Friday, 25 December 2009

Compartmental Conscience.

I describe our human ability to have a selective conscience as "compartmental conscience". This term enables us to visualise the way we put bits of our conscience into different boxes in our minds, separate from other boxes, and the way we take things that we don`t want to have a conscience about and set them aside into another box. This process allows us to function even when different boxes/compartments have contradictions with each other.

Lets look at some examples:

I was prompted to write this blog after seeing video footage of youths tempting a swan to the riverbank with some food, only to viciously kick it in the neck, killing it outright. The TV program then showed a vet operating to save the life of a swan that had had it`s wing broken in another savage attack. The bird lay on an operating table and the vet amputated the wing. The swan`s blood triggered my mind to visualise a similar scene where the bird would be a turkey or chicken being prepared for eating and I imagined that the vet would happily sit down to a roast chicken, yet was here using all her skill to save a bird. This is an example of compartmental conscience. In one mental compartment she is eating a bird, and that compartment says that it is OK to do so, yet in another mental compartment she strives to save a bird. It is the compartmentalising of conscience that enables these contradictory actions to take place, the closedness of each compartment in the mind allowing guilt-free actions in one mode and conscienceful actions in the other.

We see this pervasively in the relationships around us. Someone may bully a friend or a spouse, or whomsoever, on the one hand, and be decent and kind and morally upright on the other. One mental compartment will justify being abusive to one person whilst the another compartment will not allow such behaviour at all. Indeed, it can be the very nature attached to one compartment that propels the moral or immoral behaviour of another. A typical situation would be the compartment we make when we want to justify being unkind to someone: We may be respectful and kind and loving to this person most of the time, but when we want to be unkind we create a compartment with a label of justification...Something like,
" so- and- so forgot my birthday, so I am justified in not speaking to them."

We as human beings want and need to be in a mental compartment that is comfortable and approving of our actions..We see this in religious practice, for example, where people cleave in order to furnish approval for themselves, both from within themselves and from the community in which they live. But where there is one area where we obviously strive to be good, there are others where we are less than good people. Religion can be excellent propaganda for us as "good people" and can help us to feel good about ourselves, yet it can also convince us that other bad actions are acceptable/allowable given that we are so good in this one area. And this we see all around us, a sort of trade-off between compartments, that lets us off the hook as far as guilt is concerned.

So what consequences are there, in the broader picture, of compartmentalising our consciences? Well, cruelty, discrimination, racism and bullying, demonisation and witch hunting, are all products of compartmentalising. We see it in the Nazi ability to demonise Jews whilst they maintain normal, non-paranoid, relations with their families and fellow countrymen. We see it in gang-mentality where violence can be inflicted against "outsiders", or other gangs, but not towards their own. We see it in criminality where a compartment allows shoplifting or burglaries. We see it in society wherever we look.

Bullying..... and I mean all types of bullying....compartmentalises the one to be bullied by some judgment that will enable bullying to take place without there being conscience to prevent it. You have to put someone in a box as "different from others" in order to allow your conscience to get away with it. We thus see that doctors, for example, can be exemplary towards most of their patients, and yet will put a patient whom they don`t like or maybe have damaged in some way, into a separate box labeled "problem patient". The placing of this patient into another category will enable the conscience to switch off in regard to this particular person and the doctor can be rude or even medically abusive without any conscience at all.

We need to be aware of compartmentalising in our interpersonal relationships and in the wider world. Whilst it has many damaging affects, it can also enable our better nature to thrive and function normally.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Your Kids Belong to the State.

The present government is hell-bent upon inspecting families where children are being home educated. This crusade gathered momentum after the failings of social workers led to mistakes where children who were being abused at home died. None of these children were home educated in fact, but out of a drive to be seen to make sure the system protectes all children, the government decided to aim their cosmetic rightfulness at home educating families. Later, way down the line, they shifted their professed aims by claiming that they wanted to inspect children educated at home to make sure that they were receiving a proper education.

So what? you might say. Why should this be of any concern to me? Many people who send their kids to school, state or private, have said that they are all in favour of children who don`t go to school being properly assessed and monitored. Somehow it looks okay doesn`t it? You know, government protecting children, concerns about child welfare and suitable education. Whatever could be wrong with that?

