CHAPTER 10
THE INFORMATION LOVOLUTION

 

Introduction

This book began as a doctoral dissertation. In this chapter I will be looking at the practical implications of Neutopian thought and the ideology of true love for the American school system. This commences with a parody of contemporary American and Western education, followed by an alternative vision of education which I call the online Neutopian Transversity. Let me comment here that the term transversity was coined by the former chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst David Scott and Susan M. Awbrey in their essay "Transforming Scholarship."

The term fits in well with the ideology of true love and the idea of the World Computer Data Base as envisioned by R. Buckminster Fuller. However, I am not using it to endorse economic development in the way that Scott articulated it to the university community. Advancing from the idea of David Scott's idea of the transversity--an interactive, connected, transcultural, transdisciplinary, university of the future which is based on the global corporations image of development--the goal of the Neutopian Transversity is to base education on a feminist cybersocialist mission of building a network of arcologies.

The Oral Defense

Even though the dissertation committee passed the oral defense of the dissertation, they required that I write this chapter on the way in which teachers could bring "the information lovolution" into the classroom. They challenged me to make my theory practical by realizing the slogan of the environmentalist movement, "think globally, act locally."

My first thought was that even Marx and Engels left the practical application of their social theory to someone else, who happened to be Vladimir Lenin. So why should I be expected to be "practical?”

Since my theory is a theory of the way true love works, I realized that it wouldn’t be so bad to be a practitioner of the greatest thing in the universe! Wasn't the embodiment of love exactly what was missing from my life? Wasn't love the meaning and dream of Gaia?

But how was I to work within the boundaries of the late 20th century classroom and the nationalist ideologies which perpetuate the myth of capitalism, when it is my objective to blow the cover off the basic foundation of patriarchal civilization? How was I going to fit Neutopia into the procrustean bed of the 20th century classroom? It is nearly impossible for teachers with alternative visions to make it into "malestream" media and educational systems, so how was I going to establish Neutopian thought as the new non-sexist mythos of classroom education?

When I first began contemplating the practical aspects of the theory, I thought the final chapter would have to be a satire, because there was no way I would be able to make a 21st century theory fit into a 20th century classroom, with the flags of the various nation states hanging from its rectangular walls. Neutopian thought changes the basic archetypal structures of our thinking, so how could it possibly be accepted into an educational system which maintains the status quo? So I thought it was hopeless to try to bring Neutopian thought into the classroom. Neutopian thought was simply an outsider and the doors of education were closed, locked and bolted to letting in a new way of thinking into the hierarchical pillars of classical misogynist thought which had dominated life for the past 5,000 years. In Mary White Stewart's essay, "Feminism and Sociology: An Unfortunate Case of Nonreciprocity" she writes,

Sociology as a profession has not comfortably embraced feminist belief systems, nor for that matter any potentially political belief systems, since the sixties. This is largely due to the fact that feminist ideology challenges so much of what is inherently a male model of social structure and reality. A feminist consciousness demands that the old visions be changed and leads to a sensitization to issues and ideas which create upheavals in the established system of thought (197).

So my final chapter was going to be a parody on American education. I would show how the teacher is really nothing more than a prison guard for the corporation, and that the real purpose of public education was the social control of the people. As Marilyn French writes in Beyond Power, "Under the guise of avoiding contention about subjective matters like religion, sex, politics, and morality, schools avoided tests and methods that might trigger independent thought which in turn might challenge the dominant values. Except in areas like mathematics and science, in which thinking is abstract, students were not encouraged to think at all" (384).

Students are trained to accept the system the way it is rather than to work to change it. They are trained to follow the Machiavellian doctrine, "to leave the end unquestioned and the means unexamined (11)." In the patriarchal system, teachers are limited to asking the acceptable questions of the orthodoxy, question which do not expose the hidden curriculum of education and do not question why, for example, the rich remain in their powerful positions. The Neutopian question of what kind of society is humane and ecologically wise is outside the boundaries of acceptable thought.

In my parody I would show how the prevalent values of our educational system assert that knowledge is power and that the greatest achievement of a student is to achieve power and success. As French points out, the best education within the mind frame of realism is that it trains students "for entrance into an unworthy society" (397). Yes, I thought the final chapter was going to have to be a dystopian vision of American education. I had seen an end to education--to build Neutopia--but I could not see a means to get us to that new world where love rules life.

