caroljane

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Even if I were to grant that some kids need authoritarianism...

Andrew,

Woah thar pardner.

That's not what I said.

Teaching self-discipline is not authoritarianism--not in my sense.

Don't forget, you are talking to Mr. Big Honking Authority Issues in life. :)

The following is a true story. I once walked into a meeting of Brazilian and Paraguyan generals at the Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam (which is called Itaipu Binacional in Portuguese). I was putting on a show on the premises on the Paraguyan side and my show got canceled at the last minute. Well, it is true that I was producing a Brazilian protest singer, Geraldo Vandré, so the thing was very controversial. This was right in the middle of Brazil's military dictatorship--the one where they jailed and tortured political prisoners.

I was livid and just stormed on in. The generals were seated at a meeting table. They looked up surprised and asked who I was. I said: "Sou gringo do Brasil binacional, quem são vocês que cancelem meu show?" (I'm gringo bi-national of Brazil, and who the hell are you to cancel my show?)

I could have disappeared at that very moment and nobody would have uttered a peep, not then, not down the road. But I was lucky. I think they liked my spunk or something. (Latin American military leaders like macho displays, but I don't recommend doing what I did if you think things like breathing are of some value to you. :) It's like petting a rattlesnake for amusement, then whopping it on the side of the head to watch it jump.)

The general in charge was surprisingly polite to me, although a couple of the others looked miffed--dark clouds forming over their heads. He was almost fatherly, though. He didn't solve my problem, but actually gave me some information that I later used to get the restriction released.

That was back when I had more courage than sense.

Would I do it again under similar circumstances? Probably. But I'm getting too old for that crap. :)

The point is, you are not talking to an "authoritarian" in the sense you described. Not even in the ballpark.

Now you know one of the main reasons I am not attracted to the fundy version of Objectivism. Too many authoritarian games with the head folks getting off on power trips.

But self-discipline? That's another topic.

Self-discipline is a skill just like any other skill. It can be learned--and, I agree, many folks screw up teaching it. Some kids have a knack for it and others don't, so I have no qualms with teaching it to kids who don't have it. (I'm not a fan of the Prussian model of education we currently use. I'm more into teaching life skills, including entrepreneurship as kids get older, but that's another issue.)

Frankly, I wish someone had taught me the self-discipline skill when I was in school instead of laying an authoritarianism trip on me. I later had to figure it all out on my own right when I most needed to rely on it. Even today I fight with this.

If I had been taught self-discipline when I was young, it would have spared me years of grief.

Michael

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You posit and "essential/immortal soul" such as I and even Rand apparently think of, but also present a "secular soul" ,self-directed and rational. This strikes me as either semantics or a restatement of the model we agree on: the conscious feeds the subconscious with rational observations, and the subconscious processes them and helps produce rational thought.

What I feel (and think) is that the essential self, the soul, is a whole of which the conscious mind is the expression but the smallest part. Whatever is in my subconscious mind, and whatever in my conscious mind that processes reality, are largely unknown to me in origin, and beyond the ability of my conscious mind to direct or control. Reality, life, the world, the universe, are greater not only than myself but greater than my capability of entirely understanding them, at any given moment. In many ways, I would always have been myself, before I was ever born.

I'm sorry for this impressionistic answer, but you know I am no philosopher or debater. And it's a slow night here: everybody that can get there, is at the movies tonight.

In honour of the opening of Atlas Shrugged, and you, I have purchased a bottle of Cape One Cabernet Sauvignon which is "a blend of wines from South Africa and Canada", not solely because it was on sale ($8.95, a steal!). It is delicious.

Carol,

I must have been too vague - and surely impressionistic, as usual, too!

I did not posit an "immortal soul", and certainly neither did Rand.

Apologies for any lack of clarity.

Our ideas are quite congruent, if I assume you typed "immortal", by mistake.

Lay in a case of that wine :blink: - S.A. needs the export market. :)

Tony

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Teaching self-discipline is not authoritarianism--not in my sense.

