Wager With Lucifer

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains:
Teaching / Social Order … DeCentralization / Deschooling /

Keywords information, records, central, God, Lucifer, wager”/> Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DDD / Modules / Decentralization /
Miscellaneous Deschooling Rants

God’s Wager With Lucifer

Before I weave my candidate myth, let me share my initial aim (who knows where the writing actually ends up?): HL Mencken said “… democracy is based upon so childish a complex of fallacies that they must be protected by a rigid system of taboos, else even half-wits would argue it to pieces.” Without compulsory schooling any twelve year old ought to be able to refute the assumption that centralized information management is always necessary. But, could that same twelve year old, older and graduating from school, still do so?) That’s why civilization must train us only to listen to the civilized. The wild child won’t get it because the wild child isn’t social: but any caveman should be able to see through the pretences of any forged-literate in schools. Centralized information management may gain short term goals, but the big picture gets messier and messier as it does so.

Shall we pay the piper now? or later: when no amount of payment will suffice?
(School’s purpose is to identify the potential refuters, to isolate them, make sure that no one listens to them … soo easy in a social primate species.)

God’s messages are constant; but the damned won’t hear them.

(1970, when I offered a free information system, may not have been too late, but it’s no longer 1970.)
Ah: I extend my preface to add that my target needs more than one coordinate. Having referenced Mencken, I must also reference Arthur C. Clarke: specifically his story The Billion Names of God. (My memory of the title comes close enough for now: I can verify it another time.) Bunch of Tibetan monks save their coppers till they have the millions needed to buy a main frame computer. The monks believe that the universe exists for the purpose of uttering the many names of God, that the universe will cease to exist once the complete taxon has been uttered. (Then the cosmos may express itself in whatever comes next: after universe.) For many centuries the monks have busied themselves guessing at and uttering possible names for God. They’ve decided that a super computer will conclude their quest the sooner. (Tibetan Buddhism isn’t a big fan of life going on and on: all that pain.)

Some scientist hears about the plan and, alarmed, races to Tibet. He’s climbing the Himalayas just in time to notice the stars begin, one after another, to wink out.

Cosmology and theology are inseparable in my mind (liberated theology, theology liberated from dogma, from superstition) (Is that possible?)). It seems that Clarke thought something similar before most of the rest of us could think at all. Anyway, my target would imagine a wedding of cosmology, theology, and refutation of axioms.

God’s and Lucifer’s Wager

God and Lucifer were once very close. I mean close like roommates at a male boarding school, if you follow me: close like they were married. They’re still close: but at longer than arm’s reach. They’re both software programers, albeit at opposite ends of town, and the one sure thing that will make one give the other a call, a challenge, is if he thinks he’s written (or can write) a bit of software that will prove some point odious to the old competitor/companion.
Almost every calamity in the history of the universe they once made together on a lark has been a direct result of their bets against each other. You see, any of their wagers necessitates the proviso that the opposite party may interfere with the new code, but only in certain limited ways. If God makes a sun, Lucifer may not unmake the sun; but he can write some subroutine from which may emerge sun spots. Lucifer may make some perpetual motion homunculus, but God can crab his motion with the ague. You can’t take Barry Bonds out of the other guy’s line up, but you can encourage Bonds to make errors.

See? DNA: there’s an actual illustration. Both parties were surprised in that one once some of the errors produced forms more interesting than those made without such errors. (Nowadays no one can get the truth out of either of them as to which of them made the DNA and which of them then made the errors.) (In fact, I’ve heard each of them claim that the errors had been the whole point all along.)

much more to do here but I post my beginning while other obligations call

A tip of the hat to Denis Wood (Five Billion Years of Global Change: A History of the Land [NY 2004]) for his they used to be married perception.

2006 07 04 And a salute to LiveScience.com for its wonderful Top 10 Creation Myths.
(One of the best, most engrossing, can’t-stop-clicking-the-next-link, web sites.)

Wager Scrapbook
2017 04 21 I read in some related loose material:
Cause / … / Decentralized Effect

from Iona Arc, a pk blog

Humans claim sentience. I don’t dispute the claim: I only add that sentience must be a spectrum, and that we can’t possibly know how “left” or “right” we are on the spectrum (left or right as in statistical limits). Are we toward its beginning? or toward “the end”? (Does such a spectrum even have an end? does it even have a beginning?)
Recently some humans share the claim of self-awareness with a couple of other mammals: the chimp, the orangutan. Note: we’re all mammals. All bilaterally symmetrical. All vertabrates. We all have a top and a bottom. We all have a face at the front side of the top end. It’s not surprising that we should associate self-awareness and sentience with having a bilaterally symmetrical face: and at the top end. note Humans are social: though some males and a very few females are loners. Chimps too are social. Orangutans … uh … on occasion: all the adults males are loners. (I suggest you leave them alone: unless you want to see some exquisite violence: exercised against you!)
Social, self-aware, sentient humans have a trick: they generalize. And they have a social trick: they grab generalizations made by somebody smart, and apply them: stupidly.
For example:
Newton was very smart. He figured out some characteristics of gravity. He figured out lots of things. Newton never said he had figured out everything. On the contrary, he said he had picked up a couple of pretty shells from along a vast shore.
That’s all right: the group tells the lie for him: we can figure out anything. It’s not that we have this and that fragment of knowledge; no, no: we have knowledge. God has knowledge. the church, the state has knowledge. experts, the university has knowledge.
If I hit you in the head with a stone ax, you might fall down. I see myself as the “cause” of your falling down. I generalize: I cause things. My generalization is stolen by the group: we cause things. the generalization becomes fuzzy: we cause all things.
Uh, no, wait: we cause all good things; all bad things are caused by the enemy.
We group together. Now and then the group follows together a decision of some individual. Let’s all go beat up on the rooster who’s down in his luck, has lost a few feathers. Let’s kill him. We centralize, we form a hierarchy. It works! We form a fearsome efficiency. We worship centralization, hierarchy, efficiency.

Now we do something that makes this individual think that our self-awareness, our sentience (our hierarchy and our efficiency), are definitely on the beginner’s side of things: we made flawed generalizations about centralization: the universe must be caused! the universe must be centrally caused! the universe must be hierarchically caused!
Looking at a problem we truck in assumptions about centralization, about cause. We impose hierarchies whether they’re there or not.
I always get a kick on sports shows, the commentator says, “There’s the first lady, leading the cheers”: where some president’s wife is more likely to be behind the crowd in the clapping. The network does not get a flood of raspberries: we swallow the flagrant imposition.
We sometimes have a true perception, but inevitably spoil it: what was wrong with the Soviet was Stalin; then we think: the solution would be Nixon.

I can imagine cavemen making these errors. They too were sentient, had faces, had a top and a bottom. But they weren’t over-organized within an inch of their lives the way all modern kleptocrats are. We escape the church, but fall into the school. we escape Stalin, but fall under Bush.
If we consider the universe we’ll find centers: lots of them: billions and trillions. Our earth is the center of our earth moon system. Our sun is the center of the solar system. But there are hundreds of billions of suns: just in this galaxy. Cells have centers: the nucleus. Atoms have centers: the nucleus. The galaxy itself seems to have something like a center. (Always though beware: does it really? or are we polluting our perception with our prejudice? are we over-reifying our model?)
But consider the universe. We can’t see it; we can only see light generated by nearby stars and that light reflecting from other matter. We have to try to conceive it, we have to try to model it. Look at some of the models developed by big astronomy teams. Is there a center? Is there anything like a center? Is center an appropriate concept for the universe? Beware of imposing order on one system by inappropriate analogy with order from a different system.
Does the universe modeled, in any of the models, “look” hierarchical? Where’s its “top”? (And where is “north”?) Does the model look like it has a boss? a president? a god? It would be foolish to assume that it doesn’t just because we don’t see one, it would be foolish to assume that it does: just because we’re encouraged to see things that way.
But the universe is too big, too unknown. There are lots of things nearer to hand that we can also look at. Check out a model of a nice big fat organic molecule.

more coming
fer instance:
Nam myoho renge kyo: the universal law of cause and effect Sure there are causes, sure there are effects: many kinds: not all centralized, not all direct, not all top down: not at all as simple as billiards. But trust the group to get all generalizations wrong.
(That’s a good pk joke: does anyone see it?)
Notes
Face at the Top End:
pk loves to point out that we have a “face” at the other end too. On women it’s called “ass” or ” pussy.”
Here pk will further observe that humans’ top-end faces are unique, highly individual; our nether faces though are largely generic. Male is distinct from female, but Ned is not much different from Ted, nor Sally from Ellie at the other end.

Deschooling: Double Entry / Double Books keywords information, records, double entry, double books”/> Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DDD / Modules / Decentralization /
Double Entry
/
Double Books
Everyone’s heard of double-entry bookkeeping. Few understand it. The bookkeeper lists all assets: and then, day by day, transaction by transaction, lists all debits and all credits. I’m no accountant, but that’s the essence, isn’t it?
(Double entry thinking has matured any number of areas of thought: science, systems … If you’re male, you’re also not-female; if you’re a 1, you’re not a zero …)
Everyone’s also heard of keeping two sets of books. Everyone understands that one, don’t they? You keep one set of records for yourself, and another set, a fictitious set, for the IRS.
Apart from our own practices — we respect privacy, right? — we associate duplicate bookkeeping with the bad guys: the Mafia, the crooks … I can not emphasize strongly enough:
All centralized institutions keep more than one set of records!
If they don’t, they have the capacity to. It doesn’t matter what the law, the charter, the constitution says.
And we all understand that too (without understanding it). The senator may look at materials forbidden the non-elect adult; the adult may look at materials forbidden the child. The Times holds onto reports it doesn’t publish: so, The Times has records it’s put on record, and the Times has records it hasn’t put on record. Few prelates have rank high enough to freely browse the Vatican archives.
So, still using the Church as an example, there are those records the Vatican shares with the public, there are those records the Vatican shares with Catholics, there are those records the Vatican shares with all priests, there are those records the Vatican shares with some prelates … and there are those records the Church destroyed: no one can see them.
Information erodes in the universe itself. Of course. Entropy (in all of its meanings) seems to be a true law. But we know of no examples of the universe deliberately destroying information. Natural is a tricky word: for the most part we merely use it to contrast human behavior from everything else: don’t we?
Then again, improved thought, improved techniques, can read some things formerly believed erased. There are analogies to “fingerprints” everywhere. One year the FBI can’t read the torn up letter, the next year they can. So people shred their letters. Then next year the FBI can read the shredded letter. So they burn the letters. God may be able to read even the ashes: even the ground ashes.
We know in great detail what St. Augustine thought. Augustine troubled to write it down: but then some people assign the writing. What Abelard wrote is shoved into the archives. How much was burned we don’t know. And what some ordinary heretic wrote got burned without any record being kept of the burning (unless there’s a record buried somewhere in that remote part of the Vatican archives.
Civilized record keeping has from the get-go been duplicitous. If we’re Catholic, we may be glad that trash got censored. If we’re parents we may be glad that you can go online and not have beaver popping up no matter what command you give the PC. If we’re American we may be glad that the Pentagon put its A-bomb plans in the safe.
Civilized record keeping had little choice but to be at least potential duplicitous: until 1970 when pk offered the Free Learning Exchange.
Imagine that it was supported. Image that we had a working FLEX some time following 1970. Imagine that pk somehow retained absolute control over this paradoxical offering: a centralized local for decentralized information. pk is human. pk could have burned some record that deeply offended him.
Still: the idea was to censor nothing.
That was an idea of the United States at its Bill of Rights writing sessions. How well has the United States maintained that ideal? A lawyer can prove that we’ve maintained it perfectly; while any child can see that we never meant it in the first place. (Macroinformation!)
That’s why ideas, ideals, institutions … must constantly be phoenixed: burn it, and recreate it. Many a generation will be unable (unwilling) to recreate it in its original spirit. That can’t be helped. But maybe the next generation can. The son may be way stupider than the father; the granddaughter may be way smarter than grandpa. One generation may be selfish, another … less so.
That’s a start. I’ll be saying more and more about central / decentral here and elsewhere.

