robertogreco + alfrednorthwhitehead   13

The Educator’s Secret and Modern Stupidity
[Followed by:

"The Educator’s Dilemma and the Two Big Lies"

and "The Educator’s Folly and the Shadow of the Future" ]

"Several years ago, a distraught mother who knew I was an “educator” called me in tears. She had just come from a parent/teacher conference where she had been informed by her son’s kindergarten teacher that he was “four months behind.” (In kindergarten!) She imagined her son’s future possibilities slipping away and hoped I could give her some advice, or at least some sympathy. “Is there anything I can do for him?” she wondered.

I told her what her son’s kindergarten teacher should have known: that no two children are alike; that each child develops in his or her own mysterious way; that a child who is “four months behind” when he is five might be “two years ahead” when he is seven.

I told her that when Albert Einstein was her son’s age his teachers thought he was slow and simple-minded and that Thomas Edison was expelled from first grade because his teacher thought he was retarded. (In Edison’s case, we can have some sympathy for the teacher. It was probably difficult to assess his school work in the dim light.) “I’m sure that with a concerned parent like you,” I told her, “your son will be all right.”

This kindergarten teacher was probably not being malicious. She was probably doing what she had been trained to do; what she thought her job required her to do. How can we explain such an absurd situation?

In The Art of the Novel, the Czech writer, Milan Kundera, claims that one of the greatest ills facing the contemporary world is “the modernization of stupidity.” In pre-modern times, stupidity implied ignorance, “a simple absence of knowledge, a defect correctable by education.” In its modern form, however, stupidity is something else. It is “not ignorance but the nonthought of received ideas.”1

Modern stupidity is closely related to what Ivan Illich called “modern certainties,” ideas that have become so ingrained they are almost never questioned because we are hardly aware of having them. “Nonthought” also underlies the “modern superstitions” that Wendell Berry has criticized, for example, in books like Life is a Miracle.2

Ironically, the field of education is as rife with this “nonthought” as any other. One example of modern stupidity is the superstitious belief that there is such a thing as an “average child,” whom a five-year-old could be “four months behind.” In succumbing to what philosopher Alfred North Whitehead called “the fallacy of misplaced concreteness” – that is treating an abstraction as if it were a concrete reality – educators start their work in the wrong place.3

In his book Citizenship Papers, Wendell Berry recounts a conversation between a well-known, highly respected horse trainer and someone curious about his methods. “How do you train horses?” the latter asks. The former replies, “Which one do you have in mind?”4

If such a response makes sense for horses, then surely, given the complexity of human development, the answer to the question “How do you educate children?” must be “Which one do you have in mind?”

Instead of beginning with the pernicious abstraction of the “average child” and tracking students into the “gifted and talented” at one end of “the bell curve” and those needing “special education” at the other, we should try to free our approach to “education” from modern stupidity. Since no two children are identical, there cannot be one best way to educate all of them. And we should certainly stop frightening parents with pronouncements about their children’s status compared to some abstract and arbitrary standard."

"“Most of what we learn before, during, and after attending school is learned without it being taught to us. A child learns such fundamental things as how to walk, talk, eat, dress, and so on without being taught these things. Adults learn most of what they use at work or at leisure while at work or leisure. Most of what is taught in classroom settings is forgotten, and much of what is remembered is irrelevant.” 10

Ivan Illich was even more to the point when he said: “It is really an alienation to believe that learning is the result of teaching.” 11

The “science” upon which the structure of schooling rests is flimsy at best and certainly out-of-date. Roger Schank, the Director of the Institute for the Learning Sciences [sic] at Northwestern University, summed up the latest research about the approaches to “learning” used in schools this way:

“From elementary school to college, educational systems drive the love of learning out of kids and replace it with the “skills” of following rules, working hard, and doing what is expected…We all learn in a very specific way, and the method schools use in antithetical to this learning model.” 12

After reviewing the various claims educators have made for the “scientific” basis for their theories of “learning,” Bruce Goldberg concluded:

“There is no such thing as educational science. When the views that have been offered as scientific are examined closely, they turn out to be not scientific at all but rather a combination of personal taste and simplistic, distorted versions of philosophical theories about how the mind works.” 13

