Tuesday, 25 May 2010

What on Earth has Happened to The Samaritans (3)?

We have just discussed the fact that most Samaritans are judgmental and I want to examine this in a little more detail..

Judgment is rife.

Just to bring us up to speed on what has been said so far, let`s just recap:
The prohibition of "chatting" is the chief player in Samaritan engagement. Sams are preoccupied with what they have been told in training about chatting and are focused in an obsessive need to eradicate it.They expend all their effort in vigilance for "chat" rather than attending to the needs of the caller. We have seen how callers are judged upon the subjective application of this diktat and how callers are, frankly, terminated if they get it wrong. We have seen, too, how Sams are inhibited from making helpful,supportive remarks because of a training rigour that chains them to not chatting and making silent space for the caller.

But we also arrived in the territory of callers being judged for their level of distress and the sympathy-value of their particular issues. Scary stuff. I am as disturbed as it is possible to be by a service that operates upon judgments, let alone value-judgments, but it is fairly common for a caller to be failing to create the right impression, according to the strictly high expectations of the Samaritan, and for the status of the callers issues to be used by the Sam to terminate the call.

There may be someone more desperate than you..

Judgment is used to eject the caller who has not shown that their issues are big enough or distressing enough to merit time. The caller may have said a few things that are deemed to be "chatting" or simply not filled the space the Sam expects the caller to fill with distress. As we have seen, the definition of "chat" will vary wildly from one Sam to another so the caller is always on tender-hooks wondering if the Sam will be totalitarian or humanistic. The caller also does not know whether their particular problems will be acceptable or not, in other words, will measure up or not. Callers are told in no uncertain terms that M.E. is not sufficient reason to call or that a family member who had a terminal illness and is now better, is reason to end the call. It is callous and arbitrary.

Of course, a very simplistic "check list" is being used to assess a caller and judge them, but, rather like the end result of ticking boxes in the NHS, it hurts too many people because the criteria simply don`t encompass real people. We can all see that a person "who seems not to be in distress" may be in more distress than one exhibiting it upfront ! One caller's crunch-point-event may be seemingly trivial compared to those with different levels of endurance or better stress management. Sams, though, judge people according to simplistic models and, basically, a person without obvious distress cues, will often find themselves judged "not worthy of time".

There are several ways that a Sam can get rid of a caller judged to be a "chatter" or not in sufficient distress, etc. One particularly harmful method is to introduce into the call the situation of a hypothetical caller who is in greater distress that the present caller ! This is directly stated, of course, no delicacy here! There is elicited here the classic guilt shift as well (!), "there is someone more desperate than you trying to get through and if you don`t vacate the line, you are guilty of preventing help for someone else." Needless to say that the negative effect upon the caller is huge.

Please do join me soon.......

Saturday, 22 May 2010

What On Earth Has Happened to The Samaritans (2) ?

To continue where I left off, let me give another example of the end result of a rigorous training that is all about Samaritan needs, on their terms....

It is a Crime to Chat.

Sams are told in training that chatting is not an acceptable use of time, nor does it help callers. This, just as the literal application of silence, leaves our Samaritan who genuinely wishes to help people, caught in a bind.

In reality, the interpretation of the work "chat" is not only arbitrary, when it comes down to it, but leads to an indiscriminate judging of people based upon a particular Sams interpretation of what constitutes "chat". A subjective, ruthless enforcement of the "no chat" rule leaves genuine callers upset, insulted and bewildered.Sams themselves are invariably so frightened that anything they say is "chat" that they are unable to engage with the caller AT ALL.

The Samaritan requirement for the caller to talk about their feelings has also become a servant of the Samaritan need to command and control "chatting". A huge number of Samaritans demand feelings which are to exclude the context around which those feelings exist, so that anything that is not soley and literally about feelings, will likely be penalised.

Because the Sam is told that chatting is not allowed, the opportunity for a caller to talk about their feelings has become, widely, a command to do so, based upon at its most extreme, the need to eliminate chatting. Many Samaritans want feelings from callers with no context at all (let alone any human interaction between Sam and caller). The experience for many callers, therefore, is that the events in their lives that give rise to any feeling of worry or distress, will be disallowed. This would mean that talk of family, events in the day, life circumstances, etc., all significant to the callers distress, will all be excluded by many Samaritans as "chat". A digression into the prohibited territory of,say,explaining family events in the day that led to whatever feelings prompted the caller to phone, may result in the Sam's parental-role-authority raising its reproving fist to threaten, "unless you talk about your feelings, I will end the call." Yet, if the caller rings again.... and gets another Samaritan who is not authoritarian (these are too few), he may find that "chatting" about context such as family, is thought not to be "chat" at all ! The fact is that a caller does not know whether the Samaritan they get can be trusted to be non-judgmental, whether they will judge that anything that is not purely "feelings" will be judged as chat, or where, indeed, the judgment will fall.

