FLEX: John Quintero

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org &
Knatz.com / Personal / Mail, Feedback /

Thus far I’ve been mounting these messages chronologically. Here I instert the most recent (as most directly flattering):

  • In an email of 2003 01 16 John wrote:
  • Dear PK:
    Please know that I am proud to know a man of your insight, courage and commitment and that I rejoice in your sharing of your love and admiration of Ivan, and that I intend to visit you soon.

    Next month John plans to visit Ivan Illich’s grave in Bremen, Germany. His return to northern California will be routed via Sebring FL & moi.

    John seems to be singular in his recognition that my experience with FLEX be recorded before the unseeing world.

  • In an email of 2002 12 09 John wrote:
  • Well, I’ve been thinking about you for a few days.

    You ask for details — my son is in the clutches of the penal system which has got me in a state of near despair. Then my remaining grandmother died and then Illich died. I wrote a poem of near total mono-syllabic utterances for Illich this morning. That and my short shoot from the hip response blurb back to the NY Times (for their incredible but completely expectable, idiocy) I will send to you by snail mail if you send me your address. Oh well, what can one expect? At least he was acknowledged. And if you think THAT was bad, go to the archives of about last Wednesday of National Public Radio and down load the interview of Carl Mitchum about Illich’s death. My God, the commentary, the choice of questions is un-godly. And this from the bastion of “progressive” radio. FUCK.

    Now, I have some suggestions, and some answers, and some proposals. I can see by your words, my friend, you are from the other side. First I want to thank you for the HISTORY I asked for. 1st suggestion: I think you should expand that personal historical account and put it on paper, and OK back it up on digital screens. I really think that is of utmost importance. Especially your details of Cuernavaca. I think you should contact Detzel and get details of HIS experience, and of the experience of the other “peoples yellow pages.” This is, I can’t express enough earnestness, of GREAT importance. You and others have historical American experience which will be lost if not recorded for history. Especially the suffering you and others experienced. 2nd suggestion: Start an “Illich network website” (Illich.com has a Mexican website that sucks) with links to every known writer and ideological precursor he has, which is vast of course. If you type in “wtp.org” you’ll find Jerry Browns “we The People” website with a link to PUDEL, a German website of Illich’s last friends that has a shitload of essays to download. I would think this proposed site should be at the least a BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR ANARCHISTS and at best on-line University with a particular slant on the “good” society. I would love to supply you help, from a distance, with the notes and research I have compiled. I am a self professed digital idiot and plan to remain so for the sake of austerity — in other words, I can’t make a website or I would — maybe. Third suggestion: Look in Illich’s book “Tools for Conviviality” and at the essay “Recovery.” In it he identifies three things that is preventing any real lasting social change. They are things each of us can do that will eventually, maybe just a little in our lifetime, can make a change. I think many of us expect way to much in the short span of our lives. We have come to expect the “myth of revolution” to occur in our lives. We have our own revolutionary war to blame for that. Exceptional events, except the revolution was not really a revolution — the revolutionary war was a demand, a conservative demand, for recognition. Considering that the British had the brilliant notion of respecting the Indians dignity, autonomy and sovereignty, and the revolution was much about the infantile demand to suckle and rape the Great Mother beyond the Appalachians, I’m not clear how our mythology about rapid social change makes any sense at all. But, I digress. My point is this: Illich called for three things:

    A. the demythologizing of science — its not a religion, it’s something all us boneheads can do. Yet, the myth creates a clergy, holy men and rituals to create them. And that THINKING, that forced perception prevents the out flowing of creative energy at the lowest echelons of society. Even in ourselves, we expect all science, which has its root in the meaning of art, technos, which is an intellectual virtue of making something in proportion to a good, that something to be conformed to and taught by some professional — yet science itself decries this and seeks to explore — that is inductive logic of looking at the facts and deriving creative explanations or toys that exploit the facts. Instead of paying to be taught to dance, we should just dance, being taught to fix a car at a school, we should just watch our neighbor fix his etcetera. He talks of the LEGAL fight to keep us free from the monopoly on knowledge, even at the personal level.