The Internet Connection

By the end of spring semester 1993, I was feeling extremely hopeless about my personal situation, realizing that my concepts of Neutopia went against everything that the nation-state and global corporations stood for: the market economy, the profit motive, the Greco-Christian tradition. My committee’s demands were not my only problem. Here I was an unpublished poetess and an unemployed scholar, who seemed not to have any outlets for my ideas for a better world. It became agonizing to sit in lectures and films with the realization that I had a significant and urgent contribution to make but no forum within which to express these ideas. I longed for students, but I had none. I dreamed of a lover who loved Neutopia, but no such lover appeared on the horizon.

I thought my fate was going to be that of a solitary creature, alone in thought and in life, one of the millions of other creative single women who do not fit anywhere in the system. Unable to become a published writer, I had almost given up on my dream that my writing could affect the culture. I thought there was no escape for me: I would be forced to become part of the living dead by conforming to corporate America. I contemplated suicide to end the pain, but then I knew I didn't want to be reincarnated into this mess and have to live through the entire trauma again.

Life changed for me during a Distinguish Visitors Lecture at the University of Massachusetts. The committee invited Bruce Sterling, the author of Hacker Crackdown, to speak to the university community. Sterling, a science fiction writer, is part of the Cyberpunk literary movement happening over the Internet. His lecture was about freedom of speech over the Internet. He informed us that the new frontier of Cyberspace is a place where everyone with an Internet connection can be heard. However, he did warn the audience that the CIA and the global corporations are conspiring to control the flow of information. In a recent article by Paul Heltzel entitled, "Cybercampus: The High-Tech Revolution is Changing the Way You Live and Learn," the author points out that now most students receive access to the Internet for free because the National Science Foundation (or NSF) subsidizes Internet access to universities. However, he states that the NSF is hoping to privatize the Internet within four years [this was in 1993]. The private sector--more than likely the telephone companies--will then control the Internet. The phone companies would then be able to control access in order to maximize profits. The split between the rich and the poor will widen even farther.

When Sterling began talking about a new literary movement coming together over the Internet, he caught my attention. Could this be the movement I had been searching for all my life? During the question and answer part of his lecture, I asked Mr. Sterling what an unpublished, censored poetess could do. His answer was to get involved with the Internet. He said that people who didn't want to make money on their writing could give it away for free over the Internet. He believed it was an excellent time for new writers to become known because the Internet was truly an uncensored environment, the only place where freedom of ideas still exists. He went on to point out that we had moved into the electronic age, and techno-literature is the wave of the future.

So there was a place for me to publish my ideas. It just wasn't in the traditional place. It was in this new world of Cyberspace. But I knew next to nothing about computers. Would I be able to mistress the machine? Was I smart enough to be able to figure out how to access the Internet? I walked away from the audience determined that I was going to try to learn how to use the university computer services.

After summer session began, I acquired a computer account and signed up to take an introductory course on email. After several workshops on email and the Internet, I realized how easy the system really was to use. Then I discovered the Usenet newsgroups. For twelve years of my university life I had been searching for real-world intellectual dialogues. I had found pieces of interesting discussions here and there, but there was no ongoing dialogue or debate happening on campus. Everyone seemed comfortable with the status quo. The student body even seemed not to care about social issues anymore. The university was more dead than alive. The campus was certainly no heaven on earth for people talking about changing the system in order to create a just world!

But then I discovered Usenet, a place in Cyberspace where thousands of newsgroups, that is, public forums on thousands of different topics for discussions from technological issues, to scientific issues, to religious and philosophic topics were being discussed. After twelve years on campus I had finally found the place where the debates and discussions were happening. They weren't happening in the classrooms, nor in the lecture halls or auditoriums, but over the computer in Cyberspace. I had discovered a global forum of ideas! Usenet was an intellectual's dream come true, a place where minds from all over the world could come together to discuss and debate ideas critically important to our future. I, who thought I was an isolated, alienated individual, was now part of a global community.

I had visions of Cyberspace developing into a new kind of university, as possibly the way to our salvation: Gaia coming forth to rescue us from the dark shadows over us, like nuclear weapons and environmental pollution. Cyberspace could become the place where we could work together to solve our global problems as the global intelligentsia is formed into Buckminster's vision of a World Management Committee.