You may think, like me, that the two examples given so far, point to a service that is overly concerned with what IT wants rather than care for the caller. You`d be right. Of course, what is deeply alarming is that the bullying of callers at the behest of Sam training can have devastating consequences to vulnerable people. To be impugned with such judgments as being deemed non-genuine, or that one`s issues are in fact "chat" and, to boot, being told that the Samaritans is not the organisation for you if you want a less disciplined, less sterile approach, is deeply wounding.

But the judgments don`t stop here. Many Sams operate an assessment protocol whose purpose is to weed out those deemed unworthy of time. The Sam mantra has been that they are non-judmental, yet judgment is firmly rooted in a policy to judge which callers need time. I suppose the less loaded way of putting this would be to say that Sams are looking for folks who most need time, but, of course, you can see the problem....

Problem: how exactly do you judge who isn`t in distress sufficient enough to need time? Sams here, too, make up their own minds. They play God with callers, deselecting those who seem to have more trivial problems, according to a subjective view, and selecting ones who trigger the right signals for "acute", "needy", "distressed", and so on. Samaritans differ so much that one Sam will tell a caller that M.E. is not sufficient reason to call and another will see this as having great sympathy-value !! The subjective opt-out for a Sam who finds that they have no sympathy for serious illness, or anxiety about children, for example, will use one of the Sam phrases, "not here to chat", etc., to end the call. Absolute power. The caller has no chance.

I talked a little about why this happens in my last blog... Of course, we see a disparity of power wherever there are people in need and certainly "givers" have undue power over them. Paradoxically, the very anonymity of the Samaritan service contributes to Samaritans being able to be judgmental and cruel to many callers and for there to be little chance of recourse. Calls go to anywhere in the country and it is difficult for a caller to identify the Sam Centre where a Sam has been abusive. Of course,as one would expect,Samaritans who bully callers can lie about their location, making it more difficult for them to be caught and,sadly,even if complaints identify the offending Samaritan, other members at that branch, or in that locality, may well take it out on the person who has complained if they call again.

In summary, wherever people are abused there has to be opportunity to dispense bullying behaviour without being caught. Sams have this opportunity. Not all would take advantage, but it is to be noted here that all forms of abuse need a victim and a suitable situation to enable abuse. At this point we must observe that Samaritans are not overseen by anyone else ...with more tolerant, humanistic values. They are self-policed. There is no external challenge to their new system, its humanity, its efficacy or its rightfulness. With the clear inability of the organisation to be introspective it is necessary, I feel, for outside intervention.

I want to come back in a bit and talk about the psychology of this a little more. See you soon, I hope !!

What On Earth Has Happened to The Samaritans?

Hello Everyone!!

I hope you are very well !!!

For those expecting my continued blog about eating animals, apologies. I will come back to this soon.

It is with great heaviness that I come to this blog. It is not easy to know that which is uncomfortable to know ....

So, due to the sensitivity of this matter, I want to start with a statement of support for those who volunteer to be a Samaritan and to affirm their good intentions. It also has to be said that many Samaritans don`t use the regime-technique of which I am about to speak and are truly person-centred, compassionate and non-judgmental. However, this blog is about the very serious and deeply saddening issue of how most Samaritans treat people and that their manner of relation towards callers represents a desperately radical schism between the founding ethos of the Samaritans movement and present day practice.(I am talking about Samaritans in the U.K.)

It is out of respect for Chad Varah, founder of the Samaritans, and a deep caring for all folks in distress who call them, that this blog is written.

The first thing to mention is that the Samaritans work upon a parent-child basis. It is this that is the fundamental problem....as we shall see............in the way a Samaritan will relate to a caller. To digress slightly, we have seen in government in recent times the phenomenon of Nanny State. A State that invades and interferes and controls everything we do. This is the State being our parent, disrespecting us as individuals and thinking that it knows best in its assumption of the parental role over us, its citizens. This is, of course, a social trend and the Sams are following a tendency to assume the role of parent that we see in many areas of our lives.

