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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

76. The Necessity Of Detachment: The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto from archive.org

The Necessity Of Detachment 

Hertzler's History of Utopian Thought traces the influence of Francis Bacon's New 
Atlantis, a book you need to know something about if you are ever to adequately 
understand the roots of modern schooling. Hertzler makes a good case from the testimony 
of its founders that the Royal Society itself arose from the book's prophetic scheme of 
"Salomon's House," a world university assembling the best of universal mankind under 
its protection. One of its functions: to oversee management of everything. 

New Atlantis had immense influence in England, Germany, Italy, and France. In France it 
was considered the principal inspiration of the Encyclopedia whose connection to the 
American Revolution is a close one. That story has been told too many times to bear 
repeating here. Suffice it to say that the very same triangle-encased eye that appears on 
the back of the American dollar appears as the center of Solomon's Temple in early 
eighteenth-century French artistic representations. 

One consistent requirement of Utopian procedure is the detachment of its subjects from 
ordinary human affairs. Acting with detached intelligence is what Utopians are all about, 
but a biological puzzle intrudes: detaching intelligence from emotional life isn't actually 
possible. The feat has never been performed, although imaginative writers are endlessly 
intrigued by the challenge it presents. Sherlock Holmes or Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame 
come to mind. 

Utopian thinking is intolerant of variety or competition, so the tendency of modern 
Utopians to enlarge their canvas to include the whole planet through multinational 
organizations becomes disturbing. Utopians regard national sovereignty as irrational and 
democracy as a disease unjustified by biological reality. We need one world, they say, 
and that one world should (reasonably) be under direction of the best Utopians. 
Democracy degrades the hierarchy necessary to operate a rational polity. A feature of 
nearly all Utopias has been addiction to elaborate social machinery like schooling and to 
what we can call marvelous machinery. Excessive human affection between parents, 
children, husbands, wives, et al, is suppressed to allow enthusiasm for machine magic to 
stand out in bold relief. 

It is useful to remember that Britain's Royal Society was founded not in the pursuit of pure knowledge and not by university dons but by 
practical businessmen and noblemen concerned with increased profits and lower wages. 

Enlarging The Nervous System 

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