RE: DSM: moral relativism

Joe Jackson (
Thu, 21 Dec 2000 17:42:07 -0500

> How would I think or act about this around children?
> Would I tell a child they are doing something all wrong? If I
> felt I really needed to
> (maybe because the child is hurting another), will my actions
> help the child learn to
> behave in a better way? In other words, if I say , "Hey, stop
> that!" and the child
> stops, why are they stopping?

This makes me think of how this issue works in the SM schools. What happens
is the culture, through the JC mechanism, lets the person know that they are
violating the rights of the community or another individual.

Why is the JC mechanism so effective? Because people innately need to be
members of a community. So I guess that's my answer to you why it's
important for people to "judge" and confront the behavior of people who are
violating the rights of others or who are abusing the community in some
other way.

> It seems to me the child will stop only for some external reason,
> such as fear of
> punishment, wish to please the parent, etc.

I disagree with that - all my experiences in these schools suggest that they
stop because they want to be members of a community. The reasons you list
may apply in cases where children do not really feel they are full members
of a community.

> Deep learning does
> not take place when one
> is told how to behave; true learning comes from within and is
> self-motivated - this is
> something I am sure we all agree on.

I do, but that does not mean that the desire to change will come to pass if
the standards of the community are not applied equitable. The community has
a duty to tell people when they go over the line.

> So how do we affect change? We start from within; becoming
> comfortable with who we are
> and only doing what feels right for us; and then we reach out and
> build intimate,
> supportive connections with others - only then will true
> revolutions occur.

My experiences lead me to believe otherwise...

In fact, I consider it one of the strengths of the model that the "intimate,
supportive connections" that one student may want is not a mandatory
condition of attendance at our schools! People have a wide range in their
personality types, and a wide range of levels of intimacy and formality on
which they wish to relate. So I really can't go along with the concept that
the community should only levelly support standards of behavior _only_
through warm, personal connections.

Especially since what all to apparently works best in our schools is if the
rules are enforced in the cleanest, impersonal way possible. When a student
comes out of JC, there is this incredible cleaness - there's no residual
stigma: the issue was dealt with in a routine, final way, no big deal,
everyone goes through JC.


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