Feedback: No Inteligence Without It
Feedback was one of the cornerstones of my FLEX, The Free Learning Exchange, Inc., my 1970, Illich-inspired offer of a low-cost internet, a cybernetic / digital / neighborhood resources library. First in Illich’s design came resource listings, a public yellow pages: resources can be subdivided into human and material. Then came interest matching, peer services: connect partners for co-learning, co-practice: discuss a book, play chess, dance together. Then, the rest useless without it, feedback! What do providers say about providers? What do clients say about providers? …
Society would improve if everyone could rate every doctor visited, every teacher endured, every store shopped at.
Store, digest, and regurgitate information about the resources. What does Plank say about Einstein as a physicist? What does Einstein say about Klein as a mathematician? Further, what does Einstein’s pupil say about Einstein as a teacher? … What does Kiddo say about Doctor Shmutz who took his tonsils out? What does Kiddo’s mon sat about the hospital where Dr. Shmutz operated? What does Kiddo’s dad say about the hospital that sent him the bill?
Understand: initially Illich’s purpose in cybernetic data-basing was deschooling: rid the society of state-coerced schools, replace them with a free learning marketplace. But beyond that, I wanted to found a digital library catagloguing and publishing feedback on every type of market service: don’t just pick on ersatz teachers; expose doctors, lawyers … mechanics! The state makes us hold still for the incompetents, a free market would wash all that away overnight. (If it didn’t, then there’s something wrong with our theories of freedom!) (And what’s wrong isn’t likely to be corrected by friends of the management!)
In the school system (we’re forced to support and use and be used by), the teachers are rated: by the bureaucrats who hired them. Their training is rated: by the trainers, and the bureaucrats who hired them.
How are things different from the old days where the priests (who raped your son, got your wife pregnant) rate the priests: and how well they represent God.
It would be nice if God were heard from, I mean in person, not through “his” (supposed) priests! But how come the kid who got molested is seldom heard from? How come nothing the kid says is heard except through lawyers, through bureaucrats … through the school, the church?
Has any society prior to the US had a more elaborate staging of supposed consumer ratings? of a free press? How accurate is the costuming?
The state holds the monopoly on who trains your children, and the state’s monopolizers hold the monopoly on what you can say about them. (Of course you can say anything: but will be be heard? will you be jailed?
The Jew at Dachau could say anything too: if he didn’t mind dying thirty seconds from now instead of thirty days from now!
How is the US freer than the Third Reich when it’s the Nazis who keep the records of how many Jews they killed?
Privately, we know that it’s as many as they could find; publicly, we know that confirmable instances are zero!
The media work for the bureaucrats, the bureaucrats work for the owners, the owners say they work for the citizens, but …
OK: if you don’t know the above about me, you don’t know the minimum needed to qualify you as an opinion holder. Now I’m going to use that foundation to reflect on a few experiences since 1970.
A couple of decades ago the guy examining my vision for new glasses told me that I had “early onset macular degeneration. My eyes’ ability to see detail, to focus, was determirating, and would only get worse. I was sent to a retinal specialist. I was given an Amsler chart and told to look at it every day, one eye at a time. If the lines became wavy, quick, make an appointment, my vision might be about to disintegrate.
Till 2007 I did. When the lines became wavy, with my left eye, I got an appointment with Dr. Ganthier.
I was received first by an assistant. I told her of my experience. She said, Show me. I held an Amsler graph in front of me, and she interrupted, “No, don’t hold the paper that way, hold it this way.” I did. And she interrupted me and corrected me again.
Immedaitely I thought, science requires letting the evidence present itself. If the girl can’t report a rape except through the rapists, there’s no help for the girl. I thought of police interviewing a female and doing the opposite, not giving her a moment’s rest until she “remembers” her uncle molesting her, twenty years ago, when she was six. Eventually, more than one girl will remember whatever the cops, the Nazis, the state shrinks want her to remember.
I told the assistant that she wasn’t qualified to take testimony, that she was interferring, supervising the allowable experience. The doctor came in, assured me that his staff was well traind, and threw me out: never heard what point I had to make: and absolutely didn’t check my macular degeneration!
Had the public support its own proffered freedom in 1970 I could have gone to a FLEX terminal, and, for a pittance, have reported my experience: directly into a file on Dr. Ganthier: client reports! The thousands such reports could have been statistically digested: sorted among praise blame … anecdotal … criminal … should-be-levered-out-of-his-practice.
(I’ve been to few doctors in that last half century that I didn’t think should have lost their licenses! But, understand: I don’t want Nazis to take their license, I don’t want Nazis to issue them a license! I only believe in public information: and let the lies sort themselves out.
The other day Jan and I went to the moview for the first time in years: to see The Artist. She’d already seen it in Fort Lauderdale. I wanted to see it. We’d been watching silent movies together for two and a half years: Chaplin, Arbuckle, Keaton, Lloyd … The Fairmont Cinema was showing it as a Friday mantinee only. A half dozen people were in the audience. The scheduled time arrived, no movie was shown. More time passed. Then the equipment crackled loudly, annoyingly. Then: the worng movie began, horribly out of focus. We thought at first that it was an inept Coming Attraction, but no, it kept going, beginning the movie about Margaret Thatcher.
Finally, the worng movie ceased, The Artist began: out of focus, badly out of focus.
I still hadn’t told Jan about my two-plus decades of experience with Fairmont Cinema ineptitude.
My son just reminded me of details of one visit: we bought tickets for a matinee, we sat in the theater. The time came, the time passed. Ten or twenty minutes later a flunky came and told us that there would be no showing: they hadn’t sold enough tickets to make it worth their while.
Uh oh: maybe that excuse would wash if they had told us at the time we tried to buy the tickets, but sinc they sold us the tickets, took our money, they owed us something.
So, we didn’t leave. bk says we sat and chatted for a while. Then a cop came.
The cop never asked what our objection was, what our point was, what we had to say: he just pushed us out of the theater: “with his uniform.” Neither bk nor I remember today whether they refunded our money, offered a rain check, or what. I’d thought they’d show the movie if we were stubborn, I’d thought that we’d yield when they threatened us with force. …
Many a time before, several times since (I don’t go to theaters any more as I get old, deaf, blind …)
If the public had supported FLEX bk and I could have gone straight to a FLEX terminal and reported our treatment. If people checked feedback archives before paying for tickets, incompetent theaters should find themselves struggling to stay open, to hire flunkies, all the more rapidly.
I’ll post this, then continue.
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