Some definitions and logic.
Autonomy, self directed = An emergent sense of self, a learning process, maturation through honesty and direct experience, necessary for any functioning egalitarian culture.
Hierarchy, directed by = a given sense of self, directing the directed, avoidance of honest insight, alienation from natural self, training, inhibited maturation, remains juvenile, seeks leadership, essential for a hierarchy culture.
A commentator wrote that I was an ‘idealist’, suggesting that I was “living for an unattainable and slightly fluffy silly dream, missing out on real life!”
It’s been a regular comment on my attitudes for most of my life, and today I have finally come to the conclusion that they are all very much mistaken. Possibly even hallucinating.
Micheal Gove is definitely hallucination inducing. Mind boggling.
I find it difficult to listen to his patter, his script. Nonetheless I did. He is an assured performer, he is. You can watch him on The Andrew Marr Show, on the BBC. From 40 minutes and 50 seconds onwards.
Apparently his first attempt at reform in Education was to give more powers to teachers to exercise power in the classroom to punish and thus control the children better, which he found couldn't be made workable, so then he turned his attention to the national curriculum and 'accountability'.
"Corporal Punishment wasn't accepted, So we went for (psychological controls by) reverting to rote learning, disguising it as 'proper history' etc...." is how I read it. He was campaigning for more physical force powers for teachers prior to the election, and afterwards.
In other words Michael Gove is continuing a long held conservative objective, through their control of 'state education', of ensuring that the people are educated to know and adhere to their places in Society. A well controlled class room is the essential training for later life. Order will be imposed. Imposing order is for your own good. (when in fact it is all about the 'welfare' of those imposing order..)
It's also true that what is currently being 'banked', deposited into our children's brains and psyches, throughout all of Compulsory State Education is not that much use beyond moving onto the next academic step, contains a lot of falsehoods and misleading content and that many of the practices accepted as normal within Compulsory State Education are anti-democratic in nature... children are made powerless, disenfranchised within Compulsory State Educational Systems as we know them.So much for Educational Reform. It's pointless.
After 150 years of Compulsory State Education, we still have employment issues, we still have war and we still have those flag waving maniacs, those many millions who learned to identify with the Nation/State, and accept it all, and participate. All of those people are 'products', outcomes of the conditioning aka Education system.
Which is what immature men who have their hands on immense social power really like, I guess. To see their plans work. Their 'ideal' is my horror story. I am not alone in this.
The fact that adverse Power has the ascendency at this point in time does nothing to alter the case, and never will.
Our human baseline or healthy default or biological mandate is empathy, co-operation and nurturing..
Truth is the social material experienced reality.
The concept that the human child contains an innate disruptive nature that must be quashed (or evil/social breakdown will break lose) is an ideal. It's essential, central to a cultural ideology which justifies coercive 'education'. Which projects itself onto the natural world. A culture which wages war as it's normal behaviour will project it's filter onto the natural world. It is the way they see it, filtered by the habituation to bullying.
The Science (and what so many mothers have, in spite of being told otherwise, felt as natural common-sense) is clear; children and their mothers are biologically mandated towards empathy and co-operation, towards nurturing. This is the biological base-line of health. And they need appropriate nurturing experience and environment for this base line to fully mature as the child grows.
Ideal or Biology?
I'm more of a base-liner, when it comes to children and their welfare... if you will, the bottom line here is happy, self directed, autnomous, co-operative, creative, unique and diverse children who happily co-operate and nurture the world they find themselves in.
It's not something to attain, not a future evolutionary progression. It's biology calling!
" respect any parent out there trying the best for their kids! I don't think there are any easy overall rights and wrongs in" That's important to remember... this is NOT about torturing parents, it is about questioning 'standard practice' with curiosity and exploration.
There are however genuine biologically mandated experiences that promote self determination, self empathy and an ability to resist/ respond affirmatively to coercion and manipulation which our Society as whole disrupts.
A well informed and supported parent is the outcome I seek. A Society that does this, that recognises the centrality of children’s welfare as a guiding principal, that encourages and supports natural empathic parent and genuinely democratic education especially when it is grass roots organised, that seeks to nurture life for all life.
That is the Society which I would most I want to give to my children's children.
And we all have work to do.
Until we have culture of honesty, until we acknowledge the adverse internalization processes we have gone through, as we survived the harms inherent in how our Society treats children as the 'norm' it is, many, many wounded people walk in silence and pain because we as collectives, and as individuals, will most often refuse to face the truth, maybe because it terrifies us and because we want to feel strong.... It IS personal.
Sometimes being wounded, frightened means we mask our true needs and feelings, and act in ways we don’t much enjoy or like.
A useful, and empathic key to understanding what a victim/survivor is experiencing, at any stage of their life, is in understanding how the loss of autonomy inherent in abuse, an innate autonomy which IS biologically mandated, affects the person.
Each persons experience is unique, and there are some patterns, some constants…. They are not the whole of the matter.
Care must be taken not to stereotype, but to hold awareness of that context of uniqueness, of the human, the person and understand that the reactions, responses and outcomes will vary in degree.
It represents a profound loss of Self-Agency, which if one has 'adapted to' is all the more difficult to resolve. That adaptation is a coping mechanism, a survival strategy. In as much as it precludes the utter despair, utter resignation and powerlessness that leads to violence, self harm or the ending of all possible resolution or recovery, by whatever means - it is a valuable part of our experience.
And at the same time, of course the empathic approach would be to help, to nurture, to support and to heal, rather than to coerce that person into some prescribed remedial action, for that merely repeats or reinforces that loss of self agency, that sense of powerlessness…. why is that not at the heart of 'Social Services practice?
A hint of judgementalism or careless stereotyping in addressing these kinds of issues creeps in quite often in the general and media discourse. You know, sound bites. Not enough information news! NEIN! No!
I am conscious of what one single experience, one story, one life might feel like. I see war and I see a much worse situation and experience, multiplied, over and over and over, again and again. This is horrific and cannot be avoided. This is what motivates me, my outrage and horror and despair that the System into which I was born does this, it is no accident.
War has never stopped. Indeed, ‘Peace is more than the Absence of War’. Much more. The abuse of children, a wide ranging spectrum of mistreatment and coercion, must also end. For there the roots of violence are.
It’s only an ideal that holds that abuse of children in place.
The truth will set us all free.