Managed Magic

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Teaching / Society / Social Order / DeGate / DeSchooling / School’s Purpose /

Illich pointed out that the terminology of school is alchemical: note twelve years, graduate

thanx russell ballestrini

Like all human magic, it’s a magic that doesn’t work. I devote a fair amount of effort and space at to arguing how integral the fallacies of magic are to human cognition, particularly to human social cognition, more particularly to human kleptocratic pathologies, most particularly to kleptocratic institutions: like school. Like so much magic that doesn’t work, good theater can make it seem to work. Sit where you’re told, follow all the misdirections, and you “see” the lady sawn in half. Management of the audience is key.
Schools manage both the faculty and the student body. Schools are managed by the alpha (and beta to gamma) kleptocrats: and the alpha to gamma kleptocrats are managed by … (God!) the People. Unfortunately, the People are not managed by reality. Kleptocracy is one way the People divorce themselves from reality: believing apparently that they’ll be bailed out no matter how they stumble.
The magician holds the trick box, pretending to let you examine it. Your “examination” is managed by the magician. See any resemblance to school? or to any other kleptocratic institutions? the law? big science? publishing? The student who sees the management, notices the magician’s staging, the limits of the audience’s perspective as well as experience, that student will not flourish, will never be promoted. Neither genius nor honesty can be distinguished from retardation. The magician pretends to listen to the gull from the audience as he “examines” the box, but the magician’s whole attention is on “forcing” the examination to be ruled by the illusion. He hears only enough to know what to say next in his management.

Neither genius nor honesty can be distinguished from retardation.

2002 11 16
Worst of all: the gulled audience thinks it’s no gull. The manipulated citizenry thinks it’s educated! What could be worse for a biosphere’s sanity than for its principal socio-path species to believe that’s its large-scale decisions are licensed by education!

Schools are without peer among kleptocratic institutions for being broadcasters, not listeners. “Teaching,” not learning, is their thing. Schools still have not absorbed the lessons of Abelard let alone Russell, let alone Godel. Texts never match the state of the art of the subject supposedly under survey. (Darwin has not penetrated far into the consciousness of schools. I wonder how many teachers make anything of Jared Diamond. Do they dare repeat it? They certainly never made anything of pk.) Schools are a rehearser of chattel; not a seeker of knowledge. The faculty is immune to instruction: except from the kleptocrats: their real God. There are no peers in a school system: unless we mean the term as in Peers of the Realm.

Schools are a rehearser for chattel; not a seeker of knowledge.

Everyone sees that the emperor is naked: only the little boy is naive enough to say so. Except for the revolutionary brave enough to risk shunning, to risk crucifixion. Orthodoxy demands that adherents pretend the illusion works.
That’s why “faith” is hammered at us from infancy. That’s why “Santa Claus” is such a crucial teaching.
The magical society is immune to correction from within. Fortunately, nature still holds all the trumps: pollution, starvation, extinction.

Social institutions from media to schools and libraries have a magical function: if there are no reports in history of the US treaty with Sutter’s New Helvetia, then California belonged only to Mexico and our taking it was a good, not a criminal, thing. If Illich’s books are allowed to go out of print, and his new ones are not published … if pk’s writings are not published, if the media ignore them both, then we can pretend that the internet was invented in 1988 and that it’s wonderful: hooray for us. Kleptocracies could not function without managed ignorance and few ignorances are better managed by better managers than schools.

Some true sciences have spun off from some pseudo-sciences — alchemy begat chemistry, astrology begat astronomy … — but the parent remained pure magic: that is, magic that doesn’t work: pure bullshit.
Read the Illich of course. Listen to old tapes, old transcripts: it didn’t all get written down or published. I go into a bit more detail in Mystic Numbers.

School’s Purpose

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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