The Ultimate Revolution

Delving into the third speech/interview I have seen with Aldous Huxley, this gem stuck out and seems to be very pertinent to today’s situation. The talk is on developments in science/technology that allow the controlling of the masses in ways that are not as blunt, and potentially more effective than those historically. Transcript of the speech here.

Quite clearly, if everybody were extremely unsuggestible organized society would be quite impossible, and if everybody were extremely suggestible then a dictatorship would be absolutely inevitable. I mean it’s very fortunate that we have people who are moderately suggestible in the majority and who therefore preserve us from dictatorship but do permit organized society to be formed. But, once given the fact that there are these 20% of highly suggestible people, it becomes quite clear that this is a matter of enormous political importance, for example, any demagogue who is able to get hold of a large number of these 20% of suggestible people and to organize them is really in a position to overthrow any government in any country.

Aldous Huxley – The Ultimate Revolution (Berkeley Speech 1962)

a three-thirty a.m. cultural bonanza

yesterday was busy- many classes, tutoring and the commute home. took a three hour power nap instead of a solid night’s sleep and, shortly after midnight, started preparing for today’s oral english lesson.

in the past i’ve done a little lesson on the logo, the motto, as well as an activity in which students innovate an imaginary product or service. why? in order that this and this don’t happen as much in class (and in society). the kids are creative but tend to go with what they know.

so today i heard about a chinese talk show that basically ripped off the intro to Conan O’brien’s show, Conan. It’s absolutely funny- the story- and i think he took the right attitude toward it. a clip from the show has gone viral on the Chinese twitter/blog-o-sphere and it’s pretty funny, amazing, interesting this cross cultural communication.

This isn’t the first time Conan has reached across to Asia. He has also had a ‘feud’ with, a Taiwanese Animation company that ‘reports’ the news. The exchange includes several funny video clips from both parties. What started the ‘feud’ was a mock animation Conan’s team put up here.

i think today i’ll show some video clips, introduce the ideas i’ve done before and hopefully spark a conversation or activity that will be fine example of edutainment. i should really be sleeping in the wee hours of the morning, but there’s so many things to spend waste my time doing…


I did a lesson on symbolism this week for all my classes, both high school and university. There’s nothing like watching the same music video over one hundred times to make your week complete.

But to be honest, the more I watched it, the more details I enjoyed, much of what I was trying to get the students to notice. The music is not bad, the storyline in the video is dramatic and scandalous but what can we expect in our day and age right? But the symbolism is unbeatable and there is nuance aplenty!

Several years ago I found an awesome blog called No Fat Clips which reviewed short clips, music videos, indie productions and the like. It was an amazing teaching resource with high quality download links to the videos (in multiple formats even!) And as a lot of the productions were indie, the themes and topics were more, how do I say it? … interesting. Very good for the learning environment.

The sad part of the story is that the blogger stopped updating his blog. I’ve pretty much gone through all the posts and snatched anything I might conceivably use in class. I may try emailing an inspirational email to convince him to start back up. Sounds like his computer crashed… but by now it ought be fixed, right?



On Education

Many thoughts after watching… not sure where they settle on the matter. Fist instincts leave me uneasy.

If you’re more of a reader than a movie goer, check out this interview transcript with barmak nassirian. It’s perhaps more in-depth and insightful than the documentary. He is associate executive director for external relations and a lobbyist with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO).

One of the better quotes in the interview above:

Bank robbery wouldn’t be any more appealing if we simply legislated that you tax the proceeds, right? I mean, if an activity is a nonproductive activity, the fact that you pay taxes on what you earn through it hardly makes it any more defensible.

 And another that, for me, drives home an invaluable point:

Elitism is a very easy charge if you think of higher ed in purely decorative terms. The minute you take two steps back and think about [the fact that] higher ed actually has to do with people’s health and safety, that there are very significant acts of reliance on credentials that you do care about, and it’s then that you realize simply mandating that anybody can dub anybody a graduate may not work out in practice.

…enough on this. Shopping time, some fresh vegetables and rice.

~ peace ~

2 B R 0 2 B

cover picture source:

 This is a great short story, you can read it here. Twenty minutes of food for thought, why not take a look?

An interview with author Kurt Vonnegut inside ‘Second Life’:

Another interview with Vonnegut (missing a few minutes at the end), originally posted on the website, complete transcript found here.

Richard Buckminster Fuller

Fascinating individual. His ideas and arguments really make me think.
He speaks on variety of subjects, language for example… Language and it’s outdated-ness. i.e. we still say in English that the sun goes down. We know for a fact that the earth revolves around the sun, yet our old ideas and philosophies are still incorporated into the language. i.e. “the four-corners of the earth”, still flat are we? Even ‘jump up’ and the ideas of up and down are quite outdated. It’s more that we jump out and away from the gravity of the earth than an arbitrary ‘up’. Our thinking is very planar.

There’s much more I’d like to read about this man, to take a look at a biography, but alas that might have to wait a while. After watching several interviews (I’ve found interviews to be something magical, getting a look into people’s inner-being if you will), there is a desire to learn more from this man.

His statements are bold and because of this and his genuine sincerity, some rather unbelievable statements are believable.

This may be one case in which society might do well to listen to an old man.

Have a glance and a listen to the snippit below:

Somehow the neurons in my brain have connected Mr. Fuller with Mr. Huxley, most likely because of another amazing interview clip posted previously.

R.B.F., a jack of all trades it seems, a true modern renaissance man.


This morning, quite early, I watched two online (and free!) documentaries on PBS Frontline. The first was on euthanasia, titled ‘The Suicide Tourist‘. The second was on the aftermath of the recent earthquake in Haiti, titled simply ‘the Quake‘, which you can check out below:

Both are on quite somber topics. Both engender serious reflection upon the audience. What better to watch on a rainy day?

Without taking away from one or passing judgment on either, in a kind of sickly fashion, I will strictly remark on how completely opposite the two realities were from each other. To use the phrase ‘stark contrast’ would be an understatement. While both touch on human issues, it brings to question how closely ‘we’ coexist.

The real gut-wrenching moment when I mentally compared two scenes from the two different documentaries: a man with a terminal disease ride through a picturesque looking town in Switzerland on his way to end his life; and thousands of half-starved, injured, shells of human beings struggling to find basic life-giving essentials such as water, sometimes even fighting each other in the process.

My thoughts even drifted to the audacity of the makers of these documentaries, them being one and the same, able to dissociatively float in and out of these polar extremes. Can one feign objectivity? Does objectivity exist?

Something tells me that humanity must compartmentalize, disassociate, and differ lest one be stretched so thin as to snap out of sanity.

Having taken French in university, we studied various French-associated cultures, including that of Haiti. The country is not a complete enigma to me. Also dusting off the cobwebs of the mind I remembered a book offered by a friend on the topic of clinics in Haiti and the efforts of a man trying to make a difference. It was not altogether surprising to see this man-from-the-book now working with the UN in the relief effort beside former President Bill Clinton in the documentary. Do I have a point in mentioning these facts? Perhaps only that everything is all connected in some vague fashion. Usually this doesn’t mean much on a day-to-day basis. But should it?

To be honest, I also watched an MIT lecture titled ‘Rebuilding Haiti’, totaling three videos for the day. (Geesh! Where do you find the time?!? Er… I was up at 3am for some reason…) This one was about two hours, but quite interesting. Four speakers presented what, in the views, might help the people of Haiti, each coming from a different perspective. If you feel like wrinkling your brain, feel free to watch below: