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Mar
19th
Sat
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Jeffrey Dill on education of global citizens in 21st century

To be involved in the creation of knowledge means that students are self-directed learners. Rather than learn about science from an external source, such as a teacher, they plan and design their own labs in order to “do the acts of a scientist.” The global citizen must approach learning with the assumption that “nothing is certain” because we live in a multifarious world with a plurality of ideas and choices. It is not enough for students to simply study history, or even to know it; they must also be active participants. Teachers value this kind of inquiry because it leads to an “independence of learning,” rather than the “static reception” of knowledge.

The flexible thinking of the global citizen also means that he or she is open to other perspectives and viewpoints. Collaboration is important because there may be more then one way to solve a problem. Innovation and getting things done is largely dependent on one’s ability to adapt to and skillfully navigate a cooperative setting of diverse opinions. (…)

Historically, education has been understood to be, as the French sociologist Émile Durkheim stated, “the means by which a society prepares, in its children, the essential conditions of its own existence.” In this sense, education is always an exercise in the transmission of a culture, a passing on of inherited understandings of the self and the world. The movement to teach 21st century skills and cultivate global citizens is no exception.”
Jeffrey Dill, Teaching the virtues of a global citizen, (pdf) CULTURE, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, Fall 2009, p. 3-4.
Jan
9th
Sun
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Timothy Leary on cybernetics and a new global culture

M. C. Escher, Peeled faces

Cyber" means "pilot."

A “cyberperson" is one who pilots his/her own life. By definition, the cyberperson is fascinated by navigational information - especially maps, charts, labels, guides, manuals that help pilot one through life. The cyberperson continually searches for theories, models, paradigms, metaphors, images, icons that help chart and define the realities that we inhabit.

Cybertech" refers to the tools, appliances, and methodologies of knowing and communicating. Linguistics. Philosophy. Semantics. Semiotics. Practical epistemologies. The ontologies of daily life. Words, icons, pencils, printing presses, screens, keyboards, computers, disks.

Cyberpolitics" introduces the Foucault notions of the use of language and linguistic-tech by the ruling classes in feudal and industrial societies to control children, the uneducated, and the under classes. The words “governor” or “steersman” or “G-man” are used to describe those who manipulate words and communication devices in order to control, to bolster authority-feudal, management, government-and to discourage innovative thought and free exchange. (…)

Cyberpunks use all available data-input to think for themselves. (…) The classical Olde Westworld model for the cyberpunk is Prometheus, a technological genius who “stole” fire from the Gods and gave it to humanity. Prometheus also taught his gene pool many useful arts and sciences. (…)

The cyberpunk person, the pilot who thinks clearly and creatively, using quantum-electronic appliances and brain know-how, is the newest, updated, top-of-the-line model of the 21st Century: Homo sapiens sapiens cyberneticus. (p. 62-64.) (…)

The term “cybernetics" comes from the Greek word kubernetes, “pilot”. The Hellenic origin of this word is important in that it reflects the Socratic-Platonic traditions of independence and individual self-reliance which, we are told, derived from geography. The proud little Greek city-states were perched on peninsular fingers wiggling down into the fertile Mediterranean Sea, protected by mountains from the land-mass armies of Asia.

Mariners of those ancient days had to be bold and resourceful. Sailing the seven seas without maps or navigational equipment, they were forced to develop independence of thought. The self-reliance that these Hellenic pilots developed in their voyages probably carried over to the democratic, inquiring, questioning nature of their land life.

The Athenian cyberpunks, the pilots, made their own navigational decisions. (p. 64.) (…)

Cyber: The Greek word kubernetes, when translated to Latin, comes out as gubernetes. This basic verb gubernare means to control the actions or behavior, to direct, to exercise sovereign authority, to regulate, to keep under, to restrain, to steer. This Roman concept is obviously very different from the Hellenic notion of “pilot” (making their own navigational decisions) (…) the meaning of “Cyber” has been corrupted. The Greek word “pilot” becomes “governor” or “director”; the term “to steer” becomes “to control”. The terms “cybernetic person” or “cybernaut” return us to the original meaning of “pilot” and puts the self-reliant person back in the loop. (p. 66.) (…)

These words (and the more pop term “cyberpunk”) refer to the personalization (and thus the popularization) of knowledge-information technology, to innovative thinking on the part of the individual.

