Deschooling Quotes: FLEX

Deschooling Quotes Around FLEX: 1970 — 1974

No compulsory ritual

Ivan Illich

Map the community.

Heinz von Foerster

pk adds:

Network the Maps,
Network the Networks.

Surely everyone knows something worth knowing.

pk’s first sentence of FLEX’s first announcement, 1970.
pk’s first step in opposing the professionalization of learning,
a blow for natural levels, vs. imposed levels,
conviviality vs. bureaucracy-run kleptocracy,
for a society in which everyone is the potential faculty

Vigilant for freedom

Paul Goodman

Do more with less.

R. Buckminster Fuller

Evolution, not revolution


Humanity, freedom, conviviality …
require that weDeregulate information!


Humanity, freedom, conviviality …
require that we
Deregulate information!

Deregulate everything.

Everyone. Spontaneously.

Don’t wait for the government
or some do it for you. You! Me! All of us!

(If it’s not already too late.)

Independence double arrow drawing Interdependence

Alternate version


If I display my own quotes in blue and follow King James in quoting Jesus in red, then surely I should quote Illich in gold. But no, I continue to use my blue, Jesus’ red, but all others get black (and sometimes gray).


Thinking the world together

Experience isn’t enough! We must have knowledge.

Books are like people. I’d rather have four friends than a hundred acquaintances.

Speed reading is not reading.

Education: secular monasticism — perspective through withdrawal under recognizably artificial circumstances

— What would you like to do when you finish school?
— I’d like to get an education.

(That sarcasm now strikes me as lame
but the elderly pk tries to leave the thirty-two year old reformer unedited.)

Change has changed.

Neil Postman

Think globally. Act locally.

Rene Dubos

Certainty is illusion, and repose is not the destiny of man.

Robert Cunningham

I went through it (the quantum theory) once and looked up only to find the class full of blank faces-they had obviously not understood. I went through it a second time, and they still did not understand it. And so I went through it a third time, and that time I understood it.

anecdote in The Process of Education

I taught it;
But they didn’t learn it

Public school teacher, 1960s
More than one, I bet

The terms of the contract between industry and society are changing. …. Now we are being asked to serve a wider range of human values and to accept an obligation to members of the public with whom we have no commercial transactions.

Henry Ford II to a Harvard Business School audience

Drudgery is out of date.

Everett Reimer

First, God created idiots.
That was just for practice.
Then He created school boards.

Mark Twain

Facilitate in all things the increase of possibilities.

Heinz von Foerster

When someone wants to learn, by all means let him. It’s easier than “teaching him later.

R. Buckminster Fuller

There are other quotes that should have been around FLEX in the early 1970s: quotes of Paul Goodman. I mentioned Goodman a great deal, but it had been eight years at least since I’d read Goodman’s Compulsory Miseducation. I now confess I had not at the time adequately appreciated the details of Goodman’s influence on Illich. I now see that it was Goodman who prepared me to understand Illich: with two points in particular:

  • That faith in schools comprised a mass superstition, and that
  • the faithful constituted a secular priesthood.
  • I was aware of getting my sense of secular priests from Illich; I was not then aware that Illich had gotten it from Goodman: who had called them “school monks.”

    Further from Paul Goodman: (Such school monks believe that)

    … the schools provide the best preparation for everybody in a complicated world, are the logical haven for unemployed youth, can equalize opportunity for the underprivileged, administer research in all fields, and be the indispensable mentor for creativity, business practice, social work, mental hygiene, genuine literacy — name it, and there are credits for it leading to a degree.
    The schools offer very little evidence of their unique ability to perform any of these things — there is plenty of evidence to the contrary — but they do not need to offer evidence, since nobody opposes them or proposes alternatives.

    (Note that Goodman published those words in 1962. Ivan Illich and associates designed learning webs in 1970, from which, also in 1970, pk designed a cheap internet: to replace all kleptocratic information structures.)

    Now I add a few quotes that have lost their name tags. I’ll try to find them and fill them in. Assume them to be Illich, or Goodman (or pk):

    Since schooling undertakes to be compulsory, must it not continually review its claim to be useful?

    A perhaps outmoded institution [school] has become almost the only allowable way of growing up.

    … democracy begins to look like regimentation.

    It is said that our schools are geared to “middle-class values,” but this is a false and misleading use of terms. The schools less and less represent any human values, but simply adjustments to a mechanical system.

    Unqualified growth already does more harm than good.

    Major conditions of modern life are unprecedented and we do not know how to cope with them.

    About pk

    Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
    This entry was posted in DeCentral, deschool, pk Teaching, social order. Bookmark the permalink.

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

    Google photo

    You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s