New Voices

I seem to keep coming across new voices these days. People I’d never heard of before, and didn’t know they even existed until I somehow stumbled across them on the internet.

And they’re all people who are talking. And I think that maybe it’s only when people talk that they really come to life, and become fully rounded, real people.

Writing is a rather abstract process. It’s a way of recording talking, so that it can be sort of heard again by reading it. Mathematics is even more abstract, in that it’s a way of manipulating numbers, which are abstract things.

I suppose that poetry is another, and perhaps more intense, form of talking. And singing is the most powerful possible way of talking. Which is maybe why we remember singers like Elvis Presley or Frank Sinatra, but don’t remember quite so many poets or speakers.

And discovering a new voice is a bit like hearing a new singer, one you’ve never heard before: Leonard Cohen singing Suzanne, or Johnny Cash singing Delia’s Gone.

The new voices have been people like Michael Savage, and Alex Jones, and Roger Stone, and Steve Pieczenik. Michael Savage has been banned from entering Britain, and that makes it all the more delightful to listen to him any time I like on the internet, a bit like you could listen to all the great music they never played on the BBC on pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline. In that respect it.s almost like a new 60’s era, but for people talking rather than singing.

It’s not that I agree with everything they say. In fact I very seldom entirely agree with them. But disagreeing with them makes them interesting. It’s a boring conversation where everybody agrees.

Another new voice is Jordan Peterson. He’s someone who I like listening to, but can never agree with. And that’s because he’s a psychological thinker, and I’m a physical thinker. What’s a Jungian archetype? How tall are they, and how much do they weigh?

Even more recently I’ve added Victor Davis Hanson, military historian and classicist. But I didn’t agree with everything he said either.

My latest discovery is John Taylor Gatto. He’s an award-winning NYC teacher. He must be aged about 80. In the video below he’s talking about how education stifles creativity. “Schools train people to fit into existing civil society.”

The video starts by showing the approach to his apartment, presumably somewhere in NYC. And when he speaks, it’s very slowly and deliberately.

Needless to say, I soon found myself disagreeing with some of what he had to say. Was it really necessary for “commercial society” to have a set of predictable consumers to buy the latest line of fashionable clothes? Was fashion as carefully planned and scripted as he seemed to think it was? Is it all really so carefully planned? Can nothing spontaneous be allowed to happen in commercial society, lest it throw all the planning out of whack. Can’t I have a second coffee? And a cigarette with it?

But, that aside, his central message – that school trained people to fit into society – was one that resonated with me. I have an unusual education: my own mother taught me to read and write, and to add and subtract and multiply and divide. She was by profession a teacher. She knew how to do it. She’d taught hundreds of kids to read and write. And she taught both me and my brother how to read and write because in quite a few places where were living, there was no school for us to go to. So I’d get taught sitting at the table in the dining room, rather than at a desk in a school classroom.

I spent very little time in schools before the age of about ten. And then I was thrown in the deep end, as a pupil in a Benedictine monastery school for 7 years. And then I spent the next indolent 10+ years as a university student.

Where did I learn the most? I learned most from my mother. The Benedictines added mathematics and physics that were beyond my mother’s range. And the university added more mathematics and physics, and computing.

Did I end up as well-trained cog in a machine? Not really. My education had been far too diverse and varied, in too many different places. I learned to read in Eritrea. And I learned long division in a little house in Niteroi, Brazil (something that I can only remember because, sitting at the dining room table laboriously dividing 378 by 42, I wondered why anyone would ever want to do something as utterly pointless as that). And I never lost my interest, in more or less everything. The world has never looked to me like any sort of known quantity. It’s always looked like a mystery.

I actually think that a lot of education provides people with tools that they may or may not wish to use later in life. I’d guess that most of my fellow school pupils at the physics classes of Father Paulinus probably never did any more physics for the rest of their lives. But I carried on using, and learning, both physics and mathematics. I’ve done so all my life.

