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robertogreco : dougaldhine   15

Uncivilisation: the Dark Mountain Manifesto
"The authors do not tell us what they expect to happen after civilisation has disappeared, but it may be something like the post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world imagined by the nature mystic Richard Jefferies in his novel After London, or Wild England (1885). In it, Britain is depopulated after ecological disaster and reverts to barbarism; but it is not long before a new social order springs up, simpler and happier than the one that has passed away. After London is an Arcadian morality tale that even Jefferies probably did not imagine could ever come to pass.

Over a century later, the belief that a global collapse could lead to a better world is ever more far-fetched. Human numbers have multiplied, industrialisation has spread worldwide and the technologies of war are far more highly developed. In these circumstances, ecological catas­trophe will not trigger a return to a more sustainable way of life, but will intensify the existing competition among nation states for the planet’s remaining reserves of oil, gas, fresh water and arable land. Waged with hi-tech weapons, the resulting war could destroy not only large numbers of human beings but also much of what is left of the biosphere.

A scenario of this kind is not remotely apocalyptic. It is no more than history as usual, together with new technologies and ongoing climate change. The notion that the conflicts of history have been left behind is truly apocalyptic, and Kingsnorth and Hine are right to target business-as-usual philosophies of progress. When they posit a cleansing catastrophe, however, they, too, succumb to apocalyptic thinking. How can anyone imagine that the dream-driven human animal will suddenly become sane when its environment starts disintegrating? In their own catastrophist fashion, the authors have swallowed the progressive fairy tale that animates the civilisation they reject.

A change of sensibility in the arts would be highly desirable. The new perspective that is needed, however, is the opposite of apocalyptic. Neither Conrad nor Ballard believed that catastrophe could alter the terms on which human beings live in the world. Both writers were unsparing critics of civilisation, but they never imagined there was a superior alternative. Each had witnessed for himself what the alternative means in practice.

Rightly, Kingsnorth and Hine insist that our present environmental difficulties are not solvable problems, but are inseparable from our current way of living. When confronted with problems that are insoluble, however, the most useful response is not to await disaster in the hope that the difficulties will magically disappear. It is to do whatever can be done, knowing that it will not amount to much. Stoical acceptance of this kind is practically unthinkable at present - an age when emotional self-expression is valued more than anything else. Still, stoicism will be needed if civilised life is to survive an environmental crisis that cannot now be avoided. Walking on lava requires a cool head, not one filled with fiery dreams."
darkmountain  anthropocene  futurism  climate  climatechange  globalwarming  dougaldhine  2009  via:ayjay  environment  paulkingsnorth  manifestos  capitalism  latecapitalism  disaster  civilization  uncivilization  art  arts  lifestyle  catastrophe  johngray 
12 weeks ago by robertogreco
Sensing & Knowing: David Abram in conversation with Dougald Hine - YouTube
"A conversation filmed in Oxford in September 2010. If you enjoy this, do check out the Dark Mountain Project ( which was how David and I came to meet. He had read the Dark Mountain manifesto and got in touch with us. A text based on this conversation appeared the following year in Dark Mountain: Issue 2."

"We began with the thought that animism might be the default mode of human existence… and anything else, a temporary aberration." ]
davidabram  dougaldhine  animism  2015  nature  writing  instinct  humans  multispecies  morethanhuman 
june 2019 by robertogreco
The problem with too much information – Dougald Hine – Aeon
"The journalist John Markoff, himself an early contributor to the WELL, gave a broader history of how the counterculture shaped personal computing in his book What the Dormouse Said (2005). As any Jefferson Airplane fan can tell you, what the Dormouse said was: ‘Feed your head! Feed your head!’ The internet needed a story that would make sense to those who would never be interested in the TCP/IP protocol, and the counterculture survivors gave it one – the great escapist myth of their era: turn on, tune in, drop out. In this new version of the fable, information took the place of LSD, the magic substance whose consumption could transform the world.

The trouble is that information doesn’t nourish us. Worse, in the end, it turns out to be boring.

A writer friend was asked to join a pub quiz team in the village where he has lived for more than half a century. ‘You know lots of things, Alan,’ said the neighbour who invited him. The neighbour had a point: Alan is the most alarmingly knowledgeable person I know. Still, he declined politely, and was bemused for days. There can be a certain point-scoring pleasure in demonstrating the stockpile of facts one has accumulated, but it is in every other sense a pointless kind of knowledge.

