Twofish's Blog

July 23, 2006

Breaking barriers – Puccini, Orwell and MIT

It is an irony that an institution like MIT devoted to equal opportunity has such a nasty and rigid class structure. It is so engrained that people don’t see it as a class structure, nor do they see the types of harm that it does.

The classes are

student – teacher

patient – doctor

These are social classes (with a lot of subclasses). Like any two level class structure, it causes enormous problems. What I think we need to do is to create a large middle class between student and teacher. Another large middle class between patient and doctor.

Now here is where reading great literature like George Orwell’s 1984 and Pucchini’s Turandot is so liberating……..

What is the word for a large middle class of people between student and teacher? What is the word for a large middle class of people between patient and doctor? What is the word for a large middle class of people between client and lawyer? What is the word for a large middle class of people between the “information have’s” and “information have not’s”? What is the word for the large middle class between the “employer” and the “employee”?

And let’s take this even further. “Curriculum reform” always involves changing courses on a course list, this eventably turns into a power play between departments. There is a word that describes a new organizing principle for allocating time and effort in education, what is it? Courses and degrees may not be the best organizing principle for education. There are words that are better, what are they?

I don’t know…… The words for the things that I talk about. They may not even exist. There may be no word at all that describes the idea of a large middle class between student and teacher? Or patient and doctor?

But if you argue that because the words don’t exist, that we shouldn’t try to talk about it…..

Then Big Brother and the inventors of Newspeak would be proud of you…..

Names are magic…. I’m pretty sure that once we know what to call these things I’m talking about, that we can summon them into existence, if we want…..

But underneath these words there is a secret name, and I know what it is, can you guess what it is……

My name is love.

Vincero!!!!! Vincero!!!!!

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