The Internet had the possibility of becoming an educational tool like no other. I could see a renaissance of the written word happening as the word is freed from money and from publishing houses who are out to make a profit. Cyberspace is a new world, the way for the one gifted with ideas and the word to create a meritocracy. For the first time, the real function of poetry can be enacted. There is a politic to epic poetry. It is the Queen of Language, the emotional life of the people. Isn't it about time that poetesses claimed their right to become the acknowledged legislators of the world, to be the rulers of the university, the directresses of the social mythos? I had my mission. It was to lovolutionize Cyberspace.

The first time I posted an article to a newsgroup, the computer asked me before sending it: do you want to post this message locally or globally? When I hit the key to send it globally, it was the first time in my life I felt truly empowered. I no longer had to submit to editors only to be rejected by them. I was now an autonomous individual; for the first time I felt like a democratic citizen of a global commonwealth.

Now, how does the information revolution have anything to do with my academic assignment of writing a final chapter to my dissertation on how to bring Neutopian thought into the 21st century classroom? You've got it! Computer terminals are being brought into the classroom by the millions. Throughout the world, the computer has become a primary learning tool. With interactive media, the student has the world encyclopedia at her or his fingertips. Access to the world's great libraries is now possible for anyone with a modem connected to Internet. The phrase "act locally, think globally" is now a reality. But I have begun to realize more and more that there is really no division between the local and the global anymore. As I sit at my computer and become part of the Global Brain, am I not acting both globally and locally?

The Global Network Academy

After figuring my way around the Internet, I discovered that there was a group on Usenet, the newsgroup forum, which was planning out a way to use Cyberspace to create an online university. The following information about the online university, what is called the Usenet University-Global Network Academy (UU-GNA), can be found on the "World Wide Web" in the section on UU-GNA.

The conception of UU-GNA was incorporated by Joseph Wang of MIT. How excited I was when I first learned of its conception because I thought the UU-GNA could be an alternative university to the traditional learning environment. However, after I looked more closely at their proposed administrative structure, I realized that the founders were not advancing a revolutionary school of thought to go along with the revolutionary new educational media. In fact, what they are doing is placing the old bureaucratic structure into a new learning environment which, of course, means that the whole concept of a new learning environment is corrupted by the old school of thought.

Let me now describe the governance structure of the UU-GNA. First of all, UU-GNA claims to be the "world's first virtual corporation," a testing group for the way 21st Century organizations could be run. It has been stated that "the specific purpose of this corporation shall be to advance education and scholarship, especially by developing and promoting new technologies [emphasis added]." Their long-term goal is to make GNA into a "fully accredited online university." From these descriptions of the university one can say that GNA is a technocracy whose hidden purpose, as in all capitalist endeavors, is the perpetuation of capitalism. However, Joseph Wang, founder of UU-GNA, wrote me email that as far as his "academic ideology" is concerned, he believes "the university shouldn't promote any ideology other than as a meeting place for people interested in learning."

Like real-life universities, we must assume that capitalism and the perpetuation of class conflict, racism, and sexism is the hidden agenda, since from what has been written, the long-term goal of the university is not to advance free access and free tuition for all people of the world, but "the final step will be the creation of degree programs, seeking accreditation, and issuing diplomas." Hence UU-GNA is still working under the capitalist/patriarchal mindset; they have even planned to set up financial assistance for students who can't afford the tuition! One of their documents reads, "UU-GNA shall try to minimize the amount of tuition charged to students, and seek to cut its cost as much as possible."

As in the case with most corporations, there is an administrating body of the board, consisting of a president, a secretary, and a treasurer. The directors of the board will be elected once a year. The board of directors will fix the salaries (if any) of all the officers. The founders write that all financial statements including contributions made to UU-GNA shall be disclosed through open records.

The UU-GNA corporate planners have set up a timeline for UU-GNA. Phase 1 is to get people involved. During the summer of 1992, a consultant’s network was started. This is the faculty of the university. Students interested in their fields of study can email them personally for advice. Also, in Phase 1, the university explores the possibilities of a virtual campus where electronic meetings, classes, and conferences will be used for "educational" purposes.

Phase 2 is to develop the basic learning tools. It was projected that this phase would be started in the summer of 1993. One such project was the formation of a UU-GNA meta-library. To access the library, the student will type in key words and the computer would search across the Internet for sources of information about that topic. Internet users are requested to add information to the library which they have authored like term papers and lecture notes.

