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Nettime on Thu, 9 Oct 2003 10:31:11 +0200 (CEST)

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Subject: Re: <nettime> New Media Education and Its Discontent
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2003 00:37:51 -0500
From: human being <human {AT} electronetwork.org>
To: nettime-l {AT} bbs.thing.net

if extending the question of 'what is an intellectual?' in
the .US today and in the recent past, it would seem that
the term itself is absurd except in a particular academic
context, as thought is often equated with making money,
and thus people may value thought which makes lots of
money, pragmatists, and consider themselves very 'smart'
or now, the atheist version is being considered 'bright'.

as David Brooks, a conservator commentator in print and
on TV once commented (something to the effect)- that the
.EUros (probably specifically said the French) do not allow
the .US to have legitimate 'intellectuals'. and, if taking a
straw poll, it may be that the 'thinking' which is resonating
with people is that which is reaching them where they are
at with their perceptions of reality (however skewed it may
be from depth-charged influences, such as mindwashing
of reality-tv, or 7 day a week shows on military-state fiction,
while having little or no public programming in basic ideas
because they are too controversial (not profitable enough).)
it was thought Brooks was conveying something to the effect
that indeed, the right wing or GOP 'intellectuals' are indeed
in control of the agenda, and, sod off to a subjectivists trade.

the assumption that 'intellectual' is somehow bridged by the
thinking minds from .US-.UK or even .US-.EU is also fiction,
if considering it in the same terms of globalism's exploits.
thinkers (philosophers and theorists of the recent past) have
many times warned against simply applying ideas, as they
can have opposite effects in terms of ideology. it is proposed
it is possible that, exporting the ideas of another continent,
and implementing them without a localized attention can
lead to the same exploitation of markets, tho in education.
that is, ideas that can free can also reformulate bondage.
and, in the .US culture, this is indeed what happens if the
culture is fundamentally different, socially, economically,
politically, but takes a highly-complex context, for its own,
and thus _misrepresents_ the present condition, to such
a degree that a surreality is proposed as a reality, a mis-
matching of ideas and agendas, that begin to work one
against the other (plate tectonics of global minds, adrift),,,

therefore, it is questioned as 'intelligence' can even be an
accurate portrayal of this question of thinking, and ways
of considering thinking. for instance, it is absurd to even
read that there exists a division of people who think and
those who do not think. nor is quality of all thought equal,
and maybe that is okay, maybe everyone is thinking, in
their own ways, and the 'market economics' are forming
into a network economy based on how these 'thinkings'
are working with or against one another. a market of
ideas would seem to have a different agenda than that
of a network, and it seems the former exists, the latter
is where value is being redefined in terms of thought,
relationships, and a global culture that can be local.

thus to summarize, it would be that the term intellectual
itself is absurd in the .US context, given Bill Gates is
considered 'the smartest' person in the country (and
world) to many in the population, and often people
are rewarded for how they can skew thought (so as
to use the system to their advantage, i.e. power over
knowledge) in courts and politics and such, so that,
while someone may be 'smart' they may not be as
'street smart' as the other person (Bush/Gore, say,
in the most convoluted example of this, but more
like the small business entrepreneur vs. big .biz
as part of the learned, and valued, .US ideology).


another aspect is 'new media education' in the
context of education, and again the .US - .EU and
other models, considering them 'global' as some
type of consistent approach, when values are as
polarized in the 'real world' (wars, nuclear bombs,
terrorism, corruption) while tripping over historical
precedents as if the paradigm is universal default.
whoever the philosophers are (i thought they were
all dead, and the theorists took over) today, it would
seem that there may be a 'universalist' assumption
to a cultural knowledge that is at ends with itself. it
is not believed this is of any ill intent, necessarily,
but it may be ill-informed when mindlessly believed
as 'legitimate thought' which becomes institutional
dogma, how things should be, yet are not, actually.
it would render action moot. pretty much like half
of the .US population's ability to make anything real.

part of this is age, it would seem. that things may
be stuck in a time frame. not necessarily ageism,
as an inability to bridge or transform or get to the
other side, and things may get stuck, sometimes
by lack of foresight, sometimes maybe by sheer
ignorance that bureaucracies can breed when
larger questions go disregarded, and education
becomes a technical question, without reflection
outside of an immediate practicality to thinking.

in some .edu experiences, group work has been
pushed as an experiment increasingly over years
of gradeschool to highschool to college education
and it goes against the ideological grain that is
part of the culture, of individualism, and people
may not 'think' the same about questions, such
as intellectuals, if it is someone elses' test that is
being taken, and correct answers are known in
advance, (and the teacher hands out the cheat
sheets). the fascism that can arise in education
is often 'legitimated' by those of pure knowledge
who speak and act in often religious terms with
ideas, and have no need for questions or for
questioners, as the economy can be closed
(free trade in the closed market of ideologies).


