Alvin Toffler Has Lesson for You-Know-Who Wheelwright

2 06 2007

“I don’t know how to solve all those problems and how to make that
happen. But what it all boils down to is, get the current system out
of your head. . .” —Alvin Toffler interviewed for “Edutopia” by James Daly.

Toffler says schoolteachers don’t have to BE the problem but they can’t solve the problem either, that we all need to start over, figure out what kind of educational systems we want for the future and then build from the ground up:

Teachers are wonderful, and
there are hundreds of thousands of them who are creative and
terrific, but they are operating in a system that is completely out
of time. It is a system designed to produce industrial workers.

I think Toffler thinks about much more than practical Cartesian systems and making the machinery of school work better. His thinking about business and systems ecology integrates psychology, the human mysteries of mind and spirit, which in turn connects to the entertaining and perhaps important perspective in a book called A Sideways Look at Time (reviewed here.)


It’s what you might call “perspective history” —
the female author Jay Griffiths sees the tyranny of time in modern society as enforced by heavy-handed conservative men and their self-serving systems of control, assisted by their defeminized handmaidens,

fierce guardians of the status quo like
Old Lady Wheelwright.  As I wrote last June, “the keeper of my time is my keeper.”

More from the Toffler interview:


What is industrial discipline?
Well, first of all, you’ve got to show up on time. Out in the
fields, on the farms, if you go out with your family to pick a crop,
and you come ten minutes late, your uncle covers for you and it’s no
big deal. But if you’re on an assembly line and you’re late, you
mess up the work of ten thousand people down the line. Very
expensive. So punctuality suddenly becomes important.

You don’t want to be tardy.
Yes. In school, bells ring and you mustn’t be tardy. And you march
from class to class when the bells ring again. And many people take
a yellow bus to school. What is the yellow bus? A preparation for
commuting. And you do rote and repetitive work as you would do on an assembly line. . .



2 responses

3 06 2007

Bedtime is one of my favorite things missing from our UNschooling. 🙂
Mealtime and choretime too. I still experience this as such a luxury, after my own highly time-controlled life before children.

25 09 2011
Who Is Old Lady Wheelwright, Really? « Cocking A Snook!

[…] Wheelwright in this new story (whoever she is) applies this same logic — about losing faith when stubborn dogma backfires and everyone can see it — to her views about schooling for the last 50 years! Eco World […]

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