New Luddite U

NOTE: This is an archived site. EVERYTHING here is very dated. Articles — all — are written now and then for highly select readers, for particular purposes. Not knowing proper context can be puzzling or misleading, even off-putting. So… please not read anything here which has not been recommended to you. What’s below is UNEDITED. This was written in a rush exclusively for Jules and Matthew. And it might be that they’d be better off glancing at the previous two posts before reviewing this. I don’t know… as I prepare to hit the sack. That’s how fast I’m moving, looking forward to the Skype call tomorrow.

New Luddite U
by Ox & C.P.

I don’t care much for Stephen Higgs’ writing. It’s okay, but I have a number of reservations about it. That said, he — unquestionably — means well, and he’s certainly spot on about quite a few points in his recent ican-university/, a decent rundown how institutions of so-called higher education have been co-opted — their spines and souls (They are people, after all, as per U.S. law!) — by corporations, distant first cousins to the manufacturers of 19th-century Britain, targets of the justifiable old Luddite venom.

That’s a mumbling mouthful, I know. But I am purposely being a bit oblique and odd in my presentation to underscore the need to embrace the attitude in the concluding remarks of my last post. Yes, this is a proposal to establish a university of sorts, but not one along traditional lines. Far from that. And although I will speak here of locating it in Italy, the actual location of the brick and mortar will be… elsewhere. Where I invoke Derrick Jensen’s name, I might very well mean Chellis Glendinning, or someone else. If I cite Asbestos Victims of America, Aspartame Victims and their Friends, Citizens Against Pesticide Misuse, Dalkon Shield Information Network, DES Action National, National Association of Atomic Veterans, National Committee for Victims of Human Research, National Toxics Campaign and/or the VDT Coalition… well, that might all be a ruse.

BUT there are dozens of such groups on a national scale in the United States alone, and their individual members are all feeling the frustration imposed upon them by the powers that be, knowing that deadlines are passing. In just about every instance in the U.S., the government cleverly superimposes a handcuffing template which dictates that if any organization wants non-profit status… the trade off must be staying out of the electoral arena! And — surprises of surprises! — somehow the citizens –as individuals is the point — engaged in the environmentally-conscious type of activity represented by the groups listed above… virtually never even talk about that aspect (the handcuffing) of their socially-conscious, well-meaning, heavily educated lives. Why is that? In short, like the rest of the U.S. population — the vast majority who are cynical, resigned, ignorant, apathetic and/or atomized to the extreme — they have been taught to… self-censor.

It’s almost too late. But look there’s fog-breath on that mirror that I’m holding up to my face! Yes, there is, and that’s enough for me to spend my remaining heartbeats on helping one and all to self-educate, to escape Sheeple Syndrome, avoid rape of soul and all that makes life worth living. I’m all for being the change one wants to see, but with what’s at stake here and now for us all, some informed solidarity — even if relatively minimal at first — might blossom into something that will make a difference.

How? Now… you’re not going to trick me. No way I’m going to delineate all that in public. I can say this, however: My efforts will involve working 24×7. [Pause.] Nay, 24×8, for the opposition is doing their trip ’round the clock, no holidays taken, and no raking in pneumonia residing in freezing tents whilst law enforcement — part of the highly touted 99%, take note! — guarantees victory after incessant victory with its justifiable homicide a la the 19th-century. They work in very comfy quarters designed to maximize very calculated efforts, not contingent on empathy, not on their knees, our opposition.

Lewis Mumford — over a generation ago — said,

“Though no immediate and complete escape from the ongoing power system is possible, least of all through mass violence, the changes that will restore autonomy and initiative to the human person all lie within the province of each individual soul, once it is roused. Nothing could be more damaging to the myth of the machine, and to the dehumanized social order it has brought into existence, than a steady withdrawal of interest, a slowing down of tempo, a stoppage of senseless routines and mindless acts.”

At present there is no place on earth encouraging such a thrust among the next generation, or for anyone for that matter. New Luddite U would serve such a purpose. In fact, it would be all about the most needed service on the planet at present.

I have a huge library to donate. Among other works, it contains singular volumes by Langdon Winner, Vandana Shiva, Stanley Diamond, David Noble, Edward Goldsmith, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynchon, Farley Mowat, Edward Abbey, David Ehrenfeld, Arne Naess, Dave Foreman, Jeremy Rifkin, Wendell Berry, Jerry Mander, Carolyn Merchant, John Zerzan, Theodore Roszak, Susan Griffin, Chellis Glendinning, Gary Snyder, Paul Broder, Devra Davis, Stephanie Mills, Thomas Berry, Bill McKibben, Paul Shepard, Noam Chomsky, Devinder Sharma, Sigmund Kvaloy Arundhati Roy and a surprising number of others, trenchant commentators.

New Luddite U, which could be called the Derrick Jensen Center or the Chellis Glendinning College for all I care, would be a haven for people who do care about what’s important. World citizens interested in helping others to self-educate, following new paradigms for doing so. Individuals who see the need for rejecting obsolete models for movement in solidarity, passionate people who will be focused on strategizing in fresh ways, trusting in their collective energies to come up with tactics which have not been tried to date. In private. In confidence. With the attitudinal set that says one does not have to settle for simply fighting the good fight and being the change one wants to see. That unprecedented, unbelievable solidarity is possible virtually overnight.

Blessings in solidarity,