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New forum structure

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Posted

Similarly to the new rules proposed, we're also intending to change the structure of the forum. The intention is to replace everything we have now ("Philosophy", "Politics and Current Affairs", etc) with a much-reduced number of categories. There are several reasons for this:

  • We don't have enough traffic to keep them all going, so some are barely used while others end up with threads that could easily have gone elsewhere.
  • The Philosophy section gets most of the discussion, even though the threads aren't necessarily philosophy or else don't accord with a beginner's notion of what philosophy is.
  • The Community areas are private but might help us prosper if they were public; that is, in order that guests can see there's community interaction here, not just philosophy topics. (This assumes people agree that the community threads should be public.)
  • Less categories will hopefully make it easier to place threads.
  • We want there to be less emphasis on academic or philosophy-driven content, so people realise other (especially more practical) subjects can be discussed here.
  • The overall intent is to make the site more user-driven, which means that a limited number of categories will suffice if people start creating and sustaining their own groups. For example, instead of having a Literature forum, people can start a group for a specific genre, period, author or novel; if they don't want to, they can still post a topic in a category.

Here is the proposed new structure:

  • Site
  • Community
    • Private

    [*]Help

    [*]Explore

    [*]Create

    • Creative Writing

  • Act (possible)
  • (+ Groups)

The "Site" area takes in everything to do with the site itself (rather obviously); "Community" becomes public but has a private area for Hospice content or any current threads people want to keep private; "Help" encompasses Ask The Librarian without the pompous name and making its purpose clearer (that is, to ask questions or provide answers); "Explore" includes all the academic stuff, as in "explore ideas"; and "Create" is for anything practical, from hobbies to political action and retaining the private area for creative writing. Potentially, I'd like to have a separate area ("Act") for politics, with an emphasis on action and critique. These names are open to suggestions, comments and criticism, of course, as is this structure; it may need more detail, more categories or may not be a good idea at all.

Note that the whole thing will be added to with any groups you join; for example, if you create a "Literature" group then that will appear along with the default categories. This is one way in which the structure becomes user-driven.

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Posted

Ok I thought I posted something, but apparently not.

I just basically said keep hospice private, and I don't really get what Act is.

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Posted

Ok I thought I posted something, but apparently not.

I just basically said keep hospice private, and I don't really get what Act is.

Activism, like planning anonymous pen attacks on social injustices (like voltaire pamphlets) or sending bombs a la unabomber style against corporations, consumer culture and globalization.

Nah... I am not sure what "Act" means too.:p What I aid above seems to fit more on "Create", although I am not sure if such activism would be permitted or even possible, since many members live in different parts of the world, the amount of activities would be limited.

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Posted

Yeah, it could probably all fit into "Create"; I'm just not sure if that's clear enough (maybe the description will do the job) as a location for political discussion activism. The changes are okay otherwise?

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Posted

With regards to the question of what "Act" is supposed to mean, maybe the following will sort of capture what I take to be the intent.

We want there to be less emphasis on academic or philosophy-driven content, so people realise other (especially more practical) subjects can be discussed here.

I don't think it's really so much that we want the "less emphasis" above noted; it's more like we want the site to be - and to be appreciated as - something far more than merely academic-type discussions (especially where "academic" has tended to become associated with the effectively irrelevant owing to a certain sort of intellectual and imaginative narrowness, perceived or actual). After all, even the most rigorous philosophical discussions have (or could have, or maybe should have) some broader importance, at least some relevance to some of our very lives, and "Act" can be the place dedicated to the manifestation of the philosophical. Something along those lines, I think.

Michael

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Posted

With regards to the question of what "Act" is supposed to mean, maybe the following will sort of capture what I take to be the intent.

We want there to be less emphasis on academic or philosophy-driven content, so people realise other (especially more practical) subjects can be discussed here.
I don't think it's really so much that we want the "less emphasis" above noted; it's more like we want the site to be - and to be appreciated as - something far more than merely academic-type discussions (especially where "academic" has tended to become associated with the effectively irrelevant owing to a certain sort of intellectual and imaginative narrowness, perceived or actual). After all, even the most rigorous philosophical discussions have (or could have, or maybe should have) some broader importance, at least some relevance to some of our very lives, and "Act" can be the place dedicated to the manifestation of the philosophical. Something along those lines, I think.

Michael

I have high regard for michael's prose. Always clear, eloquent, respectful and to the point.

A model for members and someone that captures in its entirety the philosophy of TGL:mrgreen:.

Okay, enough praise, otherwise michael will blush:p.

Hugo, what happened with the part about schooling and the other alternatives (you will put your views on the main page along Illich)?

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Posted

Hugo, what happened with the part about schooling and the other alternatives (you will put your views on the main page along Illich)?

Yes, those are separate documents about the aims of the site, the ideas behind it and how we hope to facilitate them. They're written and I intend to put them up when the software is upgraded.

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Posted

Site

Community

Private

Help

Explore

Create

Creative Writing

Act (possible)

(+ Groups)

I don't know about the above; I'm not convinced.

What do you mean, convinced about what?

That TGL should take upon itself this new structure.

Why not?

Well, I'm not quite sure, it just doesn't sit right with me.

In what way does it not "sit right with you?"

I'm not sure.

If you're not sure about how it doesn't sit right with you, are you so sure that it does not sit right with you in the first place?

Yep.

How can you be so sure?

I just am ok, call it a conviction, not necessarily a conclusion drawn from reasoning about it.

Your "conviction," sir, with all due respect is bullshit, everyone else seems to love the new proposed structure.

My God man, you don't have to get nasty about it, is the swearing really necessary? What, am I not allowed to state my opinion on the matter?

Sure you are, but do provide at least some inklings as to why you find yourself in the state of being unconvinced, there must be something about the newly proposed structure that you find unattractive.

Alright, for one, it's just overly generic. I mean, "Act," "Create," "Help," etc, these things can mean anything, one is likely to experience a level of discouragement at such generalities, particularly if one is a new member with certain specificities in mind. People are more likely to go from particular to general than from general to particular, and if there are no particulars due to an overly vagueness, well, might it be asked if interest in the forum may experience a level of decrease?

Who are you kidding, that is the whole point of the proposed new structure, it is not as if anyone visits TGL now, so a fear of worsening the situation is unfounded, we are already at rock bottom.

Well, I don't know about that, I mean, sure TGL is garbage and all, but hey, one man's trash is another man's gold.

Alright, we digress for heaven's sake, any thing else strike you as unattractive about the new structure?

Yeah, I am just not too comfortable with the headings taking the form of a command: Act, Create, Explore, awfully bossy if ya ask me, and then there is a bit of confusion that might be experienced regarding Help, is it 'help' in the form of a command as the others are, or 'help' as in, come here for help? I wanted to volunteer another critique.....

You? Volunteer for anything besides going first in the buffet line, you must be joking....

Keep up the sarcasm and I am just throwing this warning out there, you are not going to like how you are going to be treated by me.....

A threat? What are you going to do, sit on me?

Oh come on man!! So I'm forty or so pounds overweight and now you talk as if I'm an elephant?

** Our ever so slightly overweight friend gives the sarcastic antagonizer a backhanded slap, hard **

You imbecile! Was that wholly necessary?

I warned you.

Alright, alright, for God's sake, you overly violent gorilla, back to the topic at hand, what was it that you so graciously offered to volunteer?

It has to do with this:

We want there to be less emphasis on academic or philosophy-driven content, so people realise other (especially more practical) subjects can be discussed here.

I don't know about this, it just doesn't sit right with me.

Another one of your "convictions" ehh?

Our two seeming antagonists, who, in their heart of hearts, hold one another in the highest affection, continue their discussion, with nothing but a couple more bits of violence (this time, our slightly overweight friend takes a punch to the gut) becoming of it......................

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Posted (edited)

:lol: Good stuff, DCD. Thanks for taking the time to critique this.

The overall intention is to make the content and the conversation here more user-driven. This is something that doesn't just come about via the legal (rule-based) framework of a site but also its structure. The categories we have now mostly reflect my interests when I set up the forum and the interests of our early members; that's why we have a relatively quiet HPS forum and nothing on how to replace a car tire, for example. While I personally still want to discuss HPS, I don't want to put off people who don't - people who might, for instance, become interested in HPS if they had joined in to talk about changing a tire and gradually became drawn in.

The structure is bare because the additional levels of detail are intended to be provided by the groups; that is, if you set up or join a bunch of groups discussing literature and the arts, your experience here is increasingly shaped by your interests instead of mine, and so on. No doubt "Explore" is too vague when compared to "Philosophy of Science" but that vagueness allows the site to aim at an attitude to learning, rather than particular things that might be worth learning about.

