Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org &
Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Social Order / DeGate / DeSchooling / School’s Purpose /
Schools exist to teach “history.” Schools rely on their subjects (and teachers) to confuse “history” with “what happened.” No: that’s the province of the sciences: geology, archeology, anthropology … No: history is always someone’s version of what happened: Roman History by Romans, Roman History by someone else; church history by churchmen, church history by the heretics (if any survived) … Nixon always said, “History will show …” He of course was imagining the future, and future history, working for him.
Logical double dealing has long been kleptocracy’s forte.
History (almost anyone’s prior to Frazer, Diamond …) lists kings, names countries, lists wars … The student gets the impression that the experience of kleptocracy is natural, inevitable, unavoidable. It does seem to be the latter two, but it is hardly the first of the three: natural. note Agriculture quickly led to overpopulation. Overpopulation led to new types of organization to protect a particular (over-) population. Schools are a refinement of that new over-organization.
A few, a very few, peoples in the world still know little of kleptocracy: the gatherers of the Kalahari Desert, for example. They don’t know any lists of kings or wars: they’ve never had any. They don’t need any.
2001 12 17
Chopping up the parent file it occurs to me that my three-card monte metaphor is ambiguous in a way I hadn’t intended or even been aware of. Stephen King’s Hearts in Atlantis introduces us to a three-card monte dealer who can win “at will” by the skill of his misdirections. Three cards, always the same three cards, and only those three cards are involved in his shuffle. The queen of hearts is always present on the table. In other words, the dealer deceives but doesn’t cheat.
The only three-card monte I know up close and personal is from the magic of logic professional and magic amateur Raymond Smullyan. Raymond did great card tricks, amazing three-card-monte. Raymond wasn’t cheating in the sense that there was no gambling involved, he didn’t claim that the gulls owed him lost-wagers: he was just putting on a magic show; not taking our money: trickery among friends. (He wouldn’t have gotten any of mine. Few people have ever succeeded in getting me to fork up. The patters just don’t work on me.) It’s been a few decades since I’ve seen him do it, but through the 60s and 70s I saw him do it many times: and for the trick’s climax all the cards changed. The queen of hearts became the ace of spades: or some such trickery. Raymond used speed, misdirection … and lèger-de-main. Had we been gambling, had he seriously asked us to wager on our guess as to the location of the red queen, he would have been cheating.
Raymond’s magic had an strong element of anti-magic in it: as did that of Houdini, as does that of Penn & Teller. (Teller gets my vote when he says that we should cease being fooled by magic however little we cease to be fooled by it. He also says that if we have to worship anything, it ought to be art. Right. That’s what I say in Macroinformation. That’s what I’ve always said: at least long-said.)
You decided which way I meant the metaphor for school.
Natural: What a tricky word “natural” is. We’ve used it traditionally to distinguish between the biosphere (or nature without man) and whatever we think we’re in control of. I say that the habit is a part of our worst pathology: thinking that we’re separate, apart. Anything, including man, can be artificially isolated so we can concentrate on it: grow a particular culture in the petri dish, put this dog, rat, or man in a cage where we can keep our eye on him … But man (the men we know from “history”) say we are intrinsically different, have souls, are not animals … (This of course is part of our kleptocratic camouflage.) Sure we’re different: what isn’t?
If man isn’t natural, how did he come to be? No one has the power to expunge a word from the language, but if I were in charge of what’s taken aboard a voyage to another place to live — a space station, another planet, an asteroid … I’d do whatever I could to leave that notion behind.
2017 03 22 I haven’t seen Raymond Smullyan since the early 1980s. Last wee4k my son told me he’d passed. A decade ago my (ex-)wife told me he’d become very cranky, all the time. Extraordinary guy, however uncomfortable the whole family made me.
Understand: Raymond was my wife’s mother’s second-husband’s brother. We saw him nearly every holiday. Further, Raymond built his country house so that it put his elder brother’s country house in the shade. Hilary and I skied in the winter. Soon the house was refurbished for us. Soon everyone was using the house, no room for Hilary and me. Understand further: were I not an enemy of the society, a would-be reformer of the culture, I would have been earning a living by my mid-thirties, would have contrubuted financially. As it was I did major yard-labors, woods pruning.
Let me add, Raymond had trained to be a concert pianist. A youthful injury slowed his hands. They were still fast enough however to wow everybody at magic. Music lost, magic gained.
Damn, here’s still another file that would benefit from total rewriting. Then again, that’s true of lots of literature. What would Cruso read like if Defoe had decided to take it seriously. An important question is always: would it really be “better”? How about the Bible? would the Bible really be better if its errors and absurdities could be corrected? I say it’s a perfect mirror because of its absurdities!
I don’t claim that this bundle of blunders is perfect; only that blunders, clumsy forks, are common property.