    B. the recovery of LANGUAGE — we are subject to beguiled by the religious language of the engineer, scientists and experts. Because of this, I personally now cringe when whoever I talk to breaks into “uniquack” or “newspeak”. Uwe Poerksen wrote a book about “plastic language” as the language of domination of the industrial class. I’ll speak to this in relation to some “answers” I have about Illich’s reticence on “schooling.”

    C. Respect for CIVIL PROCEDURE — this speaks to the apathy of the modern spirit that “you can’t beat city hall.” Maybe not, but I can kick them in the balls before they kill me. In a nice way that is. This is one desperate neglected area that Illich attempted to resurrect at the Oakland Table, which was completely ruined by the political grandstanding of the Great Political Whore, Jerry Brown. At least he let Illich in the door-and that’s all I have good to say about Brown. This is why I want your history of FLEX written. I want to approach the powers of government with the HISTORICAL evidence of American experience. Get it?

    In fact, let me get permission to connect this e-mail and your website to a writer I know for a major publication “Sierra” (and others) who is very sympathetic to Illich and his “ilk.” I’ll encourage perhaps an article on the history of Illich to countermand the horrible treatment by the press. Remember, Illich and Reimer both professed that the world was not ready for the ideas they ideated in the prefaces to “Deschooling” and “School Is Dead.” THAT is why you suffered the snubs from even the most radical of people — they really were not so radical, just liberal progressives in sheep’s clothes, or even as likely, CIA plants to destroy a very real up-swelling of the hippie movement, or addicts. Which leads me to my next points of “answers.”

    You have alluded in one place a resentment about Illich not finishing one thing. He lamented this in a letter to me. But, let me apologize for Illich, something I doubt he would have ever done personally, but if you think about it, it is what he did for the rest of his career. The ONLY context he would have morally been able to DO what he professed was the Church, which despised him. He took his vows and never did fully relinquish them. He was a Christian priest to the end. I firmly believe Illich was a man of his word. Had he ever said he would devote his life to social action in the field of ‘education’, he would have been one crazy mother-fucker, and would have been killed very shortly. Attempts were made on his life during the CIDOC era, as innocuous as that place was. So, he had two good reason to stay the course of historical inquiry — he was banned from his chosen context and probably threatened with death by the Mafia. Do you think that is too far fetched? The world is a very ugly place my friend, and Illich was a HATED man for his views. The story is that the only reason he was not kicked out much sooner was because his ‘saintliness’ was recognized and legally protected by the American Cardinal Spellman — the most powerful man in the Catholic Church outside the Pope.

    Now, a third reason exists. It is told in the quotation “the corruption of the best is the worst.” Illich never opened his mouth about networks again because he was horrified by the profound evil possibilities it implied. Do you read “Wired.”? Have you read the recants of many developers of the “digital revolution?” Illich’s BEST idea was the deschooling one, the networking one. But if that idea gets industrialized-WE ARE FUCKED. Do you understand that? Read Schumacher — “Small Is Beautiful.” Illich NEVER recanted on the goodness of the idea of the inverted learning arrangement. He did abhor the evil possibility which would arise of the loss of proper proportions. The idea of “thinking globally and acting locally” is a CIA think-tank generated slogan that does exactly what he feared — the creation of the global classroom made real by the internet and Ethernet and the screen. The idea of a paper-less world is another think-tank generated slogan designed to reign in the minds of the “environmental” conscience. Do you understand the absurdity of a paperless world? — Iowa alone planted in hemp could save all the trees in the world. Its not the trees that are in danger, its US. Fuck the trees. They grow back. I want my kids to avoid the Big Brother complex. That means we NEED paper. We need to do MORE of what YOU did in New York. Your mistake was your focus of the rest of the world — if I do it then everyone should do it.