I think the obsession with science itself must be questioned. Philip Sherrard and others have shown that the assumptions upon which modern science is based inevitably dehumanize people.14 Scientists investigating human nature are confronted with a dilemma: Either human beings can be reduced to observable, predictable energy and matter, or we must remain unknowable to ourselves. And, as Wendell Berry observed, if we accept the reductive premises of modern science, we get caught in a paradox:

“Reductionism…has one inherent limitation that is paramount, and that is abstraction: its tendency to allow the particular to be absorbed or obscured by the general. It is a curious paradox of science that its empirical knowledge of the material world gives rise to abstractions such as statistical averages which have no materiality and exist only as ideas. There is, empirically speaking, no average and no type.” 15

There is no such thing, for example, as an “average child,” which brings me back to the anxious mother of the boy in kindergarten. When she had calmed down, I decided to take a risk and to share with her “The Educator’s Secret.”

Professional educators, at least those trapped in what Richard Mitchell (and Flannery O’Connor before him) called “educationism,” keep the secret because they want gullible people to believe their services are indispensable.16 They realize that if the general public knew about it, the entire project of compulsory schooling, which costs more than $500 billion each year in the United States, would be threatened.

“If you love your son and feed him,” I confided, “he will grow up.”

“And who knows?” I added. “Someday, he may come up with an idea that will light up the world.”"
culturaldarkmatter  darkmatter  ivanillich  2010  danielgrego  milankundera  alfrednorthwhitehead  education  unschooling  deschooling  schooliness  schools  teaching  howweteach  aldoushuxley  wendellberry  supersticion  skepticism  criticalthinking  children  scientism  educationism  sfsh 
august 2016 by robertogreco
SF: Science Fiction, Speculative Fabulation, String Figures, So Far - Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology
"The British social anthropologist Marilyn Strathern, who wrote The Gender of the Gift based on her ethnographic work in highland Papua New Guinea (Mt. Hagen), taught me that “It matters what ideas we use to think other ideas (with)” (Reproducing the Future 10). Marilyn embodies for me the practice of feminist speculative fabulation in the scholarly mode. It matters what matters we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think thoughts, what ties tie ties. It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories. Marilyn wrote about accepting the risk of relentless contingency; she thinks about anthropology as the knowledge practice that studies relations with relations, that puts relations at risk with other relations, from unexpected other worlds. In 1933 Alfred North Whitehead, the American mathematician and process philosopher who infuses my sense of worlding, wrote The Adventures of Ideas. SF is precisely full of such adventures. Isabelle Stengers, a chemist, scholar of Whitehead, and a seriously quirky Belgian feminist philosopher, gives me “speculative thinking” in spades. Isabelle insists we cannot denounce the world in the name of an ideal world. In the spirit of feminist communitarian anarchism and the idiom of Whitehead’s philosophy, she maintains that decisions must take place somehow in the presence of those who will bear their consequences.[2] In this same virtual sibling set, Marleen Barr morphed Heinlein’s speculative fiction into feminist fabulation for me. In relay and return, SF morphs in my writing and research into speculative fabulation and string figures. Relays, cat’s cradle, passing patterns back and forth, giving and receiving, patterning, holding the unasked-for pattern in one’s hands, response-ability, Octavia Butler’s Patternmaster series. My debts mount. Again and again, SF has given me the ideas, the stories, and the shapes with which I think ideas, shapes, and stories in feminist theory and science studies. There is no way I can name all of my debts to SF’s critters and worlds, human and not, and so I will record only a few and hope for a credit extension for years yet to come. I will enter these debts in a short ledger of my teaching and publishing. I start with Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time, a typescript of my curriculum vitae that was part of a file for consideration for promotion in the History of Science Department at Johns Hopkins in 1979-80, and a bottle of chalky white out. I had written an essay review of Woman on the Edge of Time for the activist publication, Women, a Journal of Liberation and duly recorded this little publication on the CV. “The past is the contested zone”—the past that is our thick, not-yet-fixed, present, wherewhen what is yet-to-come is now at stake—is the meme that drew me into Piercy’s story, and I was proud of the review. A senior colleague in History of Science, a supporter of my promotion, came to me with a too-friendly smile and that betraying bottle of white-out, asking me to blot out this publication from the scholarly record, “for my own good.”[3] He also wanted me to expunge “Signs of Dominance,” a long, research-dense essay about the semiotics and sociograms developed in mid-20th-century primate field studies of monkeys and apes.[4] To my shame to this day, I obeyed; to my relief to this day, no one was fooled. Piercy’s temporalities and my growing sense of the SF-structure of primate field work made me write two essays for the brave, new, hyper-footnoted, University of Chicago feminist theory publication, Signs, and to title the essays in recognition of Piercy’s priority and patterned relay to me.[5] I could not forget—or disavow—Piercy’s research for Woman on the Edge of Time, which led her to psychiatrist José Delgado’s Rockland State Hospital experiments with remote-controlled telemetric implants, and my finding in my own archival research Delgado’s National Institutes of Mental Health-funded work applied to gibbon studies in the ape colony on Hall’s Island. The colonial and imperial roots & routes of SF are relentlessly real and inescapably fabulated. Later, living (non-optionally, in really real SF histories) with and as cyborgs, Piercy and I played cat’s cradle again, this time with my “Cyborg Manifesto” and then her He, She, and It. Cyborgs were never just about the interdigitations of humans and information machines; cyborgs were from the get-go the materialization of imploded (not hybridized) human beings-information machines-multispecies organisms. Cyborgs were always simultaneously relentlessly real and inescapably fabulated. Like all good SF, they redid what counts as—what is—real. The obligatory multispecies story-telling script was written in 1960 United States space research, when Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline coined the word “cyborg” in an article about their implanted rats and the advantages of self-regulating human-machine systems in outer space."
speculativefiction  scifi  sciencefiction  donnaharaway  toread  speculativefabrication  isabellestrengers  alfrednorthwhitehead  knowledge  ideas  philosophy  anarchism  marilynstrathern  octaviabutler  manfredclynes  nathankline  cyborgs  joannaruss  samueldelany  evahayward  katieking  gregorybateson  historyofconsciousness  hiscon  herscam  jamestiptree  suzettehadenelgin  linguists  linguistics  johnvarley  fredjameson  suzymckeecharnass  ursulaleguin  worlding  cat'scradle  anthropology  ethnography  gwynethjones  heidegger  kant  multispecies  sheritepper  laurenoyaolamina  helenmerrick  margaretgrebowicz  dogs  animals  marleenbarr  marilynhacker  sarahlefanu  pamelasargent  viviansobchack  margaretatwood  vondamcintyre  ericrabkin  laurachernaik  sherrylvint  joshualebare  istvancsicsery-ronay  shulamithfirestone  judithmerril  franbartkowsky  2013 
october 2015 by robertogreco
The End of Creativity — Medium
"People living in the twentieth century heard a lot of talk about “creativity.” People living in the twenty-first century will not. Creativity is not dead yet, but its end is in sight. Alfred North Whitehead invented the word in 1926."

