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

From: Victoria Serda <vserda_at_sympatico.ca>
Date: Tue Dec 3 16:46:01 2002

Dear David,
I hope I am not making you feel upset or overly criticized. I also hope
I did not criticize Ayn Rand too harshly, when you seem to have such a
strong belief in her views. It is hard to discuss a topic that I have
little knowledge of, and when quotes are taken out of context then put
together, they may seem contradictory when they are not in reality. I
have been in a jovial mood when arguing these topics, and said things
that perhaps you have taken wrongly. I personally am a pretty extreme
person--vegan, only eat healthy food, environmentalist, leader of two
organizations, have started SVS type schools...and am very passionate
about them. I actually live very close to many extremes. For an example,
I honestly did want to be a breatharian, and came very close to it, but
found that I had lost the respect of most people I knew because of the
extremity of my beliefs. My point is that I have found that I have never
been able to fullly live the extreme; I have always had to be as close
to one end as possible, but it never has been at the end. My purpose is
not to smear, but to bring the argument into practicality. If I have
questions about your beliefs, when I believe very closely what you do,
then what will happen when someone else questions them who has no
understanding? i find debating to be very helpful in my quest for purer
understanding.
SVS is still under the authority of the government, and although they
try their best to be non-authoritarian, there still are some aspects
that have to do with government regulations that need to be met. Thus it
is still, practically, as close to the non-authoritarian extreme as is
possible, but not at the end of it. I made a mistake in saying that we
need to balance the extremes, for what I meant is that we need to be
honest with ourselves about the limitations we are under, and trying our
best, not to be perfect, but to be as extreme as we want to be, and will
practically work. Thus, I find that many of my moral principles have to
be minorly diluted out of practicality, and that is my choice so I may
be able to affect the majority of people more.

I look forward to finding out from my husband what your last comment
was. Also, I am wondering what you would like me to elaborate on.
I am sure your work in Israel is very progressive and helpful. Keep up
the good work,
Victoria

David Rovner wrote:

> >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 - 16:45:53 EST

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