Re: DSM: teenagedom (was: greetings)

Date: Sun Jan 20 2002 - 11:20:19 EST

Robert & Allen,

    Thank you for your reply. Reading your e-mail, I realized that this is a
very special situation. I will explain.
    Both of you seem like intelligent, open, and most importantly, honest
people. I have learned over the years that there are situations that can only
be worsened by actions of blind rebuttal, something I was once very
susceptible to (some would say I still am!). Hence, judging that this is one
of those situations, I will address it in as much of a calm and respectful
manner as I can.
    Here is how it will go (forgive the style of writing; I am honest when I
say it is neither condescending nor patronizing)! Before I can respond to
your e-mail, I must hypothesize. The reason for this is that I want to be
sure what it is exactly that you implied by writing it. As I mentioned, you
both strike me as very honest people, but as of now I will refer to your
views as one, since they were. Continuing, when I, as I am about to, propose
that you hypothetically meant "X" when you wrote that e-mail, and give you a
hypothetical response to it, I wish you to (regardless of the content of my
response!) tell me if that is or is not what you actually meant. I will
accept this response. I might give an obviously disagreeable and perhaps
antagonistic response, but, and this is of supreme importance, you must
remain entirely honest anyway. Do not shy away from the true meaning of your
e-mail when you respond, even if my response is in the correct context,
corresponding to your implication exactly, and even if it is antagonistic as
a result.
    It seems obvious to me (though, again, you may confirm or disprove this
theory!) that what you were implying in your e-mail (this is "X") was the
following: some amount of the motivation behind my writings, on the subject
of education in general, were fueled by misplaced anger. I will address your
hypothetical meaning.
    This observation does not please me, gentlemen, to put it kindly. There
are so many factors, the first of which essentially nullifies the rest, which
undermine the validity of your hypothesis. And the first one is: you do not
even know me! Indeed, misplaced anger is one of the most complex concepts in
psychoanalysis today, stretching far back into quadrants unbeknownst to even
the closest friends of the person in question. I know therapists and people
trained in psychology and psychoanalysis who would confirm this concept.
Hence, to make an accusation such as yours, based on a few writings by
someone you haven't even met, let alone heard any reliable descriptions of,
is to make a grave mistake.
    The other important issue is the fact that, humorous and paradoxical in
essence, your response was so alike the traditional methods of alternative
educators! Indeed, the situation is fascinating. "What is the situation," one
might ask. Well, here goes: there is a boy (me), and, though you may disagree
with him, he makes fairly respectable arguments against some of the
foundations on which alternative education operates. All well and good. And
yet, do you respectfully disagree with this boy, as others might, and of
which action he has no problem (nor should he)?!
    No! You patronize him and ultimately treat him as a lesser human being! A
hypothetical response might be: "No! You were not treated as someone lesser
to adults! Not in the least!" But to return to my previous comparisons with
alternative education, it simply becomes more subtle. Indeed, if students in
alternative education were given free rain to write papers about how
inherently fraudulent the whole system was, the system would implode, the
liberal educators not being able to handle the uncomfortable, and at the same
time liberating, freedom and ultimately blinding truth!
    Indeed, I would place money on the fact that if my comments on the
subject came from any staff members at Sudbury Valley, you would not even
think of justifying their feelings be citing "misplaced anger." And so, what
justification do you have in doing that to me, sir? Am I not like the rest,
to be agreed or disagreed with, however vehemently, but someone who's
opinions should at least be treated with respect and acceptance? Just like
every other member of this list? I think that those comments showed a total
lack of respect, implying that I am not seen as equal. Really, though, I am
glad in a way that your response was sent. I hope it shoes everyone on the
list the absolutely supreme powers of subtlety that are exorcised when acting
as a proponent for liberal education, or, if not that, at least a proponent
of students rights and freedoms up to a certain point. Then things get messy,
when they actually step out of bounds, and there are problems. Bounds which,
because they are messy as well, are never actually mentioned or spoken of,
but whose implications the proponents deem obvious. This separates the pure
proponents of Sudbury Valley and all its inherent philosophies from the
fraudulent infiltrators.
     If you want to propose that anything I said is not strait from my heart,
have the guts to come out and say it! My theory for this restraint is that
for people to see that someone, let alone a student, would actually be able
to disagree with liberal education and all the issues pertaining to it strait
from his heart, unaffected by special interests, is unbelievable and
unacceptable to most people, because it shakes and otherwise comfortable
    As hard as it may be, and I know this sounds ridiculous, we return to the
beginning of my e-mail. If my interpretation is not what you meant, I would
kindly request that you not respond to any of my accusations. I am not
telling you what to do, but rather, trying to make sure this situation does
not degenerate further. Because (and this is from my heart)! My9 accusations
are nullified in my mind 100%, and I think of you both EXACTLY as I did
before, if what I cited is not what you implied in your e-mail. My entire
response was conducted in a purely hypothetical bases, because I think both
of you are good people and I do not wish to antagonize with blind anger.
    Please be honest and tell me of the true meaning, one which I have strong
theories of, but one who's total implosion I would not fight if it is for the
cause of untarnished truth.

-Travis Wiener


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