75 years later, it was one in every 70,000 words published and had become the name of a popular hypothesis: that new things are created by “geniuses” who solve problems by deliberately not thinking about them — a step called “incubation” — until they receive answers in sudden, dramatic moments of “insight.” One of the most frequently cited examples is attributed to Mozart:
“When I am, as it were, completely myself, and of good cheer, my ideas flow best and most abundantly. My subject stands almost complete in my mind. When I write down my ideas everything is already finished; and it rarely differs from what was in my imagination.”

These words, which I have edited for length, first appeared in a letter to Germany’s General Music Journal in 1815, then in many other places, including Jacques Hadamard’s 1945 The Mathematician’s Mind; Creativity, edited by Philip Vernon in 1976; and Roger Penrose’s 1989 The Emperor’s New Mind. They remain popular: in 2015, they have already appeared in at least one book and one journal.

But Mozart did not write them, they do not describe how he composed, and we have known this since 1856, when Mozart biographer Otto Jahn showed that they were forged.

"Why do so many people writing about creativity keep citing them as if they were true? Because there is little else to cite. Psychologists have been trying to prove the creativity hypothesis for nearly a hundred years. Their results are, at best, mixed.

In the 1920s, Stanford’s Lewis Terman sought to prove the existence of the general, hereditary superiority called “genius” by testing 168,000 children and placing them on a scale “from idiocy on the one hand to genius on the other.” He identified 1,500 “geniuses,” then tracked their accomplishments for the rest of their lives. Some did creative work, like making movies, but many did not. And what of the “non-geniuses” Terman rejected? Two, William Shockley and Luis Alvarez, won Nobel Prizes. Terman’s results are typical: all other attempts to predict future accomplishments by measuring “genius” have also failed.

