Uncontrived: The Anarchy of Everyday Life. Goodman, Illich, Sennett, and Daoism

Bringing out and building on the activity of the concepts of self-determination and cooperation in life, the participants of this course will enlarge the field of libertarian, autonomist, social inventionist, anarchist, and antinomian thought in the interest of multiplying conceptual resources for intelligent beings.
Goodman, Sennett, Illich, and the primitive Daoists form a core of readings whose authors eschew the label of anarchist, but enjoin the spirit of anarchic practice. They work on other projects, according to other labels. Can a food coop be an instance of anarchy? Similar questions must be asked.
So, each student will be invited to conduct research in one of the following: Michel de Certeau, Wendell Berry, Eduardo Galeano, Jacques Ranciere, Jacques Ellul, Chris Alexander, David Hall, A.N. Whitehead, Epicurus, Colin Ward, Jane Jacobs, Friedrich Nietzshce, Ursula Le Guin, and others as I think of them.
A possible group project: to create a new sociality: theater, farm, bowling team, dinner club.
Suitable for highschoolers, undergraduates and graduates, as well as retirees.
Modalities: lecture, shared inquiry, and research
Teacher: Eric Buck
Schedule: Tuesday evenings, 6-9 pm. Drop-ins are welcome.
Location: Lorem Ipsum Books, Inman Square, Cambridge
Fees: Negotiable (including barter), but $12/hour of class meeting per student will be my opening proposal.


  1. Paul Goodman - "The Boy Scouts of Westhampton" from radical teacher; Drawing the Line Once Again and New Reformation: Notes of a Neolithic Conservative, both from PM Press, but each has been previously published. The former is a new collection, leaving much out that Drawing the Line (Free Life Editions, 1977) included, but including much that it did not. The latter is a republication of the original, the only difference being an informative introduction by an editor.
  2. Richard Sennett - The Uses of Disorder: Personal Identity and City Life
  3. Ivan Illich - Tools for Conviviality as well as articles from the following websites:
  4. http://www.davidtinapple.com/illich/ and http://www.preservenet.com/theory/Illich.html. Tools is available at the preservenet site.
  5. Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari - Anit-Oedipus vol. 1 of capitalism and Schizophrenia


(eric—following class on October 19) Goodman's "The Boy Scouts of Westhampton," "Notes of a Neolithic Conservative," and Drawing the Line Once Again have been completed. Much discussion of the natural in human life, of piecemeal or peasant anarchy, and most surprisingly, of natural aristocracy or individual excellence alongside mutual aid (52, but see also 59, 62, 89 in Drawing). This last he draws out from Nietzsche. This is part of his notion that anarchy has traditionally emerged from the skilled workers (including farmers) and professionals of the world, and consequently that the promise of anarchy is best fulfilled in finding one's work and being left free enough of interference to do one's work well. This does not endear him to the anti-work anarchists, like the Provos.

(doug—notes from reading Oct 26, The Uses of Disorder, Intro and Chapter One)
1) The suburbs have false connectedness, it's forced and instilled to keep all in check. In the suburbs, and even in most dense architecture, connectedness is merely phatic communication, not real emotional co-
ownership. Privacy goes down when integration goes up. Would we make the trade for connectedness, or are we still stuck in our cocoons? Sennett advocates, "The urge to avoid routine is gratified, ironically, by making the social boundaries of life claustrophobic. Better tribal and intimate than impersonal and bureaucratic…" xvi
2) The Arab Oil Embargo the year after this book did force people to do an about-face.
3) The white affluent want what the blacks' sense of community, the black might just want the freedom of affluence.
4) In a post-revolutionary world, would there always be rebellion? They make the complacent self-aware of possibilities. Races they are almost always based in an evolved, non-dependent society with little privacy via telepathy. How do we break free and emerge from our cocoons, make our transformation into our most actualized form? Is the "freedom to accept and to live in disorder" the answer? Certainly we have to transcend, transcend gridded streets and imposed and prearranged stiffness, embrace the liminal, etc.
5) Sennett isn't suggesting that we worship Eris, the goddess of disorder. I enjoy that he's not aiming to provide a grand theory or proof, but rather to define the terms. It IS important to different terms such as disorder, chaos, entropy, chaortic (going from chaos to order), anomalous, higgledy-piggledy (confused order), creative disorder, et al.
6) The "little god complex" is totally still active! The world theater is a veritable arena of persona. Ironically, inside the home, the read personality is revealed. I feel, any contrived persona doesn't stand up to the congruence test of time.
7) Being ascetic, obsessed with purification, and guilt are all associated with being too interior-focused and too cloistered in our private monastery. The other side, shame, comes from being out in the open, having eyes on the streets, and being held accountable in the eyes of the public instead of unseen but perceived forces. So, maybe it's not always as Sennett says, about not facing the concreteness of the world, but rather the walls around us and inside. He's correct in asserting that this guilt is associated with adolescence.
8) I didn't read the entire chapter, only what was available on amazon. But will obtain this book this week. On a personal note, I can't wait to read: Sennett's The Conscience of the Eye. I'll keep up with this fascinating class and post here or on on a suggested page.
9) Perhaps for Nic's project, later on, a discussion of "agency" could be useful. It's in Rorty, but what about in the authors discussed here. Peace-out!

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