Rebrand? Or different content channel?

So. It has been a while since I have expressed myself. I also haven’t posted here. I’ve shifted recently to a different kind of medium (highly influenced by my sister) so there will be some of that for a while.

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10k ft Grind

There is something about entitlement
That makes the wearer immune to social cues
To the need to empathize or notice
The half they take out of the middle
And the half they leave for everyone else

The body language of those who notice
Are a testament to the tamping down
The physical manifestation of bowing beneath a sociopathic God

The sitting up in response has become foreign
The stretching of those muscles that are tightest

Upon changing positions we notice
But the paradox remains
Why would one risk losing taking up the most space?
We have a mythology of taking from others, that celebrates those that take

And we rarely stop to notice
The space we already inhabit
Or the other we killed off
As we set death-knell to ‘real’

I own every inch of space in my own body
Ironic then, that the more space I take in the world,
the less I’m supposed to inhabit?
The more uncomfortable I’m made in my own skin

I don’t know if the blank stare or the contempt is more isolating
It takes confidence to be the sane person in an asylum
And hysteria is an old name for ‘impatient with idiocy and ego’
so many diminishing superlatives

How do we fail every time we succeed?
Some unknown fraternal counter factual
That ties our Möbius strip into a Gordian knot
More binding than shoes, or matrimony

The freedom of a truly deep breath
Has much deeper ramifications than my diaphragm
The pause of a moment or two before you begin again

 

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Gratitude

My fitness goal for this year is kindness
My health insurance recommends mindfulness
Which does have health benefits in a Realist world

Immeasurable
Illogical
But undeniable

Listen to more music
Dance with myself
Enjoy sunshine

Resolutions to bring balance
And joy

Rainbows only come after the storm
And it’s important to look when the weather clears
Clouds roll in
And roll out
And light particles reflect different ions in different spectrums

Babies born at midnight on New Years can live in a whole other century
Does it change their identity?
Or would they always be themselves?

We start each day, each moment, each year and decade fresh with new possibilities
Each moment we have a choice
to embrace where we are
Or regret the things lost
The paths not taken

The future always unfolds before us
But it also unfolds back
All the little choices
And coincidences
A book left behind accidentally brought us each to this one eddy in the river of time

5 years later
I’m still learning from you
I see your love spread
Shared through the world and each person in it
I hear your words
I see your kindness
I will always miss your laughter

Heart survives
Sometimes the heart strings stretch too far
And I’m afraid they will break
But I never do

2016-01-05 18.05.04

Playing what you are dealt

IMG_0024There is an irony in the way that we both look to others to validate all of our choices, and now use social proof as a proxy for trustworthiness and the way that we compare ourselves to others and an ideal and so often find ourselves lacking. I was watching an Oprah Life Lesson video and they said that ‘comparison is an act of violence against the self’. I found that fascinating, especially given that so many of us compare ourselves so often and find ourselves lacking in so many ways. Especially how we often stack the deck against ourselves.

We compare our size, shape and ‘beauty’ to supermodels and airbrushed celebrities, our academic accomplishments against Fulbright scholars and our kindness and sociability to fictitious characters from a variety of medias. There is an impossibility in measuring up, and yet the message pervades- supposedly ‘spurring’ us to accomplishment. Somehow I feel like that is fitting, because we often forget that spurs cause pain, and horses run faster in an attempt to get away from the stimulus, not because all of a sudden they have re-discovered their intrinsic joy in running.

I feel like the current generation of 20 somethings have been told to rely on each other, and trust something only if others are doing it, and yet fall in this catch 22 that trips them up over and over when those comparisons end in finding something lacking themselves. How can we attempt to find our own intrinsic motivations when so many of our actions and perceptions are based on our reaction to the others around us and how similar, or different we are to them (especially when all of that is based in a competitive paradigm?)

Dipping a toe in

ImageSo I haven’t written for a long time. Honestly I was a little afraid to. This is the first time my brain hasn’t belonged soley to me, and I was worried that I might talk about things I shouldn’t. It took me a long time to sort out the thoughts that now belonged to my employer and those that I know are completely my own and I am therefore freely allowed to talk about.

The distinction was/is important not because I am afraid of the consequences, but because I really do love my company and I would hate to make a mistake that would harm it in any way. I think that makes a difference, one’s intentions?

