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On Bullsh*t Jobs | David Graeber | RSA Replay - YouTube
"In 2013 David Graeber, professor of anthropology at LSE, wrote an excoriating essay on modern work for Strike! magazine. “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs” was read over a million times and the essay translated in seventeen different languages within weeks. Graeber visits the RSA to expand on this phenomenon, and will explore how the proliferation of meaningless jobs - more associated with the 20th-century Soviet Union than latter-day capitalism - has impacted modern society. In doing so, he looks at how we value work, and how, rather than being productive, work has become an end in itself; the way such work maintains the current broken system of finance capital; and, finally, how we can get out of it."
davidgraeber  bullshitjobs  employment  jobs  work  2018  economics  neoliberalism  capitalism  latecapitalism  sovietunion  bureaucracy  productivity  finance  policy  politics  unschooling  deschooling  labor  society  purpose  schooliness  debt  poverty  inequality  rules  anticapitalism  morality  wealth  power  control  technology  progress  consumerism  suffering  morals  psychology  specialization  complexity  systemsthinking  digitization  automation  middlemanagement  academia  highered  highereducation  management  administration  adminstrativebloat  minutia  universalbasicincome  ubi  supplysideeconomics  creativity  elitism  thecultofwork  anarchism  anarchy  zero-basedaccounting  leisure  taylorism  ethics  happiness  production  care  maintenance  marxism  caregiving  serviceindustry  gender  value  values  gdp  socialvalue  education  teaching  freedom  play  feminism  mentalhealth  measurement  fulfillment  supervision  autonomy  humans  humnnature  misery  canon  agency  identity  self-image  self-worth  depression  stress  anxiety  solidarity  camaraderie  respect  community 
january 2019 by robertogreco
The Tangled Language of Jargon | JSTOR Daily
"What our emotional reaction to jargon reveals about the evolution of the English language, and how the use of specialized terms can manipulate meaning."



"How Jargon Can Exclude and Obscure

It turns out that, far from being objective, jargon—outwardly a sober, professional kind of talk for experts from different occupational fields—has always carried with it some very human impulses, placing power and prestige over knowledge. A doctor, for example, might inappropriately use jargon in explaining a diagnosis to a patient, which prevents the patient from participating in their own care. This quality of jargon attracts those that might want to obscure biases, beef up simplistic ideas, or even hide social or political embarrassments behind a slick veneer of seemingly objective, “scientific” language without being challenged.

Latinate forms happen to lend themselves well to new terminology like this, especially technical jargon, for those very perceptions of precision and prestige, as well as detachment. But this detachment comes with a price. The alienness and incomprehensibility of new jargon words we’re unfamiliar with might sometimes make us a mite uncomfortable. It can sound inauthentic, compared to other innovative language change, from slang to secret languages. There are all kinds of innovative speech used by certain groups not just to share information easily, or to talk about new ideas, but also to show belonging and identity—and to keep outsiders out.

It’s one of the reasons people hate jargon with a passion and have been railing against it for years, centuries even. H. W. Fowler called it “talk that is considered both ugly-sounding and hard to understand.” L.E. Sissman is a little more subtle. Sissman defines jargon as “all of these debased and isolable forms of the mother tongue that attempt to paper over an unpalatable truth and/or to advance the career of the speaker (or the issue, cause or product he is agent for) by a kind of verbal sleight of hand, a one-upmanship of which the reader or listener is victim.”

Jargon, as useful as it is in the right contexts, can end up being socially problematic and divisive when it hides and manipulates meanings from those who need to receive the information. This negative reception hasn’t stopped jargon that apes scientific language from being widely produced, by economists, academics, entrepreneurs, journalists… and probably even poets. Jargon has now become the devil’s corporate middle management’s language, making information harder to share and receive. It has seeped into almost every facet of a complex modern life, giving us new buzzwords not even a mother could love, with terms like self-actualization, monetize, incentivize, imagineering, onboarding, synergize, and the like. And there’s so much more where that came from.

When Jargon Becomes Dangerous

William D. Lutz talks about how jargon and doublespeak can often be carefully designed to cover up embarrassing or secret information. For example, a commercial airline that had a 727 crash, killing three passengers, was able to pass off the resulting three million dollar insurance profit on its books as “the involuntary conversion of a 727,” which was unlikely to be questioned by confused shareholders whose eyes would probably have glazed over from the cumbersome legal jargon.

Words aren’t equal just because they mean the same thing, especially when the stakes are high. It’s not simply a matter of knowing or not knowing the meaning of these words, or if they accurately describe facts, but what Sally McConnell-Ginet calls the conceptual or cultural baggage, the hidden background assumptions the language carries with them, the ‘ologies and ‘isms that pretend to be something they’re not. Most recently in politics, the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings showed how deftly legal terminology can be wielded to avoid or plausibly deny or confuse clear facts. For example, denying knowledge of stolen documents is literally not a lie if you steadfastly assume they aren’t stolen, despite textual evidence to the contrary. The statement “I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land” literally defers to a fact, the meaning of which is true. The conceptual baggage the statement carries with it, however, strongly suggests the writer does not disagree with the opinion.

Linguist Dwight Bolinger suggests that this is exactly the kind of heinous abuse of meaning that makes linguistic activism critical, shining a spotlight on these egregious cases where lies are hidden by omission or avoidance of the truth in jargon, euphemism, doublespeak, and other linguistic trickery."
jargon  language  specialization  2018  chiluu  communication  manipulation  english  synonyms  williamlutz  georgeorwell  styleguides  writing  linguistics  words 
september 2018 by robertogreco
The Heresy of Zone Defense | Thomas Cummins Art & Architectural Photography | San Antonio, Tx
"Consider this for a moment: Julius Erving’s play was at once new and fair! The rules, made by people who couldn’t begin to imagine Erving’s play, made it possible. If this doesn’t intrigue you, it certainly intrigues me, because, to be blunt, I have always had a problem with “the rules,” as much now as when I was younger. Thanks to an unruled and unruly childhood, however, I have never doubted the necessity of having them, even though they all go bad, and despite the fact that I have never been able to internalize them. To this day, I never stop at a stop sign without mentally patting myself on the back for my act of good citizenship, but I do stop (usually) because the alternative to living with rules—as I discovered when I finally learned some—is just hell. It is a life of perpetual terror, self-conscious wariness, and self-deluding ferocity, which is not just barbarity, but the condition of not knowing that you are a barbarian. And this is never to know the lightness of joy—or even the possibility of it—because such joys as are attendant upon Julius Erving’s play require civilizing rules that attenuate violence and defer death. They require rules that translate the pain of violent conflict into the pleasures of disputation—into the excitements of politics, the delights of rhetorical art, and competitive sport. Moreover, the maintenance of such joys requires that we recognize, as Thomas Jefferson did, that the liberating rule that civilized us yesterday will, almost inevitably, seek to govern us tomorrow, by suppressing both the pleasure and the disputation. In so doing, it becomes a form of violence itself.

An instance: I can remember being buoyed up, as a youth, by reading about Jackson Pollock in a magazine and seeing photographs of him painting. I was heartened by the stupid little rule through which Pollock civilized his violence. It’s okay to drip paint, Jackson said. The magazine seemed to acquiesce: Yeah, Jackson’s right, it seemed to say, grudgingly, Dripping paint is now within the rules. Discovering this, I was a little bit more free than I was before, and I know that it was a “boy thing,” about privileging prowess at the edge of control and having the confidence to let things go all strange—and I know, as well, that, in my adolescent Weltanschauung, the fact that Jackson Pollock dripped paint somehow justified my not clearing the debris from the floor of my room (which usually, presciently, resembled a Rauschenberg combine). Even so, I had a right to be shocked a few years later when I enrolled in a university and discovered that Pollock’s joyous permission had been translated into a prohibitive, institutional edict: It’s bad not to drip! the art coaches said. It means you got no soul! Yikes!

Henceforth, it has always seemed to me that the trick of civilization lies in recognizing the moment when a rule ceases to liberate and begins to govern—and this brings us back to the glory of hoops. Because among all the arts of disputation our culture provides, basketball has been supreme in recognizing this moment of portending government and in deflecting it, by changing the rules when they threaten to make the game less beautiful and less visible, when the game stops liberating and begins to educate. And even though basketball is not a fine art—even though it is merely an armature upon which we project the image of our desire, while art purports to embody that image—the fact remains that every style change that basketball has undergone in this century has been motivated by a desire to make the game more joyful, various, and articulate, while nearly every style change in fine art has been, in some way, motivated by the opposite agenda. Thus basketball, which began this century as a pedagogical discipline, concludes it as a much beloved public spectacle, while fine art, which began this century as a much-beloved public spectacle, has ended up where basketball began—in the YMCA or its equivalent—governed rather than liberated by its rules."



"The long-standing reform coalition of players, fans, and professional owners would have doubtless seen to that, since these aesthetes have never aspired to anything else. They have never wanted anything but for their team to win beautifully, to score more points, to play faster, and to equalize the opportunity of taller and shorter players—to privilege improvisation, so that gifted athletes, who must play as a team to win (because the game is so well-designed), might express their unique talents in a visible way. Opposing this coalition of ebullient fops is the patriarchal cult of college-basketball coaches and their university employers, who have always wanted to slow the game down, to govern, to achieve continuity, to ensure security and maintain stability. These academic bureaucrats want a “winning program” and plot to win programmatically, by fitting interchangeable players into pre-assigned “positions” within the “system.” And if this entails compelling gifted athletes to guard little patches of hardwood in static zone defenses and to trot around on offense in repetitive, choreographed patterns until they and their fans slip off into narcoleptic coma, then so be it. That’s the way Coach wants it. Fortunately, almost no one else does; and thus under pressure from the professional game, college basketball today is either an enormously profitable, high-speed moral disgrace or a stolid, cerebral celebration of the coach-as-auteur—which should tell us something about the wedding of art and education.

In professional basketball, however, art wins. Every major rule change in the past sixty years has been instituted to forestall either the Administrator’s Solution (Do nothing and hold on to your advantage) or the Bureaucratic Imperative (Guard your little piece of territory like a mad rat in a hole). The “ten-second rule” that requires a team to advance the ball aggressively, and the “shot-clock rule” that requires a team to shoot the ball within twenty-four seconds of gaining possession of it, have pretty much eliminated the option of holding the ball and doing nothing with it, since, at various points in the history of the game, this simulacrum of college administration has nearly destroyed it.

The “illegal-defense rule” which banned zone defenses, however, did more than save the game. It moved professional basketball into the fluid complexity of post-industrial culture—leaving the college game with its zoned parcels of real estate behind. Since zone defenses were first forbidden in 1946, the rules against them have undergone considerable refinement, but basically they now require that every defensive player on the court defend against another player on the court, anywhere on the court, all the time."



"James Naismith’s Guiding Principles of Basket-Ball, 1891
(Glossed by the author)

1) There must be a ball; it should be large.
(This in prescient expectation of Connie Hawkins and Julius Erving, whose hands would reinvent basketball as profoundly as Jimi Hendrix’s hands reinvented rock-and-roll.)

2) There shall be no running with the ball.
(Thus mitigating the privileges of owning portable property. Extended ownership of the ball is a virtue in football. Possession of the ball in basketball is never ownership; it is always temporary and contingent upon your doing something with it.)

3) No man on either team shall be restricted from getting the ball at any time that it is in play.
(Thus eliminating the job specialization that exists in football, by whose rules only those players in “skill positions” may touch the ball. The rest just help. In basketball there are skills peculiar to each position, but everyone must run, jump, catch, shoot, pass, and defend.)

4) Both teams are to occupy the same area, yet there is to be no personal contact.
(Thus no rigorous territoriality, nor any rewards for violently invading your opponents’ territory unless you score. The model for football is the drama of adjacent nations at war. The model for basketball is the polyglot choreography of urban sidewalks.)

5) The goal shall be horizontal and elevated.
(The most Jeffersonian principle of all: Labor must be matched by aspiration. To score, you must work your way down court, but you must also elevate! Ad astra.)"
davehickey  via:ablerism  1995  basketball  rules  games  nfl  nba  defense  jamesnaismith  play  constrains  aesthetics  americanfootball  football  territoriality  possession  ownership  specialization  generalists  beauty  juliuserving  jimihendrix  bodies  hands  1980  kareemabdul-jabbar  mauricecheeks  fluidity  adaptability  ymca  violence  coaching  barbarism  civility  sports  body 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Austin Kleon — Milton Glaser: “The model for personal development...
“The model for personal development is antithetical to the model for professional success.”



"I have posted this before, but it popped into my head again today, as it’s one of the truest things I’ve ever heard about having a career doing creative work:
When I talk to students about the distinction between professionalism and personal development, I very often put it this way: In professional life, you must discover a kind of identity for yourself, that becomes a sort of trademark, a way of working that is distinctive that people can recognize. The reason for this is that the path to financial success and notoriety is by having something that no-one else has. It’s kind of like a brand, one of my most despised words.

So what you do in life in order to be professional is you develop your brand, your way of working, your attitude, that is understandable to others. In most cases, it turns out to be something fairly narrow, like ‘this person really knows how to draw cocker spaniels,’ or ‘this person is very good with typography directed in a more feminine way,” or whatever the particular attribute is, and then you discover you have something to offer that is better than other people have or at least more distinctive. And what you do with that is you become a specialist, and people call you to get more of what you have become adept at doing. So if you do anything and become celebrated for it, people will send you more of that. And for the rest of your life, quite possibly, you will have that characteristic, people will continue to ask you for what you have already done and succeeded at. This is the way to professional accomplishment–you have to demonstrate that you know something unique that you can repeat over and over and over until ultimately you lose interest in it. The consequence of specialization and success is that it hurts you. It hurts you because it basically doesn’t aid in your development.

The truth of the matter is that understanding development comes from failure. People begin to get better when they fail, they move towards failure, they discover something as a result of failing, they fail again, they discover something else, they fail again, they discover something else. So the model for personal development is antithetical to the model for professional success. As a result of that, I believe that Picasso as a model is the most useful model you can have in terms of your artistic interests, because whenever Picasso learned how to do something he abandoned it, and as a result of that, in terms of his development as an artist, the results were extraordinary. It is the opposite of what happens in the typecasting for professional accomplishment.

Emphasis mine."
success  personaldevelopment  professionalism  miltonglaser  careers  identity  notoriety  personalbranding  specialization  expertise  accomplishment  stasis  failure  risk  risktaking  cv  neoteny  lifelonglearning  learning  howwelearn  life  living 
june 2017 by robertogreco
POLITICAL THEORY - Karl Marx - YouTube
"Karl Marx remains deeply important today not as the man who told us what to replace capitalism with, but as someone who brilliantly pointed out certain of its problems. The School of Life, a pro-Capitalist institution, takes a look.



FURTHER READING

“Most people agree that we need to improve our economic system somehow. It threatens our planet through excessive consumption, distracts us with irrelevant advertising, leaves people hungry and without healthcare, and fuels unnecessary wars. Yet we’re also often keen to dismiss the ideas of its most famous and ambitious critic, Karl Marx. This isn’t very surprising. In practice, his political and economic ideas have been used to design disastrously planned economies and nasty dictatorships. Frankly, the remedies Marx proposed for the ills of the world now sound a bit demented. He thought we should abolish private property. People should not be allowed to own things. At certain moments one can sympathise. But it’s like wanting to ban gossip or forbid watching television. It’s going to war with human behaviour. And Marx believed the world would be put to rights by a dictatorship of the proletariat; which does not mean anything much today. Openly Marxist parties received a total of only 1,685 votes in the 2010 UK general election, out of the nearly 40 million ballots cast…”"
karlmarx  marxism  capitalism  2014  work  labor  specialization  purpose  alienation  disconnection  hierarchy  efficiency  communism  belonging  insecurity  economics  primitiveaccumulation  accumulation  profit  theft  exploitation  instability  precarity  crises  abundance  scarcity  shortage  productivity  leisure  unemployment  freedom  employment  inequality  wealth  wealthdistribution  marriage  relationships  commodityfetishism  feminism  oppression  ideology  values  valuejudgements  worth  consumerism  materialism  anxiety  competition  complacency  conformity  communistmanifesto  inheritance  privateproperty  banking  communication  transportation  eduction  publiceducation  frederickengels  generalists  specialists  daskapital 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Austin Kleon — Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society Schools are...
"Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society
Schools are designed on the assumption that there is a secret to everything in life; that the quality of life depends on knowing that secret; that secrets can be known only in orderly successions; and that only teachers can properly reveal these secrets.

Intense book to add to the unschooling shelf. Published in 1972, probably still as radical now as it was then, as many of the “symptoms” of the schooled society he describes have only gotten worse. Some of the big ones, below:

“School is the advertising agency which makes you believe you need the society as it is.”
The pupil is… “schooled” to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new. His imagination is “schooled” to accept service in place of value. Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, social work for the improvement of community life, police protection for safety, military poise for national security, the rat race for productive work.

“School is an institution built on axiom that learning is the result of teaching.”
Teaching, it is true, may contribute to certain kinds of learning under certain circumstances. But most people acquire most of their knowledge outside school… Most learning is not the result of instruction. It is rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful setting.

Most learning happens outside of the classroom.
Most learning happens casually, and even most intentional learning is not the result of programmed instruction. Normal children learn their first language casually, although faster if their parents pay attention to them. Most people who learn a second language well do so as a result of odd circumstances and not of sequential teaching. They go to live with their grandparents, they travel, or they fall in love with a foreigner. Fluency in reading is also more often than not a result of such extracurricular activities. Most people who read widely, and with pleasure, merely believe that they learned to do so in school; when challenged, they easily discard this illusion.

“The public is indoctrinated to believe that skills are valuable and reliable only if they are the result of formal schooling.”
School teaches us that instruction produces learning. The existence of schools produces the demand for schooling. Once we have learned to need school, all our activities tend to take the shape of client relationships to other specialized institutions. Once the self-taught man or woman has been discredited, all nonprofessional activity is rendered suspect. In school we are taught that valuable learning is the result of attendance; that the value of learning increases with the amount of input; and, finally, that this value can be measured and documented by grades and certificates.