The parent-child role that all Sams are trained to employ is thought to be in the best interest of the caller (they know best). There is no malintention to control, disrespect, or aim to limit the potential of the call or to behave in an inhumane manner. Of course not. However, the one-track-mind-set of Sam training..... to do what is best for the caller upon a Samaritan-formulated agenda, results in an exacting, judgmental, controlling and punitive regime that is just about as far from what most people suppose the Sams to be about as to be almost impossible to believe.

We will be examining in these blogs the Sams fundamental disrespect for callers, their bullying of people in genuine need, and a Samaritan`s "comply with what we want or I`ll hang up", mentality.

The Wall of Silence.

Let me illustrate the manifestations of a parent-child ethos by giving some examples: Sams are told in their training that callers want and need silence.(This silence is thought of in terms of "giving the caller space to think".) The parent knows best what is good for them! Our well-intentioned volunteers therefore believe this not only to be true across the board, but MUST be dealt out to EVERY caller without any leeway. For a caller with some trepidation at making a call, a wall of silence is extremely disturbing, but the Sam will not adapt to the particular needs of the caller because they are trying to do exactly what they have been told to do in their training !!! This means that a caller who is inhibited by a policy of silence will not get a service at all from the Sams unless they bury their inhibitions and COMPLY with what the Samaritan thinks is best for them. You will see just how abusive this is when you consider that this one blanket practice discriminates against a caller (who may be in an equal state of distress to a caller who wants silence) who finds a wall of silence difficult to deal with.

But this is still more problematic because the Samaritan, having been drilled in good practice, believes that unless they stick to the way they have been told to "make space for the caller to think" they are doing something WRONG and certainly the caller is wrong not to be happy with it!

Sams are not told to adapt and put the caller first, they are told to stick to their training ! Tragically, if a caller asks for a more relaxed approach, that might be more conducive, the Samaritan will refuse upon a string of formulaic retorts.(We are, of course, talking about a genuine caller here.) Examples would be, "we don`t give advice", "we are hear to listen","we are not here to chat", etc., all rudely directed at a caller who does not want advice or, God forbid, want to chat. All pretty shameful avoidance tactics to shift the onus onto the caller and away from their own inadequacy.

Why do they do this? The answer is that a person wishing to help others goes into training and believes that the training is absolutely to be adhered to no matter what happens, and that this is THE way that they will be able to best help people. When they are presented with a caller who doesn`t fit their mold, they feel threatened. They then defend themselves by making the caller guilty, rather than blaming their own rigid formula. As is typical with groups, the group comes first, does no wrong and must be protected. The outsider, in this case the caller....and a caller who does not quite fit what the group demands....must be made guilty. With this position of self allied to group defence, the Samaritan then decides that a caller who wants something a little more person-centred is not a genuine caller. This is the point at which the Samaritan will bully the caller.Bullying is common place and knows no bounds.(I will give examples of this bullying later, probably in my second blog on this subject.)

You could be ostracised.

Let`s look at group psychology:
Groups exclude people who don`t fit in, who don't follow the thinking that the group expects. A caller who feels uncomfortable with a regime of silence, even if it is meant to be for his own good, will now come under the fist of a parent (Samaritan) who wants his wishes obeyed. At this point the Sam will make an ultimatum that either the caller fits in with what is on offer, or they will put the phone down. This sounds horrendous doesn`t it, though it is common practice for Sams to bully callers and to be abusive and cruel.This attitude reminds me of the confrontation between a parent and child when the child does not want to eat the food that is on offer, yet says they are hungry ! The parent will say, "If you don`t eat it, you aren`t hungry!" Well, in the same way, a caller who prefers a relaxed style from a Sam will be deemed "not really in distress" if they refuse what is on offer ! (Of course, this caller may feel timorous to call again, but several calls later will find a Samaritan who does not use a wall of silence, nor a harsh approach and the call will go very well.)

A genuine caller, who does not use bad language, is not offensive in any way and who is not a time-waster, can be excluded from a branch or a group of branches simply because they are branded by one or more Samaritans "non-genuine" on the basis of something like not feeling comfortable with silence. It`s that simple. A caller who needs a more humanistic approach can be ostracised from a branch purely because they don`t fit what ONE Samaritan demands.
We have discussed many times how groups demonise outsiders to secure or "make right" their own position and this is not only a classic example, but to be expected of group behaviour.Groups will unite in demonising a particular caller, human nature yet again, and this can happen in a branch where one Sam dislikes a caller and gains support from others to shut them out.
Of course, a practice that subjectively demonises and excludes certain non-offensive, genuine callers, using gathered information to identify people, will inevitably lead to over-invasive scrutiny of some callers thought to BE an individual who has been excluded, and to the slap in the face of mistaken identity. It is on these such occasions that an ordinary, distressed caller alarmingly discovers the full thrust of Samaritan behaviour and a painful glimpse into how others are treated.

