Ivan Illich writing in the early 70’s foresaw the online education boom…and as you can read above, he feared it. He called it ‘insidious’ and ‘destructive’ and described it as a seductive way to condition workers. He said it was worse than industrial, compulsory schooling. Nailed it.
Would he have called social media out as well? Undoubtedly. They would have both been characterized as inhospitable and incongenial.
Efforts like #digciz take on a much larger role given this proven milieu. Whether you use the word ‘hospitality’ in this extended sense, as in struggling against the forces of distraction and splintering and for those of connection and conviviality, or not, we are clearly in a pitched battle that many of us aren’t even aware is going on around us.
The stakes are high. Clearly.
Translation: Some folks have asked for an elaboration of what I wrote above.
First text-image: Illich was a remarkably prescient social observer. This quote is taken from 1970 and reflects progressive educational critiques of American compulsory education. Illich also presages the world of technology solutionism so prevalent in Silicon Valley corporations today. He saw the Panopticon coming. He also saw this as much worse than the status quo. The word “insidious” evokes perfectly how, for example, social media has become ubiquitous and central to every aspect of our lives as well as to the purposes of the surveillance state.
Second text-image: Illich argues further that we are creating what I called and inhospitable political state. This gets to the idea that we are considering this week in #DigCiz, the centrality of hospitality as a countervailing force to the splintering and isolation created in the post-modern anti-convivial state.
I was trying to justify the serious effort by #DigCiz to amplify the importance of understanding and practicing digital citizenship. This week that was represented as digital hospitality.
Last text-image: The real stakes and the optimistic view that we can create a convivial state.