If we get the descriptions right, people will experience the discussion of philosophy alongside more practical subjects and will begin to take ownership of their experience, thereby coming to appreciate that the identity of this site is - or will/should be - this attitude rather than a narrow concern with philosophy and related areas, which might have the result that people not interested in philosophy are put off or participate less. That's the idea, anyway.

I don't know if this addresses your objections; it may be that it's better to specify the subjects we want the site to concern itself with instead of something far more tricky to appreciate like an attitude. I'm putting this structure up for discussion so we can see what people think. :)

Edited by Hugo Holbling
Removed a word.

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Posted

The conversation continues:

So our friend Hugo wants to do away with rules ehh, what is he some kind of anarchist?

Oh for crying out loud, did that punch to the gut not set your mind straight, nowhere did he state he wanted to rid the forum of rules, it's largely just a matter of decentralization and encouraging a more active role on the part of the members as opposed to a passive role in which what this site is, or purports to be, is preemptively defined in a rigid manner.

Decentralization? Active member roles? He must have a substantial amount of faith in those who would participate here, I say, the greater the faith, the less centralization and rigidity in structure needed, if he were so faithful, why not just go ahead and rid the forum of moderators? Ah, you see, so many of these anarchists running around on the internet and all the while they betray the tenets of their philosophy by not protesting the existence of these moderators, it seems Big Brother's hand will always be needed after all.

It seems as if you need another gut punch, because the first one didn't teach you anything, and by the looks of things, judging by that candy bar you seemed so intent on devouring, and that chicken leg you are chewing on now, it didn't harm your stomach's capacity to hold absurd amounts of food either. Besides having a gross misunderstanding of what anarchism entails, or may entail, you unjustifiably demand that things be pushed to extremes. It is about finding the right balance, and encouraging user friendliness need not radically upset such a balance and lead to utter lawlessness and chaos.

I don't know, it just doesn't sit right with me.

Oh, go blow it out your ass!

**Our two friends exchange blows, at one point, the slightly overweight gentleman, who had a mouthful of chicken, stated choking and lucky for him, his skinnier friend managed to get his arms around him and perform the Heimlich Maneuver, saving his life**

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Posted (edited)

Hugo, what happened with the part about schooling and the other alternatives (you will put your views on the main page along Illich)?

I thought I'd add the drafts of the "site documents" to this discussion so you can see where it's all supposed to be heading. These are a bit rough and intentionally provocative; the formatting is a bit broken, too, so I had to use numbers.

Firstly, here is the slightly revised "About" section. If you've read it before, most of it is the same.

About the siteThe Galilean Library is a community-driven learning resource and social network, named after the famous Florentine Galileo Galilei and inspired by the sheer scope, influence and consequences of his work. Its aim is to provide a venue for people to meet and form communities to help one another learn and develop together. The Galilean Library is based on a sense of community and the convictions that people should have access to learning and education, together with the opportunity to study and discuss things with others, even if they do not have the formal qualifications needed for schools, colleges and universities. We believe that institutions and professions can be of value but should not serve as gatekeepers to knowledge or bar people from participation in learning in community with others, taking as an example Galileo's refusal to work within accepted boundaries.

The Galilean Library’s philosophical basis is derived from Galileo's experiences and the notion of learning webs, found in Ivan Illich’s study Deschooling Society (New York: Harper and Row, 1971). (See here [link goes here] for more information on Galileo.) Illich was a former Jesuit and a philosopher and anarchist social critic who authored critiques of formal institutions, professional authority and power structures of any form. In particular, he argued that schooling leads people to “confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new” (1971, p.1). His contention was that formalised education through curricula forces people to follow a prescribed path to presumed understanding, disallowing those who wish to study a subject in their own time and on their own terms. A person might be interested in learning about one or more fields or areas but the hierarchical structure of education precludes doing so unless qualifications are held or formal requirements are met, which would have stopped Galileo in his tracks. Illich advocated a different approach:

