Re: hittin' the road

Eric Crump (wleric@SHOWME.MISSOURI.EDU)
Thu, 26 Sep 1996 13:38:11 -0500

Charles & Steve

OK. I asked for that. After I sent that 'mommy' post I realized that I was
committing a classic netiquette blunder: posting without a deep breath and
a bit of reflection. I simply dumped my own exasperation back on you all.
I apologize for that.

I reckon Charles has answered my question, too. The reason people choose
to remain within the safe folds of the institution is because they prefer
safety to risk. Simple. Understandable. I should quit railing against that
sensibility. It's not fair & it invites reciprocal railing against my
preference for exploring not-so-safe alternatives.

And I do remember the Whittle project. The failure of such ventures is
informative but not daunting. Probably 90 percent of all such bold
against-the-grain (ad)ventures fail. Some of them catch on, though. And
those that do send us off in exciting new directions.

Remember Paul LeBlanc's talk at C&W last year? He described how each
significant technological breakthrough in recent computing history was
born within the walls of corporate institution, but each soon reached a
point where they had to be implemented, allowed to grow, and the big
corporations were not nimble enough to provide a way for that to happen.
So in each case th engineers who devised the new development would leave
the nest, start their own businesses, and create new markets.

That's what I'm interested in doing: leave this cozy nest and do some
things that will never happen within it. Create a new education. (not a
new university, Marc! an *interversity* -- something both very old and
very new and certainly very different from what we have).

If some of you are having trouble envisioning what this would look like,
that's because it cannot be pre-planned and packaged. It will use chaos as
its fuel, and it will evolve and dissolve in unpredictable directions.
Everything depends on every situation and every person who gets involved.
It's not even a *thing* in the sense that we think of 'school' but a
process infiltrating society. It's not a variation on the current theme.
It's a different tune, one we'll make up as we go.

But lest ye think I've gone completely off my rocker, I'm not interested
in impractical and idealistic baloney that is of no real use to actual
people out there. I want to make a living. And I want education to be a
*real* value to the folks it serves. It should, in fact, be build by the
people it serves. Us. Students. Parents. Business. Government. Social
organizations. Communities. I don't think institutional education serves
those constituencies any more. They are willing to invest in education,
but they should get something in return besides grades and diplomas.

I'm *really* sorry Charles and Steve want to equate this idea with a
get-rich-quick scheme. My fault, I suppose, for suggesting that
alternatives are possible, doable, potentially rewarding. But I have
nothing to sell. And none of this will come easy.

Gee. I sure have been babbling on today. I must be avoiding other work or

--Eric Crump

p.s. to Steve. Circus workers may be poor, I'll grant. I like the metaphor
as a metaphor, not a model. Let's use our imaginations and think of
something that is *like* a circus in terms of its brilliant colors, its
joy, its thrills, its mobility, its ability to edify and delight. We'll
pay ourselves better than real circuses pay their workers or it won't be
worth doing.