DSM: Re: Judicial Committee and School Meeting

Marko Koskinen (marko@vapaus.net)
Tue, 06 Mar 2001 13:10:00 -0500

> And when we think the responsibility issue, there's no need for one to
> "take responsibility of one's actions", because that's inevitable.
> Everything one does effects the system and because the actor is part of
> the system, everything one does affects oneself. The idea of
> responsibility is probably due to the idea of seperation of man and
> environment. Such dualism is illusionary and shouldn't be used as a
> cause for action.
> ---
> I'm curious how this would work, given the (the at least seeming) limits to
> the human capacity to understand the world - basically, I would think that
> it would be hard to justify holding one's self or anyone else completely
> responsible for things they don't understand - and, for me, the number of
> things I don't understand dwarfs the things I think I do. There seems to be
> a real limit to responsibility, if only because of time limits.

Of course we cannot consciously take responsibility of something we
cannot understand. But what I ment was that we MUST take responsibility
of everything that we CAN comprehend. And the thing I want to change is
the attitude such as "that is not my responsibility". In that sentence
"that" means something that is totally comprehendable and thus we CAN
take responsibility of it. I mean that if there is something that we CAN
do to some issue, even just a minor thing, then it is our
responsibility, because we have the freedom, even if imaginary, to
either do something about it or not to do. And there is no argument that
can undo this responsibility. Of course we have limited capacity to
influence everything, but we DO influence everything all the time,
because we are unseperable PART OF the everything. And the question is
just what we have learned to value the most, which things we've learned
to want to influence the most and if we consider free will to be
illusionary, then we can say that it is just the question of what kind
of environment we have been born to, that creates the possible
alternatives from which we think we choose the best we can with our
available capacity to think clearly. This thing about illusionary
consciousness is very interesting and I have just began to understand
what it might mean.

> > What anyone wants to get to be, or is, can be up to them.
> I totally disagree (if I understand you correctly). As I wrote in
> another post, human consciousness is just a cultural product and the
> free will is actually very limited depending on our physical and social
> environment. I would say free will is also illusionary, because in every
> situation we choose the best alternative we have for that situation and
> the alternatives are constructed using the knowledge we have. Thus, in
> any situation we have total of one choice.
> ---
> It seems to me that you've caught yourself in a logic loop here - if human
> consciousness is 'just' a cultural product, how do we change? Specifically,
> all or almost all people involved in the Sudbury Valley model had some close
> approximation of a traditional classroom education - yet, we manage to want
> something different. There's something else at play in human consciousness -
> free will, human nature, who knows what - that permits some people at least
> to be more than a mere product of their culture. Or do you think not? How
> did you come to want something different?

Have you ever heard or cultural evolution? As I said somewhere, human
behavior aims to common results and feelings are a form of
reorganization. This reorganization process is what makes the culture
develop, into a different form that is more or less able to survive. In
my case for example, After my school years I felt awful. I tried to seek
out better alternatives. In my early childhood I probably had enough
love and trust that I had power to emerge from the culturally
traditional forms of surviving. I found out that there are indeed better
alternatives for bringing up children and that it wasn't my fault that I
felt this bad. I found about Alice Miller and later on about A.S.Neill
and I'm still finding all the time new influences. And it is totally
impossible to solve the mystery of my thinking, because it a combination
of all my experience, from which the exposure to Miller and Neill have
been just minor issues. Let's take language for example. How did I learn
to use the language and what kind of emotions and concepts I have
attatched to different words? My consciousness is a result of all these
things and the illusionary choices I have come from these experiences.
The way I choose the best alternatives and the way I behave according to
my experiences are probably determined by my genes. So, the concept of
free will is not only illusionary but also very destructive, because it
creates the concept of personal responsibility, which then creates the
concept of external punishments. Can you see my line of reasoning now? I
mean that because there is no free will there is no use for external

> I'm a little bummed with the vigor and relish with which people have been
> beating on the model the last day or 2 - not that the model and the people
> on the list can't take, of course they can, but that so much of it seems so
> abstracted from the actual experience of the kids in the school. Nobody's
> bossing them around. Run-ins with the JC are few and far between for most
> kids, and the resolution mostly amiable. It doesn't work perfectly all the
> time, but comes out looking very good stood up against any real-world
> alternatives.

I totally agree that JC works pretty well or at least seems to work
pretty well. What I disagree with is the philosophical basis for it,
because in my opinion there is no philosophical basis for it.

> Finally, the experience of interacting freely with other human beings is
> *the* great prize or result - the books and woods and art rooms pale almost
> to insignificance in comparison. This freedom and what it means to the
> 'soul' transcends culture, in my opinion.

I believe that the same or even better prize or result can be found from
the philosophical basis that I've been trying to explain. And I also
think that from this philosophical point of view we can find a way to
offer this kind of education to 100% of the population. SVS claims that
it cannot deal with all people. And I would once again stress that we
are all fighting for the same things, namely a better world for
ourselves and for the next generations. And what this means IMO is that
we should find as many different views as possible and argue about them
and find out which ones stand the philosophical inspection and seek
those further. I believe SVS has stood for pretty heavy philosophical
critique and my critique isn't probably gonna change it, but I believe
we all can learn from this discussion and that is the main point.


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