But parents who educate their kids at home have opted out of mainstream education for good reason.They have concerns about educational methods in schools and the ever-present culture of bullying.They are concerned that schools absolutely fail a huge number of children, not least because children are demotivated by a "sit down and learn what you are told to learn" mentality. Having opted to imbue their childrens lives with a nurturing educational ethos based upon harnessing a child`s natural instinct to learn,the government then decides that it doesn`t trust them to do this: It wants to inspect them, invade the family, direct what should be taught, how and when and for how many hours. The government wants CONTROL and it wants it`s eyes all over the private life of a family..just because the parents are opting out of a standard education for their kids.


Human rights alarm-bells ring out a cry of suppression as we become aware of very basic group psychology playing out it`s desire to punish people who do not conform to the wider group: in this case there is a larger group unease at some parents rejecting the school system. The fact is that with children being withdrawn in ever greater numbers from schools, the state has to try to protect itself by shifting the onus of suspicion away from a failing educational system onto the educational heretics, "home edors". People in home ed. who simply want to educate their children in a non-coercive way, inadvertently end up reflecting guilt back at the "powers that be" as they try to avoid looking in their own mirrors.

To avoid guilt/responsibility the state is common practice in guilt avoidance... tries to shift guilt onto home ed. It wants to control it because it needs to deflect it`s own guilt away from itself. In the most simplistic terms the phenomenon of guilt-shifting is no better played out than by sending the authorities to the door of innocent people: it makes them LOOK guilty of something. The game-play of any authority casting suspicion, publicly, upon a person or group, has the affect of cohering the masses against a common "enemy". It is precisely the same process as all forms of bullying, racism, etc.

The reason why this should concern everyone is because the state is pushing it`s way into all of our private lives, we are all under suspicion, civil liberties are under assault. Home educating families have become part of a slippery slope that will, if the government get their way, invade us all.

If you look you can see the signs everywhere: The state thinks it has the right to dictate what you do in your own home and it`s moral high ground is getting bigger all that time. We have seen how fat people cannot adopt, black children must be adopted only by black families, etc. Parents who eat the wrong fatty food have more recently become in danger of having their kids taken away. The most recent imposition has been that everyone must be CRB checked if they are involved in looking after children. The drive against home educating families and the self-righteous invasion of their human rights is all part of the wider picture of a moralising state that damages its ordinary citizens in the name of protecting children!!

So let`s have a look at those instances I mentioned above, measures supposedly to protect children and look after their best interests:

1/ Fat people cannot adopt because they might die all the sooner due to being overweight, not to mention that they would be a bad example to any children they adopt!!! So who suffers most as a result of this policy? Children. Children in children's homes or children shunted from one foster family to another and who are desperate to be adopted.

2/Black children must be adopted into black families because it is deemed "better for them" to be brought up by their own people, so to speak. Who suffers? Black children who spend endless years in children's homes because there is no black family to adopt them.

3/Parents who eat the wrong kind of food and feed their children the wrong kind of food are guilty of a form of child abuse and should have their children taken away. And who would suffer if children were to be removed from their parents? Children yet again. Children who would be traumatised by the powerlessness and incomprehensible cruelty of being pulled away from their parents.

4/ And the CRB checking of adults who help out with looking after kids? The kids will suffer... because people do not want to be impugned by a CRB check and children will miss out on activities if adults do not volunteer their time.

Now you can see the pattern.... So when we get to the issue of forcing a misguided and backfiring morality on home educating parents by wanting them inspected and forcing them to follow the government`s narrow and regime-based educational models, we can clearly see exactly who is going to suffer. Children. Children in families where they are loved and nurtured, where education is not a regime but a joy, who will be forced to accept that the state has the right to override their parents, invade their family, dictate how their parents should educate them ... and the frightening lesson that the home is violable by the Local Authority.

With the government`s proposed violation of the home, the precedent has been set that children belong to the state, not to parents.

We will come back to these, and related issues, in later blogs.