Category Archives: General interest

Ivan Illich and the Coming Cultural Revolution

Ivan Illich

Do educational institutions make people stupid? Do medical institutions make people sick?

Such questions may at first glance seem preposterous, but they were raised in all seriousness a few decades ago by Ivan Illich, and strongly argued in his books, Deschooling Society (1971) and Medical Nemesis (1975). In both cases his arguments stem from his overarching belief that as institutions become too large and too centralized they end up doing the exact opposite of what they are intended to do. Over the subsequent decades, we’ve seen mounting evidence that Illich was correct in his assessments. In our attempts to improve efficiency, eliminate uncertainty, and get more done in less time, we have allowed everything to become too big, too rigid, too fast, and too centrally controlled. In the process the individual has become ever more helpless and alienated and more dependent on impersonal institutions that are being corrupted by their power and inherent conflicts of interest. As Illich argues, we have become slaves to our institutions and our myths about who we are and how the world works. George Bernard Shaw spoke similarly in declaring that all professions are “conspiracies against the laity.”

Ivan Illich (1926–2002) was a Catholic priest, theologian, philosopher, and social critic, who became famous in the 1970s and 80s, and although his fame may have faded a bit in recent years, his ideas and works have been, and remain highly influential and are now more relevant than ever. Notable in this regard are such resources as The International Journal of Illich Studies, the upcoming, The Philosophy of Ivan Illich: An 8-Week Course, being offered by Nina Power, PhD, and a brand new book by noted journalist and broadcaster, David Cayley, titled, Ivan Illich:An Intellectual Journey (2021).

Cayley has followed the work of Illich since the 1960s, and in 1989 he visited Penn State University where Illich was then teaching, to record a series of interviews that were then used in a five part series in Cayley’s Ideas program that aired on CBC (the Canadian Broadcasting Company). That series titled, “Part Moon, Part Travelling Salesman: Conversations with Ivan Illich,” was comprised of one hour segments that included biographical information and comments about Illich and his ideas by others who knew him. The series is now available online and can be accessed here.

I became an instant admirer of Illich and his work in the early 1980s after reading both of the above mentioned books, as well as his prescriptive work, Tools for Conviviality (1973). In the latter he points out what Wikipedia calls “the institutionalization of specialized knowledge,” and “the dominant role of technocratic elites in industrial society.” Illich argues in favor of “appropriate technology” and the reacquisition of practical knowledge and simple tools that empower people and help to build community. In short, he calls for a general deinstitutionalization of society and a reconceptualization of what it means to be human.We have, by and large, internalized the belief that we are, in Illich’s words, “poor, sick and ignorant,” and in need of institutional services to remedy that situation.

In August of 1989 I had the honor of welcoming Illich to give a presentation at the 8th Assembly of the Fourth World and Decentralist Congress that was held in Toronto, Canada. As President at that time of the School of Living, the sponsoring organization, I served as moderator of the event which also included presentations by such insightful thinkers and activists as Leopold Kohr and John Papworth.  

Both Cayley and I have taken Illich’s insights to heart in our personal responses to the ongoing crisis of civilization and to its latest manifestation, the “pandemic” and official reactions to it. Cayley’s sentiments are expressed in his recent post, Concerning Life, in which he delves deeply into Iliich’s expressions of what the word “life” actually means and what Illich meant when he said that life has become “an idol” and “a fetish.” He and I seem to share the view that the concept of life has been distorted in the public mind as Christendom, and religious institutions in general, have tried to accommodate with a materialistic civilization that is now unraveling.

For me it comes down to this: Life is more than breath and pulse, flesh and blood, muscle and bone. The fear of death inhibits true life which is more than physical, it is spiritual– free, adventuresome, and spontaneous and open to unknown possibilities. Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when he said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). And this, from a more secular point of view states the same essential truth: Life is the destiny you are bound to refuse until you have consented to die. –W.H. Auden.

God grant that I might find the courage to push through my fear of death, embrace my destiny, and choose to truly live.  