A good educational system should have three purposes: it should provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time in their lives; empower all who want to share what they know to find those who want to learn it from them; and, finally, furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known. Such a system would require the application of constitutional guarantees to education. Learners should not be forced to submit to an obligatory curriculum, or to discrimination based on whether they possess a certificate or a diploma. Nor should the public be forced to support, through a regressive taxation, a huge professional apparatus of educators and buildings which in fact restricts the public’s chances for learning to the services the profession is willing to put on the market. It should use modern technology to make free speech, free assembly, and a free press truly universal and, therefore, fully educational. (Ibid, pp.75-76)

We can identify several strands to Illich’s objections. Firstly, a person wishing to learn something should be able to do so whatever their circumstances, and a person wishing to share their own learning should be similarly unobstructed. Secondly, this desire to learn or share learning should be aided, not compelled to fit someone else’s assessment of how that learning should be structured or conducted, even where that assessment comes from presumed expertise. Lastly, there should be no requirement to fund and support such assessments or a professional class of educators where the resulting system actually constrains or inhibits what a person can learn. Instead of a system of government-funded schools and teachers with a defined curriculum, Illich advocated the creation of “public spaces in which peers and elders outside [a person's] immediate horizon would become available” (Ibid, p.76). Such spaces would unlock access to education without the restrictions on learning that are usually in place:

Someone who wants to learn knows that he needs both information and critical response to its use from somebody else. Information can be stored in things and in persons. In a good educational system access to things ought to be available at the sole bidding of the learner, while access to informants requires, in addition, others’ consent. Criticism can also come from two directions: from peers or from elders, that is, from fellow learners whose immediate interests match mine, or from those who will grant me a share in their superior experience. Peers can be colleagues with whom to raise a question, companions for playful and enjoyable (or arduous) reading or walking, challengers at any type of game. Elders can be consultants on which skill to learn, which method to use, what company to seek at a given moment. They can be guides to the right questions to be raised among peers and to the deficiency of the answers they arrive at. Most of these resources are plentiful. But they are neither conventionally perceived as educational resources, nor is access to them for learning purposes easy, especially for the poor.

Illich therefore demanded “new relational structures which are deliberately set up to facilitate access to these resources for the use of anybody who is motivated to seek them for his education” and called for “[a]dministrative, technological, and especially legal arrangements [...] to set up such web-like structures” (Ibid, p.78). Through the use of the internet, it is now possible to create such structures and apply a measure of control to investigate whether or not learning webs can be of value to people. We can give them the opportunity to educate and/or be educated in community with like-minded others, even though the requirement to own or access a computer will still provide a barrier to some.

Illich wrote his Deschooling Society in 1971 and since that time contact with education and learning resources has become easier and more plentiful for many people, although often this remains a privilege of the wealthy. However, if we reflect on the remarks above then we can see that many of Illich’s criticisms still apply, and that while a wide range of learning is possible, it generally remains provider – not learner – driven, so the formal institution retains the power over education rather than the person seeking to learn. More importantly, Illich’s conception of learning webs has gained little currency, largely because of the continued requirement for some form of accreditation as a guarantee of suitability for most employments. After all, someone wishing to hire a builder or plumber, say, expects to be able to ask for certification of the worker’s competence in carrying out the task needed and the same applies to those who educate children and adults alike. Moreover, a society and wider world that is not structured on anarchist lines is hardly likely to adopt an anarchist conception of access to learning. Nevertheless, word-of-mouth is often a better indicator of competence and people tend to use the opinions of their family and friends rather than accreditation from institutions or professional bodies. The Galilean Library is built on the assumption that it is possible to go some way to achieving the four requirements Illich laid down for learning webs:

1. To liberate access to things by abolishing the control which persons and institutions now exercise over their educational values.

2. To liberate the sharing of skills by guaranteeing freedom to teach or exercise them on request.

3. To liberate the critical and creative resources of people by returning to individual persons the ability to call and hold meetings – an ability now increasingly monopolized by institutions which claim to speak for the people.

4. To liberate the individual from the obligation to shape his expectations to the services offered by any established profession – by providing him with the opportunity to draw on the experience of his peers and to entrust himself to the teacher, guide, adviser, or healer of his choice. (Ibid, p.103)

The aim of The Galilean Library is to develop and sustain a community akin to Illich’s learning webs. Members at the site are judged not by their credentials but by their contributions, and are accorded respect in proportion to how much they help others or add to the cooperative spirit we hope to engender; in short, an educational resource and learning community that embodies the anarchist maxim “from each according to his means; to each according to his deeds”. There are plenty of places on the Internet where discussion can be found, but few where the principle of a learning web is the philosophical basis and where a framework is in place to explicitly bring one about.