Anyway, Gatto was yet another interesting and thought-provoking new voice. And all these new voices are found on the internet. You don’t find voices like them on TV, because they’re not saying what they’re supposed to. In fact, they only ever come to anyone’s attention precisely because they’re the silenced and suppressed dissidents of the Western world, much like Vaclav Havel or Alexander Solzhenitsyn were the silenced and suppressed voices of the Eastern world. And that’s what makes them interesting.

I look forward to discovering many more of them.

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7 Responses to New Voices

  1. Barry Homan says:

    “They’re all people who are talking. And I think that maybe it’s only when people talk that they really come to life.”

    A day ago I finally grabbed the phone and rung up the customer service number at Copenhagen Airport. It’s a big airport, and we’d just returned from the states with a long layover in the capitol city. They had ONE small gas-chamber for smokers there, in a grimy little corner far from the airport’s center.

    Only 8 people allowed in at a time – you had to wait in line! Outside the booth was a cheerful sign stating that after rennovations, smokers would be banished to a small outdoor area.

    So I talked to the fellow handling complaints. Boy, did I talk. The guy got an earful, but he actually listened. I spoke very loud, but very, very clear. I gave him the entire breakdown, not missing a single point from all the things we’ve discussed here.

    I’d finally had it. I covered it all, from start to finish. The fellow actually agreed in many areas, but don’t ask me what will come of it.

    Once “they” have taken everything away from you, you’ve got nothing left. Which means you’ve got nothing left to lose; and that’s when a person becomes dangerous.

    Frank makes a good point: reading is fine, but talking probably accomplishes more.

  2. nisakiman says:

    I actually think that a lot of education provides people with tools that they may or may not wish to use later in life.

    When I was at school, I spent a lot of time wondering why on earth we were being taught stuff like Pythagoras theorem and the value of Pi, etc etc. I mean, who the fuck is going to need that stuff anyway?

    Ironically, years later when I was doing carpentry for a living, I found myself digging out those old formulae for calculating areas of circles, and for calculating hypotenuse measurements. Had I not learned those basic geometrical formulae, my work would have been considerably more difficult at times.

    The guys who decided on the school curricula back then weren’t so stupid after all…

  3. Was it really necessary for “commercial society” to have a set of predictable consumers to buy the latest line of fashionable clothes? Was fashion as carefully planned and scripted as he seemed to think it was? Is it all really so carefully planned?

    Sure. I think much of what transpires is quite carefully planned and executed. But your comment regarding “people coming to life when they talk” also plays into this.

    Once “smokers” get lassoed into the debate, they find themselves doing the very thing they hate, which is legislating and/or discussing legislation as to what can or cannot be placed on cigarette packaging. I mean, do cigarette smokers give a flying fuck as to what is on chewing tobacco packaging? Or cigar packaging? Or pipe tobacco packaging? What about packaging for other nicotine containing products? Because now we find ourselves having to think about carcinogens and carcinogen containing products, which ranges from volcanoes to brake pads to coal to toast and beyond.

    “The Powers” likely get just as lost and confused as the rest of us, and they need ways out of their ivory towers and into our lives. They need to do so without being detected, otherwise, “the masses” will expect reciprocity and will want to peek inside the towers and the lives of the powers that occupy them, likely on levels that these powers are unwilling to relinquish/divulge. I mean…who wants someone snooping around in your own personal affairs? ;-)

    Maybe education problems emanate from the stresses of milking education for all it’s worth while someone is young, and then dropping education under the auspices of never returning. “Grab what you can, while you can, before it’s gone” seems to be a fairly popular dogma. Likely why there are so goddamn many used textbooks to be found on Second-Hand bookstore shelves. Squeeze the orange or grape or olive for all it’s worth, transfer that elsewhere, and then see what they can in turn do with it. I dunno about anyone else, but that sounds like a blending of Newton’s 1st and 3rd, with a splash of the 2nd.

