A Story about Paper LO25317

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Date: 09/12/00

Replying to LO25311 --

Dear Organlearners,

Andrew Campbell < ACampnona@aol.com > writes:

>At de Lange has written to us all about how very
>important this new 'electrical' technology is in the
>pursuance of learning in all its manifold guises;-)
>and what follows is not a contradiction.

Greetings Andrew,

Thank you for telling us about the phligt of May. She does need money, but
even without money she will keep on going, doing whatever is in her power.
The "professional benefactors" do have the money, but without it they
will stop doing anything.

I firmly believe in what I have written about Electronic Based Information
Technology (EBIT). I have written it in full comprehension of the phlight
of the poor peoples of the world -- over two billion of them, half a
billion in Africa alone. By poor I mean, on the one hand, lack of clean
water, lack of sanitation, lack of food and lack of housing. I have seen
self millions of them. I will later say what I mean on the other hand.

These poor people do not have electricity, nor any infrastructure to
supply them with electricity. They know nothing of electricity. EBIT is
not even a dream to them. A few percent of them may have experienced
listening to a portable radio. A few percent of them may be able to read
some printed material. So, of what help will EBIT be to them?

The lack of knowledge and especially the lack of creativity in these poor
peoples are shocking. They do not even know why they need clean water,
sanitation, healthy food and housing. Yet politicians tell them that they
will supply them with these these things which they need so as to get
their support. The bluff of these politicians never ends.

Some people other than politicians may be able to supply a small fraction
of these poor peoples with the things which they need. Yet, and I say it
with all respect, they are not doing a better job than the politicians
with their empty promises. They are simply touching the bodies of these
peoples and not their spirits like May does.

What these poor people are in dire need of, is people who touch their
spirits softly, creatively and lovingly. How? People who, for example, not
only can teach them so that they understand why they need clean water, but
people who actually do all in their power with what is locally available
to produce clean water.

Millions of people flee to our cities in a period of drought because water
(sometimes very unclean and expensive when it reaches them) is still
available in these cities. Here they get stranded so that when it rains in
their local regions again, they do not even know about it and also do not
have the means to go back.

How many poor people know about wells, tapping phreatic water reserves. I
have visited hundreds of small villages of which did not even have one
well. We need people to dug wells like May make paper. They should not go
to a village with their trucks and jack hammers, but on foot, using
whatever they can find in the village or around it to dig a well with.
They will have to know where to dig the well because nothing is so
depressing as a mitacle which has failed.

Only by assuming the very suffering lifestyle of the villagers and then
work a miracle will these teachers touch their spirits softly, creatively
and lovingly. By doing one such a miracle, teaching while doing it so that
the villagers understand the nature of the miracle, they will lit a fire
in the minds of these peoples to work their own miracles.

It is when this "fire of improving body AND mind" has been lit with one
miracle when information becomes most important. It is then when these
awakening peoples will need to explore what others humans have been able
to accomplish in all complexity. It will be of crucial importance for them
to set up a LEARNING DIALOGUE with others willing to share their knowledge
with them.

In the past books have served as the source of information.

I have seen tons of books stacked in big sheds, printed in rich countries,
donated by compassionate people. These books helped little, if anything.
They were written in a language, although a lingua franca, which these
people understood too superficially so that they could not understand the
message in this lingua franca. The messages were also imbedded in a
cultural context alien to these people so that, even should their mastery
of the lingua franca be good enough to discern the message, the message
still makes no sense to them.

These people will need to make books in their own mother tongue which
contains the information in a cultural context which will allow them to
make sense. May is setting the miraculous example which they need. She is
lighting a fire in their minds. But once they want to make more books on
more topics, May's glorious example will become also their limitation.
They will need the cheapest possible way to produce very limited editions
on an immense variety of topics in their mother tongue. It is here where
EBIT will become crucial.

But books in themselves have an immense limitation. They cannot serve as a
channel for the LEARNING DIALOGUE until these people have evolved to the
requisite level of complexity in their intellectual activities. The reason
is that books have no "becoming" in themselves. Whatever "becoming" is
needed by the learner, has to be imagined by the learner into the "being"
of that book. It is here where the dynamical nature of EBIT is vastly
superior to a book.

But before we even think about EBIT, these people will need a supply of
electricity to drive this EBIT. The grandiose schemes of heavy current
electrical engineers, so effective in the cities, will not do. For
example, the distances which the networks have to cover are too vast and
the populations too sparse to sustain such networks.

What they need, are portable generators with an output of
some hundred watts. These generators need to be
* cheap to acquire
* cheap to run
* reliable under a variety of conditions
* simple to repair
* easy to manufacture from parts.

A South African engineer has come up with possibly the best solution so
far -- a spiral spring to store the energy, a cranck to wind it up with
arm power, a small electricity generator driven by the spring, and a radio
housed in the unit to listen to. A limited number of manufactured units
caused a great stir some two years ago. Plans for production in vast
numbers were made. But since then I have not seen even one unit in the
many poor villages which I have visited. Somewhere there are definite
constraints which have to be identified and eliminated.

[Host's Note: At, you can find these wind-up radios in upscale shops in
the US where they sell as a curiousity. Specifically, I saw one at
Restoration Hardware last week. ..Rick]

One key feature in EBIT for these poor people will not be to produce
symbols on screen and paper, but to produce bits of sound -- "sound
blaster" technology. They will first have to hear what they are about to
read, otherwise the reading will be in vain.

Another key feature in EBIT will be the ability to produce lessons which
sustain AUTHENTIC LEARNING. I do not mean the kind of CBT lessons which we
are flooded nowadays, but lessons so superior that the teacher "gets into
the" computer as the spiritual midwife of the person.

The greatest need of the billions of poor people all over the world are
TEACHERS with soft, creative and loving spirits, TEACHERS forever willing
to outpace their learners in learning, TEACHERS who know enough to reach
the heaven and who will go on their knees beside their learners, TEACHERS
who can perform the greatest of all miracles by freeing the human spirit
from its bondage to follow the course of evolution into a revered
personality, TEACHERS who can wought a new dispensation for humankind in
love and peace.

These poor people are not able to provide such teachers self. There are
too few May's to set examples. Eventually Internet will have to bring such
teachers to these billions of poor people. Internet will have been
successful when its teachers has guided these poor people how to provide
self for the teachers which they need.

Andrew, you write

>Martin Luther wrote that even if he knew he were to die the
>next day still he would plant that apple tree in his garden.

I want to add, even if I know that I will die tomorrow, I would still
plant today another "tree of knowledge" in my "garden".

>If you wish to give encouragement to this young woman
>you may write to her direct of you mail me or Toby and
>Chris' for her snailmail address in Africa. In any case maybe
>you can distribute (dissipate) further as per a beautiful
>'one to many mapping.'

Please send her this contribution.

Tell her that the vast majority of us still have to catch up very much on
her walking the talk.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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