Next there's a discussion of what this all means, which I provisionally called "Connect":

ConnectThe Galilean Library supports the concept of Learning Webs, which are a way for people to connect with others in support of learning. They are based on the realisation that the main way people learn things is by interacting with each other, not in school - that we pick up information and knowledge from friends and family, from conversations and from coming up against challenges and figuring out ways around them.

The main aim of The Galilean Library is to help enable learning webs. Our community offers an easy route into deschooled learning, whether you wish to ask questions of help others (or both).

1. At our discussion forum, you can post a topic or request and see if others are interested or able to assist you.

2. You can also jump into our community blog [coming soon] and ask if others want to get involved. The conversation can then move on to a forum thread, or:

3. You can search our community area for groups that are talking about similar things

4. You can even create a new group and invite others to join. If there are members who are especially helpful then be sure to let others now and contact us.

5. We then try to turn useful group discussions into essays or articles for our resources section so that other people can read and benefit from them.

Why learning webs?

Although school can be enjoyable, many people remember it as a time of boredom or being forced to memorise facts that had no bearing on their lives or that they could not understand the value of. Students are rarely asked to describe how they reacted to elements or all of their education, particularly if that response is negative (as in "why are we studying this? Who cares?"). They are seldom encouraged to talk about how they relate to the material involved, if at all, or how it makes sense in the context of their own lives. If they refuse to engage with the content then they are marked as failures; if they choose to interpret it in a way different to those in the textbooks, they are wrong and fail the examinations.

Those who are not in full-time education can attend courses but similar things happen. Most importantly, we study subjects and material that have been chosen for us and have to interact with them in a particular way or else our views are invalid. If we read a book in the library and dislike it then we can swap it for another but the same does not apply to the classroom. Why should learning be a case of studying only what the curriculum has decided, not what we want to learn? Why are millions of people marked as failures when they just wanted to learn something else?

Deschooling education

There are other ways to learn, outside of formal education. People come together informally in book clubs, cafes and other places, even though they supposedly lack the qualifications needed to be able to talk about books or anything else. Typically the participants in such groups include those who have never looked at the subject before but are curious about it, as well as experts who, in spite of their familiarity and knowledge, find themselves challenged by different, non-academic ways of looking at things. Everyone benefits from such exchanges and no one needs to ask if we have the right certificates or if we spent long enough in a classroom, repeating what teachers told us without challenging either us or themselves. We also learn from everyday situations and challenges, as well as from those around us.

Why are people increasingly opting out of schooling or finding their own ways to learn what schools are failing to teach them? Philosophers, teachers and activists like Ivan Illich and John Taylor Gatto argue that schooling is aimed not at educating children in a way that encourages them to think for themselves but to accumulate facts and believe that a limited number of choices -- whether for products, candidates in elections or positions in debates -- are all they have to select from.

Why is it, for example, that democracy means choosing between two or three candidates, each typically funded by large corporations? What about all the other options we do not hear about in newspapers, on the radio, television or mainstream internet? The lack of genuine choice caused by limiting the available options is mirrored in schooling itself: instead of making children think things through, we are presented with a narrow range of ideas that are supposed to represent everything. The result is a process that turns either people into compliant consumers and citizens, happy with the state of political dialogue and the world around them because they do not know anything else is possible, or else makes us cynical that life could be otherwise than it apparently is.

Learning Webs

Learning Webs are all about cooperation, mutual aid and collective resources. If you are looking for an explanation of an idea, help with understanding something or need others to challenge and stimulate you, there may be others you can network with. Similarly, if you can assist someone, want to offer lessons or instruction, or you have expertise you can share, you can let people know and make a difference. The main thing is to find such people and strike up dialogues with them.

The idea of Learning Webs and The Galilean Library itself can only succeed if people join in and help one another:

1. Get involved in our discussion forum.

2. Post at our community blog [coming soon] or create your own.

3. Join and create groups.

If there is no group or topic about the subject you want to discuss then start your own. This is how deschooling works -- waiting for someone else to tell us what to think is the way of schools, teachers and "knowledge" that has no value to people who have never been not involved in creating, discovering or making sense of it. There are no entry requirements here and no standards to meet -- just an honest and dedicated approach to both learning and community.

