Pioneers & Thinkers

We have always had very interesting pioneers & thinkers
on the subject of how we learn in a more effective
& sustainable way, & others who have made very intelligent critiques of the present system.

Here we will compile some resources on these pioneers.
There are some very good videos now that summarize the main points.
Note they are all, in different ways, just talking about Action Learning...

Iván Illich

< click on picture for Wikipedia article

(Vienna, 4 September 1926 – Bremen, 2 December 2002) Illich was an Austrian philosopher, Roman Catholic priest and critic of the institutions of contemporary western culture and their effects on the provenance and practice of education, medicine, work, energy use, and economic development.

The book that brought Ivan Illich to public attention was Deschooling Society (1971), a critical discourse on education as practised in "modern" economies. 

According to a contemporary review in The Libertarian Forum, "Illich's advocacy of the free market in education is the bone in the throat that is choking the public educators." 

(Although it is important to note that Illich's opposition was not merely to publicly-funded schooling, as with the libertarians, but schooling as such; the disestablishment of schools was for him not a means to a free market in educational services, but a deschooled society, which was a more fundamental shift. 

As he later asserted in "After Deschooling, What?" (1973): 'We can disestablish schools, or we can deschool culture'.[7] He later opposes free market advocates as, "The most dangerous category of educational reformers."[8]) Full of detail on contemporary programs and concerns, the book remains as radical today. Giving examples of the ineffectual nature of institutionalized education, Illich posited self-directed education, supported by intentional social relations, in fluid informal arrangements.

The book is more than a critique - it contains suggestions for a reinvention of learning throughout society and lifetime. Particularly striking is his call (in 1971) for the use of advanced technology to support "learning webs."

The operation of a peer-matching network would be simple. The user would identify himself by name and address and describe the activity for which he sought a peer. 
A computer would send him back the names and addresses of all those who had inserted the same description. 
It is amazing that such a simple utility has never been used on a broad scale for publicly valued activity.

Ivan Illich

Alexander Sutherland Neill 

(17 October 1883 – 23 September 1973) was a Scottish progressive educator, author and founder of Summerhill school, which remains open and continues to follow his educational philosophy to this day. He is best known as an advocate of personal freedom for children.

Continue reading in Wikipedia

Paulo Freire 

Paulo Reglus Neves Freire - September 19, 1921 – May 2, 1997) was a Brazilian educator and philosopher who was a leading advocate of critical pedagogy. He is best known for his influential work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, which is considered one of the foundational texts of the critical pedagogy movement.   

Vídeo de YouTube

Paulo Freire's last public interview, given to in 1996.

Jean Liedloff

John Taylor Gatto

John Taylor Gatto 

is an ex-teacher and outspoken critic of the educational system

John Taylor Gatto speaks about schools and brainwashing

Helena Norberg-Hodge 

says in Learning from Ladakh: "education is one of the unquestioned benefits of development" and proceeds to show how our western type of 'education' actually teaches not only violence and alienation but a particular  de-skilling which leaves the great majority of youth unable to either return to the land nor be useful in the new city economy: education for unemployment and consumerism.


As you can see ... she isn't the only one to question this pillar of our society.


These are perhaps interesting things to consider when we talk of 'taking permaculture into schools' - supposedly in order to make it more accessible... or in order to reform schools?


What exactly are we dealing with, and can these patterns be avoided if we enter permaculture into this institution as yet another 'subject' ?

Noam Chomsky

Most Schooling Is Training for Stupidity and Conformity - Noam Chomsky on Education

Education Is a System of Indoctrination of the Young

Chomsky has been known to vigorously defend and debate his views and opinions, in philosophy, linguistics, and politics. He has had notable debates with Jean Piaget, Michel Foucault, William F. Buckley, Jr., Christopher Hitchens, George Lakoff, Richard Perle, Hilary Putnam, Willard Quine, and Alan Dershowitz, to name a few. In response to his speaking style being criticized as boring, Chomsky said that "I'm a boring speaker and I like it that way... I doubt that people are attracted to whatever the persona is... People are interested in the issues, and they're interested in the issues because they are important." "We don't want to be swayed by superficial eloquence, by emotion and so on."

