From John Ohliger.org
And the Truth Shall Make You Laugh
And the Truth Shall Make You Laugh
by John Ohliger
Wisdom is as hard to hold onto as a friendly butterfly but as basic to a good life as nutrition. However, conventional wisdom is easy to grasp but as nourishing as junk food. It's enticingly packaged nonsense. The latest conventional wisdom is that we live in "The Information Age."
Those peddling this bland nostrum claim we now mass-produce information the way we mass-produce automobiles. They shout that we must use the same "high quality hard-sell" tactics for getting our adult students in tune with the information revolution that used car salesmen embrace to hawk the latest "preowned" Cadillac.
'Taint so! as Brian Winston, the dean of the School of Communication at Penn State University, declares: "The information revolution is an illusion, a rhetorical gambit, an expression of profound ignorance, a movement dedicated to purveying misunderstanding and disseminating misinformation."
The computer is the handy-dandy device that's supposed to be responsible for all the infoglut that we must wade through. We are told we now have access to all the useful public data exploding around us. All we have to do is sit down at an IBM keyboard.
'Taint so, either! The Supreme Court has just ruled unanimously that public information when packaged in a computer is no longer public. In Justice Department vs. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press the court declares: "Plainly there is a vast difference between the public records that might be found after a diligent search of courthouse files throughout the country and a computerized summary located in a single clearinghouse." Even when computer info is public we're more and more finding libraries forced to charge for accessing it on their machines.
The Information Implosion
Not only is there no information explosion, there is actually an information implosion. Wes Jackson is co-director of the Land Institute right here in the heart of ACET territory —- Kansas. He asks us to: "Think of all that has happened to the world since 1935. Few dispute that there is less biological information. Species extinction at the rate of 1,000 species a year, coupled with genetic truncation of the major crops, undeniably is a major loss of biological information. And the loss of cultural information due to the depopulation of our rural areas is far greater than all the information accumulated by science and technology in the same period."
The kinds of information Jackson favors flourishes when we live and work together cooperatively on the farms or in the cities. If we rediscover our own potential for informing our lives with these forms of intelligence we can engage in real mutual formation that changes us for the better inside, real information.
Feel The Breeze of Laughter
An important result of rediscovering ourselves, each other, our experiences and the earth as sources of intelligence is that it relaxes us enough so we can feel the fresh breeze of friendly laughter. This laughter renews our strength to keep working for fundamental change while giving that very work a sharp new focus. We could be liberated from the frenzied pursuit of knowledge in spontaneous humor. We could start right now -— I could start right now with a little light laughter at myself and my pretension to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This could be the best form of adult education available. As George Bernard Shaw said over 60 years ago: "My method of education is to teach people how to laugh at themselves."
To get the over 10 sources of these and related provocative statements, send a tax deductible contribution of $5 or more to Basic Choices, P.O. Box 259598, Madison, WI 53725. Ask for our 30 page paper “You Shall Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Laugh” (or “LAUGH” for short).
"I WOULD LIKE TO HELP PEOPLE SMILE — SMILE THE SOCIAL SYSTEM APART. REAL REVOLUTIONARIES ARE PEOPLE WHO LOOK WITH A DEEP SENSE OF HUMOR — DEEP SARCASM — UPON THEIR INSTITUTIONS SARCASM IS ADULT PLAYFULNESS. CYNICISM IS ITS OPPOSITE INSTEAD OF FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE, CYNICISM PRODUCES NOT-REAL REVOLUTIONARIES BUT A REGRESSIVE ATTACHMENT TO SLOGANS AND SELF-WORSHIP." IVAN ILLICH
Adult and Continuing Education Today, July 17, 1989
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