have copies: of everything (and that God can prove that they're uncorrupted.) (Such a cosmology may be naive, but I'm referring to pk (and US) in 1970!)

My letter asked Ma Bell for seed money. My appeal to IBM was far more detailed. My phone company letter was my first draft of my first such appeal. I explained that the point was to implement Ivan Illich's design for a cybernetic learning web. I pointed out that the phone company would be instrumental in the operation of such a learning network: as would be the post office, local real estate ... People were phoning in their information; we were phoning out information.

My letter suggested that the phone company could cooperate with me in designing a way to use the phone company's infrastructure to bill FLEX uses. I even proposed something analogous to a area code for such billing. In other words, I was proposing that the phone company co-invent with me 900 numbers! Call FLEX, agree to pay, and $3 gets added to your bill, Ma Bell depositing all the $3s to a FLEX bank account. My royalty from the phone company alone could have financed everything!

Mr. Kraus never answered my letter. Mr. Kraus never told me whether or not he forwarded my request to the powers. For all I know Mr. Kraus, sunday school teacher in our church, could have destroyed the letter, and proposed 900 numbers to the Ma Bell Powers himself!

I've lots of details from yet to add to my Help! IBM post and many more never yet told anywhere. But I'm afraid there aren't many untold stories about my phone company letter of 1970. I never heard form Mr. Kraus or from anyone else in the phone company. You can speculate as freely as I can: depending on your interest, on your IQ, your power of imagination ...

Help! IBM

I founded FLEX, the Free Learning Exchange, in New York City in 1970. By 1971 I was asked major companies for help: the phone company, IBM. The details are marvelous in themselves and I'll sprinkle some below, but first, buff outline.

I asked IMB for $100,000 seed money. The point was to extablish cybernetic, digital, community data bases.
This is a good idea.
I don't see IBM having much to do with good ideas.
IBM, Director of University Relations, 1971

A digital data base could serve a community cheaply; public schools taxed, enslaved. A voluntary (non-coercive) data base was all a society realy needed. The public could use cybernetics to pry the monkey Fraud off its back.
Government is force.
George Washington

I got a response from IBM's Director of University Relations. I showed up for my appointment. The two of us sat at a conference table big enough to land a plane on. He asked me how I'd come up with the figure of $100K. I confessed that I didn't know what I was doing: I'd be happy with $10,000. $1,000 would be better than nothing. The point was to try to save the public the $50B the US was spending to enslave and defraud, leaving Johnny still unable to read. With FLEX Johnny could learn to read for much less (or remain illiterate) for much less (either way). I needed to live, to rent a space, to install phones, to pay the secretary (already long-working as a volunteer), to buy materials, to buy publicity ... the rent space on mainframes, to learn to write relational data base software ...

The Director said that he thought that a realistic budget for what I intended would be something more like $20M a year! just for NYC! I told him I didn't doubt that he was right. But that in my first year (year and a half) I'd need to spend $100K before I could learn how to spend $20M well. If they wanted to give FLEX $20M, I'd take it. I'd certainly welcome anyone's advice, experience, expertise. $20M was nothing compared to what NYC's school budget. The point was to offer something better than the schools, an internet. The point was to become informationally free: for less than it cost us to be educational slaves.

I didn't spell out all of the implications, but hinted in several directions. My 2010 vocabulary is different from 1970, 1971, as is all of our vocabulary: I didn't use the term "internet": what Illich and I were inventing wouldn't come to be called an internet for quite a few more years yet. CERN, the pentagon, Congress, the universities would plagiarize Illich and me for years, for decades, before the term for what Illich and I were proposing would come to be settled on as "internet."

The Director told me that he'd present my proposal to "the Powers." He said I should hear within a few weeks. He warned me not to hold out too much hope, he himself was skeptical. He said, "You see, this is a good idea. I don't see IBM having much to do with good ideas."

Sure enough. IBM's answer was a brief Thanks, but no thanks.

Within months the IBM building had widow displays of cybernetics in classrooms. IBM had chosen to profit by working with Caesar, not with Spartacus, not with Jesus.

This and other such stories had been told at / The fed censored all my domains in 2007, destroying my business in the same fell swoop. Squashed, I still struggle to speak. The society's media still don't cooperate, still oppose. But God knows. And if we're wrong about that too, the Truth will still prevail: but perhaps in a world without Homo sapiens (or the defeated complex biosphere).

Expanding the story is important, the details have been buried. I'll add some as I can after I tell related stories about Ma Bell and TIME-Life.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

R Subvert Independence

I'm gathering school purpose modules into 2010 January. I add this one and place it on the 12. I duplicate it here today as a way of pointing to it as new.

Adding to / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DeDe / School Purpose

Humans beings spread over the earth looking for resources: for food, for shelter, for a place with fewer enemies. Humans are born dependent: it's the parents' (and the group's) responsibility to train the kid to find resources on its own: as fast as possible: the parents, the group, never know when the earthquake is going to get them, or the lion, or the cold: maybe the kid will survive, maybe humankind will continue: the kid must learn, learn lots, learn well, learn fast.

Good. I'm all for learning. But are schools good for learning? Do schools teach the kid to find food? fast? well? Or do schools keep the kid from learning what roots are edible? what's under that girl's breechcloth? Don't the schools schedule what's taught and what's learned without having any idea when the earthquake is coming? where the lion is? Don't schools prevent parents and small groups from training their children? Isn't a school the state as kidnapper revealed?

