Posts Tagged ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’

3P-062 Education and Its Discontents

In this special 2-hour feature, Third Paradigm hosts the 10th anniversary episode of Unwelcome Guests. This show looks forward and backwards at whether schools at the university, secondary, and elementary levels are serving the greater good of society or the greater wealth of CEO’s. In celebration of 520 episodes, this show begins by reading Lyn Gerry’s introduction to the very first edition of Unwelcome Guests. It announces the many new features of the UnwelcomeGuests.net website, including show summaries, topic and speaker indexes, embedded audio player, interactive wiki design, and “collaboratory” studio: all provided through the altruistic largesse of Robin Upton. In the second hour, an alternative media forum called the UniverseCity is cited, with an invitation to listeners to join.

We start by looking at the current state of college financing through excerpts from “The Student Loan Scam” and “Wossamotta U.” Then Ben Manski from Unwelcome Guests #345 looks at college costs a generation ago, and how corporatization has accompanied the rise in tuition. This episode was called “Dumbed Down, Buttoned Down, or Locked Down – Throwaway People in a Disposable Culture.” The first hour ends with a reading from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig.

In the second hour, Ken MacDermottRoe of History Counts interviews John Taylor Gatto in his episode,  “Dumbing Us Down.” Then Kenneth Dowst of New World Notes plays the conclusion of one of John Taylor Gatto’s talks, followed by an excerpt from Jonathon Kozol, who observes the same phenomenon but reaches a different solution. Data is presented from Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi’s book “The Two-Income Trap.”

Notable Quote: Keep in mind, this scheme was never intended…to be destructive, just the reverse. By converting Americans into specialized economic and social functions, into incompletely human human beings, this nation eventually achieved the most reliable domestic market in the world. The human mutilations of schooling are a trade0off for this prosperity. Comfort and security are achieved at the price of personal sovereignty and wholeness. That’s what makes extended childhood a paradox – give it up and people will enter a zone of great turbulence, since most people don’t have a clue what to do to make a living or how to entertain themselves. And the resolution of that turbulence nobody can predict.

Well-schooled people have a low threshold of boredom; they need constant novelty to feel alive. With only the flimsiest inner life, they must stay in touch with official voices…The cannot sit still without their minds wandering off to some commercial world or to the stock market…Well-schooled people must be poorly-trained in history, philosophy, economics, literature, poetry, music, art, theology, and anything known to develop a personal inner life… [It converts] spirits designed for independence into whiny, greedy, bored children who define themselves by what they consume…When you next find yourself appalled by infantile and irresponsible behavior that you see all around you, think of school as its forge and try to get rid of it.

– John Taylor Gatto