“School initiates young people into a world where everything can be measured, including their imaginations, and, indeed, man himself…”
People who submit to the standard of others for the measure of their own personal growth soon apply the same ruler to themselves. They no longer have to be put in their place, but put themselves into their assigned slots, squeeze themselves into the niche which they have been taught to seek, and, in the very process, put their fellows into their places, too, until everybody and everything fits. People who have been schooled down to size let unmeasured experience slip out of their hands. To them, what cannot be measured becomes secondary, threatening. They do not have to be robbed of their creativity."
austinkleon  ivanillich  deschooling  unschooling  learning  schools  society  deschoolingsociety  life  living  self-directed  self-directedlearning  schooliness  fluency  reading  howwelearn  howweteach  education  sfsh  lcproject  openstudioproject  children  professionalization  ratings  rankings  grading  hierarchy  credentials  dependency  autoritarianism  freedom  autonomy  institutions  institutionalization  foreignlanguages  talking  specialization  personalgrowth  experience  experientiallearning 
november 2016 by robertogreco
on expertise - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
"One of the most common refrains in the aftermath of the Brexit vote was that the British electorate had acted irrationally in rejecting the advice and ignoring the predictions of economic experts. But economic experts have a truly remarkable history of getting things wrong. And it turns out, as Daniel Kahneman explains in Thinking, Fast and Slow, that there is a close causal relationship between being an expert and getting things wrong:
People who spend their time, and earn their living, studying a particular topic produce poorer predictions than dart-throwing monkeys who would have distributed their choices evenly over the options. Even in the region they knew best, experts were not significantly better than nonspecialists. Those who know more forecast very slightly better than those who know less. But those with the most knowledge are often less reliable. The reason is that the person who acquires more knowledge develops an enhanced illusion of her skill and becomes unrealistically overconfident. “We reach the point of diminishing marginal predictive returns for knowledge disconcertingly quickly,” [Philip] Tetlock writes. “In this age of academic hyperspecialization, there is no reason for supposing that contributors to top journals—distinguished political scientists, area study specialists, economists, and so on—are any better than journalists or attentive readers of The New York Times in ‘reading’ emerging situations.” The more famous the forecaster, Tetlock discovered, the more flamboyant the forecasts. “Experts in demand,” he writes, “were more overconfident than their colleagues who eked out existences far from the limelight.”

So in what sense would it be rational to trust the predictions of experts? We all need to think more about what conditions produce better predictions — and what skills and virtues produce better predictors. Tetlock and Gardner have certainly made a start on that:
The humility required for good judgment is not self-doubt – the sense that you are untalented, unintelligent, or unworthy. It is intellectual humility. It is a recognition that reality is profoundly complex, that seeing things clearly is a constant struggle, when it can be done at all, and that human judgment must therefore be riddled with mistakes. This is true for fools and geniuses alike. So it’s quite possible to think highly of yourself and be intellectually humble. In fact, this combination can be wonderfully fruitful. Intellectual humility compels the careful reflection necessary for good judgment; confidence in one’s abilities inspires determined action....

What's especially interesting here is the emphasis not on knowledge but on character — what's needed is a certain kind of person, and especially the kind of person who is humble.

Now ask yourself this: Where does our society teach, or even promote, humility?"
experts  expertise  authority  alanjacobs  psychology  2016  danielkahneman  philiptetlock  brexit  economics  politics  predictions  dangardner  judgement  self-doubt  intellect  reality  complexity  clarity  character  hyperspecialization  specialists  specialization 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Intensification without representation – a recipe for collapse | Lebenskünstler
"Inspired by M. Jahi Chappell (title above), Ivan Illich (relationship of energy consumption, social/economic inequality, and specialization) and Joseph Tainter (quote below). Needless to say the arts are subject to the same law of declining marginal returns. Also note that there is immense energy consumption involved in administrators maintaining the social coercion necessary for institutional buy in from the administered."
randallszott  participatorydemocracy  democracy  infrastructure  specialization  technocracy  technology  inequality  community  representation  hierarchy  horizontality  mjahichappell  ivanillich  josephtainter  energy  energyconsumption  socialcoercion  coercion  administration  management  leadership 
june 2016 by robertogreco
From A Pedagogy for Liberation to Liberation from Pedagogy [.pdf]
Gustavo Esteva
Madhu S. Prakash
Dana L. Stuchul

"At the end of his life, Freire wrote a short book, Pedagogía de la autonomía. (Freire, 1997) In it, he offers a meditation on his life and work, while returning to his most important themes. Freire reminds us that his education, his pedagogy, is pointedly and purposively ideological and interventionist. It requires mediators. Here again, it addresses those mediators: a final call to involve them in the crusade.
The leitmotiv of the book, the thread woven through every page as it occurred everyday in the life of Freire, is the affirmation of the universal ethic of the human being --- universal love as an ontological vocation. He recognizes its historical character. And he reminds us that it is not any ethic: it is the ethic of human solidarity. (Freire, 1996, p.124) Freire promotes a policy of human development, privileging men and humans, rather than profit. (Freire, 1996, p.125) He proclaims solidarity as a historical commitment of men and women, as one of the forms of struggle capable of promoting and instilling the universal ethic of the human being. (Freire, 1997, p.13)

Similar to liberation theology (an option for the poor) courageously adopted by an important sector of the Catholic Church in Latin America, Freire finds a foundation and a destiny for his theory and practice in the ideal of solidarity. Solidarity expresses an historical commitment based on a universal ethics. Solidarity legitimizes intervention in the lives of others in order to conscienticize them. Derived from charity, caritas, the Greek and Latin word for love, and motivated by care, by benevolence, by love for the other, conscientization becomes a universal, ethical imperative.

Certainly, Freire was fully aware of the nature of modern aid; of what he called false generosity. He identified clearly the disabling and damaging impact of all kinds of such aid. Yet, for all of his clarity and awareness, he is unable to focus his critique on service: particularly that service provided by service professionals. Freire's specific blindness is an inability to identify the false premises and dubious interventions --- in the name of care --- of one specific class of service professionals: educators.

In its modern institutional form, qua service, care is the mask of love. This mask is not a false face. The modernized service-provider believes in his care and love, perhaps more than even the serviced. The mask is the face. (McKnight, 1977, p.73) Yet, the mask of care and love obscure the economic nature of service, the economic interests behind it. Even worse, this mask hides the disabling nature of service professions, like education.

All of the caring, disabling professions are based on the assumption or presupposition of a lack, a deficiency, a need, that the professional service can best satisfy. The very modern creation of the needy man, a product of economic society, of capitalism, and the very mechanism through which needs are systematically produced in the economic society, are hidden behind the idea of service. Once the need is identified, the necessity of service becomes evident. It is a mechanism analogous to the one used by an expert to transmogrify a situation into a "problem" whose solution --- usually including his own services --- he proposes.

In this way, Freire constructed the human need for the conscience he conceived. In attributing such need to his oppressed, he also constructed the process to satisfy it: conscientization. Thus, the process reifies the need and the outcome: only conscientization can address the need for an improved conscience and consciousness and only education can deliver conscientization. This educational servicing of the oppressed, however, is masked: as care, love, vocation, historical commitment, as an expression of Freire's universal ethic of solidarity. Freire's blindness is his inability to perceive the disabling effect of his various activities or strategies of conscientization. He seems unaware that the business of modern society is service and that social service in modern society is business. (McKnight, 1997, p.69) Today, economic powers like the USA pride themselves in being post-industrial: that is, the replacement of smoke stacks and sweatshops moved to the South, with an economy retooled for global supremacy in providing service. With ever increasing needs, satisfaction of these needs requires more service resulting in unlimited economic growth.

Freire was also unaware that solidarity, both the word and the idea, are today the new mask of aid and development, of care and love. For example, in the 1990s, the neoliberal government of Mexican president Carlos Salinas used a good portion of the funds obtained through privatization to implement the Programa Nacional de Solidaridad. The program was celebrated by the World Bank as the best social program in the world. It is now well documented that, like all other wars against poverty, it was basically a war waged against the poor, widening and deepening the condition it was supposed to cure, a condition that, in the first place, was aggravated by the policies associated with the neoliberal credo.

Freire could not perceive the corruption of love through caring, through service. Furthermore, he was unable to perceive that the very foundation of his own notion of universal, globalized love, God's love for his children through Christ, is also a corruption of Christianity. (Cayley, 2000)

Freire was particularly unable to perceive the impact of the corruption which occurs when the oppressed are transformed into the objects of service: as clients, beneficiaries, and customers. Having created a radical separation between his oppressed and their educators, Freire was unsuccessful in bringing them together, despite all his attempts to do so through his dialogue, his deep literacy --- key words for empowerment and participation. All these pedagogical and curricular tools of education prove themselves repeatedly to be counterproductive: they produce the opposite of what they pretend to create. Instead of liberation, they add to the lives of oppressed clients, more chains and more dependency on the pedagogy and curricula of the mediator.iii.

During the last several centuries, all kinds of agents have pretended to "liberate" pagans, savages, natives, the oppressed, the under-developed, the uneducated, under-educated, and the illiterate in the name of the Cross, civilization (i.e. Westernization), capitalism or socialism, human rights, democracy, a universal ethic, progress or any other banner of development. Every time the mediator conceptualizes the category or class of the oppressed in his/her own terms, with his/her own ideology, he is morally obligated to evangelize: to promote among them, for their own good, the kind of transformation he or she defines as liberation. Yet, a specific blindness seems to be the common denominator among these mediators: an awareness of their own oppression. In assuming that they have succeeded in reaching an advanced level or stage of awareness, conscience, or even liberation (at least in theory, in imagination, in dreams), and in assuming, even more, that what their oppressed lack is this specific notion or stage, they assume and legitimate their own role as liberators. Herein, they betray their intentions.

In response to colonization, Yvonne Dion-Buffalo and John Mohawk recently suggested that colonized peoples have three choices: 1) to become good subjects, accepting the premises of the modern West without much question, 2) to become bad subjects, always resisting the parameters of the colonizing world, or 3) to become non-subjects, acting and thinking in ways far removed from those of the modern West. (Quoted in Esteva and Prakash, 1998, p.45)"



"In his denunciation of the discrimination suffered by the illiterate, Freire does not see, smell, imagine or perceive the differential reality of the oral world. While aspiring to eliminate all these forms of discrimination from the planet, he takes for granted, without more critical consideration, that reading and writing are fundamental basic needs for all humans. And, he embraces the implications of such assumptions: that the illiterate person is not a full human being.

Freire's pedagogic method requires that literacy should be rooted in the socio- political context of the illiterate. He is convinced that in and through such a process, they would acquire a critical judgement about the society in which they suffer oppression. But he does not take into account any critical consideration of the oppressive and alienating character implicit in the tool itself, the alphabet. He can not bring his reflection and practice to the point in which it is possible, like with many other modern tools, to establish clear limits to the alphabet in order to create the conditions for the oppressed to critically use the alphabet instead of being used by it."



"IV. Resisting Love: The Case Against Education

Freire's central presupposition: that education is a universal good, part and parcel of the human condition, was never questioned, in spite of the fact that he was personally exposed, for a long time, to an alternative view. This seems to us at least strange, if not abhorrent.
Freire was explicitly interested in the oppressed. His entire life and work were presented as a vocation committed to assuming their view, their interests. Yet, he ignored the plain fact that for the oppressed, the social majorities of the world, education has become one of the most humiliating and disabling components of their oppression: perhaps, even the very worst.



"For clarifying the issues of this essay, we chose to reflect on the life, the work, and the teachings of Gandhi, Subcommandante Marcos and Wendell Berry. Purposely, we juxtapose them to exacerbate their radical and dramatic differences. Is it absurd to even place them under the umbrella of public and private virtues we dwell on as we … [more]
gustavoesteva  madhuprakash  danastuchul  liberation  pedagogy  pedagogyoftheoppressed  wendellberry  solidarity  care  love  caring  carlossalinas  neoliberalism  teaching  howweteach  education  conscientization  liberationtheology  charity  service  servicelearning  economics  oppression  capitalism  mediators  leadership  evangelization  yvonnedion-buffalo  johnmohawk  legibility  decolonization  colonialism  karlmarx  ivanillich  technology  literacy  illegibility  bankingeducation  oraltradition  plato  text  writing  memory  communication  justice  modernism  class  inequality  humility  zapatistas  comandantemarcos  parochialism  globalphilia  resistance  canon  gandhi  grassroots  hope  individuality  newness  sophistication  specialization  professionalization  dislocation  evolution  careerism  alienation  self-knowledge  schooling  schools  progress  power  victimization  slow  small 
may 2016 by robertogreco
A continuum along which soil practice and social practice occur | Lebenskünstler
"the art system has become industrial agriculture
aesthetic ecology as gardening – learn from your grandmother and your neighbor, pick up some magazines or books, watch some YouTube videos and get growing, no gatekeepers, no degrees required

the art system says the only real gardening is done by experts

seed saving (AE) vs. industrial ag research (AS) – person to person innovation (AE) vs. institutionally controlled validation (AS)

museums, galleries, and universities act much like Monsanto taking up vernacular practices, formalizing them, squeezing the living core out, and controlling their distribution and viability

aesthetic ecology favors diversity – formal, institutional practices, but also backyard gardeners, community gardeners, homesteaders, etc"
art  gardening  linear  linearity  cycles  sustainability  2016  randallszott  amateurs  amateurism  ecology  professionalization  capitlalism  elitism  specialization  generalists  distributed  centralization  permaculture  agriculture  growth  economics  museums  control  distribution  diversity  institutions  institutionalization  aesthetics  socialpractice 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Comprehensive Designer - SML Wiki
"Comprehensive designer = artist + inventor + mechanic + objective economist + evolutionary strategist
Synonym: comprehensivist
Antonym: specialist

Quotes from the Internet

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/turner06/turner06_index.html

In a 1963 volume called Ideas and Integrities, a book that would have a strong impact on USCO and Stewart Brand, Fuller named this individual the "Comprehensive Designer."

According to Fuller, the Comprehensive Designer would not be another specialist, but would instead stand outside the halls of industry and science, processing the information they produced, observing the technologies they developed, and translating both into tools for human happiness. Unlike specialists, the Comprehensive Designer would be aware of the system's need for balance and the current deployment of its resources. He would then act as a "harvester of the potentials of the realm," gathering up the products and techniques of industry and redistributing them in accord with the systemic patterns that only he and other comprehensivists could perceive.

To do this work, the Designer would need to have access to all of the information generated within America's burgeoning technocracy while at the same time remaining outside it. He would need to become "an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist." Constantly poring over the population surveys, resource analyses, and technical reports produced by states and industries, but never letting himself become a full-time employee of any of these, the Comprehensive Designer would finally see what the bureaucrat could not: the whole picture.

Being able to see the whole picture would allow the Comprehensive Designer to realign both his individual psyche and the deployment of political power with the laws of nature. In contrast to the bureaucrat, who, so many critics of technocracy had suggested, had been psychologically broken down by the demands of his work, the Comprehensive Designer would be intellectually and emotionally whole.

Neither engineer nor artist, but always both simultaneously, he would achieve psychological integration even while working with the products of technocracy. Likewise, whereas bureaucrats exerted their power by means of political parties and armies and, in Fuller's view, thus failed to properly distribute the world's resources, the Comprehensive Designer would wield his power systematically. That is, he would analyze the data he had gathered, attempt to visualize the world's needs now and in the future, and then design technologies that would meet those needs. Agonistic politics, Fuller implied, would become irrelevant. What would change the world was "comprehensive anticipatory design science.'"

[via: https://twitter.com/shahwang/status/609125189692096512 ]
generalists  comprehensivists  via:sha  specialists  specialization  art  artists  cv  see-minglee  stewartbrand  creativegeneralists  buckminsterfuller  comprehensivedesigner  design  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  transdisciplinary 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Leon Botstein for Democracy Journal: Are We Still Making Citizens?
[via: http://willrichardson.com/post/115896934920/on-secret-keeping-and-forgetting ]

"Democracy requires a commitment to the public good. But for a long time now, our citizens have been taught to see themselves as only private actors."



"What the European émigrés discovered was a reality that partially resembled these principles. They saw from the outside, as it were, how vital the connection is between how we structure our schools and our capacity to maintain a functioning pluralist democracy. John Dewey, America’s greatest thinker on education since Mann, guided the ideology of public education. For Dewey, the justification for the proper pedagogy was not primarily political; his conception of teaching and learning derived largely from an epistemological conceit within Pragmatism. But for the European émigrés, the contrast between the school systems from which they came and the school system in the country in which they arrived—the virtue and attraction of American educational practice—was significant in terms of its political consequences.

In those years, the defining factor in the American system was the idea of a single, unitary public school system in which everybody enrolled. All citizens went to the same sort of schools through to the end of secondary school. Private schools were an elite phenomenon and relatively insignificant. Most European public systems, by contrast, were intentionally segregated by ability, creating distinct groups beginning at age 11. The state, using examinations, divided the school population into varying categories, each of which maintained a different track. The majority of citizens never completed school beyond elementary school. Some percentage went on to vocational schooling. A very small segment of the population went, as adolescents, either to a humanistic academic high school (Gymnasium) or to a less prestigious practical and science-oriented high school (Realschule) and received a secondary-school diploma. A Matura or Abitur, the diploma from these two types of secondary schools, permitted an elite student to enroll in the university.

Consequently, the unitary public school system that kept all children together until college and that built citizens of character, devoted to democratic values, was viewed by the émigré generation as a marvel. American education appeared to fit the idea that the nation and democracy were tied to a homogeneity of rights, and that diverse constituencies could not only obtain equal legal status but through education achieve the means to realize it in economic and social terms. Citizenship via a nominally nondiscriminatory and standard process accessible to all irrespective of birth, religion, ethnicity, or even language was unheard of in Europe, but it—and the concrete advantages education added—seemed possible in America.

Higher education was no less eye-opening. Undergraduates delayed specialization and studied more than one subject. They were, from the start, asked to do far more writing that called for the expression of their own arguments and judgments. What was equally shocking to a European was the way in which the American university system seemed immensely flexible and open to new ideas. There was not a rigid hierarchy with one professor running each “faculty.” Young scholars did not have to wait for their elders to retire or die. The university was able to create new fields and new positions. Not only was there less hierarchy and formality, but in graduate education there was even less deference to authority than in the public school system. The dissenter, rebel, and ambitious entrepreneur were prized more than in Europe. In terms of graduate education and academic career advancement, American university practice still stands in contrast to that of Europe.

That was the good news. The bad news was that the academic standards by which the American common school system operated seemed horrifically low. The price paid by the democratic culture of the American school system, the émigré observers concluded, was the low level of shared culture achieved at the end of secondary public education. Freshmen could not read or write properly, and they possessed little understanding of literature, art, philosophy, or history. The thinly veiled (at best) snobbery of the mid-century émigré scholars simply exploded when their members (such as Werner Jaeger, Leo Strauss, and Kurt Wolff) came to teach American college students."