“Incubation,” or solving problems by not thinking about them, has been widely studied. Berkeley’s Robert Olton spent the 1970s looking for it. In one experiment, he asked 160 people to solve a brainteaser, giving some breaks, while making others work continuously. The breaks made no difference. Olton was forced to conclude that,
“No evidence of incubation was apparent,” and added, “No study reporting evidence of incubation has survived replication by an independent investigator.”

And “insight” — the fully formed solution in a flash? German Gestalt psychologist Karl Duncker was one of the first to study that. In his most famous experiment, he gave people a box of tacks and a book of matches, and asked them to fix a candle to a wall so that it could be used as a reading light. The solution is to tack the tack-box to the wall — to see it as a thing for holding the candle, not a thing for holding the tacks. The shift from “tack-box” to “candle-holder” is the supposed “insight.” By having people think aloud, Duncker showed that the solution came incrementally, not instantly: everyone who discovered it thought of making a platform out of tacks, then realized the tack-box would be a better platform.

These experiments, although a few of hundreds, are representative. There is probably no such thing as creativity. But Duncker’s work laid the foundation for an alternative hypothesis: that extraordinary solutions come from ordinary people doing ordinary thinking. Robert Weisberg, a psychologist at Temple University in Philadelphia, put it this way:
“Although the impact of creative ideas and products can sometimes be profound, the mechanisms through which an innovation comes about can be very ordinary.”

"This idea that extraordinary creations come from ordinary people and ordinary thinking has become more popular recently. Jon Gertner wrestled with the problem of “the great men versus the yeomen,” in The Idea Factory, his history of Bell Labs, and concluded that innovation needs both; Walter Isaacson found he had to tell the story of many lives, not one, to describe the invention of computing in his latest bestseller The Innovators; and Steven Johnson refutes the “non-explanation of genius” and argues that “innovation comes out of collaborative networks” in his new book and PBS television series, How We Got to Now.

It is an important change. We are rejecting the myths of “creativity” and developing a better understanding of how we create at a time when, because of the growing problems of our growing population, we need creation more than ever. We are not all equally creative, just as we are not all equally good at anything. But each of us is more like Mozart than not. We can all create, we can all contribute, and we all should."
via:anne  2015  creativity  incubation  ideas  ordinariness  kevinashton  jongertner  walterisaacson  stevenjohnson  innovation  robertburton  georgeherbert  diegodeestrella  johnofsalisbury  bernardofchartres  alberteinstein  ernstmach  carlfriedrichgauss  bernhardriemann  marcelgrossman  gregorioricci-curbastro  mozart  karldunker  ottojahn  alfrednorthwhitehead  lewisterman  genius  williamshockley  luisalvarez  psychology  robertolton  history  insight  ordinary 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Seeing from Between: Toward a Poetics of Interloping : George Quasha : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation
"Poetry is translation. It takes one kind of experienced or thought reality and turns it into language—a linguality or language reality that is conscious of itself in a way that’s relatively unusual. Of course this is obvious enough, and yet what’s not always so clear is how much the view of language we hold (actively or passively) determines the outcome. I suppose that, due to the attention given rather specialized emphases in recent poetics (language poetry, conceptualism, Oulipo, etc.), poets often find it necessary to takes sides on, or at least defend, values designated by words like “content,” “politics,” “experience”; this is understandable and may be useful to them and others (recent blogs by Camille Rankine and David Lau are particularly strong statements), especially in a context where respected poetic approaches appear exclusive in one way or another. Yet the simple fact that privileged words like “content” and “politics” do not have consistent meaning (beyond what a poet’s own work or a specific social context supplies) indicates that whatever we defend is not necessarily there the way we might believe it is. There are poets, as well, who center their activity at one level or another on this (post-Wittgensteinian) problematic of language, motivated perhaps by a certain vision of language or by a commitment to conscious language as intrinsically transformative. It should be obvious that focus on the substance of language itself does not mean that these poets are not concerned, even passionately, with issues like gender, racial equality, ecology, or the menace of capitalism, militarized police and State power. They may show up at the barricades, even if their work is not written to be read at the barricades.

