Re: DSM: Un Nothing Non Anti No Huh-uh Not

From: Mike Sadofsky (
Date: Sat Apr 07 2001 - 18:15:32 EDT

An interesting thread.

I don't know most of the references that Bill Richardson makes in his
post quoted below, but I do find his introductory point on the topic
of the distinction between the Sudbury model and alternative that come
up for comparison, very appropriate and insightful.

Several additional references come to mind:

Ricardo Semler whose book "Maverick" describes his conversion of his
business in brazil from a privately owned and managed operation to a
worker owned democratically run organization. Semler is well aware of
the Sudbury model now, and is, i believe, supporting the establishment
of a Sudbury model school in Brazil.

Dee Hock, founder of VISA, writes about the process of creation of
VISA in his book, Birth of the Chaordic Age. he is now active in an
organization called The Chaordic Alliance, which describes itself as
working "to develop, disseminate and implement new concepts of
organization which more equitably distribute power and wealth ..."

The Vermont Papers (Recreating Democracy on a Human Scale) by Frank
Bryan and John McClaughry, a prescription for restoring individual
power in government.

Don Yates (who may be on this list) and Mark Davis have written "YOUR
COMPANY DOES NOT EXIST (Notes on the Extraordinary Organization)" an
article that will appear in a forthcoming Sudbury Valley Journal
issue. Watch for it.

All of these speak with some focus on Bill's point. I am certain
there are many more.

To Laura's point about trying to find interest in Sudbury model
schools among people who have associated for another purpose, I offer
a note of caution. It is a difficult task for institutions that need
to work diligently at their principle purpose to adopt a secondary
aim. That carries the risk of diluting the focus, the effort and
energy required, and bringing down the primary role, which in the
examples cited, appears to be common faith and its practice. Further,
should there exist interest in the secondary purpose (schooling
children), an association with an organized "faith" no matter how that
might be defined, will have the effect of keeping away others who
might be interested. This does not detract from the idea of searching
for like minded parents or others among those one meets during daily


On Sat, 07 Apr 2001 13:08:04 -0500, you wrote:

>Dear Bill,
>It's interesting that you mention Unity and CWG material. This is the first
>time anyone else has mentioned them in connection to Sudbury to me. That is
>how I came to learn about the Sudbury model. I even lived in Massachusetts
>for 4 years and I never heard of it in all the time I lived there.
>I've enjoyed the Unity concepts very much - and JUST RECENTLY joined the
>Unity church I've been attending, so it pleases me to hear it mentioned in a
>positive way on this list. I approached our senior minister at the new
>member reception last Sunday and asked him about the Oregon Heartlight
>School and he seemed to think things were going rough out there getting
>started. (not sure why ?) Does anyone know any more details?
>In the back of my mind I thought it might be neat to partner with the church
>in this endeavor but he explained that they don't typically endorse anything
>like that but I was free to post info on the community bulletin board. -
>(oooh boy! Big help....) I'm going to hang in there though. I think the
>type of people drawn to Unity would be very open to this kind of school.
>They are just the kind of people I need to reach. I just wish there was
>more than a community bulletin board to work with. Any thoughts??
>-----Original Message-----
>[]On Behalf Of
>Sent: Saturday, April 07, 2001 10:25 AM
>Subject: Re: DSM: Un Nothing Non Anti No Huh-uh Not
>Dear Alan,
>Thank you very much, you write:
>> It's like compiling performance data for skeptics: the term "school"
>> backwards to bring along those who aren't yet with it. It's something we
>> just have to do, and it's OK, but it's not the point.
> So then, recognizing that Sudbury Valley as "school" and as "education"
>is not the point, I would like to focus on Sudbury Valley as the Art of
>Nothing, as offering freedom, which, it appears to me, is the point. I see,
>this very same point, as offering a deep respect,a profound regard. Another
>way to say it, is that Sudbury has institutionalized the idea of "live and
>let live". It is a reverence for boundaries.
> So, the question arises for me, are there any other folks, in all the
>institutions we know of, working this very same point? Practice being more
>valuable than theory, are there any other types of institutions actually
>doing it? Theory being of some use, are there any folks even thinking and
>considering this very point? And since the point is so powerful and useful
>are there even any folks who are almost, or "kind of", considering it?
> Here is my list of possibles: (Remember, in all the things these folks
>may be about, I am interested in their proximity to the Art of Doing
> 1) There are individuals that are very nearly naturals. Every now and
>then, at a shoestore, or park, or restaurant, I can see it. It is
>serendipity. Kind of sad that we don't yet have a range of institutions
>they would be extremely valuable.
> 2) The Partnership Way folks are close with their discussion of the
>"dominator" paradigm. They are about to start a school and are proceeding to
>adopt a "non-dominator" curriculum. Notice how recursive this stuff is. They
>are about to teach(dominate) a "non-dominator" curriculum. They could see
>paradox, but thought teaching was justified because we were all so
>with the "dominator" mode.
> 3) Lots of the Buddhist stuff addresses the notion of nothing or
>nothingness. Nothing "sits" between the poles of an illusionary duality.
>Doing nothing, a koan(a paradox - how is it that one actually does nothing,
>anyway?) in itself, actually crushes the duality and is highly creative
>is how doing nothing at Sudbury allows for such rich social and cultural
>production). As an example of this, suppose we actually did think that a
>child was an "improver". We have set up an illusionary duality. The child is
>"less" but somehow and someday they will be "more". The duality is an
>illusion. A child is not going to become anything, they already are
> 4) There is also something called Practical Christianity (Unity
>Church). They also offer a "non-improver" paradigm. To mix metaphors, they
>suggest not the faith in a Buddha, rather the faith of a Buddha.
> 5) The "Conversations with God" folks (lots of discussion groups
>nationwide) have heavy theory. They have also started their first school,
>this year, in Ashland, Oregon. After some churn, they adopted Sudbury as
>their model.
> 6) Finally, of course, we have ourselves, and each other.
>Deep Regard,
>Bill Richardson

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