"I distrust private languages and the tendency to rely on one’s personal narrative as the basis for talking about politics and, in particular, education, understood as a political good. The personal narrative is always contingent on those outside of it. What a child has to learn in school is not only to formulate a personal narrative but also to set it aside; children need to listen, to observe others, and thereby to distinguish their personal narrative from those of others as each individual constructs a role as a citizen. However, the two imperatives—personal growth and citizenship—don’t appear naturally to overlap. A child needs to learn things that allow him or her to function in a democratic context, to learn to consciously ignore personal self-interest and contemplate the public good. What a common public school ought to teach, therefore, is the capacity for disagreement, contest, and compromise. But if I think public goods are irrelevant, that we can do without government, I automatically subscribe to a kind of illusion of individualism against which criticism is hard, since the point of having a discussion or debate—the creation of the public space of a shared participatory politics—is rejected."



"The project of public education is fundamental to the notion of public goods in America. The restoration of public education seems a precondition for making the public sphere operate properly. Education must be about something more than personal happiness and benefit, economically defined; it has to map out the idea that there is more to the public good than the belief that through some free-market-style calculus of aggregate self-interests, the greatest good for the greatest number will emerge. In other words, public education is about educating the future citizen to consider a common ground in politics that can and will secure a more rewarding notion of personal security and tranquility for all.

But in the context of today’s disenchantment with the public sphere, what can a school-trained citizen do? Merely compete in the marketplace? Work for Google? What actually defines the public sphere today is not the government and Congress, but Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Conspiracy theorists when I was young pointed to the presence of socialists and communists who were said to undermine our system of values. Fear seemed reasonable in the Cold War and under the threat of nuclear war. The line between fear and paranoia was thin indeed. Fear was plausible.

But the people who frighten me and undermine the public sphere today are not terrorists and ideologues interested in overthrowing the government; they are not even those who work for the U.S. government within the NSA or the CIA. Rather, I’m afraid of the very large corporate giants that control our access to information, regulate our private lives by providing social networks—a platform for deceptive intimacy—and monitor every move we make in life and preserve a record of every message, thereby rendering secret-keeping and forgetting—two essential human experiences—impossible."



"So where does this bring us with regard to education? As a practitioner of education, I still hold to the idea that the most difficult and yet most vital thing to do is to construct and sustain a language of public conversation. And that language of public conversation will inevitably be different from our several private languages. We cannot expect it to be the same. The conversation on matters that affect us all has to take place in real space and time. School is one source of that essential opportunity.

One of the depressing aspects of our politics today is the extent to which our candidates think it is enough to be a personality and to rely on a private language in order to get elected. We are more interested in the personalities of our politicians, as if they were our neighbors or private friends, than we are in what they think. Today’s politicians cannot speak a comprehensible language of ideas in public conversation about public goods, the matters at stake in politics. We have lost the taste for a sustained debate about ideas.

To confront this lack of public discourse based on ideas—ideas bolstered by claims and evidence subject to open scrutiny—public education needs to work. It needs to create a community of very diverse citizens who are able to occupy a public space in which they can negotiate matters of shared concern, from foreign affairs to domestic policy, using a shared language. The Internet does not offer such a platform, nor does the virtual space or Facebook or any other social media.

I therefore think that we need to redouble the defense of a single system of public education to which our citizens have free access. We need to resist the privatization of schooling. That does not mean that every school should look alike. But since we will continue to be (I hope) an immigrant nation, we will have to champion a public school system if we are to reconcile increasing differences, inequalities of wealth, and class distinctions into a functioning, dynamic democracy made up of citizens.

I share the émigré generation’s quite romantic optimism for the potential of a democratic school system, one marked by excellence and equity. I think such a system is worth fighting for. There are lots of reasons to be optimistic. There is evidence that we can improve schools. A welcome first step would be to instill in the best of our current college students and future … [more]
leonbostein  democracy  publicschools  civics  citizenship  2015  individualism  collectivism  publicgood  education  society  us  privatization  government  disagreement  debate  participation  capitalism  hannaharendt  hansweil  christianmackauer  progressive  progressivism  freedom  interdependence  independence  politics  learning  johndewey  egalitarianism  americandream  equality  inequality  generalists  specialization  hierarchy  informality  formality  horizontality  standards  standardization  competition  universities  colleges  highered  highereducation  criticalthinking  accessibility  europe  history  leostrauss  kurtwolff  wernerjaeger  jacobklein  robertmaynardhutchins  stringfellowbarr  heinrichblücher  elitism  privateschools  content  process  methodology  pedagogy  howweteach  howwelearn  purpose  sputnik  truth  canon  discourse  isolation  technology  internet  schooling  schooliness  science  wikipedia  communication  language  eliascanetti  teaching  information  research 
april 2015 by robertogreco
The Artist Endures - The Atlantic
"What’s more, the idea that 10,000 hours of practice makes someone an expert may not even be psychologically valid. A recent meta-analysis found that while practice correlated with skill, it did not at all explain it. “Deliberate practice left more of the variation in skill unexplained than it explained,” wrote one of that study’s authors in Slate. We know so little about this idea because it’s so relatively recent: The first research suggesting a “10,000 Hour Rule” existed was published in 1993, and the rule itself only became popularized with the 2008 release of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers.

And look what happened: In six years, the idea became such a part of the cultural atmosphere that Deresiewicz can treat it like it’s timeless. But it’s not—it’s new, as much a part of the changing artistic firmament as the compulsion to have a website.

But that doesn’t mean its meaningless. The “10,000 Hour Rule” caught on because it invited readers to a cultural meritocracy. It discredited the un-American idea that in-born talent drives careers, instead suggesting that any discipline, any craft or art, could be accessible to anyone through hours upon hours of practice. Maybe that’s true: We just don’t know. Likewise, I don’t know whether true cultural democracy is coming.

But I do know one thing. The value of any discipline, whether craft or art, is not extracted solely by experts. In his essay, Deresiewicz approves of how Gertrude Stein once scolded Picasso for writing poetry. I have also heard Picasso was a terrible poet, but I really don’t know, and I can’t hazard whether some iambic innovation would have spurred him to paint differently.

I am not Picasso, though, and neither are you. And in the world I’d like to live in, everyone—whether they’re a famous painter or a CPA—would feel as though they can explore the breadth of human expression, whether through writing poetry or learning about Chinese pottery or even researching historical pickling methods. If cultural democracy comes, my guess is it will not look like 100 million specialists. It will appear as a society of curious minds, captivated by human traditions and inspired to improve upon them, interested in the many places in the world where humans have spent their attention—and hungry to invest more."
robinsonmeyer  2014  art  williamderesiewicz  craft  practice  internet  malcolmgladwell  advice  democracy  culture  creativity  attention  specialists  specialization  generalists  meritocracy  joirodreamsofsushi  gertrudestein  pablopicasso  dilettantes  innovation  imagination 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Speed Kills: Fast is never fast enough - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"In the past 50 years, two economies that operate at two different speeds have emerged. In one, wealth is created by selling labor or stuff; in the other, by trading signs that are signs of other signs. The virtual assets scale at a speed much greater than the real assets. A worker can produce only so many motorcycles, a teacher can teach only so many students, and a doctor can see only so many patients a day. In high-speed markets, by contrast, billions of dollars are won or lost in billionths of a second. In this new world, wealth begets wealth at an unprecedented rate. No matter how many new jobs are created in the real economy, the wealth gap created by the speed gap will never be closed. It will continue to widen at an ever-faster rate until there is a fundamental change in values.

One of the most basic values that must be rethought is growth, which has not always been the standard by which economic success is measured. The use of the gross national product and gross domestic product to evaluate relative economic performance is largely the product of the Cold War. As the battleground between the United States and the Soviet Union expanded to include the economy, the question became whether capitalism or communism could deliver more goods faster."



"The problem is not only, as Michael Lewis argues in Flash Boys, finding a technological fix for markets that are rigged; the problem is that the entire system rests on values that have become distorted: individualism, utility, efficiency, productivity, competition, consumption, and speed. Furthermore, this regime has repressed values that now need to be cultivated: sustainability, community, cooperation, generosity, patience, subtlety, deliberation, reflection, and slowness. If psychological, social, economic, and ecological meltdowns are to be avoided, we need what Nietzsche aptly labeled a "transvaluation of values."



"The growing concern about the effectiveness of primary, secondary, and postsecondary education has led to a preoccupation with the evaluation of students and teachers. For harried administrators, the fastest and most efficient way to make these assessments is to adopt quantitative methods that have proved most effective in the business world. Measuring inputs, outputs, and throughputs has become the accepted way to calculate educational costs and benefits. While quantitative assessment is effective for some activities and subjects, many of the most important aspects of education cannot be quantified. When people believe that what cannot be measured is not real, education and, by extension society, loses its soul.

Today’s young people are not merely distracted—the Internet and video games are actually rewiring their brains. Neuroscientists have found significant differences in the brains of "addicted" adolescents and "healthy" users. The next edition of the standard Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders will very likely specify Internet addiction as an area for further research. The epidemic of ADHD provides additional evidence of the deleterious effects of the excessive use of digital media. Physicians concerned about the inability of their patients to concentrate freely prescribe Ritalin, which is speed, while students staying up all night to study take Ritalin to give them a competitive advantage.

Rather than resisting these pressures, anxious parents exacerbate them by programming their kids for what they believe will be success from the time they are in prekindergarten. But the knowledge that matters cannot be programmed, and creativity cannot be rushed but must be cultivated slowly and patiently. As leading scientists, writers, and artists have long insisted, the most imaginative ideas often emerge in moments of idleness.

Many people lament the fact that young people do not read or write as much as they once did. But that is wrong—the issue is not how much they are reading and writing; indeed they are, arguably, reading and writing more than ever before. The problem is how they are reading and what they are writing. There is a growing body of evidence that people read and write differently online. Once again the crucial variable is speed. The claim that faster is always better is nowhere more questionable than when reading, writing, and thinking.

All too often, online reading resembles rapid information processing rather than slow, careful, deliberate reflection. Researchers have discovered what they describe as an "F-shaped pattern" for reading web content, in which as people read down a page, they scan fewer and fewer words in a line. When speed is essential, the shorter, the better; complexity gives way to simplicity, and depth of meaning is dissipated in surfaces over which fickle eyes surf. Fragmentary emails, flashy websites, tweets in 140 characters or less, unedited blogs filled with mistakes. Obscurity, ambiguity, and uncertainty, which are the lifeblood of art, literature, and philosophy, become decoding problems to be resolved by the reductive either/or of digital logic.

Finally, vocationalization. With the skyrocketing cost of college, parents, students, and politicians have become understandably concerned about the utility of higher education. Will college prepare students for tomorrow’s workplace? Which major will help get a job? Administrators and admission officers defend the value of higher education in economic terms by citing the increased lifetime earning potential for college graduates. While financial matters are not unimportant, value cannot be measured in economic terms alone. The preoccupation with what seems to be practical and useful in the marketplace has led to a decline in the perceived value of the arts and humanities, which many people now regard as impractical luxuries.

That development reflects a serious misunderstanding of what is practical and impractical, as well as the confusion between the practical and the vocational. As the American Academy of Arts and Sciences report on the humanities and social sciences, "The Heart of the Matter," insists, the humanities and liberal arts have never been more important than in today’s globalized world. Education focused on STEM disciplines is not enough—to survive and perhaps even thrive in the 21st century, students need to study religion, philosophy, art, languages, literature, and history. Young people must learn that memory cannot be outsourced to machines, and short-term solutions to long-term problems are never enough. Above all, educators are responsible for teaching students how to think critically and creatively about the values that guide their lives and inform society as a whole.

That cannot be done quickly—it will take the time that too many people think they do not have.

Acceleration is unsustainable. Eventually, speed kills. The slowing down required to delay or even avoid the implosion of interrelated systems that sustain our lives does not merely involve pausing to smell the roses or taking more time with one’s family, though those are important.

Within the long arc of history, it becomes clear that the obsession with speed is a recent development that reflects values that have become destructive. Not all reality is virtual, and the quick might not inherit the earth. Complex systems are not infinitely adaptive, and when they collapse, it happens suddenly and usually unexpectedly. Time is quickly running out."
speed  health  life  trends  2014  via:anne  marktaylor  filippomarinetti  futurists  futuristmanifesto  modernism  modernity  charliechaplin  efficiency  living  slow  thorsteinveblen  wealth  inequality  values  us  growth  economics  writing  finance  education  highered  highereducation  communication  internet  web  online  complexity  systemsthinking  systems  humanities  liberalarts  stem  criticalthinking  creativity  reflection  productivity  reading  howweread  howwewrite  thinking  schools  schooling  evaluation  assessment  quantification  standardization  standardizedtesting  society  interdisciplinary  professionalization  specialization  transdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  learning  howwelearn  howwethink  neuroscience  slowness  deliberation  patience  generosity  consumption  competition  competitiveness  subtlety  sustainability  community  cooperation  nietzsche  capitalism  latecapitalism 
october 2014 by robertogreco
deborah sussman interview
"DB: please could you tell us about your background and how you became interested in design?

DS: I grew up in brooklyn where my parents exposed us to the arts from a young age: we had dance lessons, piano lessons, french lessons, trips to museums, performances and galleries. after high school I went to study painting and acting at bard college in new york, which was a very radical school at that time. in those days I thought I’d become an actress or an artist but then I heard about a school in chicago, the institute of design, ran by lászló moholy-nagy and I really wanted to go there and see what it was all about. I got transferred to chicago and design completely took over my life from then on.

one of my teachers in chicago was konrad wachsmann, who was friendly with charles and ray eames. in my first year there the eames came to give a talk at our school and also afterwards asked konrad to recommend them a student who could work with them for the summer, as a graphic designer. he suggested it should be me.

DB: how was it to work at the eames office?

DS: I was extremely happy. as a young designer in my early twenties there was nobody I would rather have worked for. it was a dream job. originally I was only supposed to work there that one summer and then go back to finish my studies in chicago. at the end of the summer I approached charles to say goodbye and he said ‘goodbye? why? where are you going?‘ I told him ‘I need to go back to school and finish my degree‘ he simply replied ‘I don’t have a degree. why do you need one? ray and I are going to europe for a few months, why don’t you stay in our house until we come back?‘. I didn’t need any more persuading than that!

DB: what did you work on while you were there?

DS: a bit of everything; photography, graphic design, illustration, ads for herman miller, sets for films. many, many different things. after working there for three years I applied for a fulbright scholarship to study at the hochschule für gestaltang in ulm, germany and a year later I got it. so I was there for four years in my first stint.

DB: have the eames been the biggest influence on your work?

DS: ray and charles along with alexander girard who worked with us were great mentors to me. another experience from those days that really shaped me a lot was my first trip to mexico. I went there in the early 1950s to take photos as part of the research for ‘the day of the dead’ film and was really taken-back by the place, the people, the culture. the vibrancy of color that I discovered there has always stayed with me, the bright yellow and magenta icing on the sugar skulls and sweet breads – amazing! it was the first time I had been to another country and I absolutely loved it. that really whetted my appetite to travel more and before I knew it I was off to germany.



DB: what eventually made you want to start your own company?

DS: in my second stint at eames I worked on mathematica, then I went to india to work on the exhibition ‘nehru: the man and his india’ and then ended up back in california. at that time people started asking me to work on things for them and I was using my desk at the eames office after-hours to get these side projects done. as the side projects became bigger and more frequent I became uncomfortable working on them at their office, I didn’t want to disrespect them in any way so decided I’d go it alone. frank gehry offered me a space at his office and I started working from there. I worked with him on some projects and also with other architects, advertising agencies, shops and slowly ended up needing my own space. over the years the office has grown and switched locations several times and in the middle of it all I met my husband, paul prejza and we work together with our team on an interesting blend of civic, cultural and commercial projects.

DB: how would you describe your style to someone who hasn’t seen your work before?

DS: exuberant and bold.

DB: what traps should a young designer avoid when working on an environmental design project?

DS: one of the most common traps is not understanding scale. you need to test your design with physical scale-models and if possible at full scale. that’s a very important exercise, you can’t always understand scale on on a computer screen.

DB: what are your thoughts on specialization vs generalization?

DS: I’m most certainly a generalist. I enjoy all the different arts too much to only do one thing all of the time.

DB: what are you passionate about apart from design?

DS: poetry. I would have said photography some years back but now it’s definitely poetry. I write free verse poetry, often about the way I see things and for the last few years myself and juan felipe herrera (poet laureate of california) have been writing poems back and forth to one another, that’s something I have a lot of fun with.

DB: do you have any superstitious beliefs?

DS: I do and it’s a bit silly but I’ll tell you! I think that whatever you do on new year’s day, you will do for the rest of the year… so it’s nice to drink plenty of champagne.

DB: what’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

DS: a couple of pieces of advice that I often remember are:
‘stick to the concept’ – charles eames
‘the best thing we can do for our clients is not obey them, but inspire them’ – alexander girard

DB: what’s the worst piece of advice you have ever been given?

several people have told me over the years ‘just give them what they want‘ with regards to clients, and I just can’t bring myself to do it. I have to inspire them and that can sometimes be a very dangerous attitude to have because you can loose yourself a lot of money!"
deborahsussman  2013  interviews  charleseames  eames  eamesstudio  design  education  losangeles  graphicdesign  graphics  konradwachsmann  illustration  alexandergirard  generalists  specialization  specialists  california 
august 2014 by robertogreco
studio : lab : workshop | Abler.
"I’ve been saying for some years now that my wish is to be as close to science-making as possible: that is, not merely teaching complementary art and design practices for young scientists in training, but to be in the formative stages of research and development much further upstream in the process. Asking collaboratively: What research questions are worthy questions? What populations and individuals hold stakes in these questions? Are there important queries that are forgotten? Could parallel questions be pursued in tandem—some quantitative, others qualitative? And how do we engage multiple publics in high-stakes research?"

To put it another way: What happens when extra-disciplinary inquiry lives alongside traditional forms of research—especially when those traditional forms occupy the disciplinarily privileged status of the STEM fields? Inviting both generalist and specialist approaches starts to hint at what a “both-and” disposition could look like. As here in David Gray’s formulation of specialists and generalists:

[image]

Breadth, he says, is the characteristic of the generalist, and depth the characteristic of the specialist. A thriving academic research program surely needs both: but not just in the forms of symposia, scholarly ethics, or data visualization to (once more) “complement” or even complicate the science. It’s the last note of Gray’s that I’m particularly paying attention to, because it’s what good critical design and hybrid arts practices often do best: They act as boundary objects.

Gray says those objects can be “documents, models, maps, vocabulary, or even physical environments” that mark these intersections of broad and deep ideas. Well, I’d say: especially physical environments and phenomena. At the scale of products or screens or architectural spaces, these objects can act as powerful mediators and conduits for ideas. They can become modes of discourse, opportunities for public debate, sites of disciplinary flows.

