Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Complexity Interpretation...

From: David Rovner <rovners_at_netvision.net.il>
Date: Tue Dec 3 12:29:00 2002

>Do you mean to say that unless you are doing something extreme, there is no worth?<

>I think in this area, as in life, it is important to balance extremes.<

Dear Victoria,
Would you proclaim that any extreme is evil because it is an extreme?

Are an extreme of health and an extreme of disease equally undesirable? Are extreme intelligence and extreme stupidity -- both equally far removed "from the ordinary or average" -- equally unworthy? Are extreme honesty and extreme dishonesty equally immoral? Are a man of extreme virtue and a man of extreme depravity equally evil?

There can be no compromise on basic principles. There can be no compromise on on moral issues. There can be no compromise on matters of knowledge, of truth, of rational conviction.

If an uncompromising stand is to be smeared as "extremism," then that smear is directed at any devotion to values, any loyalty to principles, any profound conviction, any consistency, any steadfastness, any passion, any dedication to an inbreached, inviolate truth -- any man of integrity.

>I therefore, though, do not understand what her political platform would be.<
Ayn Rand is known as the "priestess" of rational capitalism.

>It is not possible right now to have fully non-authoritarian structures,<
In my opinion, and as far as I'm acquainted with it, Sudbury Valley School is a fully non-authoritarian structure -- and I think we ("the people") are really lucky for that.

>I will now get back to my thesis on self-directed schools<
Could you elaborate on this -- before you get back?

~ David Rovner - rovners_at_netvision.net.il
(mexicano "de hueso colorado" viviendo en Israel).*
Favors ending government involvement in education, working for the
Advancement of Democratic Schools & the Freedom of Learning,
Individual Rights and Ayn Rand's philosophy in Israel.
http://www.sepschool.org/cgi/RegDisp.cgi/global

* maybe your "Spanish speaking man of Aztec ancestry" would translate that for you.

P.S. >In order for a school to exist without being closed down by the government, it has to follow the rules.<
The less rules -- the better. < < < (very important)
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Victoria Serda
  To: discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
  Sent: Monday, December 02, 2002 7:11 AM
  Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Complexity Interpretation...

  Dear David,
  Interesting. I accept that you have made some good points, I will note them below, by underlining my response...
  David Rovner wrote:

    No, Victoria, I don't have any suggestion about how to operate a school that would have at least nominal acceptance in society without government approval -- but I do have a much better solution: end government involvement in education -- Separate School & State. Please see: http://www.sepschool.org/ and http://www.sepschool.org/cgi/RegDisp.cgi/global (Israel).
    This is a very good point. But for now, temporary measures must be used until the separation is effected.
>It is good to keep in mind how far one wants to water down one's principles to fulfill a goal, but what I meant is sometimes the goal is worth adding a little water to the mix.< That way of thinking is the reason why the moral state of OUR world is in such a bad shape.
    I don't see how life can be lived without making compromises in one way or another. It is totally dependent on the situation, and my point is that each person must decide how to make those compromises. If we didn't make compromises, we would be locked up.;-)

    Keep on -- and keep also wishing "a better world for us and for our children" and/or "a long lasting peace," etc., etc. -- One cannot achieve the victory of one's ideas by helping to propagate the opposite.
    I don't believe that my ways of working toward these kinds of goals in a practical way that works right now is propogating the oopposite. Do you mean to say that unless you are doing something extreme, there is no worth?
      

>I also believe it is possible that two parties can make a compromise fitting both viewpoints objectives without agreeing to a common fundamental principle.< I see that as a very undesirable thing:1.In any conflict between two men (or two groups) who hold the same basic principles, it is the more consistent one who wins.

    I have seen a different thing happen, where the most persistent one wins. This is not always desirable. Thus, between two people who have the same principles, the desirable outcome (to whom, I may ask) may not be effected.
     2. In any collaboration between two men (or two groups) who hold different basic principles, it is the more evil or irrational one who wins.

    Again, I have usually seen that the most persistent and energetic one often wins, and sometimes the rational one wins.
     3. When opposite basic principles are clearly and openly defined, it works to the advantage of the rational side; when they are not clearly defined, but are hidden or evaded, it works to the advantage of the irrational side.
    Hmmm, I am not sure of the rationality of this ;-) I again feel it could be either way. Sometimes it helps me to have more understanding of priciples in order to effect change, and soemtimes it is detrimental. Therefore, I have disputed your three arguments so that I still believe my first statement. 8-)
     Ayn Rand WAS definitely against anarchy: . . . Anarchy, as a political concept, is a naive floating abstraction: for all the reasons discussed above, a society without an organized government would be at the mercy of the first criminal who came along and who would precipitate it in the chaos of gang warfare . . .
    I am glad you clarified this for me, for it would not be good for me to be assuming false premises. I therefore, though, do not understand what her political platform would be. Can you enlighten me on this subject? It appears to me that her ideas may be contradictory ;-}
     Suit yourself.
    I don't like suits myself. ;-)
     Incidentaly, aren't you Spanish speaking?
    Actually no, I am married to a Spanish speaking man of Aztec ancestry. I am a true Canadian multi-cultural mix primarily of Scottish, Italian and Native blood. My maiden name meant victorious peace-Victoria Pace.
     ~ David
    Thanks for the interesting discussion. I will now get back to my thesis on self-directed schools,
    Victoria
     

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: David Rovner
  To: discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
  Sent: Sunday, December 01, 2002 10:45 PM
  Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Complexity Interpretation...

  No, Victoria, I don't have any suggestion about how to operate a school that would have at least nominal acceptance in society without government approval -- but I do have a much better solution: end government involvement in education -- Separate School & State. Please see: http://www.sepschool.org/ and http://www.sepschool.org/cgi/RegDisp.cgi/global (Israel).

>It is good to keep in mind how far one wants to water down one's principles to fulfill a goal, but what I meant is sometimes the goal is worth adding a little water to the mix.<

  That way of thinking is the reason why the moral state of OUR world is in such a bad shape. Keep on -- and keep also wishing "a better world for us and for our children" and/or "a long lasting peace," etc., etc. -- One cannot achieve the victory of one's ideas by helping to propagate the opposite.

>I also believe it is possible that two parties can make a compromise fitting both viewpoints objectives without agreeing to a common fundamental principle.<

  I see that as a very undesirable thing:
  1.In any conflict between two men (or two groups) who hold the same basic principles, it is the more consistent one who wins.
  2. In any collaboration between two men (or two groups) who hold different basic principles, it is the more evil or irrational one who wins.
  3. When opposite basic principles are clearly and openly defined, it works to the advantage of the rational side; when they are not clearly defined, but are hidden or evaded, it works to the advantage of the irrational side.

  Ayn Rand WAS definitely against anarchy: . . . Anarchy, as a political concept, is a naive floating abstraction: for all the reasons discussed above, a society without an organized government would be at the mercy of the first criminal who came along and who would precipitate it in the chaos of gang warfare . . .

  Suit yourself.

  Incidentaly, aren't you Spanish speaking?

  ~ David

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Victoria Serda
    To: discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
    Sent: Sunday, December 01, 2002 7:36 AM
    Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Complexity Interpretation...

    Dear David,
    Do you have a suggestion about how to operate a school that would have at least nominal acceptance in society without government approval?
    I have lived my life (whole 29 years!) trying to put my ideals into practice, and have found that compromise is an unwelcome fact of life. I think that compromise can sometimes be accorded with governments, as long as the compromise doesn't compromise the principles! It is good to keep in mind how far one wants to water down one's principles to fulfill a goal, but what I meant is sometimes the goal is worth adding a little water to the mix.
    I also believe it is possible that two parties can make a compromise fitting both viewpoints objectives without agreeing to a common fundamental principle.
    Ayn Rand appears to me to be arguing that she advocates anarchy, and while I may agree with some of her views, since anarchy is not our current system, I don't think it is practical to apply it to this situation.
    Victoria
    David Rovner wrote:

       Victoria,What do you think about this?: "A compromise is an adjustment of conflicting claims by mutual concessions. This means that both parties to a compromise have some valid claim and some value to offer each other. And this means that both parties agree upon some fundamental principle which serves as a base for their deal."[. . .]"There can be no compromise between freedom and government controls; to accept "just a few controls" is to surrender the principle of inalienable individual rights and to substitute for it the principle of government's unlimited, arbitrary power, thus delivering oneself into gradual enslavement . . .[. . .]Today , however, when people speak of "compromise," what they mean is not a legitimate mutual concession or a trade, but precisely the betrayal of one's principles -- the unilateral surrender to any groundless, irrational claim . . .[. . .][Doesn't Life Require Compromise?, Ayn Rand - The Virtue of Selfishness, pg. 68] Atentamente,~ David
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Victoria Serda
        To: discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
        Sent: Saturday, November 30, 2002 11:41 PM
        Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Complexity Interpretation...
         Dear David,
        Yes, I do believe it is compromising. There is usually a compromise in how much to have societal approval for an enterprise, for the more societal approval, the more likely to have the ideas further spread. If the community doesn't support your ideas, there will be more struggle to exist and promulgate the ideas. The more energy it takes to exist, the less energy is left over to pursue the dissemination of these ideals. I think it is only natural, even when one believes in non-authoritarianism, to want to circulate ideas that people may possibly want to understand and consider. Therefore, each person or group must find their own place to put their mark on the line graph of following the ideals totally verses doing what is accepted in society.
        Victoria
        David Rovner wrote:

           What do you mean by:>I think in this area, as in life, it is important to balance extremes.<Is that compromising? ~ David
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Victoria Serda
            To: discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
            Sent: Friday, November 29, 2002 8:25 PM
            Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Complexity Interpretation...
             Dear Darren,
            I am just finishing up my thesis on something similar--how schools like SVS are optimal for learning and producing the kind of citizens that society needs. I also have experience starting an SVS-type school.
            I think in this area, as in life, it is important to balance extremes. It is not possible right now to have fully non-authoritarian structures, because society is authoritarian. Therefore, the goal should be to minimize coercion and maximize freedom. In order for a school to exist without being closed down by the government, it has to follow the rules.
            The end result of granting children a much healthier option must be balanced with the detriments to working in the current system.
            Victoria Serda
              
            Darren Stanley wrote:

              Hello All! I am presently going through the numerous stories and articles that I have on SVS - shaped mostly through the writings found in the SVS books that are available to anyojne through the SVS website. As part of my PhD dissertation (in Education), I am attempting to show/illuminate how "schools" might be healthier in how they function, following the actions of SVS (as an example of what might be possible). SVS strikes me as akin to a deeply living, biological entity. Framed in this way, and using what researchers and scholars from a diversity of fields have had to say about complex systems, I wonder what might *in principle* be present to help make SVS *work*. It seems to me that there is plenty of diversity present; interactions across many time/space scales (e.g., no restrictions on age/subject/interest level). The types and strengths of interactions may bring forth a variety of different/novel emergent events...and so on... In my work in the non-profit health sector (another cap I wear), I have an implicit understanding of what a "healthy" organization might be like. From what I have read and know about SVS and other related matters, SVS is IMHO the epitomy of a healthy educational setting - speaking rather broadly. Here are some questions I've been pondering...any thoughts out there?!? The school seems to have this sort of "self-organizing" feature to it: no authoritarian leaders (leadership is shared/distributed?); no external constraints? but can there be NO external constraints? There are, of course, state regulations, but how or do these regulations play out? Or might it be better said that the school is "influenced" by state regulations? Is influence the same as coercion? Sorry for all the questions...I do have more tho', but I will stop there! On another note...I don't know if Daniel Greenberg is on this list, but I've recently read your/his essay on human interest. What a remarkable piece. Not only did it help to illuminate a completely new view of this phenomenon for me, I have also shared it with my work colleague who has in turn shared it with a number of other "dissatisfied suburban housewives" (her words, not mine). In every instance, everyone of these people "get it" and see how traditioanl schooling works so hard to ignore and work with the "interests" of others. thanks! Darren Darren StanleyUniversity of Alberta, CanadaPlexus Institute, Allentown, NJwww.plexusinstitute.org
Received on Tue Dec 03 2002 - 12:28:37 EST

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