Re: [ba-unrev-talk] virtual book club?
Education Technology and The Changing Legal Landscape's Impact on School Policy and
By: W. David Watkins (01)
See "Technology trends - a touch of futurism"
< http://education.arlaw.com/nsba/NSBAEdTech2001.htm > (02)
Jack Park wrote: (03)
> I have been roaming the web looking for ideas to support work I am doing
> that aligns with the Engelbart notion of augmenting the collective IQ. I
> view Doug's writing from a particular perspective. Doug has spoken deeply
> and often about issues related to current human activities; similarly, I
> have taken the view that it is (for me) more important to think about
> future activities with respect to those who will be involved, today's young
> Today's Web research led me to the works of Ivan Illich. Turns out that
> two of his books are on-line. I'll make a deep quotation from the
> introduction to one of them -- _Tools for Conviviality_ -- which follows a
> previous book _Deschooling Society_.
> Tools is found at http://philosophy.la.psu.edu/illich/tools/intro.html
> Deschooling is found at http://philosophy.la.psu.edu/illich/deschool/intro.html
> Given that Tools represents his views on technology, and OHS is about
> technology, perhaps _Tools for Conviviality_ could be considered for
> discussion as a group. It strikes me that the tone of the book (I haven't
> read it yet) speaks to many of the issues of design that interest Sheldon
> Brahms. Certainly, the fabric of his writing supports notions of
> constructivist learning environments, and those environments represent
> appropriate use cases for OHS/DKR implementations.
> If you recall, Ping recently introduced himself and gave a URL
> wherein he illustrates the use of email posts for IBIS-like
> discussions. It would not take an archiver to produce what he wants if we
> happen to make our Subject lines look something like his suggestion.
> During the next several years I intend to work on an epilogue to the
> industrial age. I want to trace the changes in language, myth, ritual, and
> law which took place in the current epoch of pack-aging and of schooling. I
> want to describe the fading monopoly of the industrial mode of production
> and the vanishing of the industrially generated professions this mode of
> production serves.
> Above all I want to show that two-thirds of mankind still can avoid passing
> through the industrial age, by choosing right now a postindustrial balance
> in their mode of production which the hyperindustrial nations will be
> forced to adopt as an alternative to chaos. To prepare for this task I
> submit this essay for critical comment.
> In its present form this book is the result of conversations at CIDOC in
> Cuernavaca during the summer of 1972. Participants in my seminar will
> recognize their ideas, and often their words. I ask my collaborators to
> accept my sincere thanks, especially for their written contributions.
> This essay has become too long to appear as an article and too intricate to
> be read in several installments. It is a progress report. I respectfully
> thank Ruth Nanda Anshen for issuing this tract as a volume, in World
> Perspectives, published by Harper & Row.
> For several years at CIDOC in Cuernavaca we have conducted critical
> research on the monopoly of the industrial mode of production and have
> tried to define conceptually alternative modes that would fit a
> postindustrial age. During tine late sixties this research centered on
> educational devices. By 1970 we had found that:
> 1. Universal education through compulsory schooling is not possible.
> 2. Alternative devices for the production and marketing of mass education
> are technically more feasible and ethically less tolerable than compulsory
> graded schools. Such new educational arrangements are now on the verge of
> replacing traditional school systems in rich and in poor countries. They
> are potentially more effective in the conditioning of job-holders and
> consumers in an industrial economy. They are therefore more attractive for
> the management of present societies, more seductive for the people, and
> insidiously destructive of fundamental values.
> 3. A society committed to high levels of shared learning and critical
> personal intercourse must set pedagogical limits on industrial growth.
> I have published the results of this research in a previous volume of World
> Perspectives, entitled Deschooling Society. I clarified some of the points
> left ill defined in that book by writing an article published in the
> Saturday Review of April 19, 1971.
> Our analysis of schooling has led us to recognize the mass production of
> education as a paradigm for other industrial enterprises, each producing a
> service commodity, each organized as a public utility, and each defining
> its output as a basic necessity. At first our attention was drawn to the
> compulsory insurance of professional health care, and to systems of public
> transport, which tend to become compulsory once traffic rolls above a
> certain speed. We found that the industrialization of any service agency
> leads to destructive side effects analogous to the unwanted secondary
> results well known from the overproduction of goods. we had to face a set
> of limits to growth in the service sector Of any society as inescapable as
> the limits inherent in the industrial production of artifacts. we concluded
> that a set of limits to industrial growth is well formulated only if these
> limits apply both to goods and to services which are produced in an
> industrial mode. So we set out to clarify these limits.