Another project in Phase 2 is the UU-GNA text project. This will serve as a place where faculty can redistribute freely text books used in online classes. Another plan in phase 2 calls for the creation of a UU-GNA Question Bank. This consists of "multiple choice questions indexed by topic." Its description reads, "When giving a topic, the question bank will respond with a question concerning the subject. If the user responds with the wrong answer, the hypertext generated will direct the user to materials explaining the correct answer." Well, so much for creative learning at the question bank of the UU-GNA!

In creative learning there is no right or wrong answer, since to create something new is to go beyond known thought. This reminds me of a quotation by Morris Berman in his article, "The Cybernetic Dream of the Twenty-first Century,"

The popular belief with respect to these fields is that we are learning more because we have more information available. In fact, the range of thought is actually being narrowed, because all the information is of the same kind. In Orwell's 1984, the goal of the state was to create a system of thought that embraced all the rest. This is what is effectively happening, albeit not through any deliberate conspiracy. The technology itself discourages any kind of thinking that jumps the rails, which is central to truly creative work; and this narrowing tendency is rapidly being incorporated into institutional procedures (87).

Berman continues to ask if the computer makes it easier for us to avoid topics and ideas that we fear and don't want to confront. He asks, "Does it [the computer] enable me to shut out the environment, ignore politics, remain unaware of my dream life, my sexuality, and my relations with other people, or does it shove these into my face and teach me how to live with them and through them?"(95). This is the crucial question. A question bank which does not ask philosophic questions is clearly not the answer Berman is looking for.

By the fall of 1995, the founders of UU-GNA speculate that the development of courses should be in place. The question bank and the meta-library will be used to format the extension courses. Curriculum development is now being conducted by other members of the founding group.

Going back to my satire about American education, I came up with a list of possible courses, complete with deceptive course titles, offered at the UU-GNA, as follows:

Introduction to the Information Superhighway

1. How to dominate foreign populations using the "educational" tools provided by UU-GNA. As President Clinton says about why he wants to implement the "information highway" so that America can continue to have the competitive edge.

Marketing and the Environment

Philosophical issues in Virtual Education

Marketing II


The Architectural Plan of UU-GNA

The UU board gives us a clear picture of a suppressive regime in the description of the architectural blueprint of the Virtual Campus. They point out how in "real life" campuses everything is spread out all over the campus, in different departments, in different buildings. Because of the physical fragmentation of campuses, multi-dimensional research is hard to conduct. However, in the virtual space of UU-GNA, people working in different areas are constantly coming together, forming a "cross-fertilization of ideas" as well as preventing compartmentalization of knowledge. [They certainly have a point there.]

The virtual architecture of UU-GNA was inspired from by Palace Museum in Beijing, Grand Central Station, the New York Stock Exchange, and MIT's main building. I might point out that these are all symbols of power within the patriarchal context in which they were built.

The author of the university's blueprint, Joseph Wang, goes on to describe the four stories of the university building. The university is shaped in an upside down U form. The higher up one moves from the basement floor to the top floor, activities change from the more general to the more specific, from places of loud noises to places of silence and contemplation, from public places to private places. The lower levels are described as more free-flowing areas of mass activity. In the upper levels the board also structured policy. The author writes that the first floor is where the fun is; on the second floor is the place of scheduled timed; and on the third floor is the place were the "stuffed shirts" work.

They describe the basement to be the place where the fun is happening, for it is the recreation center. Mud servers and hypertext links to chess and backgammon are available to one in this area. On the first floor the public areas are the "knowledge marketplaces." People have the option here of moving around to different locations to listen in on conversations which are interesting to them. In the center of the first floor is an "agora" where art exhibits may be on display. World-wide weather maps and a hall of clocks display the current weather conditions and times throughout the world. News reports and the newest electronic journals will also be piped in. There is a "Speaker's Corner" where people can express their opinions freely. Extending from the public lobbies, are departmental lobbies which are the homes of the various disciplines. Each department has rooms for discussion and exhibitions.

The second floor contains the classrooms, lecture halls, and library.

Finally, on the third floor are the offices of the administration and the boardroom. The author describes this floor as having a balcony overlooking the "central plaza." The author writes, "Someday there will be a protest here, and we will have to call the Campus Police." It certainly sounds like the UU-GNA is a prison to me—-not a place where campus unrest would ever occur.