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The Great Asset Grab

One does not need to scratch very deep beneath the surface to see what is actually going on in the world or why it is being done. Look around, which companies have been thriving through the “pandemic,” which business have been shut down or forced into bankruptcy, who is buying up residential real estate in every city, who is the biggest owner of farmland in the United States?

In a recent interview with Greg Hunter, my friend and long time correspondent Catherine Austin Fitts clearly and concisely explains what I’m calling The Great Asset Grab  This brief excerpt sums it up.

Investment advisor and former Assistant Secretary of Housing Catherine Austin Fitts contends CV19 and vaccines to cure it are all part of the “Going Direct Reset.”  Fitts explains, “This is so simple at the root.  The central bankers are using the government to shut down the main street economy, and then they are going direct and injecting money into the private equity firms and Wall Street who are running around the country buying things.  Think of this as a leverage buyout of the world.  We are being purchased with our own money.  Also, we are liable.  If you look at all the debt the government is issuing, our assets are liable for that debt.  This is a continuation and consolidation of the financial coup that we have been taking about.”

It is all part of the Great Reset that World Economic Forum founder and its mainstay, Klaus Schwab has been promoting, and gives real credibility to his contention that, in the New World Order, “you will own nothing…,” adding, “and you will be happy.” Well, I will not be happy living as a powerless farm animal or house pet. Will you?

Fitts and her team have also provided some forms to help you resist demands that violate your rights. Visit Solari.com and/or click the links below.  

Employer & School Disclosure Forms for Covid-19 Injections

Form for Employees Whose Employers Are Requiring Covid-19 Injections

Form for Students Attending Colleges or Universities Requiring Covid-19 Injections

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The time is now for a new civilization

In 1997 I produced a monograph titled, The Cooperative Community Commonwealth: A Prospective Outline for a New Socioeconomic Framework. Over the ensuing years I’ve revisited and edited it a few times. It was when written and until now ahead of the wave, but the peculiar turn of events of the past few years, and especially those of 2020, have intensified both the urgency and the opportunities for the kinds of actions described in this visionary plan. After making a few additional minor edits I’ve published it on this site and on Medium.

The Cooperative Community Commonwealth: A Prospective Outline for a New Socioeconomic Framework

The present state of civilization, even in so-called “democratic” or “free” countries, is one of dominance by massive hierarchical structures which are centrally controlled by a relatively small group of people. These individuals wield enormous power by virtue of their control of the established structures and mechanisms, especially those of money and finance, and through their ownership of the vast majority of the land and capital.

The further development of civilization and the fuller realization of the human potential depend upon the further liberation of people within a context of increasing global awareness and concern. This, in turn, requires broader, more democratic access to land and capital, the devolution of power to the community level, and progress beyond familiar modes of domination and coercion. Such a process will require reliance upon the gentlest of means, higher levels of awareness and personal responsibility, the creation of new, inclusive structures, and their implementation under popular control.

…. Read the full article here.

Newsletter February 2021 — The Impending Failure of Wikipedia and other news

In this issue:

  • “Artificial Intelligence,” Bots, and Censorship: Why Wikipedia can no longer be trusted
  • Censored on Facebook
  • Consolidating and Preserving my Legacy
  • The Farm
  • Now, for your edification and amusement

Read it on my Mailchimp site.

Who’s Reset will it be?

The oligarchs, plutocrats, and technocrats have a plan for you. It’s been called the “New World Order,” and now, “The Great Reset” which is being promoted by the World Economic Forum. Despite their high sounding rhetoric, you and I will have no role in formulating this plan, rather it is self-elected “global leaders” who will “come together to design a common recovery path and shape the Great Reset.”

It is imperative the people around the world come together now to plan our own future, one that is based on our own common values, needs, and a shared vision of how humans can live in harmony with nature and with each other. One current initiative that intends to facilitate that effort is “The Greater Reset” which is upcoming starting Monday, January 25th and continuing through Friday, January 29th.

Our World. Our Way.