then, consider 'new media' departments in the
realm of universities, where it may take a few
hundred years for disciplines to gel, and all of
the sudden the bubble-economy gets its own
sect of professional specialists who also are
the intellectuals and theorists of this knowledge.
it is like grasping for the ring, to hold it together.
yet it is falling apart. maybe it is transitional yet
the language of this media is said to be of a
default, assumed, unquestioned universalism
in terms of 'thinking' itself, not 'intellectuals' and
'anti-intellectuals' or whatnot. just basic ideas
that are shared, parsed, debated, questioned.
instead of hypotheses, there are complete and
whole theories canned, packaged, and shipped
to the markets waiting their newest instructional
manual and ideological training guide, of global
assumptions that may not question assumptions
enough to accurately GROK of the global situation,
yet it is beyond the local, it is inbetween here and
there, maybe it has no one locality, yet it is not yet
to the universalist stage, but some presupposes
this state and it is infuriating and difficult to accept
the good things about ideas that judged by the
authors themselves and not others, the readers.
that is to say, anything can be said, it does not
matter, it has no value. unless people give it
value. and maybe value is being given that is
not realistic, that is a bubble economy of ideas,
in some but not all ways. but is riding this wave
just like everything from the catholic church and
sex scandals to global wars and conspiracies
to political corruption of unprecedented scale,
and yet somehow education is immune from
these same forces, as if it were a holy realm
somehow like the clean rooms that are giving
workers cancer years later, to make info-techs.


'new media' in the university may be a superset
but it may also be a core literacy where children
are learning these programs and thus computer
science and other information technology depts
focus more on hardware and interdisciplinary
collaborations instead of trying to break away
as an autonomous creative intellectual zone,
like an island utopia of the global mind, locally.
how readily can one act on their most complex
thinking? and how intricately can this be tied
to others thinkings in networks operations, it
may be possible that the 'worst of both worlds'
are both infecting eachother with mindlessness
because the questions are-not-big-enough to
deal with the situations at hand. 'new media' is
not describing what is going on, in large parts
of the culture. but ideologically it is hermetically
sealed and institutionalized, legitimated, and
actually may _limit_ freedom of thought, not
just of expression, but thought, who cares of
freedom of expression if one cannot think???

that freedom to think has been decapitated
by an unrealistic world view, the scale is off,
yet 'the intelligence' exists in the groups of
people, as networks, to deal with what 'we'
as a common people (human beings, and
for the sake of reason, this can be a public
identity better than another other to date,
and will be gladly debated into the dust,
as a superset which can deal with rebirth
of the private supermen which are trying
their damnedest to take over the world now).
that is an open, public challenge to anyone
who considers themselves an intellectual.


maybe someday, all this division of thinking,
division of mind, saying a pastry chef has no
intelligence, a mechanic, a freaking engineer,
a gardener, it will be realized that 'intelligence'
is not just the domain of 'the intelligent' class,
nor a thinking class, with 'stupid' and 'smart'
people (where the .US model led, possibly
as a direct result of not being able to continue
the myth in another context). the theorist of
language is not the same as a physicist, nor
is their deductionism similar to Einstein's nor
are these 'laws' immutable which are said to
exist for every subject, by said intellectuals.
they are ideas, they are debatable, and they
should be challenged and may change. to
not upgrade Descartes to the present day
knowledge is, by philosophical standards,
true idiocy. yet, 'the word' is indeed now a
power like the sword, as ideas less powerful
if not in the form of ideological, for total control.

'new media' education could be about many
things, it could be yet the language will not
let go of it, it is bounded by an ideology that
is inaccurate at its very core, and assumed
universal and it is inauthentic as scholarship
and as reasonable thought, without critiques
of the core questions, that remain ignored,
bulldozing through contradictions to continue
to develop this fiction even further.

what about changing educational system? it
is not possible without changing thinking, it
would seem. of course it may be that this is
entirely misleading and likely has several
serious flaws in its themes, due to specificity
and obtuse points, and yet what is it actually
like to think, as a group and as individuals,
totally similar and different in myriad ways,
as a network of constant pulses and stuck
in this fog of the network cloud with the
electronic No Exit sign on the blink as the
ideas fight eachother for market supremacy
in a zero-sum game, when the basic physics
of the technology being commoditized as
thought is itself more advanced than the
concepts used to describe it, that it is now
beyond binarism yet it remains stuck in it
here and now, not synthesizing an ideal
form but bouncing between approximate
states of truth and fictions, to gauge what
is going on. nettime freaks out when its
self  is manifested through its own body
without organs, fulfilling the theories yet
totally insane in doing so, unable to see
itself thriving now even though 'full of
theory', the theory is irrelevant to truth
or experience in practice, it would seem.
that's a hypothesis, as it is pondered.


what about this networking of ideas,
nettime is like a communal newspaper
with all the politics of a non-profit gone
into star-trek convention territory, and
it _can compete, as an entity, with the
NYTimes or Washington Post, and other
organs, these places are as tied into the
future of the clarity of thinking on nettime
as they are to the GOP grand-planners,
and guess who is winning? and how
will continuing under the assumptions
that have led up to this point in any way
fundamentally allow the changes that
are necessary to approach questions
in the context and scale necessitated,
by all who think, act, and will do so with
the full force for their ideas and will to
make change, in the best ways possible,
peaceful or whatever one's disposition,
education is an extremely important way
to change peacefully, and it is contingent
upon accurate and meaning language,
that is related to truth moreso than power
in an economy of ideas, a networked one.

this is most probably all false, which is OK.

  bc microsite http://www.electronetwork.org/bc/
  ~e-list http://www.electronetwork.org/list/

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