    ^Simian Mobile Disco – Hustler^

    I’ve learned a fuckton from you weirdos. I’m glad I stumbled onto you guys/gals, and it’s been a pleasure and privilege to know you all. Ya’ll inspire me, all while teaching me shit that causes me to think of stuff in ways I’d likely have never thought of otherwise.
    /me shrugs

    ^Simian Mobile Disco – Audacity of Huge^

  4. waltc says:

    A lot of Mr Gatto’s ideas come from the old anti-consumption, anti-capitalist playbook that blames a lack of Worthwhile Values on greedy manufacturers and slick hucksters but my bet is that it’s simply human nature– that primitive tribesmen yearned for the same purple beads as the chief’s, that Ubangis sought lips as big as the Joneses, and aimed to get more shrunken heads than cousin Ralph’s

    That said, yes, it was the 19th c’s dream to socialize children to elite values, but when I was a The Children™, the reins had loosened. I recall a 6th grade lesson in Why Not To Trust Everything You Read, and though history downplayed (or outright ignored) American Error, it still taught us Civics, preached us no politics, and attempted to instill no values but honesty and a rough idea of fairness. . It was also a kind of buffet of subjects, exposing you to that bit of everything-there-is against which you might measure your interests and abilities. (The only exam I ever cheated on was high school chemistry–a subject I knew I would never use but if I flunked it, I’d simply have to take it again, so let’s just get it over with. Oddly, I did well in college physics, a subject I also would never need to use but which grabbed my imagination.)

    But today, we’ve gone back to that 19th C idea and, from grade school to Masters, education is mainly about indoctrination, and the basically useless curriculum that supports it. Science is global warming. History is a catalog of American Sin. Biology is about how it isn’t destiny and how boys named Sue can play Women’s tennis. And literature’s about how dead white guys suck. And the whole thing is structured around group collaboration not individual thought. No longer do children have their own classroom desks but (says a friend who’s taught in public schools) are seated at tables with 6 other classmates and expected to solve all problems as a co-op. (Though something tells me Einstein didn’t work that way.) So, yes, Mr. Gatto makes some very good points.

    • Frank Davis says:

      American Error. American Sin.

      How about British Error and British Sin and British Guilt?

      Or German Error and German Sin and German Guilt?

      Aren’t we all guilty of something or other?

      There ought to be a card game called “Guilt”, where everyone is handed out a set of 7 cards, each representing some form of guilt, ranging from minor guilt to major guilt. The game would be like Hearts, and you could pass your guilt cards to somebody else. So if you’re dealt Auschwitz or Treblinka or Sobibor, you can pass them to someone else (a bit like Stalin did with Katyn).Same with Hiroshima or Nagasaki cards. And there could be Chernobyl and Three Mile Island and Fukushima cards. And Gulag cards. And Global Warming and Acid Rain and Ozone Hole cards. And Christian/Jew/Gay/Lesbian/Black persecution cards. And Civil War and Regicide cards. The possibilities are endless.

      The winner would be whoever held the weakest hand, with the lowest total guilt – unless you had one of several full houses (e.g. Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobibor, Maidenek, Belzec, Chelmno, Dachau) or Christ’s Crucifixion, in which case you’f win. .

      • waltc says:

        I don’t think most American kids would know what Auschwitz or Treblinka were (shades of “those who don’t learn from history….” gone one better with “those who don’t learn history at all”) . They learn only how the founders kept slaves, the Indians were screwed, Edison and Ford were the root of all environmental evil, and how to putt a condom on a cucumber.

  5. garyk30 says:

    The ‘Elites’ believe in diversity for thee; but, not for me.
    If you want to see ‘whiteness’, go look at:
    1.the musicians in any major symphony orchestra, they are 95% white-
    2. The dancers in any major ballet corps, they are 95% white
    3.the singers in any major opera company, they are 95% white.

    Yet, the masses are accused of ‘Racism’?

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