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#560#561#562#563 Episode #564 - Choosing A Life of Action
(Deschooling Society 4)



Sat 13 August 2011  John Taylor Gatto, Ivan Illich (reading), Philip Balla (reading)
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Download Hour1 Download Hour2The show this week reflects on why, in the face of dire predictions if we do not make big changes to how we live, so many people feel either powerless or even disinterested to try to effect such changes. We continue with last week's Gatto interview, followed by another chapter of Deschooling Society and an essay by Philip Balla.
For the first hour this week and some of the second, we continue with last week's Gatto interview. Gatto looks at some of the multitudinousness evidence that far from being an altruistic force for tackling inequality, mass compulsion schooling in USA was in fact designed from the outset by a small group of rich men for more sinister purposes. The plutocrats who designed the school system did so, Gatto explains, to convert a heterogeneous, independent-minded, community-oriented mass of producers into a dispirited, homogeneous mass of atomised consumers whose behaviour was manipulable according to scientific principles. Gatto's interview continues into the second hour.

Then we hear a wider context for this in the shape of Chapter 4 of Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society, The Institutional Spectrum. Illich describes a spectrum of institutions, from the right wing institutions such as schooling, police, the national security state etc. which he calls 'manipulative' since they seek to mould human behaviour and attitudes so as to make themselves indispensable. These he contrasts with left wing ('convivial') institutions that do not impose themselves on people, but are there for whomsoever wishes to avail themselves of their services. He concludes that rather than assenting to an ever more self-destructive spiral of manipulated consumption, the only sane choice is to seek a convivial life of action.

We finish with a reading of Philip Balla's Our Normal Conceits – though, too, "the blackbird is involved", a varied and wide ranging criticism of the insular and materialistic worldview promulgated by the USA's education and media systems.
Thanks to Gnostic Media for the Gatto interview.
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