On Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 01:59, franzjn <f.nahrada@...
> Hi Surya,
> very provocative, very deep - but I really think this man has got the complete picture wrong and he is just another hypocrite.
Without examining what he writes in detail, I make the conjecture that
he is not the kind of hypocrite who says one thing and does quite
another, but rather that he is confused, as we all are. I base this
conjecture on the heuristic that one should assume incompetence before
malice, and on the observation that we are all massively ignorant and
not very smart at all. ^_^
> The question is not, as he quotes Steward Brand, "technology yes or no?", but rather "what kind of technology do we need?". My encounter with Douglas Engelbart in 1990 that started GlobalVillages was exactly about that part of the story.
My encounter with Doug was much later, at the Fifth Symposium on
Digital Earth (where I introduced him to the OLPC XO) and the 40th
anniversary celebration of The Mother of All Demos, which everyone
involved in technology must see.
Many of us in the One Laptop Per Child movement
are looking forward to applying Doug's principle of
amplifying collective intelligence to the case of a billion
interconnected children at a time.
> There is no human life without technology, and the freedom of unnecessary labor is an eternal drive in human existence.
As is the pursuit of goals that no amount of labor can reach in the
absence of relevant technology.
> We can really enter a dispute in what unnecessary labor is, but this dispute is academic as long as people flee the villages and flock to the cities.
"This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of
the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many
solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were
largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper,
which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of
paper that were unhappy.
"And so the problem remained; lots of the people were mean, and most
of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches.
"Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big
mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some
said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should
ever have left the oceans."
Douglas Adams, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
> That is why GlobalVillages exists, to provide a better village alternative. I wonder why I dont hear of you talking to Anil Chawla and the Sonokhar Project near Dehli which I find could be a key project for the Global Villages Network: ......
I wonder why a hundred thousand projects don't talk to each other.
Some do, of course, at sites such as Wiser Earth, but nowhere near
Well, someday, as I said, a billion children at a time in
however many millions of villages and urban neighborhoods will be able
to connect and make their own decisions on what is most important to
> I really get emotional about Zerzans rant, because it mixes truthful observations with wrong conclusions.
The story of humanity, especially of all of those ideologies that look
at the reality of human suffering and say, in effect, if only we could
get in and change human nature completely. Especially those among them
that claim some kind of absolute truth, whether pseudo-religious or
I prefer to build tools, and let others discover
what can be accomplished using them.
That way, I get to say that I make presents for millions of children
every day. Among those tools I would like to create learning materials
on civics, explaining not only how governments and societies are
supposed to work, but how they really work, and what can be done when
they work badly.
> (Quote from Zerzan:) "You can go all the way back to simple stone tools....
"We'll be saying a big hello to all intelligent lifeforms everywhere,
and to everyone else out there, the secret is, bang the rocks
Douglas Adams, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
> "....and then follow it all the way out, in terms of the values or the choices that are embedded there. For example if you look at simple stone tools, before you get to systems and technology, they don't require much specialization or division of labor, and accordingly you can see the potential for equality: anyone make this tool, anyone can use it, you don't depend on an expert for using it. But as we move forward in technological time, the need for a lot of specialists and experts gives those specialists and experts total power over us, and that's a disabling and de-skilling process."
This turns out not to be the case. Making stone tools required highly
developed skills, and we have archaeological evidence of specialists
making them for their communities, and of trade in tools and materials
for making tools over very wide distances. I have been particularly
impressed by the discovery that it took half a million years before
one of our ancestors went from chipping one edge of a flint or other
suitable rock to turning it over and chipping both edges.
The essential distinction is that in hunter-gatherer and herding
societies, almost everyone had to practice a wide range of
(gender-specific) skills, even though nobody had all of the skills,
whereas in settled agricultural societies, the distinctions among the
farmers, the ever-more-numerous kinds of artisans, the scribes (once
writing was invented), and the military became dominant, even
> (Franz:) I agree on this observation of de- skilling, but we are far beyond that observation. Have you or has he ever looked at the amount of empowering and liberating energy that people put into Open Source Ecology? Have you ever heard or considered the theories of active and passive competence forwarded by Ulrich Sigor, saying that we need a "passive competence educational revolution" to be in control of the technological progress?
We need to make it as easy for children to learn technology as it is
for them to learn language, an idea that Seymour Papert put forward in
the 1960s, and that many others have contributed to.
> (Franz:) Maybe I should tell you I was with Apple Computer in the time when Steve Jobs was not there, and I was madly in love with a software erector kit that Bill Atkinson assembled with a small team called HyperCard. I really saw the liberating sides of technology and it was the fact that this was a massive teaching tool for the rest of us to learn programming and the art of producing digital media.
I remember it well, and I also loved it. But we have moved on. Now we
can give every child Turtle Art and Smalltalk, among other things,
which enable them to start younger and go much further. It has been
firmly established over the last 50 years that children can learn
programming starting in third grade, and other literacy-based computer
skills including arithmetic and word processing starting in first
grade. But that is not all. Two-year-olds love the digital camera
function built into OLPC XOs, where there are no words in the user
interface, just an icon to point and click to take a photo of whatever
the camera puts on the screen. We have many other educational
activities for the preliterate.
> (Franz:)Its very funny that the interview is about Steve Jobs and what he did to technology, and let me say that a great technological potential fell victim to this mans concept of technology. In fact, HyperCard was unmatched in beauty, simplicity and power, and it gave the power back to the users.
Jobs played a key role in enabling the development of Smalltalk beyond
the Xerox work, both by basing the Lisa and Mac GUIs on it, and by
hiring Alan Kay and others to do further Smalltalk research.
> (Franz:)It is these alternatives that the media likes to forget in drawing an exciting but useless "black and white" picture of technology.
> I could go on and on. The baby cry app is definitely an interesting example to muse about; but do you condemn spectacles for the ill-sighted? We must accept it as a human condition that we always look at the world through media, and we must understand how great Marshall McLuhan really was for providing us with that insight. If, for example, we use biofeedback to train our senses: good or bad?
There would, in particular, be no musicians without years of
biofeedback training per person using our ordinary senses for
feedback. Similarly for language and every other skill. But a great
deal more becomes possible when we have technologies that enhance our
senses. All of science, in particular, is dependent on using
instruments to measure and display what we cannot see without them.
> (Franz:) Maybe technology is a crutch that we need to be able to throw it away one day. At least thats more what I believe and what makes me feel my work here is important.
You might as well say that the ground is a crutch that we will discard someday.
When I was in college, I sometimes wore a button reading, "Reality is
a crutch." This works as a strategy for thinking, and is also an
essential concept in Buddhism and several other religions, but it is
not a strategy for building a society that depends on communication.
My son, who has worked in the video game industry, likes to talk about
"abandoning physical instrumentality", but he has been unable to
> (Franz:) So please, get in touch with Anil and lets hear some pattern-building news from India.
May I also recommend that you listen to Satish Jha of OLPC India?
> --- In email@example.com, suryarao maturu <suryaraom@...> wrote:
>> Hello Andrius et al,
>> In the current context of , COLLAPSING ECONOMIES, CONFUSED
>> Please open : <www.johnzerzan.net>
>> john is again touring india ,for 30+ days.
>> i met him & talked to him & it was a great experience.
>> he terms it -----Green ANARCHY; but, basically he tells us all ,to
>> QUESTION our very presumptions/Hypotheses/Formulae regarding:
>> W O R K
>> C A R E E R
>> C I V I L I S A T I O N
>> try him,..............surya/delhi/india/14-feb-2012
Edward Mokurai (默雷/धर्ममेघशब्दगर्ज/دھرممیگھشبدگر ج) Cherlin
Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.