Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / Deschooling /
|“Family” Exchange||versus||Market Exchange|
Our fathers worked for pay, our mothers slaved for love. Our fathers had a job, our mothers had a role. Our fathers worked for respect, our mothers did what they did because it was the way of things.
Information emerges from perceived difference; macroinformation emerges from constellations of complex difference. I’ve just launched a module at Macroinformation suggesting that macroinformation may be expected to emerge from any spectrum of difference: old to new, for example: recent civilization is different from ancient civilization. The modern family is different from older forms. And the modern marketplace is different from how things used to be exchanged.
Between revolutionary and reactionary, I’m a revolutionary. Or am I? I don’t want to go back to the Pleistocene. We can’t go back to the Pleistocene. Neither do I want to throw out the baby with the bath.
It was Marshal McLuhan who articulated for us the difference between role and job. (Were you listening?) We look at roles and see dumb habit, exploitation … I look at jobs and see sterility.
To avert starvation after sacrificing my life and family to offer a low-tech internet to the public of 1970, I got a job (I hated), then went into business for myself (which I hated almost as much). In any case, I was traveling solo to sell New York art to the rest of the country. I’d stopped in Nashville. It was a beautiful Saturday. Some big football game (Vanderbilt? I don’t know) was going on across the street from that big Nashville park that has a little imitation Parthenon in it. Young folk were playing frisbee on the park grounds. I read some trash, I wrote to my girl friend, I put on tennis duds, grabbed my Head racket, a bag of old balls, and headed for the single tennis court to practice my non-existent service. Whop! Whop!
A totally adorable little girl ran into the court to gather up my balls for me. Slender, round-buttock-ed in running, I was enchanted. I told her that I only had the one racket, but that if she wanted to learn to hit ground strokes, I’d show her. (That was something I could do quite well.) No, no: she’d just pick up my balls for me so I could hit them again.
As time passed I looked nervously around. Where was the paranoid mother, the enraged father, the police to beat me up for abduction? Eventually I recognized a father; but he was smiling: waiting patiently while his girl satisfied herself that she was useful. (I wish I knew how to tell that girl these thirty years later what a treasure she was: to me, to her father: just was.)
Why was she doing it? We had no contract. No price was agreed on. Why does mother change the diapers, wash the dishes? Why does she still change the diapers and wash the dishes even with a black eye? Why does the soldier washed onto a desert island stay alert, his rifle clean, years after the war is over? Does he expect back pay? Commendations?
I am not against modern markets: exchange where the terms are spelled out (the invisible consequences not considered); but I do believe that we’re losing something: while our eyes are supposedly open.
My own mother was a handy door mat. She raised me: much of pk has long too been a handy door mat. I growl now when I’m struck, but I still don’t strike back. (I don’t have a big enough canon.) (Once I believed that I didn’t strike back for Love, because I was a Christian; now I believe that I didn’t strike back because there is no canon big enough.) My mother got pretty grouchy after a while. That’s because the role deal, the Love deal, is a bad ecology if it’s all give and no get. It’s fine to let our water evaporate: so long as it rains occasionally. Old ecologies depended on rain; new markets depend on specified revenues.
(Modern market man is incensed that it rains on the just and the unjust: modern market man believes he can tell the difference!) (That’s not half as stupid as imagining that we can plan what we need to receive.) (In evolution, it’s planned by feedback: if it don’t work, it won’t work.) (That latter is called death: extinction.)
We don’t know what the future will be. Maybe every god awful thing that’s happening is essential to some wonderful evolution not yet evolved. Or maybe we’ll just be dead and good-riddance. Maybe something totally different will replace us: in time. But what I see in the modern world is universal loss of value.
(That’s what I miss about God (Nietzsche’s God); the Bible’s God to me was value.)
Men have oppressed women, abused their role. Maybe it’s self-defense for how dominant women might otherwise be: actually were. (Read Leonard Shlain: it’s true.)
But however much further I could take the above I trust that it’s sufficient for me to make my point: I founded the Free Learning Exchange as a way to preserve some of the old roles against all the new jobs. Doctors used to get paid however their patients could pay, including not-at-all. But if the not-at-alls outweighed the gifts of money, chickens, a swept sidewalk … then the patients could keep no doctor. Gregory Bateson posits an external energy supply as requisite for mind. Bravo. And it’s true of many another thing besides.
For me (for Johnny Appleseed, for Jesus …) to do what I’ve done, there had to be an external energy source. God gave it to me with my yolk: it’s not quite gone yet, however thin. Catherine (just deceased) shared her home with me, her savings, her Social Security … One can’t work without a source of energy.
Modern society militates against the exchanges that came with roles. Unhappy with the black eyes, women want employment: get the new energy source, disconnect all the old ones, especially the invisible ones: just in time for the new energies to run out. We’ll have lots of money for oil; but no oil to buy. And with no oil, the money will be worthless. American dollars will mimic Confederate dollars in the universal slide to bankruptcy.
But bankrupt, schmankrupt: if sister has a place for brother at her table: and food on that table. Ah, but there’ll be no food. The food is grown from oil. The Great Depression will look like the Golden Age.
Ivan Illich characterized his preferred systems of exchange as conviviality. I’ve adopted the word: but I’ve never really liked it (any more than either of us liked the word deschooling).
I’ll continue next time.
Lot’s of what I’ve flown past above will expand in my next draft. Meantime, expand it yourself: in your thinking. Or write something. Submit it here.
2017 09 03 That is so funny, it’s decades since I ceased this post with that sub-head: Uncle Albert. But I know what I was thinking, know what I would have said, at least in part, had I continued: “Uncle Albert” is Farley Mowatt’s name for the non-mating male tiberwolf in the territory. Oh, he’ll mate alright if the Innuit stake out a huskie in heat: damn right he’ll mate; but not with his own species! Yet he’s essential, integral to his pack. He has a defined role, he fills it. Oh, but there’s still so much more to say.
Keywords information, family, market place