This is very highly opinionated book. I disagree with some of his directions, but found a lot of insightful reading, and thought it appropriate to record some snippets here.
When a high achieving student said “You are asking us to just get in a race for the traditional rewards. What else is there?”, his teacher said “There was a large hole where his soul should have been.”. The pupil had been groomed to think that educational agendas and a mainstream job was the only plausible rout in life.
“School teaches history in the same way that it teaches grammar, syntax and word-preference: in terms that guarantee our exile from its passion and transformation”.
Research has shown that only about 15% of children do best in an academic environment, and that this does not necessarily include all the smart ones.
The US president was urged to break up the especially powerful corporations :
With all the resources of interlocking directors, interlocking bankers and interlocking lawyers, with all their power to hire thousands of employees … their power to give or withhold millions of dollars worth of business, with all their power to contribute to the campaign funds of the acquiescent … they are as dangerous a menace to political as to economic freedom”.
This sounds very current, of course, but the adviser was Justice Felix Frankfurter in 1936 to President Franklin Roosevelt.
Abraham Lincoln had this to say about corporations :
Corporations have been enthroned … money power will endeavour to prolong its reign … until wealth is aggravated in few hands … and the republic is destroyed”.
Even more true now, of course.
On the less obvious effects of technology :
Between 1828 and 1960, almost all observers who looked for psychosis or schizophrenia in technologically under-developed areas of the world agreed it was uncommon.
A 1973 New Guinea survey found that mass society correlates with schizophrenia.
On the mental health DSM (Diagnostic manual) :
Davis sees the book-genre of the DSM-IV as that of a merchandise catalogue, which allows its customer doctors to sell to its customers.
1922 on IQ tests :
If the impression takes root that these tests really measure intelligence, that they constitute a sort of last judgement on the child’s capacity, that they reveal “scientifically” his predestined ability, then it would be a thousand times better if all the intelligent testers … were sunk in the … sea
And finally :
In the 1900s, there were more than 20,000 miles of trolley tracks and nearly 5 billion trolley passengers yearly. How did it happen that an inexpensive, efficient, relatively nonpolluting form of transportation – already paid for – was replaced by an expensive, polluting, and congesting one? General Motors, through economic and political pressure, forced the abandonment of more than a hundred trolley systems, the paving over of the tracks, and the replacement of bus systems. GM, through its National City Lines subsidiary, bought and dismantled dozens of extensive urban electric rail systems, including the nation’s largest in Los Angeles. Even if one prefers interstate railways, urban sprawl, suburbs, and traffic jams, it is public record that an oligarchy, not a democracy, made this choice for society. In 1948, GM and its co-conspirators, Firestone and Standard Oil of California, were convicted in US federal court of criminal conspiracy and anti-trust monopolization. Its sentence and penalty for dictatorially changing the social and cultural face of America? A fine of $5,000.