Re: DSM: Re: SR+ or Find like-minded people

Robert Swanson (
Mon, 30 Oct 2000 18:18:39 -0800

Yes Rick, I agree. But there are Hitlers, and there are Jesuses, and there
are the masses ignorant of influence, its intent, and its quality. I'd like
to shed some light on these.

So many of us are intellects living/hiding in fear with a great need to
control others. Very little is understood as intrinsic to self. Self is
projected and lives as though it is in an extrinsic world.

Were we a more loving society we would not be so protective and abstracted
from self. We would speak openly of the influence of our feelings and
understanding. People would respond to this openness with empathy and wisdom
for mutual survival.

Public school is so very intellectual and protective and controlling. This
milieu is a strong stimulus for misusing the science of behavior. Instead of
manipulating the environment to promote an evolution of compassion and
understanding, the environment is manipulated to "Dumb Us Down". This
happens by ringing bells to break up the learning pattern, by detering
socializing except as competition, and by issuing grades rather than
allowing pleasure to arise as a consequence to education.

There is an alternative. Behaviorists used behaviorism on me to enhance my
learning of behavior management. They asked that if I was going to take
their class that I get 100% on the exams. I was shocked. Yet I ended up
enjoying the class and getting 95-100% on the exams (A first in my
education experience). They changed my whole attitude about learning, to me,
a miracle.

Then I used the behavior management skills with severely retarded adults.
Another miracle. Both the staff and the residents discovered cooperation.
The goal of our new program was to end the reward system by substituting
the pleasure of cooperation (social rewards). In a school of wisdom the goal
would be similar - substitute evaluation of ability for evaluation of extent
of pleasure as a result of acquiring abilities. Thus we move from
intellect-knowledge-fear to intelligence-wisdom-love.

So, what does all this have to do with finding good teachers? Well, they are
hard to find since most of us are dehumanized rats (actually lizards - read
Magical Child by Pearce) and don't know how to function out of compassion.
So it is potluck. Still we can evolve if intellect is not permitted to rule.
We can use our intellects according to rules that restructure the
environment to promote an evolution of joy and freedom. First measure how
often intellects interfere with play (not often at Sudbury). Then measure
how often intellects provide opportunities that are freely accepted by
students. The public posting of these measures is usually enough of an
influence socially to get results. Finally, measure if the program is
working, evaluate, and make improvements.
Should the intellects evolve into openhearted mentors the program may evolve
to an extent that it won't seem to exist any more. Just an excitement and
cooperation for learning. (Notice that this is probably different than using
a judicial system to punish people into cooperation.)

If I may add one comment -- When I took the class in behavior management I
was shocked to realize the extent and influence of external controls on
behavior. They are pervasive. Normally we are quite ignorant of them. Nearly
entirely they are used as controls for intellect-food-sex-power-fight-flight
and not for evolution-intelligence-empathy-joy-survival. I noticed that the
world had gone mad. And so the breakdown of society as having little time
and lots of time spent fixing things.

Thanks Rick, I have enjoyed this opportunity,

>> --- Rick Stansberger <> wrote:
>>> Robert, they already use the behaviorist model in
>>> public school, and it
>>> substitutes conditioning for real learning. When
>>> the rewards and punishments are
>>> extrinsic rather than intrinsic, you get conditioned
>>> responses, not learning.
>>> Conditioning limits a person and makes her/him more
>>> predictable and controllable.
>>> Learning expands a person's capabilities and makes
>>> her/him less controllable.
>>> Conditioning is unconscious. Conditioned behaviors
>>> and thoughts are automatic,
>>> and very difficult to examine. Learned behaviors
>>> and thoughts are accessible to
>>> the conscious mind and can be modified. They are
>>> also generative. Learning
>>> begets more learning.
>>> So much for the intellectual part. Now for the
>>> emotional part. I shuddered when
>>> you suggested rat-lab stuff for children and I
>>> wanted to knock you on your butt.
>>> i don't even know who you are, but 25 years in
>>> education have absolutely convinced
>>> me of the EVIL of the stimulus-response model when
>>> applied to humans. WE ARE NOT
>>> We now return you to our normal, reasoned discourse.
>>> Rick

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