self-preservation   21

Will · Still Here...Sort Of
"No, I haven’t abandoned this space. I’ve actually been writing my brain off in other places…offline as in two books on the horizon, one of them part of a most interesting series that I’m putting together with Solution Tree…and online at EML where I find myself (joyfully) spending a lot more of my time these days. Couple that with an intense season of boys and girls varsity basketball and travel and some other life stuff and it’s no wonder I haven’t spent much time here.

Fact is, I’m spending less and less time in these social spaces it seems. I’m thinking that may not be the case in a couple of months when my plate clears a bit, but I do want to note how different this feels…not checking Twitter a dozen times a day…not feeling compelled to reflect on the blog…basically turning off my Facebook account (not that I ever used that much anyway)…diving into Feedly only a couple of times a week…spending time reading more actual books than blogs (and thinking…a lot). I’m almost feeling like a connected disconnected person, not a lurker, per se, but someone with a bit different perspective than I had two or three years ago.

Maybe it’s because my worldview on the idea of school and classrooms continues to evolve. Maybe it’s because that changed worldview makes it more difficult for me to find relevance in the current streams and communities I’m a part of. Maybe it’s because my bar for change has been increasingly notched higher, and that using technology and social media in schools isn’t the main focus of that conversation any longer.

What’s amazes me is how long it’s taken me to get here, a place where a lot of other people have been for decades (if not centuries.) I’ve spend a lot of my life as an educator truly ignorant about education and learning. Ironic, isn’t it, that my “education” failed me. My “education” around education never even remotely presented the worldview that I’ve come to know now. Maybe that was an act of self-preservation…


I still have a long way to go. "
willrichardson  deschooling  unschooling  education  socialmedia  change  routines  2015  teaching  learning  howwelearn  paradigmshifts  worldviews  self-preservation 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Ditching Twitter |
"I spent a good piece of my childhood on a farm in Montana, and a thing you learn about on a farm out there is water. There isn’t enough of it, even in the comparatively lush part of the state where I grew up, so when the snowpack starts melting in the mountains, how you handle the meltwater—the runoff—has everything to do with whether the things you’re growing will actually manage to grow. The same rush of silty water that can erode away a freshly planted field will keep that same soil safely and evenly watered if you divert it into the right system of ditches. And if you’re a kid given to messing with makeshift dams and mini hydro-engineering projects, that same freezing torrent is endlessly entertaining, and instructive.

It took me a few weeks of feeling quietly glum about losing Twitter before I remembered that I know a few things about streams, and ditches. And beyond that, that figuring out how to make better use of communication systems is kinda what I’ve been doing for a living for a decade or so.

So I thought more formally about what I want and don’t want, and I worked out some practical ways of diverting and fussing with my various streams to get them to do what I want and need. For me, it looks something like this:

• I want to keep being exposed to interesting links and ideas from people I choose to follow, and I want to keep my own conversations quieter, but not completely private, so that friends of friends can wander in and out and perhaps eventually become friends themselves.

• I want to use the odd little public platform I’ve ended up with to redirect attention to people who, in my estimation, deserve a wider audience.

• I want to reduce the volume of awareness-raising angry tweets I see about issues that already saturate my awareness—things like vulgarity and bias in the software industry, the existence of truly horrible politicians, and the latest squalid online mob attack against women who have the nerve to write or speak in public about something other than Women’s Topics.

• I want to be gentle to my followers’ emotional equilibrium, and I want to avoid attracting followers who like to fight on Twitter or cheer people fighting on Twitter.

• I don’t want to spend another minute of my life responding to or even seeing angry tirades from people who don’t know me and have no interest in the context surrounding whatever tweet of mine that makes them feel mad.

• I need to conserve my own resources more wisely, and channel more of them into less ephemeral mediums.
Most of the things on the above list can’t be obtained simply by changing the list of people I follow, so I put together a more involved plan.