Don't forget, you are talking to Mr. Big Honking Authority Issues in life. :)

MSK,

I apologize if my reply sounded overly hostile.

I'll be open. Teachers are a very hot-button issue after the abuse I dealt with in high school (not legally abuse, but IMO abuse). My maternal grandmother was a teacher and she was an insufferable bitch that ruined my mother's life and is partly responsible for my mother's own psychological issues, including some which have contributed to a medical situation of hers. I had my self-sovereignty stripped away by teachers including one specific teacher who basically gave me hell. She died in a car crash, and lets just say I was overjoyed when I heard about her death (I'm being quite diplomatic here; if I were to give you a full description of my reaction you'd probably consider me heartless).

So yes, I have issues with teachers, teacher's unions, schools and basically the entire pre-University educational establishment.

I apologize if I sounded like I was lashing out at you.

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Teaching self-discipline is not authoritarianism--not in my sense.

Don't forget, you are talking to Mr. Big Honking Authority Issues in life. :)

MSK,

I apologize if my reply sounded overly hostile.

I'll be open. Teachers are a very hot-button issue after the abuse I dealt with in high school (not legally abuse, but IMO abuse). My maternal grandmother was a teacher and she was an insufferable bitch that ruined my mother's life and is partly responsible for my mother's own psychological issues, including some which have contributed to a medical situation of hers. I had my self-sovereignty stripped away by teachers including one specific teacher who basically gave me hell. She died in a car crash, and lets just say I was overjoyed when I heard about her death (I'm being quite diplomatic here; if I were to give you a full description of my reaction you'd probably consider me heartless).

So yes, I have issues with teachers, teacher's unions, schools and basically the entire pre-University educational establishment.

I apologize if I sounded like I was lashing out at you.

I understand how you can resent and be angry at really bad teachers, I knew this leader of the UFT and his statement explains why there are more bad teachers in the system:

"It is time to admit that public education operates like a planned economy. It's a bureaucratic system where everybody's role is spelled out in advance, and there are few incentives for innovation and productivity. It's not a surprise when a school system doesn't improve.

It more resembles a Communist economy than our own market economy."

-- Albert Shanker

(1928-1997) former president of the American Federation of Teachers

Source: Wall Street Journal, October 2, 1989

However, and not having walked in your shoes, I could only suggest that you put down the resentment because it acts as a drag on your potential to be happy and productive.

Adam

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However, and not having walked in your shoes, I could only suggest that you put down the resentment because it acts as a drag on your potential to be happy and productive.

I respect your perspective, and thank you for the advice. However, I happen to disagree with the idea that harboring resentment, loathing and fantasies of vengeance necessarily imperils one's potential for future happiness.

Still, I appreciate your comment.

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Andrew,

No need to apologize.

We're just exchanging ideas and views and experiences.

I think there comes a point of detail where there is no universal right or wrong. There is just what is and how we deal with it within the larger context of our lives.

I'm sorry you were so abused by your teachers. I haven't met a control freak yet who realizes how much hatred he or she prompts from other people by abusing authority. Usually, I have seen such people feel sorry for themselves when it becomes apparent that those under them resent them. Then they go on about injustice and the need to stand on principle, that X, Y or Z is the one ruining it all, yadda yadda yadda.

But in these cases it's always personal, never universal. What's weird is they often complain in universal sounding words like truth and justice (or, in the case of teachers, "good of the student" and things in that ballpark), but the meaning does not go beyond their own hurt feelings when they present examples.

Michael

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Andrew,

No need to apologize.

We're just exchanging ideas and views and experiences.

I think there comes a point of detail where there is no universal right or wrong. There is just what is and how we deal with it within the larger context of our lives.

I'm sorry you were so abused by your teachers. I haven't met a control freak yet who realizes how much hatred he or she prompts from other people by abusing authority. Usually, I have seen such people feel sorry for themselves when it becomes apparent that those under them resent them. Then they go on about injustice and the need to stand on principle, that X, Y or Z is the one ruining it all, yadda yadda yadda.

