Friday, July 17, 2015

On giving lectures and Project Zero

I learnt it from my mom, so when people come to my place they get food. Saturday is school day, and Jose and Keiran eat here. That means that friday night is cooking night plus prep of the wood. Tomorrow we are eating tacos and doing some glue up for the saw vice.

Friday of cooking and gluing up, you can be sure Julia is not afraid I may get a Chilean mistress

So, discounting the food and materials, I'm making something like 5usd per hour of work for the course (and I'm working 10 hours a week on it, maybe a bit more with all the planning). It may be less than the minimum wage in chile. But it's nice.

This made me think of course. It's not sustainable to give classes like this, imagine I do it twice a week, that would be like 4 days in preparations each week to earn 250 usd a month. But the problem is the solution, isn't it?

Make the guys of one class work for the next one, and make the older students teach the basic course, while you only teach the most advanced guys. For example, basic level class prepares the wood for joinery class while joinery class tells the noobs how to flatten a board. In the meantime I bake pizzas in the oven burning the shavings of the week and drawing the next joint to cut in the blackboard. That sounds like fun and I don't mind to make pizzas, I know they are tasty.

Why am I thinking of this? Well, this week was a very interesting one. I went to Valparaiso to meet some guys who have an art/science/critic/crafts/go project in Cerro Baron. The owner of the place is an architect we (as in my university friends and I) met 10 years ago when we organised the first inter-university Go championship of Chile. Lots of wine were involved there. And some Go. We were young and thirsty back then.

Valparaiso is a really poor city, and feels alive maybe because of that. People are not selling their souls for money mainly because there is no money there. Or maybe there is no money because they don't want to sell out. Who knows.

So, Project Zero (the italics are mine):
Today, the thing that is corroding capitalism, barely rationalised by mainstream economics, is information. Most laws concerning information define the right of corporations to hoard it and the right of states to access it, irrespective of the human rights of citizens. The equivalent of the printing press and the scientific method is information technology and its spillover into all other technologies, from genetics to healthcare to agriculture to the movies, where it is quickly reducing costs.
The modern equivalent of the long stagnation of late feudalism is the stalled take-off of the third industrial revolution, where instead of rapidly automating work out of existence, we are reduced to creating what David Graeber calls “bullshit jobs” on low pay. And many economies are stagnating.
The equivalent of the new source of free wealth? It’s not exactly wealth: it’s the “externalities” – the free stuff and wellbeing generated by networked interaction. It is the rise of non-market production, of unownable information, of peer networks and unmanaged enterprises. The internet, French economist Yann Moulier-Boutang says, is “both the ship and the ocean” when it comes to the modern equivalent of the discovery of the new world. In fact, it is the ship, the compass, the ocean and the gold.
The modern day external shocks are clear: energy depletion, climate change, ageing populations and migration. They are altering the dynamics of capitalism and making it unworkable in the long term. They have not yet had the same impact as the Black Death – but as we saw in New Orleans in 2005, it does not take the bubonic plague to destroy social order and functional infrastructure in a financially complex and impoverished society.
Once you understand the transition in this way, the need is not for a supercomputed Five Year Plan – but a project, the aim of which should be to expand those technologies, business models and behaviours that dissolve market forces, socialise knowledge, eradicate the need for work and push the economy towards abundance. I call it Project Zero – because its aims are a zero-carbon-energy system; the production of machines, products and services with zero marginal costs; and the reduction of necessary work time as close as possible to zero.
Save the last part — reduction of necessary work time to zero — I fully agree with Mason. You can read more here:

Let me repeat that last part again, slightly modified.

A project, the aim of which should be to expand those technologies, business models and behaviours that dissolve market forces, socialise knowledge, eradicate the need for stupid and boring work and push the economy towards abundance.

May I digress? The other day I was thinking why I use so many proper names in my writing. I never say "my wife", I say Julia. Because you know, for me Julia is not "my wife", it's not something I put a nameplate on and that gives me a clear cut relation... it more like... well, a mess. Julia is Julia and that's the way it is. But's also the way Henry Miller writes.
Last night Boris discovered that he was lousy. I had to shave his armpits and even then the itching did not stop. How can one get lousy in a beautiful place like this? But no matter. We might never have known each other so intimately, Boris and I, had it not been for the lice.
Second paragraph of the novel and we are already meeting people. Because that's what matters.

Project Mayhem is not about cutting joints. For me, it's about how 4 guys can teach themselves out of their ignorance and learn something. It's a technology of the us, if we want to point toward Foucault, that is educating us in a non-hierarchical way. So what, you may ask?  That means it's a technology, a set of behaviours, that socialise knowledge and dissolve market forces.

What do you pay for when you pay for education? Mostly, you are paying someone else to organise your time and set a pace for your own development. You are paying someone for telling you what to learn and when. You are paying someone for enslaving you.

And it works. People actually learn something after a few years. But is that the only way? How long would take in an alternative route? Can it be faster? How long will take for the next one that learns tensioning once Jason has understood it?

Ok I should try to sleep, tomorrow I need to finish some saw horses and start dovetailing with the guys.

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