DSM: We like minded people 2

Robert Swanson (robertswanson@icehouse.net)
Sat, 04 Nov 2000 20:09:20 -0800

To: <discuss-sudbury-model@aramis.sudval.org>
Cc: Heartlight <heartlight@egroups.com>
Subject: We like minded people 2

I believe Joe is speaking sincerely and has a good point. I'd like to
respond specifically and continue the dialogue.

I will answer within the text below.

>> The common goals of Sudbury and Heartlight are to allow people to create
>> themselves. One great challenge we share is to remove conditioning so that
>> education (creating self) is really free. This point needs emphasizing. We
>> are not free. The invasive conditioning of family and friends and media
>> permeate our lives creating a status quo of stimulus-response. Even at
>> Sudbury this status quo is determining activities and determining the
>> punishments of the judicial committee. There is no thinking
>> outside the box
>> when status quo is the dominant influence in the community. Not
>> sure?...Just
>> ask students what are the peer pressures running behaviors and
>> the creation
>> of rules. I'll wager that no answer will say the pressure is to be an
>> evolution as an independent thinking self. Sudbury does focus on
>> honesty and
>> responsibility. How about we add awareness of influences on behavior and
>> awareness of what can change those influences? (Taking responsibility for
>> influence is the path to intrinsic motivation and honesty. Blaming is the
>> path to extrinsic motivation and deceit.)

on 11/3/00 8:12 PM, Joe Jackson at shoeless@jazztbone.com wrote:

> If you are saying that the goal of the model is to remove the conditioning
> of family, friends and media from the lives of students, I have to say I
> disagree.
> Certainly there is conditioning that stops a student from receiving full
> benefit offered by the school, but that should not mean that all
> conditioning in a student's environment is something to remove.

Functioning from conditioning (myalination of nerve pathways) is what makes
life easy. These are the patterns we depend on for cooperation and survival.
With these patterns in place thought energy can move up from the lower brain
development into higher brain functions of creativity, not just to repeat
set patterns or enhance them, but to explore wild possibilities as captain
Kirk of the Enterprise, free to roam the universe.

There is no need to remove conditioning of survival (peaceful cooperation
with the environment). But there is need to exclude a base conditioning that
an emergency exists precluding survival. Almost entirely this is our
fundamental operational mind-state of fight-flight, competition, lack of
support, insufficient food and funds, and a desperation to procreate.
However, creativity, compassion, relaxation and being a good neighbor or a
good Samaritan are exceptional luxuries. (There is little time or energy for
discussions such as this email.) This consumption of time and energy by fear
is what needs to be extinguished. Then thought can move into the higher
aspect of survival - loving creativity.

> I do not think that it is a foregone conclusion that the removal of static
> stimulus-response patterns in their environment is automatically the "best"
> thing for a person to do. People choose to take on their environment based
> on where and how they find value, and if they find value in a stimulus, it
> is entirely irrelevant if there is a purpose behind it.

The values we function by are deeply seated by age four. What we value are
abilities to fight, to hide, to blend in, to control, and to demonstrate
sustainability relative to depletion. And so goes almost every aspect of our
society. In fact it is the normal accepted operating procedure (NAOP). And
NAOP has a standard reply of "nope" to anyone breaking out of the box. In
free education this has to end. Then we can have values of assisting, honest
expression, standing out as a leader, supporting others, and demonstrating
sustainability relative to resourcefulness.

> In the Sudbury model school it only matters that the child chose the
> stimulus and was not overtly coerced; beyond that nobody tries to
> institutionally differentiate between whether it was true volition or
> control via stimulus-response, because that's not usually possible (or
> important).

I have to accept this statement that students are not coerced, but I wait
for the replies to "we like minded people" that I sent 11.3.00. My eagerness
to emphasize the points I make comes from my own experience of allowing
conditioning to take over the throne ruling my soul. At age four or so I
remember having this vision of myself, so tall, so important, so
self-sustaining. It was a great feeling as I walked in the sun that Saturday
morning. Then I thought, "No... I am just a little kid, with parents who
tell me who I am and what to do. I have no right to feel so tall (mature)".
Yes, this four year old really did consider these things, and seriously. I
lived by my decision. Too much so; I still feel it today. If Sudbury
students have displaced this deep rooted shame or never acquired it,
Godspeed! I am so jealous I could cry.

Okay, truth or consequences: Do you readers possess an inner throne of
excellence or of shame? If excellence, please tell us how this splendor is
expressed and about the inner exuberance that propels it.

Does it matter if it is true volition or stimulus-response? Oh, yes! Can one
tell? Certainly - excellence stands out like a great oak tree in the middle
of Main Street.

> Nobody can state with any authority whatsoever that there is a difference
> between behavior caused by stimulus-response and behavior caused by
> volition; the dismal skills of today's modern mind-readers is why science
> has utterly failed to be a successful influence in showing us the best way
> to set up a school. (My son Jimmy just set up a mind-reading school by the
> way. The classes consist of us asking him questions and him saying "I KNEW
> you were going to say that!"

In no way is it normal or reasonable for humans to utilize only about 10% of
their higher brain function. An evolutionist would have to declare that we
have devolved. In fact we have rooted our thought in the lizard-like
structure of the lowest, smallest part of the brain. That is what is
controlling overall function. Thankfully, the cerebrum will not open with
the lizard in control. Any infant has the potential of using its cerebrum
and to have thought seated in the heart. Certainly, children raised that way
would all be geniuses by comparison. Maybe they would be psychic. Why has
school failed -- the coercion and modeling presented by the lizards.

> Also, I think Sudbury's focus on responsibility and honesty is a function of
> trying to prevent the culture from injuring itself; "we" did not decide to
> teach them based on any idea that these traits are more important than any
> others, and I am puzzled by the suggestion that "we" start teaching
> awareness of the influences on behavior et al above and beyond the capacity
> in which it is already being taught, which is, of course, informally and
> mostly individually or student-to-student.
> -Joe Jackson
> ************************
> please note my new email address:
> shoeless@jazztbone.com
> http://www.jazztbone.com
> ************************
> Kids rule at Fairhaven School
> http://www.fairhavenschool.com

I don't completely understand the above statement. I will say that I am very
opinionated for what I see as terribly common -- most everyone has a fear of
honesty which exceeds their fear of death, and I've watched many people
dying in twelve years of Hospice work. Even in groups with counselors and
facilitators and in spiritual groups -- people avoid being sincere like it
was the plague. Removed from the definition of honesty is any deep self
awareness. The revised definition simply means not to deliberately screw
with other people's heads that they be disadvantaged.

What I am getting at is, without deep knowing of self (awareness) it is
certain that honesty and responsibility will be a facade.

hot under the collar,
and loving it,

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