• I’ve moved much of my conversational Twitter activity to an account I think of as “unlisted”—not a locked one, but one that isn’t obviously connected to the rest of my online traces so that I retain soft access control. I now check the mentions on my main account once every couple of days instead of once an hour.

There are other things, too: Work-specific lists that let me look at the streams of my colleagues in journalism without 24–7 exposure to world news. A fat stack of muted keywords designed to block the more corrosively detailed anecdotes in my timeline while letting through the system-level background information and thoughtful commentary. Deleting Twitter apps from my iPad, cutting web-Twitter out entirely, and dropping some accounts from my phone to make sure I’m behaving more intentionally.

Beyond the tools, though, I’m trying to make an emotional shift from exuberant joyful angry frenetic Twitter to something subtler and gentler. When moved to discuss something about which I feel strongly, I’m beginning to default to a longer form first, to reduce the heat of my Twitter conversations and boost the light I work by elsewhere.

I’ll let you know how it goes."

[See also: ]
erinkissane  2014  twitter  ditches  flows  flow  celebrity  microcelebrity  infooverload  online  internet  lists  self-preservation 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Why Machiavelli Still Matters -
Published: December 9, 2013

“The Prince” is a manual for those who wish to win and keep power. The Renaissance was awash in such how-to guides, but Machiavelli’s was different. To be sure, he counsels a prince on how to act toward his enemies, using force and fraud in war. But his true novelty resides in how we should think about our friends. It is at the book’s heart, in the chapter devoted to this issue, that Machiavelli proclaims his originality.

Set aside what you would like to imagine about politics, Machiavelli writes, and instead go straight to the truth of how things really work, or what he calls the “effectual truth.” [Effectual truth means not only that the truth will have an effect, a consequence, but also that its effect will show. Those who try to live by a profession of good will fail and be shown to fail. ] You will see that allies in politics, whether at home or abroad, are not friends....Machiavelli teaches that in a world where so many are not good, you must learn to be able to not be good. The virtues taught in our secular and religious schools are incompatible with the virtues one must practice to safeguard those same institutions. The power of the lion and the cleverness of the fox: These are the qualities a leader must harness to preserve the republic.

For such a leader, allies are friends when it is in their interest to be. (We can, with difficulty, accept this lesson when embodied by a Charles de Gaulle; we have even greater difficulty when it is taught by, say, Hamid Karzai.) What’s more, Machiavelli says, leaders must at times inspire fear not only in their foes but even in their allies — and even in their own ministers.
cynicism  Niccolò_Machiavelli  Medici  indispensable  advice  friendships  politics  power  virtues  interests  consigliere  leaders  self-interest  fear  adaptability  political_power  self-preservation  effectiveness  Charles_de_Gaulle  negative_space  primers 
december 2013 by jerryking
Professional Identity: A Luxury Few Can Afford | Vitae
"In a post-employment economy ridden with arbitrary credentialism, a résumé is often not a reflection of achievement but a document sanctioning its erasure. One is not judged on what one has accomplished, but on one’s ability to walk a path untouched by the incongruities of market forces. The service job you worked to feed your family? Embarrassing. The months you struggled to find any work at all? Laziness. The degree you began a decade ago for a field that has since lost half its positions? Failure of clairvoyance. Which is to say: failure.

Scholars leaving academia in the hopes of other lines of work agonize over how to sell themselves in a market that finds them somehow both overqualified and undervalued. Media outlets proclaim that the national employment crisis is caused not by a lack of jobs, but lack of candidates with the skills to fill them. According to NBC, “employers are complaining about job candidates' inability to speak and to write clearly.” According to Time, employers cannot find candidates who are “problem solvers and can plan, organize, and prioritize their work.”

If that is truly the cause of the unemployment crisis, one would think that Ph.D.’s would be in a position to solve it. After all, clear communication, independent problem-solving, and strong organizational skills are necessary to finish the degree. Yet Ph.D.’s are frequently cautioned to leave their doctoral degree off their résumé. The struggle with the transition to nonacademic work is so fraught with anxiety that there are multiple consulting groups dedicated to helping scholars through it.