I’ve been thinking about that a lot too, whether individuals’ intentions should count, as well as the results of those intentions. It is so hard to assign responsibility to an agent, because not only are you never sure they are being honest with the outside world as to why they did whatever it was they did, but because it is unclear if they are even able to be honest with themselves.

I had some trouble with that this year, that my intentions were unclear to other people, and their intentions were unclear to me, and we didn’t have any common language to talk about it, despite the fact that we were speaking the same words with roughly the same accent. Ironic then that this was precisely our undoing, because although the words were the same denotation, the connotation was a vast and otherised world of culture and historical understanding.

*The biggest problem with Google translate is names. The same person has differently spelled names in different languages. Each group learns who that person is to their particular group, fascinating, because by definition (literally) they are different to each group of people and named thus. Different words for the same concept or the same word for different concepts.

You will also see that my spelling can’t decide which continent I am on. Maybe because I still have two UK keyboards, and the rest are all US English. Did you know there is not a #hashtag symbol on a UK board? Every time I want to use it I have to search/ remember the right keystroke combination. Makes Twitter all that much more fun and time consuming.

We have so many things to discuss! They have been slightly bottled up, but my ideas are now itching to come out, and it is time. Fear, misogyny, oppression, the tensions inherent in life! (I found  a place that has made me less afraid to use exclamation points. I really am that excited and happy most of the time, why is it bad to share that? (yes, I understand the oversaturation of a market now but regardless…)

I’m now officially half Mac half PC. Migrating everything to a third party cloud is a pain, but hopefully allows a more seamless transition between the two. And there I am, sounding like the little commercial I am becoming. Oh! Commodification and commoditization. Those are on the list as well.

I should admit, that my surroundings, and some of the topics I think about during the day for other people do inflect my own thinking at home, and my understanding of the world and of other people. I try to make sure that the altitude at which I’m thinking is decidedly different but sometimes it can be hard to separate. There may be cross polination. All my ideas here though are my own. That is important to know, especially if I offend anyone. ALL VIEWS ARE MY OWN AND IN NO WAY REFLECT ANYTHING ABOUT MY EMPLOYER. (I’m now wondering if I should be putting that on the homepage). I’ve been thinking about Capitalism a lot. And hierarchy. And inevitably power. That does mean law, but it also means something else much less tangible.

I will also say that I spent part of that time scared and silent. I’m not even really sure of what but I do know that I felt under threat. From lots of people (most of them men), and myself (which may or may not indicate my own projection). I made people mad, unintentionally, honestly by mistake, attempting to make something better, but I was threatening anyway. I’m still not sure if I was a threat to specific people? Or to a system itself. And I’m beginning to think that a threat to the system is a threat to the people. I do know that in reality they had no idea who I was, or what I was doing, or why, but they did not hesitate to come down quickly and hard. I thought I had already proven myself, I thought they knew who I was, but I overestimated someone (unclear if it was myself or others) and it all ended in tears (mostly those were mine).

There were others though that were threatened not by any action on my part, but on my existing and the sudden realization that I was not what they expected. I was more powerful, and less willing to watch silently, or drop my standards of you. The threat was probably still existential, but people who previously had sought to ‘protect’ me now were coming for me. And it made me distrust the protection. Was it about me? Or was it about the object I was?

But I battle through, mostly because I don’t know what else to do. I am becoming less afraid of angering people again. Remembering that if they will be that angry and act in whatever way results then I’m not sure it is a good relationship in the first place and so I need not be sorry to lose them, and I honestly have little to fear.

Zen is good.

Shots of Awe is also good, and mind blowing. I have to listen to things several times to follow the bibliography through genre let alone author which allows me to feel my own mortality. (which most likely sounds either crazy or poetic, although we are into asides like a fiend already so what the hell)

This may be the closest to what it is like inside my head, with all the thoughts going round, jumping from one topic to the next, seemingly unconnected. I promise if you stick with it long enough the patterns will start to become clear, and you might even see yourself in my little dia-Tribe. I will attempt to illuminate the pattern as clearly as I can, although I have been told I speak in vague generalities. Mostly that is because I try to personalize with examples close to each individual, but I’m growing more remote from where people live and less able to quickly translate concepts to local concrete. In attempting to encompass the widest audience that will also be a challenge. I’ll try to have as broad a cross section as I can, or define my terms, or make the archetypal representation as close to mythological as possible. It would help too if you could let me know when I’m not making sense (y’know with respect and caring and stuff) or ask for clarification.

So I’ll scurry back to my white board cave. And let you digest/ percolate on that while I try to decide on a more coherent topic for future.