Significant new directions in poetry have often come from outside the literary frame as such, and this might alert us to how much innovative poetic values and approaches are not only “literary” in nature, but are conscious attempts to embody radically alternative reality views by way of language. (In an important sense poetry is pre-literary, and it is arguably fundamental to the nature of language itself. Literature, in this perspective, is historically later and is constructed on poetic foundations while often running counter to poetic values. We may come to see as well how poetry can be post-literary.) Looked at in this way, poetry may be seen as language you must learn—learn by way of its implicit poetics—in order to participate in alignment with its principles. To see this more clearly I suggest a liminalist approach, one foot in a literary poetic and one foot not."

"Arakawa, collaborating pervasively with Gins, created charged language spaces on canvas, poetic action zones that challenge habits of reading, viewing and thinking at a level comparable to Blake’s all-out assault on limits of consciousness. Their 1979 The Mechanism of Meaning: Work in progress (1963-1971, 1978) unites painting and book in a way that creates a powerful event in both visual art and poetics. They have worked conceptually in a way related to both Dada and Duchamp’s developments thereof, but they always focused on an inquiry into certain principles, which they thought to have implications far beyond art alone."

"All intelligible connection with the world for Helen Keller is a language event occurring physically between her and another person. She + another create together a liminality that is the known/knowing world. Blank is also the space of an indeterminacy of agency: who/what’s doing the doing—what Arakawa/Gins call “the perceiving field.” I think here of Maurice Blanchot’s fiction with a poetics, Thomas the Obscure (Station Hill Press, 1988), in which at a certain point of shifting textual perspectivity it takes us performatively into the book reading the reader. His notion of récit (story, narrative, a telling) has resonance for all of the above: “not the narration of an event, but that event itself, the approach to that event, the place where that event is made to happen.”"
georgequasha  interloping  poetics  poetry  madelinegins  oulipo  arakawa  autopoesis  buckminsterfuller  happenstance  via:bobbygeorge  hellenkeller  johncage  wittgenstein  melopoeia  metpoeia  liminality  logopoeia  glossodelia  ezrapound  synergy  tensegrity  williamblake  susanbee  phanopoeia  sound  soundpoetry  marcelduchamp  mauriceblanchot  paulklee  charlesolson  axialpriniciple  garyhill  connections  fiction  narrative  translation  alfrednorthwhitehead  poems  writing  liminalspaces 
april 2014 by robertogreco
The Aims of Education and Other Essays, Alfred North Whitehead [.pdf]
[Broken link, use this for now: ]

"The proper function of a university is the imaginative acquisition of knowledge… Imagination is a contagious disease. It cannot be measured by the yard, or weighed by the pound, and then delivered to the students by members of the faculty. It can only be communicated by a faculty whose members themselves wear their learning with imagination."

"The justification for a university is that it preserves the connection between knowledge and the zest of life, by uniting the young and the old in the imaginative consideration of learning."

[Cited within "Fully Awake: Black Mountain College": ]
education  canon  1929  learning  universities  colleges  highered  unschooling  deschooling  highereducation  alfrednorthwhitehead  life  living  blackmountaincollege  bmc 
july 2013 by robertogreco
The future will be confusing. Fasten your seat belts. - Do Lectures
"Chris, a designer and computer programmer, asks how computers will change your life, and what happens when technology and genetics collide. The answers are complex and  we may not want to know them. His talk created more debate in the canteen than almost any other."
technology  change  complexity  dolectures  computers  computing  future  chrisheathcote  23&me  taste  supertasters  senses  genetics  science  alfrednorthwhitehead  from delicious
july 2012 by robertogreco
Teachable Moment - "The Plagiarism Perplex", by Alan Shapiro ["First, we need to abandon the mania, imposed on students, for collecting and displaying within pretty covers what Alfred North Whitehead dismissed as "inert ideas.""]
"Second, we need to teach inquiry. [defined]…

Let's assume you have engaged students in worthwhile class work and it is time for them to involve themselves in an inquiry related to it and of interest to them. Forget about "research," forget about "the term paper,î abandon the often calcified list of "subjects." Here is a proposed series of steps and assignments for the process.