The Suppressive Regime of UU-GNA

It is very clear from the architectural description of the UU-GNA that its founder is not thinking of the university in terms of a new architectural design, but rather is envisioning the same old architectural order of post-modern "civilization." I can see no reason to believe that the online UU-GNA is really going to change the society in any kind of fundamental way. It will simply reflect the corporate educational control in which we are already trapped. The same patriarchal hierarchy which has created class division and world wars will not be eliminated under this educational institution; rather, it will prolong the agony of a dying social system.

To illustrate this point, parts of the transcript of the September 13th, 1993, board meeting “chat” at the Media Moo at MIT reads,

power? authority? on the network?? Ghoul says, "partially irrelevant fear as long as there are only honorary, spare time jobs." Hurache_kid say, "Yes, as long as we aren't paying salaries, we have no power!! Just fame. Joseph [to Ghoul]: True, but there will be pressure to make the jobs less than honorary or spare time once this thing gets up. Joseph [to Ghoul]: And I'd like to set good precedents. Hurache_kid says, don't we have term limits in the charter/articles? Pate says, "the power needs to exist at least to guide/direct the environment of the GNA...not the network of GNA. Hurache_kid says, "I think that as long as GNA is the Network environment, we'll always have=competitors= to keep us honest," Joseph says, “Good point." Hurache_kid says, "the one-year limit is good to keep us developing. Right now the onus to get the paperwork in shape (Hurrah Joseph!) & get the accreditation set up." Joseph nods. Hurache_kid says, "That's a two or three year process. And when we get the accreditation, then we'll have a whole new set of problems--registrar, bursar, chancellor, deans :-)

In the following section, I will offer an alternative mission for UU-GNA, and re-name it "The Neutopian Transversity," so that the idea of an online university can truly become a place where all souls are encouraged to pursue their higher and more noble selves in order to solve our pressing global problems. This section fulfilled my committee’s demand as well.

In Frederick Kettner's book, Biosophy and Spiritual Democracy: A Basis for World Peace, he beautifully expresses the paradigm shift which we are in the midst of. Kettner says that we are evolving from "civilization," to the Age of "Soulization." In this age, the purpose of education will be "to lead" the creative soul of everyone into an “Order of Free Minds.”

Kettner points out that there are two kinds of revolutions: political/economic, and revolutions which change the essential character of human beings--the revolution within the individual and thus the collective soul. He asked us to question whether or not the revolutions of the past have created "liberty, equality, and fraternity." Of course, the answer is no. Kettner writes, "Whereas the political revolutions arm men with the weapons of destruction, this new kind of revolution will arm the individual with the creative power of intelligent thinking” (9).

Kettner outlines the history of civilization as moving from rugged individualism and mutual misunderstanding to an age of creative individualism, mutual understanding, and friendship. In a Soulization, we move from a time when we "studied together" in the academy of higher education to a time when we "think together" on a higher level of reality, for the purpose of creating the soularized world of Neutopia. Kettner writes, "The individual revolution within is in essence a revolt against the ego that keeps man [sic] enslaved to his lower nature. Since in every revolution something must fall; in this revolution the ego will fall. This kind of fall will open the way for man to begin a new kind of thinking--heart-thinking" (13). The Neutopian schools will teach people to use their hearts as well as their spiritual intellects. The nature of the media of Cyberspace is the perfect place to enact this lovolution within the human soul.


An Alternative: Neutopian Transversity

In the essay by David Scott and Susan Ambrey, there is an account of the history of education and of the different phases the university undergone. They describe its evolution from a university of classical education of the elite; to a multiversity which allows for cultural difference to become part of the curriculum; to now, when we are entering an era where telecommunications is creating the new era of the Transversity. “Trans” refers to its being across cultures and disciplines.” Scholarship is now becoming transdimensional as scholars and students become long distance educators and learners. The era of universal education is indeed upon us.

How I see the Transversity evolving is derived from the basic principles of the Internet media itself. Email gives equal ground for all to pursue their personal energies in whatever direction their hearts aspire. Because of the free nature of Cyberspace--which has a flow to it like that of the ocean--it seems to me that this is the ideal environment for the democracy/meritocracy, form of governance/education or what Kettner calls spiritual democracy, to finally ripple around the world. Cyberspace is the place for us to actively engage in the world of ideas, the visual place of the imagination, a place where we read each other's minds. It is even a perfect place to cure mentally disturbed and criminal thoughts. It is where the ruling ideas of "The King of Great Selfishness" can finally be dethroned, and psychological disintegration healed, so that the dreams of love and peace can be re-enthroned to liberate our true humanity.

