James Wallbank on Wed, 13 Nov 2019 18:02:47 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Latin as revolutionary act?

Ave Nettimers,

This thread identifies one of the key weaknesses that's proven to be a fatal vulnerability of the former United Kingdom. (Sorry to bring it back to one particular nation - but it's a rather preoccupying issue to be living in a failing state.)

Education relates to power. We, as artists and activists who have engaged with technology, work on the assumption that gaining technological skills and critical insights, we can better operate in the world, and thus add value and empower ourselves.

This embodies a very straightforward understanding of the purpose of education - that it has a direct bearing on what you can understand, what you can imagine, and thus what you can do.

There is another purpose for education, (whether self- or institutional education) as a signal of status. This is how Latin and obscure classical education is used in British politics. How does a knowledge of Ancient Greek, or Latin, or some obscure ancient texts help one to make sensible strategic decisions in an industrialised and technological society? It doesn't!

But what it does do is to signal that you are from a special class of people to be respected and deferred to.

Many members of the British public (ignorant serfs that they are) are suckers for this sort of snake-oil. I fully expect the international, and highly educated and critical audience for this list to be immune to such signalling, and far more prepared to examine, critically, the content of communications, however they are expressed.

"Latin as a revolutionary act" is simply a response of outsiders, late in the game (about a thousand years late) to take on the symbolic status-signalling of their oppressors, instead of challenging it as bullshit. Resist it!




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