This is more than just intellectual snobbery. Knowledge has a point when we start to find and make connections, to weave stories out of it, stories through which we make sense of the world and our place within it. It is the difference between memorising the bus timetable for a city you will never visit, and using that timetable to explore a city in which you have just arrived. When we follow the connections – when we allow the experience of knowing to take us somewhere, accepting the risk that we will be changed along the way – knowledge can give rise to meaning. And if there is an antidote to boredom, it is not information but meaning.

There is a connection, though, between the two. Information is perhaps the rawest material in the process out of which we arrive at meaning: an undifferentiated stream of sense and nonsense in which we go fishing for facts. But the journey from information to meaning involves more than simply filtering the signal from the noise. It is an alchemical transformation, always surprising. It takes skill, time and effort, practice and patience. No matter how experienced we become, success cannot be guaranteed. In most human societies, there have been specialists in this skill, yet it can never be the monopoly of experts, for it is also a very basic, deeply human activity, essential to our survival. If boredom has become a sickness in modern societies, this is because the knack of finding meaning is harder to come by.

It is only fair to note that the internet is not altogether to blame for this, and that the rise of boredom itself goes back to an earlier technological revolution. The word was invented around the same time as the spinning jenny. As the philosophers Barbara Dalle Pezze and Carlo Salzani put it in their essay ‘The Delicate Monster’ (2009):
Boredom is not an inherent quality of the human condition, but rather it has a history, which began around the 18th century and embraced the whole Western world, and which presents an evolution from the 18th to the 21st century.

For all its boons, the industrial era itself brought about an endemic boredom peculiar to the division of labour, the distancing of production from consumption, and the rationalisation of working activity to maximise output.

My point is not that we should return to some romanticised preindustrial past: I mean only to draw attention to contradictions that still shape our post-industrial present. The physical violence of the 19th-century factory might be gone, at least in the countries where industrialisation began, but the alienation inherent in these ways of organising work remains.

When the internet arrived, it seemed to promise a liberation from the boredom of industrial society, a psychedelic jet-spray of information into every otherwise tedious corner of our lives. In fact, at its best, it is something else: a remarkable helper in the search for meaningful connections. But if the deep roots of boredom are in a lack of meaning, rather than a shortage of stimuli, and if there is a subtle, multilayered process by which information can give rise to meaning, then the constant flow of information to which we are becoming habituated cannot deliver on such a promise. At best, it allows us to distract ourselves with the potentially endless deferral of clicking from one link to another. Yet sooner or later we wash up downstream in some far corner of the web, wondering where the time went. The experience of being carried on these currents is quite different to the patient, unpredictable process that leads towards meaning.

The latter requires, among other things, space for reflection – allowing what we have already absorbed to settle, waiting to see what patterns emerge. Find the corners of our lives in which we can unplug, the days on which it is possible to refuse the urgency of the inbox, the activities that will not be rushed. Switch off the infinity machine, not forever, nor because there is anything bad about it, but out of recognition of our own finitude: there is only so much information any of us can bear, and we cannot go fishing in the stream if we are drowning in it. As any survivor of the 1960s counterculture could tell us, it is best to treat magic substances with respect – and to be careful about the dosage."
dougaldhine  web  online  internet  information  thewell  stewartbrand  kevinkelly  johnmarkoff  2014  reflection  meaning  meaningmaking  knowledge  alienation  behavior  industrialization  society  purpose  kenkesey  eff  johnperrybarlow 
november 2014 by robertogreco
TEDxLondon - Dougald Hine - YouTube
"Dougald is a writer, speaker and creator of organisations, projects and events. His work is driven by a desire to understand how we change things, and how things change, with or without us. This has taken him cross country through a range of fields, from social theory to the tech industry, literary criticism, the future of institutions and the skills of improvisation. He seeks to make connections between people, between ideas and between worlds. His projects include the web startup School of Everything, the urban innovation agency Space Makers, and most recently The University Project, which is seeking new ways to fulfil the promise of higher education."
teaching  autodidacts  self-directedlearning  purpose  highereducation  highered  networkedlearning  socialnetworks  socialnetworking  sharing  lcproject  adaptivereuse  spacemakers  commoditization  schoolofeverything  learning  deschooling  unschooling  2011  via:steelemaley  universities  colleges  education  theuniversityproject  dougaldhine 
january 2012 by robertogreco
The straws that broke this camel's back - philippa young
"I arrived at The University of Oxford last Monday morning. Arrived to read a Masters in Migration Studies. I have had a year-long public debate over whether university was a good idea or not. I have decided on the not. (At least not right now)

