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Re: [ba-unrev-talk] virtual book club?

I have been roaming the web looking for ideas to support work I am doing 
that aligns with the Engelbart notion of augmenting the collective IQ.  I 
view Doug's writing from a particular perspective.  Doug has spoken deeply 
and often about issues related to current human activities; similarly, I 
have taken the view that it is (for me) more important to think about 
future activities with respect to those who will be involved, today's young 
learners.    (01)

Today's Web research led me to the works of Ivan Illich.  Turns out that 
two of his books are on-line.  I'll make a deep quotation from the 
introduction to one of them -- _Tools for Conviviality_ -- which follows a 
previous book _Deschooling Society_.    (02)

Tools is found at http://philosophy.la.psu.edu/illich/tools/intro.html
Deschooling is found at http://philosophy.la.psu.edu/illich/deschool/intro.html    (03)

Given that Tools represents his views on technology, and OHS is about 
technology, perhaps _Tools for Conviviality_ could be considered for 
discussion as a group. It strikes me that the tone of the book (I haven't 
read it yet) speaks to many of the issues of design that interest Sheldon 
Brahms.  Certainly, the fabric of his writing supports notions of 
constructivist learning environments, and those environments represent 
appropriate use cases for OHS/DKR implementations.    (04)

If you recall, Ping recently introduced himself and gave a URL 
  wherein he illustrates the use of email posts for IBIS-like 
discussions.  It would not take an archiver to produce what he wants if we 
happen to make our Subject lines look something like his suggestion.    (05)

Jack    (06)