Help us unlock the potential inside each of us that schooling, government and conformity knock out of us. Why be satisfied with mass-produced and largely useless knowledge with no bearing on our lives? Learning should be a passion, not a commodity; it should be relevant and guided by what people want to learn or offer to teach one another; and it should be open to everyone.

Lastly, there's a "Concept of Use" piece. This one gives a bit more detail about why we propose changing the forum structure:

Concept of UseThe Galilean Library site aims to be primarily user-generated. This means that the structure is minimal and our members decide for themselves what to discuss. People can interact in various ways:

1. The community and its social network enables private messaging, profile comments, making friends and connecting with others.

2. Groups are created by individuals and include their own forums. The content of these is displayed on the community forum via the "new content" menu. As a default, anyone can join groups and reply but the creation of a group and its rules are driven by the owner. This means that the conversation follows the groups, rather than being based on categories or limits imposed by the site.

3. For more traditional forum activity we have the forum area but this is also only structured loosely around a few simple categories. Members decide where a topic roughly fits and use tags to provide the detail. Tagging allows others to find content and means the discussion is user-defined and generated, so it is important to add tags when you create topics.

4. The articles section features editorials and commentary by the small number of people who created and maintain The Galilean Library, with the intention of bringing our content to a wider audience and promoting the goals and ideas behind The Galilean Library. However, anyone can submit a blog post for inclusion by writing a forum post and tagging or otherwise noting it as intended for publication; we ask only that it challenges members and visitors alike and supports the learning web concept.

5. Finally, The Galilean Library hosts a number of resources written by our members and by others who have given their time to the project. These aim to support learning and are constantly open to comments and revision.

Our intention is that the structure of the site and any success it enjoys thus follows the learning web concept in being for the benefit of its members, generated by them to help achieve their goals, rather than dictating terms for involvement and forcing dialogue to take place within narrow limits. If something is missing from The Galilean Library, it is thus up to the community to create it.

Not everything mentioned here is ready but most of it is (bugs with the software upgrade and doubts that vBulletin can really facilitate this properly are the main issues). Hopefully these documents, together with the changes to rules and structure, set out what this site could be and give it more of an identity. Whether any of this will be successful (whatever that means) or is a good idea is another thing.

Let me know what you think. :)

Edited by Hugo Holbling

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Posted

:rock:Excellent!

I just hope that the users be prepared to the radical views of the site with regards to education and learning. Many believe school and education to be synonyms, but that is a mistake.

Perhaps you could add examples of great men that were not schooled (because even though it is logical that school it is not synonymous with education, empirical evidence gives a firmer ground; the users might as well feel inspired, as I do, that there were men that by their own became great) like Thomas Huxley, Benjamin Franklin, etc.

Hugo, check this essay too (if you haven't): Common Objections to Homeschooling and Replies by John Holt

I like how this site is going. :-D

Now I need to put some batteries up my $#@ and start posting because I have been procrastinating too much.:-)

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Posted

Paulus, you're making my fleeting thoughts of 'alternative' schooling for any children I may end up having a more concrete. That essay was a nice response to arguments even I make when thinking about these things or have argued when these discussions come up.

Nothing to add to the main thread except a slight concern of getting lost in a thicket of user groups. We'll see though. I'm eager to see how this works out.

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Nothing to add to the main thread except a slight concern of getting lost in a thicket of user groups.

This is a fair concern, I think, but my response is straightforward: so what? If we end up with people posting across dozens or hundreds of groups they've created then we achieve the aim of allowing our members to generate both the content and structure of the site, in addition to having a great deal of conversation going on. It'd be a problem insofar as you'd have to choose which groups to get involved with but that makes the site far more egalitarian: instead of a small group of people (or an individual) deciding on the categories for topics and thereby limiting discussion, you decide for yourself. Given that people are generally familiar with a limited number of categories and the identity of a forum being defined by its structure (which is an unexamined assumption for most forum owners, I think), it might be that users reject or become disoriented, but the different approach to creating and sustaining this identity is exactly what I hope the texts above set out. :)

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Posted (edited)

Our two friends have agreed to halt the violence and take up their conversation in an agreeable, gentlemanly manner:

Ivan Illich? I thought he died just prior to a moment of existential clarity back at the end of the 19th century......(he knew better, he was just being sarcastic)

You're thinking of Ivan Illyich , the fictional character of a story by Tolstoy.