The function of the Transversity is to become the brain of the Neutopian Soulization or Soul development. Neutopian doctrine teaches that our task at the beginning of the 21th century is to stop the destruction of the biosphere by moving beyond the global corporation's image of the global shopping mall. The only way to do this is to teach a new philosophy of love between the sexes, a “bridal chamber” in Gnostic terms, which challenges the sexist mythos of "Western Civilization" by bringing art and values back into the forefront of science.


The Student-Teacher Relationship

The diversity of nature, and thus of the human personality and its interests, has made it so that we all have different educational needs. Some people need time to develop their talents, some need a place to practice their skills, and others need the freedom and cooperation of the people to carry out their creative visions. We are moving into a stage of education where we realize that all education is based on self-education, and the love of the cosmic Self.

Beginning at the elementary level, children will be taught the computer skills required to work with interactive media. Their search teaches them they can take a unique path, following their own journey within the context of the Neutopian ecocity. In other words, the rule of education is that students "follow their bliss" in whatever multi-dimensional way their inward love knowledge leads them. As their reading and writing skills mature, students are free to access information from the world computer data base and world libraries.

In the modern education system, students are coerced to attend classes in order to pass exams and to get degrees. This is not freedom. Freedom to follow your bliss is the opposite of how the modern educational system is organized. In Deschooling Society, Ivan Illich writes, "In fact, learning is the human activity which least needs manipulation by others. Most learning is not the result of instruction. It is rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful setting (39)." In the modern university, students are coerced into thinking that they must earn a college degree in order to make a "good" livelihood. The school system represses the student’s natural desires and curiosities, forcing them to conform to the rules of the system: to take exams, make "good" grades, write papers which are assigned to them, and get advanced degrees. Plus, the student must pay tuition. Illich writes,

School has become the world religion of a modernized proletariat, and makes futile promises of salvation to the poor of the technological age. The nation-state has adopted it, drafting all citizens into a graded curriculum leading to sequential diplomas not unlike the initiation rituals and hieratic promotions of former times. The modern state has assumed the duty of enforcing the judgment of its educators through well-meant truant officers and job requirements, much as did the Spanish kings who enforced the judgments of their theologians through the conquistadors and Inquisition (11).

Their are two kinds of knowledge base in the Neutopian Transversity: the living knowledge, and dead knowledge, the latter which is stored in the archives. However, since the goal for the individual must be to advance her or his the quality of life, it is living teachers who are the ones which the students turn to obtain knowledge, intellectual friendships, and guidance.


The Mission of Neutopian Transversity

The social structure of Cyberspace Transversity would allow the individual to become part of the ruling body of the world community of scholars simply but profoundly by the expression of their own gifts. These scholars will be the creative artists and scientists of their time, involved with the cultivation of various erotic life-energies. This leads to a new Order of Free Minds, a world order of Gaian Magicians whose role is to keep the spiritual balance of power.

The ideology of True Love is my (Doctress Neutopia's) basic foundation in creating Soulization. This philosophy teaches that the basic power of life is the erotic energies which guide us along our intellectual journey. These forces have been suppressed and persecuted throughout the Greco-Christian epoch of the West. With an ideology of True Love, an era of world peace can come to fruition. The mission of the Neutopian Transversity is to move us beyond education, to create self-educating and individuating people who have reached "actuation," that is, education in action. The goal of education, too, is to humanize technology, making it a source of enlightenment for all souls to find their roles within the planetary commonwealth.

The chief magicians are philosophical Loving Couples whose love story symbolizes planetary union. Next to them in this self-actualizing hierarchy are the scholars who are the heads of what Buckminster Fuller calls the "World Production Teams." These teams would be composed of the best creative artists and scientists of the world who become the core faculty of the Neutopian Transversity. The task of the production teams is to carry out the tasks of the overarching Neutopian vision. These teams work on a particular solution to a global problem simultaneously with other teams, who are working on interconnected global problems.

This methodology is not reformist in that it does not take one problem and try to solve it, but recognizes that all our global problems are interlinked and require radical change at all levels of human behavior. “Transdimensional” (cross-disciplinary, whole system transformation) scholarship is essential if we are going to find the wisdom needed to save the earth's species, including the human one.

