Counter-cultural University?

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To be alive and conscious is a miracle in itself. Just that is enough. All we really need to do is contemplate THAT. However, “the world” or human culture will not allow us to do that–or more specifically, the world as reconstructed within each of us, will not allow us to do that. It’s of no use blaming external agencies for our plight. Alienation is in our mother’s milk. It is a direct result of, as Marx said, the capitalist system–but that system is not just something that cruel master foisted on to us. It is, instead, even more seduction than oppression. As currently constitutued it is a system designed to fulfill human desires and, if desires are not growing fast enough, it is a system designed to create those desires. This ability to manufacture desire creates a class of oligarchs who organize this process, a class of craftsmen/women who are the creative people who are just a class below, and the rest of us at various stages of the great pyramid that is modern predatory capitalism. I call it predatory because, as I implied, it goes out of its way to find each and every one of us and hook us in to the system using our own feelings of alienation as a hook. The system is profoundly ingenious and is worthy of respect and admiration. We need to stop calling referring to it (the economic/political/cultural system we live in) as somehow diseased or stupid. For example, I found it difficult to tolerate the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as “mistakes” that were based on false assumptions. I maintain that the people who count knew what they were doing and used these wars both for fun (not to be underestimated), profit and power. For those people the wars were not mistakes but boons.

But my subject is not to examine the systems that run our society. I want to establish two things. One, as I indicated above, is that we are each and every one of us, no matter our ideological positions, deeply a part of this system particularly internally. If we pursue courses that are contrary to the general flow of this system we have to recognize that we suffer, that we bleed, that we are more likely to be ill and poor–not so much from external forces of repression but the repression that we’ve internalized into our unconscious from all the unexamined messages hurled at us with deceptive force by the wizards and technicians of mind-control. This is not trivial. You can discount the influence of these forces all you want but inside your psyche these forces are profoundly important. If we reach the point where our intellect, our emotions, our spiritual force objects to these arrangements we pay and pay and pay. I believe there is a way to return to strength by understanding these forces within and without and my goal is to try and start a creative dialogue with as great a variety of people as I can towards finding a structure to pursue a course of strength, vigor and play to benefit all of us that sense so strongly something is terribly, terribly, terribly wrong and don’t feel so fucking powerless.

My project is code named “The Counter-cultural University.” A pretentious name bo be sure but I don’t care, that’s what came to me–you can give alternate names. I’ve been thinking about this for about a year so let me give you some background.

I was searching around for a business I could start and I realized that one of the most painful things young people face in this society is the cost of education and the cost of not having one. Young people are, increasingly, forced into a kind of indentured servitude because of large debts. They have to find a way to make a lot of money early on in their careers–they cannot afford to “find themselves” they must, largely, go to the highest bidder (there are exceptions of course). I saw this happen to many graduates of elite universities who felt they had to work, for example, for right-wing think-tanks or predatory financial institutions in order to make enough money to pay their debts and pay to go out on dates and maybe start a family. As far as they looked they saw debt. Perhaps, I thought I could be of service. I took an alternate education approach in getting my own degree in what later came to be known as Excelsior College which enabled me to get a degree by, essentially, taking three GRE exams and a CLEP (with the help of some clep exam prep) to earn 105 credits that, along with the credits I had accumulated enabled me to graduate with a minimal expenditure of money. Now, this course of action may not be for young people who need to be part of a learning community so studying alone may not be a good idea for them. Alternatives are beginning to spread, particularly online but I realized that’s not enough. Young people need to feel they are part of a community, in fact a learning community. But isn’t that what we try to do here? We express ourselves but really haven’t we made the effort to aquire non-official knowledge? Shouldn’t we be passing this on? Shouldn’t we be offering this to others and not just the young? The efforts we have made to find out what we have found out, to be open to ideas and be able to integrate them into our lives is rather rare and takes some courage–I believe that this is a marketable commodity.

I believe, if we are willing to work at it, that we can create some nodes to a learning community that I believe is beginning to emerge as a response to the utter impossibility of the mainstream narrative that has become increasingly divorced from any possible definition of reality because it is based strictly on self-interest, careerism and profit–not that these things are so strange or “bad” but because they are overwhelming any chance at sustainability we may have.

There is simply no place on the web that has, for example, a solid set of empirical facts (yes, empiricism is limited but it’s what our society theoretically accepts) that are organized in some form where we don’t have restate the obvious everytime we try and make a point on DKOS. I want to be able to have, at my fingertips, the unnasailable facts for anyone to see who is interested in facts. The fact is, that empiricism and logic however much lip-service this country makes towards it is dying out and we, like the monks of the dark ages, must keep it going. I want the issue not to be whether this or that idea is good or bad but whether or not it is based in fact and logical. I want people to be forced to directly challenge logic and science itself rather than challenge individual issues like HCR, or imperial wars–force people to defend the oligarchical positions with logic and if they don’t then call them out on that basis not on the merits of a particular course of action. I maintain that the leaders of our society are incapable of sane decisions because the political and cultural landscape basically forbids sanity.  The MSM, the chief promulgator of half-truths and propaganda have to be systematically faced with their deliberate obfuscation of facts and data so that the editors and pundits will not be able to stand up at any public fora spouting their garbage without a challenge. Yes, I know that in that case they will just not attend public fora but if they don’t they have to take a cut in their obsene incomes.

The compendium I describe as one possible project for the Counter-cultural University is, if nothing else, work to keep us focused and can, I hope, even make some money by being a reliable resource for researchers. I know that some former academics would be willing to contribute to this effort (I’ve talked to several already) and I believe that others could be recruited if I could present them with a sensible plan of action–which I don’t have yet but want help from any of you in doing.

I don’t want to get into too many details right now but keep it somewhat simple. I don’t think I will be creating anything that isn’t already being created–I think that there are many of us doing this work, each in our own way. We can each be nodes in an emergent network–I’m not interested in top-down hierarchical systems they aren’t effective–even the oligarchs are organized into decentralized nodes and robust emergent networks which in itself would be a worthy study a new The Power Elite if you will.

I want to emphasize in finishing this that I’m not just interested in data and facts–I think the heart should rule the mind. Love and compassion are the most important attributes human beings can have. I’m also not going to ignore health and fitness we need to be sharp in our bodies and sharp in our minds. There are ways to train our minds to be focused and relaxed through techniques of meditation and contemplation but there are other techniques including the following:  

  • Working with brainwaves (of which I will write on at some point) to achieve balance in life not just through simple biofeedback but through actual games and music that researchers I know have developed and are developing right now.
  • Yoga in its many forms and many traditions
  • Martial Arts
  • Visual art, music, poetry, literature, theatre, film and so on, in other words all that makes up the artistic tradition we are heirs to–this is a critical component of any education community as research has shown over and over again. I would refer you to Herman Hesse’s book The Glass Bead Game

We need to stop wasting out time worrying about the fake politics presented in the MSM with their little tempests in teapots. In fact, there is little of interest in MSM coverage for anyone interested in reality. It covers politics as a sporting event which is an insult to sports which at least has some honesty–which is why sports is so popular in this country.

I ask you to comment on this, show me the flaws of my argument and help build this project. ONly spreading knowledge and the ability to take in knowledge will begin to address the collective problems we face. We have a nation of delusional people who were not born that way–they are as beautiful as each of us, as each of our children and grandchildren. Many people in our society have the capacity to grasp the essence of what we are usually trying to say here. They aren’t going to get it from the current type of “left” coverage of the progressive pseudo-clowns on Comedy Central and their MSNBC imitators who make make fun of the rubes and the right-wingers in ways that are insulting to me as a viewer. I don’t think ridicule is very uplifting. Respect your enemies! Respect your enemies! Don’t taunt because you are just showing your weakness.

We’re in a fight here and we had better learn the skills it takes to fight. Appearing to be cleverer than our opponents does nothing. Being cleverer by forcing people to choose between rationality and irriationality–a personal choice only they can make. We need to be non-ideological and assert the most important philosophy of our time which is the pragmatism of William James. Information has to be organized and be effectively presented using what we know about the latest neuro-science and a century of social-science research to educate and uplift our people (while there is such a concept of “we” in this country.

Peace, brothers and sisters, peace through strength, peace by making people see that peace requires more strength than war and that peace requires more coolness and panache than violence.

43 comments

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    • banger on October 8, 2010 at 5:14 am
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    I might be way off base of close–I know I’m missing something and you all can show me the way a little, I’m sure.  

  1. Corvid College:  http://corvidcollege.wikidot.c

  2. i call it “Reinventing the Wheel” (in my head…lol) … cuz thats what we need to do.

  3. is required to maintain this society in it’s present state of delusion. I met a young man this spring who I bought horse manure from he delivered to my hose and helped me unload it. I was rolling a ciggie and he said he had recently stopped smoking. I asked him if it had changed his reality or life, lol. He said not as much as turning off the TV he hadn’t watched TV for two years and he said it majorly changed his world. TV cheapens life he said.

    While counter culture universities are a great idea, I think this is one area you can self educate yourself despite the media mainstream pull. I went to a non accredited counterculture college, I was a hippie who dropped out. It was a four year course off campus living communally, no phone, agrarian centered, rural, and part of a larger local community. In it’s own way contained all the same pitfalls we see an any community that is organized around ideology. My husband went to Antioch a old venerable hippie college, a university without walls. He and his mates learned how to learn, and in turn how to teach. The truth is out there as the TV told me and I may be an optimist but I think people are more resilient and resistant then the husksters of mind control give them credit for. I worked for a decade in advertising design and marketing and it’s just another scam. A resent Pew poll says 70% of the population think the TV news is full of shit.

    Some say addictions are spiritual in nature, and our society seems really sick these days. TV, meds, consuming all to kill the pain of a society that offers nothing but the material and false morality with no value. Perhaps we will all learn and heal as it looks to me like were all going to have to reeducate ourselves in regards to community and values beyond entertainment and consumerism and beyond the circus of political distractions.                  

  4. But I can tell you that you’re right on! Education can be dynamic and can open up doors to perception and thinking that were previously closed.  

    • RUKind on October 9, 2010 at 2:16 am

    My current take is forget the money-making, for-profit aspect. Give away freely what’s been given to you by life or what you’ve paid for in tuition.

    CLEP tests are brutally easy for any intelligent person. I ran up a full year in a few hours of very inexpensive tests. Start with them as a base for academic cred. Add in any other standardized tests for more cred.

    Most important, offer a full range of courses on-line for donations. This should be an Open Source effort with the usual Open Source copyright rules.

    God freely gave me my intelligence. What I do with that intelligence is my gift being passed forward.

    You’re dead on with the concept. Like every great idea, hundreds of others have had it. The next question is how do we find each other and how do we organize and execute?

    Shanti.

  5. All for that more spiritual path in life which I see many younger people searching for yet know not where or how to find.  They tend to get sucked up in the electronic virtual world which is off course dominated by the pinnacle of all evil.  We have now machines which can make 6000 widgets per hour and if the machines can’t make the widgets it gets outsourced to 86 cent an hour carbon exempt nations.

    Education, in the US at least has become not about education but compliance.  I would guess all the people freed up by machines were left with nothing to do save think up marvelous ideas on how best to make money out of controlling other people’s lives.  The “kids” today today have spent most of their lives in this technological age.  They have in a sense “outgrown” and or rejected the older religious traditions which used to influence society and thus lean more towards materialism as the religion.

    Not old enough to know better perhaps.

    I am finding that the ladders I took for upward mobility just don’t exist today leaving “the kids” out of luck.

    I do think it collapses soon, western civilization that is.

  6. ideas discussed in your essay. But strangely, I have been a bit bogged down ,ironically, in some problems that a few college students are having in their university. Or should I say ex-students. Basically, it’s the faceless factory diploma mill with disinterested professors laying down some ridicuous bullshit on intelligent, honest students.

    I don’t want to go into the facts, but I’m thinking of reactivating my status with the State Bar and doing some pro bono. Basically, it’s about failing to fully explain the program and leaving out critical information that the students found out about after the program began and after huge personal sacrifices were made. The sense I get is “they’re just students, so the hell with them.” Pisses me off big time.  

    Sorry I haven’t commented on your great ideas now, but there’s tons on brainstorming to do as time goes on, and it’s always essential that students are brought into the designing process.

    • banger on October 13, 2010 at 2:51 pm
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