- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: bill on October 10, 1999 at 17:00:55:

In Reply to: Anti-intellectual culture & state education. posted by Gee on October 08, 1999 at 12:09:45:

"...and in generating a Dewey influenced education culture inimical to
independant critical thinking, in filtering history and other subjects to fit with state preferences."

I'm certainly no expert in Dewey - but might not your objection be more on philosophical lines - after all he wrote:

There must be a large variety of shared undertakings and experiences. Otherwise, the influences which educate some into masters, educate others into slaves. And the experience of each party loses in meaning, when the free interchange of varying modes of life-experience is arrested. A separation into a privileged and a subject-class prevents social endosmosis. The evils thereby affecting the superior class are lessmaterial and less perceptible, but equally real. Their culture tends to be sterile, to be turned back to feed on itself; their art becomes a showy display and artificial; their wealth luxurious; their knowledge overspecialized; their manners fastidious rather than humane...

Diversity of stimulation means novelty, and novelty means challenge to thought. The more activity is restricted to a few definite lines -- as it is when there are rigid class lines preventing adequate interplay of experiences -- the more action tends to become routine on the part of the class at a disadvantage, and capricious, aimless, and explosive on the part of the class having the materially fortunate position. Plato defined a slave as one who accepts from another the purposes which control his conduct. This condition obtains even where there is no
slavery in the legal sense. It is found wherever men are engaged in activity which is socially serviceable, but whose service they do not understand and have no personal interest in. Much is said
about scientific management of work. It is a narrow view which restricts the science which secures efficiency of operation to movements of the muscles. The chief opportunity for science is the
discovery of the relations of a man to his work -- including his relations to others who take part -- which will enlist his intelligent interest in what he is doing. Efficiency in production often demands
division of labor. But it is reduced to a mechanical routine unless workers see the technical, intellectual, and social relationships involved in what they do, and engage in their work because of
the motivation furnished by such perceptions. The tendency to reduce such things as efficiency of activity and scientific management to purely technical externals is evidence of the one-sided stimulation of thought given to those in control of industry -- those who supply its aims. Because of their lack of all-round and well-balanced social interest, there is not sufficient stimulus for attention to the human factors and relationships in industry. Intelligence is narrowed to the factors concerned with technical production and marketing of goods. No doubt, a very acute and intense intelligence in these narrow lines can be developed, but the failure to take into account the significant social factors means none the less an absence of mind, and a corresponding distortion of emotional life.

(I think for socialists - he just went so far and no further)

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