In my next blog we will go on to explore such examples, and I hope, to come to an understanding of why Sams are able to bully and abuse completely genuine callers, in a one to one encounter that is unwitnessed and unpoliced.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Animals, Why Should We Care?

Hello !

I hope you are very well !!!

This blog explores eating animals, commonly known as meat. I want to talk about the issue in a slightly different way, so it is not about why we eat meat in terms of evolution or anatomy or preference, rather looking at how our behaviour towards animals relates to how we treat each other and our dominant animal position in the world.

Okay, so here we go....

We have talked a lot about victims, what makes a victim and the reasons why people victimise others.The reasons always involve a gain for the victimiser. He/she gains power, off-loads guilt, unburdens feelings of inadequacy and provides group bonding, safety, well-being for his family, friends or colleagues. The common denominator for the ennoblement of victimisation/bullying is that the person who becomes the victim has to be in some way, shape or form, weaker than the perpetrator. We explored many examples of people, or groups of people, who inherently carry weakness, vulnerability or inadequacy in my earlier blogs.......................................................................

Of course the fact that some people have negative power over others is a fact of life, a basic facet of our biological/animal motivations, but in simple terms those who exploit weakness in others do so because they are able to. A shy child, a child with some inadequacy, becomes the victim to bullies in school and bullies know instinctively which child they can bully. If they try to bully the child who is not victimisable they soon have to lay off him !!! This pattern is repeated throughout society up and down the hierarchy. If a person has relatively greater power there will be always someone who will have more power and a need to diminish him. Holding onto one`s position requires no fight where people do not take advantage, but where there is someone who needs a victim, one`s presentation, one`s perceived ability to "fight back" is either an open door to victimisation or a deterrent to it.

The moment we see someone, in the street or at work, we instantly assess whether they are powerful or not, whether they represent a threat to us and where we are in terms of animal structures in relation to them.

So let`s get onto animals... I am going to come straight out and say that we use and abuse animals simply because we can, just as we bully the vulnerable because we can. Because there is no fight back.When we take advantage of people there is always present in them a diminished capacity to respond and this is no less the case with animals. We can use our intelligence to catch, trap, shoot, kill and experiment upon animals and they do not have the capacity to organise themselves in resistance to us. This is exactly the same "where there is opportunity" , for exactly the same reasons as why we will abuse the mentally ill or the elderly, children, or any person or group we choose to.

But it`s not just killing and eating animals... Just as we experiment on animals, with the compartmental conscience enabling us to do so, we experiment upon people. The experiments carried out on our populations in modern times, not least to mention such abuses as the eugenically motivated experiments of the Nazi`s, show us that we are just as prepared to do this to humans as we are to animals, it`s all part of the same thing. The plain fact is that if animals were able to think together as a group, organise themselves, make plans for self-defence, our unchallenged power would be countered, not assumed.

Where there is momentum in the world to make oursleves more compassionate towards each other, to control with legislation our animal impulses, to try to make a more humane world, these imperatives engendered by our higher nature are compartmentalised motivations that dissuade our cruelty in one domain, yet allow it in another. We struggle with our animals selves, searching for a higher order more in accordance with our better nature, yet our intelligence is so often recruited by our animal selves to allow us escape from higher values.

There are many instances in our history where an apparent milestone is reached, whereby we strive to treat animals in a better way. In biblical times Jewish laws for slaughtering animals were directed at raising the act of killing above that of a merely barbarous act. Many Jewish dietary laws, too, arise from a desire to show respect to animals., thereby raising our spiritual level. Today such organisations as Compassion in World Farming seek to make the rearing and consumption of animals more conscience-able, so as to diminish our guilt. But we don`t advance beyond these various attempts to make spiritual progress by upgrading our treatment of animals, we don`t quite want to let go and ascend to our highest potential.