It’s these kinds of objects that I’d like to be a feature of the studio/lab/workshop I’ll bring to Olin: An ongoing pursuit of ideas-in-things that live at all the various points along a continuum between practical use, on the one hand, and symbolic or expressive power on the other. Two poles in the manner still most accessibly captured by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby—both of which I’d like to be present.

And what does this mean for the habits of mind we cultivate? I return often to the ideas of Jack Miles in this essay—also about generalists and specialists, with a key useful heuristic: that specialists tend to embody the disposition of farmers, while generalists tend to embody the virtues of hunters. Both are necessary, and both need each other. The careful tending to a field whose needs are more or less known, protected, and nurtured further, on the one hand. And the more landscape-crossing, round-the-next-bend pursuit of the not yet known and its promised nourishment, on the other.

I want students to try out and value both operative modes, no matter where their own career paths take them. Knowing that others are also asking valuable questions in different disciplinary ways ideally breeds humility: a sense that what one has to offer could be enriched when conjoined in conversation with others whose expertise may not be immediately legible from within a silo.

And not just humility: I want students in engineering to know that their practices can be both private and public, that their status as citizens can be catalyzed through making things. Things that may be practical, performative, or both.

In practical terms, we’ll be looking at labs like Tom Bieling’s Design Abilities group in Berlin, Ryerson’s EDGE Lab, the Age and Ability Lab at RCA, and the newly-formed Ability Lab at NYU Poly. But we’ll also be looking methodologically at Kate Hartman’s Social Body Lab at OCAD, at the CREATE group at Carnegie Mellon, and of course Natalie Jeremijenko’s Environmental Health Clinic.

Possible paths to pursue: A “design for one” stream of prosthetic devices made for one user’s self-identified wish or need. An ongoing partnership with any of a number of schools or clinics in the Boston area where provisional and low-tech assistive devices could make education more responsive to children’s up-to-the-minute developmental needs. Short-term residencies and workshops with critical engineers and artists working with technology and public life. Public, investigative performances and installations that address issues of ability, dependence, and the body in the built environment.

These things will take time! I can’t wait to begin."
sarahendren  2014  olincollege  design  specialization  specialists  generalists  interdisciplinary  transdisciplinary  engineering  stem  davidgray  research  academia  extra-disciplinary  ability  dependence  audiencesofone  jackmiles  anthonydunne  fionaraby  dunne&raby  ablerism  events  nataliejeremijenko  tombieling  kateharman  prosthetics  abilities  disability  designcriticism  criticaldesign  speculativedesign  humility  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  accessibility  assistivetechnology  discourse  conversation  openstudioproject  lcproject  howwelearn  howweteach  disabilities 
june 2014 by robertogreco
“A Question of Silence”: Why We Don’t Read Or Write About Education
"The lack of imagination evident in these narratives reflects the lack of real-world alternatives. In the real-world fantasylands of schooling (e.g., Finland, Cuba, Massachusetts) education looks more or less the same as it does everywhere else. In short, the system is missing—or ignores—its real antithesis, its own real death. Without that counter-argument, educational writing loses focus. Educationalists present schooling as being in a constant state of crisis. Ignoring for a second the obvious fact that without a crisis most educationalists would be out of a job—i.e., closing our eyes to their vested interest in the problem’s persistence—what does this crisis consist of? Apparently, the failure of schools to do what they are supposed to do. But what are they supposed to do? What is their purpose? And why should we stand behind their purpose? This is the line of inquiry that—can you believe it—is ignored.

Of all the civic institutions that reproduce social relations, said Louis Althusser, “one… certainly has the dominant role, although hardly anyone lends an ear to its music: it is so silent! This is the School.” That statement was made in 1970, by which time school buses zigzagged the cities every working morning and afternoon, school bells rang across city and countryside, the words “dropout” and “failure” had become synonymous, education schools were in full swing, and school reform had gained its permanent nook on the prayer-wheel of electoral campaigns. In other words: what silence?

Althusser, of course, was referring to the absence of schooling as a topic in critical discourse. In this regard he was, and continues to be, accurate. The few paragraphs that he appended to the above-quoted statement may well be the only coherent critique of schooling in the upper echelons of critical theory. Critical theory, which has written volumes on Hollywood, television, the arts, madhouses, social science, the state, the novel, speech, space, and every other bulwark of control or resistance, has consistently avoided a direct gaze at schooling (see footnote). ((Here follows a cursory tally of what critical theorists (using the term very loosely to include some old favorite cultural critics) have written on education. I won’t be sad if readers find fault with it:

Horkheimer is silent. Barthes and Brecht, the same. Adorno has one essay and one lecture. Marcuse delivered a few perfunctory lectures on the role of university students in politics—but he makes it clear that you can’t build on them (university politics as well as the lectures, sadly). Derrida has some tantalizing pronouncements, particularly in Glas (“What is education? The death of the parents…”), but they are scattered and more relevant to the family setting than the school. Something similar, unfortunately, could be said of Bachelard—why was he not nostalgic about his education? Baudrillard, Lefebvre, and Foucault all seem interested in the question, if we judge by their interviews and lectures—and wouldn’t it be lovely to hear from them—but they never go into any depth. Even Althusser’s essay, Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses, which contains the above quote, quickly shies away from the topic: instead, he concentrates on the Church. In short, professional critical philosophy might have produced a more interesting study of Kung Fu Panda (see Žižek, who is also silent) than of the whole business of education. The one exception would be Rancière’s The Ignorant Schoolmaster, which I will discuss.)) Even Foucault, champion of enclosures, keeps out of the schoolhouse. ((Part III of Discipline and Punish includes a discussion, but his analysis there is mixed with all the other institutions that exercise punishment. The only direct references are in two lecture-discussions with students, both from 1971.)) The silence is particularly striking if we see radical philosophy itself as an educational endeavor, an enterprise concerned with ways of seeing and doing.

It’s not that there are no critical conversations within education—there are, and I will discuss them soon. But I think the silence of radical philosophers is emblematic of some special problems in the relationship between education and society."



"Progressive educators, who as a rule crave resources and ideas from outside their field, nonetheless did not seem bothered by the new seclusion. They even welcomed it. Today, every schoolteacher, admin, or researcher learns as part of her training to show open disdain for any opinion on education that doesn’t come from inside the field (“but has she taught?”). In American education schools, it’s possible to get a doctorate without having been assigned a single book from outside your field. Education is such an intensely social process (think of any classroom vignette, all the forces at play) that this intellectual swamp could only survive by a sheer will to isolation. Educationalists need this privacy partly because it allows them to ignore the core contradictions of their practice. The most important of these contradictions is that they have to uphold public schooling as a social good, and at the same time face up to the fact that schooling is one of the most oppressive institutions humanity has constructed. It has to be built up as much as it needs to be torn down brick by brick.

This dilemma bedevils the majority of writing by the most active educationalists. The redoubtable Deborah Meier is a good example—good, because she really is. Meier is the godmother of the small school movement in the United States. She has dedicated her life to making schools more humane and works with more energy than entire schools of education put together. Her philosophical base is one of Dewey’s pragmatism and American-style anarchism. She is also in a unique position to understand the contradictions of schooling, because she has built alternative schools and then watched them lose their momentum and revert to traditional models. What’s more, Meier can write. But when she writes, her books take titles like Keeping School and In Schools We Trust. In which schools, exactly? Not the same ones through which most of us suffered, I assume; rather, the progressive, semi-democratic ones on the fringes of the public system. The problem, apparently, is not schooling itself. It’s just that, inexplicably, the vast majority of schools fail to get it right. The “reformed school” is a sort of sublime object: something that does not quite exist, but whose potential existence justifies the continuation of what is actually there.

We are all familiar with this type of “we oppose the war but support the troops” liberal double-talk, a pernicious language game that divests all ground agents of responsibility—as if there could be a war without soldiers (though we seem to be moving that way) or bad classrooms without teachers. Now, it wouldn’t be fair to place the blame squarely on the teachers’ shoulders—considering the poor education they themselves receive in the first place—but we must also expose this kind of double-talk for what it really is: an easy out. And it is an easy out that abandons the oppressed: in this case, those students who actively resist teachers, those last few who have not been browbeaten or co-opted into submission. ((When Michelle Rhee, the (former) chancellor of public schools in Washington D.C., began shutting down schools, liberals tore their shirts and pulled their hair and finally ousted her. Very few people mentioned that those schools—a veritable prison system—should have been shut down. The problem was not the closures—the problem was that Rhee, like other Republican spawns of her generation, is a loudmouth opportunist who offered no plan beyond her PR campaign. What’s striking is that Rhee was using the exact same language of “crisis” and “reform” as progressives, and nothing in the language itself made her sound ridiculous. Since then, progressives have eased up a little on the crisis talk.))

Because the phenomenon of student resistance to education so blatantly flies in the face of the prevailing liberal mythology of schooling, it is a topic that continues to attract some genuine theorization. ((For a review of literature and some original thoughts, see Henry Giroux’s Resistance and Theory in Education (1983). For a more readable discussion of the same, see Herbert Kohl’s I Won’t Learn From You (1991).)) It’s also a topic that is closely tied to another intractable bugaboo of the discussion: the staggering dropout rate, in the US at least, among working class and immigrant students, and particularly among blacks and Latinos. Education is the civil rights issue of our time—Obama and Arne Duncan’s favorite slogan—was originally a rallying cry among black educationalists. ((The latter, in case you don’t know, is Obama’s Secretary of Education. A (very thin) volume could be written on the absolute lack of political and intellectual gumption that he epitomizes. To the Bush-era, bipartisan No Child Left Behind Act (a severe and ineffective set of testing requirements), Duncan added the Race to the Top initiative, thus bringing much unintentional clarity to the discourse: education reform is a race in which no one’s left behind.)) But if we understand a “civil rights struggle” to be, fundamentally, the story of the disenfranchised and the marginalized classes’ resistance to structural oppression, then this seemingly simple phrase is haunted by a kind of dramatic irony—since a great deal of research shows that what many black and working class students actively resist is schooling itself. Further studies showed that even those underserved students who succeed in schools persevere by dividing their identities; by cordoning off their critical impulses; by maintaining their disaffection even while they keep it well out of the teacher’s sight."



"A fundamental problem is that education demands a scientific foothold … [more]
education  unschooling  canon  houmanharouni  2013  criticaleducation  theory  eleanorduckworth  deborahmeier  jeanpiaget  paulofreire  ivanillich  karlmarx  society  schooling  oppression  class  liberals  progressive  progressives  theleft  paulgoodman  sartre  theodoreadorno  michellerhee  reform  edreform  nclb  rttt  radicalism  revolution  1968  herbertmarcuse  power  policy  politics  teaching  learning  jaquesrancière  arneduncan  foucault  louisalthusser  deschooling  frantzfanon  samuelbowles  herbertgintis  jenshoyrup  josephjacotot  praxis  johndewey  philosophy  criticaltheory  henrygiroux  herbertkohl  jeananyon  work  labor  capitalism  neoliberalism  liberalism  progressiveeducation  school  schooliness  crisis  democracy  untouchables  mythology  specialization  isolation  seclusion  piaget  michelfoucault  althusser  jean-paulsartre 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Anyone can learn to be a polymath – Robert Twigger – Aeon
"Monopathy, or over-specialisation, eventually retreats into defending what one has learnt rather than making new connections. The initial spurt of learning gives out, and the expert is left, like an animal, merely defending his territory. One sees this in the academic arena, where ancient professors vie with each other to expel intruders from their hard-won patches. Just look at the bitter arguments over how far the sciences should be allowed to encroach on the humanities. But the polymath, whatever his or her ‘level’ or societal status, is not constrained to defend their own turf. The polymath’s identity and value comes from multiple mastery.

Besides, it may be that the humanities have less to worry about than it seems. An intriguing study funded by the Dana foundation and summarised by Dr Michael Gazzaniga of the University of California, Santa Barbara, suggests that studying the performing arts — dance, music and acting — actually improves one's ability to learn anything else. Collating several studies, the researchers found that performing arts generated much higher levels of motivation than other subjects. These enhanced levels of motivation made students aware of their own ability to focus and concentrate on improvement. Later, even if they gave up the arts, they could apply their new-found talent for concentration to learning anything new.

I find this very suggestive. The old Renaissance idea of mastering physical as well as intellectual skills appears to have real grounding in improving our general ability to learn new things. It is having the confidence that one can learn something new that opens the gates to polymathic activity.

There is, I think, a case to be made for a new area of study to counter the monopathic drift of the modern world. Call it polymathics. Any such field would have to include physical, artistic and scientific elements to be truly rounded. It isn’t just that mastering physical skills aids general learning. The fact is, if we exclude the physicality of existence and reduce everything worth knowing down to book-learning, we miss out on a huge chunk of what makes us human. Remember, Feynman had to be physically competent enough to spin a plate to get his new idea.

Polymathics might focus on rapid methods of learning that allow you to master multiple fields. It might also work to develop transferable learning methods. A large part of it would naturally be concerned with creativity — crossing unrelated things to invent something new. But polymathics would not just be another name for innovation. It would, I believe, help build better judgment in all areas. There is often something rather obvious about people with narrow interests — they are bores, and bores always lack a sense of humour. They just don’t see that it’s absurd to devote your life to a tiny area of study and have no other outside interests. I suspect that the converse is true: by being more polymathic, you develop a better sense of proportion and balance — which gives you a better sense of humour. And that can’t be a bad thing."
polymaths  specialization  generalists  interdisciplinarity  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  diversity  learning  philosophy  humanities  polymathy  openminded  roberttwigger  2013  specialists 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Inklings: Why I Jumped Off The Ivory Tower
"Although some of the talk about interdisciplinary work is insincere and self-serving -- often justifying the creation of new "Centers" without investing significant resources -- some of it is quite well-intentioned. To my own institution's credit, we have had a significant investment in at least some interdisciplinary research over the past few years. But as anyone in academia will tell you, these efforts usually fail. And although a lot of people have opinions about why it's so difficult to get this kind of research off the ground, I haven't heard a satisfying explanation. So I'll take a stab at it, drawing on my own (admittedly biased) perspective and experiences.



The effect is that when it comes time to decide on salary raises, a faculty member with broad, interdisciplinary research interests is at a severe disadvantage. To put the point bluntly, interdisciplinary researchers get paid less.



If a department or a person is consistently short-changed when it comes time to decide on budgets, it's a bad sign. It indicates that your work is not a priority. This is true for universities, families, businesses, and every other kind of organization.



The assumption behind many interdisciplinary initiatives seems be that if we put smart people in contact with each other and give them some money, good work will happen. Unfortunately, this isn't true at all. The gigantic edifice of the university is at odds with any potentially disruptive effort. It's possible to overcome that inertia, but it's a Herculean task, requiring a lot of patience and a great deal of time.

That grant proposal illustrates how much psychological resistance there is to change within the university. The call for proposals indicated that there would ultimately be five awards, and they were allocated to various subject areas or colleges. One award was to be made to the College of Arts and Sciences, which is by far the largest college on my campus. At the time my colleague and I wrote our proposal, we had literally no competition from our college whatsoever. That is, ours was the only proposal that was being submitted from the entire College of Arts and Sciences. If anyone had written a competent proposal, they could have easily received millions of dollars in funding. Eventually, that component of the grant program was eliminated entirely, and nothing was given to the college. Personally, I think that the explanation for why there was no uptake on this opportunity was that the very idea of conducting potentially wide-ranging, interdisciplinary research was so foreign that the vast majority of faculty wouldn't even know how to being thinking about such a project.

In such an environment, our efforts are channeled into narrow sub-specialties, and we consign our work to a tiny audience. Despite the common talk about the importance of "disruptive research" in the university, there's no real understanding of what makes s's omething "disruptive". To disrupt anything requires going outside the normal methods for one's work, redefining what's important or interesting, and usually drawing on a wide range of data and methodologies. It almost always requires collaboration, and almost always requires going outside one's own comfort zone. But in an environment where the senior faculty and administrators have been rewarded throughout their careers for toeing their disciplinary lines, there's a lot of resistance to change. Some of that resistance is due to outright hostility, but most of it is just the result of a lack of experience and imagination.

None of this is to imply that there's no place for highly specialized work. Quite the opposite -- intellectual progress requires a combination of narrow and broad approaches to a variety of problems. However, we lose a lot of opportunity when there are powerful disincentives for conducting potentially important research."
zacharyernst  education  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  specialization  generalists  academia  highered  highereducation  2013  corporatization  corporatism 
october 2013 by robertogreco
The Schools We Need | Erik Reece | Orion Magazine
"A few years ago, on the first day of my Freshman Comp class, an argument broke out over whether or not “Redskins” was a racist name for a professional football team. I hadn’t expected or planned this debate, but I let it rage for half the class, trying to direct and redirect the lines of argument as best I could. It seemed like productive chaos, and afterward, the class did not emerge from the debate divided, but rather heartened, it seemed, that everyone had been given a chance to voice diverse opinions. Something important happened that day: the students created a democratic space in which to debate and consider ideas. It wasn’t because of anything I did, but simply because I didn’t get in the way of the students’ own grappling over questions of perspective, personal background, and the ability of words to both empower and harm."



"When deregulated corporations destroy entire ecosystems and the Supreme Court grants those same corporations more “rights” to express themselves as “persons” (very rich persons), the need for a more Jeffersonian form of schooling—one that emphasizes serious critical inquiry in the service of citizenship—is imperative to the future of democracy. We need schools, as novelist Mark Slouka recently wrote, that produce “men and women capable of furthering what’s best about us and forestalling what’s worst.”

THE GOOD NEWS is we can begin revitalizing both education and democracy by implementing a curriculum that incubates what I will call the “citizen-self.” As teachers, I believe our purpose should be twofold: 1) to provide the opportunity for individual self-invention among students, and 2) to create a space where that individual takes on the role and the responsibility of the social citizen. The pedagogy I have in mind combines the Romantic idea of the bildung, the cultivation of one’s own intellectual and psychological nature, with the Pragmatist view that such individuality must be vigorously protected by acts of citizenship. That is to say, it encourages Deborah Meier’s “habit of mind” toward the goal of helping each student determine what she or he truly thinks and feels about an issue or an idea, and it encourages what psychologist and philosopher William James called a “habit of action,” a way of translating such thinking into citizenship. At the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that the first part cultivates the inner self, while the second shapes the outer self. But these two selves cannot be separated; each depends upon and strengthens the other.

Thomas Jefferson believed that the fundamental American impulse of this citizen-self should be anti-industrial, anti-corporation, and should cultivate a generalist approach to education and work. Jefferson also believed that both politics and education best succeed at the local level. This has proven true time and again in my own experience."