The publisher decides what books to publish and determines the investment in promotion. The publisher will have accurate, detailed records of sales, of reviews, of stocks … The publisher will have few to no written records of which MSs were rejected and why. Who reads those manuscripts, by the way? The most senior executives? or the cheapest, most junior labor?
But we all understand what happens anyway: because some records which don’t depend on publishers may survive a change of generation, a change of culture. William Blake had to publish himself in 1812; but his work has been a reliable seller since it did finally get published by others. Go through the publisher’s lists for 1812: Wordsworth, Coleridge … Byron … Where’s the Keats? Where’s the Blake?
What records does academia keep of other great geniuses still not published? None. No one knows.
Cavemen didn’t keep records of those they silenced either; but then they didn’t keep records of anything: except maybe the phases of the moon. Losing information isn’t nearly as bad a crime as mismanaging information. While John Hurt Fisher was Secretary of the MLA I heard him confess that the MLA had rejected Mont Saint Michel And Chartres when it had been offered to them. I doubt that that fact was a normal part of MLA publicity; but its most powerful executive volunteered the story: at least when he was among his students. Publishers have annual events where they brag about what they promoted; picture a judgment day where some demon confronts them with what they repressed, suppressed … or merely failed to promote.
FLEX would have published EVERYTHING; but promoted nothing.
Understand, pk in his private person could have promoted this or that from FLEX; but the institution itself merely recorded. No endorsements. No opinions as to what was valid, what fraudulent. If the big bad wolf says he’s grandma, then that’s what FLEX says he says. Little Red Riding Hood has to watch her own way. (How stupid can she be? Not to see the teeth?)

Deschooling: Centralized versus Decentralized keywords information, centralized, decentralized”/> Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DDD / Modules / Decentralization / 2004 09 24
deCent
Centralized
versus
Decentralized
Once upon a time information was common to a human group. DNA is of course common to the species: and therefore to the group. Each member is human; one individual might have red hair. But practical information too — who’s best at finding edible roots, who’s best at chipping flint — would also have been common. Each individual has a private memory, sharing what part the individual chooses, but much information is common: everyone knows that Conrad is taller than Miriam.
Centralities war against one another.
Then humans bred: and bred. Then humans farmed. Then humans built graneries, then villages, cities … nations. Centralized organization came more and more to the fore. The king knew things the peasant didn’t know, the general knew things the king didn’t know. With kleptocracy, centralization becomes the default. Centralized kleptocracies murder decentralized groups: witness Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia … the Amazon … And centralities war against one another.
A man’s spirt must take a different shape if he believes that all sorting in the universe is due to an external agent. Gregory Bateson
King of the hill is a dangerous business. And all hills are born without kings.
Stalin is the natural, inevitable flower of centralized information systems.
(Notice: though the BBC makes relatively responsible nature documentaries, they continue to carry on the king of the jungle pathology: When dinosaurs ruled … is typical diction in title or narrative.)
The decentralized get murdered; but I believe that the centralized are doomed. The specialists, the experts … the centrally certified … are doomed. I believe that the doom would be less pressing if we decentralized: while repudiating kleptocracy. We must reinvent groupness. Illich showed us how. I offered us the actual tools. Central authorities haven’t murdered me yet; but they have seen to it that few people have heard me. And they’ve seen to it that even those who have heard me are so centralization-shocked that they don’t dare change their habits. Feed the central authority — or starve.
Centralized information sees to it that everyone in the super-group knows about … the Greeks, the President, Shakespeare … We all see what’s in the spotlight. It’s very difficult to see what’s in shadow. Those who poke into shadows are not promoted by the central information services: school, church, library … licensed networks … publishers …
Centralized information exists in a vicious circle. What’s accepted gets shoved up your nose; what’s rejected remains invisible. (Even if you had acess to the Vatican archives (ha, ha), would you find there accurate accounts of the beliefs of those burned for heresy? Accurate?) (In the United States, Thoreau sliipped through: but have you heard of Spooner? of Harmon? of Tucker?)

pk’s personal domains mount files which are composed and polished and also, far more commonly, files which are merely begun. Follow the ideas; not the nicety of dress. If I haven’t completed a connection, trying making it for yourself. If you think my reasoning is off-base, try seeing if you can put in on-base before merely ignoring it. All logic is an after thought anyway: it’s not how we actually think; it’s how we dress up our thinking. At least men do.

I’m just reading Mitchell Resnick’s book, Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams: Explorations in Massively Parallel Microworlds. Decentralization is a main theme there. Conventionally we have assumed that flocks of birds for example must have a leader, a chief bird in charge of the beautiful patterns the flock makes. Now we realize that it’s not so: and no necessary. The flock patterns are emergent from individuals decisions.
Decentralization has not to date been a key word in pk’s usage till now but it certainly has been core to my activities. Responding to Illich, founding FLEX, responding to Gregory Bateson, to the cyberneticists … inventing Macroinformation … Decentralization is core to all of them: whatever words I used.
But of course we’re all decentralizing. Some of us know it a bit sooner: just as not all persons realize that it’s raining at the same time. But sooner or later everyone knows that they’re drenched.
Simultaneously, we all retain centralist assumptions. Resnick points out some of his as he proceeds. No one’s conversion is pure. Nor should we reject centralized solutions where they’re appropriate! I wanted to centralize the decentralizing mechanism under me! Someone with a big gun has to make sure the axioms are honored. What flows in the pipe is free; the pipe is not free to cease being pipe.

2004 09 27
I want to point out that “God” is a centralist concept: “gods” were a less centralized, but still centralized concept (centralized once the gods are “bosses.”) The Devil too is a centralized concept. Whatever the truth is, we need a variety of models. We need new models. We need lots of new decentralized models.

This theme is also discussed at Knatz.com’s Society section: Homeostasis: Authority vs. Decentralization
This theme continues here as
Double Entry / Double Books.
It continues in enough new files, more coming, to justify a link here to the relevant section of the main menu.

Deschooling: Central / Decentral Paradox keywords information”/> Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DDD / Modules / Decentralization /
Central
/
Decentral
Paradox
Real?
or
Merely Apparent?
I want all the information (all the volunteered information, private information volunteered to be public) in one place: one place for each community. A known location is convenient: that’s “central.” But I want the information to be unedited, uncensored, unmanaged: that’s “decentralized.”
The universe seems to be decentralized. There are lots of centers. If those centers are organized, they seem to be organized by physics, naturally; not by sentient supervision. Civilization in contrast, in all the forms we’ve yet known it, is (or strives to be) centralized. We imagine a God who’s in charge (if guilty of a little absenteeism), we want a king who’s in charge, a pope, a president … a father. A Boss.
The boss makes sure that the information has a certain slant to it: the slant that justifies the boss. Look at any institution. The structure from the university to the Vatican to the Kremlin is the same: authority (selected by some sort of social consensus) reigns over plebes not so designated. That’s what we’re used to. It seems fine: until you notice the flaws. Again and again it turns out, give it time, it always turns out, that the authority diverges more and more from experience. So a revolution is needed. (And nature always provides them. We call it extinction. The old species couldn’t put the new food in its mouth, couldn’t chew it, couldn’t get nourishment from it … the old male couldn’t get along with the new female, or visa versa. Death. Clears the way for other possibilities. Freedom comes from the void, not from the boss.)
In my own experience, my own church never understood any part of the messages I understood myself to be conveying to them from God. By social consensus, they were the ones in touch with God. And notice — here’s the key: the society never had to prove that its judgments on the matter corresponded with events, with experience. But of course we only allow journalists to report who won’t see the mismatch. Hello social failure: centralized. Authoritative.
My professors didn’t understand what I offered to show them about literature. No, by social consensus they were the ones who already knew (elected by people who damn well know that they don’t know); I was the fledgling. If what I said didn’t match what they already thought, they could safely dismiss it.
With it, they dismissed your best change for survival, for adaptation, for matching map to territory.
By social convention, centralized (self-elected) authority, my experience didn’t happen to me. No, something good for all, something Pollyanna-orthodox happened to me.
I couldn’t communicate with my church. I couldn’t communicate with my school. Fine: I’d communicate with the public.
Ha! The public can’t be communicated with: except through its own centralized, self-elected … delusions.
But I tried. In 1970 I offered to keep all the information (all the volunteered information, private information volunteered to be public) in one place. Ivan Illich showed us how. Denis Detzel was doing something similar in Evanston (and had known Illich longer). I wanted the information to remain unedited, uncensored, unmanaged. If the provider of the information is lying, if the provider of the information is deceived, still, get the lie, the deception right. First let all information be accurately gathered, accurately stored. Then trust that information to sort itself for reliability in the public mind by the public accessing it and feeding back the next generation of public information. (If on September 9 Jack the Ripper says that he’s Jack the Wonderful Guy, then on September 10, others may say, No, he’s Jack the Ripper. Beware. The public should evaluate its raw information, not the boss.
I offered that system in New York City, following Illich axioms, extrapolating them a bit. I wanted that system to be the model (itself already modeled) for all other communities fed up with centralized, managed, boss-ridden information. (The boss shouldn’t keep the porn out of the library: though the boss may very well hang around the library and beg little kiddies not to look at it. There’s a huge difference between saying Don’t listen to Reich and burning Reich’s books.
Then I wanted those many decentralized centers to network: share resources common beyond their borders. If invited, if allowed, if supported, I hoped to do the coordinating. There’s no reason to show the phone number for the bone setter in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn to the woman with the broken arm in Kent, England; unless the woman in Kent, England says, “Don’t you have anybody in Bensonhurst?”. Then, the “public” should expand, share.
In the centralized information system (set) called the United States, “doctors” are licensed by the state. Most other so-called healers are not. Without a note from your doctor, no one has to listen to your complaint. A note from your witch, a note from your acupuncturist, won’t do. (Since 1970 some acupuncturists have been accepted into the priesthood of doctors, but no witches: at least no one calling themselves a witch.) The state needs to provide no evidence (that wouldn’t be laughed at by a scientist (unless that scientist is also licensed by the state) that doctors heal better than disenfranchised healers. This is centralized information.
(It’s thanks largely to Illich that these days the state has no choice but to admit that its precious doctors with their precious health industry are the number two killer in the United States: right behind heart disease! That was not known in 1970 by more than a very few. Despite his books being driven out of print, out of the stores — in a word, censored, it’s now acknowledged even on TV. Still, they’re licensed, still you have to go. Catholics still send their children to priests even after the admissions of rapes, of molestations: like the gambler gambling in the crooked house because it’s the only game he can find.)
By the Illich axiom (extrapolated by pk) the information system’s role is to record the witch’s claim of being a healer alongside the doctor’s similar claim. It is not the system business what the truth is. That is the public’s business: a public having both access to all of the claims and also access to experience with the claimants and also the ability to then report that experience: No, he’s Jack the Ripper. Beware.
more next time. I edit, I revise, I expand.

previous start:
I’m not ready to write this now, but I must jot a quick point to be developed.
There seems to be a paradox in pk’s social information ideals. I want information decentralized; but I want centrally available in any local: and interconnected with other locals: an internet; but an internet with no management of the information other than to record it accurately: and to make it available without hinderance.
In the past that has only been thinkable under centralized authority. I want to keep the center and get rid of the authority.
Now: is the paradox a true contradiction? Or can we simply not see it? Am I making some fundamental mistake? Or have the rest of you?
Thirty four years after I founded FLEX, my own son still dismisses my ideals as “information Communism” and sees coercion lurking behind my offer of freedom. Coercion? Where? Don’t just tell me; show me. What about FLEX was coerced? What about FLEX was in danger of becoming coerced? Nearly anything can be infiltrated by coercion in the modern world, but where was the threat of it?
My son has also been repulsed by my ideal of everyone having the same sized ad, all ads in the same font size, with the same font and background color. I want the information to be in the information and not in the presentation. Understand, I wouldn’t forbid GM from taking huge ads; just not at FLEX. I want to see the yellow pages more like the white pages: just the information please. And I want anyone to be welcome in the book: whether or not they can pay the bill. Therefore, the system must be subsidized — voluntarily — by the society. Those with more should voluntarily pay more: those that those whose luck has been bad can try to change it.
That last consideration could fall away in a fair society; but it’s a must in an unfair one.
(But what society has ever considered itself unfair?)

My Subject Is Information
keywords information
Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DDD / Modules /
@ K. 2004 06 18

on Information

Records
(two kinds)
Meaning

documents … resources
as in
wisdom … effect … art

I started this module before deciding to open Deschooling which will soon incorporate and supercede it.
My Subject is information.
My Mission is to distinguish practical information in a society from information as a phenomenon to be studied by philosophy, by science.
Whatever the physical universe is made of, the human universe is composed exclusively of information. What the eye sees, what the ear hears, what the mind thinks … is information. What we say to each other, read, write … What makes you jump while watching Psycho … is all information. Indeed, all was information before we were born. The DNA (information) told the cells (more information) how to grow bone, muscle, ganglia, nerves … how to form organs, how the eyes should be this color, the hair that — curly, kinky, or limp, the skin whatever …
We have had to date little control over our DNA. What we control (over-control, misguide) is pubic information: what books should be published, reprinted, what programs aired … whose words should be taken seriously … What we damn well ought to understand, but don’t very well, is what information is in the first place: what’s different about Shakespeare? why does Beethoven move us so?
My Free Learning Exchange (1970) attempted to deal with public information better than societies and their governments had yet done: social information degenerating fast the tighter its controls. My theory of Macroinformation addresses the last kind: the Shakespeare, Beethoven, Psycho … aspect. The DNA I leave to others, wishing they’d be careful.
For now, access my theory at Macroinformation
Macroinformation.
But new files I plan to put here. Renovated public information files will be moved here:
FLEX. FLEX

Next, now, I repeat:
Ideals are what we think we should be, do, have … Institutions are what we are, do, have. We must move our institutions, whatever their inertia, toward our ideals.
What are our ideals? We can’t possibly know that without freedom of information. And I don’t mean free according to some agenda’s mislabeling system. If Tolstoy (or Gandhi, Jesus, Illich …) tries to explain his principle of turning the other cheek, nonresistance to evil … to a flock of geese, a tribe of cannibals, a synod of Mafia dons, or a debutante cotillion … good luck. If Einstein tries to explain Relativity to Roosevelt … Nevertheless, a society that pays better than lip service to diversity, to liberty, to conviviality … a society that understands that stress can only find relief in the random, that the matrix of a universe of choices made must remain a void of choices not yet seen …
Whatever your ideals are, mine are clear:
Map the community;
Coordinate the communities’ maps.
That is a pastiche of VonFoerster, Illich, pk.
I repeat:
An institution of free information is the only institution a free people would need.
Freedom has to be paid for by the group. If they don’t pay, if they don’t pay enough, then they can’t be free.
But it shouldn’t cost much. It’s private profit that’s costly.
There’s much more on all of this in Illich’s writings: and at pk’s FLEX. There’s much of the former at the latter: and all will be moved here.

Links

Principal relatives:
Libraries: Is Their Purpose Ambivalent?
FLEX as Improved Record Keeping
Library: Actual vs. Potential
Meta-Library: this file
Illich: Deschooling Society: Chapter Six
History of Schools, Universities
And a few of secondary importance:
College Bookstore Committee
Scholar vs. Merchant
Birbeck College: Free Learning Revisited
EDCENTRIC: Free Learning
The FLEX LEx Net
Church … School … John Birch
FLEX: the Meaning of It All
FLEX’s Founder
Deschooling Update
Phew! You’ll find a lot more using the Search tool.

and still more, also to be edited and absorbed:
FLEX: Development Notes: Constitution keywords US, constitution”/> Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DDD / Modules / Development Notes /
Analogy: FLEX & The US Constitution
Through FLEX, I offered to act as world librarian. FLEX was offered as a public institution. FLEX was to be run at cost. My applications for funding to IBM, The Rockefeller Brothers Fund … emphasized that FLEX executives were never to be paid more than a lower middle class salary (as much money as anyone should ever need). The “profit” was to go to the “public.” The point was would-be tribal, anti-kleptocratic. The point was that public information should not be impeded. Each individual would be empowered to make his own living. FLEX is anti-union, anti-corporate, anti-government, pro-human. Tom and Betsy get the same size (text only, facts only) ad as Coke or GM. All ads would be in one place and would wait humbly until sought; no ads would invade anyone’s privacy. The point was to facilitate dialogues among individuals on the basis of common interest. The point was to take command of cybernetic technology before the technology was used to take further command of us for same-old same-old: economic, political, and ideological advantage. I didn’t want to be thanked, I didn’t want to get rich; I wanted the world to have it: pure and unadulterated. No one would have needed a PC, an ISP account. Only FLEX librarians would have had to become techies. Someone had to write the software, maintain the data, know how to get it and give it.
There is talk in plenty in this world, but fewer deeds. Owen Parry’s Abel Jones novels
Everyone said, Good, give it to us. How? Give FLEX the resources and FLEX will give them back to you. At cost. No million dollar salaries. No pork barrels. No stock dividends. Nothing to deal secretly. A public institution. The world’s first real one. But if you don’t give the power company the resources to build the generator, then the power company can hardly give you the power.
After warring among themselves since time immemorial, the tribes now called Iroquois brought relative peace among themselves by fashioning, approximately a century before Columbus, their Great Law of Peace. As European settlers moved closer and closer among them, the Iroquois freely shared their political wisdom. Benjamin Franklin acknowledged being influenced by their system. The US Constitution borrowed freely from the Great Law. Fine. The Founding Fathers were welcome to it. Of course the Founding Fathers toned down the liberality of the Great Law in their version. Women for example were fully enfranchised in the Great Law. There was no place for slavery. Peace, not property was the point. There were already some kleptocratic elements in Iroquois society, but the US Founding Fathers translated the law according to their kleptocratic habits. They took a liberal set of laws and fashioned them into something merely miles more liberal than anything Europe had ever seen. Fine. We were welcome to it.
Except for one thing: we don’t acknowledge the borrowing. Therefore, ethically, it’s theft. Oh, I don’t say what we did was illegal. Not so long as we write the laws. Killing our benefactors, stealing their land, wasn’t illegal either. (Neither is violating the Constitution illegal: not so long as it’s the President doing it, or the CIA, or the police … at least not so long as no one stops them.) Law is meaningless except as it’s obeyed.
When other FLEXes started sprouting up, I was overjoyed. When they contacted me for advice I talked about our all interconnecting, networking the world. New York’s FLEX was to be a pattern, not a monopoly. Just let me keep it pure. (And if I don’t, get rid of me and replace me with someone who will.) (And if they say they will and don’t, then we’re right back where we started.) Unfortunately, that was the last I ever heard from most of them. We didn’t interconnect.
Meantime, dating services were sprouting like mushrooms. Did the dating services say, Why fund FLEX and have free data for the rest of all time, free data on anything you want, anything important to you, including getting laid, free data at cost, when you can give us lots of money now for just a little bit of data now, once only unless you pay again, and just about the one thing: getting laid? No. FLEX wasn’t mentioned.
FLEX invited all teachers (that includes university teachers, stupid) to register. Though several university teachers were on the board, Ivan Illich, frequent university lecturer, himself was on the board, the only university teacher to register his availability through FLEX was yours truly, the founder. Eighteen or so years later, scientists and university teachers were beginning to bypass the snail’s pace of conventional publishing and were mounting their papers on the internet. Was there any explanation why they hadn’t mounted their papers at FLEX since 1970? Any apology? Any explanation?
FLEX would have been democratic. FLEX would have had knowledge be common. That’s hardly the purpose of a modern university. We don’t support cheap access to main frame computers. We want knowledge to be common only among those who can afford expensive access to main frame computers. No. Nada.
Universities are kleptocratic institutions. Like countries, unacknowledged theft is their stock in trade.
William Blake’s Jerusalem has become an anthem in Great Britain, especially in England. There are any number of exclusive schools that sing it as a school song. Had Blake not lithographed his poems and drawings himself, we wouldn’t know them. Is there a single English school that can demonstrate it ever bought a single copy of the poem from Blake? I’ll bet Blake would be glad to know the schools were singing it. But ethically, it’s stolen intellectual property. I grant that it’s too late to pay Blake. I grant that it would be a crime not to sing it. But how can we sing it and not pay Blake’s royalty to some other starving artist? How dare we look at a single Van Gogh painting and still allow any artist to be evicted, get turned away from the market, have his phone disconnected …?
There isn’t any decent aspect of today’s internet — chat rooms, search engines, yellow pages, white pages — that wasn’t offered by FLEX thirty years ago. Differences are merely technological: PCs, modems, graphic manipulation … How dare anyone go on-line for any purpose and not pay a penance … if not to FLEX, then to some young and starving revolutionary institution. There are always thousands of them. You just have to open your eyes. And stop being a damned kleptocrat.
But it’s OK. All debts will be paid at Judgment Day.

FLEX: Development Scrapbook keywords FLEX, Scrapbook”/> Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DDD / Modules / Develop / 2000 11 27
I must find time to add a piece on coercive culture as oppression. Scattered about are references to Claude Levy Straus’ observation that literacy was developed as a means of control. (pk adds, first control of farming inventory, then control of the farmers …) I must gather into one place arguments such as these:
The little kid sees his big brother jump his bicycle using the cellar door as a ramp. Little kid is impressed. Brother seems so brave, strong, advanced, superior. Great. Right and natural. Little brother doesn’t realize how soon he’ll be able to do the same, or better, or almost as well. Show the same kid Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods, tell the same kid about Babe Ruth or Ted Williams, and the little kid may as well pack in now and kill himself.
Read Shakespeare to a society of writers and they’ll likely agree that the dude could really write. They’re likely to agree that he set the standard, that they’re good but not that good. But they shouldn’t pack in and kill themselves: they are in that universe, at least part-way. Read Shakespeare to a little kid (age fifteen to thirty or forty) who can’t even fill out a government form, and the kid may as well pack it in. Show the kid the great wealth of Bill Gates, tell him about the insane courage of Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, Patton … Kid may as well pack it in.
Tell people about Jesus when they’re ready for a myth, for a moral lesson, for a Paul Bunyan. Let the kid find Jesus himself. Or Galileo or Newton. Remove all obstacles between the kid and what you hope he’ll find, but don’t shove it at him.
Joke:
Abe is worried about his son Lev’s apparent lack of ambition. The rabbi suggests a test. Leave three things around the living room: the Torah, a bottle of Manishevitz, and some loose cash. Hide behind the curtain when you know he’s coming. Watch him. If Lev shows interest in the Torah, perhaps they’re hope for him yet. If he filches the money … well, maybe it shows some business acumen. Maybe there’s a little hope for him. If he takes the bottle, ignoring all else … wash your hands of him, forget about it, a drunk may as well be a goy.
Abe distributes the articles and hides. Lev arrives. Leafs through the Torah. Abe is about to leap out and embrace him but thinks better of it and keeps watching. Lev sees the money, counts it out, pockets it. Abe’s blood pressure rises. Lev sees the Manishevitz, takes a swig, leafs the Torah, takes another swig, puts the bottle in his pocket …
Abe falls through the curtain, tearing his hair and rending his clothes. “Oi vey. A Catholic priest!”
Arthur C. Clarke has a novel in which humans pack a rocket to start a new civilization in a never before human-contaminated system. They decide that only technical information may go along: no Bible, no Homer, no Shakespeare. Much as I love and revere those three things and many more cultural artifacts, I envy the humans born to a society without them. Since we have libraries, I want good ones. Since we have governments, I’d prefer honest ones. But what I’d really prefer is none. Every culture should develop its own literature, then purge it so the next generation can develop its own.
Notice: civilization does do that in a way. We’re forever inventing new games, starting stats from zero. A publisher produced a book of lists some years ago: ten greatest athletes of all time, ten greatest political leaders … Funny: all entries were from a few years older than the current generation … The NBA is wonderful: it’s only a half century old. Michael Jordan gets compared to Wilt, neither get compared to Achilleus or Sampson. Caesar got compared to Alexander, not to Sampson or to David. Napoleon got compared to Caesar … Who ever heard of Shaka? He whipped a lot of European asses, but we don’t like to remember it.
I was teaching at Colby when The Graduate came out. Good movie. Far from the first terrific thing that Mike Nichols had done. Some zophtic coed had the gall to tell me that it was “the greatest movie of all time.” Did she first demonstrate acquaintance with DW Griffith? Jean Renoir? Rene Claire? Rossellini? Chaplin? Kurosawa? I don’t think she even knew Bergman or Fellini. Even so: we’re only talking a century plus a couple of years.
It’s inevitable that humans look at the universe in the narrow (and short) beam of a flashlight. One thing I hate about school it that it seems to validate our short and narrow view. Short and narrow views have the imprimatur of the culture. We give a professorship to the guy who can lengthen it slightly (but not also widen it): widen it slightly (but not also lengthen it: and again, only so long as the guy who can lengthen it doesn’t team up with the guy who can widen it).
“History” began in the Garden of Eden (about a measly six thousand years ago). Way too far away for us. So history began in 1066. Way too remote for Americans. So history began in 1776. No, no: history began with Roosevelt and the Depression. How about with Vietnam? No, no, no. History began … when I was born. (Meaning when I came to semi-adult consciousness. Age six? Twelve? Eighteen? Thirty-five? Maybe I haven’t been born yet!)

Do you remember the school quality “works well with others”? That quality is (supposedly) cultivated in the individual student. shouldn’t such a quality be paired with a consideration of how well the school, the teachers, the society works with individuals with something to say? with prophets? with geniuses? with artists? with people with alternate proposals for survival strategies? In my experience the school, together with the culture, gets a big fat zero in that area: in pk’s case: and in the case of countless others: past — and I fear — to come.
Please notice here: the members of my rough list — “geniuses” & “prophets” — have something in common. That is, one sees immediately that they are not ordinary. What does that mean? It means that they are not tuned only to the immediate group. They’re not just singing that weeks top ten. They seem to be open to something other: to “god,” to the “universe” … to dead (or to future) languages. In other words, the schools are tuned only to certain certified voices. Some committee of powerful interests wants you to hear voices A & B but not voices M or X. A & B hammer away at the group. The group gets A & B by rote. Recognizes A & B, mistakes recognition for quality, for wisdom, for a good survival strategy. But do A or B hear “god” accurately? Do they hear “Jefferson” accurately? Or Jesus or Marx or Darwin? Do they hear any thing accurately? (And if they do hear Jesus or Marx or Darwin accurately, are you sure that that’s the only voice you need to hear?)
When I was a kid in school I labored valiantly but vainly to get the teacher and class to listen to Benny Goodman, to Lionel Hampton, to Gene Krupa. I’d finally get permission to bring in a record and play it. After five seconds the teacher would sweep the needle from the grooves, unapologetically ruining my prized recording. “That’s enough of that” was a red-faced scream. What did they hear that was so fearful? Our true multi-racial, multi-cultural roots? Now some schools assign those very same things: but only now that it’s no longer instructive: boring. Jazz is fine so long as it’s lost it’s power to stir us.
FLEX: Development Scrapbook keywords FLEX, Scrapbook”/> Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DDD / Modules / Develop / 2000 11 27
I must find time to add a piece on coercive culture as oppression. Scattered about are references to Claude Levy Straus’ observation that literacy was developed as a means of control. (pk adds, first control of farming inventory, then control of the farmers …) I must gather into one place arguments such as these:
The little kid sees his big brother jump his bicycle using the cellar door as a ramp. Little kid is impressed. Brother seems so brave, strong, advanced, superior. Great. Right and natural. Little brother doesn’t realize how soon he’ll be able to do the same, or better, or almost as well. Show the same kid Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods, tell the same kid about Babe Ruth or Ted Williams, and the little kid may as well pack in now and kill himself.
Read Shakespeare to a society of writers and they’ll likely agree that the dude could really write. They’re likely to agree that he set the standard, that they’re good but not that good. But they shouldn’t pack in and kill themselves: they are in that universe, at least part-way. Read Shakespeare to a little kid (age fifteen to thirty or forty) who can’t even fill out a government form, and the kid may as well pack it in. Show the kid the great wealth of Bill Gates, tell him about the insane courage of Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, Patton … Kid may as well pack it in.
Tell people about Jesus when they’re ready for a myth, for a moral lesson, for a Paul Bunyan. Let the kid find Jesus himself. Or Galileo or Newton. Remove all obstacles between the kid and what you hope he’ll find, but don’t shove it at him.
Joke:
Abe is worried about his son Lev’s apparent lack of ambition. The rabbi suggests a test. Leave three things around the living room: the Torah, a bottle of Manishevitz, and some loose cash. Hide behind the curtain when you know he’s coming. Watch him. If Lev shows interest in the Torah, perhaps they’re hope for him yet. If he filches the money … well, maybe it shows some business acumen. Maybe there’s a little hope for him. If he takes the bottle, ignoring all else … wash your hands of him, forget about it, a drunk may as well be a goy.
Abe distributes the articles and hides. Lev arrives. Leafs through the Torah. Abe is about to leap out and embrace him but thinks better of it and keeps watching. Lev sees the money, counts it out, pockets it. Abe’s blood pressure rises. Lev sees the Manishevitz, takes a swig, leafs the Torah, takes another swig, puts the bottle in his pocket …
Abe falls through the curtain, tearing his hair and rending his clothes. “Oi vey. A Catholic priest!”
Arthur C. Clarke has a novel in which humans pack a rocket to start a new civilization in a never before human-contaminated system. They decide that only technical information may go along: no Bible, no Homer, no Shakespeare. Much as I love and revere those three things and many more cultural artifacts, I envy the humans born to a society without them. Since we have libraries, I want good ones. Since we have governments, I’d prefer honest ones. But what I’d really prefer is none. Every culture should develop its own literature, then purge it so the next generation can develop its own.
Notice: civilization does do that in a way. We’re forever inventing new games, starting stats from zero. A publisher produced a book of lists some years ago: ten greatest athletes of all time, ten greatest political leaders … Funny: all entries were from a few years older than the current generation … The NBA is wonderful: it’s only a half century old. Michael Jordan gets compared to Wilt, neither get compared to Achilleus or Sampson. Caesar got compared to Alexander, not to Sampson or to David. Napoleon got compared to Caesar … Who ever heard of Shaka? He whipped a lot of European asses, but we don’t like to remember it.
I was teaching at Colby when The Graduate came out. Good movie. Far from the first terrific thing that Mike Nichols had done. Some zophtic coed had the gall to tell me that it was “the greatest movie of all time.” Did she first demonstrate acquaintance with DW Griffith? Jean Renoir? Rene Claire? Rossellini? Chaplin? Kurosawa? I don’t think she even knew Bergman or Fellini. Even so: we’re only talking a century plus a couple of years.
It’s inevitable that humans look at the universe in the narrow (and short) beam of a flashlight. One thing I hate about school it that it seems to validate our short and narrow view. Short and narrow views have the imprimatur of the culture. We give a professorship to the guy who can lengthen it slightly (but not also widen it): widen it slightly (but not also lengthen it: and again, only so long as the guy who can lengthen it doesn’t team up with the guy who can widen it).
“History” began in the Garden of Eden (about a measly six thousand years ago). Way too far away for us. So history began in 1066. Way too remote for Americans. So history began in 1776. No, no: history began with Roosevelt and the Depression. How about with Vietnam? No, no, no. History began … when I was born. (Meaning when I came to semi-adult consciousness. Age six? Twelve? Eighteen? Thirty-five? Maybe I haven’t been born yet!)

Do you remember the school quality “works well with others”? That quality is (supposedly) cultivated in the individual student. shouldn’t such a quality be paired with a consideration of how well the school, the teachers, the society works with individuals with something to say? with prophets? with geniuses? with artists? with people with alternate proposals for survival strategies? In my experience the school, together with the culture, gets a big fat zero in that area: in pk’s case: and in the case of countless others: past — and I fear — to come.
Please notice here: the members of my rough list — “geniuses” & “prophets” — have something in common. That is, one sees immediately that they are not ordinary. What does that mean? It means that they are not tuned only to the immediate group. They’re not just singing that weeks top ten. They seem to be open to something other: to “god,” to the “universe” … to dead (or to future) languages. In other words, the schools are tuned only to certain certified voices. Some committee of powerful interests wants you to hear voices A & B but not voices M or X. A & B hammer away at the group. The group gets A & B by rote. Recognizes A & B, mistakes recognition for quality, for wisdom, for a good survival strategy. But do A or B hear “god” accurately? Do they hear “Jefferson” accurately? Or Jesus or Marx or Darwin? Do they hear any thing accurately? (And if they do hear Jesus or Marx or Darwin accurately, are you sure that that’s the only voice you need to hear?)
When I was a kid in school I labored valiantly but vainly to get the teacher and class to listen to Benny Goodman, to Lionel Hampton, to Gene Krupa. I’d finally get permission to bring in a record and play it. After five seconds the teacher would sweep the needle from the grooves, unapologetically ruining my prized recording. “That’s enough of that” was a red-faced scream. What did they hear that was so fearful? Our true multi-racial, multi-cultural roots? Now some schools assign those very same things: but only now that it’s no longer instructive: boring. Jazz is fine so long as it’s lost it’s power to stir us.

FLEX: Development Notes: Literary Liability keywords Literary, Liability”/> Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DDD / Modules / Development Notes /
Literary Liability
Did you follow the story of Erin Brockovich? “Ordinary” gal was key in the forming and success of a suit that punished Pacific Power & Electric $330 million for knowingly allowing carcinogens to sicken the public. I understand that this gal was on Oprah. Julia Roberts played her in the award winning movie. Merely seeing the movie qualifies the founder of FLEX and student of Marshall McLuhan as well as Ivan Illich to make a couple of points: both deschooling related.
1. The law firm Erin Brockovich worked for teamed with her. Were it not for the law firm’s pro bono work, she wouldn’t have learned about the sick families they way she did. Erin Brockovich didn’t sue PP&E, the firm did. Yet it seems clear that at every step of the way, the firm wouldn’t have noticed the damage, wouldn’t have escalated the suit, wouldn’t have jeopardized its own existence playing power poker against the giant.
My own lawyer wanted to see the assault against me as merely excessive, but basically no-fault. He was playing for maybe $20,000 as a settlement, not hundreds of millions including punitive damages. My lawyer preferred to pull the blinds against the truth of the circumstances rather than wade in over his ankles. He wanted the assault to be seen as negligent, not martial: with the landlord, the county, the police, the state … involved. Erin Brockovich uncovered public evidence before anyone thought to destroy or alter that evidence. The evidence then snowballed. My lawyer couldn’t find his ass with both hands. Erin Brockovich’s lawyer and the court got snowballed by an avalanche she started: one that all the schooled authorities and experts had remained blind to.
The experts paid to protect the public hadn’t. Neither did those experts wish to cooperate in exposing themselves. Systems of experts become self-protective, self-serving. Erin Brockovich should have somehow included the law in the law suit: the water commission, her own boss …
2. Erin’s boss takes on a partner, his only apparent alternative to bankruptcy, once he’s listened to this unschooled do-gooder. The partner’s associate, in the movie at least, though it rings too true to be all fiction, faults Erin’s “research.” Her report doesn’t list her clients’ phone number, for instance. “Which one do you want to know?” Erin asks. You don’t mean to tell me you’ve memorized five hundred phone numbers? “Pick a name,” Erin insists. Once prompted, she not only spouts off the address and phone number, but the complete medical history. Times five hundred or so, that’s a lot of data. The two lawyers who’ve just bought their way into the gravy train are amazed. Erin’s boss is merely embarrassed. Fiction? A Hollywood script? I don’t know. But I know it’s possible. Literate people’s can’t comprehend the prodigious memories of non-literate peoples. Some literate persons have massive mental storage, but most, once they can write things down, don’t bother to develop their natural storage system. McLuhan was merely the first scholar whose studies on the subject I’ve encountered. Hadn’t Erin’s new lawyer-bosses ever heard of Homer? There are epic poets today who have no written notes: just the entire core of the culture in their heads: coded as poetry.

FLEX: Development Notes: Privacy Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DDD / Modules / Development Notes /
Privacy
Anarchist me doesn’t see where the government gets the right to test citizens’ “intelligence.” (Anarchist me doesn’t see where the government gets the right to exist, or, existing, where it imagines it gets the competence to test intelligence. Wouldn’t it itself have to be intelligent first? Can you think of any intelligence test that the government could pass?)
One reason government gets away with it (apart from the guns and the bombs) is because it does it to us while we’re young. Few citizens themselves imagine that the young are anything but so much chattel. Mama owns the infant’s ass. Mama gives the infant (expecting it back, I admit) to the baby sitter … and so forth.
I concede, given the existence of the government, that the government has the right to test the intelligence of candidates for employment with the government. (Though even there, I believe the testing should be done by a third party: a party independent both of the citizenry and the government. The Chinese may export their candidates for employment to ETS in Princeton; US should export its candidates for employment to the Sorbonne or to a Shaman in Tasmania.) But even were we all to concede the right of the government to test intelligence, where does it also get the right to give away or to sell this information? What right does a school have to disclose IQ scores to colleges or employers?
OK, let’s concede them that right. They already do it anyway, don’t they? OK. If the government school has the right to test and disclose IQ scores of citizens to other schools and to prospective employers, how in hell is it that the citizens still don’t have the right to know the IQ scores of those in and employed by the government?
I believe that the private citizen’s IQ score is no one’s business but those he designates it to be shared with. In contrast, I believe that candidates for election, government appointees, government employees, right down to the school janitor, the postman, the court stenographer … should have to have their IQs published on their foreheads.
Imagine a presidential TV debate where everyone can see: the 115 on the whichever side; the 97 on the other. (I do not suggest that it should automatically follow which score the voter should prefer to support. Neither, as I’ve already iterated, do I think the scores mean anything reliable.)
One last thought in this vein: OK, we accept the testing, we accept the publishing, the government folk are or not branded: If the prospective employer can know the employment candidates record, why doesn’t the candidate also know the prospective employer’s record? Kid goes into the personnel office. If 80 or 135 or whatever isn’t branded on his forehead, it’s on tags around his neck, in his folder, somewhere. He should see before him: personnel officer, 105; foreman, 76; CEO, 111 …
While we’re at it, why not the CEO’s arrest record as well? Oh, yes: convictions and acquittals may also be noted.

FLEX: Development Notes: Knowledge keywords Knowledge”/> Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DDD / Modules / Development Notes /
Knowledge
The culture that trusts a school system gives itself away: or would if more than three people in history knew better. To whit, the existence of a faculty implies that the subject is “known.” The teacher has mastery of the material; the student doesn’t, or has less mastery. That’s fine for a knowable subject: like “do you know your way around Greenwich Village?” It’s preposterous for an unfathomable subject like “navigation.” The faculty can know what’s known. Planck can know Einstein: Einstein can know Planck; neither of them will know String Theory.
Imagine Darwin presenting Origin of Species to the biology faculty at Oxford in 1859. Certainly they’d “grade” it for him: they’d grade it “wrong,” of poor quality. The genius, the miracle worker, the great teacher, the original theorist … has no place in the school of the known. We can easily imagine Mozart welcoming a new sonata by Beethoven: and more or less the reciprocal. Mozart and Beethoven were more or less on the same page. I wouldn’t trust either of them to review a raga by Abdul Alaudin Khan or a phrasing by Billie Holiday. Could either Mozart or Beethoven do what Billie just did? Can they so much as hear what she just did? Maybe. But not necessarily.
A school marks what you can see. It also marks where you’re probably blind: and unconsciously blind.
Personally, I, Paul Knatz, have zero experience of a school (or faculty member where I was matriculated) understanding any part of the essence of anything I’ve ever said where I judge my statement to be of importance. Nowhere is that more true than in the areas of deschooling or of macroinformation! [Macroinformation]
I’ve just started glancing in at a forum on deschooling: organized around Illich’s name. I have yet to get the sense that a single participant has read Illich, has a clue even of what areas are covered by deschooling!
Also see my new Thinking Tools module on Knowledge.

FLEX: Scrapbook Jottings keywords FLEX, deschooling”/> Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DDD / Modules / Development Notes /
Even with medication, my blood pressure is 187 / 140. If I have a stroke, I have no idea how I’ll be able to continue. I import it here unedited so the interested can peer into the intended future of this directory.
My jottings are highly abbreviated. FLEX is of course the Free Learning Exchange. FIX is Free Information Exchange. X is Christ. xian is Christian. h&h is heaven and hell. sch is school. soc is society. vv is visa versa. med is medicine. klep is kleptocracy: government by theft. hss is Homo sapiens sapiens. … Even spelled out, the words are shorthand to myself. Make of it what you will.
2001 10 11 Years are slipping by without my having yet stumbled upon a quote I’ve long meant to add here. My memory says it’s in a Leslie Fiedler book: The Return of the Vanishing American, I’d thought. Some founding father had written some native chieftain offering a couple of scholarships to young braves of the chief’s choosing. Perhaps it was Franklin. Perhaps I’ll find it in Love and Death … which I think I have buried around here somewhere. Anyway: the chief declined, most respectfully but firmly. The explanation ran something like this: No thanks, we’d tried a bit of your education once before. After a year or two of it our young men could no longer even kill an enemy. (2005 02 06 Franklin’s letter is now quoted at Deschooling: Benjamin Franklin.)
Perhaps overcivilized societies can afford to waste resources such as youth, but subsistence, gatherer / hunter societies, can’t. Neither would there be any pleasure for them in the waste. Hey, let’s light our cigar with a thousand dollar bill. Hey, let’s just waster our youth: pour it down the drain. Pop, like champagne: and it’s gone.

