Re: the learning revolution (loooong, rant-ish)]

karl soetebier (ksoetebi@SWSMAIL.ATLANTA.COM)
Mon, 9 Sep 1996 23:23:10 -0700

I certainly agree with your premise here, but might offer a different slant:

Eric Wrote:

> They will not be intellectual sloths if given the freedom to choose their
>own course.
>Humans are animals that are practically defined by their intelligence and
>curiosity. School is designed specifically to manage those characteristics,
>to keep them under *institutional* control, which is a necessary dampening
>operation if you need to shape people into industrial and corporate
>lackeys. Free & inquisitive people, as Illich notes, will not tolerate the
>regimentations of school. We have to support mechanisms for enforcing

Among the stones upon which our hierarchical `educational' institutions are
built, one must also consider the concept of intellect as part of that
structure. The concept of the intellectual is embroidered in the same
cloth as grades, tests and all other such manifestations of the instituion.
We play the same games with what we consider to be culturally High brow -
middle brow - low brow etc. These distintions, however vague and inaccurate,
are patterns by which societies, throughout history, have organized themselves.
I think that if we try to break down the authoritative,
obedience-enforcing nature of our schools, we must also abandon the notion
of intellectualism. There could be no "intellectual sloths," because there
would be no contratsting pinacle to place these creatures at the bottom of.
Our ways of knowing must be radically altered.

I think that industrial society has only made these distinctions more readily
apparent, I don't believe that it has spawned them. I think that our ways of
measuring knowledge are more deeply entwined within the fabric of social class
distinctions, than they are with the 'educational' institutions. These
instituions are cogenerative and one with the culture. They derive their
lessons in obedience and authority, in hierarchy, as much from that culture,
as the other way around.

The most effective point to begin the "learning revolution" must lie
within our schools, but can only hope to succeed where the efforts are expended
with equal vigor from the culture beyond. In essence, to change our educational
practices, we must change the culture, but to change our culture, we must change
our educational practices. Abandoning the schools alone will not change the way
knowledge is created, the culture must change as well.

It will indeed be a loooong rant-ish affair as we, as a society, travel upon
strangely spiraling paradox. And to think the 'they' thought that Mobius was