"Taking pride in one’s place can also lead to a desire to take responsibility for that place, which is, after all, the crux of citizenship. Teachers can foster this impulse by focusing assignments on local issues, allowing chemistry, biology, English, and civics classes to be driven by a problem-solving impulse. Such learning is inevitably interdisciplinary because real problems, and real learning, rarely break down along clear disciplinary lines. If a strip mine is polluting a local source of drinking water, that is clearly a biological and chemical problem, but it is also an ethical problem grounded in lessons of history. To solve it, many fields of knowledge must be brought to bear. And to articulate the solution will require some skilled rhetoric indeed. Working to solve that problem becomes at once an experiment in stewardship (the opposite of vandalism) and citizenship (participatory democracy).

It also goes some distance toward breaking down the artificial, but very real, wall between school and life, between learning and doing. The rejection of this false dichotomy was one of the primary goals of the American Pragmatist educators like John Dewey and Jane Addams. Of the turn-of-the-century settlement school movement, Addams wrote that it “stands for application as opposed to research, for emotion as opposed to abstraction, for universal interest as opposed to specialization.” Specialization has, too often, been the enemy of educating the citizen-self. It encourages careerism as the only goal of education, and its narrowness can result in an abdication of responsibility concerning problems that lie outside of one’s specialty. These narrowly focused specialists can cause problems. Financial specialists caused the economic collapse, genetic specialists have created crops that require far more pesticide application, and we don’t yet know the full havoc caused by deep-water drilling specialists. But as we saw with BP’s cagey initial reaction to the Gulf disaster, as well as Monsanto’s outrageous contempt for farmers and seed-savers, specialization also seems to create a troubling loss of empathy.

Empathy, what Jane Addams called emotion, has largely disappeared from American public life. Our politics and punditry are too divisive, the gap between rich and poor too wide, the messages from the media too preoccupied with what William James called “the bitch-goddess SUCCESS.” We think of public life as a playing field of winners and losers, when we should be thinking about it, to borrow from Dewey, as a single organism made up of thousands of single but interconnected cells—a whole that needs all of its parts, working cooperatively. In other words, we should be thinking about how our educational institutions can be geared less toward competitiveness and more toward turning out graduates who feel a responsibility toward their places and their peers.

Here is the crux of the matter: As we enter an era of dwindling resources and potential mass migration due to climate change, we are going to need much more empathy—perhaps more than ever before—if we hope to retain our humanity. Empathy must be the measure of our students’, and our own, emotional and ethical maturity."



"How do we recover, how do we reinvent, the country that Jefferson and Franklin envisioned? We must become better citizens, and that transformation must begin—and really can only begin—in better public schools.

PUTTING MY STUDENTS in situations where they might learn and practice the art of real democracy has become a large part of my own teaching, and it is with these goals in mind that I often take them to a place in eastern Kentucky called Robinson Forest. It is a brilliant remnant of the mixed mesophytic ecosystem, and it is home to the cleanest streams in the state. Yet only a short walk away from our base camp you can watch those streams die, literally turn lifeless, because of the mountaintop removal strip mining that is happening all around Robinson Forest.

A few years ago, I had one student (I’ll call him Brian) who had only signed up for one of my classes because it fit his schedule. He was, in his own words, “a right-wing nut job,” and he disagreed with virtually everything I said in class. But he was funny and respectful and I liked having him around. On our class trip to Robinson Forest, we all hiked up out of the forest to a fairly typical mountaintop removal site. The hard-packed dirt and rock was completely barren, save for a few non-native, scrubby grasses. To call this post-mined land a “moonscape,” as many do, is an insult to the moon.

Brian was quiet as we walked, and then he asked, “When are they going to reclaim this land?”

“It has been reclaimed,” I said. “They sprayed hydro-seed, so now this qualifies as wildlife habitat.”

“This is it?”

“This is all the law requires.”

Brian went quiet again, until finally he said, “This is awful.”

Then he asked, “What do you think would happen if every University of Kentucky student came to see this?”

I pulled the old teacher trick and turned the question back on him: “What do you think would happen?”

Brian paused, and then said, “I think mountaintop removal would end.”"
teaching  education  civics  criticalthinking  writing  howweteach  howwelearn  us  environment  erikreece  citizenship  tcsnmy  democracy  specialization  generalists  empathy  emotion  history  deborahmeier  thomasjeffereson  benjaminfranklin  publicschools  johntaylorgatto  2011  learning  highschool  engagement 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Annals of Innovation: Dymaxion Man : The New Yorker
"Fuller’s schemes often had the hallucinatory quality associated with science fiction (or mental hospitals). It concerned him not in the least that things had always been done a certain way in the past. In addition to flying cars, he imagined mass-produced bathrooms that could be installed like refrigerators; underwater settlements that would be restocked by submarine; and floating communities that, along with all their inhabitants, would hover among the clouds. Most famously, he dreamed up the geodesic dome. “If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top . . . that comes along makes a fortuitous life preserver,” Fuller once wrote. “But this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top. I think that we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday’s fortuitous contrivings.” Fuller may have spent his life inventing things, but he claimed that he was not particularly interested in inventions. He called himself a “comprehensive, anticipatory design scientist”—a “comprehensivist,” for short—and believed that his task was to innovate in such a way as to benefit the greatest number of people using the least amount of resources. “My objective was humanity’s comprehensive success in the universe” is how he once put it. “I could have ended up with a pair of flying slippers.”"



"During the First World War, Fuller married Anne Hewlett, the daughter of a prominent architect, and when the war was over he started a business with his father-in-law, manufacturing bricks out of wood shavings. Despite the general prosperity of the period, the company struggled and, in 1927, nearly bankrupt, it was bought out. At just about the same time, Anne gave birth to a daughter. With no job and a new baby to support, Fuller became depressed. One day, he was walking by Lake Michigan, thinking about, in his words, “Buckminster Fuller—life or death,” when he found himself suspended several feet above the ground, surrounded by sparkling light. Time seemed to stand still, and a voice spoke to him. “You do not have the right to eliminate yourself,” it said. “You do not belong to you. You belong to Universe.” (In Fuller’s idiosyncratic English, “universe”—capitalized—is never preceded by the definite article.) It was at this point, according to Fuller, that he decided to embark on his “lifelong experiment.” The experiment’s aim was nothing less than determining “what, if anything,” an individual could do “on behalf of all humanity.” For this study, Fuller would serve both as the researcher and as the object of inquiry. (He referred to himself as Guinea Pig B, the “B” apparently being for Bucky.) Fuller moved his wife and daughter into a tiny studio in a Chicago slum and, instead of finding a job, took to spending his days in the library, reading Gandhi and Leonardo. He began to record his own ideas, which soon filled two thousand pages. In 1928, he edited the manuscript down to fifty pages, and had it published in a booklet called “4D Time Lock,” which he sent out to, among others, Vincent Astor, Bertrand Russell, and Henry Ford.

Like most of Fuller’s writings, “4D Time Lock” is nearly impossible to read; its sentences, Slinky-like, stretch on and on and on. (One of his biographers observed of “4D Time Lock” that “worse prose is barely conceivable.”) At its heart is a critique of the construction industry. Imagine, Fuller says, what would happen if a person, seeking to purchase an automobile, had to hire a designer, then send the plans out for bid, then show them to the bank, and then have them approved by the town council, all before work on the vehicle could begin. “Few would have the temerity to go through with it,” he notes, and those who did would have to pay something like fifty thousand dollars—half a million in today’s money—per car. Such a system, so obviously absurd for autos, persisted for houses, Fuller argued, because of retrograde thinking. (His own failure at peddling wood-composite bricks he cited as evidence of the construction industry’s recalcitrance.) What was needed was a “New Era Home,” which would be “erectable in one day, complete in every detail,” and, on top of that, “drudgery-proof,” with “every living appliance known to mankind, built-in.”"



"Like all Fuller men, he was sent off to Harvard. Halfway through his freshman year, he withdrew his tuition money from the bank to entertain some chorus girls in Manhattan. He was expelled. The following fall, he was reinstated, only to be thrown out again. Fuller never did graduate from Harvard, or any other school. He took a job with a meatpacking firm, then joined the Navy, where he invented a winchlike device for rescuing pilots of the service’s primitive airplanes. (The pilots often ended up head down, under water.)"



"Fuller was fond of neologisms. He coined the word “livingry,” as the opposite of “weaponry”—which he called “killingry”—and popularized the term “spaceship earth.” (He claimed to have invented “debunk,” but probably did not.) Another one of his coinages was “ephemeralization,” which meant, roughly speaking, “dematerialization.” Fuller was a strong believer in the notion that “less is more,” and not just in the aestheticized, Miesian sense of the phrase. He imagined that buildings would eventually be “ephemeralized” to such an extent that construction materials would be dispensed with altogether, and builders would instead rely on “electrical field and other utterly invisible environment controls.

Fuller’s favorite neologism, “dymaxion,” was concocted purely for public relations. When Marshall Field’s displayed his model house, it wanted a catchy label, so it hired a consultant, who fashioned “dymaxion” out of bits of “dynamic,” “maximum,” and “ion.” Fuller was so taken with the word, which had no known meaning, that he adopted it as a sort of brand name. The Dymaxion House led to the Dymaxion Vehicle, which led, in turn, to the Dymaxion Bathroom and the Dymaxion Deployment Unit, essentially a grain bin with windows. As a child, Fuller had assembled scrapbooks of letters and newspaper articles on subjects that interested him; when, later, he decided to keep a more systematic record of his life, including everything from his correspondence to his dry-cleaning bills, it became the Dymaxion Chronofile.

All the Dymaxion projects generated a great deal of hype, and that was clearly Fuller’s desire. All of them also flopped."



"In “Bucky,” a biography-cum-meditation, published in 1973, the critic Hugh Kenner observed, “One of the ways I could arrange this book would make Fuller’s talk seem systematic. I could also make it look like a string of platitudes, or like a set of notions never entertained before, or like a delirium.” On the one hand, Fuller insisted that all the world’s problems—from hunger and illiteracy to war—could be solved by technology. “You may . . . want to ask me how we are going to resolve the ever-accelerating dangerous impasse of world-opposed politicians and ideological dogmas,” he observed at one point. “I answer, it will be resolved by the computer.” On the other hand, he rejected fundamental tenets of modern science, most notably evolution. “We arrived from elsewhere in Universe as complete human beings,” he maintained. He further insisted that humans had spread not from Africa but from Polynesia, and that dolphins were descended from these early, seafaring earthlings."

[Slideshow: http://www.newyorker.com/online/2008/06/09/slideshow_080609_fuller# ]
buckminsterfuller  architecture  creativity  design  2008  history  biography  dropouts  bmc  blackmountaincollege  depression  spaceshipearth  writing  systems  systemsthinking  invention  technosolutionsism  comprehensivists  generalists  specialists  specialization  creativegeneralists 
july 2013 by robertogreco
We are Constructing Communication!
"We Are Constructing Communication*

Our work combines the best of graphics, editorial, and creative problem solving to create the most well suited and superior visual communication system for your particular project. …for architecture. for design. for creating the best way to put your ideas forward.

Why on earth would you want to work with us?
Where's the work? Architects and designers are stressed. Increasingly we have to find other channels and other means of obtaining work. While it's easy to do great work, sometimes it's not so easy for our clients to understand that.

Great ideas demand equally rich communication strategies and solutions!
Our systems and strategies work seamlessly with your content and objectives.

How we make a living.
We'll admit it up front: Our work is not for everyone. We are careful in our selection of professional relationships because we understand that our clients should be selective as well.

When we say we are flexible, we don't mean in terms of quality.
The best projects take advantage of the best people to do the job; where teams are adapted to the needs of each client. For that reason we don't outsource.

Why
no graphic designer,
no editor,
no publisher,
no curator,
no exhibition designer,
no translator,
can do
what we do?

It's impossible to give a conventional name to our work because there is nothing to compare it to. It's probably most accurate to say that we operate in the space between the architect, the publisher, and the graphic designer.

Each one of our projects is ridiculously different from the next. This is because we're not technicians: we don't have a particular "style" or toolbox of the same tricks that we apply over and over. We understand that each one of our clients has a unique set of needs and a distinct personality that we not only respect, but also combine into the work itself. We value the invention of new methods and unconventional means of visual and verbal communication for architectural and design projects that do the same.

How we work. Specialization is not necessarily better.
First and foremost, we work in a huge variety of different conditions. We don't categorize ourselves as book designers, web programmers, editors, or architects. Why pigeonhole ourselves when we can draw on all our varied expertise?

What we mean when we say visual systems.
We consider that each project -- be it a website, a Powerpoint presentation, competition boards, book, rendering, video, exhibition, pamphlet or even a drawing set -- should not only express the client's profile, but also precisely and beautifully communicate the project's concepts and ideas.

To best accomplish seamless communication design that not only fits the project -- but that even enhances it -- we develop the visual project and graphic concept hand in hand with content. A visual system is not a superficial layer of pretty pantone colors and san serif fonts: in the best case scenario, it should be invisible and should never strong arm your work. You'll never hear us say, "Can you cut that text down? It won't fit.""

[via: http://www.helsinkidesignlab.org/blog/the-visual-language-of-hdl
design  communication  howwework  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  generalists  specialization  barcelona 
july 2013 by robertogreco
The Decline and Fall of the English Major - NYTimes.com
"They can assemble strings of jargon and generate clots of ventriloquistic syntax. They can meta-metastasize any thematic or ideological notion they happen upon. And they get good grades for doing just that. But as for writing clearly, simply, with attention and openness to their own thoughts and emotions and the world around them — no.

That kind of writing — clear, direct, humane — and the reading on which it is based are the very root of the humanities, a set of disciplines that is ultimately an attempt to examine and comprehend the cultural, social and historical activity of our species through the medium of language."



"A technical narrowness, the kind of specialization and theoretical emphasis you might find in a graduate course, has crept into the undergraduate curriculum. That narrowness sometimes reflects the tight focus of a professor’s research, but it can also reflect a persistent doubt about the humanistic enterprise. It often leaves undergraduates wondering, as I know from my conversations with them, just what they’ve been studying and why.

STUDYING the humanities should be like standing among colleagues and students on the open deck of a ship moving along the endless coastline of human experience. Instead, now it feels as though people have retreated to tiny cabins in the bowels of the ship, from which they peep out on a small fragment of what may be a coastline or a fog bank or the back of a spouting whale.

There is a certain literal-mindedness in the recent shift away from the humanities. It suggests a number of things. One, the rush to make education pay off presupposes that only the most immediately applicable skills are worth acquiring (though that doesn’t explain the current popularity of political science). Two, the humanities often do a bad job of explaining why the humanities matter. And three, the humanities often do a bad job of teaching the humanities. You don’t have to choose only one of these explanations. All three apply.

What many undergraduates do not know — and what so many of their professors have been unable to tell them — is how valuable the most fundamental gift of the humanities will turn out to be. That gift is clear thinking, clear writing and a lifelong engagement with literature.

Maybe it takes some living to find out this truth. Whenever I teach older students, whether they’re undergraduates, graduate students or junior faculty, I find a vivid, pressing sense of how much they need the skill they didn’t acquire earlier in life. They don’t call that skill the humanities. They don’t call it literature. They call it writing — the ability to distribute their thinking in the kinds of sentences that have a merit, even a literary merit, of their own.

Writing well used to be a fundamental principle of the humanities, as essential as the knowledge of mathematics and statistics in the sciences. But writing well isn’t merely a utilitarian skill. It is about developing a rational grace and energy in your conversation with the world around you.

No one has found a way to put a dollar sign on this kind of literacy, and I doubt anyone ever will. But everyone who possesses it — no matter how or when it was acquired — knows that it is a rare and precious inheritance."
writing  humanities  communication  literacy  specialization  literature  verlynklinkenborg  narrowness  highered  highereducation  learning  living  humanity  language 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Maverick Colleges: Ten Noble Experiments in American Undergraduate Education (1993)
[Second edition (1996) of the book with some additional schools here in PDF: https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/experimental-study-group/es-291-learning-seminar-experiments-in-education-spring-2003/readings/MITES_291S03_maverick.pdf ]

[Wayback:
http://web.archive.org/web/20130730023648/http://www.mit.edu/~jrising/webres/maverick.txt
https://web.archive.org/web/19961105162647/http://www.gse.utah.edu/EdAdm/Galvin/Maverick.html ]

"This book is a product of a University of Utah graduate seminar conducted in the spring of 1991: "Notable Experiments in American Higher Education" (Educational Administration 728). The contributing authors are professor of educational administration L. Jackson Newell and seminar students, each of whom selected an innovative, or "experimental," college for research and reporting."

"Common Themes:

As seminar participants exchanged findings about the ten selected colleges, several prominent themes emerged that had not been predetermined by selection criteria but appeared to indicate common postures among experimental colleges. These include:

• Ideals spawning ideas. In most cases, the ten colleges appeared to start with the ideals of visionary founders. For some, the ideal concerned the citizens who would emerge from the learning experience …

• Emphasis on teaching; retreat from research. The vast majority of experimental colleges are liberal education colleges where the art of teaching and the development of students are values of high esteem. …

• Organization without specialization. Not unexpectedly, these experimental colleges also tended to turn away from the disciplinary organization of scholarship that had sprung from the German research university model. …

• Administrative innovations. Freedom from traditional higher education bureaucracy and hierarchy have been common pursuits of the colleges studied. …

Divergent Approaches:

Just as common themes instruct us about the aims and aspirations of various experimental colleges, so too do their divergent approaches. Two notable areas of difference among the colleges focus on who should attend and how their learning might best be organized during the college years."

[Bits from the section on Black Mountain College:]

"Its educational commitment--to democratic underpinnings for learning that comes from "human contact, through a fusion of mind and emotion" (Du Plessix-Gray 1952:10)-- was reflective of a larger liberal environment that managed a brief appearance before the 1950s ushered in fear of Communism and love of television."



"Rice and his colleagues had stronger convictions about how a college should operate than about how and what students might learn. Democracy would be paramount in the administration of the college, and structure would be loose. Students and faculty joined in marathon, long-winded decision-making meetings with decisions ranging from a faculty termination to a library acquisition.

Particularly prominent, and vital to the democratic underpinnings envisioned by Rice, was the absence of any outside governing body. Rice had determined that control exerted by boards of trustees and college presidents rendered faculty participation meaningless, limiting faculty to debate, "with pitiable passion, the questions of hours, credits, cuts. . . . They bring the full force of their manhood to bear on trivialities. They know within themselves that they can roam at will only among minutiae of no importance" (Adamic, 1938:624).