According to McLuhan and Foucault, if you change the language, you change the society. Following their lead, we suggest that the therm “cybernetic person, cybernaut” may describe a new species model of human being and a new social order. (p. 67.) (…)

The postpolitical information society, which we are now developing, does not operate on the basis of obedience and conformity to dogma. It is based on individual thinking, scientific know-how, quick exchange of facts around feedback networks, high-tech ingenuity, and practical, front-line creativity. The society of the future no longer grudgingly tolerates a few open-minded innovators. The cybernetic society is totally dependent on a large pool of such people, communicating at light speed with each other across state lines and national boundaries.

Electrified thoughts invite fast feedback, creating new global societies that require a higher level of electronic know-how, psychological sophistication, and open-minded intelligence.


This cybercommunication process is accelerating so rapidly that to compete on the world information market of the 21st Century, nations, companies, even families must be composed of change-oriented, innovative individuals who are adepts in communicating via the new cyberelectronic technologies.

The new breeds are simply much smarter than the old guard. They inhale new information the way they breathe oxygen. They stimulate each other to continually upgrade and reformat their minds. People who use cybertechnology to make fast decisions on their jobs are not going to go home and passively let aging, closed-minded white, male politicians make decidions about their lives.

The emergence of this new open-minded caste in different countries around the world is the central historical issue of the last forty years.
(p. 73-75.)

(…) The social and political implications of this democratization of the screen are enormous. In the past to local geography or occasional visits. Now you can play electronic tennis with a pro in Tokyo, interact with classroom in Paris, cyberflirt with cute guys in any four cities of your choice. A global fast-feedback language of icons and memes, facilitated by instant translation devices, will smoothly eliminate the barriers of language that have been responsible for most of the war and conflict of the last centuries. (p. 76.) (…)

Most young people in the liberated lands want to depoliticize, demilitarize, decentralize, secularize, and globalize.

The new breed is jumping the gene pools, forming postindustrial, global meme-pools. They are the informates. From their earliest years, most of their defining memes have come flashing at light speed across borders in digital-electronic form, light signals received by screens and radios and record players. Their habitat is the electron-sphere, the environment of digital signals that is called the info-world. The global village.

The are the first generation of our species to discover and explore Cyberia. The are migrating not to a new place, but to a wide-open new time. The new breed will fashion, conceive, and design the realities they inhabit.
(p.77.) (…)

The Information age (1950-2010)

In the information age, evolution is defined in terms of brain power.

- The ability to operate the brain: activate, boot up, turn on, access neurochannels.
- The ability to reformat and re-edit mind-files.
- The ability to communicate in the multimedia mode; to invent audiographic dictionaries and audiographic grammars. (…)

The 21st Century will witness a new global culture, peopled by new breeds who honour human individuality, human complexity, and human potential, enlightened immortals who communicate at light speed and design the technologies for their scientific re-animation. (p. 80-82.) (…)

Our survival asset is not hive inteliigence, as in the social insects, but individual intelligence. Our species is classified as Homo sapiens sapiens. Victorian scholars apparently decided that we are the creatures who “think about thinking.” Our growth as a species centers on our ability to think and communicate. Predictions about our future would focus on improvements in the way we think.

Our young, rookie species has recently passed through several stages of intelligence:

1. Tribal: For at least 22,000 years (approximately 25,000 to 3000 B.C.) the technologies for sapient thinking-communicating were those of a five-year-old child: bodily, i.e., oral-gestural.

2. Feudal: During an exciting period of approximately 3, 350 years (3000 B.C. to A.D. 350) humans living north of the 35th-parallel latitute developed organized feudal-agricultural societies. The technologies for thinking-communicating were hand-tooled statues, temples, monuments. Their philosophy was enforced by emperors, caliphs, and kings.

3. It took approximately 1,250 years (A.D. 350 to 1600) to coopt the feudal kings and to establish the mechanical assembly-line managerial society. In this age, the technologies of thought-communication were mechanical printing presses, type-writers, telephones, produced by efficient workers in highly organized factories, run by centralized bureaucracies. (…)
By now (…) we have migrated from the “real worlds” of voice, hand, machine into the digitized info-worlds variously called hyperspace, cyberspace, or digital physics.

This migration across the screen into the digital info-world marks the first phase of the postindustrial society. (…)
In twenty years we will spend seven hours a day actively navigating, exploring, colonizing, exploiting the oceans and continents of digital data. Interscreening - creating mutual digitalrealities - will be the most popular and growthful form of human communication. (p. 83.) (…)

The level of intelligence has been tremendously increased, because people are thinking and communicating in terms of screens, and not in lettered books. Much of the real action is taking place in what is called cyberspace. People have learned how to boot up, activate, and transmit their brains.

Essentially, there’s a universe inside your brain. The number of connections possible inside your brain is limitless. And as people have learned to have more managerial and direct creative access to their brains, they have also developed matrices or networks of people that communicate electronically. There are direct brain/computer link-ups. You can just jack yourself in and pilot your brain around in cyberspace-electronic space.”
(p. 248.)
Oct
4th
Mon
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Spencer Wells on the unforeseen cost of civilization

“We have now evolved culturally to the point where the entire world is connected in a way it has never been before. Not only is it possible to jet off to Mumbai for a lecture over the course of a weekend, as I did in the aftermath of the 2008 attacks, but we use telecommunications technology to talk, email, SMS, instant message, videoconference and otherwise connect with each other in ways that were inconceivable only a century ago. Recall that when Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, the New York World (then a major US newspaper) famously asked ‘of what use is such an invention?’ In the past century our world has become ever more connected, to the extent that today what happens in Kansas or Calcutta is immediately transmitted via streams of electrons to people around the world.

The effect of this connectivity has been the globalization of culture, and as the West is the in the hegemony at the moment, this means that more and more people are becoming ever more western. While to those of us in living in the West there are many good aspects to this, to many others our way of life is not all it’s meant to be. For secular rationality, read loss of faith and certainty. For improving living standards, read increased consumption. For increased social mobility, read loss of traditional roles and threats to vested interests. The rise of fundamentalism in the latter half of the 20th century reflects the very real loss of the traditions that guided much of humanity over the past several thousand years. What to replace those traditions with, especially for those not privy to the largesse of the modern world, is a difficult question. If you believe that you have a stake in the future, you are likely to embrace it; if you feel left out, this is much less likely.” “
Spencer Wells (geneticist and anthropologist, an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. He leads The Genographic Project), Pandora’s Seed, The Unforeseen cost of civilization, SEED, Jun 7, 2010 (via chrbutler)
Sep
17th
Thu
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Manuel Castells and Paul Virilio on the real time

Manuel Castells, in his book The Information Age: The Rise of the Network Society, argues that globalization and the information age are heralding the era of domination by real-time, or what he calls “timeless time.” Real time, for Castells, is also a kind of “non-time” which means that as the network society becomes more encompassing of culture and society, “linear, measurable, predictable time is being shattered…in a movement of extraordinary historical significance”.

In his speculative social theory, Paul Virilio is even more explicit when he writes in that “the teletechnologies of real time…are killing ‘present’ time by isolating it from its here and now, in favour of a commutative elsewhere that no longer has anything to do with our “concrete presence” in the world.
Robert Hassan, Professor at Indiana University, Dept. of Telecommunications, Timescapes of the Network SocietyTimescapes of the Network Society, Fast Capitalism, 1.1.2005.
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" "The bygone world was a world of rhythms. Today, we live in a world of [attempted] synchronization"."
Aug
31st
Mon
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Paulo Freire on changing places to live

“I was born in Portugal, and have since lived in France, the UK, the United States and now in Germany (I am learning my fifth language now, German). I entirely agree with the points made here about traveling abroad being a great adventure. Traveling has been so engaging for me that I have started experiencing time in a different way than folks back home. To some of them 1999 was not too long ago. But for me 1999 was a very, very long time ago, mainly if I remember the places where I have been and lived, and all the experiences I went through since then. I think that by breaking with the daily routines of one place, by making myself adapt to new countries and places I have greatly increased the number of CPU cycles my brain had to go through, and therefore my subjective life-span. Many of the people that say 1999 was yesterday live in the same places, have the same jobs and know the same people they knew 10 years ago. Nothing could be further from the truth for me.

I agree very much with the idea of Nostalgia as well. I will never be able to visit the Portugal I left behind because that country simply does not exist anymore. But, alas, even if I had stayed there, I would still probably miss many things of that country that no longer exist. Like my grandparents, like the joys of my childhood. That is a country that everyone loses, whether they leave or stay at home.” “
Paulo Freire commented on Being foreign: The others | The Economist, Dec 17th 2009 ☞ See also: On living in a foreign country, Lapidarium
Jun
28th
Sun
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Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage 1964, Gingko Press, 2001 p. 24., review by  Sjef van Gaalen

Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage 1964, Gingko Press, 2001 p. 24., review by  Sjef van Gaalen

Jun
6th
Sat
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Information is the currency of democracy.
Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States (1801–1809) and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. (1743-1826)