Ivan Illich

Many years ago, Ivan Illich wrote a small book,"Deschooling Society" He believed that school was the primary institution that conditioned us to accept current dogma and thus was the largest inhibitor of original thought. He truly believed that school in all its forms was beyond reform and that the only possible answer was to de-institutionalize learning. People needed to be free to think and discuss whatever they wished, in a place that sought to honour rational thinking beyond the constraints of dogma, propaganda and existing social and political institutions. This was (CIDOC) Cuernavaca.

Today, institutions are burgeoning at an alarming rate aimed, for apparently worthwhile reasons, at controlling and directing thought, decision, and action. Chaos rules. Institutions, formal and informal, are so pervasive they invade all aspects of our lives. Illich would have been horrified.

Read any Mission Statement and you will discover that institutions are fundamentally beneficial. Every group, is dedicated to achieving wonderful ends. Corporate, governmental, non-governmental, charitable, or just a bunch of concerned folks all subscribe to doing something worthwhile. The world is overwhelmed by Mission Statements that need to be discussed endlessly and rewritten frequently. Most of these statements of purpose, however, are never achieved. Still, the institutions that generate them survive and their real purpose becomes simply to remain and grow. At best they are benign, at worst they are malignant. Still, there seems to be a need in humanity for belonging to a group and adopting its beliefs. Perhaps we are looking at the birth of global tribalism and the arrival of the electronic Middle Ages.

Schools with smiles on their faces may be lost in their vigorous attempts at looking good. In spite of this hucksterism, systems still rule them. The almighty algorithm prevails. Its shortfall is its inability to act rationally. Its strength is its consistency in objective decision making. Even if the decisions don't fit or work they can be defended. Enslaved by systems, educational institutions often become "Disneylands" selling shit to the customers as they struggle to find true purpose.

But help is on the way from so-called entrepreneurs and experts providing support while founding bullshit enterprises for fun and profit. Today, every institution finds itself surrounded b parasitic entities sucking like remoras from the body of a shark.

Outwardly, We are great! We are good! We are right! Narcissism seems to be the plague of these Middle Ages.