[iDC] (no subject)

mlahey at artic.edu mlahey at artic.edu
Wed Feb 7 20:43:37 EST 2007

Dear John,

Thanks for your enthusiastic commentary.  Up an' at 'em!  Whew!

I think that responding to some of the things you wrote could potentially be
breaking points for communication barriers, so I'd like to respond to them...

> >One environmental activist has said; "if we consider the Earth as alive we
> >wouldn't be able to hurt her so much just to make a big building".
> well, personification is problematic, but surely the simple principle 
> that if one makes a change in the space-time continuum, that change 
> is experienced by all points in that universal continuum 
> simultaneously...

Well, to be honest, I'm not speaking about personification.  I'm literally
taking the stance that the planet Earth lives.  Even according to the biology
class definition, which would reqire that the earth reproduce, that's possible.
 It would simply require us to think differently about what it means to
reproduce.  For example, all of the living things on the earth are made from
the materials of the earth.  

Interestingly, your mention of quantum principles touches on that which
"scientifically" allows us the freedom to potentially see the Earth as alive. 
It also jives with many major religions, for example Buddhism, with its
principles of inherent emptiness.  In quantum theory, it is the viewer (in all
of her complexity and with major amounts of history!) who determines what
appears before her.  It is our perceptions that rule our reality.  For example,
there is a professor at the University of Hawai'i who has seen a Tibetan monk
levitate.  He saw it when he was a child.  His scientist father said it was a
"trick"/"mass hallucination".  Quantum theory says that this monk was literally
re-arranging atoms with his mind.  Yes, if you meditate intensively enough, you
can achieve even that.

SO, let me just clarify, if this sounds far-out to you, you ain't seen nothing

> I think perhaps that Major Structural principles-of-action need to be 
> considered before the details can be hashed-out or even understood! 
> I am thinking this is the part of the discussion that is missing -- 
> the assumptions around what education IS, what does success mean, 
> what is the price of social integration vs individual obligation...

It is interesting to propose a mathematical formula to resolve this discussion. 
Let's propose it otherwise.  Let's say that in education, one can adjust
culturally in order to distribute power among the participants in the
classroom.  What would be your ideal distribution of power?  What distribution
of power would prepare the students fully and yet not rob them of their

If one educates a person thoroughly, but that person is afterwards left without
real commitment to their own originality (content to contribute to a canon that
she has no say over, for example) or if they are subjugated to authority, has
one somehow destroyed that person?  

Paolo Freire's model of our current educational system is called "the Bank".  In
it, the teacher "pays" information into the "empty" knowledge bank accounts of
the students.  His model for a liberatory educational system simply rebalances
the Bank in order to reflect reality.  In it, all the participants are seen as
having equal "amounts" of knowledge.  The life experience and understanding of
the students is taken as much into account as what is taught by the instructor,
and when those two sources are in conflict a discussion results.  This "Pedagogy
of the Oppressed" is designed to simultaneously inform and empower, and it
really works.  It's much more fun than a "normal" approach, perhaps because it
doesn't require the student relinquishing their sovereignty and simply
accepting what they are told.

> I see the primary weakness to the discussion (to over-simplify it to 
> a degree) is that it appears removed from being rooted in a praxis 
> other than the praxis of writing to fill pages with reflections on an 
> other's writings -- where those others are often monumental writers 
> with little or no connection to the daily lived lives of those who 
> are doing the reflecting.
> Critical Thinking?  That suggests we need to look at OUR daily lived 
> praxis, share those parameters and be open to change based on an 
> Other's expressed experience.

which implies sharing about oneself.  It implies that we have to be open about
ourselves, that we have to dedicate time to realizing why we are like we are.

> >If the global industrial infrastructure were dismantled, what would take
> its
> >place?
> unfortunately largely a theoretical question barring the case of 
> major globe-spanning catastrophe which may or may not ensue in our 
> lifetime...  hard to imagine a radically different form of social 
> relation without a RADICAL re-adjustment of human essences!

Well, I have to admit, that's exactly what I'd like to see!

> >how would we ecologically, sustainably remain in communication with 
> >one another
> >around the world?
> do we need to?  Isn't this a case where the local becomes the source 
> for living, rather than the remote?  Problem is, when the elites 
> still have a monopoly on the remote communications...  that has 
> always been a precondition for conducting warfare.

Yes, we need each other for protection.  We can't afford to be geographically
isolated.  My proposal is limited to generalities: we need something
ecological, we need something light and portable, we need something easy to

While we're on imagining the world post-civilization...  I'm just going to lay
it out here and say, there's way too many folks for us all to get what we need
from the earth.  Your average vegetables are now around 30% less nutritious
than they were 50 years ago (depending on what nutrient you are measuring/
protein is 6%, Iron 15%, Vitamin C 20% and Riboflavin 38%(journal of the
american college of nutrition)).  I'm not for mass dying, so my proposal is
that we voluntarily have to stop reproducing so much.  It's sort of like going
vegetarian in that you can't tell someone else to do it.  In any case, as the
nutrients essential to make our bodies become scarcer in the earth because they
are walking around on top of it, things are going to get pretty desperate,
health-wise.  On top of all the other reasons.  

I know, everyone's saying, what's the frigging point of her bringing this up, we
already know it.  Well, I guess I feel like we should start discussing it, even
discussing our *feelings* like grief, about it (i know; more woo-woo new age
crap) before we have no choices left and it's all just up (again, damn it, like
everything else!) to survival of the fittest (which in our culture seems to be
like survival of the most violent or most sociopathic).

As for my current praxis, I sling beers right now...not noble at all, but I like
talking to people...


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