The Greater Reset Activation: January 25th – 29th, 2021

“The Greater Reset is the world’s collective response to the World Economic Forum’s Initiative: The Great Reset.

“We offer an alternative to the WEF’s top-down, centralized, authoritarian vision. Our desire is to help all people find community and liberty by providing practical steps and knowledge for co-creating a world that respects individual liberty, bodily autonomy, and choice. We invite you to join us for 5 days of discussion about the diverse opportunities available for those who seek to live in harmony with humanity and the planet, while respecting our innate freedom.”

You can get program details, and sign up for “The Greater Reset” at https://thegreaterreset.org/

Orthodoxy and the meaning of events

Orthodoxy and the meaning of events is the title of an article recently published by Richard K. Moore, author of Escaping the Matrix: how We the People can change the world, and numerous insightful articles that are helpful in making sense of the present state of our world.

Here are some excerpts:

When something dramatic happens, we want to know what it means. We want answers to questions like: Why is it happening? How important is it? What will happen next? Where is it heading? What does it all mean?

In the mainstream narrative, the orthodox narrative, a clear meaning is always provided, right along with the news of the dramatic event itself. Like on the morning of 9/11, when the video of the explosions was first being shown, there was already a banner going across the screen: America under attack by Al Qaeda. And soon after: They want to destroy our democracy. 

This prompt assignment of meaning to an event has an important psychological effect. The first plausible explanation someone hears tends to fix in the subconscious, and resists being displaced by later explanations. That’s why the orthodox meaning is provided promptly, is repeated endlessly, and is reinforced from a variety angles by the various media genre, such as news broadcasts, talk shows, official announcements, comedians, documentaries, interviews, newspapers, etc.

It is easy to see why followers of the mainstream media would consider themselves to be well informed citizens. On any big public topic, they know what it means, and from that framework they can discuss this or that development from a knowing perspective, with a sense of knowing what they’re talking about. 

The world of the mainstream narrative is to a large extent a closed universe. Its stories and their meanings cover the whole scope of ‘what’s important’ and there’s no room for alternative explanations to find a place there. If a contrary explanation emerges from some non-mainstream source, there are many reasons why the explanation will be dismissed. First: ‘We already have an explanation for that’. Perhaps next: ‘Who are you that thinks you know better than the world’s experts?’ Every source that is non-mainstream is automatically suspect.

Moore goes on the say that:

In the orthodox world big changes always come as a response to some unexpected crisis (eg Pearl Harbor, 9/11, WMDs, 2008 collapse, COVID). A crisis is identified, it is given a meaning, and changes are announced. And then another crisis comes along, and again we get big changes. Each crisis comes with its own little meaning story, unrelated to the meaning of the crisis that came before or the one that comes after. Society stumbles along, it seems, always responding to unexpected crises. 

If someone observes that there is a pattern in such sequence, they are dismissed as paranoid or a “conspiracy theorist,” and that “conversations of any significant kind are nearly impossible across the boundary of the orthodox bubble.”

So much of each person’s worldview is based on the trust they have in the sources of the information they regularly consume, whether is MSNBC, Fox News, the BBC, New York Times, the Washington Post or other long established sources with big reputations. But it has been well documented how the media channels throughout the world have been gradually absorbed into a few mega-corporations, and how the owners of those channels use them in the process of Manufacturing Consent to the demands of the elite class that they represent, and their power has become greatly enlarged in the years since Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, described it in their book by that name. That, and other aspects of the decline of western civilization since the 1970’s is also well documented in a video I watched recently titled, HEIST Who Stole the American Dream.

Richard Moore’s article concludes with his views on how people with differing beliefs about reality might talk with one another in a productive way. I strongly recommend that readers take the time to digest the entire article which can be found on Moore’s website.

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2020 August Newsletter — The Great Reset is now underway

My August newsletter has been sent out a few days ago by email to my list. Here are the contents:
In this issue:

  • First, something to amuse and brighten your day…
  • Now, on a more serious note…
  • What to do…?
  • Clarifying and filling in the picture…

You can read the entire newsletter here.

