The following comes from John Judge and is an analysis of the design of current universities, and an idea of what an alternative university, termed “multi-versity” would entail:
My idea of a “multiversity” rather than a “university” comes from my general perspective that we need to see reality through the lens of diverse and multiple paradigms to get near to the truth. The modern university is the product of years of manipulation and control by the “accreditation” system developed under Andrew Carnegie’s “philanthropy” which was really aimed at creating training schools in authoritarianism to provide middle management that would share the class and privilege values of the emerging corporate state.
A multiversity is aimed at a real education in values, current science and technology, undiscovered history, real democratic politics, inclusiveness, organizing skills, and alternatives to the current system and structures based on replicable working models for sustainable agriculture and permaculture, alternate currencies and energy sources based on decentralization and participatory politics and intentional and working communities.
Multiversity also implies a global perspective and an inclusiveness of all humanity, other species and nature. Not only that we act locally and think globally but also that we think locally when we act globally. Restoration of commonwealths like education and mass media, real communication, and centralization of information for dispersion and full transparency along with decentralization of power and decision making that is locally informed and empowering to all.
- It would also focus on the use of all current scientific knowledge and technology to meet human needs and restore the planet and all other species to a sustainable level. It would also teach individuals the skills they need in mediation, conflict resolution, non-violence, health and diet, exercise and other disciplines, critical thinking, and community living and supportive interaction that are basic to future survival as well as the practical skills needed to survive in and contribute to the society and the world.
- It would focus also on the values around the basic problems all people face in relation to land and resources, money and exchange, energy and production of food and goods, social behavior and violent or criminal activity and response and political structures, decision-making and interaction.
One model I know of that was designed to both stay current on all these areas came from the work and thought of economist Ralph Borsodi and educator Mildred Loomis (my mentor) who were co-founders of the School of Living which focused from the 1930′s and the depression forward on rural revivalism, self sufficiency and alternative ways to live and structure society. Both drew from a wide range of sources for their ideas.
Borsodi traveled the world, helping Gandhi with the Gramdan self-sufficiency project in India, and asked people what their problems were. He reduced some 4,500 index cards into categories that led to publication of his book “Seventeen Problems of Modern Man” giving each problem a capitalist, socialist and decentralist solution. Borsodi and his wife built a working homestead that became a model for thirty families during the depression in Ohio to create small farms and survive. Borsodi introduced Dr. Pfeiffer, who pioneered biodynamics and composting, to J.I. Rodale, who pioneered organic gardening and farming at Emmaus Farms in Pennsylvania.
Mildred corresponded with a “Eupsychian Network” and expanded on Borsodi’s ideas, including intentional communities going back to the land. Her library included the writings of early American anarchists and free speakers as well as nutritionists, health and exercise experts, natural medicine proponents and others who were looking for the best ways to live and be happy. Her Network included Buckminster Fuller, E.F. Schumaker, B.F. Skinner, Paul Goodman, Helen and Scott Nearing, Griscom Morgan and other forward thinkers over the years. She also tried out any new idea she could. Her School of Living was based in Ohio, outside of Dayton at Lane’s End farm where I lived for two years with a community of friends.
I continue to attend annual conferences on intentional community at Twin Oaks, one of the largest long term communities, based in Virginia. With modern technology a similar “Eupsychian Network” of creative thinkers could visit even from a distance to be seen by and talk to students at a university, tapping the great minds and best solutions available as well as the best historians, researchers and political thinkers. Guest lecturers or teachers could also come to the campus(es) of a multiversity.
Here is more information on School of Living below. If the multiversity maintained some land it could become a working model to teach the skills of organics, permaculture, sustainable land use, crop rotation and complement, alternate and closed energy systems, livestock and free animal care, co-evolution systems, natural and ecological consciousness and conscience, green architecture and straw bale construction, combined natural energy source use and more.
*School of Living’s History*
In the 1920′s Ralph Borsodi became concerned with the problems of urbanized society and left the city to build his first homestead. He founded the School of Living in 1934 to empower others to achieve a more fulfilling and self sufficient life. He was soon joined by Mildred Loomis who continued and expanded the work until her death. Our current collective continues to work actively for the fulfillment of many of the ideals and movements to which we have been dedicated for many years.
SoL’s area of study touches on every aspect of people and society. Historically we have played a pivotal role in movements supporting: organic agriculture, consumer rights, cooperatives and worker owned businesses, tax abolition, geonomics, appropriate technology, neighborhood and community rights and control.
Today SoL is actively engaged in: community land trust, intentional community support, permaculture, ecological use of resources, human scale and local self reliance, appropriate technology, alternative education, consensus decision making, non-exploitive banking, and alternative currency.
All of this could be linked to the creation and maintenance of a Museum of Hidden History in DC, allowing some of the 20 million tourists each year to glimpse alternate and real history as well as the history of healthy solutions to social problems. One current trend is to combine museums, libraries and archives to create research centers and active community education programs. This would allow public and press education about the latest scholarly work unearthing hidden history of the past and the present as well as new documentary films that expose historical reality. Students from the multiversity could intern at the Museum in the summer and be research fellows at the archives.