Monday, March 2, 2009

Cloud Wisps: Criticism of World University and School, Conversation, Loving Bliss

Here's some criticism of World University and School, and my responses:

Cri: Hi Scott

me: Are you warm in the storm? Snow all around?

Cri: yup, we're fine

me: Sounds comfy

Cri: how are you?

me: pretty well - it's raining here, and I live in a beautiful place - but I'd like to find inspiration to write academically.

Cri: what are you planning to write?

me: A paper which characterizes ways in which counterculture, and Harbin, in particular, emerge in response to modernity, starting with Kant and Locke.

Cri: sounds interesting

me: This is potentially the beginning of my Harbin book, but I'm dillying because I'd like to do this in the context of getting a Ph.D., ideally at Stanford. What are you working on?

Cri: but i guess in the current circumstances of "modernity", it seems like a bit of an escape ... math and finance and software

me: modernity informs ways of reasoning and, even information technology, in large strokes. ... sounds quite modern

Cri: it's a living

me: I'm curious how to let the Internet help generate World University and School's Foundation's endowment, in relatively unexplored ways. Not a bad way to make a living.

Cri: i'm really not comfortable with the path you're taking

me: It's an interesting exploration to me

Cri: i have to tell you honestly, that I find it disturbing

me: And I think it will help a lot of people

Cri: to my value system it's either naive or unethical

me: ok - I see it emerging directly from the trajectories of Wikipedia and MIT OCW, neither of which seem naive or unethical to me, but I think I can understand how they might seem so to you.

Cri: i think you're overreaching. It's OK to dream big, and act small, but to ask for maoney for a wildly-optimistic project is not OK from my point of view

me: ok

Cri: i have no problem with OCW or wikipedia

ok. Both ask for money, of course.

Cri: i really think you have great ideas, but need to focus

And this project focuses on the developing world, in particular.
... and on everyone

Cri: i don't really want to argue the point, but i am quite surprised that you don't see a problem here

It's just another resource 'out there' and a creative project

Cri: i list of educational resources on the net is a resource, and a potentially useful one.

naive? - I make a comparison with Wikipedia here

Cri: a vision of a global university is just a vision of something that is very hard to achieve and it's not really appropriate to raise money for dreams. i never seem to get anywhere arguing with you. i been trying to make the same point for a long time in many ways

me: unethical? To share ideas - like Wikipedia and OCW - and for people to do so? I don't see a problem with this. To focus on a large endowment over a long time span, as a goal - I also don't see this as either unethical or naive. It may well not be realized, obviously.

I see this as conversation, and sharing ideas, and not as arguing.

Yes, you expressed concern one other time, but more about the idea of World University and School.

Cri: i can't support this in any way. it's crossing a line from my point of view

'Wiring' the developing world will be costly, and I think this could come from World University and School.


Cri: i think the idea that you can make a significant contribution to that process is hopelessy naive

It's just another resource for people, and especially for people who might benefit from these resources.

Cri: you would have to understand a lot more about technology (and probably a lot of other things too)

I guess I think everybody can contribute to making a contribution to making the world better, and, especially, through sharing ideas, which the internet excels at.

Cri: i have to try to convince you to scale back to something that is more practical. You have great ideas, but i can't support where youre going with them

Sent at 11:15 AM on Monday

I met someone at a party last night from Zambia, speaks Bemba, with an American wife and child. He was very enthusiastic about the idea - long hug at the end of the party. Very few people are focusing on the developing world with information technology and learning. And illiterate people will have the opportunity to participate too.

Cri: you will need a lot of people to contribute in little ways to achieve even 1% or what you're trying to do. I find it hard to believe that anybody will ant to work on a project that is so unrealistic

Interesting. I guess we'll have to see. Big projects, done in small ways, like through information technology, can make interesting things happen, because these technologies are scalable. And help many people ... just through sharing ideas in a real time worldwide network.

Cri: it's just a dream. helping people is concrete

me: ideas, like wikipedia - potentially letting people share the ideas they need to make life better for themselves, through the very low cost medium of the Internet - people to people, unobtrusively, potentially

Cri: an index of educational resources might help some people if it catches on. even that might not go anywhere, and if you tie it to an impossible dream, you may doom it to failure

me: perhaps. I see this a little like gardening, and it may well not catch on - I'm curious about that aspect - but at least it will be available, in a limited way. failure is the helpfulness or relative lack thereof of this wiki 50 years hence ... we'll see, and thanks for your thoughts!

Cri: ok. good luck

me: thanks. I appreciate your thinking, ideas and views - a lot


Around 2 months ago, someone I respect a lot, who is quite progressive, savvy, successful, and countercultural, once asked me to 'cease and desist' from this project - whereupon I stopped using the name of the institution he is part of - and he also said shortly thereafter, 'good luck to you.'


I see this World University and School project as being very helpful to people, especially in the developing world. I hope WUaS will make excellent ideas - through a people-to-people idea-sharing process - available to all, ~ freely and openly. I suspect my friend, above, has concerns about the re-writing of a social arrangement of access to knowledge, with this new kind of potentially universal access to high quality instruction and information, which we can both produce and consume. These ideas may be present in the
Coll├Ęge de France and in the 1960s, for example, but have ebbed and flowed in society otherwise. The Internet now makes this sharingand generation of knowledge, in new ways, possible, - very democratically.


After Cri's and my chat, I added here - - the subjects 'Counterculture' and 'Hippies.'

I'm still quite interested in eliciting loving bliss naturally, when and as we want it. Loving bliss is also a subject here to explore.

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