It is a sobering fact that our maltreatment of our fellow humans and our treatment of animals parallel each other. We have eaten humans in our history, we have slaughtered them, tortured them, enslaved them, just as we do animals. Just as we sink to our basest nature when we victimise our fellows, so we do in relation to animals. Treating animals humanely, rearing them in good conditions, has the same basis for guilt elevation as when we are humane to our slaves or our prisoners of war. Allowing ourselves to commit acts that bring guilt is evidenced by the very fact that we are seen to use guilt avoidance strategies. Whilst we might be the kindest most compassionate of people in terms of our care for humans, we may still eat animals and find reasons to justify it. The problem with this, though, is that we know that we are guilty. Why else compartmentalise in regard to our justifications for eating them?

Back on this topic soon...........................


Saturday, 8 May 2010

Fundamentals for Learning.

I want to think about why we are motivated to learn and why being told to learn on command only works to some degree and with some kids. Why approval and good-regard are effective and why any form of negativity can destroy a child's interest in, or liking for, a subject.

I have now come to know that my wanting to be a musician was because of my grandmother`s love for me and her passion for music. My sense of rightfulness and my compassion come from her too along with my love of nature.
Of course, when one is in such a relationship one doesn`t notice that one is copying someone else out of love, still less that we come to hate things because of someone negative in our lives, but just as we copy behaviours, we copy ideas, attitudes and experience of pleasures. My delight at seeing blossom in the spring is more than just me experiencing pleasure on a sensory level, my experience is loaded with my grandmother.

When I see the beauty of apple blossom, the pleasing shape of a tree and its branches and take a closer look at the delicate form of the tiny flowers, my shift from the macro to the micro is my grandmother appreciating the detail of nature and, second hand, my mirrored wonder.

So why do we follow someone else`s passion or hobby, someones liking or pleasure? First comes love with its approval of us, then comes a reciprocal copying of ideas and pleasures. When someone loves us or gives us positive regard, we will do anything to please them. Sharing their pleasures is our reciprocal approval, a sign to them that they are loved too !
On the other hand, when we receive disapproval from the folks around us it has the opposite effect. We invariably, especially in our formative years, come to dislike what they do or what they stand for. The power of disapproval is immense. At its extremity we take on a disapproving parent`s bad regard for us into ourselves, being to ourselves our own criticiser, pulling ourselves down and destroying ourselves from within. This we can see in a small child where they have experienced and hold onto bad regard and therefore have a bad regard for themselves: "I cant do it because I`m useless at things." Children take into themselves negative ideas about themselves expressed by others. This does not just take the form of direct criticism, it can be merely where a parent communicates a dissatisfaction with their behaviour or endeavours in terms of body language. We don`t know the threshold for an amount of criticism that is "too much" or a severity of criticism that is "too invasive", these are subjective, but it is for this reason that we must endeavour to be careful when we criticise children. Particularly damaging is criticism in education.....

Remember that disapprobation will lead a child to feel unhappy about a subject and their own abilities, this may be transitory or PERMANENT. It is fragile indeed to be responsible for a child`s education in any form at any age because both overt signals of disparagement or covert body language can take away a child`s confidence, their self regard and their willingness to learn. Most teachers, within a classroom environment, disregard, probably don`t think about, the impact of the manner of their relation towards their pupils. Are we surprised by this?

Well, I for one am not, a classroom is a group function, a group organism, as such it is not concerned with individuals or the wellbeing of individuals EXCEPT where their unhappiness might effect the viability of the whole organism. Harsh, sad, but true. In a group a teacher cannot pay attention to individual needs, the aim is to take as many of the group towards a rote standard or examination, not to cherish and nurture everybody according to their needs. I think that given this obvious fact, it is necessary for a teacher to morally compromise themselves. Certainly, we can see evidence for this in a teacher`s need to employ a guilt-shift upon hapless pupils who do not conform to the needs of the teacher and the class as a whole. Just as we saw in regard to the dumbing-down medication of old people in old folks homes, we see teachers willing to have their charges medicated for unwanted behaviours as in the case of the invented illness of A.D.H.D.

The very fact that the children who are disruptive, who do not follow the model of the classroom, are labeled with psychological diagnoses tells us that this is indeed a symptom of a group dynamic that labels the misfits in order to shift responsibility from a survival of the fittest teacher-led group, onto the child who doesn`t conform. As often when we human beings need to disavail ourselves of guilt, we see here the use of psychiatry to make certain that the misfit child gets a label and, better still, medication. Sadly, the teacher needs to escape the guilt that being part of a runting process would bring them, and this is why so many teachers support the medication of children who exhibit unwanted behaviours.

