node created 2019/09/29
Many students, especially those who are poor, intuitively know what the schools do for them. They school them to confuse process and substance. Once these become blurred, a new logic is assumed: the more treatment there is, the better are the results; or, escalation leads to success. The pupil is thereby "schooled" to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new. His imagination is "schooled" to accept service in place of value. Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, social work for the improvement of community life, police protection for safety, military poise for national security, the rat race for productive work. Health, learning, dignity, independence, and creative endeavor are defined as little more than the performance of the institutions which claim to serve these ends, and their improvement is made to depend on allocating more resources to the management of hospitals, schools, and other agencies in question.
"Deschooling Society"
The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.
[Q: Isn't there a certain calculus that someone who is sitting in the shoes of a Condoleezza Rice can make, that they're responsible for the best outcome for American citizens, and there's an upside of going into Iraq which is we get one of the greatest material possessions in world's history, and there're downsides which are: we upset the international community, and maybe there's more terrorism. Couldn't you envision a calculus where they say, sure, that's the reason, and it's a good reason, let's do it. What's the flaw in the calculus?]

Oh, I think that's exactly their calculus. But then we ought to just be honest and say, "Look, we're a bunch of Nazis." So fine, let's just drop all the discussion, we save a lot of trees, we can throw out the newspapers and most of the scholarly literature, and just come out, state it straight, and tell the truth: we'll do whatever we want because we think we're gonna gain by it. And incidently, it's not American citizens who'll gain. They don't gain by this. It's narrow sectors of domestic power that the administration is serving with quite unusual dedication...
Talk titled "Why Iraq?" at Harvard University, November 4, 2002
I mean, what's the elections? You know, two guys, same background, wealth, political influence, went to the same elite university, joined the same secret society where you're trained to be a ruler - they both can run because they're financed by the same corporate institutions. At the Democratic Convention, Barack Obama said, 'only in this country, only in America, could someone like me appear here.' Well, in some other countries, people much poorer than him would not only talk at the convention - they'd be elected president. Take Lula. The president of Brazil is a guy with a peasant background, a union organizer, never went to school, he's the president of the second-biggest country in the hemisphere. Only in America? I mean, there they actually have elections where you can choose somebody from your own ranks. With different policies. That's inconceivable in the United States.
Interview by Wallace Shawn, October 19, 2004
The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature but plunges him more deeply into them.
It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: --

"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!"
I knew everything when I was 12, but not since. But way before I was 12, I knew that there were important things that the adults didn't know, or had forgotten, and I swore I would remember them. Now it's 60 years later and I don't remember them, but I never forgot that there were important things that nobody seemed to remember.
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.
From out there on the Moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’
A bore is someone who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company.
Let's take robots on assembly lines: If it's used to free up the workforce for more creative work, say, controlling production, making decisions about it, finding creative ways to act and so on, then it's to the good. If it's used as a device to maximize profit and throw people into the trashcan, then it's not good.
If I had a friend and loved him because of the benefits which this brought me and because of getting my own way, then it would not be my friend that I loved but myself. I should love my friend on account of his own goodness and virtues and account of all that he is in himself. Only if I love my friend in this way do I love him properly.
Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever.

Nocturnal

Can I ever write,
a  poem, to both recite -
the song of my heart, and to recount -
the epic of my might?
I doubt...

Can I ever compose such verse,
in this solid dark, in this dominant night?
I doubt...

For I happen to be -
a heap of cold, discarded ash -
concealing the seeds of all revolts -
inside.

And,
I happen to be
A peaceful sea -
carrying the roars of all storms -
underneath its quiet sight.

And,
I am a frozen lake -
hiding the flames of all faiths -
beneath its lifeless face.
 
Can I ever write -
such poem?
Can I ever compose such verse?
"Nocturnal" (1955)
I say to you this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and so precious to you that you aren't willing to die for it then you aren't fit to live.
The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.
I do not aim with my hand; he who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.

I aim with my eye.

I do not shoot with my hand; he who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.

I shoot with my mind.

I do not kill with my gun; he who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father.