According to journalist Simon Kuper, this anxiety is not particular to academia but part of a broader anguish over identity in an era of unemployment: “With the economic crisis and technological change, ever fewer of us have satisfying jobs or stay in the same profession for life. People are ceasing to be their jobs. That is forcing them to find new identities.”

The market advantage then falls to those born immune from market forces: the independently wealthy, representative of what Kuper calls “a class divide [that] separates people who choose their job from people who don’t.”

People who “choose their job” are people who can afford, quite literally, to choose programs and positions that give them an unwavering, consistent ”professional identity.” Privilege is recast as perseverance: It is no coincidence that 80 percent of companies bemoaning the surfeit of “unqualified” candidates prefer them to them to have completed at least one internship. But the consistent professional identity that companies and universities value is one that most of us cannot afford if it means a series of unpaid internships and low-paid positions."

"This is not new—résumé manipulation is as old as résumés. But there is something far more damaging going on in this era when both contingent employment and “skills gaps” are suddenly on the rise, when technological “disruption” is divine but career disruption is a sin. Being ashamed of who we are has become the ticket to who we are allowed to become. That is true both in academia and outside it.

It is almost impossible to reconcile the cruelty of a system that punishes you for self-preservation with the material need to survive within it. But the least we can do is not internalize its failures as our own. You are not your job. Do not let your job—or lack thereof—convince you otherwise."
economics  employement  resumes  2013  sarahkendzior  labor  identity  work  privilege  simonkuper  alexandrakimbell  erasure  crendentials  credentialism  academia  internships  qualifications  self-preservation 
december 2013 by robertogreco
As we approach the twenty-first century it is... - Notes + Links / Casey A. Gollan
"As we approach the twenty-first century it is correct to say that the United States has become a nation of institutions…Nearly a century ago a French sociologist wrote that every institution’s unstated first goal is to survive and grow, not to undertake the mission it has nominally staked out for itself.

Thus the first goal of a government postal service is not to deliver the mail; it is to provide protection for its employees and perhaps a modest status ladder for the more ambitious ones. The first goal of a permanent military organization is not to defend national security but to secure, in perpetuity, a fraction of the national wealth to distribute to its personnel.

It was this philistine potential that teaching the young for pay would inevitably expand into an institution for the protection of teachers, not students - that made Socrates condemn the Sophists so strongly long ago in ancient Greece."
military  bureaucracy  growthmentality  growth  survival  mission  putpose  institutions  sophists  socrates  dumbingusdown  johntaylorgatto  self-preservation  from delicious
december 2012 by robertogreco
Harvard Education Letter: “I Used to Think . . . and Now I Think . . .” Reflections on the work of school reform, by Richard Elmore
1. I used to think that policy was the solution. And now I think that policy is the problem. [elaborates]…

2. I used to think that people’s beliefs determined their practices. And now I think that people’s practices determine their beliefs. [elaborates, inlcuding]… The largest determinant of how people practice is how they have practiced in the past, and people demonstrate an amazingly resilient capacity to relabel their existing practices with whatever ideas are currently in vogue. …

3. I used to think that public institutions embodied the collective values of society. And now I think that they embody the interests of the people who work in them. [elaborates, including]…School administrators and teachers engage in practices that deliberately exclude students from access to learning in order to make their work more manageable and make their schools look good."
professionaldevelopment  pd  hierarchy  hierarchies  bureaucracy  organizations  stasis  radicalism  radicals  cv  2010  mindchanging  mindchanges  schools  tcsnmy  administration  policy  institutions  institutionalization  self-preservation  deschooling  unschooling  nelsonmandela  martinlutherkingjr  gandhi  leadership  change  learning  education  richardelmore  mlk  canon  schooling  unlearning 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Elect your local hypocrite
June 12, 2004 | G&M | Doug Saunders.