The faculty did establish a three-member "Board of Fellows," elected from among them and charged with running the business affairs of the College. Within a year, a student member was added to the Board."



"The 23-year history of Black Mountain College was one of few constants and much conflict. Three forceful leaders marked three distinct periods during the 23 years: the John Rice years, the Josef Albers decade, and the Charles Olson era.

During the first 5 years of the College, a solidarity of philosophy and community gradually took shape. It revolved largely around John Rice's outgoing personality (much intelligence and much laughter mark most reports from colleagues and students) and forceful opinions about education. He was determined, for example, that every student should have some experience in the arts.

This translated as at least an elementary course in music, dramatics and/or drawing, because:
There is something of the artist in everyone, and the development of this talent, however small, carrying with it a severe discipline of its own, results in the student's becoming more and more sensitive to order in the world and within himself than he can ever possibly become through intellectual effort alone. (Adamic 1938:626)

Although he cautioned against the possible tyranny of the community, Rice eventually decided that some group activity would,
…help the individual be complete, aware of his relation to others. Wood chopping, road-mending, rolling the tennis courts, serving tea in the afternoon, and other tasks around the place help rub off individualistic corners and give people training in assuming responsibility. (Ibid, 1938:627)



"Rice soon discovered what he would later call the "three Alberses"--the teacher, the social being and the Prussian. The Prussian Albers decried the seeming lack of real leadership at the College and the free-wheeling, agenda-less, community-wide meetings. Rice noted later, "You can't talk to a German about liberty. You just waste your breath. They don't know what the hell you mean" (Duberman 1972:69)."



"The war years ushered in a different kind of Black Mountain; one where students, and at least some faculty members, started lobbying for more structure in learning, but yet more freedom outside the classroom. Lectures and recitations were starting to occur within the classroom, while cut-off blue jeans and nude sun bathing appeared outside. Influential faculty member Eric Bentley insisted to his colleagues: "I can't teach history if they're not prepared to do some grinding, memorizing, getting to know facts and dates and so on…" (Duberman 1972:198). Needless to say, with Albers and many of the original faculty still on board, faculty meetings were decisive and volatile.

Overshadowing this dissent, however, was a new program that was to highlight at least the public notion of a historical "saga" for the College, the summer institutes. Like much at Black Mountain, the summer institutes started more by chance than choice."



"The summer institutes grew throughout the 1940s to include notable talents in art, architecture, music and literature. And it is probably these institutes and the renown of the individuals in attendance that contributed most to Black Mountain's reputation as an art school."



The excitement and publicity generated by the summer sessions, in addition to a general higher education population explosion spurred by the G.I. Bill, put the Black Mountain College of the late 1940s on its healthiest economic footing yet.

Still, Black Mountain managed to avoid financial stability. Student turnover negated some of the volume gains. Faculty salaries rose substantially, but grants and endowments did not. Stephen Forbes, for example, who had always been counted on to supply money to the College in tough times, refused a request in 1949 because he was disenchanted with the new emphasis on arts education at the expense of general education. The ability to manage what money it had also did not increase at Black Mountain, although Josef Albers proposed a reorganization that would include administrators and an outside board of overseers. In the wake of arguments and recriminations about the financial situation and how to solve it, a majority (by one vote) of the faculty called for the resignation of Ted Dreier, the last remaining faculty member from the founding group. In protest, four other faculty members resigned--including Josef and Anni Albers. By selling off some of the campus acreage, the remaining faculty managed to save the College and retain its original mindset of freedom from outside boards and administrators, while setting the stage for yet another era in its history [Charles Olson].



"What Albers lacked in administrative ability, he compensated for in tenacity and focus. What Rice lacked in administrative ability, he balanced with action and ideas. However, when Olson couldn't manage the administrative function, he simply retreated. His idea about turning the successful summer institutes into a similar series of year-long institutes fell on deaf faculty ears. So he gave up trying to strengthen the regular program."



"The vast majority of former Black Mountain students can point to clear instances of lasting influence on the rest of their lives. Mostly, this seems to have occurred through association: with one or two faculty members who made a difference, with a "community" of fellow individuals who were essential resources to one another, or with a new area of endeavor such as painting or writing or farming. Black Mountain, apparently, was a place where association was encouraged. Perhaps this occurred through the relatively small number of people shouldered into an isolated valley, perhaps by a common dedication to the unconventional, or perhaps to the existence of ideals about learning and teaching. At any rate, the encouragement of association with people and with ideas was not the norm in higher education then, nor is it now. Clearly, it is possible to graduate from most colleges and universities today with little, if any, significant association with faculty, students or ideas.

But at Black Mountain, as at other experimental colleges, association could hardly be avoided. Engagement with people and ideas was paramount; activity was rampant. It was social, and it was educational. As Eric Bentley would remark:

Where, as at Black Mountain, there is a teacher to every three students the advantage is evident. . .a means to … [more]
deepspringscollege  reed  reedcollege  stjohn'scollege  prescottcollege  bereacollege  colleges  alternative  alternativeeducation  lcproject  openstudioproject  experientialeducation  unschooling  deschooling  1991  ljacksonnewell  katherinereynolds  keithwilson  eannadams  cliffordcrelly  kerrienaylor  zandilenkbinde  richardsperry  ryotakahashi  barbrawardle  antiochcollege  antioch  hierarchy  organizations  ephemeral  leadership  teaching  learning  education  schools  research  visionaries  ideals  idealism  specialization  generalists  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  transdisciplinary  innovation  freedom  bureaucracy  universityofchicago  collegeoftheatlantic  democracy  democraticeducation  structure  ephemerality  popupschools  small  smallschools  josefalbers  charlesolson  johnandrewrice  lucianmarquis  highered  highereducation  progressivism  blackmountaincollege  bmc  maverickcolleges  evergreenstatecollege  experientiallearning  miamidadecommunitycollege  ucsantacruz  monteithcollege  fairhavencollege  westernwashingtonuniv 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Beyond Face | The Public Amateur
"[T]he artist becomes a person who consents to learn in public. This person takes the initiative to question something in the province of another discipline, acquire knowledge through unofficial means, and assume the authority to offer interpretations of that knowledge, especially in regard to decisions that affect our lives. The point is not to replace specialists, but to enhance specialized knowledge with considerations that specialties are not designed to accommodate.

Specialization has brought about marvelous achievements. But under increasing complexity and fragmentation, the need for overviews of how vectors of power-knowledge intersect has become more imperative than ever. Our culture asks too high a price of society when it insists on narrow professional specialization. Conforming to this demand divides our intellect from our emotions, our imagination from our efforts, our pleasure from our worth, our verbal and analytic capacity from other creative talents, and our ethics from our daily lives. The result is frustration and disempowerment for the individual and shortsightedness for society as a whole."



"The amateur has transparent relations to her object. She approaches and ultimately appropriates the object of knowledge out of enthusiasm, curiosity or personal need. She learns outside the circuits of professional normalization and reward, things the artist was once presumed to resist.

Anyone can develop expertise and, if motivated enough, can even become an authority. The amateur can be as narrow as the specialist or as amorous as the polymath lover of knowledge. The category of the Public Amateur is not confined to artists. It’s a growing polyglot array of people who want to operate equally from the gut and the brain."



"Artists are expected to have publics, however small or large, but for better or worse, they are not expected to know much. An artist who wants to perform learning can leverage whatever claim to a public she is able to accrue, and initiate processes she hasn’t mastered, putting the very notions of professionalization and credibility on the stage.

This is an activation of metalanguage, something that artists do all the time. When I perform the acquisition of knowledge in the symbolic resonance that is art, I am inviting new conversations about knowledge itself. By placing this activity in the realm of aesthetics, I subject it to our questions about what we care about."

[via: http://ablersite.org/2011/03/24/the-public-amateur/ ]
trickster  art  artists  lcproject  openstudioproject  base619  amateurism  amateurs  beginner'smind  learning  workinginpublic  learninginpublic  howwelearn  cv  specialization  generalists  specialists  clairepentecost  publicamateur  enthusiasm  curiosity 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Essay : In Distrust of Movements by Wendell Berry « the irresistible fleet of bicycles
"The movements which deal with single issues or single solutions are bound to fail because they cannot control effects while leaving causes in place."

"And so I must declare my dissatisfaction with movements to promote soil conservation or clean water or clean air or wilderness preservation or sustainable agriculture or community health or the welfare of children. Worthy as these and other goals may be, they cannot be achieved alone. I am dissatisfied with such efforts because they are too specialized, they are not comprehensive enough, they are not radical enough, they virtually predict their own failure by implying that we can remedy or control effects while leaving causes in place. Ultimately, I think, they are insincere; they propose that the trouble is caused by other people; they would like to change policy but not behaviour."

"The callings and disciplines that I have spoken of as the domestic arts are stationed all along the way from the farm to the prepared dinner, from the…"
interconnectedness  slogans  language  policy  solutions  behavior  specialization  systemsthinking  2000  history  nature  wendellberry  sustainability  green  agriculture  movements  environment  food  politics  interconnected  interconnectivity 
december 2012 by robertogreco
Unbuilding — Lined & Unlined
[now here: https://linedandunlined.com/archive/unbuilding ]

Here's another something that's too large to unpack in a quote or two or three or more, so just one, then read and view (many images) the rest.

"Unlike the thesis, Antithesis was an optional class. Instead of a constant, year-long process, it was interstitial, happening during a “down time” in the year. We didn’t really have class meetings — instead, I spent my time hanging out in the studio. Everyone loosened up. After thinking intensively about the thesis for 12 weeks, it was time to stop thinking about it — at least, consciously. The goal was not to keep pushing forward on the thesis but to get new projects started in parallel."

[video: https://vimeo.com/63008758 ]
completeness  sourcecode  viewsource  critique  susansontag  webdesign  aestheticpractice  criticalautonomy  canon  andrewblauvelt  billmoggridge  khoivinh  community  communities  livingdocuments  constitution  usconstitution  metaphors  metaphor  borges  telescopictext  joedavis  language  culturalsourcecode  cooper-hewitt  sebchan  github  johngnorman  recycling  interboropartners  kiva  pennandteller  jakedow-smith  pointerpointer  davidmacaulay  stevejobs  tednelson  humanconsciousness  consciousness  literacy  walterong  pipa  sopa  wikipedia  robertrauschenberg  willemdekooning  humor  garfieldminusgarfield  garfield  danwalsh  ruderripps  okfocus  bolognadeclaration  pedagogy  mariamontessori  freeuniversityofbozen-bolzano  openstudioproject  lcproject  tcsnmy  howweteach  cv  anti-hierarchy  hierarchy  autonomy  anti-autonomy  anti-isolation  anti-specialization  avant-garde  vanabbemuseum  charlesesche  understanding  knowing  socialsignaling  anyahindmarch  thinking  making  inquiry  random  informality  informal  interstitial  antithesis  action  non-action  anikaschwarzlose  jona 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Over Optimized | Quiet Babylon
"I keep thinking about the impending extinction of the Cavendish Banana a… mono-culture… propelled to the #1 spot when the previous favourite, the Gros Michel Banana was wiped out, also by disease. And of the injuries (careful about clicking that link) sustained by Super-G skiers when their highly optimized gear turns against them during a crash. And of Koalas which have evolved to eat a tree no one else eats and who will die off when the trees do.

Then I think about apples which come in a variety of types, casual skiers who make it to the bottom of the hill eventually and raccoons who will eat just about anything. These are all generalists that manage to thrive in a variety of areas, and seem to be pretty good at adapting to massive changes to their environments."

"…When things are stable, specialization and optimization is the recipe for success. When things are bumpy, allowing some of the inefficiency that comes from flexibility is probably the thing that will let you survive."
2008  timmaly  markets  inefficiency  overoptimization  adaptability  resilience  survival  slack  optimization  sustainability  animals  raccoons  koalas  skiing  diversity  bananas  apples  generalists  specialization 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Alex Payne — The Case Against Everything Buckets
"One of my Rules For Computing Happiness is: “do not use software that does many things poorly.” Everything Buckets violate this rule up, down, and sideways. They’re poor filesystems, poor text editors, poor databases, poor to-do lists, poor calendars, poor address books, poor bookmark managers, and poor password managers. At their worst, they’re even poor web browsers, poor encryption systems, and poor synchronization schemes.

The corollary to that rule is: “use software that does one thing well.” When you need to store some data, there are so many wonderful applications to pick from. From recipes to receipts, photographs to music, journal entries to to-do list items, there’s a great application out there for what you need to do. Chances are good that the right application structures your data so that you can get more out of it. Use an application that actually does something more than holding data. You’ll be happier."
yojimbo  shovebox  devonthink  2009  computing  toolbelttheory  toolbelts  onlinetoolkit  specializedsoftware  tools  software  specialization  evernote  alexpayne  via:ablaze  organization  everythingbuckets 
september 2012 by robertogreco
cloudhead - knowmad
"if a nomad is a person that roams and wanders in search of new pastures and hunting grounds rather than settling down permanently in one location * then …

A knowmad is a person that roams and wanders in search of new knowledge, skills, and experiences, rather than settling down permanently in one specialized silo of awareness.

A knowmad is not a nomadic knowledge worker …
roaming from coffee shop to boardroom with a laptop under her arm. The term doesn’t belong to the workplace because
a knowmad doesn’t work, she plays … like a child or an artist.

“The primitive hunter or fisherman did no work, any more than does the poet, painter, or thinker of today. Where the whole man is involved there is no work. Work begins with the division of labor and the specialization of functions”—McLuhan

* (nomas = wander, nomos = pasture)"


[Previous version when first bookmarked]

"if a nomad is a person that roams and wanders in search of new pastures and hunting grounds rather than settling down permanently in one location 
(nomas = wander, nomos = pasture)

then

a knowmad is a person that roams and wanders in search of new knowledge, new skills, experiences and insights, rather than settling down permanently in one specialized silo of awareness.

A knowmad is not a knowledge worker on the run …
roaming from coffee shop to boardroom with a laptop under her arm.
The term doesn’t belong to the workplace because 
a knowmad doesn’t work, she plays … like a child or an artist. 

“The primitive hunter or fisherman did no work, any more than does the poet, painter, or thinker of today. Where the whole man is involved there is no work. Work begins with the division of labor and the specialization of functions”—McLuhan"

[McLuhan quote from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Understanding_Media:_The_Extensions_of_Man ]
informationage  generalists  specialization  cv  roaming  wanderers  wanderlust  wanderingmind  neo-nomads  wandering  hunter-gatherer  labor  work  play  knowledgeworkers  knowledge  nomads  nomadism  1964  2012  cloudhead  marshallmcluhan  knowmads  shiftctrlesc  headmine 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Notes of a Novice Student of India - Justin Erik Halldór Smith
"As time goes on I'm finding myself more and more hung up on questions of methodology and, one might say, of metaphilosophy, wondering how to put two belief systems into comparison without simply resorting to impressionistic observations of the sort, 'This sounds like that', and without favoring one of the systems over the other in the comparison. Lloyd focuses on medicine, which perhaps lends itself more easily to comparison than philosophy as a whole, a field so nebulous, with a denotation so unstable, that one must always wonder whether one is talking about the same thing from one century to the next, let alone from one civilization to the next."

"I'm more convinced than ever that to the extent that academic philosophers stay in the village of European ideas, they are really only, to paraphrase Nietzsche, offering up a catalog of their own prejudices in the guise of philosophical arguments."
wadepage  history  indo-europeanhistory  philosophy  crossdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  curiosity  specialization  asianstudies  indology  via:robinsonmeyer  2012  ignorance  notknowing  knowing  knowledge  research  southasia  eurocentrism  justinehsmith  india  specialists  generalists  bias  academia 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Now You See It // The Blog of Author Cathy N. Davidson » New post on DMLcentral: Standardizing Human Ability
"Here’s a list (in no particular order) of some of the changes in U.S. education, from kindergarten to professional school, either invented or finalized in the Taylorist era (the same era that produced the assembly line, statistics, standard deviation, spreadsheets, blueprints, punch clocks): mandatory public secondary schooling, research universities, majors, minors, divisions, certification, graduate school, collegiate law school, nursing school, graduate school of education, collegiate business school, degree requirements, grades, required courses, electives, distribution requirements, IQ tests, multiple choice tests, item response college entrance exams (SAT), school rankings, class rankings. And learning disabilities.

… these are invented things. … Like statistics and the assembly line, the system of education we have inherited is not “timeless.” It is an industrial age invention."
compulsory  certification  curriculum  assessment  rankings  grading  ranking  iqtests  sat  specialization  departmentalization  learningdisabilities  inventions  invention  learning  tcsnmy  lcproject  context  deschooling  unschooling  standardization  taylorism  2012  cathydavidson  history  education 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Steven Berlin Johnson: Instead of building cathedrals in learning, we need to learn to build cathedrals | Creativity, Imagination, and Innovation in Education Symposium
"“Collaboration between different intelligences is the hallmark of innovative spaces,” he remarked. But it wasn’t always easy for Johnson, who has an undergraduate degree in semiotics from Brown University and a graduate degree in English Literature from Columbia, to see how science and the humanities could be entwined. It wasn’t until he was exposed to the work of former Columbia Professor Franco Moretti that he realized bridges could be built joining the two.

Moretti gained fame for controversially applying quantitative scientific methods to the humanities. Johnson mentioned reading Moretti’s Signs Taken for Wonders, and the mind-blowing impact the professor’s use of Darwinian techniques to analyze literature had on him. It was the first time he saw scientific procedures being employed to evaluate literature.

From that moment on, Johnson began researching iconic innovators."
cathedralsoflearning  everythingbadisgoodforyou  gaming  games  multidisciplinarythinking  connectivesyntheticintelligence  connectiveintelligence  multidisciplinary  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  generalists  specialization  interconnectivity  patterns  conenctions  innovation  multipleintelligences  diversity  problemsolving  systemsthinking  parenting  videogames  teaching  schools  collaboration  gutenberg  crosspollination  feathers  exaptation  devonthink  evolution  stephenjaygould  commonplacebooks  creativity  darwin  francomoretti  semiotics  hunches  learning  2011  stevenjohnson  charlesdarwin  interconnected 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Majoring in Idiocy | Front Porch Republic
"colleges and universities are essentially diploma retailers obsequiously bent on making the shopping experience of their customers enjoyable and painless.

…For education presently conceived and presently practiced has but one goal: the mass production of idiots.

I’m speaking—I hope—in fairly precise terms here.

An “idiot,” from the Greek idios (“private,” “own,” “peculiar”), is someone who is peculiar because he is closed in on himself or separated or cut off. In short, he is a specialist. If he knows anything, he knows one thing.

