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#561#562#563#564 Episode #565 - The World Crisis and the Wholeness of Life
(Deschooling Society 5)



Sat 20 August 2011  E. F. Schumacher, Ivan Illich (Reading), John Taylor Gatto, Steve Anderson
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Download Hour1 Download Hour2This week we look at the effect on the direction of Western society of the concerted efforts made to turn as many people as possible into non-thinking automata. In our first hour, a wide ranging and entertaining lecture from a quarter century ago, E. F. Schumacher speaks on "The World Crisis and the Wholeness of Life" in the year before his death. Then the ensuing Q & A, followed by chapter 5 from Illich's Deschooling Society. We conclude with a little from John Taylor Gatto and a retired Brigadier General on one aspect of waste by the US military.
Our first hour this week is devoted to a thoughtful and entertaining speech from E. F. Schumacher, delivered in 1976 at Findhorn, UK, on the topic "The World Crisis and the Wholeness of Life". Schumacher insightfully and vehemently attacks some of the Western materialists' 20th century's sacred cows, such as economic growth, which sadly have somehow managed to hang on into the 21st. His speech has aged well, perhaps since, although he was an economist, he eschews statistics or calculations, drawing instead on personal anecdotes and - reminiscent of Ivan Illich - presenting new perspectives. He quotes Karl Marx that any society in which most people are not happy with their activity will not last long. He addresses the lack of meaning in modern consumer life, and the notable failure to squarely address this or other essential issues such as reliance on high technology and the exponentially increasing use of finite resources.

In our second hour, we hear the Q & A session which followed his lecture. E. F. Schumacher specifically mentions television as the number one consumer of people's time, explaining why so few seem to have time for meaningful action. He also recalls Illich's noting that the modern world is eroding people's personal capacity to cope with life, and concludes by passionately challenging the notion of 'evolution' as a complete explanation for life.

Next we hear chapter 5 of Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society, Irrational Consistencies, in which Illich exposes the fake nature of the 'school reform' dichotomy, and suggests a more radical reform that asks not how schools can be made more effective at stuffing the heads of the young with their elders' ideas, but which asks why on earth should they?

Next another 5 minutes from Gatto's earlier speech, before we expand on one of the points made casually by Gatto to hear from retired Brigadier General Steve Anderson on the $20,000,000,000 spent annually by the US military to air-condition tents and other uninsulated temporary buildings.
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