Another Leary thing

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c60a...@web-1f.berkeley.edu

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Sep 8, 1988, 5:02:36 PM9/8/88
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I think I'm on some king of anti-Timothy Leary kick, so here goes:

In the latest Verbum (I don't have it, too expensive) Leary praises
the Amiga (much deserved, and I own an ST). Then he goes on to praise
it for its _low_price_, saying that a kid in the ghetto (yes, in the
ghetto) could get one, and plug into all that good computer stuff.

I don't know about you, but since when is $600+ (a 500 with no monitor
but some software) affordable? I'm middle class, but a computer would
end up a significant investment if I wanted to make it useful (sw, disks,
time, and communication).

BTW, I believe Leary was quoted; not writing the article.

John Kawakami

j eric townsend

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Sep 10, 1988, 6:23:24 PM9/10/88
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In article <14...@agate.BERKELEY.EDU>, c60a...@web-1f.berkeley.edu writes:
> I think I'm on some king of anti-Timothy Leary kick, so here goes:

I'm not a "defender", today, so no wars. :-)

> In the latest Verbum (I don't have it, too expensive) Leary praises
> the Amiga (much deserved, and I own an ST). Then he goes on to praise
> it for its _low_price_, saying that a kid in the ghetto (yes, in the
> ghetto) could get one, and plug into all that good computer stuff.
> I don't know about you, but since when is $600+ (a 500 with no monitor
> but some software) affordable? I'm middle class, but a computer would
> end up a significant investment if I wanted to make it useful (sw, disks,
> time, and communication).


$600 is about what we paid for my first computer -- a C64, 1541 and printer;
when I was a upper-lower class kid living in the backwoods of
BFE, Leesville, Louisiana. (Ft. Polk sux too. :-). We weren't on
welfare, but we weren't rich either. I think we saved about 9-12months
for the computer. (Grandparents bought me a monitor a month later. What
a rescue. :-). That computer made the difference between me being
a dual major CompSci/Journalism student in Houston instead of being
like my cousins: 2-4 kids, HS diploma at best, slow paying job, no future,
and living in BFE, Louisiana.

I think the "little kid in the gheto" was a bit of an exaggeration..
I think the price of a used C64 system, a used Atari800 or
any other 8bit micro, and the availability of cheap software make
possible a chance for a lot of kids to be educated and exposed to the
world in some small fasion. Maybe they'll flip past "Loading Games
On Your Banana PC5000" to "Learning Basic".

Remember also that Leary's big kick now *is* computers -- I read
an interview where he said this is what he thought LSD-25 *would* be.
He states, and I have little reason to challenge him, that the average
5 year old now understands more about the world than Marco Polo did
at his death (*)-- thanks to TV. What could our kids learn from computers?
Better yet, what could we *teach* our children with computers. When I was
14 or 15, I played a stock-market/business simulator and learned more
than I ever did in an economics class in high school. Likewise with a
"motion/physics display program" and basic physics. Psychology and
self-exploration is wide open. (Play "Mind Mirror" for an afternoon,
and see what you can learn as an adult.)

(*) -- not that the child has the *maturity* of Marco Polo, but that
they understand concepts like: the world is round, there is a country
far away where the people speak a different language and there
are animals called kangaroos; the Earth goes around the Sun in big
circles; the child can read and write on a limited level; the child
may be starting to be bilingual (especially here in Houston :-); etc.
I doubt that the child is more *intelligent* than Marco Polo, just more
*exposed* to the world.
--
Skate Unix.
J. Eric Townsend ->uunet!nuchat!flatline!erict smail:511Parker#2,Hstn,Tx,77007
..!bellcore!tness1!/

Eliot Handelman

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Sep 12, 1988, 1:47:33 PM9/12/88
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In article <3...@flatline.UUCP> er...@flatline.UUCP (j eric townsend) writes:

>He [Leary] states, and I have little reason to challenge him, that the average


>5 year old now understands more about the world than Marco Polo did
>at his death (*)-- thanks to TV.


I would go much further than that, eric. I would say that today, thanks
to TV, the average 5 year old understands more about the world than
Timothy Leary.
--
This message will cost the net hundreds if not thousands and perhaps millions
billions trillions maybe even zillions of dollars to send everywhere.

nunnayourbiznezz

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Sep 12, 1988, 2:59:39 PM9/12/88
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No doubt that computers are useful, but until they fall to at most $400 ($250,
the price of a tV or stereo would be good0, they will not become truly
populist. I expect this goal in a few years with some PClone systems.
As someone who has benifitted from micros (and knowing how to program them),
I only wish this price drop would come sooner. Until joe/jane average needs
a computer, she will not get one. (By need, i mean percieve a need. i.e.
we need TVs, radios, and microwaves)

As for Leary, he did say "ghetto." That was no exaggeration. Maybe he's
been seeing too many reciepts from his recent speaking tour. Still, $600
is a lot of money. If a computer purchase has to be planned for 9+ months,
it is not as affordable as it should be.

