[iDC] Defending UC

John Hopkins neo at neoscenes.net
Mon Sep 26 14:58:04 UTC 2011

Ei Brian...


> How does the university become totally corrupt? When, in the name of
> amelioration, all of those hoping to reform it hold their tongues and
> continue to work within the shrinking space of an idealism that serves
> to camouflage what really exists. That's massively the case among UC

Corruption is a perturbation in routing of the energies that drive a 
techno-social system -- from the most optimal (as in engineered) pathways which, 
in principle, work for the collective good, to pathways of individual enrichment 
which do not support the collective good.  It occurs when participants in the 
collective lose faith in the goal of system-wide preservation and instead look 
merely for individual preservation at the price of their neighbor.  This arises 
when there are perceived imbalanced flows of energy in the system.  One of the 
primary imbalances is corruption.  Chicken and egg situation which pervades most 
societies to a greater or lesser degree, imho.

Seems to be a base condition of human social systems: take Iceland, for example, 
which rode in the top 5 or so of the 'least corrupt' countries in the world for 
the 90's and 00's -- until 2008 when it was revealed to the wider world that 
there was deep systemic corruption in the form of cronyism and nepotism.  This 
was going on all through the 1990's when I lived there, but the only reaction 
from Icelanders when this was pointed out was either a shrug or a bristling that 
the carefully tended image of a sanitary Nordic state be sullied by an 
'out-lander.'  What did I know?

C'mon, it's human nature to grab for what you can.  And where there is more to 
grab for there is more subterfuge, effort, and aggression in the grabbing process.

UC is a huge human techno-social system embedded in (in bed with) the largest 
and most powerful sector of the US regime.  The sums played with and fought over 
are as large as in any other segment of the US system.  To say there is no 
corruption is to speak of the Republic of Californian 'exceptionalism,' or to be 
hallucinating, or to simply believe that 'it could never happen here,' like the 
once-naive Icelanders.

On the other hand, when the classroom door is closed, and the obscene pressures 
of that system are for a few moments pushed back by the idealistic 
educator/facilitator and the participants, fearless learning encounters can take 
place.  But this is so anywhere, and at any time, and depends more on the 
integrity of those seeking to engage in collaborative learning with each other 
than on any wide-scaled socially engineered institutional setting.  In my 
experience across more than 50 institutions of higher learning in 20 countries, 
learning occurs despite the system, not because of it.  And in that regard, I 
applaud anyone who make it happen, anywhere, anytime, (sometimes even at great 
personal cost)...


John Hopkins
Watching the Tao rather than watching the Dow!

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