> I here submit the concept of a multidimensional balance of human life which
> can serve as a framework for evaluating man's relation to his tools. In
> each of several dimensions of this balance it is possible to identify a
> natural scale. When an enterprise grows beyond a certain point on this
> scale, it first frustrates the end for
> which it was originally designed, and then rapidly becomes a threat to
> society itself. These scales must be identified and the
> parameters of human endeavors within which human life remains viable must
> be explored.
> Society can be destroyed when further growth of mass production renders the
> milieu hostile, when it extinguishes the free use of the natural abilities
> of society's members, when it isolates people from each other and locks
> them into a man-made shell, when it undermines the texture of community by
> promoting extreme social polarization and splintering specialization, or
> when cancerous acceleration enforces social change at a rate that rules out
> legal, cultural, and political precedents as formal guidelines to present
> behavior. Corporate endeavors which thus threaten society cannot be
> tolerated. At this point it becomes irrelevant whether an enterprise is
> nominally owned by individuals, corporations, or the slate, because no form
> of management can make such fundamental destruction serve a social purpose.
> Our present ideologies are useful to clarify the contradictions which
> appear in a society which relies on the capitalist control of industrial
> production; they do not, however, provide the necessary framework for
> analyzing the crisis in the industrial mode of
> production itself. I hope that one day a general theory of
> industrialization will be stated with precision, that it will be formulated
> in terms compelling enough to withstand the test of criticism. Its concepts
> ought to provide a common language for people in opposing parties who need
> to engage in the assessment of social programs or technologies, and who
> want to restrain the power of man's tools when they tend to overwhelm man
> and his goals. Such a theory should help people invert the present
> structure of major institutions. I hope that this essay will enhance the
> formulation of such a theory.
> It is now difficult to imagine a modern society in which industrial growth
> is balanced and kept in check by several complementary, distinct, and
> equally scientific modes of production. Our vision of the possible and the
> feasible is so restricted by industrial expectations that any alternative
> to more mass production sounds like a return to past oppression or like a
> Utopian design for noble savages. In fact, however, the vision of new pos-
> sibilities requires only the recognition that scientific discoveries can be
> useful in at least two opposite ways. The first leads to specia- lization
> of functions, institutionalization of values and centralization of power
> and turns people into the accessories of bureaucracies or machines. The
> second enlarges the range of each person's competence, control, and
> initiative, limited only by other individuals' claims to an equal range of
> power and freedom.
> To formulate a theory about a future society both very modern and not
> dominated by industry, it will be necessary to recognize natural scales and
> limits. We must come to admit that only within limits can machines take the
> place of slaves; beyond these limits they lead to a new kind of serfdom.
> Only within limits can education fit people into a man-made environment:
> beyond these limits lies the universal schoolhouse, hospital ward, or
> prison. Only within limits ought politics to be concerned with the
> distribution of maximum industrial outputs, rather than with equal inputs
> of either energy or information. Once these limits are recognized, it
> becomes possible to articulate the triadic relationship between persons,
> tools, and a new collectivity. Such a society, in which modern technologies
> serve politically interrelated individuals rather than managers, I will
> call "convivial."
> After many doubts, and against the advice of friends whom I respect, I have
> chosen "convivial" as a technical term to designate a modern society of
> responsibly limited tools. In part this choice was conditioned by the
> desire to continue a discourse which had started with its Spanish cognate.
> The French cognate has been given technical meaning (for the kitchen) by
> Brillat-Savarin in his Physiology of Taste: Meditations on Transcendental
> Gastronomy. This specialized use of the term in French might explain why it
> has already proven effective in the unmistakably different and equally
> specialized context in which it will appear in this essay. I am aware that
> in English "convivial" now seeks the company of tipsy jollyness, which is
> distinct from that indicated by the OED and opposite to the austere meaning
> of modern "eutrapelia," which I intend. By applying the term "convivial" to
> tools rather than to people, I hope to forestall confusion.
> "Austerity," which says something about people, has also been degraded and
> has acquired a bitter taste, while for Aristotle or
> Aquinas it marked the foundation of friendship. In the Summa Theologica,
> II, II, in the 186th question, article 5, Thomas deals with disciplined and
> creative playfulness. In his third response he defines "austerity" as a
> virtue which does not exclude all enjoyments, but only those which are
> distracting from or destructive of personal relatedness. For Thomas
> "austerity" is a complementary part of a more embracing virtue, which he
> calls friendship or joyfulness. It is the fruit of an apprehension that
> things or tools could destroy rather than enhance eutrapelia (or graceful
> playfulness) in personal relations.* (04)
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