Oh? But who's it for then? Why would parents and small groups let themselves be raped like that? Good question: but the super-groups, the major interest holders, the Fortune 500 ... control the magicians who false deal everybody.

The school doesn't train the child to find food but to conform, to wait till the school bell rings, to wait till the factory whistle sounds, to wait till some bureaucrat tells her what to do, to wait till Pavlov's bell steals his independence.

Friday, December 17, 2010

State Cheats

The state cheats the state: and of course cheats the people: not to mention god, the universe, nature, the biosphere.

My beloved Jan just told me that school students were allowed to use calculators during tests. If they didn't, they wouldn't score well, and if they didn't score well, then the schools would not be entitled to quality funding by the state: so the state was cheating on behalf of the schools, so that the state would be cheated: as the students and population and marketplace, and god have been cheated all along.

But why tell me? I'm the deschooler? I don't believe that the state should have anything to do with education! with schools, with anything. Don't ask me if I believe the schools should forbid or allow calculators; I don't think state-run, state-interfered-with schools should exist. That's why I offered a cheap internet in 1970: as an alternative system for recording resources, one in which nothing was compelled.

Jan, not surprisingly didn't see my point right away. In seeing me not support a state prohibition of calculators, she took me to be soft on learning. Not at all: I just don't see that it's the state's business either way.

I went on to tell Jan that I saw nothing wrong with students using calculators, I use them myself. But if there was no electricity, then I could calculate with pencil and paper: and of course I believe that students should also be able to: but how and when and where they learn it should not be up to the state. Neither should how much it costs.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

General DeDe

Introducing: General DeDe!

This recent October I coined the term "DeDeDe" and offered it as a possible alternative to deschooling. Deschooling was only part of Illich's opposition to compulsory ritual in modern kleptocracies. He wanted us to De-License, and to De-Professionalize and to De-Regulate: all a part of DeSchooling.

Today I offer a related coinage: General DeDe. I, Paul Knatz, long nicknamed pk, occasionally called other names, both good and bad, propose that you may regard all pk deschooling writing as authored by General DeDe.

Picasso's name became a symbol of his powerful art: still, it was his surname, his patronymic surname. Pablo Picasso Ruiz became known as Pablo Picasso, then simply as Picasso! The likewise great Hokusai was not born with that name. He became known, loved, revered, by variations of his birth name, then dubbed himself Hokusai: which abbreviates Japanese slang which suggests "old man, crazy about painting." By golly, it means the same thing Picasso came to mean!

So, August Paul Knatz, Jr. I was born. Paul I was called, then pk. Now I'm the crazy old man, committed to Deschooling: to deregulation, to delicensing, to opposing the over-professionalization and the over-specialization of everything: all related to opposing government regulation of anything!

The first part, General, is itself a complex: largely a complex joke. I'm an Illich disciple but also a Bucky Fuller disciple. Bucky called himself a generalist, taking a stance against over-specialization. I second that proposal (even if I'm far from the hundredth to do so: I one hundred and nintety-fifth it!)

The term also recalls John Sutter to me: the first widely known white man that the expanding United States stole from. American settlers didn't give much of a damn what we took from the natives, we didn't much care how we treated the Irish or the Chinese let along the imported slaves. But we were typically less forthright the way we stole property from those we thought of as white. We stole Sutter's land, killed his livestock, and helped ourselves to his gold, all in violation of treaties with Sutter in which his New Helvetia was recognized as a sovereignty. (Now I don't believe in sovereignty, but neither do I believe in kleptocracy!) Anyway, Sutter promoted himself to Colonel once he discovered a route across the Rockies, first white man to do so, and developed the Sacramento Valley. A bit older he promoted himself to General: General Sutter. The same kleptocracy plagiarized my Free Learning Exchange and its offer of cybernetic digitization of resources both human and material, with peer matching and feedback. Illich's design, which I offered to implement at cost (enough for workers to live on being part of the cost)

Monday, December 06, 2010

HierCon Stories

HierCon is a folder abbreviating concepts as well as words: the verbal references are to NoHier and to conviviality, the former being already a abbreviated reference to my censored domain AgainstHierarchy(.org) (meaning against politically imposed unnatural hierarchies). One idea of Christ is that Jesus taught us, or tried to teach us, how to live better together, better than humans were living in the Roman Empire, a Mediterranean kleptocracy under the Caesars: Augustus Caesar at the time. Jesus disciple Ivan Illich taught the concept of conviviality in that light. I, as a Christ / Illich disciple, try to teach the same: that's why my writing is mostly unpublished, why I'm blackballed by the schools I tried to displace with an offer of cybernetic social data basing, why I was jailed, bankrupted, censored.

The deposed, a domino victim of federal censorship, gathered personal pk stories illustrating the non-convivial nature of our society's institutions, categorized by school, church, army, bureaucracy A, B, C. I'm locating my recreation of these censored stories in 2009 April. I've been telling these stories since they occurred, beginning in childhood. I wrote them at beginning around 1995. I recreated them at this blog this 2010.

My domains, for example, organized materials by category (logical hierarchies, not unnatural, not politically imposed, not coerced). Blogs string materials in time. I relocate and re-title this blogs postings of such stories in an attempt to make their biographical chronology clear.

This 2010 I've also started mounting / posts on Reasons for School. They are being presented temporally in 2010 January (and will continue in February.)

While I move the school stories I'll leave the "original" post in 2010 until I'm satisfied that the move is complete.
Understand, stories of other institutions subversion of conviviality will follow.