sch-us a charade to pretend that we’re looking for solutions. Sols have never been hiding.
the school says I’m educated, my fellow morons say I’m educated, I must be educated. Throw them for a loop, they become disoriented for 10 seconds, wait till it passes, and go right back to “believing” that they’re educated, rational, etc. But it’s never examined except by themselves and their circle of pack dogs.
Navy: everything you learned in school is wrong; 6 mos later: everything we told you in basic is wrong, now here’s the real skinny. Etc, on and on, CIA, Whitehouse: OK, now here’s the real truth.
retrain: why? why not train right in the first place? Real theory needs continuous refinement, but seldom wholesale restatement. It’s only the school version that needs continuous revolution: still always way short of real theory.
nature: trust family, fear all else
civ: trust klep family, fear all else
how trust klep family: by Pollyanna mythology
thus: spectrum of wild man to Pollyanna
with klep civ having a few institutions like ch/school/u to drip of few drops of wild truth into the Pollyanna mythology.
Scholars are tolerated who display a few drips of truth in their specialty.
The soc is mythological pabulum in its sci, rel, hist; the pro may be partly responsible in his area: yes, historians may know about Sutter or the Iroquois (so long as they don’t repeat it too loudly)
FLEX wouldn’t drip the truth
fix would have ended all information monopolies
flex would have ended all educational monopolies
no wonder the schools ignored it
opposed only by being ignored (mostly only)
if the church wanted to become xian it must give up its property and deprofessionalize its priesthood
if the US wanted to become a truly free or democratic society it would have to give up a whole list of things:
compulsory rituals
certification
for starters.
deprofessionalize teaching, deprofessionalize everything.
The medium is the message, wrote Marshall McLuhan, and he meant what he said. What message does school send?
You have to go.
The state, not your parent, is your parent.
What you are is no good: you must be magically translated into something else (alchemical process).
There’s no place for you while young anywhere but in this artificial environment: you’re kept aside while the environment at large is translated (degenerated) into something ever more artificial itself: traffic, commerce …
Even if your parents are lawyers and psychiatrists, some illiterate from a state college is better prepared to “educate” you than they are.
Even if you by age eight can read better than the teacher, you still have to go through the twelve alchemical grades of translation.
sch is to put you in debt till you’re too old to rebel, to be truthful … so you will willingly wear the garb of cap klep
female teachers, poor salaries, children reading great literature. shows that the intell is a waste of real peoples time. The chiefs don’t read; they make money. Intell demoted, reserved but poor women and helpless children. demoted. $ for men, culture for women & children. like church.
to impose adult ideas of the dead on the young, to make them feel small and hopelessly inadequate: X, Jeff, Moses, Ein … all out of reach (not so)
cf tchers and incompetent 3 card monte dealers: the cheating shows, but the police are there to make sure you pay the cheater.
deprofessionalize teaching, deprofessionalize everything.
ivan, give up
school’s role:
to parade a succession of impoverished ignoramuses before the youth of the society, saying: This is what intellect looks like. Despise it. Shun it.
Church was organized to fac communication from past to present, God having communicated with the past, but not the present, except through the past
Univ organized to fac communication from other pasts: Greek, Roman …
Univ never organized to fac communication in general: among faculty, among students
US org or fac comm from constituents to gov: by horseback, over 6 mos
therefore, all inst should be redes w ea new comm rev: but they’re not
The primary institution for a world that would be free must be one of free public information. It must not be a church, nor a military, nor a government. The kleptocracy saturated human world
klep: ch&st: competition for gullibility
you get the money if you’re bright. The brighter you are, the more money … so long as you’re not too bright. So long as you don’t see the tricks, or keep silent about them if you do.
Aristotelian universities: truth in moderation, excellence in moderation, honesty in moderation, academic freedom in moderation …
the person(s) who sees the illegitimacy of the u’s tenure must be eclipsed
easy to do when they’ve got a lock on the budget and the media only follow the money
a lot of intelligent people go into teaching: how many of them stay.
compare IQs of the bulk of untenured instructors with the IQs of the entrenched.
am I suggesting that IQ’s are a reliable measure of anything but human social foolishness? No, but make the test anyway. IQ is not irrelevant to intelligence: I say only that it measures the society’s ability to measure while measuring a bulk of individuals.
software dev! à la 1971!
then bring in Illich, Fuller
babel: mono/diversity
Ms
continuity yielding discontinuity & vv
expand on religion, racial, etc; dif bet kleps
former’s morality: It’s all mine: your self, your women, children, land, life … backing the winner: Yankees, Bulls
Ali
Lincoln, Kennedy …
Jesus & Christians …
Reed & med …
Einstein & hss …
cf heavyweight insanity
I take a moment now to spell one out a little, just so you see.
I refer to a perception, I believe by Garry Wills, I believe originally published in NYR. Probably late 1960s. Possibly it was Mailer. The perception is: middle weights can be sane: they know with a high degree of probability who they whip, who can whip them. Weight, reach, conditioning, training, height … all count. The middle weight champion knows that a light heavy contender can knock him silly regardless of pound for pound skills. A heavy weight champion, undefeated as was Ali for so long, is necessarily insane. He cannot know his limits because he hasn’t met them yet. What goes for boxers and for athletes goes for nations, religions, cultures … goes for institutions. That’s what pk adds. The US is insane. Even more than was the USSR. Or Hitler. A sane people would wish to live in a sane culture, would repudiate any idea of #1.
civ is always having been right, contrary to the evidence.
NYR
Caroline’s family vs. FLEX
h&h is where the record isn’t lost of where you put your money
the lottery requires that you produce the winning ticket, not that you claim to have known the answer
h&h is where the players are concealed, you don’t know who’s judge, who’s beggar, who’s X, who’s the least of these my brethren …
Kafkaesque bribing conver/ flex: sch rewards recitation of convention. CC was different; NYU the same. At least CC seemed different at the time. It looks less different to me now.
sch reps the culture
but ind intel is needed to challenge the culture, the conven
intel must operate outside soc, that means outside sch democ: how democratic is it for Ronald Reagan, Michael Jordan, Tom Brokow to run for office against John Smith, Betty Jones, Jane Shaw …
FLEX / FIX would offer equal advertising space to all: Paul Knatz and Coca Cola get the same size announcement.
Ronald Reagan, OJ Simpson, Monica Lewinsky … would be disqualified.
What size budget should be allowed? Zero. A budget greater than zero should also disqualify.
Of course OJ and Monica should be free to sue the Inquirer for ruining their chances to represent their democracy. Maybe the Inquirer would have to stop printing bullshit.
Only those who impress unequally from an equal base should qualify for representation.
But why should a wired society need representation. Propose legislation via a net. Everyone has a password. Each password gets one vote. evo: not wrong to be wrong: wrong to remain wrong
After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Eliot.
Church: pre & post: Humanism, Galileo, Luther …
school: pre & post: Goodman, Illich, FLEX …
gov: pre & post: Rousseau, Jeff, Fuller …
US: pre & post: electronics, communications …
hss: pre & post: Darwin, Freud, FIX, Bateson-Prig, Macro …
change has changed. Postman
evolution has changed
   sentience, imagination, reason, science
Now no excuse.
Thus: extinction, god, heaven, hell, all have changed. flex: TIME
3/29/99 Cen’s Gr’est Minds
Tim Berners-Lee p 193
Vannevar Bush
Srinivasa Ramanujan
GH Hardy, Cambridge 1914, d 1920 age 32
The only animal that can’t live without a sheepskin is a sheep. (Willow’s dad)
ElGreco: I was thinking of him when I founded FLEX
schools train us not to see the obvious
old paradigms blind us to new
civ says freedom, education, law, etc, all good, etc. Then why FLEX? flex: purpose of school
to make sure not one in one hundred citizens will have enough science or reason to pass the Wason Test
Fuller’s explanation of Carnegie endowments: isolate the “intelligent” in a playpen, put the wild genes in a terrarium, cage the competition in a nursery
school/u a filter to censor and govern experience
sch a trick, promotions a baited trap, like a lobster pot: go in; can’t get out
flex: the economics of redundancy
cf getting diagnosis from an AI @ FIX and consulting your local GP
the universal diagnostician is vastly more knowledgeable and vastly cheaper
ditto every kind of info
cf 1 variorum ed of Hamlet and 100,000 PhDs on Shakespeare
in other words, to be well designed and efficient and best quality, economics has to be reinvented from the ground up. flex: restruc FLEX to just attributes
FIX to just attributes
add open ended list of what schools are, do
flex: the right to advertise flex: the tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction. Blake flex: sch
also learn there
like just because some dive is a front for hard drugs doesn’t mean you can’t buy a drink while you’re there. flex: the anesthesia of education flex: schools, training, publications …
training to be moron participant in illusion
sch for the convenience of the institution, not the trainees
contradiction between purpose and stated purpose FLEX: elucidate details of teachers meeting Becky invited me to. Ron Gross was there.
Interruptions and misunderstanding from beginning to end. But like my orals crew: the problem wasn’t that they didn’t get; the problem was that they did get it, foresaw it a mile away, feared it, had to defend their bailiwick against it at all cost to logic, fairness, reason.
I’m talking about letting the water flow, find its own channels. I’m talking about employing technology to enhance nature, not to deal more aces to the cheats. But their sinecures depend on cheating.
Most delicious, the guy whose objection was most immediate and irrational was a “black” “teacher.” Sounds “elitist,” he objects. Leaving people alone to shop for themselves, to make their own decisions, to make their own mistakes … is elitist? How? Jim, you’ve got it backwards. FLEX: competence and training are not identical. They may or may not be equivalent.
internet should have been all classics, text only, first
all texts, text only, second,
and graphics and whistles last
just as any sick child should receive everything medicine has to offer before any bellyaching CEO or duenna. FLEX: NYR pubs Illich
I write I’m doing it. No answer, no help. They don’t mean what they publish.
No help from Illich. How can I believe he meant what he wrote?
We’re intellectuals. We don’t actually MEAN any of this stuff. This is what people who live in fancy mansions say, not do.
rel overview
& flex
to kleptocracy, wasi’chu flex: PS: Has BK told you about FLEX? My Free Learning Exchange? The Pentagon had invented the military internet by 1970, but dammit, I was the first to offer an internet to the public! You’d think I’d have a little credibility. No: people shun me the way Californians avoided John Sutter. flex: sch-us a charade to pretend that we’re looking for solutions. Sols have never been hiding.
flex: graduating PhDs, innocently taking over the positions of persecuted predecessors. Little German boys in All Quiet getting their pep talk from the recruiter.
Freshfaced politicians and consultants arriving in DC …
None of them have the picture. flex: The internet that I “invented” and offered in 1970 was an antidote to kleptocracy. The internet that MS & NBC have taken over is kleptocracy at its all too familiar.
The public didn’t support their own free empowerment. The public is stuck with what it deserves. Unfortunately, I and mine too are stuck with what the public deserves. flex: schools are devoted to training their charges to survive, perhaps flourish in the world that was. The school’s map of what was will match the culture’s. The school is no better than the culture is seeing what is. It’s too busy with what was and with its charges. flex: connect to Babel
Ms. etc. flex: software, cf MS. for profit vs. for tribe flex double: a certificate of graduation proves by alchemical magic that you are not ignorant: certified non-ignorant. The Iroquois who wrote the Great Law was ignorant, a savage; I have a cert: I am not ignorant, I am civilized.
On a utha han’: no matter how many degrees you have, the klep lifer can always demand that you have one more. I the klep lifer have knowledge of all essential things; you with your PhD from MIT and you nobel prize lack certification in …
flex / klep: sch, court … institutional window dressing to cover fraud
the internet’s published history is silent on the oldest and most relevant facts. flex, mislabeling: info, entertainment, advertising …
declare themselves by their willingness to be scheduled.
news vs. dictionary
internet vs. encyclo, FLEX, or library flex, noam: relate mathn keep young busy: busy hands are too occupied to develop inquiring minds flex, schhist: Universities were never places where truth was objectively searched for
never been such an institution.
they were revolutionary however, starting as secular monasteries, Humanism …
the Church didn’t support them.
Now Us are state supported. even the “ind”s are compromised. They have all the same medieval tricks that characterize the law to pretend to something that they’re not.
Universities are a mask, a deception: klep parading as nature, freedom, order, free speech, free inquiry …
Cartamania rules universities just as firmly as it does state, law, God …
clarify Septuagint Greek honor: do Xians honor J?
do USians honor King?
Statues and holidays don’t matter. they’re window dressing. just remember J was executed 2000 yrs ago, King was assassinated a couple of decades ago: execution, assassination, the result is the same. Now here are all these Xians and politicians acting as though they wouldn’t have done it. Bullshit.
Ignore what we say, examine what we do. Are we loving? Charitable? Peaceful? Reverent? Do we forgive our enemies? Do we turn the other cheek? Give our second coats away?
Are we still racist swine? It doesn’t matter if we assimilate blacks: hell, we once assimilated Irish, Italians, etc.
The question is who are we still exploiting and then despising? The answer in civ is never no one.
always distinguish magical J from comprehensible J.
Now: I don’t ask if we can raise the dead of heal the blind. I don’t know that J could either. Concentrate on the part of J that can be imitated. Do Xians do it? No, not many: or, 2000 years later, they’d find themselves crucified too.
You want to find Christians? Scan the prosecuted. Illich was defrocked. Lost his budget. FLEX was never given a budget. etc. JDia: series of cfs
pk’s extrapolations: thanatos, FLEX (u’s as way of not listening, of rigging the outcome …
joke: : lords prayer, rel to info, flex, mislab klep, flex, label: nothing in klep is as labeled: sch says they want smart, learned faculty; they leave our the most important qual: tractability; not too smart, certainly not too honest or they won’t be tractable m/t FLEX: Clarke’s geometry girl’s suit was an uphill battle at each stage. First, she couldn’t even get her parents to believe her and they should have known her best. motive: O benefit of ill, as Sh wrote.
Jewish humor benefited by millennia of persecution.
Has it ever flowered more beautifully than in the latter half of this century?
Mel Brooks … Woody Allen … Should Brooks and Allen owe royalties to Hitler for some portion of their genius?
god tricked me. for my own good. who’s gonna say sacrifice your life for failure, but then you get to incriminate. Not that he ever promised me success: Jesus, if J failed, how should I do better? Yeah, but we should have had FLEX anyway. I had to believe there was some chance, whatever the odds against people ever being made to see their best interests. It’s only slowly, by myself, without external (note: internal) inspiration, that I’ve figured it out. None of us ever had a chance. That’s not what it’s been about. I’ve been part of the rope, the leash, the noose. Give em some slack. Give em some more. Give em so much they don’t know there’s a leash there. Let them mistake it for freedom. Then, bingo, it tightens what seems like all at once, and they’re dangling. Sure, you’re dangling with them. So what? There was never any choice.
Hamlet worried that God wanted him to revenge his father by killing Claudius, fine, but then God would want to throw him into hell for breaking his law against killing. Fine. It’s the Abraham problem. Double bind. Fine. I’d rather be kicked in the balls by God, then kicked in the teeth as I double over, so long as it’s by God, than hear God second, third, and millionth hand and live in the White House.
note: so far left, you’re right; so far in, you’re out … 2 squares. + our tendency to use wrong metaphors. or to use metaphors wrongly.
keep your eye on the prize new hp: parallel charges of klep between general (God, US, Con, Sutter …) and personal (stories, movies, FLEX … all degraded, not credited)
The imitation is typically a perversion of what’s imitated. per: expand pk to relate more directly to FLEX
Fuller etc
analyze bio of prolonged childhood
contrast to klep of prolonged childhood property: with FIX / FLEX the only proprietary thing would have been the individual soc: FLEX
GM
Tucker
I don’t know if any of the above will be useful to the visitor but believe me, it will be useful to me once I make time to do something with it.

Deschooling Directory Structure keywords structure”/> Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DDD / Modules /
First, on the positive side, what public record keeping should be:
Resources
Human / Inanimate Vertical / Horizontal
Do you want to trade (buy/sell) (vertical)? or share (horizontal)?
Feedback
Vertical / Horizontal
Expert testimony (vertical) / Consumer testimony (vertical or horizontal)

Next, on the negative side, what we are now, where we’ve been, what’s wrong with it …
Centralized Information Systems
The schooled society: school, media, government …
Who Sez?
Ivan Illich is the key philosopher behind the views argued here. (pk speaks plenty in the other directories.)

Deschooling Links keywords deschooling”/> Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DDD / Modules / Module edited 2002 07 20
Over the years Illich-related and deschooling-related links have accumulated in this my deschooling directory for Knatz.com. Today I think I’ll attempt to gather them into one file where they’ll be easier to edit: though I’ll mount them first and verify them later. Back a minute later: I’m just deleting old ones with problems.

Deschooling Society

psu.edu had the text up for a while, now down except for the introduction. Ectopia’s link relied on Penn State. The public didn’t learn not to trust universities in 1970: I’m putting the text up myself courtesy of my gallery. (05/15/2003: Now Penn State has it back up again!) (Since down again: but mac.com/tinapple/illich/ now has several Illich texts up!

Deschooling Society online
Energy & Equity excerpts online
UK texts
Illich Profile
Illich Biography
Illich Obituary
Illich Archive
Remembering Ivan Illich
Birbeck College project
CreatingLearningCommunities.org
Deep Springs College Seminar
10 12 2003: Damn the bastards: I notice that the Penn State links are down: again! What was Illich doing affiliated with a university anyway?!?!

More URLs, which I’ll hot-link soon (and check again)
http://www.JohnTaylorGatto.com/
http://www.ncacs.org/
http://philosophy.la.psu.edu/illich/deschool/intro.html
http://library.nothingness.org/articles/SA/en/display/130
http://www.infed.org/thinkers/et-illic.htm
http://www.webcom.com/journal/eales.html
http://www.webster.edu/~corbetre/philosophy/education/illich/2-questions.html
http://www.social-ecology.org/
http://www.preservenet.com
07/08/2003: Preserve.net now has more Illich text online than previously.
http://www.ecotopia.com/webpress/deschooling.htm
David Botsford’s article, Ivan Illich & the Deschooling Movement, includes a history of coercion in education. Download offsite PDF from: UK Libertarian.
Matt Helm’s Deschooling our Lives had been available at http://www.newsociety.com. Find it, wherever it is. It’s got Tolstoy too!!
Max Stirner had a few words to say in his False Principles of Our Education.
Ben Wallace has a cute piece on school as a cause of post-stress disorder nightmares at lewrockwell.com
Government entry into education:
fff.org/comment
Another downed link; but I don’t want to just delete such: notice a pattern? Dissidents go broke, loose their host, get censored, don’t thrive … Surprise, surprise!
Getting government out of education:
http://www.sepschool.org Ditto, unfortunately. Echoes of FLEX, except that we somehow kept our nose snuffling half air, half water for nearly four years.

Penn State finking out on its Illich texts online has screwed up links all over the world. I’ve fixed those here that I’ve noticed. Some good came from this evil: I was alerted to the situation by one Jonathan Walther whose Reactor Core maintains some fabulous texts online, going back to the Code of Hammurabi. You’ll find both Fuller and Illich there too!
PS: Penn State had put the text back up. Now it’s down again. Yo-yos.
While I’m doing lists I think I’ll gather deschooling quotes scattered throughout this directory into a connected series of files.
Recylcing gets a boost at web sites such as wastematch.org. How come so few saw that they could have that and more, could have had all in 1970?!
More:
Anti-Intellectuals in the Schools

2004 bin
Deschooling: Public Information: keywords information”/> Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DDD / Modules / Archive / 2004 / 2004 09 08
Public information should be freely available to the public.
What constitutes public information should be determined by the public; not by any caretakers.
We should:

have a public information institution of four parts:

1.
2. Resources Things

3. 

4. Resources Human

5. 

6. Track Interests for mutualism Peer Matching


7. 

8. Feedback Publish experience with the resources in Two Parts Consumer Expert



9. 

Notice that the above system is non-authoritarian. The information flows from a base, not from a top.
We should NOT:

interfere with the flow.

Other We Should Nots I’ll address shortly.
But next, let me point out that this system was articulated by Ivan Illich in 1970. Illich’s Deschooling Society proposed this system for learning webs (to replace the authoritarian (largely compulsory) school system.
Let me point out further that this system was actually offered, also in 1970, by yours truly, pk, in the form of the Free Learning Exchange, Inc. in New York City.
There is however an important difference between Illich’s proposed learning webs and pk’s actual FLEX: pk, who had been waiting (passively) for a cybernetic internet since 1960, saw that the same system naturally extended to all areas subject to a free market. If teaching resources can be listed, so can any goods, services, potential exchanges. Not only could the stunted schools and universities be opened to free competition, so could all other markets: from medicine to general trade. Free Learning could be exchanged: so could Free Information: FIX: Free Information Exchange. (In a managed market you must get a note from your doctor; in a free market you could speak for yourself (or get a note from your midwife, shaman, gypsy …)) (Experience, not authority, should determine whose view is more useful: yours, the doctor’s, the midwife’s, the gypsy’s …)

We should:

have free speech;

We shouldn’t:

have compulsory assemblies.

(I am writing in English, a natural language: full of pitfalls, ambiguities, inconsistent definitions … That can’t be helped. I deal with necessary clarifications below.)
I list Ivan Illich’s main shouldn’ts in a moment. In this context a different order is called for: Notice: there is no place in this system for
Certificates
Publicly reported authoritarian grading:
no degrees!

As I so often do, I’m putting this up before it’s finished: it’s too important for polish or for completeness. Illich’s shouldn’ts are already here; just not yet in this file. Lots of pk shoulds and shouldn’ts are also already here. Use the search feature below while I move files, correct links, add more …
Note that FLEX / FIX was an incipient internet way more than a decade before the internet which now allows you to read this. It was an internet without PCs, without IBM, without MicroSoft … and without the Pentagon.
There’s nothing that EBay or Yahoo or Google offers (or MicroSoft or Wickipedia …) that you couldn’t have had — at cost — all these years, if anyone had been capable of listening, of hearing, of cooperating …
What you’ve got instead is a world busy wasting its remaining oil.
Would we really have stayed in Vietnam or invaded Afghanistan, Iraq … if all information had free market access? I sure hope not.

Notice: This information institution would not be a democracy. No vote could be held to change the basic axioms: no coercion, no censorship; record the data: don’t edit it.
The information would be as honest as the public providing it: no more, no less. We’d have to be as careful with it as we are with anything we consume. That’s why the fourth part: feedback, experience … is so essential. He can tell a lie; you can say it’s a lie. Caveat … everyone.

Also note: this free information theme embodies the modern agon (struggle) between central authority and decentralization. FLEX’s experience would seem to suggest that decentralization is losing; not so: decentralization is just aborning. It’s too bad the birth has been so slow, so ugly, so compromised.
(So disastrous for pk.) (I promise to make links between this point about decentralization and the parallel fate of my doctoral thesis on Shakespeare which I believe was resisted and sabotaged precisely because it was about the parallel struggle between authority and experience. I’ll spell this out further.)

Deschooling keywords information”/> Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DDD / Modules / Archive / 2004 / 2004 09 10
Public information should be freely available to the public.
What constitutes public information should be determined by the public.
No public can be free nor can any public mature, become responsible or in(ter)dependent, without an institution for public information: and that institution

must not be

controlled by either the public nor any government; but rather by the design of one philosopher: Ivan Illich.
That design may be phrased in more than one way, and by as many persons as care to: but for the institution, the essence of the design must be inviolable. Illich expressed his design in four parts:
1.
2. Resources
3. 

4. Human Resources
5. 

6. Interest Sharing
7. 

8. Feedback
9. 

Illich’s own words on the subject will be multiply quoted, referenced, linked to within: but here I rephrase the same design in twos and threes:
1.
2. Resources
3. 

4. Feedback
5. 

The concept “resources” can subdivide in a series of halves and/or thirds:

Resources

1.
2. Exchange
3. 

4. Mutual
5. 

By exchange I refer to trade — You fix my car, I’ll give you money; by mutual I refer to sharing — Let’s get together and figure out how to fix our cars.
Resources for exchange subdivides: there are inanimate resources — market places, libraries, quarries … and there are human resources: guides, healers, vendors …
Feedback is a kind of resource: in this case a resource deliberately created — We will publish all feedback. But it’s a meta-resource. It exists after the other kinds of resource and comes into existence on another plane: so we distinguish it. Otherwise, it too subdivides:

Feedback

1.
2. Peer
3. 

4. Consumer
5. 

One hardware story owner may publish comments on another hardware store owner (and visa versa), but customers of a merchant (or professional …) may publish their experience with the resource
Carrera marble is good …
This King novel was exciting but can little girls really set fire to things with their eyes?
My gynecologist, Dr. Ido … I can’t say what he did: but he shouldn’t have.
This burger is OK for ninety-nine cents, but …
What Einstein says about Plank should appear on a different list from what Einstein’s student says about Einstein.
That’s the system: Resources, Sharing Opportunities, Feedback.
If we lived in small groups we wouldn’t need it. But we don’t, so we do.

Every thing: every concept, every word, every detail … what I haven’t mentioned yet … needs further comment. As I bust up my previous draft for this top page I’ll link the parts here. (Meantime, you may rummage the previous version.) But the basic design — the institution’s constitution, law, essence — is essential. Absorb it. Indelibly.
One other comment I slip here (and may still move it): in the current presidential election both candidates are running on the Second Amendment. No, no. The Constitution, if in any way valid, should have nothing to do with an election. Either accord with the Constitution of recognize that the state is kaput. If we can speak freely, then whether we are anarchists, or atheists, or terrorists, or Jews … is irrelevant (where is the long list of “excepts” in the Bill of Rights?) If we have the right to bear arms, then we have the right to bear arms: government must contemplate no laws restricting the bearing of arms. If on the other hand, bearing arms is ruinous, then the state should fall and the Constitution should be trashed.
In a private organ, Coke can have a much bigger ad than RC (or visa versa); but not in this public institution. This public institution does not say that there cannot be other organs. Deschooling doesn’t outlaw schools: but should render them silly: an odd preference: expensive, inefficient.
But design should be followed (or trashed). We can eat two canoli or none, we may wear glasses or not … but we’d be wise not to much with out eyes. Our eyes are in the design. No mucking with the design.
pk offered Illich’s system for learning in 1970, suggesting how an educational institution could naturally expand to become an informational institution: all information.
It simply wasn’t tried. Just as we haven’t seriously yet tried our Constitution. Or our Bible. (Or any of a bunch of designs.)
Stupid me: it’s comments like that that I’m trying to get off the front page.

Deschooling: Public Information: 2004 09 24 keywords information”/> Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DDD / Modules / Archive / 2004 / 2004 09 10
Public information should be freely available to the public.
What constitutes public information should be determined by the public.
No public can be free nor can any public mature, become responsible or in(ter)dependent, without an institution for public information: and that institution

must not be

governed: not democratically, not autocratically: not by the public, not by a legislature. What flows in the system is information; but the system itself is akin to pipe, to cable … a network. It is of a different logical kind. It must be designed. And the best design is that of philosopher Ivan Illich.
That design may be phrased in more than one way, and by as many persons as care to: but for the institution, the essence of the design must be inviolable: not to be tampered with. Illich expressed his design in four parts:
1.
2. Resources
3. 

