With thanks to Paul Henderson for this

Quiz time! Spot the replacement words in these corrupted quotes – bonus points if you can deduce what the original words were.

“Learning originates in school.”

“…virtually unquestioned assumption in this debate that learning is derived from schooling. The assumption is false and dangerous.”
“We can reasonably postulate that what we now call learning is really a suite of behaviours favoured by natural selection in an animal weak alone but strong in numbers. Learning is our biological destiny, not a gift from the state education authority.

… human beings are inherently learning creatures, as our sociality would demand. Our inherent desire to learn, however, has been corrupted by the false learning of schooling. For millennia schooling doctrine has manipulated us with state carrots and sticks. If we misbehave, we are threatened with the hot flames of materialistic depravation. If we please the state education authority, we are promised the comforting embrace of eternal material possessions. Under the burden of schooling, learning has become nothing but a response to bribery and fear. We have forsaken our biological heritage in exchange for coupons to a job.

Tearing down schooling is useful only if a viable alternative is offered. We need to take the next step of suggesting solutions to humanity’s most pressing problems in a world absent from any state education authority. We can do so by returning to core values based on our own evolutionary history, derived from our biological legacy free from myth and fable. We can move beyond faith and the state education authority to a life more complete.

There exists for those willing to see a new perspective a deeply satisfying purpose and meaning to life free from any state interference. To glimpse this world, imagine for a moment that there is no state education authority using magical powers in “mysterious ways” to control our fate. Imagine that we can toss away the crutch of false hope and bad myth to walk unhindered down the path of personal responsibility. Without the burden of a wrathful state education authority, we have the power to create our own meaning, our own sense of purpose, our own destiny. By rejecting the false premises of schooling we are free to move beyond the random hand we are dealt at birth to pave our own road to a better life.

With freedom of course comes the obligation to act wisely and responsibly. We fulfil this duty first by taking a more modest view of our place in the world… When we understand that true learning is independent of state doctrine, we will create a path toward a just society. We each have the power to create a life in which we no longer accept the arbitrary and destructive constraints of state education.

The need to move beyond schooling has never been more urgent… A meaningful alternative exists for the millions of people unsatisfied with this status quo, for those who want to shed the yoke of tired rituals no longer relevant to modern life and who reject the state education authority dogma that for too long has suppressed our inherent desire to learn. Learning without schooling encourages sound environmental stewardship, offers a new approach to social ethics, and promotes and strengthens our better side. For those willing to consider a new path, shedding the constraining cloaks of schooling leads to a life more fulfilled through personal responsibility and learning based in fact instead of myth.”

Here’s the original article in the Huffington Post by Jeff Sweitzer April 13th 2009
Using the ctrl f function in Microsoft Word I automatically replaced the words ‘God’ with ‘the state education authority’, ‘religion’ with ‘schooling’ and ‘morality’ with ‘learning’ from selected passages, along with a few other closely related tweaks.
The original piece is concerned with how our natural sense of morality has been corrupted by religion but I think the replacement words illustrate Ivan Illich’s view fairly well that our natural drive to learn has been corrupted by schooling in a similar way.

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