Re: DSM: On Hybrid schools . . . Our Trojon Horse?

From: Ardeshir Mehta, N.D. (
Date: Sat May 12 2001 - 16:43:43 EDT

Hi there Bill:

Thanks for your understanding!

You wrote:

> Dear Ardeshir,
> Thank you. I think I see that my difficulty was logical.
> Like:
> Sudbury crushes the duality between young and old (but not completely)
> Sudbury crushes the duality between teacher and learner (but not completely)
> Sudbury crushes the view of the child as an improver (but not absolutely)

Right. (I didn't quite get that last one, though!)

> My puzzle was exactly the self referential one in logic.
> ... <snip>
> In this scenario Sudbury would
> even decline to claim goodness for itself. ... <snip>


> If I understand you comments, the stance of Sudbury in these matters is best
> seen as approximate, in light of the fact that viewing these stances as
> absolute leads to logical absurdity.

Quite right.

Once one starts speaking in "absolutes", one loses logical
coherence. Logically there can be nothing absolute: neither
power nor freedom.

This is also the stand of the "Intuitionists" in mathematics,
who will not even accept the valid existence of infinite
*numbers*, even though numbers are merely a creation of
the mind! How much more so, then, when speaking of re-
ality (i.e., not mere creations of the mind).

But I also sympathise with those who do not wish the prin-
ciples of a Sudbury school so adulterated that a school with
such adulterated principles can no longer be reasonably
called a "Sudbury school".

But here I appeal to everyone's sense of what is reasonable.
To illustrate: if you add just one molecule of pure water to
a gallon of milk, that milk can hardly be called "adulterated".
Even if you add a thousand molecules it is unreasonable to
call it adulterated. But if you add a *cupful* of water, it is;
and if you add a gallon-full, it is *definitely* adulterated!

Similarly, if there is a school model *very* close to the
Sudbury model, it can be called "*nearly* a Sudbury
school" (or some such thing.) But on the other hand, if you
insist on calling a school like Eton or Harrow a "Sudbury
school", that would hardly pass the laugh test.

Reasonably speaking -- and even logically speaking -- there
*has* to be a certain amount of leeway in the definition of
what validly constitutes a "Sudbury school".

BTW: I take my cue from the kibbutzim in Israel, with
which I have considerable experience (I have even written a
booklet about it, a link to which you can find on my Home
Page). In Israel there are four main "movements" among
kibbutzim, all of which are founded on strict democratic
principles (for adults). Just because there are distinct (and
in some cases, even insurmountable) differences between
the four movements, however, does not render a kibbutz
belonging to one of them "not a kibbutz" in the eyes of
those belonging to the other movements!

All the best,


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