Hypocrisy now has the backing of science. Keith Stanovich, a cognitive scientist at the University of Toronto, has built a strong scientific case in defence of hypocn'sy

Mr. Stanovich, in his fascinating book The Robot's Rebellion, defines hypocrisy as the collision of first-order and second-order thought. First-order thought consists of the basic, animal desires promoted by our genes — reproduction, self-preservation, mate-finding, nest-building, self-aggrandizement and personal defence

People whose thoughts are mostly first-order are known as wantons: Their personal desires and aspirations are their only goals, and their principles consist of remaking the world to suit those goals People who vote for right-wing parties entirely because they want to pay less tax are wantons. So are people who vote for left-wing parties just because they want their organizations to get more grants.

Second-order thought looks beyond personal needs into rational calculations of larger principles and goals: If I give up this desire right now, it says, we all could be better off. It is higher, more principled intelligence. It constantly battles with our first-order desires, tending to require an even higher order of thought to reconcile those collisions. in Mr. Stanovich's system, the people who engage in this kind of thinking are known as strong evaluators.
Hypocrisy is a product of strong evaluation.
Doug_Saunders  decision_making  politics  hypocrisy  thinking  political_expediency  instant_gratification  delayed_gratification  wisdom  books  first-order  second-order  tradeoffs  self-preservation  mate-finding  nest-building  self-aggrandizement 
september 2012 by jerryking
The Philanthropic Complex
"The truth is that organizations whose missions foreground the “sociological and spiritual” go mostly without funding. Take for instance the sad tale of the Center for the New American Dream (NAD), created in 1997 by Betsy Taylor (herself a funder with the Merck Family Fund). NAD’s original mission statement gave a priority to “quality of life” issues.

We envision a society that values more of what matters—not just more…a new emphasis on non-material values like financial security, fairness, community, health, time, nature, and fun.

This is exactly the sort of “big picture” that philanthropy has been mostly unwilling to fund because, it argues, it is so difficult to provide “accountability” data for issues like “work and time” and “fun” (!). (To which one might reasonably reply, “Why do you fund only those things that are driven by data?”)…

One of the most maddening experiences for those who seek the support of private philanthropy is the lack of transparency…"
nonprofits  halclifford  orion  markets  publicadvocacy  nad  newamericandream  95-5  corruption  investment  conflictsofinterest  gatesfoundation  transparency  anonymity  self-preservation  wealth  thephilanthropiccomplex  privilege  mediocrity  influence  wallstreet  2012  riskmanagement  ngo  biggreen  environmentalism  change  government  policy  environment  restrictedgifts  control  fear  foundations  jacobinmag  progressivism  power  money  capitalism  philanthropy  charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  nonprofit  from delicious
june 2012 by robertogreco
Legacy institutions, and why the bureaucracy always comes first, and the students come second « Re-educate Seattle
"He said, “You get these legacy institutions that are designed to first serve the bureaucracy, the administrating of the program. The kids come second.”

He was referring to big box traditional schools that serve thousands of kids. He continued, “We need to create schools that handle students’ needs first.”

I looked up “legacy” in the dictionary, just for kicks. Here’s what I found: anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.

We’ve been handed legacy institutions from our ancestors from the factory economy, in which the individual was subordinate to the machine. We now live in a creative economy, which requires new kinds of institutions. The only thing stopping us from changing them is our collective belief that this is normal, that it’s acceptable for things to be this way."
stevemiranda  legacyinstitutions  institutions  organizations  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling  learning  unlearning  human  scale  efficiency  2011  education  schooliness  schooling  schools  self-preservation 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Self-Sabotage? or Self-Preservation?
Self-sabotage is an ongoing concern. I appreciate your take on the subject, as it provides another perspective in my ongoing efforts to use it to my benefit. I’ve read some of this research about the fixed and incremental theories of ability, yet this take is interesting. So, I’m wondering if the point is “Never give up! Never surrender!”?
ability  incremental  self-preservation  self-sabotage  students  success 
september 2011 by n2teaching
oftwominds: Complexity and Collapse
"The most obvious features of recent political and financial "solutions" are their staggering complexity and their failure to fix what's broken. The first leads to the second…