What if? I mean really, what if?

10-04-07_0604So I have been thinking about fear. I realized that fear is a backdrop in this country more than many other places I have been. The individualist bent that underpins our society has a concurrent theme that means if we screw up, unless we are lucky enough to have family or friends with means to help us we are totally screwed. I was told by a financial planner that the number of people who worry they will end up homeless is kind of surprising.

That is a product of no (or very little) safety net. In some ways I can agree that it does often spur a different level of innovation and a higher level of drive than many other places because no one will do it for you, and the quality and tenor of ones life is totally self-motivated.

The problem that exacerbates this ideology though, and can take it to a very different place, is the hyper capitalism of the early 21st century. The underlying message of almost all commercial interactions is that we should be afraid. We are different, or not enough, or could be better (which pretty much all means the same thing) and if we purchased x, y, or z, product we could be safer by fitting in, being more efficient, getting to the place we ‘should’ be. That ‘should’ place is the dangerous element. Because in reality it can never exist. If we all actually got to the place of having everything right we would all relax, because we would have achieved what ever it is we thought we needed to do. So it is in fact an impossibility to achieve that place. We can run as hard as we want, we may even appear to get closer, but there will always be another brass ring to grasp, another lap to go, another person to pass.

These dual dynamics exist in our collective unconscious, driving us all, creating amazing progress in technology, communication and potential. The tragedy of history (as W Benjamin says) is that somehow all of the progress improves our material positions, but never gives us the peace of mind that we really desire.

Is a child perfect if they can fulfill everyones’ extrinsic goals for him, but can’t decide what he wants with a blue sky horizon? That he is only capable of choosing between options? That he can’t challenge the options themselves?

And what of his brother, who sees the falsity of the choices he is offered, but doesn’t have the language or power to point out how unfulfilling those choices have been for his parents?

The irony of all of it, is that in the end we are the only ones capable of soothing the self, but we can only really do that when we try to let go of the markers we are supposed to be achieving

All Thoughts Must Go

IMG_0127-2Do you ever have so many thoughts or ideas it hard to know where to start putting them down? I know, that probably isn’t the most usual problem. But I can’t help it. I think a lot, and I mean a LOT, and while I want to express it all I have such a hard time knowing where to start. For example: the main topics of thought for the past few days have been, in no particular order: Britain, naval power and the race for Africa- implications both politically, but also in terms of things like fairy tales; the need to ‘play the game’ to ‘get ahead’ in life, (although what it means to ‘play the game’ and to ‘get ahead’ are in themselves highly contentious topics and its hard to reach any conclusions without first agreeing on what that means); popular cultural mythology, baselines and patterns; my personal autobiography and if there is any way to write a biography for an application without sounding wanky; the importance of maintenance (re: appearance) and when something is relative how to identify the point at which one should decide to be satisfied; politics: personal everyday choice? Or ballot box limited?; taxes and civic donations- the roles of government and the expectations of the ruling class; definitions of Europe and the implications of that- as well as the ability of a group to be self-centric both successfully, and with the approbation of others.

See? ridiculous, especially because these are not all passing thoughts, when I stop to try to write things down I can get a few thousand words out of each without really trying all that hard. What I’m trying to say really, is that when I don’t post, its not that I’m not thinking, or that I’m not thinking about trying to express it to you, but I’m having a hard time starting because there are so many things its hard to put it down. Especially because, as already demonstrated, its hard to put down only part of it.

So, a bit of a whingey post, more of an update rather than a post. If any of you would like to hear more about any of these topics in depth I have some things written about them already, or I’m happy to oblige and write more. I’m a bit here and there at the moment. I was in Brussels this past weekend, Dublin next weekend and then one more in London before I leave for the foreseeable future to return to the cradle of my childhood to make jam and work on statistics. (If you are a stranger you probably find this last sentence somewhat confusing, although I honestly believe the only people who read this already know me so its less of a problem). For those not in the know but who would like to be I am currently moving from London for a short time to Portland before hopefully relocating to New York. So, that’s happening.

Wheels on the bus

IMG_0121-2I had one of those affirming moments the other day when I was on the bus. I remembered why I chose sociology, and why I thought it was so interesting. I was sitting there and although I had a book to read, or music/ podcasts/audio books to listen to, for some reason I just wanted to really be in that bus at that moment. There was a really cute little boy, probably about 6 or 7 on his way somewhere with his mother and auntie (or grandmother maybe). He was rambunctious, as kids that age are, but not rude or bratty, just energetic and excited. The interesting thing was the way his affect changed, both unconsciously and completely when other groups including boys got on or off the bus. There was a group of 2 boys, about 12 who got on and off together, neither spoke the entire time they were there and although there was nothing intimidating about them, they had that look that kids get, growing up in a hard place, a sort of set look to the face and a slightly defensive stance. The first boy found these kids fascinating, and I wouldn’t say he stared, but he was totally focussed on them, aware of himself and them and no one else. He had this look, he half wanted them to notice him, to engage him, and he half was afraid they might, not sure if it would in fact be a good thing.

They seemed aware of, but unwilling to engage in the exchange, because they were too cool, or thought it better to stay distanced, or just couldn’t be bothered. They got off and for a short time the little boy went back to interacting with the women he was with.

Then, another group got on, it seemed like a family who had gone for Happy Meals as a Saturday night treat. It was a whole collection of boys all older than the one already on the bus. There was some exchange, because he got really excited and there was some question if he knew the youngest child. But in the same way that they other boys had been too cool for him, the older brothers were also a little too cool, and the younger brother, deciding familial approval was more important also feigned indifference.

The whole thing was so interesting, because it was about the ways we behave socially that we may or may not be aware of. Who we choose to engage with, or tacitly agree to align behaviours. I felt a little like I shouldn’t be watching, but the whole thing is so banal. We all watch on the bus, assigning people to groups, assessing behaviours, judging. The way I do it, and think about it (and write about it) say as much about me as the look on the little boy’s face when he wasn’t sure if it was better to be noticed (in order to maybe be deemed cool) or ignored (in case he wasn’t cool). Thats what sociology is though, for me, the excuse to try to understand who these people were, where they were from, where they were going and the dynamics of the their relations.

Not Naming?

Library - 0600I think that part of the reason the Third Reich was so scary was that they made a legitimate claim to authority before following their program of persecution. I think it was the element of legitimacy- that they had the power to say it was right that they do what they were doing. Overpowering and exclusion after all were not new, but I think the fact that it was couched in (and accepted for so long) as institutional policy of a legitimate state was the more horrific and indefinable fear producer. Related to that was the expectation then that if an individual too was supposed to be legitimate they should also follow the policy of exclusion or be deemed illegitimate themselves.

I was also thinking about the attempt to create social boundaries (in the sense of demarcations between groups). I think that Realists (and certain party hacks I know) believe the only way to ensure that you get what you want or need is to divide the population into groups and make sure your group has more power (soft or hard) to the extent that the other group(s) can be subjugated to your will. The issue is that those divisions are always constructed and ostensibly (with enough power) can be deconstructed.

Blaming the victim (at least a little)

IMG_0116-2I thought a quick entry, because the last few days have been a bit busy, but I want to make sure to update this somewhat regularly, or whats the point? When we left our story I promised to be highly incendiary and talk about how we all collude to create the societal problems that have lead to our problematic education system. Don’t fear, I haven’t abandoned that, but with only a little time, and a currently fading brain I thought I would tackle a short topic that has been really bugging me. Mostly because I don’t understand.

The themes of the protests about cuts to the public sector, and specifically higher ed have been mostly focused on tuition fees. Now, I think it is an important issue that needs to be addressed, but it hides the much deeper and more dangerous fact of the changes proposed by the Browne Report: the commodification of education. This is something being discussed amongst a specific group of academics, but doesn’t seem to have reached the public sphere in a clear way. For those of you who aren’t total geeks, commodification is the process of making something into a good (item) that has a specific monetary value, that can be bought and sold like a jug of milk or a share in a company. Increasingly, through the spread of neo-liberalism, we are commodifying things that we previously had a hard time assigning value (like education, culture, art etc). The thing about commodification, to be fair, is that it is also about bureaucracy. The assigning of value to know how much to apportion (give out) based on how much good each resource can do for the most people (basic utilitarianism) is important when there are not enough resources to do everything everyone wants to do and we have to find some system for figuring out the way to accommodate the most people in the most fair way possible. That usually means quantification (counting things). Quantification, in any capitalist system will invariably lead to commodification, because if it can be measured, it can be assigned an exchange value (Marx) and traded/ bought and sold (three chickens for your cow, or $50K for a year at Harvard). The problem is the disconnect between quantification and the intangible results of something like an education. It is hard to find a systematic value for something like education, or access to art, or access to outside space free of other people and pollution because it has different results for different people over time.

So, institutions are trying to get the most money they can, to fund research, to include students who couldn’t otherwise afford to attend, or wouldn’t know to apply, to give the best resources to help teachers impart knowledge, to entice good teachers to come to that institution and to create links with the rest of the world. That all seems to make sense generally. But this is the rub: Institutions, once education is commodified, recognise that one of the main ways they can add value to their particular ‘brand’ of good is to increase the revenue stream to increase the value of the ‘product’ they can offer. This leads to one of two things- selling out, or selling up (some conflate the two, but I disagree). What I mean by selling up is to make an institution increasingly elite by increasing the price of a particular education and using the funds to actually make that ‘product’ more valuable (both because people perceive it as more valuable based on the price, but also because of the aforementioned marshalling of resources that then are able to improve the quality of eduction). This is what people focus on when talking about fees and is an important argument.

What I don’t understand though, is that people seem to be ignoring the connection between commodification and selling out. A couple months ago Howard Davies was forced to resign from the LSE because of the institution’s involvement with the Libyan government and misconduct in a previously awarded PhD. I would say that this is the direct result of the same processes we are talking about with commodification. The LSE is one of the best higher ed institutions in the UK for bringing in outside funds, beyond tuition fees and public sector funding. They were criticised for talking money from dodgy sources, but at the point when education becomes a competitive market, and institutions are required to find funds in order to market and add value to their ‘product’, in fact, when an intangible item like an education becomes a ‘product’ at all, it would seem that a race to the bottom is a bit inevitable. To blame the institutions, and the decision makers in them, for attempting to navigate as successfully as possible, a system which encourages (if not requires) that specific behaviour to survive/ prosper/ offer the best education they can, it seems a little unfair and also illogical. (on a separate note, blaming the head of a college for engaging in the same behaviour as heads of state also seems a little illogical and unfair, but then I guess life isn’t so there we go)

I have been really confused why those lobbying to avoid the (seemingly) inevitable results of a system, while also decrying a really unfortunate incident for academia generally would not connect the two, when they have the same causal determinant.

Commodifying intangibles, even if it could be positive in some way is extremely problematic. Commodifying education is more so, especially when we have clear evidence of the likely outcome, which all agree is pretty negative, for academia and for the role that it can and should play in society. I don’t have a solution to offer (I know, a bit pants really, point out a problem without offering an alternative), but I do think we should be clear on exactly what the problems are. Higher tuition fees suck, but are the result of a much deeper, larger problem that is being ignored.

Education 101 or The Somali ladies sewing circle

IMG_0024-4I’m starting with this because my flatmate and I were talking about it yesterday so its a little on the forefront of my mind.

I have been struck recently (and I use that term very loosely) by how the education debates in this country (the UK) seem to both miss the point, and go for an easy political solution that replicates past cleavages but ignores the unpolitical reality currently facing this country and to a greater extent to more global reality in which we find ourselves.

Commodification of Education

Having observed both the UK and the US education I find that there are positives and negatives in each, but that the biggest problem is the classification of education as a commodity that has value to its primary possessor and very little value beyond that. The labelling of education as a good mostly for employment purposes and not for the potential to open minds, to explore the world or to contribute in unquantifiable ways to a fuller integrative civil society is problematic. I understand that this classification allows for a more egalitarian perspective that attempts to overcome entrenched social strata/expectations. I think thats important. Very important. But, if we are going to attempt to see education in any other way than functional we have to accept that life, and society is just going to not be fair. Thats not to say that it shouldn’t be fair. Of course it should, and it is very easy for me to accept that it isn’t fair because I am one of the incredibly lucky and very very few people who aren’t getting screwed by the fact that things aren’t fair.

That being said, there are greater and lesser degrees of getting screwed and the people who are able to finish secondary school, or university without having to dodge bullets, or leave their homes because of natural or man-made disasters are also doing pretty well. I think if you make it to 18 and have some choices in life you should recognise that you too are pretty lucky. I think there are a lot of people who don’t make it to age 5, or by 18 have had some pretty horrific experiences well beyond home-leaving so all of this discussion needs to be bracketed by that pretty stark reality. (sorry bit of a side rant there, should have made clear that as we get going there might be side notes to let you know more clearly the basics of where I come from)

So, where were we? Right, social strata and education. There are some people who are lucky enough that their parents are able and willing to support them studying things and completing degrees that are not strictly useful. Often they have no vocational outlet (and I include things like law, medicine, engineering in vocations). That is to say that there is no specific job waiting at the end for which they have gained the specific skills to fulfil.

There have been, and continue to be those for whom a specific scholarship or fellowship is available because they are just too obviously smart to put their brains to a specific task, but need to be free to pursue academic aims for which we may not yet understand the value. For a time, as a society, we had enough surplus (again, largely because we were ignoring those less fortunate than us who were not within close geographical proximity) that collectively we could endow a greater proportion of people who were not off the charts smart but at least relatively clever to pursue not strictly functional educational ends. Unfortunately as the geo-political reality changes our ability to command a large part of the super structure will decrease and the numbers of bright-but-not-genii who are publicly supported to pursue higher education will necessarily drop as well.

This does not HAVE to be a bad thing. It could be, but it is contingent on how it is done. Fewer people in higher education does not have to mean worse education. I heard a very few voices several months ago talking about the ways education could change to accommodate young people gaining the skills they need without incurring large debt to themselves or to the public. Industries could make better use of apprenticeships- teaching young people specific skill sets and knowledge bases while paying them, albeit a small salary, but a small salary is still better than a debt. This would be possible in a number of skill based fields from technology to service industries. There are a number of incredibly important jobs that are better learnt by doing than studying in a classroom and then learning by doing afterwards anyway. I had a friend who completed a general degree in English at St Andrews, spending 4 years and incurring huge debt for both him and his parents. After graduating he returned home and got the exact same job he had prior to leaving for university. After a few months he was able to start as a cash register person in a book shop and worked his way up to becoming a book buyer. I could be wrong, as I am not the people involved, but it seems from the outside, in this instance, that working his way up from the inside and demonstrating that he kept up with the current book market had as much to do with the position he now occupies as the piece of paper that said he did a mediocre degree in which he read a lot of books he could have read anyway. Wow. That was much harsher than I meant it to be, and I could edit it, but I am trying to be true to the stream of consciousness writing style I’m trying to adopt here.

I think its wonderful he was able to study english, to have intelligent people explaining things to him that he might not be able to figure out on his own, to have lecturers and tutors share insights gleaned from generations of intelligent people thinking about these same texts and their authors and the contexts in which they were written. All people should be able to benefit from that knowledge, and when I say benefit I mean both have access and have the personal resources to understand it. But, if we return to the original premise of this discussion the point was the commodification and the value of the possessor of a degree. The point in this instance was that the piece of paper, the ‘education’ he received from a place of higher learning was not as useful to his future employment as a keen interest in the Guardian’s book review and a quick mind that was interested in the world. In this instance education had personal benefit to him, and will probably help him in choosing good books to stock and recommend, but that he paid a lot of money (and his parents as well) to get a job that he most likely could have gotten anyway and that all that debt did not enhance his earning potential as much as promised.

A question then becomes: what is the value to seeing education in these terms? (as in, who does it serve to do so?)

A question I will continue to answer tomorrow. I have just realised that if I try to completely address each topic as much as I want to all at the same time I will be here writing for a very long time and you are likely to get bored/ overwhelmed. So, I’ll try and let you know where I’m going next. Tomorrow I want to look at/ talk about why I think we are all a little part of the colluding to see education in these terms as it serves us all. I know that most of you have just gone ‘say wha?’ in a cliched 1990’s sitcom sort of way, some because you think ‘I’m not the straw-man bad guy everyone paints me as?’ and some because you think ‘I’m totally against the spread of capitalism to a last bastion of common sense and civil society’ but I challenge you, I think we are all a part of the collusion that leads to the position we are at. So, more tomorrow on that (and hopefully we can start some conversation going/ disagreement having)!

Below are my current thoughts on where this is eventually headed. They seem a little cryptic or a little cliche right now, but I promise, it will be interesting if you stick with me.

Future directions:

The LSE effect (or the inevitable results of the commodification of education)

‘Results’ (what does it mean that everyone is ‘doing better’ than they have in the past?)

‘Class’ (How is our education system a microcosm of an entrenched class system? I want to look at this both in terms of how its happened, but also how its informed our expectations and how it is these expectations, bound up with huge political implications, that are part of the root of our problem now.)

After that we may move on from education and actually dive into politics, but I may be all about theory then, or some of you may want to know more about where I’m coming from, so we will have to see.