During the next several years I intend to work on an epilogue to the 
industrial age. I want to trace the changes in language, myth, ritual, and 
law which took place in the current epoch of pack-aging and of schooling. I 
want to describe the fading monopoly of the industrial mode of production 
and the vanishing of the industrially generated professions this mode of 
production serves.
Above all I want to show that two-thirds of mankind still can avoid passing 
through the industrial age, by choosing right now a postindustrial balance 
in their mode of production which the hyperindustrial nations will be 
forced to adopt as an alternative to chaos. To prepare for this task I 
submit this essay for critical comment.
In its present form this book is the result of conversations at CIDOC in 
Cuernavaca during the summer of 1972. Participants in my seminar will 
recognize their ideas, and often their words. I ask my collaborators to 
accept my sincere thanks, especially for their written contributions.
This essay has become too long to appear as an article and too intricate to 
be read in several installments. It is a progress report. I respectfully 
thank Ruth Nanda Anshen for issuing this tract as a volume, in World 
Perspectives, published by Harper & Row.
For several years at CIDOC in Cuernavaca we have conducted critical 
research on the monopoly of the industrial mode of production and have 
tried to define conceptually alternative modes that would fit a 
postindustrial age. During tine late sixties this research centered on 
educational devices. By 1970 we had found that:
1. Universal education through compulsory schooling is not possible.
2. Alternative devices for the production and marketing of mass education 
are technically more feasible and ethically less tolerable than compulsory 
graded schools. Such new educational arrangements are now on the verge of 
replacing traditional school systems in rich and in poor countries. They 
are potentially more effective in the conditioning of job-holders and 
consumers in an industrial economy. They are therefore more attractive for 
the management of present societies, more seductive for the people, and 
insidiously destructive of fundamental values.
3. A society committed to high levels of shared learning and critical 
personal intercourse must set pedagogical limits on industrial growth.
I have published the results of this research in a previous volume of World 
Perspectives, entitled Deschooling Society. I clarified some of the points 
left ill defined in that book by writing an article published in the 
Saturday Review of April 19, 1971.
Our analysis of schooling has led us to recognize the mass production of 
education as a paradigm for other industrial enterprises, each producing a 
service commodity, each organized as a public utility, and each defining 
its output as a basic necessity. At first our attention was drawn to the 
compulsory insurance of professional health care, and to systems of public 
transport, which tend to become compulsory once traffic rolls above a 
certain speed. We found that the industrialization of any service agency 
leads to destructive side effects analogous to the unwanted secondary 
results well known from the overproduction of goods. we had to face a set 
of limits to growth in the service sector Of any society as inescapable as 
the limits inherent in the industrial production of artifacts. we concluded 
that a set of limits to industrial growth is well formulated only if these 
limits apply both to goods and to services which are produced in an 
industrial mode. So we set out to clarify these limits.
I here submit the concept of a multidimensional balance of human life which 
can serve as a framework for evaluating man's relation to his tools. In 
each of several dimensions of this balance it is possible to identify a 
natural scale. When an enterprise grows beyond a certain point on this 
scale, it first frustrates the end for
which it was originally designed, and then rapidly becomes a threat to 
society itself. These scales must be identified and the
parameters of human endeavors within which human life remains viable must 
be explored.
Society can be destroyed when further growth of mass production renders the 
milieu hostile, when it extinguishes the free use of the natural abilities 
of society's members, when it isolates people from each other and locks 
them into a man-made shell, when it undermines the texture of community by 
promoting extreme social polarization and splintering specialization, or 
when cancerous acceleration enforces social change at a rate that rules out 
legal, cultural, and political precedents as formal guidelines to present 
behavior. Corporate endeavors which thus threaten society cannot be 
tolerated. At this point it becomes irrelevant whether an enterprise is 
nominally owned by individuals, corporations, or the slate, because no form 
of management can make such fundamental destruction serve a social purpose.
Our present ideologies are useful to clarify the contradictions which 
appear in a society which relies on the capitalist control of industrial 
production; they do not, however, provide the necessary framework for 
analyzing the crisis in the industrial mode of
production itself. I hope that one day a general theory of 
industrialization will be stated with precision, that it will be formulated 
in terms compelling enough to withstand the test of criticism. Its concepts 
ought to provide a common language for people in opposing parties who need 
to engage in the assessment of social programs or technologies, and who 
want to restrain the power of man's tools when they tend to overwhelm man 
and his goals. Such a theory should help people invert the present 
structure of major institutions. I hope that this essay will enhance the 
formulation of such a theory.
It is now difficult to imagine a modern society in which industrial growth 
is balanced and kept in check by several complementary, distinct, and 
equally scientific modes of production. Our vision of the possible and the 
feasible is so restricted by industrial expectations that any alternative 
to more mass production sounds like a return to past oppression or like a 
Utopian design for noble savages. In fact, however, the vision of new pos-
sibilities requires only the recognition that scientific discoveries can be 
useful in at least two opposite ways. The first leads to specia- lization 
of functions, institutionalization of values and centralization of power 
and turns people into the accessories of bureaucracies or machines. The 
second enlarges the range of each person's competence, control, and 
initiative, limited only by other individuals' claims to an equal range of 
power and freedom.
To formulate a theory about a future society both very modern and not 
dominated by industry, it will be necessary to recognize natural scales and 
limits. We must come to admit that only within limits can machines take the 
place of slaves; beyond these limits they lead to a new kind of serfdom. 
Only within limits can education fit people into a man-made environment: 
beyond these limits lies the universal schoolhouse, hospital ward, or 
prison. Only within limits ought politics to be concerned with the 
distribution of maximum industrial outputs, rather than with equal inputs 
of either energy or information. Once these limits are recognized, it 
becomes possible to articulate the triadic relationship between persons, 
tools, and a new collectivity. Such a society, in which modern technologies 
serve politically interrelated individuals rather than managers, I will 
call "convivial."
After many doubts, and against the advice of friends whom I respect, I have 
chosen "convivial" as a technical term to designate a modern society of 
responsibly limited tools. In part this choice was conditioned by the 
desire to continue a discourse which had started with its Spanish cognate. 
The French cognate has been given technical meaning (for the kitchen) by 
Brillat-Savarin in his Physiology of Taste: Meditations on Transcendental 
Gastronomy. This specialized use of the term in French might explain why it 
has already proven effective in the unmistakably different and equally 
specialized context in which it will appear in this essay. I am aware that 
in English "convivial" now seeks the company of tipsy jollyness, which is 
distinct from that indicated by the OED and opposite to the austere meaning 
of modern "eutrapelia," which I intend. By applying the term "convivial" to 
tools rather than to people, I hope to forestall confusion.
"Austerity," which says something about people, has also been degraded and 
has acquired a bitter taste, while for Aristotle or
Aquinas it marked the foundation of friendship. In the Summa Theologica, 
II, II, in the 186th question, article 5, Thomas deals with disciplined and 
creative playfulness. In his third response he defines "austerity" as a 
virtue which does not exclude all enjoyments, but only those which are 
distracting from or destructive of personal relatedness. For Thomas 
"austerity" is a complementary part of a more embracing virtue, which he 
calls friendship or joyfulness. It is the fruit of an apprehension that 
things or tools could destroy rather than enhance eutrapelia (or graceful 
playfulness) in personal relations.*    (07)