But in these cases it's always personal, never universal. What's weird is they often complain in universal sounding words like truth and justice (or, in the case of teachers, "good of the student" and things in that ballpark), but the meaning does not go beyond their own hurt feelings when they present examples.

MSK,

First, thanks for your support and understanding.

I certainly agree with you to a significant extent.

We all come to our conclusions within the context of our own experiences. To ask someone to ignore their own experiences in favor of a deductive argument would be rationalism. On the other hand, to ask someone to assume their own experiences are absolutely universal (i.e. acontextual) and they are right to draw unquestioned conclusions from said experiences would be a concrete-bound and solipsistic bastardization of empiricism.

I accept that in theory education doesn't have to be what I endured in high school or primary school. Hell, my experiences in university prove that education doesn't have to be what I endured back in the earlier stages.

But, unfortunately, a mixture of instituional factors, unquestioned assumptions, and various other things resulted in the situation I endured. And I can understand why some people would think it would be a little harsh for me to judge the entire educational establishment on the basis of it (although I think if anyone completely denies any legitimacy to my experiences they must be either idiotic or evil).

I'm more than happy to go into detail about my experiences in high school, including letters I wrote to them after they sent me mail begging for money. My high school's philosophy was quite literally the opposite of Objectivism in every respect (yes, FAR worse than Kant; Kant at least believed individuals couldn't be used as means to collective ends (see Nozick's Anarchy, State and Utopia). So yes, I quite honestly would delight at being able to truly destroy said school's reputation.

But I don't need to go into detail. If I did that would probably make more people think I'm unjust towards teachers as a whole. I don't think so, at least not when talking about many (if not most) teachers. I fully concede that SOME teachers aren't reincarnations of Hitler/Stalin/Mao/Pol Pot/etc.

Edited by studiodekadent

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Teaching self-discipline is not authoritarianism--not in my sense.

Don't forget, you are talking to Mr. Big Honking Authority Issues in life. :)

MSK,

I apologize if my reply sounded overly hostile.

I'll be open. Teachers are a very hot-button issue after the abuse I dealt with in high school (not legally abuse, but IMO abuse). My maternal grandmother was a teacher and she was an insufferable bitch that ruined my mother's life and is partly responsible for my mother's own psychological issues, including some which have contributed to a medical situation of hers. I had my self-sovereignty stripped away by teachers including one specific teacher who basically gave me hell. She died in a car crash, and lets just say I was overjoyed when I heard about her death (I'm being quite diplomatic here; if I were to give you a full description of my reaction you'd probably consider me heartless).

So yes, I have issues with teachers, teacher's unions, schools and basically the entire pre-University educational establishment.

I apologize if I sounded like I was lashing out at you.

I would have been overjoyed too. It's a healthy reaction.

--Brant

never had a very good or very bad teacher but they were all basically jailers and I hate jail so schoolmarmism pushes all my wrong buttons

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I'll be open. Teachers are a very hot-button issue after the abuse I dealt with in high school (not legally abuse, but IMO abuse). My maternal grandmother was a teacher and she was an insufferable bitch that ruined my mother's life and is partly responsible for my mother's own psychological issues, including some which have contributed to a medical situation of hers. I had my self-sovereignty stripped away by teachers including one specific teacher who basically gave me hell. She died in a car crash, and lets just say I was overjoyed when I heard about her death (I'm being quite diplomatic here; if I were to give you a full description of my reaction you'd probably consider me heartless).

I would have been overjoyed too. It's a healthy reaction.

--Brant

never had a very good or very bad teacher but they were all basically jailers and I hate jail so schoolmarmism pushes all my wrong buttons

Thanks for the support! Indeed, "overjoyed" probably is the correct word. My eyes lit up like a child on Christmas morning and I launched into a rousing rendition of "ding dong, the bitch is dead" when I got the fantastic news.

Admittedly I regret I didn't get a chance to tell her exactly what I thought about her to her face. I'll stop now before I go and describe my more gruesome revenge fantasies.

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As I have said before and was not the first to say, there is no such thing as teaching. There is only autodidactism, and the teaching profession is a collection of techniques for faciltating/encouraging/enabling/browbeating learners/students/surly day-release scary types/sullen immigrants into absorbing facts , and techniques for absorbing facts, which they do not believe they ought to have to absorb.

Look at any high school, or remember your own, and you will know I am accurate. What is the point of learning history, life started when I was born and only the future matters? Who needs to learn algebra, computers do it all nowadays? Hey I speak English, what you think?

School is jail, and boarding school is prison. The personalities and abilities of the teachers are their lives and deaths, and the judgmentsof the inmates on each other can last for life

Also, the sunny corridor opens into a door, leading to a huge world containing people who are not you, as you know yourself, and many people who are you as you wish yourself to be, and ultimately one person , who you will be and always were.

This is the only education..

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> Look at any high school, or remember your own, and you will know I am accurate....School is jail

My junior high and high school were wonderful. They and the kinds of teachers I had opened new worlds to me and I grew enormously.

I wish my expensive college had been half as good.

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> Look at any high school, or remember your own, and you will know I am accurate....School is jail

My junior high and high school were wonderful. It opened new worlds to me and I grew enormously. I wish my expensive college had been half as good.

Yes, so were mine. I was being devil's advocate, and also technically accurate - in fact school is a place you must legally be. But I loved school really, the safety and the possibility. There is a wonderful John Updike story which encapsulates this feeling. I wish I could remember the name - it is in the "Pigeon Feathers " book, maybe even the title story. The narrator, editor of the school paper, is looking out on the snowy world outside, safe in his world inside.

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Admittedly I regret I didn't get a chance to tell her exactly what I thought about her to her face. I'll stop now before I go and describe my more gruesome revenge fantasies.

I've given my opinion about schools more than once already, so I'm rather with you guys here.

I don't find Carol's argument about all teaching being an enabling of auto-didactics convincing. In my book, auto-didactics means voluntary, self-driven learning with a self-chosen curiculum. Nothing kills curiosity more than a curriculum one hasn't chosen and one isn't interested in at the time when it's being chosen.

The majority can only learn that way, so they advocate that system for everyone. "All stones are cobblestones to you." (Kira in We, the living.)

They don't care about about the injustice this implies.

I don't hate any particular teacher of mine any more and I didn't know my hatred to be just when I still did. Today, I blame the masses who are advocating government in education and since that's nearly everyone, I can't practically point a finger to anybody.

People, including many of those who embrace the label of Objectivism, are sometimes referring to "common decency" or that there are some things so unjust that everyone "just knows" it to be wrong. I'm sometimes accused of being heartless for not sympathizing then.

But it's really very simple. We live in a world in which almost all people advocate a school system that sacrifices a few children that they usually don't know. At least they won't know who those children are. They do that because they know that school was good for themselves - they wouldn't have been auto-didactic. Also, advocating public schooling in particular makes them feel warm and altruist - it's not their money, after all.

There is no "common decency". Indecency is the common case.

There's "common good manners", and I try hard to comply to them. I know what's good for me. And there's kindness and love to people one knows to be worthy and that can always only be an exception. I'm not a Randroid in the sense that I run around and spit in people's faces. But it's still necessary to spell things out every once in a while to keep good manners from descending into the betrayal of one's values.

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I'm not a Randroid in the sense that I run around and spit in people's faces.

John:

I'm confused. Is this hyperbole?

Adam

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Admittedly I regret I didn't get a chance to tell her exactly what I thought about her to her face. I'll stop now before I go and describe my more gruesome revenge fantasies.

I've given my opinion about schools more than once already, so I'm rather with you guys here.

I don't find Carol's argument about all teaching being an enabling of auto-didactics convincing. In my book, auto-didactics means voluntary, self-driven learning with a self-chosen curiculum. Nothing kills curiosity more than a curriculum one hasn't chosen and one isn't interested in at the time when it's being chosen.

