Category Archives: consumer society

Shimer College AND Why I Am Teaching a Course Called “Wasting Time on the Internet”

Shimer College: the worst school in America?

This tiny, eccentric institution in Chicago was just voted the worst place to study in America. But does Shimer, which shuns lectures and has no societies or clubs, deserve such an accolade? Jon Ronson went there to investigate
http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/dec/06/shimer-college-illinois-worst-school-america

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Why I Am Teaching a Course Called “Wasting Time on the Internet”

“The idea for this class arose from my frustration with reading endless indictments of the Web for making us dumber. I’ve been feeling just the opposite. We’re reading and writing more than we have in a generation, but we are reading and writing differently—skimming, parsing, grazing, bookmarking, forwarding, retweeting, reblogging, and spamming language—in ways that aren’t yet recognized as literary.”
http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/wasting-time-on-the-internet

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Filed under college, consumer society, contrarian, creativity, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

Freedom is hard… especially when you aren’t accustomed to it

Good insights from Ran Prieur here:

“When you begin to get free, you will get depressed. It works like this: When you were three years old, if your parents weren’t too bad, you knew how to play spontaneously. Then you had to go to school, where everything you did was required. The worst thing is that even the fun activities, like singing songs and playing games, were commanded under threat of punishment. So even play got tied up in your mind with a control structure, and severed from the life inside you. If you were “rebellious”, you preserved the life inside you by connecting it to forbidden activities, which are usually forbidden for good reasons, and when your rebellion ended in suffering and failure, you figured the life inside you was not to be trusted. If you were “obedient”, you simply crushed the life inside you almost to death.

Freedom means you’re not punished for saying no. The most fundamental freedom is the freedom to do nothing. But when you get this freedom, after many years of activities that were forced, nothing is all you want to do. You might start projects that seem like the kind of thing you’re supposed to love doing, music or writing or art, and not finish because nobody is forcing you to finish and it’s not really what you want to do. It could take months, if you’re lucky, or more likely years, before you can build up the life inside you to an intensity where it can drive projects that you actually enjoy and finish, and then it will take more time before you build up enough skill that other people recognize your actions as valuable.”

RAN PRIEUR
http://ranprieur.com/essays/dropout.html

I think this also relates to why it an be hard for people to get away from TV, Facebook, buying stuff as noted here: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-real-reason-for-the-40-hour-workweek-2014-6
It’s not just time. 40 hours a week is not that much. (If one sleeps 8 hours a night, there are 112 awake hours per week, so if you are at work (plus commuting) say 45 hours a week, that leaves 67 hours!)
So there are more complicated reasons for our consumer society.

Society probably does not do people a favor by focusing on the idea that one must find meaning in life through your work. This idea seems very ingrained, at least here in the US. Because then people feel bad that they are not, and forget that they can look elsewhere.

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SEE RELATED:
– The Most Basic Freedom is the Freedom to Quit, by Peter Gray
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201304/the-most-basic-freedom-is-freedom-quit

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Filed under consumer society, meaning of life, work-life balance