1. Explain to the class the purposes of the coming inquiry: [outlined]…

2. Engage the class in a close examination of a sampling of student questions. Consider such questions as: [listed]…

3. Meet with each student to discuss and ultimately to approve his or her question and to consider how the question will be answered. [described]…

4. Examine and approve each student's list and possibly discuss further with each student. [described]…

5. Examine each student's outline or draft and written response and possibly discuss further with students. [described]…"
alanshapiro  inquiry  research  plagiarism  via:irasocol  education  teaching  pedagogy  inquiry-basedlearning  howto  cheating  meaning  projectbasedlearning  tcsnmy  questioning  questions  alfrednorthwhitehead  pbl  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947) - The Nature of Education, Educational Development and the Rhythm of Growth, Universities and Professional Training [via:]
"3 stages...[1] educational experiences begin w/ immediate emotional involvement on part of learner. primary acquisition of knowledge involves freshness, enthusiasm & enjoyment of learning...curriculum ought to include appeals to spirit of inquiry w/ which all children are natively endowed...[2] precision concerns "exactness of formulation"...discipline in various languages & grammars of discrete subject matters, particularly science & technical subjects, including logic & spoken languages...most students & teachers are familiar in organized schools & curricula. In isolation...barren, cold, unfulfilling & useless in personal development of children. edu system excessively dominated by...precision reverses myth of Genesis: "In Garden of Eden Adam saw animals before he named them: in traditional system, children named animals before they saw them"...[3] Generalization...incorporation of romance & precision into some general context of serviceable ideas & classifications."
alfrednorthwhitehead  education  progressive  inquiry  stages  learning  tcsnmy  unschooling  schools  schooling  traditional  knowledge  enthusiasm  engagement  loveoflearning  precision  romance  generalization 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Conformists may kill civilizations : Nature News
"They found that conformist social learning — imitating and emulating what the majority are doing — may also cause the demise of societies. When environments remain stable for long periods, behaviour can become disconnected from environmental demands, so that when change does come, the effects are catastrophic. ... Whitehead and Richerson's models highlight the perils of cultural conformism in red-noise environments, particularly when populations are small, but also show how other styles of learning can mitigate the problems. For instance, 'prestige bias' means that people only copy successful role models, rather than simply imitating what everyone else is doing. "Societies should promote individual learning and innovation over cultural conformity, and the models for social learning should be individuals who have demonstrated that they understand how to live with the current environmental trends," says Whitehead."
learning  science  anthropology  archaeology  conformism  civilization  extinction  evolution  deschooling  unschooling  innovation  history  sociology  maya  culture  society  alfrednorthwhitehead 
june 2009 by robertogreco
The Aims of Education and Other Essays by Alfred North Whitehead - Google Book Search
"now there are two kinds of intellectual enjoyment: the enjoyment of creation, and the enjoyment of relaxation. They are not necessarily separated. A change of occupation may give the full tide of happiness which comes from the concurrence of both forms of pleasure. The appreciation of music is really creation. The written word, its music, and it associations, are only the stimuli. The vision which they evoke is our own doing. No one, no genius other than our own, can make our won life live. But except for those engaged in literary occupations, literature is also relaxation. It gives exercise to that other side which any occupation must suppress during the working hours. Art also has the same function in life as has literature."
soulmurder  education  learning  deschooling  alfrednorthwhitehead  literature  art  creativity  work  cv  life  music  relaxation 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Alfred North Whitehead - Wikipedia
"Whitehead's address The Aims of Education (1916) pointedly criticized the formalistic approach of modern British teachers who do not care about culture and self-education of their disciples: "Culture is activity of thought, and receptiveness to beauty and humane feeling. Scraps of information have nothing to do with it.""
alfrednorthwhitehead  education  learning  deschooling  unschooling  autodidactism  culture  mathematics  philosophy  logic  sociology  religion  theology  science  autodidacticism  autodidacts 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Chris Heathcote: anti-mega: now, more than ever
“It is the business of the future to be dangerous; and it is among the merits of science that it equips the future for its duties. The prosperous middle classes, who ruled the nineteenth century, placed an excessive value upon the placidity of existence. They refused to face the necessities for social reform imposed by the new industrial system, and they are now refusing to face the necessities for intellectual reform imposed by the new knowledge. The middle class pessimism over the future of the world comes from a confusion between civilization and security. In the immediate future there will be less security than in the immediate past, less stability. It must be admitted that there is a degree of instability which is inconsistent with civilization. But, on the whole, the great ages have been unstable ages.” -Alfred North Whitehead, “Science and the Modern World,” 1925
civilization  technology  future  stability  chrisheathcote  science  history  security  insecurity  wandering  instabiity  alfrednorthwhitehead  instability 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Digital Ethnography » Revisiting “A Vision of Students Today”
"remarkable achievement...hundreds of otherwise expressive, exuberant & often rebellious youths into single room...sit quietly...listen to the authority...Such an achievement could not be won by an eager teacher armed w/ technology alone. It has taken years of acclimatizing our youth to stale artificial environments, piles of propaganda convincing them that what goes on inside these environments is of immense importance & steady hand of discipline should they ever start to question it. Alfred North Whitehead called it “soul murder.”...Some time ago we started taking our walls too seriously – not just the walls of our classrooms, but also the metaphorical walls that we have constructed around our “subjects,” “disciplines,” and “courses.” McLuhan’s statement about the bewildered child confronting “the education establishment where information is scarce but ordered and structured by fragmented, classified patterns, subjects, and schedules” still holds true in most classrooms today."