I kill with my heart.
"The Gunslinger"
People are like stained-glass windows, they sparkle and shine when the sun is out but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.
"Niggle's Picture!" said Parish in astonishment. "Did you think of all this, Niggle? I never knew you were so clever. Why didn't you tell me?"

"He tried to tell you long ago," said the man; "but you would not look. He had only got canvas and paint in those days, and you wanted to mend your roof with them. This is what you and your wife used to call Niggle's Nonsense, or That Daubing."

"But it did not look like this then, not real," said Parish.

"No, it was only a glimpse then," said the man; "but you might have caught the glimpse, if you had ever thought it worth while to try."

"I did not give you much chance," said Niggle. "I never tried to explain. I used to call you Old Earthgrubber. But what does it matter? We have lived and worked together now. Things might have been different, but they could not have been better. All the same, I am afraid I shall have to be going on. We shall meet again, I expect: there must be many more things we can do together. Good-bye!" He shook Parish's hand warmly: a good, firm, honest hand it seemed. He turned and looked back for a moment. The blossom on the Great Tree was shining like flame. All the birds were flying in the air and singing. Then he smiled, and nodded to Parish, and went off with the shepherd.

He was going to learn about the sheep, and the high pasturages, and look at a wider sky, and walk even further and further towards the Mountains, always uphill. Beyond that I cannot guess what became of him. Even little Niggle in his old home could glimpse the Mountains far away, and they got into the borders of his picture: but what they are really like, and what lies beyond them, only those can say who have climbed them.
"Leaf by Niggle"
True words aren't charming,
Charming words aren't true.
People who know aren't learned,
Learned people don't know.
People are always talking about looking for the meaning of life, when what they're really looking for is a deep experience of life.
One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day; similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.

Rhinocerous Woman

Rhinocerous woman
who nobody wants
and everybody used.
They say you’re crazy
cause you not crazy enough
to kneel when told to kneel.

Hey, big woman -
with scars on the head
and scars on the heart
that never seem to heal -
I saw your light
and it was shining.

You gave them love.
They gave you shit.
You gave them you.
they gave you hollywood.
They purr at you
cause you know how to roar
and back it up with realness.

Rhinocerous woman,
big momma in a little world.
You closed your eyes
and neon spun inside your head
cause it was dark outside.

You read your bible
but god never came.
Your daddy woulda loved you
but what would the neighbors say.

They hate you momma
cause you expose their madness.
And their cruelty.

They can see in your eyes
a thousand nightmares
that they have made come true.

Black woman. Baad woman.
Wear your bigness on your chest like a badge
cause you done earned it.

Strong woman. Amazon.
Wear your scars like jewelry
cause they were bought with blood.

They call you mad.
And almost had you
believing that shit.

They called you ugly.
And you hid yourself
behind yourself
and wallowed in their shame.

Rhinocerous woman -
this world is blind
and slight of mind
and cannot see
how beautiful you are.

I saw your light.
And it was shining.
Freedom has to be in tension with something, or it’s just randomness.
"The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy"
If one is prostrate to the truth, then rebuttals to opponents simply write themselves. Largely, they just consist of paraphrases or 1 or 2 logical steps.
The forest would be pretty quiet if only the best birds sang.
Really? The former boss of the largest organization of mathematicians who literally spend their days in windowless buildings listening in on other people's conversations is calling everyone else shut-ins? REALLY?!
[..] it's sort of transparent to me that postmodern psychobabble is a similar sort of impostiture to hide the fact that the people in question are supposed to be cultural vanguards but in reality have less to say than the street graffiti artists who tag up their buildings at night.
We gotta come to some new ideas about life folks ok? I'm not being blase about abortion, it might be a real issue, it might not, doesn't matter to me. What matters is that if you believe in the sanctity of life then you believe it for life of all ages. That's what I hate about this child-worship syndrome going on. "Save the children! They're killing children! How many children were at Waco? They're killing children!" What does that mean? They reach a certain age and they're off your fucking love-list? Fuck your children, if that's the way you think then fuck you too. You either love all people of all ages or you shut the fuck up.
As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.