So to return to my second paragraph, let`s round up some fundamentals for achieving learning... We know that positive regard is essential when dealing with children of any age. We can see, too, that a classroom and all its dynamics, will bestow upon kids who fit in, learn to the required formula and keep up with the group, an ongoing approval. Necessarily, then, kids who do not will receive a comparative negative regard. This puts them at an instant disadvantage. This is why classrooms in mainstream schools do not work. It is simply not possible to make sure that ALL children receive the necessary attention to ensure that they think positively about themselves and that the nature of the classroom does not deleteriously effect their learning.

Love, positivity, praise, all engender attention, assimilation and eagerness. The most positive way to learn is with the facilitation of an adult who gives lots of positivity. Any sign of negativity, disrespect, or ill -couched criticism is absolute poison to learning.

In my next blog I want to take a look at why we eat animals......

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Classrooms: Survival of the Fittest, 4

If I told you to sit down at a desk and learn what I tell you to learn, would you do it?

How would you feel if I tell you to learn something that doesn`t interest you?

Then I tell you that I will examine you in this subject and make you a failure if you don`t get the marks I think are acceptable according to my requirements !!! How will this make you feel?

I am directing these questions at adults, of course, because I want you to ask yourselves how it would make you feel for me to force you to learn at my command, and whether you think that you would be turned-off learning if I made you do this?

Speaking for myself, I would not wish to learn something that I was forced to learn by the command of someone else. I would feel disrespected, belittled and irrelevant. I would certainly have difficulty assimilating knowledge where there was coercion and my particular way of learning may not conform to the way you expect me to learn.

Yet this basis for learning is the standard way that most children learn! Most people think that it is acceptable to tell children and teenagers to do as they are told, learn this or that subject for this amount of time, and that somehow the fall-out from education has got nothing to do with the enforcement of this method !!!!

It`s strange because children, just like adults, learn with an enthusiasm and a willingness where they wish to do. Their concentration is better and therefore their assimilation. We are all the same, we all become alert and attentive when something interests us or is relevant to us in some way. Children are no different, they are not a different species, there for us to treat in a way that we ourselves would not accept.

Fundamentally, we disrespect children in our societies. Like in the case of people who are weaker than ourselves, we push children around, opt them out of their autonomy, just like we do people we deem mentally incompetent. We do this BECAUSE children have less power than us, less facility and less comprehension than us and, basically, we take advantage of that.

I also take issue with "learn what I tell you to and for periods of time that I dictate". Come on, let`s have a real think about this.... I tell you to learn something, now, when the clock starts and then I tell you to stop when I dictate !!!!!!! Why oh why does anyone think that learning according to a timetable is going to work !!! Do we really think that children/teens are some kind of machine that we switch on and off when we choose? Good learning doesn`t work like that !

This is surely an abuse of one person, a child or teenager, by another, an adult. It shows no respect for young people, no understanding of the learning process and certainly no interest in the well being of a young learner. Of course, many kids fit in with this, they keep up with the pace in class, they adapt their attention-span to suite the bell-change and they survive a rote system that treats them no better than underlings that have to be trained to think in a prescribed way. Great. Well done them....But what about the kids that don`t fit in? Don`t manage in the "survival of the fittest" environment. Well, they fail. It`s that simple. They fail to varying degrees and are measured not on their abilities or potential because those have been subordinated as a sacrifice to the system, but on their runted* status within the classroom.

But isn`t there more to this than just what meets the eye? Apparently, at a glance, there is a system that works for some, the survivors, and fails for others, the victims. But what is going on here in terms of the dominant groups in our society? Well, there has to be a reason, a group reason, why schools are there and some kids fail and some flourish. It`s not just a coincidence.
For the answer we have to go back to the purpose of a group, what it needs to advance itself in terms of hierarchies and power, and what it needs to do to maintain for itself a strong and healthy position. I am afraid the answer is that groups need failures, victims, runts, the winners in our world rise up off the backs of their diminished counterparts. As a society we need a basic, rote, automaton-like educational system to furnish all our systems and institutions with people who think the same, have been through the same "initiation" and will propel these groups with the same thinking. Institutions want team players ...and the sure way to get them is to have children go through an educational system that produces conformists. And I don`t just mean educational conformity here, I mean group behaviour conformity..

I will be back on this subject soon.....I very much want to talk about how my experience at school has informed me about the purpose of our education system. Please join me later.

*runted: please see my previous blogs on this subject where I introduce this term.