Monthly Archives: November 2014

THOUGHTS ON EDUCATION

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I wrote this in an email to an old teacher of mine and I liked it enough to just put it up here:
This is good but it’s not going far enough!
On the learning modules that come with the tablet:
“Content can be remixed for further personalization. The child is encouraged to rename characters and change clothing, colors, and other superficial details. In the future we expect to accomplish further narrative customization by recombination of story elements. Lebowitz [9] and Riedl [13] show how a planner can be used to recombine and adapt story fragments. We have less ambition than the cited work: instead of attempting to generate thousands of stories from tens of templates, we hope to select and then modestly adapt from hundreds of story modules created in a decentralized manner by teachers—and eventually by the students themselves.”
 
They’re still stuck in that bullshit student/teacher dichotomy! Teaching’s a thing that is done – I don’t think there’s any such thing as a “teacher”. The same goes for study! We are all of us teachers and all of us students – for none of us are. The librarian is a better model than the teacher – not a dictator but a partner, assistant.
And in that vein the library is a better model than the school! Why don’t we just give kids material and allow them to learn it at their own pace? Because we don’t want them having a mind of their own. We teach them to be idiots – we lobotomise them.
I am really sick of linking bullshit academic articles to people all the time though. It’s tedious bullshit written for idiots! Why is it they feel the need to spell everything out for an audience which should, by all rights, be the ones most capable of understanding it? I hate academics – introduce your terms and define them like you were speaking to an audience of the concussed, piddle over irrelevant bullshit semantics – university’s where you go to miss the forest for the trees.
This is on an old French professor who gave his students a bilingual copy of one of his books and, because he could not speak their language, had them teach themselves:
“Like all conscientious professors, he knew that teaching was not in the slightest about cramming students with knowledge and having them repeat it like parrots, but he knew equally well that students had to avoid the chance detours where minds still incapable of distinguishing the essential from the accessory, the principle from the consequence, get lost. In short, the essential act of the master was to explicate: to disengage the simple elements of learning, and to reconcile their simplicity in principle with the factual simplicity that characterizes young and ignorant minds. To teach was to transmit learning and form minds simultaneously, by leading those minds, according to an ordered progression, from the most simple to the most complex. By the reasoned appropriation of knowledge and the formation of judgement and taste, a student was thus elevated to as high a level as his social destination demanded, and he was in this way prepared to make the use of the knowledge appropriate to that destination: to teach, to litigate, or to govern for the lettered elite; to invent, design, or make instruments and machines for the new avant-garde now hopefully to be drawn from the elite of the common people; and, in the scientific careers, for the minds gifted with this particular genius, to make new discoveries. Undoubtedly the procedures of these men of science would diverge noticeably from the reasoned order of the pedagogues. But this was no grounds for an argument against that order. On the contrary, one must first acquire a solid and methodical foundation before the singularities of genius could take flight. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc
 
This is how all conscientious professors reason. This was how Joseph Jacotot, in his thirty years at the job, had reasoned and acted. But now, by chance, a grain of sand had gotten into the machine. He had given no explanation to his “students” on the first elements of the language. He had not explained spelling or conjugations to them. They had looked for the French words that corresponded to words they knew and the reasons for their grammatical endings by themselves. They had learned to put them together to make, in turn, French sentences by themselves:
sentences whose spelling and grammar became more and more exact as they progressed through the book; but, above all, sentences of writers and not of schoolchildren. Were the schoolmaster’s explications therefore superfluous? Or, if they weren’t, to whom and for what were they useful?”
The school child is something that’s been manufactured. That and this horrible idea of the “lowest common denominator” with which it so often overlaps – but when you take that idea and you see how it’s spread throughout learner, consumer, worker, citizen, like the middle of a Venn diagram, you can see it’s just another iteration of the ancient idea that people are stupid or evil and they need orders – they need to be fed a steady stream of directives or else there’ll be chaos! Unrest! And these people who in making that judgement have declared themselves qualified to give orders – “I know people are stupid! Here from my perch I see chaos below me and thank heavens for my cage – a respite from coming and going! I must make them sit still – I must quiet this chaos, so from here my voice rings above all.” Caged birds making the whole world a cage!
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Stay Hungry: The Science of Utopia

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I have quit school. What do I do now? I have quit school and I know what to do – I will write, and I’ll write, and I’ll keep writing and making and drawing and painting and I will do what ever I want, and I will keep doing what ever I want until I die and I will make the people around me happy and I will love them and this is what I will do with my life. I have decided this now because it is all I can do – it is all I can do to do this and the only alternative is death, small death at first moved to big death and madness now later – not being able to cope. All I can do is live and in living love death and in death love life and in knowing my death, love my own life, because you must become acquainted with its death before you can love it. It must be a limited thing to be loved because you have been lied to – you have been told that inconstancy’s finite and what passes is worthless and to put your faith in the big men and the heads who will go on for ever and ever and ever and ever, floating torsos on podiums and heads on TV who will go on forever and who have all the answers and nothing will change and they’ll guide us to freedom (Responsibility tempered, of course, and with all due respect to the men and now women who guided us here and their wants and their needs and society’s fabric and moral upstanding and good sense and decency, and aren’t we inspired that women and blacks and yes, even the cripples can grow up and lead us to better, more orderly futures and yes sir, yes ma’am, may I please have another, thank you sir, thank you ma’am) and we won’t have to worry about our own lives because we’ll have them and they all know what’s best – we learned it in school, after all.