And, here is a more extensive consideration by Chris Talgo of the Great Reset that is being put forth by the World Economic Forum:  What is the Great Reset?

If you’d like to be added to my mailing list to receive my newsletter directly, please fill out the subscription form below.

New Podcast Episode 9–Jose Francisco Garcia Mazcorro

Episode 9 A conversation with Jose Francisco Garcia Mazcorro

Jose Francisco Garcia Mazcorro (Pepe) (Born in July 1982), is a scientist and educator who from 2000 to 2005 studied Veterinary Medicine and, in 2011, received a PhD degree from Texas A&M University.

Upon his return to Mexico in 2012, Pepe and his wife, Alicia, who also holds a PhD from the same university, started a program they called “Free Science Classes.” Pepe currently spends most of his academic life working on various research projects related to the human and animal microbiome. He also has an interest in Social Philosophy and published a book on that subject in 2007.

In this podcast interview, Pepe describes his work of taking science directly to children, provides some insights into Mexico’s current political situation and the implications of the election in 2018 of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), and discusses the status of the COVID “pandemia” in Mexico, its consequences, and possible remedies to avoid an even more complicated scenario in the years ahead. You can learn more about Pepe and his work at his personal website athttps://sites.google.com/site/josefgarciamazcorro/home. Pepe also recommends this video about social distancing.


Newsletter — June 2020: Making sense of the Covid-19 “pandemic”

In this issue:

  • Facts about Covid-19, a report from Swiss Policy Research
  • Analysis of Crisis Management from the German Ministry of Interior
  • Perspectives on the pandemic, one nurse speaks out
  • Mass surveillance begins with kids: WIRED Magazine
  • The injection fraud–it’s not a vaccine: Catherine Austin Fitts
  • All Governments Lie: Oliver Stone
  • Meet Bill Gates: The Corbett Report
  • Coronavirus: It is governments not coronavirus which threatens our lives: Dr. Vernon Coleman
  • My (tentative) final thoughts

Because this is a long one I’ve posted only the list of contents. You can read the entire newsletter here.

If you’d like to be added to my mailing list to receive my newsletter directly, please fill out the subscription form below.

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Relocalization and Community Empowerment–How to get it done

You won’t want to miss this webinar with
GAYLE MCLAUGHLIN for a conversation on
How a Progressive Alliance Can Change Culture

Gayle McLaughlin was a two term Mayor of Richmond, CA and she is currently running for the Richmond City Council in 2020. Under her leadership as Mayor, Richmond increased the minimum wage to $15 an hour in 2008. Homicides were reduced by 70%, and the Richmond Chevron refinery was forced to pay $100 million dollars in additional taxes after a successful lawsuit that required payment for the environmental hazards and harm they caused to the community. She led the fight against foreclosures in Richmond. She co-founded the Richmond Progressive Alliance, which was the precursor to the California Progressive Alliance. As Mayor, she also oversaw the hiring of a new police chief who radically altered the police culture in their community by reorganizing the police force to one that worked with, instead against, the community. In 2016, she helped pass the first new rent control law to take effect in California in 30 years. Her book, Winning Richmond: How a Progressive Alliance Won City Hall, is available online. Gayle has never taken any corporate money in her campaigns and she has won every one thus far. Her enlightened leadership has altered Richmond but, as she says, there is much to be done to keep the progressive values and gains alive. Which is why she is running for the Richmond City Council again.

Gayle’s first book, Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money, and the Remaking of an American City, was published in 2017 with a foreword written by Bernie Sanders. In 2019, her political memoir, Winning Richmond: How a Progressive Alliance Won City Hall, is literally a how-to for radically changing city governments. In all of her campaigns for public office, she has never taken any money from corporations.

Friday, June 26 at 4:00 pm, Pacific Daylight Time.

Tickets: $20 General. * $15 for Praxis Members – Zoom link sent upon Registration. Click Here to Register. If you cannot afford a ticket or need a reduced fee, please Contact: info@praxispeace.org  

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