[Now at: ]
education  learning  technology  highereducation  teaching  students  michaelwesch  deschooling  unschooling  schooling  marshallmcluhan  alfrednorthwhitehead  neilpostman 
october 2008 by robertogreco

related tags

23&me  alanshapiro  alberteinstein  aldoushuxley  alfrednorthwhitehead  anarchism  animals  anthropology  arakawa  archaeology  art  autodidacticism  autodidactism  autodidacts  autopoesis  axialpriniciple  bernardofchartres  bernhardriemann  blackmountaincollege  bmc  buckminsterfuller  canon  carlfriedrichgauss  cat'scradle  change  charlesolson  cheating  children  chrisheathcote  civilization  colleges  complexity  computers  computing  conformism  connections  creativity  criticalthinking  culturaldarkmatter  culture  cv  cyborgs  danielgrego  darkmatter  deschooling  diegodeestrella  dogs  dolectures  donnaharaway  education  educationism  engagement  enthusiasm  ericrabkin  ernstmach  ethnography  evahayward  evolution  extinction  ezrapound  fiction  franbartkowsky  fredjameson  future  garyhill  generalization  genetics  genius  georgeherbert  georgequasha  glossodelia  gregorioricci-curbastro  gregorybateson  gwynethjones  happenstance  heidegger  helenmerrick  hellenkeller  herscam  highered  highereducation  hiscon  history  historyofconsciousness  howto  howweteach  ideas  incubation  innovation  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  insecurity  insight  instabiity  instability  interloping  isabellestrengers  istvancsicsery-ronay  ivanillich  jamestiptree  joannaruss  johncage  johnofsalisbury  johnvarley  jongertner  joshualebare  judithmerril  kant  karldunker  katieking  kevinashton  knowledge  laurachernaik  laurenoyaolamina  learning  lewisterman  life  liminality  liminalspaces  linguistics  linguists  literature  living  logic  logopoeia  loveoflearning  luisalvarez  madelinegins  manfredclynes  marcelduchamp  marcelgrossman  margaretatwood  margaretgrebowicz  marilynhacker  marilynstrathern  marleenbarr  marshallmcluhan  mathematics  mauriceblanchot  maya  meaning  melopoeia  metpoeia  michaelwesch  milankundera  mozart  multispecies  music  narrative  nathankline  neilpostman  octaviabutler  ordinariness  ordinary  ottojahn  oulipo  pamelasargent  paulklee  pbl  pedagogy  phanopoeia  philosophy  plagiarism  poems  poetics  poetry  precision  progressive  projectbasedlearning  psychology  questioning  questions  relaxation  religion  research  robertburton  robertolton  romance  samueldelany  sarahlefanu  schooliness  schooling  schools  science  sciencefiction  scientism  scifi  security  senses  sfsh  sheritepper  sherrylvint  shulamithfirestone  skepticism  society  sociology  soulmurder  sound  soundpoetry  speculativefabrication  speculativefiction  stability  stages  stevenjohnson  students  supersticion  supertasters  susanbee  suzettehadenelgin  suzymckeecharnass  synergy  taste  tcsnmy  teaching  technology  tensegrity  theology  toread  traditional  translation  universities  unschooling  ursulaleguin  via:anne  via:bobbygeorge  via:irasocol  viviansobchack  vondamcintyre  walterisaacson  wandering  wendellberry  williamblake  williamshockley  wittgenstein  work  worlding  writing 

Copy this bookmark: