Re: virus: Incipient Consciousness: discipline vs. freedom as methods of indoctrination for juvenile

Eric Boyd ()
Wed, 19 Jun 1996 01:51:40 -0500

Gifford, Nate F wrote:

> >Would it not be better to perpetuate the illusion of essences, at least
> >until your children reach the "age of reason", when you could begin
> >explaining to them about how it is?
> This comes back to my point above. THERE IS NO IS FOR IT. In fact there
> is no IT. Perhaps the zen masters of the group can even get around the IS.
> Sorry for the mystical phrasing. I think I have a point here .... but
> having denied IT I can't say what IT IS.

Ummm. I think I see something here: since neither good nor bad have any
real validity on a universal scale (ie truth), you cannot put yourself
into a position, even if only for a few years, where you try and
maintain it. Solution: do not perpetuate the illusion; instead give the
real reason that most people hide behind the words "good" and "bad".
Becuase I said so. Since absolutes do not exist, you have to become a
relative one for your children in order to get them to do desirable
things (and not do undesirable things).

> The joy of raising children is a lot like gardening. You plant memes ...
> seeds ... and then watch them flower given appropriate weather ...
> socialization forces out of your control.
> The point is that short of actual abuse the
> memes you plant are up to you. What personality traits I consider to be
> flowers you may consider to be weeds and vice versa. It doesn't matter as
> long as you put some time in the garden.

Nice analogy here. I spent the day gardening at my grandma's today,
pulling out nice flowers becuase she didn't like them. I would have
kept 'em, but she was the boss! Kind of brings home the point about
"control" in raising a child too, eh? Sure, you can plant the seeds,
and you can try and do a little gardening as well. But much of the
situation is out of your control. Boy do we ever need some rain.

> Once you have your own seven year old you can worry about what's in their
> little noggin. Personally I don't view them as particularly human yet. I

Some day I hope to be a father. Won't be for a few years yet though.

> am a control freak for how seven year olds react to me. I demand respect
> from them because I CAN. There have been a couple that I've barred from my
> property because they haven't been appropriately socialized. Ironically my


> son seems to enjoy hanging with "Wild kids" in the short run, but in the
> long run they have disagreements with no way of settling them making them
> "brats". I've noticed that "wild kids" don't have any close friends, where
> kids from disciplined homes have a common sense of right and wrong to

I think the same sort of thing happens with orginized religion as well.
Sorry, but this is definatly going of topic here...

I am part of a family who never attended Church. No orginized religion
in this household. I think, to a certain degree, it has limited my
social experience. I have always been a rather shy boy, and I never did
much in terms of social activities outside of school. I'd like to think
that given a more open environment, (like one I just found at the
Lutheran Church, where all one had to do was sign your name to join the
"Youth Retreat") I might have gotten over the shyness earlier. No way
to prove that, of course. But I am hoping that by the time I'm raising
my children there are "non-religious" Churchs all over the place. Like
the North Texas Church of Freethought. Like the CoV will become when
and if a building is put up. And if there isn't one where I want to
live; well, I may just have to found it. Becuase the real power of
living in society is the links that one forms with other people, and
right now a lot of that is done in Churches. If you don't attend a
Church, you are -- quite literally -- missing out on the most happening
social circles.

(the biggest Hope[1] that I have for the twenty-first centurary is
spelled out above. That humanity will move away from religious (deity)
worship and towards more rational, useful, social gatherings on

[1] Hope. yikes. I watch this word very carefully. It's a big one,
and the trap is deeeeeeep.

(and here is yet another side track: I've often heard it said that the
smaller the word, the more trouble some it can be. With a few
exceptions, I think the rule is fairly good. Hope has four letters, and
it seems fairly scary to me. God has three letters, and debates around
him can last a long time. "Is" has two letters, and represents nothing
more that the founding western illusion: that objects have essences.
"I" has only one letter. shit.... :-)

> appeal to. In another 10 years or so I suppose I'll be able to put all
> this in terms of memetic engineering.

Ten /years/? I'm only 19, so forgive me if that looks like an
incredible amount of time. Surely you will be able to do something
before then!

> I've never told my kid not to do something because its bad. I always give
> him two reasons: First there is some non-zero probability that what he is
> doing will cause harm to himself or others. And second, because I said so.
> Dad: "Don't watch anymore cartoons today because I can hear your brains
> turning to mush"
> Kid: "Aw, Dad no you can't."
> Dad: "Fine, don't watch anymore cartoons today because I said so."

This looks like a good way to go... thanks for helping me out here.

Robin Faichney wrote:

> >I don't know... seems to me that saying "because I say so" implies that
> >you beleive in "might makes right", i.e. that you can impose your will
> >on others just because you hold a position of authority over them.
> That's what authority means, isn't it? If you believe in authority,
> then you believe might makes right. Isn't it dishonest to pretend
> you can't or won't impose your will on children?

Dishonest to pretend you /can not/ yes. But if you actually /do not/
then I don't see how it would be dishonest. Anyway, I think that's just
a minor technacality... Such a use of your position of authority seems
inevidable to me. Just as with normal rationality, one must eventually
resort to a call of faith because one does not have the time or
patiences to justify /everything/.
I would say, having thought about it a bit more, now, that I would
choose to try and explain all my judgements to my (potential) children.
Might makes right, yes, but reason backs him up.