Sunday, August 05, 2007


In 1896 the famous John Dewey, then at the University of Chicago, said that independent, self-reliant people were a counter-productive anachronism in the collective society of the future. In modern society, said Dewey, people would be defined by their associations-not by their own individual accomplishments. In such a world people who read too well or too early are dangerous because they become privately empowered, they know too much, and know how to find out what they don't know by themselves, without consulting experts. - Kurt Johmann

privately empowered.

well, that about sums my life up.

and i know how to find things out without consulting experts.

so do you guys.

in the article linked above, once you get past the tiresome political bit, you get to the real purpose of education of children.

like church and state, where most are oblivious of the methodologies, the mechanisms are still in effect.


X. Dell said...

(1) I can't say anything about the connection to Dewey, for Johnman isn't quoting him directly, and I can't find a reference for it in actual Dewey quotes.

There's a reason for documentation, you know. I don't have a lot of confidence right now in what Johman has to say about what Dewey said.

(2) I figure the methodologies of persuasion work best when they are hidden.

dr.alistair said...

well, the statement stands as written, no matter who it`s ascribed to, and while it is critical to know who said what in acedemic terms, for the point of illustration we don`t need to blame anyone for saying it.

and the methodologies of persuasion only work when hidden. they fail entirely when clearly displayed.

she said...

another great argument for home schooling. of course that would be a luxury for most people...too busy runnin in the hamster wheel to pay the taxman to educate the childrern poorly. the best thing you could do is to teach how to educate yourself as you pointed out. now if they get to tax the internet like they hope to, that would be another empowerment route blocked out for some.

dr.alistair said...

yep. government has proved it`s self as a poor surrogate in most endevours but insists on being expert-by-committee.

just wait.

orwell is right.

X. Dell said...

If the statement stood as it was, then there would be no need to attribute it to anyone. Here, Johnman is trying to make a connection between a certain philospophy of education and totalitarian ideology. If he wants to say that this is the basis for a major influence in modern education, then to make that connection becomes rather important.

dr.alistair said...

i would say that it is inevitable we are heading for a totalitarian form of existance.

whether we actually get that far is a point for conjecture.

i see your point though.

i come to the conversation with the prior belief that we are in the latter stages of a designed society that will be predicted and controlled.

it is the nature of bureacrats and other experts to do precisely that.

X. Dell said...

I would agree that an Orwellian totalitarian system is in the final stages of its formation. I can see it easily going that far--actually, I can see it going farther than I imagine.

I don't see it as inevitable, though. I can imagine a scenario or two that would allow for other possibilities.

dr.alistair said...

inevitable, no. i would like to explore some of the 1% solutions though.


tactical nuclear war?

some sort of urban viral outbreak that targets technocrats?

some other kind of cull that takes out the burgeoning mechanism known as government in a way that allows for a seamless transition to a pastoral utopia whereby the meek do really inherit the earth......

sorry, that was a little too sarcastic.

i frankly can`t see a way out of our cycle of consumer debt and corprate welfare.

we are still feudal serfs with air-conditioning and dry-cleaned suits.

unless we want to turn it all in for a box under the feeway.

the last vestiges of my ego say no to that guitars need the air on.

Ricardo said...

We're all going to hell. Pass the scotch.

BBC said...

"privately empowered."

I'm assuming that you mean that you have everything 'well in hand'.

dr.alistair said...

what`s your definition of hell ricardo?

assume what you will bill, there have been no crimes committed here.

Ricardo said...

To answer your question. A world where people can't be self reliant and independent.

dr.alistair said...

yep, that about sums it up ricardo.

and that`s what the government wants.