    Look, networks were perceived by the biologists and ‘artificial lifers’ to exist in life. Duh. Networks of learning exist anthropologically. They exist today. Illich, in line with the likes of Maturana, von Foerster and others, suggested them as models for social arrangements. However, they ALREADY existed as social arrangements — both in the past and now. But you have to look out your own front door, meet your neighbor and live in the world to see them. I am part of your network. Our contact by computer did NOT make that possible. Browsing around in the dustbins of the library made that possible, some remote reference I followed up on. We could be as easily be talking on the phone or writing on paper.

    In fact, if our relationship moves on to friendship, I will cut you off the computer, and revert to more intimate and austere realm of paper and phone. These are business and academic discussions. I refuse “on-line” discourse with my close relatives and friends. I don’t talk to my wife, children, parents on-line. Monday night, the National Public Radio had a guy on something called “Tech Nation” out of San Francisco’s KQED. He calls for the recognition of the “enslavement” to the digital gadgets we have, of how much it interferes with our relations and how employers end up “owning” by making us on-call 24/7.

    As good as the network idea is, it’s corruption just horrifying. Look at Bush’s liberties now to read this e-mail? Get the drift?

    However, the idea of highlighting existing natural networks and augmenting the possibilities inherent to them by electronic filing systems should still be proposed. However, I think your idea of using paper publishing instruments is the best. They should be organized neighborhood by neighborhood, BY neighbors.

    The only way to counter-act the industrialization of the network is to simultaneously recognize and resurrect the virtues of subsistence. Have you read David Cayley’s interview of Illich called “The War on Subsistence.” ? Also, on the Anarchist Canon for the study of Illich’s philosophy should have the pre-requisite reading of Wendell Berry’s “Jayber Crow: Barber” EVERYTHING Illich has tried to say in ALL his books is reflected upon and empirically described in this astounding and simple novel. I recommend it highly.

    So, my friend, is this enough detail? There is one more thing. I am starting an organization which will try to re-establish, with some assistance by the computer, the relations of subsistence. I’ll mail you the Articles of Incorporation. Perhaps you would consider being on it’s advisory Board, or be its “webmaster.” Perhaps by now you think I’m utterly insane. But I hope not. I admire you greatly, and your depth of commitment. I hope my critique helps encourages that commitment — you have much to offer from your experience and I don’t want you to fail or turn away from that possibility.

    Peace and Grace
    John Quintero

    Previously: I had emailed John to make sure he knew of Illich’s death. John asked me (ha!) how I felt about it. I answered:

    I posted the NYT obit at my Ivan Illich biography file.
    and rant there, then rant some more.

  • John had written:
  • How are things going, otherwise? I’m thinking I could go to wherever they bury him for the funeral. I like funerals.

    I wrote him:

    What are you doing? I want details.
    My details are online

    That’s all from a decade ago; last year I posted a John Quintero links piece. There are also things here unlinked at his wife’s request: he’s in enough trouble in jail without everything he does there still being easily traceable to him.
    (I’d have published from jail had I had an ally outside: like me.) (I wish John had: I was in jail ahead of him.) (Illich got stomped but not jailed that I know of. Here you have at least two of his disciples treated like early Christians.)

    PS JQ had asked that I record my experiences at CIDOC and put them online: John hadn’t seen all of InfoAll.org: where I had a great deal of such stuff: not complete, not by any means, but a beginning. The FBI, the Fed court, wiped it all out: I put back bits and pieces: where they can wipe it out again.
    Don’t worry: God has records of all of this.
    And if He never shows them to us? That’s OK: we’ll just die in ignorance, not deserving anything better.

    Same Old
    2016 08 12 I just heard from John Quintero, a few days after emailing Mrs. Q in Beirut. John is still in jail in Nevada. I sure would like to hear news of other Ivan Illich disciples in jail: me and John are two too many.
    I have never concealed my contempt for the kleptocracy. The more despised I find myself the less I softpedal my opposition to to the coercive state. The state has never shied away from smashing me. They’re at it again: I meet with a pro bono advisor next Thursday, see the judge again Aug 22. The fed jailed me for 15 months Oct 13, 2006. They got John after that. How many more of us are there? One of us being jailed is a crime: the society without jailing us is already criminal.

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    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.
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