… The idiot may have extensive knowledge of a given thing, but to the extent that he has no sense of where to place that knowledge in the larger context of what is known and knowable, and to the extent that he doesn’t know that the context for the known and the knowable is the unknown and the unknowable—to that extent his knowledge ceases to be knowledge and becomes a collection of mere facts, which, as Cervantes said, are the enemy of truth."

[via: http://randallszott.org/2012/06/13/specialization-idiocy-jason-peters-education/ ]
cv  criticalthinking  thinking  universities  colleges  curriculum  skepticism  science  tunnelvision  knowledge  2010  generalists  certification  diplomas  wisdom  specialization  idiots  highereducation  deschooling  unschooling  education  jasonpeters  specialists 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Valve: Handbook for New Employees: A fearless adventure in knowing what to do when no one’s there telling you what to do [.pdf]
"There is no organizational structure keeping you from being in close proximity to the people who you’d help or be helped by most."

"Since Valve is flat, people don’t join projects because they’re told to. Instead, you’ll decide what to work on after asking yourself the right questions."

"What’s interesting? What’s rewarding? What leverages my individual strengths the most?"

"…our lack of a traditional structure comes with an important responsibility. It’s up to all of us to spend effort focusing on what we think the long-term goals of the company should be."

"Nobody expects you to devote time to every opportunity that comes your way. Instead, we want you to learn how to choose the most important work to do."

"We should hire people more capable than ourselves, not less."

"We value “T-shaped” people…who are both generalists (…the top of the T) and also experts (…the vertical leg of the T). This recipe is important for success at Valve."
agency  initiaive  motivation  tcsnmy  administration  management  hiring  t-shapedpeople  responsibility  creativity  videogames  projectbasedlearning  pbl  community  leadership  lcproject  flatness  flat  hierarchy  specialists  generalists  work  culutre  valve  specialization  horizontality  horizontalidad 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Don’t Mock the Artisanal-Pickle Makers - NYTimes.com
"When it comes to profit and satisfaction, craft business is showing how American manufacturing can compete in the global economy. Many of the manufacturers who are thriving in the United States (they exist, I swear!) have done so by avoiding direct competition with low-cost commodity producers in low-wage nations. Instead, they have scrutinized the market and created customized products for less price-sensitive customers. Facebook and Apple, Starbucks and the Boston Beer Company (which makes Sam Adams lager) show that people who identify and meet untapped needs can create thousands of jobs and billions in wealth. As our economy recovers, there will be nearly infinite ways to meet custom needs at premium prices."

[See also in Japan: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204542404577157290201608630.html?mod=WSJ_Magazine_LEFTSecondStories ]
detail  2012  quality  generalists  specialists  handmade  glvo  nyc  food  crafteconomy  small  scale  bespoke  brooklyn  entrepreneurship  craft  specialization 
february 2012 by robertogreco
On Perspective
"A master is often considered a specialist, not a generalist — but I disagree. They are defined by a specific perspective, which they have hone through weaving together many threads of experience and craft.

The richer their experiences, the richer their perspective.

"Japanese chefs are now cooking almost every cuisine imaginable, combining fidelity to the original with locally sourced products that complement or replace imports. When they prepare foreign foods, they’re no longer asking themselves how they can make a dish more Japanese—or even more Italian, French or American. Instead they’ve moved on to a more profound and difficult challenge: how to make the whole dining experience better."

(via this WSJ story on Japanese cuisine)

To know what’s better is to choose where you stand."
better  craft  2012  allentan  experience  perspective  specialization  generalists  specialists 
february 2012 by robertogreco
The Career Of The Future Doesn't Include A 20-Year Plan. It's More Like Four. | Fast Company
"Hasler has several of these skills in spades…interests are transdisciplinary…a "T-shaped person," w/ both depth in 1 subject & breadth in others…demonstrates cross-cultural competency (fluent Spanish, living abroad) & computational thinking (learning programming & applying data to real-world problems)…intellectual voracity that drove him to write 50k words on Western cultural history while running coffee shop is a sign of sense making (drawing deeper meaning from facts) & excellent cognitive load management (continuous learning & managing attention challenges)…desire to synthesize his knowledge & apply it to helping people & his ability to collaborate w/ those who have different skills, shows high degree of social intelligence."

"…not every older worker is frightened by the 4-year career. Some…have been living this way for decades, letting their curiosity—or their faster metabolism—guide them. What stands out is their sense of confidence that things can (and will) turn out okay."
collaboration  cross-culturalcompetency  computationalthinking  continuouslearning  socialintelligence  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  adaptability  specialists  generalists  creativegeneralists  curiosity  sensemaking  renaissancemen  education  transdisciplinary  retooling  unlearning  learning  jobs  anyakamenetz  careers  change  cv  trends  t-shapedpeople  specialization 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Man is alone before the cosmos - interview - Domus [Interview with Oscar Niemeyer]
"…professor coming here to our office to talk about philosophy & the cosmos. We also edit an architectural periodical…architecture is just the pretext…magazine's real purpose is to provide young people with the information they need. In all disciplines, from medicine to engineering, when young people finish their studies, as specialists they can only talk about their idea of architecture, or more in general their job…haven't yet thought about or taken much notice of all the rest, of life itself, which is more important than architecture."

"…phrase I once used as motto…"Life is more important than architecture. The fight goes on. In defence of Latin America and the progress of the world.""

[Interviewer] "Looking from above, on the other hand, I was surprised at how the favelas seem more integrated with the environment and that, extensive as they are, they're paradoxically more respectful of it."

"Brasilia is nothing anymore. It is not an example, simply a provincial capital."
change  creativegeneralists  experts  specialists  generalists  brasil  brasilia  attobelloliardessi  space  design  architecture  oscarniemeyer  2010  specialization  brazil  brasília 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Neven Mrgan at re:build 2011 on Vimeo
"Bit Depth, by Neven Mrgan: At my dayjob, I design Mac software UI/UX, websites, T-shirts, and office signage. In my spare time, I’ve designed 8-bit games. I think every creative professional would benefit from fully executing projects of different complexity, history, and purpose."

[All great stuff. Totally agree with him about the gamification bit.]

[See also: http://mrgan.tumblr.com/post/14868098046/focused-dabbling ]
sideprojects  videogames  specialists  generalists  interdisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  dabbling  software  applications  transmit  panic  8-bit  bitdepth  depth  gaming  games  purpose  focus  darwin  work  design  polish  re:build  2011  appification  gamification  nevenmrgan  specialization  charlesdarwin 
december 2011 by robertogreco
Twelve Things You Were Not Taught in School About Creative Thinking | Psychology Today
"1. You are creative.
2. Creative thinking is work.
3. You must go through the motions of being creative.
4. Your brain is not a computer.
5. There is no one right answer.
6. Never stop with your first good idea.
7. Expect the experts to be negative.
8. Trust your instincts.
9. There is no such thing as failure.
10. You do not see things as they are; you see them as you are.
11. Always approach a problem on its own terms.
12. Learn to think unconventionally."
creativity  psychology  innovation  art  designthinking  2011  michaelmichalko  cv  conformity  failure  tcsnmy  toshare  openminded  negativity  defensiveness  specialists  creativegeneralists  generalists  knowledge  instinct  problemsolving  brain  thinking  experts  paradox  biases  bias  mindset  closedmindedness  specialization 
december 2011 by robertogreco
MAKE | Zen and the Art of Making
"Some of the most talented and prolific people I know have dozens of interests and hobbies. When I ask them about this, the response is usually something like “I love to learn.” I think the new discoveries and joys of learning are the crux of this beginner thing I’ve been thinking about. Sure, when you’ve mastered something it’s valuable, but then part of your journey is over — you’ve arrived, and the trick is to find something you’ll always have a sense of wonder about. I think this is why scientists and artists, who are usually experts, love what they do: there is always something new ahead. It’s possible to be an expert but still retain the mind of a beginner. It’s hard, but the best experts can do it. In making things, in art, in science, in engineering, you can always be a beginner about something you’re doing — the fields are too vast to know it all."
philliptorrone  making  learning  unschooling  curiosity  education  experts  generalists  creativegeneralists  2011  zen  knowledge  expertise  lewiscarroll  makers  electronics  art  artists  science  scientists  tinkering  tinkerers  lifelonglearning  deschooling  mindset  beginners  invention  arduino  fear  risktaking  riskaversion  teaching  lcproject  failure  stasis  yearoff  openminded  children  interestedness  specialists  motivation  intrinsicmotivation  exploration  internet  web  online  constraints  specialization  interested  beginner'smind 
november 2011 by robertogreco
The Rise of the Generalist « Modeled Behavior
"However, in the information age I can in many cases write a program to repeatedly perform each of these tasks and record every single step that it makes for later review by me. The individualized skill and knowledge is not so important because it can all be dumped into a database."
generalists  2011  karlsmith  specialization  specialists  technology  internet 
october 2011 by robertogreco
The Technium: Your Two Things
"…2 devices each person will carry are one general purpose combination device, & one specialized device (per your major interests & style)…

At the same time the attraction of a totem object, or something to hold in your hands, particularly a gorgeous object, will not diminish. We may remain w/ one single object that we love, that does most of what we need okay, & that in some ways comes to represent us. Perhaps the highly evolved person carries one distinctive object—which will be buried w/ them when they die.

…I don't think we'll normally carry more than a couple of things at once, on an ordinary day. The # of devices will proliferate, but each will occupy a smaller & smaller niche. There will be a long tail distribution of devices.

50 yrs from now a very common ritual upon meeting of old friends will be the mutual exchange & cross examination of what lovely personal thing they have in their pocket or purse. You'll be able to tell a lot about a person by what they carry."
kevinkelly  totems  possessions  evocativeobjects  objects  devices  future  predictions  technology  specialization  generalpurpose  combinationdevices  beauty  2011  specialists 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Jon Kolko » Interaction design and design synthesis. ["The Conflicting Rhetoric of Design Education"]
"We must train generalists. We must train specialists…

Skills of craft, building, and beauty are more important than theory or systems thinking. Theory and systems thinking are more important than craft, building, and beauty…

We must focus more on ethnography, anthropology, and the social sciences. We must focus more on science, cognitive psychology, math, and engineering…

It's clear that a change is needed in design education, and it's equally clear that the discourse of this change must advance beyond simply calling well-intentioned designers to action…"
jonkolko  education  design  designeducation  nuance  paradox  generalists  specialization  specialists  craft  making  doing  building  iteration  theory  systems  systemsthinking  well-rounded  balance  lcproject  pedagogy  teaching  learning 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Community Media - Interactive World: Pathways to Participation - Elite Pedagogy and Revolution
"It is a sad fact that much of what we do in our younger years at school acts as barrier to our future confidence and enjoyment. The main reason is that most people are made to feel that they are failures, or fall short of the required standards.

The component of play, spontaneity, & expression, are beaten out of us with the rigour of rules & traditions; a culture of compulsion prevails together with a morbid attraction to examination & assessment regimes. Our children suffer anxiety and stress; they become miserable & unresponsive. Retreating to private worlds, they seldom gain the confidence or the creativity to comprehend their suffering; the system's ultimate victory is that the children are unable to construct meaningful forms of rebellion.

Our obsession with competition, elitism, skills' acquisition, specialisation, and a functional / instrumental approach to learning plays a major role in inhibiting the majority of individuals from participation and creative growth…"
unschooling  deschooling  education  tcsnmy  lcproject  learning  spontaneity  play  standards  standardization  testing  competition  competitiveness  failure  expression  compulsion  rules  tradition  anxiety  stress  racetonowhere  creativity  confidence  elitism  specialization  via:grahamje  specialists 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Moving beyond self-directed learning: Network-directed learning « Connectivism
"To address the information and social complexity of open courses, learners need to be network-directed, not self-directed learners. Social networks serve to filter and amplify important concepts and increase the diversity of views on controversial topics. This transition is far broader than only what we’ve experienced in open courses – the need for netwok-centric learning and knowledge building is foundational in many careers today…

Most importantly network-directed learning is not a “crowd sourcing” concept. Crowd sourcing involves people creating things together. Networks involve connected specialization – namely we are intelligent on our own and we amplify that intelligence when we connect to others. Connectedness – in this light – consists of increasing, not diminishing, the value of the individual."
learning  connectivism  networkedlearning  cck11  via:steelemaley  georgesiemens  self-directedlearning  self-directed  learningnetworks  deschooling  ivanillich  chaos  messiness  cv  amplifiers  specialization  mooc  cck  specialists  moocs 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Athletes are different from you and me
Way too much to pull a quote. Several passages woven together into a tight argument. Classic Carmody from his amazing stint at Kottke.org.
sports  athletes  davidfosterwallace  timcarmody  billsimmons  katiebaker  michaeljordan  hemingway  fscottfitzgerald  tonyhawk  eddiedow  specialization  pathology  behavior  humans  society  dedication  specialists 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Salottobuono > projects > THE LEARNING CLOUD
"Education has often been intended as a social emancipatory tool by which previous social structures can be questioned. As the amount considered necessary to learn increased, so the edu system became increasingly compartmented. Formal & specialized education for the minority will become even more particularized & compartmented, requiring specific structures & facilities, which can be hosted in a circumscribed area as the Loop.

Learning has always taken place throughout life, independent of any peculiar educational structure. Due to the "One country, two systems" policy, learning in btwn Hong Kong & Shenzhen can’t be just a matter of study or curiosity, but has much to do w/ the notion of border, crossing, & the related difficulty to move & to know what’s behind the fence.

By instituting in HK’s boundary closed area a net of sprawled light structures hosting students from all ages, from K to uni. Education & learning for the ‘cross-boundary students’ here could…"
saluttobuono  thelearningcloud  china  shenzen  hongkong  policy  learning  agesegregation  compartmentalization  boundaries  borders  society  education  formal  informal  lifelonglearning  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  specialization  generalists  curiosity  unschooling  deschooling  specialists 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Noreena Hertz: How to use experts -- and when not to | Video on TED.com
"We make important decisions every day -- and we often rely on experts to help us decide. But, says economist Noreena Hertz, relying too much on experts can be limiting and even dangerous. She calls for us to start democratizing expertise -- to listen not only to "surgeons and CEOs, but also to shop staff.""
experts  specialization  specialists  tunnelvision  generalists  listening  patternrecognition  decisionmaking  ted  noreenahertz  economics  infooverload  confusion  certainty  uncertainty  democratization  blackswans  influence  blindlyfollowing  confidence  unschooling  deschooling  trust  openminded  echochambers  complexity  nuance  truth  persuasion  carelessness  paradigmshifts  change  gamechanging  criticalthinking  learning  problemsolving  independence  risktaking  persistence  self-advocacy  education  progress  manageddissent  divergentthinking  dissent  democracy  disagreement  discord  difference  espertise 
february 2011 by robertogreco
The Trouble With Experts : CJR
"By abandoning the assumption that gold-plated credentials equal expertise, the press might even change history. Could journalists have helped to take down, say, Bernie Madoff, before the feds did if they had questioned the sec’s experts more? Shirky wonders.

And then there’s the chance that authentic experts (not necessarily credentialed experts) could become journalists of some kind. It’s happening already. Take the flock of professor-bloggers masticating the news on the Foreign Policy Web site or economist bloggers like Tyler Cowen. There are journalists who have become experts via either peer or crowd review…To cheaply paraphrase Isaiah Berlin, journalists can’t all be clever hedgehogs, but perhaps some generalist foxes can start growing some quills."
society  journalism  generalists  specialization  specialists  credentials  experts  expertise  autism  jennymccarthy  science  blackswans  tunnelvision  via:coldbrain  vaccines  amateur  amateurism  unschooling  deschooling  clayshirky 
january 2011 by robertogreco
The following is from Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut (22 January 2003, Interconnected)
"Paul Slazinger has had all his clothes and writing materials brought here. He is working on his first volume of non-fiction, to which he has given this title: The Only Way to Have a Successful Revolution in Any Field of Human Activity.

For what it's worth: Slazinger claims to have learned from history that most people cannot open their minds to new ideas unless a mind-opening team with a peculiar membership goes to work on them. Otherwise, life will go on exactly as before, no matter how painful, unrealistic, unjust, ludicrous, or downright dumb that life may be.

The team must consist of three sorts of specialists, he says. Otherwise, the revolution, whether in politics or the arts of the sciences or whatever, is sure to fail.

The rarest of these specialists, he says, is an authentic genius -- a person capable of having seeminly good ideas not in general circulation. 'A genius working alone,' he says, 'is invariably ignored as a lunatic.'

The second sort of specialist is a lot easier to find: a highly intelligent citizen in good standing in his or her community, who understands and admires the fresh ideas of the genius, and who testifies that the genius is far from mad. 'A person working like that alone,' says Slazinger, 'can only yearn out loud for changes, but fail to say what their shapes should be.'

The third sort of specialist is a person who can explain anything, no matter how complicated, to the satisfaction of most people, no matter how stupid or pigheaded they may be. 'He will say almost anything in order to be interesting or exciting,' says Slazinger. 'Working alone, depending solely on his own shallow ideas, he would be regarded as being as full of shit as a Christmas turkey.'"

[Update 13 May 2013: Now also here: http://magicalnihilism.com/2013/05/13/i-can-never-find-this-quote-about-revolutions-by-vonnegut-so-im-sticking-it-here-for-safe-keeping/ and here http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/50358994041/the-mind-opening-team ]
mattwebb  bluebeard  vonnegut  genius  innovation  specialists  communication  translation  cv  revolutions  movements  mindchanges  via:tomc  humans  specialization  generalists  trust  explainers  explaining  testimony  2003  kurtvonnegut  mindchanging 
january 2011 by robertogreco
On Education § SEEDMAGAZINE.COM
"The global skill gap arises because neither the high-level specialist within a discipline nor the policy-school graduate is likely to be equipped with the skills needed to solve global problems of a cross-disciplinary nature. The experts provide crucial insights, but their skills are typically focused on generating research, debating ideas, and addressing narrow issues rather than large-scale professional problem solving and management. Meanwhile, the policy graduate typically lacks the grounding in core scientific principles across the appropriate range of topics. The solution lies in training sophisticated science-educated generalists who can coordinate insights across disciplines while managing complex agendas for results."
education  global  interdisciplinary  highered  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  multidisciplinary  learning  problemsolving  criticalthinking  collaboration  generalists  specialization  specialists  policy  management  complexity  science  academia 
december 2010 by robertogreco
How College Kills Creativity; Nothing Succeeds Like Failure - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"If the sources of genius remain something of a riddle, Robinson is emphatic about what does not contribute to creative excellence: higher education…academy's emphasis on specialization & its "inherent tendency to ignore or reject highly original work that does not fit existing paradigm" is an impediment to creativity…points to several intriguing studies. One, by Dean Keith Simonton, a professor of psych at UC Davis, suggests that creativity flourishes best among those w/ equivalent of 2 years of an undergraduate education—no less, no more. Csikszentmihalyi, a professor of psychology at Claremont Graduate U, has also looked at the relationship btwn education & innovation. In his 1996 book, Creativity: Flow & the Psychology of Discovery & Invention, he argued that formal education has historically had little effect on the lives of creative people. "If anything," he wrote, "school threatened to extinguish the interest & curiosity that the child had discovered outside its walls.""