The goal of the production teams is to make the virtuality of Neutopia real, to build a new kind of living network based on connections with the soul-interests of others. One such vision of computer network communities is found in an article by Gene Youngblood entitled, "The New Renaissance: Art, Science, and the Universal Machine." Youngblood writes,

A communications revolution isn't about technology; it's about possible relations among people. It implies an inversion of dominant social relationship through structural inversion of the mass media: today's vertical order would become horizontal, hierarchy would become heterarchy [heterarchy: republic of highly specialized autonomous networks], centralized output would be balanced by decentralized input, mass communication would yield to creative conversation, commerce would be subservient to community, and nation-as-audience would disperse into a republic of autonomous, self-constituting "reality- communities,"--social groups of politically significant magnitude, realized as communities through telecommunication networks and defined, therefore, not by geography but by consciousness, ideology, and desire (19).

Since we need the most gifted and talented thinkers to be involved and head the production teams, every person on Earth must have free access to the Internet and, importantly, the leisure time to pursue the callings of her or his soul. In other words, the spiritual democratization of Cyberspace requires that we open up the new world to everyone. Everyone is equal in Cyberspace. In the spiritual democracy we move from one person, one vote, to one person, one computer account. People are selected/elected into positions of influence through their words and deeds--their characters—and not for their political connections, marketing skills or financial backing. No family prestige, degree award, or social privilege can cover up an empty or vile soul.

Kettner says that in a Soulization we move beyond the profit motive to an age when the character-motive is the basis of education. Kettner writes, "The development of character implies choices instead of coercions; it implies choosing certain ways of acting in preference to others, not out of fear but out of intelligence" (107). Unlike American democracy, where mass education is of primary importance, in a spiritual democracy the individual is of primary importance because "only through the cultivation of character can humanity free itself from the tyrannizing dictates of egotism" (126). Certainly, in Cyberspace, the character of the individual is the important thing, since in my opinion Cyberspace is the place of conscious reflection of the Self.

The mission of the Neutopian Transversity is to direct the "information revolution" into an "information lovolution," whose end is to transform postmodern civilization into a world of Neutopian arcologies. The mission, then, is to bring us out of the current Internet tendency toward chaos and synthesize all that information into an Order of Free Minds. The task is to end racism, sexism, and classism--which are the ancient evils of the co-dependent regimes of the paternal/maternal fascist rule of the market economy--and move to a social order of human rights and world ethics governed by a worldwide dawn of spiritual, inner democracy. Listed below are some of the fundamental goals of this mission:

1. Transform global capitalism into democratic ecosocialism.

2. Create a leisure-based economy using solar energy and other
alternative energy sources.

3. For each person to visualize their role in the Soulization.

4. Promote self-actualization for all people
(verbal literacy and computer literacy).



5. Eventually replace nationalism with bioregional divisions of the Earth’s people, in which the nation is replaced by groupings around geographical features.


6. and abolish war (elimination of structural and physical ecological violence). 7. Redistribute of the world's resources, and provide everyone with ecosocial security.

The Neutopian Administration

Since this is a university without walls, national borders or tuition of any kind, there is no bureaucratic administration. S. Demczynski writes in Automation and the Future of Man,

All through history we observe the coalescing of human groups into progressively greater unities. Their sizes depend among other things, on means of transportation and communication. It seems that when it is physically possible to travel to any spot on the planet in a matter of hours and to make instant contact with people thousands of miles away, we are obviously entering the stage of world civilization. Hence, the nationalism and sovereignty of the state become out-dated, and in the presence of atomic weapons, are very dangerous ideas. At the stage of tribal communities, supreme loyalty to one's tribe was the highest virtue. A man capable of perceiving the possibility of a supra-tribal or national loyalty would have been considered a traitor to his tribe. But when the tribes merged into a nation, national loyalty then became the true loyalty, and to put the interest of one's tribe before those of the nation could well become a crime. Similarly today, a man who has genuinely stronger feelings loyalty to the whole of humanity than to his own nation, might make, in certain situations, a choice which would brand him a traitor to his own community. And yet from humanity's point of view such a choice could be correct on ethical grounds, for it puts the interest of the whole before that of its parts" (232).

Since the Neutopian Transversity is composed of a group of independent scholars who are engaged in co-creative actualization with other like minds to form a more perfect union, in the next phase of cultural evolution there is no need for administrative staff to collect money or keep bureaucratic records of students and faculty as was practiced in the 20th Century. People volunteer for jobs which need to be carried out in order to make the planetary organization function. The online Neutopian Transversity does not divide time into semesters, but strives to make everyone into life-long learners and teachers. The Neutopian Transversity is truly a place for the inspired mind whose calling is to evolve the species toward accepting the creative leadership of the spiritual junos and geniuses of the particular generation. People rise to power strictly from the quality of their inspiration.


