Weeknote 2

Tuesday 22nd November, 2022

My daughter will start school in September 2023 and we have to apply by January 15th. As someone obsessed with schools and more obsessed with my daughter, it’s a perfect recipe for neurosis. This past week I went to visit another (‘Outstanding’) school which didn’t impress me much. I have very specific ideas about what I think schools should be like, and my ideas don’t really match with prevailing DfE ideology. So far I’ve been to only one school where I can picture my daughter being happy. If we decide to go for this school and get a place, we’ll be moving back to London. Life in small town Cambridgeshire isn’t really for us anyway. The vibes are off.

I have been working a bit on my first essay for my MA. We had to write our own essay title, and submit it for feedback. The title I submitted was, “How does technology contribute to the damaging effects of school, and how might it be utilised to create radical alternatives?” I will write more on this topic in coming weeks, I am sure. Unless they veto the question.

I’ve been thinking a lot about decentralisation on the internet and how this is simultaneously vital and scary. I think any centralised platform is at the risk of being designed only for profit and/or to serve particular ideological agendas. I think Urbit is interesting, as the basic concept of having your data on your own server rather than the server of a global corporation makes total sense to me. I heard someone on a podcast (The Network Age) talking about creating an AI on your own server. An AI designed to meet your individual needs sounds great on some level, i.e. you could potentially control what you see online rather than having a corporation control what everyone can see online, but it also seems scarily individualistic and like everyone could end up viewing separate digital realities. Perhaps personal servers are a precursor to convivial online community. Perhaps we need a system like this that protects our individual data and freedom and, from that moral and infrastructural baseline, we can go forth to engage cooperatively and convivially with others.

“I consider conviviality to be individual freedom realized in personal interdependence and, as such, an intrinsic ethical value.” - Ivan Illich

On a totally different note, I finished watching Season 3 of Love Is Blind and, like the rest of the internet, I am aghast at the Cole and Zanab situation. I am team Cole, though I think rather than Zanab engineering the situation against him, it’s more likely that the producers did. Which is kind of worse. I am worried about Colleen because on the reunion show she looked so sad and scared. Matt’s behaviour really reminded me of an ex who was super controlling. I think it’s weird they didn’t give him more of a grilling, though perhaps that was on purpose so as not to anger him. It is a morally repugnant show but I was hooked.