In early 1969, he delivered the John Locke Lectures at Oxford University; in January 1970, the Bertrand Russell Memorial Lecture at University of Cambridge; in 1972, the Nehru Memorial Lecture in New Delhi; in 1977, the Huizinga Lecture in Leiden; in 1988 the Massey Lectures at the University of Toronto, titled "Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies"; in 1997, The Davie Memorial Lecture on Academic Freedom in Cape Town, and many others.

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. In addition, he is a member of other professional and learned societies in the United States and abroad, and is a recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association, the Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences, the Helmholtz Medal, the Dorothy Eldridge Peacemaker Award, the 1999 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science, and others. He is twice winner of The Orwell Award, granted by The National Council of Teachers of English for "Distinguished Contributions to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language" (in 1987 and 1989).

He is a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Department of Social Sciences.

In 2005, Chomsky received an honorary fellowship from the Literary and Historical Society. In 2007, Chomsky received The Uppsala University (Sweden) Honorary Doctor's degree in commemoration of Carolus Linnaeus. In February 2008, he received the President's Medal from the Literary and Debating Society of the National University of Ireland, Galway. Since 2009 he is an honorary member of IAPTI.

In 2010, Chomsky received the Erich Fromm Prize in Stuttgart, Germany. In April 2010, Chomsky became the third scholar to receive the University of Wisconsin's A.E. Havens Center's Award for Lifetime Contribution to Critical Scholarship.

Chomsky has an Erdős number of four.

Chomsky was voted the leading living public intellectual in The 2005 Global Intellectuals Poll conducted by the British magazine Prospect. He reacted, saying "I don't pay a lot of attention to polls". In a list compiled by the magazine New Statesman in 2006, he was voted seventh in the list of "Heroes of our time".

Actor Viggo Mortensen with avant-garde guitarist Buckethead dedicated their 2006 album, called Pandemoniumfromamerica, to Chomsky.

On January 22, 2010, a special honorary concert for Chomsky was given at Kresge Auditorium at MIT. The concert, attended by Chomsky and dozens of his family and friends, featured music composed by Edward Manukyan and speeches by Chomsky's colleagues, including David Pesetsky of MIT and Gennaro Chierchia, head of the linguistics department at Harvard University.

In June 2011, Chomsky was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize, which cited his "unfailing courage, critical analysis of power and promotion of human rights".

In 2011, Chomsky was inducted into IEEE Intelligent Systems' AI's Hall of Fame for the "significant contributions to the field of AI and intelligent systems".

Universal education through schooling is not feasible. 
It would be no more feasible if it were attempted by means of alternative institutions built on the style of present schools. 

Neither new attitudes of teachers toward their pupils 
nor the proliferation of educational hardware or software 
(in classroom or bedroom), 
nor finally the attempt to expand the pedagogue's responsibility 
until it engulfs his pupils' lifetimes 
will deliver universal education. 

The current search for new educational funnels 
must be reversed 
into the search for their institutional inverse:
educational webs 
which heighten the opportunity for each one 
to transform each moment of his living 
into one of learning, 
and caring

We hope to contribute concepts needed by those who conduct such counterfoil research on education--and also to those who seek alternatives to other established service industries.

Ivan Illich

The pupil is thereby schooled 
to confuse teaching with learning, 

schooled to confuse 
grade advancement with education, 

schooled to confuse a diploma 
with competence. 

His imagination is schooled 
to accept service in place of value. 

Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, 

social work for the improvement of community life, 

police protection is mistaken for safety, 

military poise is mistaken for national security, 

the rat race is mistaken for productive work. 

Health, learning, dignity, independence, 
and creative endeavor 

are defined as little more than the performance 
of the institutions which claim to serve these ends, 

and their improvement is made to depend on 
allocating more resources to the management 
of hospitals, schools, 
and other agencies 
in question...

Other related pages

in this Manual

(how to repair the damage)