Primarily I'm listening to my gut, which has been screaming NO at me about once a month for the past year and a half, placated only with the heavy hand of reason that threw around cards like: "it's only 9 months" and "it's Oxford"

Then there are the voices that ask questions. Questions like, why? These are the people unfased by a name, and unfettered by debts because they had chosen not to buy into a system, or to work it to their financial advantage."
philippayoung  education  highereducation  highered  learning  unschooling  deschooling  dropouts  2011  purpose  meaning  knowledge  prestige  courage  dougaldhine  via:cervus  self-directedlearning  oxford 
october 2011 by robertogreco
The University Project
"…an experiment…to create a new kind of university…large space in…London; community of itinerant thinkers & precarious scholars; & desire to create the conditions for learning & inquiry which we have found too rarely in our current institutions.
…we will experiment w/ new ways of organising & supporting cultivation of knowledge…

…spaces of learning which are open to whoever values them, not only those who can pay.
…conditions under which deep thinking, careful scholarship & new ideas can flourish.
…space of reflection & exploration, not a production line for units of knowledge.
…to bring our whole selves…
…to treat material & economic conditions of university as a ground for research, experimentation, learning & play — rather than necessary evil we have to deal w/ every now & then.
…university in which we learn how to make a life for ourselves, not just how to market our skills to employers.
…share what we learn freely…
…learning in atmosphere of collaboration & friendship."
education  collaboration  universities  diy  participatory  dougaldhine  inquiry  learning  ekstitutions  freeschools  reallyfreeschool  london  uk  anarchism  open  sharing  knowledge  unschooling  deschooling  the2837university  reflection  exploration  play 
june 2011 by robertogreco
RSA - Education for Uncertain Futures
"Ideas about the future matter in education. The assumptions we make about future challenges & opportunities shape all areas of education—from our ideas about what curriculum should hold, our investment in technology & training, to the conversations we have w/ children about their hopes & dreams.

But what happens when our ideas of the future are in flux? What happens when the assumptions we had been making about growth, technology & globalisation come into question? In the wake of the financial shock, as rapidly evolving information technologies shift our global tectonics & as powerful strains are placed upon our planetary resources, our relationship w/ the future appears to be entering a period of critical disruption & insecurity.

At the same time, education itself faces its own unique crisis of uncertainty as debate rages over whether our traditional education institutions continue to serve a long term public good or simply offer a private investment in personal futures."

[See also: AND ]
education  future  dougaldhine  kerifacer  patrickhazelwood  beckyfrancis  carolynunsted  learning  policy  flux  change  technology  children  globalization  growth  insecurity  disruption  2011 
june 2011 by robertogreco
A learning mash-up.
"We need them….dedicated and passionate teachers and learners who see learning as a design that the learner moves, shapes and feeds forward as positive action in our world….educational communities need them, those with social imagination….experts, yes experts."

[Thomas is too kind — flattered to be mentioned amongst the likes of Dennis Littky, Dougald Hine, and Leigh Blackall.]
thomassteele-maley  leighblackall  dennislittky  dougaldhine  ego  cv  collegeunbound  ivanillich  unschooling  deschooling  learning  teaching  education  democraticschools  democracy  schools  tcsnmy  openstudio  student-centered  self-directedlearning  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  studentdirected  students  tcsnmy7  tcsnmy8  modeling  criticaleducation 
april 2011 by robertogreco
How to avoid getting a proper job - Dougald's posterous
"Our education system is constantly justifying itself as a route to securing a good job. So what do you do if you get to the university careers service and they don't have a life your shape?

That was the question I set out to talk about a week ago, in a guest lecture to students at Winchester School of Art.

It was Friday afternoon and I was in an art school, so it was also a chance to indulge my enthusiasm for John Berger - not least as the writer whose work helped me most when I walked away from the beginnings of a successful career at the BBC and had to work out what I was actually going to do with my life.