The healthcare reform fixes nothing, while further burdening the nation with useless complexity and cost…

Here is the "problem" which complexity "solves": it protects Savior State fiefdoms and private-sector cartels from losses.  State fiefdoms and cartels have one goal: self-preservation…

Complexity works beautifully as self-preservation, because it actually expands the bureaucratic power of fiefdoms and widens the moat protecting cartels…

Put another way: in the competition with the private sector for scarce capital, the State and corruption always win…

Real solutions require radically simplifying ossified, top-heavy, costly systems…

The single goal is preserving the revenue and reach of concentrated power centers…

But complexity does have an eventual cost: collapse."
complexity  policy  statusquo  via:kazys  politics  corruption  collapse  power  wealth  cartels  bureaucracy  specialinterests  fiefdoms  systems  restart  inefficiency  health  healthcare  finance  self-reliance  dependence  privatesector  corporatewelfare  2011  charleshughsmith  self-preservation  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Leadership is dead: How influence is reviving it
By Jeremie Kubicek: Explains how to become truly influential by overcoming the desire for self-preservation, a tendency that sabotages many leaders today. It’s not that leadership itself is dead, it’s the way in which many choose to lead that is. It’s all about influence. The more you understand it, the better you’ll be able to utilize it and maximize it for success. That’s what this book is about. Teaching you how to expand your influence, be significant and make a greater impact.
leadership  leadership-styles  self-awareness  self-preservation 
may 2011 by unison
February 22, 2011 : The Daily Papert [Saw this happen first-hand. Saw those "computer teachers" resist closing the lab to integrate technology into curriculum. Why I dislike the 'evolved/enlightened traditional' approach.]
“Gore & Clinton are doing an incredibly mischievous thing…incremental change…has a particular way of breeding immune reactions & resistance to further change. If you bring in a little bit of change people adapt to it & then it gets professionalized. For example, in the early 80s the use of computers in schools was terribly exciting. You saw microcomputers in schools only when visionary teachers had brought them there. But when schools started having computer labs & putting the computers in them & giving students an hour a day & having a computer literacy curriculum…although some wonderful things continued to be done, at the same time there came about a professionalization of people who were teachers of this little itty bitty piece of comp knowledge. That knowledge is now their thing. They have professional associations & journals & masters’ degrees on how to use computers…once it’s built in you have a devil of a job ever changing it to take the next step.”
incrementalchange  change  education  seymourpapert  computing  schools  technology  pedagogy  systems  immunity  professionalization  self-preservation  1997  cv  teaching  learning  gamechanging  revolution  theproblemwithevevolvingschools  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
The Good Show - Radiolab
"In this episode, a question that haunted Charles Darwin: if natural selection boils down to survival of the fittest, how do you explain why one creature might stick its neck out for another?

The standard view of evolution is that living things are shaped by cold-hearted competition. And there is no doubt that today's plants and animals carry the genetic legacy of ancestors who fought fiercely to survive and reproduce. But in this hour, we wonder whether there might also be a logic behind sharing, niceness, kindness ... or even, self-sacrifice. Is altruism an aberration, or just an elaborate guise for sneaky self-interest? Do we really live in a selfish, dog-eat-dog world? Or has evolution carved out a hidden code that rewards genuine cooperation?"

