Illich, I. (1970). Deschooling Society. Cuernavaca, Mexico: CIDOC. Downloadable from: http://www.preservenet.com/theory/Illich/Deschooling/intro.html
p. 4 “Everywhere not only education but society as a whole needs ‘deschooling’.”
When I was growing up, the most common comment made to a child when met by an adult was, “What are you going to be when you leave school?” It was assumed that children went to school. No one that I knew even thought of a possible alternative. Schools and schooling are a mindset, and a mental stronghold. And the stronghold pervades our western culture. Sure, there are small pockets of those who have thought outside the norm, and there is an even smaller minority who have actually applied themselves to the task of doing stuff that is not like school.
However, due to the pervasiveness of schools and schooling, the very fabric of western culture is schooled. Schools look very much like total institutions (as I argue in my dissertation pp. 87-90), and the survivors of schools carry institutionalized thinking into the general culture. This spreads institutional thinking throughout the culture.
Institutional thinking reduces human value and interaction down to systems, rationalization, pragmatism and utilitarianism, that is measured quantitatively. All in all you’re just another brick in the wall (to paraphrase Waters).
This is in contradistinction to organic thinking. Organic thinking is creative, entrepreneurial, cooperative, relational and achieves quantity through qualitative measures.
Institutional thinking is top-down. Organic thinking is top-up; and by top-up I mean the kind of leadership that serves and equips, rather than uses and rules over.
Cultural change must begin with me and mine, and must start with a change of heart. Having a change of heart, we need to become educated after a process of deschooling. From my perspective, the best way to become educated is through unschooling, and the most powerful unschooling is that that which is done at the side of a caring and trustworthy mentor, who demonstrates and coaches, equips and encourages, and finally releases into joy and fruitfulness in life. Over time, this will leaven the whole of the culture with an unschooled mindset. It has to start somewhere.