John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down
Nearly a century ago a French sociologist wrote that every institution’s unstated first goal is to survive and grow, not to undertake the mission it has nominally staked out for itself. Thus the first goal of a government postal service is not to deliver the mail; it is to provide protection for its employees and perhaps a modest status ladder for the more ambitious ones. The first goal of a permanent military organization is not to defend national security but to secure, in perpetuity, a fraction of the national wealth to distribute to its personnel.
It was this philistine potential that teaching the young for pay would inevitably expand into an institution for the protection of teachers, not students - that made Socrates condemn the Sophists so strongly long ago in ancient Greece.
What’re we doing here in New York City? Building a place that eventually — sooner than we think? — will not have enough electricity to function.
I call friends or meet up and ask everyone similar questions. Instead of smalltalk at the beginning we start with an impossible — ? — and wrap with pragmatism. Everyone responds differently but mostly the same: it’s hard, everyone does what they can.
Work boils down to sitting at my computer in the living room. I realized that I have to get out of the house and move around in a capacity beyond home-office musical chairs or my body will literally die.
I run East at night, when nobody is around. Blocks&blocks of rolled-down metal grates. Then big, muddy expanses of land behind chain-link. Gigantic silos with spiral staircases, electrical rod-looking thingies, smokestacks blowing smoke, a tall vent with a huge flame shooting out the top of it, trucks everywhere, unfriendly signs that say YOU SHOULD LEAVE.
I don’t know what anything is. That’s what makes me feel completely dependent on it, the not knowing. What gives me the feeling that I can’t do anything about anything.
I wanted to tell you what makes me think the world is completely, entirely malleable, and then I ran past industrial infrastructure. On which the whole city depends. Whose pedal we can’t take our foot off of. At least not without the field exploding into [gas|sewage|electricity|radiation] or whatever.
Brooding, for me, is not a depressive act. I enjoy Deep Unhappiness Of Thought. Brooding, for me, is not a depressive act. I enjoy Deep Unhappiness Of Thought. Brooding, for me, is not a depressive act. I enjoy Deep Unhappiness Of Thought.
I actually do think that brooding is closely tied to visioning, which is maybe a nicer-sounding way to spend a day. I can’t disagree with pragmatists who say that impossible — ? — are a waste of time, and yet — ? —!
Is it unreasonable to stress myself out about the end of civilization? I don’t know anything. Enjoy Deep Unhappiness Of Thought. Everyone does what they can.