[Related: ]

[Update: in case the URL breaks, try this: ]
radiolab  good  altruism  genetics  instinct  generosity  evolution  georgeprice  heroism  heroes  gametheory  math  selfishness  self-preservation  human  cooperation  niceness  kindness  survival  reproduction  darwin  charlesdarwin  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
The Technium: The Shirky Principle
"In a strong sense we are defined by the problems we are solving. Yin/Yang, problem/solution, both sides form one unit. Because of the Shirky Principle, which says that every entity tends to prolong the problem it is solving, progress sometimes demands that we let go of problems. We can then look to marginal solutions and ask ourselves, what marginal problem is this solving that might be a more appreciated problem later on?"
kevinkelly  problemsolving  organizations  tcsnmy  progress  stagnation  change  reform  self-preservation 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » What’s the Problem that Schools Solve?
"Came across this quote from Clay Shirky in a Tweet by Jay Rosen: “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.” What are the problems that schools still solve that they are engaged in preserving? What are the new problems that schools don’t solve that they don’t want to deal with? Just wondering."
clayshirky  jayrosen  willrichardson  education  problemsolving  purpose  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  lcproject  self-preservation 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Managing People on the Quick
The Harvard Business Review has a good article explaining how to be a better manager in 15 minutes per day. Here’s an excerpt:

1. Turn dead time into development time. Walking back to your office after a meeting? Use those two minutes to give your direct report feedback on the presentation, and on how he could do better next time. He didn’t have a speaking role? Ask him how he thought the meeting went and how he might have made certain points differently — and then offer feedback on that. Direct, in-the-moment feedback is your single best tool for developing people.

2. Constantly spot dead time. Look for every two-minute stretch in your day during which you could be talking to someone else — most often, that’s travel time — and convert each into a coaching opportunity. Walking down to Starbucks to get a coffee? Driving to the airport? Headed out to your car at the end of the day? Ask one of your people to come along with — and talk to them about their goals and priorities.

3. Show up in their workspace. Employees expect you to stay in your seat. Don’t. Once per day, get up and walk over to the desk of someone you haven’t spoken to recently. Take two minutes to ask her what she’s working on. Once she’s done answering, respond “What do you need from me to make that project/transaction successful?” Message to employee: I know who you are, I’ve got high expectations — and I’ve got your back.

4. Make two calls per day. On your way home from work, call (or email) two people you met with that day, and offer “feedforward.” “I like what you’ve done with the Smithers account. Next time, let’s try to keep marketing costs down. Thanks for your hard work.” Always make “thank you” a part of the message. Employees who feel appreciated, and know that you’re trying to develop their skills, stay engaged over the long run.

I would add taking a couple minutes to reflect on your daily interactions with people: What went well, what didn’t, what needs improving. That way, you can start the next day with an interaction plan to help you fill those extra time slots. Does anyone have any other tips?
Leadership  Management  Self-Preservation  from google
february 2009 by davidedwinross
Cognitive Edge - The major obstacle to the adoption of social computing
"the biggest obstacle to adoption is not gaining participation, but the IT department trying to over-constrain the system to retain control of an environment which by its very nature needs to be a evolutionary. They want to choose one application when multiple changing applications in different combinations are more effective. Worst still, fitting all the social computing requirements into one enterprise wide purchase. Its a cycle really: remember all the problems to shift IT departments away from build it yourself to enterprise wide application software? It took years. Now they are locked into that approach, unable to see that the paradigm has shifting again. Increasing costs, reducing interaction, damaging corporate effectiveness; shielding themselves behind a cloak of security and audit train that does not bear scrutiny."
via:preoccupations  socialnetworking  it  ict  control  self-preservation 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Seth's Blog: End your tasks, end your job?
"One reason for organizational paralysis is that it's easy to believe that if your tasks go away, your job goes away...better plan: Make it really clear through your actions that tasks come and go, but good people stay."
management  administration  leadership  progress  innovation  self-preservation 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Artichoke: Edubloggers as “Prisoners of the nation state.”
"We have been seduced by our inability to imagine ourselves as superfluous to student learning...If Illich could imagine a good education system [sans schools and classrooms] in 1971, why do we keep pretending we need [them] to learn in 2007?"
ivanillich  homeschool  learning  education  freedom  industry  schools  teaching  serendipity  lcproject  politics  deschooling  social  blogging  self-preservation  artichokeblog  pamhook 
july 2007 by robertogreco

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