[text here: http://www.stevepavlina.com/forums/personal-effectiveness/55236-nothing-succeeds-like-failure-how-college-kills-creativity.html ]
creativity  education  practice  psychology  mihalycsikszentmihalyi  learning  unschooling  deschooling  flow  failure  colleges  universities  schools  schooling  innovation  specialization  generalists  curiosity  interested  lcproject  formaleducation  schooliness  invention  discovery  adversity  highereducation  highered  specialists  interestedness 
november 2010 by robertogreco
The Cognitive Cost Of Expertise | Wired Science | Wired.com
"Now for the bad news: Expertise might also come with a dark side, as all those learned patterns make it harder for us to integrate wholly new knowledge. Consider a recent paper that investigated the mnemonic performance of London taxi drivers. In the world of neuroscience, London cabbies are best known for their demonstration of structural plasticity in the hippocampus, a brain area devoted (in part) to spatial memory. Because the cabbies are required to memorize the entire urban map of London – it’s the most rigorous driving test in the world – their posterior hippocampi swell and expand, leading to permanent changes in the brain. Knowledge shapes matter."
neuroscience  psychology  constraints  jonahlehrer  perception  brain  chess  thinking  science  expertise  memory  plasticity  generalists  specialization  mindchanges  permanence  specialists  mindchanging 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Text Patterns: making connections
"We need some faculty who are irresponsible to their disciplines & responsible first to integrating & connecting knowledge. This is a precise & concise summation of what I’ve tried to do for many years now. There’s a price to be paid for this kind of thing, of course: expanded interests do not yield expanded time. The day’s number of hours remain constant…So the more I explore topics, themes, books, films — whatever — outside the usual boundaries of my official specialization, the less likely it is that I will read every new article, or even every new book, in “my field."…Is the unswerving focus on a specifically bounded area of specialization the sine qua non of scholarship? Is it even intrinsic to scholarship? Is there not another model of scholarship whose primary activity is “integrating and connecting knowledge”?

I think there is such a model…I’ll be looking for new and interesting connections for the rest of my life. That’s how my mind works…"
academia  scholarship  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  generalists  knowledge  specialists  crossdisciplinary  connections  specialization 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Want smarter kids? Make them study something - one thing - for a long time.
"His idea goes like this: Assign each student a single, specific topic, which he or she will study over and over again, from every possible angle, from early elementary school through high school. Egan, a professor of education at Canada's Simon Fraser University, hopes that by the time such students finish high school, they will be world-class experts on their topics - as well as more effective citizens and better people.

"People who know nothing in depth commonly assume that their opinions are the same kind of thing as knowledge," Egan writes in his forthcoming book "Learning In Depth: A Simple Innovation That Can Transform Schooling," which will be available in January. He also contends that "a central feature of becoming a moral person is to learn to become engaged with something outside the self.""
kieranegan  learning  education  schools  teaching  specialization  expertise  depthoverbreadth  depth  specialists 
november 2010 by robertogreco
What Are You Going to Do With That? - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"It's easy, the way the system works, to simply go w/ flow. I don't mean the work is easy, but the choices are. Or rather, the choices sort of make themselves…

Moral imagination means the capacity to envision new ways to live your life. It means not just going w/ flow. It means not just "getting into" whatever school or program comes next. It means figuring out what you want for yourself, not what your parents want, or your peers want, or your school wants, or your society wants. Originating your own values. Thinking your way toward your own definition of success…

Morally courageous individuals tend to make the people around them very uncomfortable. They don't fit in w/ everybody else's ideas about the way the world is supposed to work, & still worse, they make them feel insecure about the choices that they themselves have made—or failed to make. People don't mind being in prison as long as no one else is free. But stage a jailbreak, and everybody else freaks out."

[via: http://tumble77.com/post/1389655615/people-dont-mind-being-in-prison-as-long-as-no ]
humanities  education  creativity  writing  college  colleges  universities  cv  schooling  schooliness  unschooling  deschooling  ratrace  treadmill  racetonowhere  choice  grades  grading  self-esteem  success  happiness  ideas  identity  courage  tcsnmy  lcproject  curiosity  self  williamderesiewicz  risk  risktaking  iconoclasm  safety  convenience  predictablity  control  mistakes  glvo  generalists  specialists  specialization 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Making Future Magic – a bit about the music – Blog – BERG
"Some of the best bits about working at BERG are how everyone, despite having particular specialist skills, gleefully ignores boundaries, disciplines, labels and predefined processes, and allows themselves space to just run with things when they get excited. Deciding to do the music for the first Making Future Magic film ourselves was one of those moments."
crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  specialization  specialists  generalists  berg  berglondon  do  make  creativity 
september 2010 by robertogreco
How To Raise A Superstar [If true, this is huge endorsement of small, progressive schools where the emphasis is not on competition, but on exposure, experience, and unstructured time, where all students are given the chance to participate.]
"smaller cities offer more opportunities for unstructured play…to hone general coordination, power, & athletic skills. These longer hours of play also allow kids to experience successes (& failures) in different settings…likely toughens their attitudes in general…important advantage of small towns…actually less competitive…allowing kids to sample & explore many different sports. (I grew up in big city,…sports career basically ended at 13. I could no longer compete w/ other kids my age.) While conventional wisdom assumes it’s best to focus on single sport ASAP, & compete in most rigorous arena…probably a mistake, both for psychological & physical reasons…While deliberate practice remains absolutely crucial, it’s important to remember that most important skills we develop at early age are not domain specific…real importance of early childhood has to do w/ development of general cognitive & non-cognitive traits, such as self-control, patience, grit, & willingness to practice"
jonahlehrer  children  childhood  biology  learning  cognition  education  sports  psychology  practice  tigerwoods  performance  competition  urban  rural  tcsnmy  confidence  persistence  self-control  patience  grit  self-confidence  athletics  athletes  variety  toshare  topost  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  sampling  malcolmgladwell  burnout  specialization  generalists  coordination  success  failure  play  unstructuredtime  specialists 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Conceptual Framework for Online Identity Roles « emergent by design
"I just wrapped up a final project for an aesthetics course this semester, the assignment being to create a “Database of the Self.” I chose to make the database as a representation of the roles we play in terms of how we interact with information online. The roles are overlaid on a panarchy, which shows a visualization of adaptive lifecycles. Though the evolution of every idea or meme won’t necessarily follow this specific path, (it may in fact be rhizomatic, with multiple feedback loops), this begins to flesh out what we become as nodes within an enmeshed series of networks."

[interactive version: http://gavinkeech.com/mememachine/ ]

[via: http://bettyann.tumblr.com/post/905732940 ]
socialdesign  socialmedia  infographic  information  roles  social  identity  design  research  online  cognition  networks  self  generalists  specialists  activators  pathfinders  facilitators  enhancers  connectprs  propogators  amplifiers  assimilators  stabilizers  disruptors  observers  scribes  specialization 
august 2010 by robertogreco
How US Public School almost killed an Entreprenuer | The Do Village ["10 things that were constantly reinforced during my 12 years of public school in America that had to be unlearned as an adult desiring to be an entrepreneur."]
"10 things that were constantly reinforced during my 12 years of public school in America that had to be unlearned as an adult desiring to be an entrepreneur.

1. Fit in instead of be original

2. Follow the rules instead of questioning why they exist

3. Helping others is cheating despite the fact that everything you do as a successful adult is a team effort

4. Have good handwriting instead of teaching me to type

5. Do it because the teacher said so, instead of teaching me to understand why doing it is important

6. Don’t challenge authority instead of teaching me that I deserve respect too

7. Get good grades in all my classes, even though I will never do trigonometry ever in life. (Sine these nuts. lol)

8. Don’t fail instead of teaching me to value trial and error

9. Debating and arguing with friends is a bad thing, instead of encouraging independent thought and self confidence

10. Be a generalist and learn things I hate, instead of developing my genius at things that i like.

More Dumbshit that I still dont understand.

*Getting to school late will be punished by making you stay home for 3 days…WTF

*Memorize stuff that now can be looked up on Google.

*Learn to do calculus by hand, despite being required to purchase a $200 calculator.

*Appearing smart is more important than being effective…. REALLY?

These are all that I can think of now. Feel free to add dumbshit you learned in the comments section."
education  tcsnmy  rules  handwriting  typing  cheating  collaboration  helping  respect  authority  schools  schooliness  backwards  confidence  self-confidence  arguing  debate  generalists  specialists  doing  making  do  via:cervus  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  teaching  learning  entrepreneurship  unlearning  rote  math  mathematics  trialanderror  failure  risk  risktaking  toshare  topost  manifesto  specialization  manifestos  rotelearning 
july 2010 by robertogreco
TeachPaperless: Post-ISTE Thoughts
"It's not enough to be a teacher of math or a teacher of history; we need to liberate ourselves from 1,500 years of disciplinarian categorization and move into a view of education as the preparation of the self in the matters of living.

Science, technology, engineering, math, and yes even art -- though wonderful and necessary in and of themselves -- are only tools, lenses really through which to measure, process, and evaluate the world.

We need to go beyond that."
shellyblake-pock  tcsnmy  purpose  schools  education  2010  iste2010  whatmatters  learning  lcproject  multidisciplinary  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  messiness  schooliness  categorizations  specialization  generalists  life  living  death  love  empathy  compassion  truth  creativity  toshare  comments  specialists 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Coldbrain. (Stock, flow, generalists and specialists)
"Generalists...produce content that covers range of topics...necessarily scattershot, & people will dip in & out when content matches their own interests. But if you find a generalist whose interests match your own, it’s all gold. That’s rare.

I see good & bad examples of both approaches every day, & I bet you do too.
There’s a 3rd way, & I rather like it. It’s about producing flow relating to a range of your interests, & saving your stock for things you passionately care about...about being consistently interesting, but caring enough about your audience to spend time digging deeper into topics to create last content. It’s about treating your readers as a diverse bunch of broadly educated people, interested in reading intelligent content & commentary.

Gruber, Kottke, Merlin & so many other people that I love all do this. It’s incredibly obvious in hindsight, but until today, I hadn’t quite appreciated the subtle reasons why I like them so much. Something for us to aspire to."
matthewculnane  snarkmarket  stockandflow  robinsloan  generalists  passion  cv  writing  interesting  interestingness  curation  interested  kottke  daringfireball  merlinmann  specialists  specialization  interestedness 
may 2010 by robertogreco
enzo mari sixty paperweights
"but there is more. granting the papers months and years to mature, to form geological layers of meditation, also means escaping the oppressive mechanisms of the productive system, the compulsive logic of efficiency at all costs. it means affording oneself the subversive luxury of taking all the required time to develop a good project. it means extending the range of research in order to get an overall picture, acting against the increasing hyper-specialization that restrains creative expression nowadays."
enzomari  objects  specialization  research  productivity  efficiency  compulsivity  subversion  creativity  time  design  office  paperweights  specialists 
may 2010 by robertogreco
More Like Us — Meredith Jung-En Woo, Dean of Arts & Sciences and Buckner W. Clay Professor
"there is perhaps something to the argument that we as a nation have become excessively focused on credentials...I sometimes discern this tendency in the steadily upward trend in multiple majors over the past decade. The requirements for more than one major can be strenuous, crowding out the flexibility for students to venture out to new fields, experiment in ways that push the limits of knowledge. In the College, we offer some 3000 course sections, & I wonder whether something essential is lost when students trade in a broad liberal arts curriculum in order to satisfy the new requirements for an additional credential.

Regardless of whether students graduate with one major or two, it remains a fact that our educational system is the best in the world...our best comparative advantage. It keeps foreign students flocking to our shores, especially from Asia. In the long run, these students will, in one way or another, be more like us, and I think they will be better for it."
credentials  liberalarts  education  creativity  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  generalists  interdisciplinary  unschooling  deschooling  specialization  competition  japan  us  highered  colleges  universities  innovation  tcsnmy  jamesfallows  davidhalberstam  exams  testing  messiness  disorder  individualism  can-doattitude  1980s  1990s  meredithjung-enwoo  specialists 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Doorknobs and directors « Snarkmarket
"This is not to say that super-specialization is not a super-smart strat­egy! Being extremely good—the best in the world—at a par­tic­u­lar thing is actu­ally one of the best strate­gies for sur­vival and sat­is­fac­tion. But I just don’t think it nec­es­sar­ily leads any­where other than… super-specialization. It seems to me, look­ing around, that the peo­ple in charge of cities, pub­lic spaces, orga­ni­za­tions, and Spider-Man 4 are the peo­ple who have gone straight at those more macro lev­els like an arrow."
specialization  generalists  cv  robinsloan  snarkmarket  macro  micro  dou­glashof­s­tadter  jeffveen  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  detail  bigpicture  specialists 
january 2010 by robertogreco
YouTube - OBSESSIVES: Pizza - CHOW
"An oven built by hand, tile by tile. Four pizzas on the menu, with no fancy-pants toppings. Anthony Mangieri does one thing at Una Pizza Napoletana, and he does it the very best way he can."
obsession  pizza  perfection  recipes  food  specialization  anthonymanglieri  slow  simplicity  specialists 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Scanners: Refuse To Choose!: How to be an eclectic and quit fooling around
"In case you're new to this subject, Scanners are people who are interested in so many things they can’t bear to limit themselves to just one. The rest of the world seems united in their opinion of this problem: it must be changed. Everyone knows that if you don’t focus on one thing you’ll never get anywhere. And most people seem pretty sure that if you’re interested in everything and lose interest in most things before you’ve completed them, that you are almost certainly lazy, shallow (ever been called a ‘dilettante?), self-indulgent and afraid of hard work. As a result you are un-deserving of respect unless you change your ways."
generalists  specialization  specialists  books  cv  reading  learning 
october 2009 by robertogreco
In Defense of Generalists | The Institute For The Future
"The most pressing problems in science and technology, and more broadly in business and the economy, don't lend themselves readily to specialists' solutions. They require not just inter-discipinary teamwork to make progress, but transdisciplinary thinking - literally, we need people that can have converstaions between disciplinary appraoches to problems inside their own head. In fact, you could argue that most of the gridlock around big problems like global warming, health care, and so on, stem from the inability of narrow specialist and interest groups to speak each others' language, translate heuristics and integrate complex concepts and data. They're too specialized, having become more and more isolated in focused communities, thanks to the web."
generalists  specialists  specialization  thinking  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  transdisciplinary  crosspollination  interdisciplinary  problemsolving  diversity  integration 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Why teach the arts? Art inspires learning | csmonitor.com
"The arts offer both a key educational component & the unique experience of handling each stage of a project – coordinating hand, eye & mind – from inspiration to finishing touches. In contrast, business realities necessitate specialization. Schools also practice specialization, both in the estrangement of various studies & by progressively narrowing the focus. Perhaps because expertise pays, it is not generally the case that the "higher" people go in education, the broader, more interconnected, integrated & holistic becomes their vision. If the arts provide an alternative metaphor applicable to education, it is that elements must balance & synergize. The attractive color, "catchy" musical passage, or favorite rhyme that doesn't fit only weakens the work."
education  pedagogy  art  arts  generalists  specialization  specialists  schools  business  science  learning  tcsnmy  integrative  interconnectivity  multidisciplinary  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  interconnected 
october 2009 by robertogreco
THE LAST DAYS OF THE POLYMATH | More Intelligent Life
"Polymaths possess something that monomaths do not. Time and again, innovations come from a fresh eye or from another discipline. Most scientists devote their careers to solving the everyday problems in their specialism. Everyone knows what they are and it takes ingenuity and perseverance to crack them. But breakthroughs—the sort of idea that opens up whole sets of new problems—often come from other fields. The work in the early 20th century that showed how nerves work and, later, how DNA is structured originally came from a marriage of physics and biology. Today, Einstein’s old employer, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, is laid out especially so that different disciplines rub shoulders. I suspect that it is a poor substitute.

Isaiah Berlin once divided thinkers into two types. Foxes, he wrote, know many things; whereas hedgehogs know one big thing. The foxes used to roam free across the hills. Today the hedgehogs rule."
polymaths  generalists  specialization  specialists  education  learning  society  culture  history  books  psychology  research  creativity  genius  intelligence  knowledge  ideas  cv  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary 
september 2009 by robertogreco
unbecoming expert | stimulant - changing things around. . .
"illusion of neat set of bins into which you can place all knowledge & experience is reinforced & rehashed in school, where the entirety of your school experience is defined in terms of concrete units of time given names like “Math” & “English.” As the underlying structure behind the defining, dominant activity for most youth (i.e., school), this classification exacerbates the confusion between activity (what you do) & identity (who you are)...The end goal [should be] to empower a person to approach an activity w/out comparing themselves against some sort of stifling, mental standard, requiring the activity to be common or otherwise unmysterious, diversely peopled, & open to engagement at many levels...Just because Tradition has already homesteaded words like “scientist” & “artist” & “philosopher” doesn’t mean that needs to matter. You can either attack that problem directly — makers & hackers have been calling themselves engineers for years — or you can make the question irrelevant."
education  categorization  interdisciplinary  identity  hackers  hacking  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  generalists  specialization  specialists  schools  schooling  deschooling  ivanillich 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Relevant History: Paul Graham on meeting time
"Pre-industrial work ... was task-oriented: whether you worked in the fields or town, the rhythm of your working day wasn't determined by a clock, but by Nature and the work you needed to get done. With the rise of the factory system, and the growing specialization of labor within factories, the rhythms of work were defined not by organic tasks, but by machines and the factory itself: you worked a certain number of hours a day, and then you stopped. Work was no longer task-oriented, but time-oriented.

Of course, there are types of work that have always remained task-oriented, even when we're measuring or regulating or standardizing them using time. Cooking is one. Parenting is another. Babies are as demanding as any factory-owner, but as any new parent will tell you, they run very much on their own clocks. But today, when the two are at odds, task-orientation loses out to time-orientation: managers set meeting times for subordinates, some of whom are likely to be young mothers."
industrialization  time  work  taskoriented  meetings  paulgraham  alexsoojung-kimpang  specialization  industrialrevolution  parenting  timemanagement  specialists 
july 2009 by robertogreco
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