Architectural Plan of the Neutopian Transversity

As one enters the Neutopian Transversity, the first thing to appear on the computer screen are images of the Ideal Arcologies in various bioregions around the world and in outer space. This helps one begin to get the overview of the planetary blueprint. The purpose of the Transversity Cyberspace is to enable the individual to locate her or his creative Self and put that Self to work within one of the production teams.

Alongside of the maps of the arcologies is a Cyberspace blackboard, where the archetypal formulas of planetary harmony, especially the ideology of true lovers, can be viewed. The Gaian magicians are the guardians of its archetypal knowledge and their whose job is to refine and be the living examples of this knowledge. The magicians direct the flow of the whole as it relates to the particular. From the information they receive at the World Computer Data Base, they are able to synthesize their knowledge. In this way, they know how to direct our planetary energies to create happiness and justice for all.

Also displayed at the gateway of the Neutopian Transversity are maps of the world which chart out the areas with the most pressing problems. This map addresses the question "What must be done?" A list of artistic and scientific projects which are focused on solving these problems can then be accessed. These lists are linked to appropriate Production Teams working to build Neutopian arcologies. A list of faculty working on the problems, and their particular focus in creating the arcology, can also be accessed.

When a student feels s/he is ready to join one of the Production Teams, they email the faculty to whom they would like to apprentice. If a student has an original idea for solving problems, or a new way to bring the community together, s/he has the option of posting her or his proposal directly to Usenet Forum in order to elicit public support for the new idea.

As we move from university to Transversity and the deschooled society, the basis of community will become what Ivan Illich calls "learning webs." These webs are designed to help people who are not in touch with their calling learn how they can become contributing members to world scholarship. Virtual communities, email listserves, will be the “locations” of the learning webs. These will be supportive environments where people can go to express themselves and to care for others. There will be both local and global learning webs of this kind.

So now for an overview of the plan of the Neutopian Transversity. We have the theorists, the social architectresses and architects who are the doctresses and doctors of the Ideal. They are the magicians who are the living examples of archetypal wisdom. These are the souls who guide people to create sustainable ecocities. They make up a Magnum Concilium (Great Council), which preesides over the World Computer Data Base. The Magnum Concilium is composed of the self-selected meritocracy--those who are destined to be the creative leaders.

Everyone will have access to the Global Internet, and thus can become part of the Magium Concilium based on the quality of their ideas. Students will use interactive media to learn about the herstory of the planet, as well as email faculty with whom they have a connection.

The Usenet Forum is the democratic or anarchical part of the Neutopian Transversity where controversial ideas, ethical questions, and public debates occur. The Magnum Concilium or an individual can call for a conference either by using telecommunication systems or by meeting in the flesh at some conference center around the world.


The Neutopian Rituals

Ritual artists will develop rituals for:

6. There are two basic aspects of life in the Neutopian Transversity:
self-education and tutorship, and participation in the evolving cyberculture.

Self-education, tutorship and mentorship:

a. Using interactive media, educational TV,
radio, books with the purpose of connecting
oneself with one's life purpose;
b. Having connections with living scholars,
tutorships and apprenticeships;
c. Joining a production team.


2. Cyberculture, or participating in:

a. Food and water ritual;
b. Theater of dreams
(living community theater where people
can go after production time); and
c. Neutopian Transversity rituals that honor
creative works and virtuous actions.

Summary

The idea of an online university such as the Usenet University-Global Network Academy is definitely an idea whose time has arrived upon the world scene. However, as we have seen, UU-GNA is obviously not efficient in creating the truly liberating school of thought which the planet so desperately needs. The advocates of UU-GNA are still modeling their university on capitalism and patriarchy. This must be stopped, and a new model of sustainable development for education adopted. The alternative model that I have created, the Neutopian Transversity, attempts to change the ideology of UU-GNA into an ideology of true love, in which everyone has economic, social, and personal freedom. The mission of the Neutopian Transversity is thus to create the cyberculture necessary to allow virtual structures to begin to construct a world of arcologies in real life.


 
 


 
 
Human Extinction or Lovolution?