4. Human Resources
5. 

6. Interest Sharing
7. 

8. Feedback
9. 

After almost thirty-five years of promoting Illich’s design, a low-tech internet, I phrase that same design somewhat differently; but it’s essence, its function is unaltered. Deschooling gathers Illich’s documents and pk’s efforts into one place. Moving files and constant revision prevent the whole from being altogether coherent or efficent yet, but that’s exactly what I’m working on now.
Recent Drafts:
Sept 8
Sept 10
Sept 24
I’m working on it right now. The best synthesis will appear here ASAP.
I intend this top page to have its own menu of sidepoints: spinoff modules that expand, modify, qualify … the central points. Expansions, tangents … belong linked, not here, crowding the top.
Centralized versus Decentralized draft

Deschooling: Entrance of 2005 01 26 keywords information”/> Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DDD / Modules / Archive / 2005 / 2005 01 26
Public information should be freely available to the public.
What constitutes public information should be determined by the public.
The informational infrastructure should be voluntarily paid for by the public — if the public values liberty.
Coercive, tax collecting governments should be kept away from public information, as should all institutions with a lien on them. Misinformation to disinformation is already too much their business.
Every member of the public should be recognized, not only as a consumer — which we certainly all are, but as a resource! There is no skill, no experience, which should be beneath the public’s published notice.
Your poem stinks? Let the public decide, not some editor. Your poem is great? and no one read it? I’m not promising you a rose garden: merely liberty.

Free-flowing feedback is the proper antidote to misinformation. Regulation becomes toxic. Let the liars lie: then speak.

If you are a citizen of Vanillaville you may very well already know who you want to talk to, who you want to avoid, who you want to fix your car, take your temperature, sell you medicine, teach you history … But what if you find yourself in Strawberryville?
In a convivial world (to use Ivan Illich’s phrase) finding out who’s who, what’s what, and what they expect for exchanges (“price”) should be as easy as finding the nearest Information Exchange terminal. In a public of any population, they should be as common as grocers used to be.
Ivan Illich published his design for Learning Webs in 1970. Also in 1970, my teeth in his every word, I offered to do it, to make it real, to be the public librarian for my community’s public information. Denis Detzel had already spoken about doing it. We both did, both were public by 1971.
I wanted to make sure that the public information exchanges were coordinated, world-wide. Above all, I wanted Learning Webs (naturally) to extend to All Information Webs: not just who can teach you? who can learn with you? where can you get this or that tool? but Everything. Everything public.
If you don’t want anyone to know how well you play the piano, fine: shut the windows, don’t advertise. If you don’t want anyone calling you, fine: keep your number to yourself. But if you do, say so. Register.
Public information exchanges should contain no information not volunteered.
But there’s a catch. Once you volunteer yourself as a resource, you’re fair game for comment. If you advertise yourself as a physics teacher, or a fortune teller, then any other member of the public — including your peers — and most emphatically including your clients, can report their assessment of your value as a resource. You want neither praise nor blame? Stay out of the market.
2005 020 21 Efforts to organize, to edit, to reduce, to clarify can trigger their own chaos. Today pk launches an Deschooling / School/Deschool / Information Web
InfoAll blog.

I plan to use it to post notes not yet fed into a module, scribble new itches, and edit existing modules. Once there, files can be moved back here: into I hope the most efficient organization to date.
There were no PCs in 1970. Basic had not yet been written. But I knew original authors of Fortran who were anxious to program for public benefit. They were already well off. Modest pay would have produced great work.
The public volunteered next to nothing. (So guess who’s responsible for the way we live now? in thrall to runaway obsolescence.)
A small community could bank its resources in a file of 3×5 cards. Larger communities (in 1970 would have) needed time on a main frame. Main frames insist on rent (they would now as they did then). But the time rented would be seconds: divied up, pennies. Pay me, pay the programmers, pay the receptionist. Divy it up. A few dollars.
But the public volunteered almost nothing.
Ah, you object. But you didn’t hear about it. You didn’t understand.
My friends, that was no accident. Monopolies, fiated experts, licensed professionals … don’t like to be threatened by free information. Professionals with licences do not wish to countenance clients with equal platforms. Does Ford want Ford owners to get equal time talking about Fords? Do doctors want their butcheries all over a web?

I moved my FLEX and deschooling files into Deschooling intending to simplify: to make things crystal clear: to celebrate Illich, and to expand my expansions of Illich.
Links broke. I thought I had fixed them. I just found more. Fixing more, I may well have broken more. Despite poverty, despite physical attacks, broken bones, knocked out teeth, threats on my life, I do the best I can. (Though a threat of jail was repeated as recently as last week — and the last policeman I spoke to threatened to cart me to the Looney Tunes, I have as yet not spent one actual minute in common with Jesus, St. Paul … or Paulo Freire by being jailed. Neither have I yet spent one minute in kleptocracy’s alternative incarceration: the camera obscura asylum.)

The Previous Draft: 2004 Sept 24 says more. The next draft will say it better.
2005 05 23 Meantime I stick in something for later merging.
One the one hand Ivan Illich’s Deschooling Society talks (rhetorically, of course) as though institutions could be controlled. (Sometimes I do too!) But the essence is the opposite! Let it emerge. Philosophers should only offer guidance. (If the public doesn’t follow the most viable philosophers, fuck ’em.) (That’s what god, in his wisdom, made failure for.)
In my correspondence with him, both before and following the publication of Deschooling Society, Illich talked as though he merely had bulletin boards in mind: start with the already existing infrastructure. Yet he talked about computer time. In 1970 that meant a terminal. I imagined terminals salted more commonly than public libraries: as common as PhotoMarts, more common.
And I repeat: my emphasis was on coordinating the networks: making a world-wide net.

Deschooling: Entrance 2006 01 03 keywords information”/> Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / DDD / Modules / Archive / 2006 / 2006 01 03
In the human bands more complex societies formed from, every member knew what the group’s resources were.
There’s the stream. Animals roam the grass. Run to the wood to hide. Og can fight. Mai is good with children. Za keeps the fire. No one finds berries better than El.
Add more than a couple of hundred people, start building shelters that can’t be seen through, develop fancy costumes that can emphasize what’s hidden — or misrepresent it, and all sorts of problems develop. What we call history tells stories about how we’ve dealt with such problems: from priests and kings to universities and bicameral democracy.

Around 1960 I became conscious of futurist visions of how cybernetics and satellites could revolutionize how information is utilized. I waited and waited for an internet: unfettered information exposing the flaws of centralized management. (Of course the term “internet” wouldn’t come for decades.)
But in 1970 Ivan Illich, having already spent years documenting western imperialism in the Americas, proposed exactly what I’d been waiting for: one informational institution to better perform the simple tasks that priests, governors and professors had proved so self-interested at: documenting Who’s Who and What’s Where so that interested parties could access the information, remove the blocks that always interfere with the HaveNots.
The functioning of that institution would have to be centralized. It would have to honor an iron clad constitution, but then all else could be decentralized: no more missionaries calling everyone else a cannibal and having the only say.
Illich’s proposal was the essence of simplicity.
1. Resources What’s Where Who’s Who Who wants to pool

2. Feedback post people’s experience with the resources What do the Whos say about the Whats What do the Whos say about the Whos What do the consumers say about the Whos What do the consumers say about the Whats


3. Illich proposed his learning networks for every community. The form must remain uniform, but the content would be entirely up to the members of the community.
Originally schools made sense: take a resource — the guy who best knows some subject — make him a center, surround him with those interested in the subject. Result: maximum efficiency of dissemination. You have a Bible. I want a Bible. You read yours aloud. I and others listen, memorize, copy. Soon, as soon as possible, each of us will have a Bible. (Of course your Bible may have had errors, my copy may add my errors. But that can’t be helped. That shouldn’t be helped; except by scholars, self-organized, offering their variorum editions: no central authority.)
But as soon as Gutenberg can print a Bible and Caxton can market it, then there’s no need for a school. All you need is a bookstore: and nobody guarding the entrance to keep out the “cannibals.” Take down the glass and the terrarium can grow into a forest. Markets replace schools: in a free society. (If only there were one!)
You still need a school where resources are scarce. There’s only one Mona Lisa. Care must be taken of it. Only so many persons can stand around it to look at one time. Somebody’s got to make sure no one’s got jelly on his hands: or there won’t be no Mona Lisa for long. Ah, but if all you need is a facsimile, then all you need is a market.
I saw instantly, in 1970, that here was the internet I’d been waiting for. Illich was talking about replacing the default monopoly of schools with learning networks. But I saw that ALL institutions could be replaced with the exact same single informational institution. We don’t need a representative if each of us could vote to a single data base. We don’t need the Times if people could tap accounts of events directly: no paper of record; just a free information marketplace. If an individual wanted to be Catholic, she could be Catholic; but no church would have a strangle hold on her. If an individual wanted to study physics, she would have a free market place, nothing excluded, in which to shop for guidance. And what applies for religion, for studies, would apply to everything: from auto mechanics to tennis.
Understand; a free market in no way interferes with exclusives. If you don’t want to publish your secret lasagna recipe, keep it to yourself: and your family. A free marketplace is not centralized Communism. With a cheap public data base, anyone could publish his novel, but no one would be compelled to read that novel. You’ve figured out how to unzip the universe, but don’t want to share? Fine: keep it to yourself. And if you do post it, let’s hope no one actually tries it! Freedom isn’t me going through your pockets. And freedom shouldn’t unzip the universe.
Frustrated with my own experience as a student and teacher, and wanting to market my writing without the imprimatur of an agent or publisher, I told Illich I’d do whatever it took to help him establish his learning networks.
But Illich wasn’t interested in making his proposal real; he was interested in continuing his critique of contemporary institutions: which he did: Tools for Conviviality, Medical Nemesis … He told me though that Denis Detzel was also interested in founding an actual learning network. I wrote to Detzel (just care of Northwestern, Evanston, IL, having no more details) and got no answer (it may never have reached him). But I didn’t wait to found FLEX: The Free Learning Exchange, Inc., in New York.
I wrote a basic invitation to everyone to register their expertise, their bookstore, their desire for guitar lessons … their wish to find others to talk about the movie with, mimeographed it, and started handing it around.
I wanted every community to go and do likewise: many did. And I wanted us all to coordinate our data. I wanted the math teacher in Vladivostok to be contact-able by the math student in Wichita, if that latter was thinking of traveling and if that math teacher was willing to be contacted. Understand: freedom is not giving out unlisted numbers.

Any individual local network could become corrupted: in all the ways we can imagine and in ways we can’t. When a public sees a departure from the ideal design — Illich’s (with my slight expansions), then it’s time to tear down and rebuild: raze and raise. But unless that ideal is adhered to, then we’re again indulging in political farce.

Deschooling is descended from the FLEX section of Knatz.com which is descended from my founding FLEX in 1970, having it as functional as it ever got by 1972.
Over four years a dozen of us raised less than $2,000. A hundred grand might got better gotten word out. A few dozen million might have succeeded.
At least two of the original ten authors of FORTRAN were hot to write public applications for FLEX; but they expected to be paid.
I wanted the resources for the institution to come from the public; but in 1971 I did ask IBM for help. The honcho there said that FLEX was a good idea. He doubted that IBM would respond to a good idea. Indeed, they didn’t.


DeCentral Menu DeGate! Deschool Menu
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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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