The majority can only learn that way, so they advocate that system for everyone. "All stones are cobblestones to you." (Kira in We, the living.)

They don't care about about the injustice this implies.

I don't hate any particular teacher of mine any more and I didn't know my hatred to be just when I still did. Today, I blame the masses who are advocating government in education and since that's nearly everyone, I can't practically point a finger to anybody.

People, including many of those who embrace the label of Objectivism, are sometimes referring to "common decency" or that there are some things so unjust that everyone "just knows" it to be wrong. I'm sometimes accused of being heartless for not sympathizing then.

But it's really very simple. We live in a world in which almost all people advocate a school system that sacrifices a few children that they usually don't know. At least they won't know who those children are. They do that because they know that school was good for themselves - they wouldn't have been auto-didactic. Also, advocating public schooling in particular makes them feel warm and altruist - it's not their money, after all.

There is no "common decency". Indecency is the common case.

There's "common good manners", and I try hard to comply to them. I know what's good for me. And there's kindness and love to people one knows to be worthy and that can always only be an exception. I'm not a Randroid in the sense that I run around and spit in people's faces. But it's still necessary to spell things out every once in a while to keep good manners from descending into the betrayal of one's values.

Admittedly I regret I didn't get a chance to tell her exactly what I thought about her to her face. I'll stop now before I go and describe my more gruesome revenge fantasies.

I've given my opinion about schools more than once already, so I'm rather with you guys here.

I don't find Carol's argument about all teaching being an enabling of auto-didactics convincing. In my book, auto-didactics means voluntary, self-driven learning with a self-chosen curiculum. Nothing kills curiosity more than a curriculum one hasn't chosen and one isn't interested in at the time when it's being chosen.

The majority can only learn that way, so they advocate that system for everyone. "All stones are cobblestones to you." (Kira in We, the living.)

They don't care about about the injustice this implies.

I don't hate any particular teacher of mine any more and I didn't know my hatred to be just when I still did. Today, I blame the masses who are advocating government in education and since that's nearly everyone, I can't practically point a finger to anybody.

People, including many of those who embrace the label of Objectivism, are sometimes referring to "common decency" or that there are some things so unjust that everyone "just knows" it to be wrong. I'm sometimes accused of being heartless for not sympathizing then.

But it's really very simple. We live in a world in which almost all people advocate a school system that sacrifices a few children that they usually don't know. At least they won't know who those children are.

This statement is frankly ridiculous. First off, we live in a world in which "most" people have no schools let alone school systems nearby to advocate or not. Of the "most" I infer you mean, western European and North American, yes, most of them have been through a school system and are willing to "sacrifice" their own children to it, since most of them have survived and a few have even learned something. Why you should think there is a large number of people who are enthusiastic to sacrifice children they do not even have, is beyond me.

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I've given my opinion about schools more than once already, so I'm rather with you guys here.

I don't find Carol's argument about all teaching being an enabling of auto-didactics convincing. In my book, auto-didactics means voluntary, self-driven learning with a self-chosen curiculum. Nothing kills curiosity more than a curriculum one hasn't chosen and one isn't interested in at the time when it's being chosen.

The majority can only learn that way, so they advocate that system for everyone. "All stones are cobblestones to you." (Kira in We, the living.)

They don't care about about the injustice this implies.

John, for heaven's sake.

Curriculum is a menu of subjects, which have been learned for , like, ten thousand years. Oddly, people still find value in learning them. Most people only get exposed to these subjects at school, between the ages of 11 and 16 or so, although they could of course seek them out on the internet but not bloody likely.

If you are not interested at the time they are offered, like a baby with a new food you will be offered it later, until it is established that you just don't like it. Whether you need it in your diet, will only be known after you grow up, long after you have left school.

Injustice hell. It would be an injustice to you and to civilization if you were not exposed to "things you're not interested in" at the age when you are most able to become interested.

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