Joe Jackson (email@example.com)
Sun, 5 Nov 2000 08:38:22 -0500
Robert, I like how your brain works. Please pardon my occasional
flat-footedness (although I don't begrudge my intellectual flat-footedness;
it got me to where I am, yuck, yuck).
> This consumption of time and
> energy by fear
> is what needs to be extinguished.
I agree with you, then, that overcoming fear is one of our highest pursuits.
> > 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.
Yet, what we have discovered is that in an environment wherein the student
decides what to do, they eventually ALWAYS take the harder path.
This is not a result of conditioning inherent within the model, either.
I'm going into the weeds for a minute: I believe that people find value in
a person, thing or path based on the sum of quality within that person,
thing or path. That quality is neither objective (inherent within the
object) nor subjective (a matter of the person's opinion); it is the
subjective realization of the object's objective attributes if you will.
The subjective aspect of quality with regard to a person's path in life
cannot be broken up into a bunch of parts (e.g. conditioning/volition) as it
then will not in any way describe what that person values, and moreover does
dishonor to the presumed "wholeness" of the child. The PATH is the thing -
it is the dharma, it is the "holy" walk.
This is what I value in the model, not that it may or may not break external
conditioning for my children, not that they may even gain awareness on
society's insistance upon exerting stimuli to gain a response. I find
quality in the model in that it will not rob my children of their life path.
...And the payoff to allowing them their life path is tremendous. You were
really on to something when you said:
> And maybe there is something inherent in youth that does not need a model
> to develop, just lack of opression. I hope to understand better.
This is the absolute belly of the thing. The sum of experience at Sudbury
Valley has shown that absent coercion and persuasion (and adult-initiated
mentorship) from well-meaning adults, children possess an insatiable
curiosity, an intense desire to do things the hard way, and an undying need
to, once given the taste, follow their own path. (Read "Free At Last"
567540-4300847 or http://www.sudval.org/svs/books.html)
It is difficult for folks whose frame of reference is
conventionally-schooled children not to nod their head and say that regular
schools have the same effect, and yet when they hear about what these
students do in the school, these same adults levelly state that it's not
So I guess I'm trying to explain why I say that it's essential that we don't
break a student's path into components; regardless of whether it might be
true that a person is reacting from conditioning versus volition, it's not
important with regard to what Captain Kirk would regard as the "Prime
Directive" of our schools: allow them their path.
> > 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!"
> 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.
It would be contrary to my nature to try and convince him he's not (but I
guess he already knew that)...
(more at the bottom)
> > 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:
> > firstname.lastname@example.org
> > 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,
Let me explain. I function from what I see as the "Prime Directive",
explained above. So I therefore apologize at assuming others on this list
would react the same as I with regard to subjecting a particular curriculum
(e.g. the awareness of the influences of society on behavior) upon a
So I'm not really "puzzled" at the suggestion; I merely think it's the exact
wrong thing to do to produce an Einstein.
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