My apologies. I must say, with all this liberal talk of "liberation" who does this guy think he is: Herbert Marcuse? Make love not war? Who was he kidding, if anything, he should have been grateful for war, military Keynesianism was and is the only thing that keeps the economy afloat. War is good for...

*Our skinny friend interjects*

Alright, alright, Mr. Benito Mussolini, enough yapping, boy, I tell ya, you have quite a knack for rambling off issue; stay on point will ya? What is your critique this time? And do please spare us what "doesn't sit right" with you.

Well, it's these anarchists....

Yes, what of them; you do know that you are painting with an awfully broad brush when you refer to "these anarchists;" they come in many shapes and sizes.

Ok, ok, I understand. I will tell you that, in my humble opinion, Illich has a far too positive outlook on man. Consider:

A good educational system should have three purposes: it should provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time in their lives

All those who want to learn? Notice that public education, rightfully or wrongfully, is compulsatory; now, I must wonder what percentage of the population is interested in learning at all. If we were so confident that our youth and adolescents were so interested in learning, why not drop the of compulsative element from education? I think we all know that the classrooms would empty within a matter of days, and we would have teachers eloquently lecturing to their shadows.

Most people just aren't interested in learning, rather, they are simply interested in reinforcing their prejudices.

Now, here again is Illich, listen up for God's sake and please put down that, hey, what is that you're reading anyways. A Foucault Reader? Cripes man! Don't you know that that stuff will rot your brain. Anyways, back to Illich :

Illich was a former Jesuit and a philosopher and anarchist social critic who authored critiques of formal institutions, professional authority and power structures of any form.

Leftists.....Always "fighting the power." I understand the motive behind the fight, and, if my conception of man were aligned with theirs, I would probably be inclined to fight right along side them, but I believe them to be mistaken. You see, they......

There you go again with those broad strokes.

Just bare with me, will ya? They fight against the rigid power structures embedded in a society because they find them oppressive and unjustifiable. If man would only be allowed his freedom from coercion, he would, like a caterpillar, eventually grow wings, spread them in their beauty and fly. I tell you, and I beg you to believe me, take the power structures away and you will see only unfettered chaos and confusion. People just wouldn't know what to do with themselves, and what's more, in such a state, we would see only unbridled competition. There is a reason people still read Darwin's Origin but Kropotkin's Mutual Aid has been condemned to the dustbins of history.

I'm not so sure, Kropotkin was, in a way, resurrected in Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis, interesting stuff, you should give it a whirl sometime. And for heaven's sake, if the military Keynesianism that you speak of is responsible for propping up our economy, might this not be a sign that our economic practices stand in need of reform? As to your contention that our schools would quickly empty themselves in the absence of the strong arm of Uncle Sam, this is only a testament to the dire need of the very reforms Illich spoke of. Yes, I agree, so intolerable are our schools as they currently exist, they would empty, and with good reason. People are interested in learning; they would seek other outlets, decentralized, counter established outlets.......

Hogwash.

The only hog, though I don't know how clean it was, that I know of around here is the bacon that now rests in your overly full stomach.

I'm warning ya.....

**Our two friends just can't help themselves, as usual, they resort to physical blows**

Edited by DeadCanDance

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Posted

Does anyone else have any opinions on this or the new rules?

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Posted

I

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Just a little aside: There are already some good examples of learning webs.

http://www.austintimeexchange.org/

^ This is in my city.

Basically you just trade knowledge and skills. You advertise your skills and what you want to learn, and people just trade with each other basically.

This doesn't look like a total failure, and I remember one time at my community college, the teacher asked if anyone has heard of the austin time exchange, and around 9 or 10 people raised their hand in a class of around 30. So I thought that was a pretty big number.

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There is a lot of interesting reading in this thread, I need some time.

I found it after a search for Ivan Illich, which took me to post 11 by Hugo.

The reason for my search was that I could not find the homepage entry about TGL which referenced Illich. I was hoping the button for more reading underneath the picture on the About Page would have given it, but it did not (not for me anyway!).

I am posting now to ask again about this, as I sometimes recommend TGL to others, telling them about Illich etc.

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Here's the page I think you're looking for: About the Galilean Library. It was originally linked on the About page but I removed it when it became clear this learning web business wasn't likely to come about here.

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