John Kawakami

Peter da Silva

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Sep 13, 1988, 7:52:19 AM9/13/88
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In article <14...@agate.BERKELEY.EDU>, c60a...@e260-4g.berkeley.edu (nunnayourbiznezz) writes:
> No doubt that computers are useful, but until they fall to at most $400 ($250,
> the price of a tV or stereo would be good0, they will not become truly
> populist.

They have. I bought my second Atari 800 (an 800XL) for $64. The newer 800s
are a bit more expensive but they're still in the $100 range. Commodore
makes small computers in the same price range, too.

Yes, they're not big machines. They have no hard drive and only 64K of RAM.
But they're quite affordable... in the price range of telephones.

PC clones, if you're willing to put up with a mono adapter and display,
are in the high $400s. If you get a deal on a used Amiga 1000 you can
get a mono system (or TV output) in the same range. Watch for the price
of the 1000 to fall again when the new graphics chips come out.

The Amiga is definitely out of the range of most middle/low income kids, let
alone truly poor people. But its little brother (the Atari 800) isn't.

(I can't see a middle-class kid being well served with anything less than an
Amiga, though. It's not as good as a Mac-II or a 25 MHz 80386 box with a
targa board, but it's better than anything under $5000.)
--
Peter da Silva `-_-' pe...@sugar.uu.net
Have you hugged U your wolf today?

Ray Shea

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Sep 15, 1988, 4:39:26 PM9/15/88
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In article <36...@phoenix.Princeton.EDU>, el...@phoenix.Princeton.EDU (Eliot Handelman) writes:
>
> I would go much further than that, eric. I would say that today, thanks
> to TV, the average 5 year old understands more about the world than
> Timothy Leary.

You mean because they know who the Masters of the Universe are, while
Leary is still trying to figure it out?

Jonathan Krueger

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Sep 17, 1988, 1:36:00 AM9/17/88
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In article <3...@flatline.UUCP> er...@flatline.UUCP (j eric townsend) writes:
>[Leary] states, and I have little reason to challenge him, that the average

>5 year old now understands more about the world than Marco Polo did
>at his death (*)-- thanks to TV.
>(*) -- not that the child has the *maturity* of Marco Polo, but that
>he understands concepts like: the world is round, there is a country

>far away where the people speak a different language and there
>are animals called kangaroos; the Earth goes around the Sun in big
>circles; the child can read and write on a limited level; the child
>may be starting to be bilingual (especially here in Houston :-); etc.
>I doubt that the child is more *intelligent* than Marco Polo, just more
>*exposed* to the world.

Marco Polo wrote an account of his travels. It has been available in
English translation for years. It's hard to imagine what impediment
could have kept Leary from it. It's even harder to imagine a shortage
of five year olds that obstructed him in his work. So his statement
comparing the two certainly provides us an opportunity to form an
opinion of the man, and of his intellectual labors and contributions.

It's possible that Leary was unaware of Polo's account, that he didn't
bother to look for it, hasn't read it, and had little other basis from
which to make any comparison. It's also possible that he hasn't spent
much time with five year olds lately. Or perhaps he has modest
experience with either or both, could tell the difference between them
in good light but you wouldn't hire him to babysit the one or
proofread the other. Finally, he may have examined the available
evidence and then drawn his conclusions against it.

From these we may infer Leary's methods and personal standards with
some accuracy. In the first and second cases, we may merely find him
a shoddy researcher, with little intent to do the work and get the
facts. He's intellectually lazy, and perhaps dishonest, but is that a
great crime, or uncommon? Surely we could say the same of Marx and
Freud, both of whom considered themselves scientists and searchers
after objective truth. In the third case, it may be simply that he's
prone to speak as an authority on matters about which he's no better
informed than his audience. He's a practicing dilettante, and
preaches what he practices. Again, how can we condemn him and remain
silent about the vast majority of usenet traffic?

In the last case, we are constrained to one of two inferences: either
he's incompetent or deceptive, the same motivations we used to
attribute to then-President Nixon. Incompetence could assume two
forms: he's generally unable to consider difficult questions and make
good judgements, or he's specifically unfamiliar with what constitutes
knowledge of the world, he himself lacks it and is thus ill equipped to
measure it in others. In either form, he can't assess and compare it,
but honestly thinks he can. By contrast if we assume he's quite
capable of it, we may conclude he intends to make a point, by deceptive
means if convenient. In short, he's either a fool or a liar; either
he's no judge or a dishonest one.

Surveying all the possibilities that are consistent with the facts, he
hardly emerges as a valuable source of information or insights. It
doesn't matter whether he's aware of how his conclusions might
contradict the facts and each other, that is, whether he's a conscious
fraud. Either way, it's hardly what might qualify him to tell us how
to think clearly and act wisely, let alone how to gain deep insight
into self and the universe. He seems more suited to providing facile
analyses making use of facts which he hasn't checked, and which he
knows we're unlikely to check. His conclusions might still be valid,
but it's not likely. For instance, he seems to consider TV a rich
source of reliable knowledge that increases the viewer's understanding
of the world.

-- Jon
--
Jonathan Krueger uunet!daitc!jkrueger jkru...@daitc.arpa (703) 998-4777

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