Recovering Lost Ground

The basic move made by the Dr. Spock school of childrearing was to replace corporal punishment by “withdrawal of love”. It is hard for us now to remember why that seemed like a good idea at the time. This may be because one of the sole epistemological advances of the later twentieth century was a greater understanding of human manipulation techniques in general, and those masquerading as love in particular; also of their consequences for the victim. Pedagogy has yet, however, to take the final step and recognise that the ancient “You WILL do this, or else” is psychologically more benevolent than “You are no good because you have not done this”.

When the parents say the first, they are passing down to their children the constraints under which they themselves are obliged to operate, by virtue of being members of society, and in this respect are on the same footing as their children. When they say the second, they are judging from a great height, and implying that they are members of society whereas their children are not. Feeling oneself at war with “society” is not unreasonable in a person who was continually told that he was not part of it.

Posted on August 15, 2011 at 19:25 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink

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