But what matters is death and in knowing things die we can know that they live and we see here two choices – the living death of a life which can’t ever be dead that was never alive that was stillborn and mummified, not born but preserved into life. But it takes life to die – it’s an effort, a push, one last leap past a threshold and into beyond which eternal life lacks and it sits there and says “It is good enough – it is good enough to live.” And it sits there and says “good enough” and it freezes and lacks life enough to be dead and it lacks death enough to be live, and in this it is pleased, it says “Ah! Eternal problem now solved, better yet solved by me.” and it sees the world moving and not its own stillness and thinks “Why all this? Why this fuss over living when they could be at rest?” And here is the problem with living too long and with life after death: “Rest now – life comes later. ” I say life now, I say pleasure now and rest later when dead. And this rest is a name for the posture of slowness – of drudgery, trudging and toiling through life – life in sludge, and in fat. Starve yourself thin enough to coast by on light beams – stay thin and stay hungry and you will be full. Here’s the thing about hunger – it is not at all lack, it has never been lack, it has always been positive. It does not say you’re empty – it says you want more. Cultivate hunger and things will taste better. It’s forward momentum – propulsion which drives and which urges you forward. Utopia’s science: “Stay Hungry”.

Choice two is to rot, and in rot to know life. To embrace death and spring from it new every moment – cast off former selves and consume them for energy. Be the rot which is fertile and teeming with life. Make all your life’s moments a resurrection – casting off of the old to make way for the new. Shed your skins and move forward and grow while you can. Be hard when you need to but fresh when you can – time for scales has passed and the danger has gone and you carve out a space for your self to be vulnerable. Be the life which knows death and in doing so lives. Be the life which won’t last from which new life will spring. Here we see the two choices – a living death and a dying life. Be the change that’s eternal – the eternal can’t last.

ASH, LIFE

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Eat shit. Eat shit, eat shit, eat shit, eat shit is what I’d tell the world. Smash all things to dust and live king-like on ashes. Live king-like in ruins which need no destruction – they’re ready destroyed and they’re already perfect. Live hungry in ruins and starving in wreckages. Utopia’s science summed up in these words: “Stay hungry.” Strive nothing and nowhere and stew in your power, stew up in your power and know you are king and you’re king and you’ll always be king and whoever says “No” is an enemy. Be the “Yes” and the spring and new life in the ashes and spring up and up flourish and spread and from shit and from ashes emerge now immaculate, now draped in resplendencies up and up lifted, in silk-light resplendencies draped across leaves and now blossoms rise up, and up and up lifted away to the stars and to what lays between – to the night’s fluid blackness in which I now drink.

None of the music I hear has the speed – no thing that I hear has the speed that I want. No thing sounds like angels and angelsong screaming in pure tones perfect notes screaming in ecstasy, pleasure and light, pleasure and light draped in gossamer finery, pleasure and light sending feelers and filaments and the delicate touch of the scream which is pleasure. It is all much too slow – nothing here now is fast enough, nothing my speed. Every thing is too slow and it’s all much too quiet but the scream – sustained scream in which all tones are found – is the sound which I need and my leaves are raised up, from the dust and the ashes raised up to the stars and the onyx-black sky of dark waters in which I now drink, which obsidian-black taint my leaves and in which I take root, and which black taint my leaves and which crumble to ash, and the world turns to ash and from ash springs new life – new sidereal life – from which life springs anew now abundant, now ash.

Panarchy – Why?

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Why should we? And better yet, why am I so afraid of writing about it? Why am I afraid of anything? Why! I’m just going to write this shit until I’m not scared of it any more because Christ knows there’s better stuff I could do with my time than just sit around scared all the time. What do I want to do? What am I afraid of? Am I afraid no one’s going to read it? I keep on with my journal and I keep telling myself one day in the far future someone will dig it all up and love it and know it and know how I feel, and that it will help them.

I sit here writhing in my seat and pissing my life away in fear of living because I’m afraid of my self – because I’m afraid of exposure and I fear the judgement of others. My problem is I think there’s opinions which matter more than my own. Of course I listen to people and take what they have to say on board – I’m eager to hear what they have to say! – but nothing they say is of value except insofar as it gets me to change my own mind. But I’m sick of writing about my self! I’m sick of so much – I’d be sick if I weren’t! – but most of all I’m sick of my self and I want to be over it and I want it to stop and to go away and get out of the way so I can enjoy things! No more sickness and worry and no more sweat and pain and frustration – just power! Sheer power, screaming power – the scream is what I want to live, the scream and laughter. And I will be wind and fire and crackling energy, sheer screaming force and fury and power and power and power and power and power, tumbling thru earth and through corridors, halls stripping bare floors and walls and then scouring ceilings and scouring wind and flesh and word and light and made pure and clean blazing light – the wind full of lights and expression and force moving forward and forward and forward momentum, racing to moon and on moonlight and stripping it bare and then living there clean, fresh and clean, fresh and clean, fresh and clean. Inhaling thin air and it’s fresh and it tumbles thru veins and it strips me away and I’m clean, and the light is inside me, the light which is air, which is fire and wind, and I am convinced that if I keep writing and if I can keep writing without tumbling off into shithouse poetry which is necessary, so necessary, then I will come up with an audience. Any thing written long and writ hard enough will be read, and any thing which is read will be read and reread and considered and thought about and I will write this until it is out of my system. The only way out – the only way there has ever been – is through.