How do we find something to live for? How do we organise our lives around what matters most to us? How do the wider changes we're living through interact with these decisions? And could art school be a better preparation for life in the 21st century than an MBA?"

[See also: ]
dougaldhine  work  labor  education  commoditization  artschool  learning  unschooling  deschooling  entrepreneurship  careers  johnberger  life  yearoff  lcproject  artschools 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Deschooling Everything - Dougald Hine -
"A talk to a group of friendly anarchists about 'Deschooling Society' and why Ivan Illich was one of the most radical thinkers they're likely to encounter."
dougaldhine  ivanillich  deschooling  anarchism  anarchy  unschooling  society  agitppropproject  the2837university  agitpropproject 
february 2011 by robertogreco
The University in Transition - Dougald's posterous
"This weekend’s Transition Universities conference in Winchester was a crossing point between two things which I care about deeply:

*how we make a good job of living through these uncertain times of social, economic and ecological disruption;

*how we salvage what is good from the wreckage of higher education, and reground our learning in less damaged and damaging assumptions.

This is where Dark Mountain crosses into my work with School of Everything and the many other informal learning experiments I’ve been part of over the past decade. Over the Christmas and New Year break, as I wrote up ‘What I Learned (2003-10)’, I began to realise that this project of finding a new home for higher (and deeper) learning is the core of what I want to do with the next part of my life."
education  learning  tranuniversity  dougaldhine  highereducation  highered  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject  agitpropproject  transition  transitionuniversities  darkmountain  schoolofeverything  the2837university 
february 2011 by robertogreco
The Space Hackers are coming! - Dougald's posterous
"a new kind of spatial agent is emerging: improvisational, bottom-up, working w/ materials to hand; perhaps unqualified, or using training in unexpected ways; responding pragmatically to constrictions & precarities of post-crisis living. Btwn jugaad culture of Indian village, temporary structures built by jobless architects, pop-up shops, infrastructure-savvy squatters & open source shelter-makers, Treehouse Galleries & urban barns & Temporary Schools of Thought, just maybe something new is being born.

…the culture of the Space Hacker…new players have more in common w/ geeks, hippies & drop-out-preneurs who gave us open source & internet revolution, than w/ architects, developers or property industries…

Unlike Silicon Valley, though, these hackers have given up on goal of getting rich.…driven instead by desire to make spaces in which they want to spend time—sociable spaces of living, working & playing - as they, & the rest of us, adjust to the likelihood of getting poorer."
dougaldhine  postmaterialism  postconsumerism  spatial  spacehackers  hackers  diy  make  making  favelachic  post-crisisliving  cv  opensource  architecture  squatters  dropouts  counterculture  spacemaking  unschooling  deschooling  alternative  vinaygupta  rayoldenburg  ivanillich  schools  learning  future  sociability  thirdplaces  postindustrialism  postindustrial  capitalism  marxism  hospitals  healthcare  health  society  improvisation  popup  pop-ups 
february 2011 by robertogreco
A Beginner's Guide to Twitter | Changing the World (and other excuses for not getting a proper job...)
"Despite what you've probably read, it's not true that Twitter is about telling people what you had for breakfast. Only stupid people (and celebrities) do that - with the exception of people who are capable of making you laugh by the way they write about their breakfast.

The best way to think about Twitter is to see it as a giant, endless pub conversation. In fact, this is why I love Twitter: it's like having a little part of you that's always down the pub.

This also means it's hard to write about how to use Twitter in a way that doesn't sound s"tupid. Imagine a User's Guide to Pub Conversation. But here goes...

You could say there are two levels to good conversation: the content of individual statements and the flow of interaction. So let's think about Twitter in those terms.
dougaldhine  twitter  howto  tutorials 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Deschooling the Edublogosphere? | Changing the World (and other excuses for not getting a proper job...)
"This post from NZ edublogger Leigh Blackall - which I picked up via Stephen Downes - hails (or at least hopes for) a comeback for Ivan Illich's 'Deschooling Society', which reminded me that I should blog the video of my Temporary School of Thought talk."
unschooling  deschooling  freeschools  dougaldhine  schoolofeverything  ivanillich  education  learning  homeschool  communities  networks 
march 2009 by robertogreco

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