Friday, September 19, 2014

Very Poignant Facebook Comment

I couldn't agree more with the words Steve Thomas wrote below in response to my post about Talking Heads and Psychopaths are so Annoying

Steve Thomas: Sylvie, I think what might be good about this is that unless I'm badly misreading things, public discussion has really been ignited, and maybe finally gone beyond the tipping point in favor of children's rights. I'm talking not necessarily even about the content of all these articles but just the number of comments and conversations (arguments) the commenters are having between themselves. If it's true that something like 70% of American adults think that "spanking" is at least sometimes necessary, then judging from the comment sections, I'd say the minority 30% are doing a fantastic job of sowing doubt. And I think that might be exactly what it takes: a long-term, general and preferably non-organized, discussion. One led by no one and nothing. 

My impression is that Sweden's public argument (reactions to news articles, etc.) began pretty much in about the 1920s. 20 years earlier Ellen Key had her "The Century of the Child" published in Swedish but I think that mostly might have helped just prime people, loosen the soil a little. I don't know. But something else happened around 1920 - and I'm sorry I can't think of it - something to do with WW I and the League of Nations, seems like from memory. It's said that in the US, child mistreatment wasn't publicly discussed or written about much (or for all intents acknowledged to even exist) until the 1960s. So that's a 40-60 year head start that Sweden had. This place was as brutal as anywhere, earlier. Nothing magic in Swedish genes. I've seen executioner's axes, torture machines and shaming equipment, typically set up in churchyards. To go further back (and despite an effort people now seem to be making depicting Viking-era Norsemen as more agrarian and humane), even slavery was common during that time and the Norse plundering warriors were in fact brutal. One guy's friends nicknamed him "the children's man" because he refused to run captive children through with his lance the way all his buddies did.

You're also right to say that there's more to the problems of the world than talking heads can cure by selling books telling people it's wrong to hit kids. I expect that even if the practice were to completely stop tomorrow, the world wouldn't see miraculous overnight changes. Sweden is by no means out of the woods, far as societal ills, despite the 35-year-old across-the-board child battery ban. (Drama of the Gifted Child, incidentally, was published that same year - 1979 - so Miller hadn't been a factor.) Lot of times things are the same as squeezing a water balloon: squeezing it here just mean it squeezes out somewhere else. So you're right that repression (and I suppose, suppression) are pointless - and I know you don't need anybody to tell you any of that. But I just wanted to say holy cow let these people talk! I think tons of parents will think twice after all this discussion. And that more will follow. I think it's reasonable to suppose that this outcry is giving more and more of the timid who are in what's still the minority enough courage to speak up too. And that's good.

The articles might or might not help those who are trying to deal with the after-effects of their own mistreatment (I suspect they might) - but isn't that really a different consideration? Seems to me this is a clear win for children who haven't yet been damaged and broken, including all those not yet born - and that is now projected (very frighteningly, imo) to be basically the entire present population of the world - and I mean just in the remainder of this century. I know full-well there are ways to poison people that don't involve laying a finger on them. Bad ways. And that, if forced into it either by law, social "consensus" or by both, many people will quickly resort to techniques like that. And I know that that crap can be as damaging or even worse than physical battery. My take on Miller is that she recognized completely that the practice of beating kids was just the visible tip of a iceberg. One thing I'm clueless about is the extent to which she was aware that this thing she'd discovered had, huge and dangerous as it still was (and is), been for some reason spontaneously melting for centuries already (I'm talking about stuff Lloyd deMause, Steven Pinker and those kind of guys have looked at).

I think it's a little twisted and very sad that it took an offender with celebrity to get this particular ball rolling, especially given how much screaming and yelling so many have done for so many years on behalf of the kids of everyday people - just to be largely yawned at and pushed aside. But then again: I don't care. All publicity is good.

Here's a link to some statistics, mostly just for the heck of it. Far as I can see there are no comments 

You keep on doing what you do! It's all great.

Sylvie Imelda Shene: Steve Thomas, I agree with everything you wrote. All the talking going on exposing that hitting children is very bad for children is good and a step in the right direction. But I also like to hear voices exposing the lies and disconnected half-truths that the talking heads are using to manipulate and exploit the public to just benefit themselves, like the author Mel Robbins in the article above. I didn’t know who she was, but someone wrote me an e-mail asking: “Sylvie, is Mel Robbins another kind of Oprah? I don't know much about these public figures in the US and wonder if she is real.” So I went and check her out and read the preview of her book "Stop Saying you’re Fine" and of course what I find there is the same recycled BS to manipulate the public with their elaborated engineered schemes to get rich and keep their own childhood repressions intact, but really they could care less about children and the suffering of others.  

Read original Facebook post here

I could not agree more with Alice Miller words below:
"I have no doubt that behind every crime a personal tragedy lies hidden. If we were to investigate such events and their backgrounds more closely, we might be able to do more to prevent crimes than
we do now with our indignation and moralizing. Perhaps someone will say: But not everyone who was a battered child becomes a murderer; otherwise, many more people would be murderers. That is true. However, humankind is in dire enough straits these days that this should not remain an academic question. Moreover, we never know how a child will and must react to the injustice he or she has suffered-there are innumerable "techniques" for dealing with it. We don't yet know, above all, what the world might be like if children were to grow up without being subjected to humiliation, if parents would respect them and take them seriously as persons. In any case, I don't know of a single person who enjoyed this respect* as a child and then as an adult had the need to put other human beings to death. * By respect for a child, I don't mean a "permissive" upbringing,which is often a form of indoctrination itself and thus shows a disregard for the child's own world.

We are still barely conscious of how harmful it is to treat children in a degrading manner. Treating them with respect and recognizing the consequences of their being humiliated are by no means intellectual matters; otherwise, their importance would long since have been generally recognized. To empathize with what a child is feeling when he or she is defenseless, hurt, or humiliated is like suddenly seeing in a mirror the suffering of one's own childhood, something many people must ward off out of fear while others can accept it with mourning. People who have mourned in this way understand more about the dynamics of the psyche than they could ever have learned from books.

The persecution of people of Jewish background, the necessity of proving "racial purity" as far back as one's grandparents, the tailoring of prohibitions to the degree of an individual's demonstrable "racial purity"--all this is grotesque only at first glance. For its significance becomes plain once we realize that in terms of Hitler's unconscious fantasies it is an intensified expression of two very powerful tendencies. On the one hand, his father was the hated Jew whom he could despise and persecute, frighten and threaten with regulations, because his father would also have been affected by the racial laws if he had still been alive. At the same time--and this is the other tendency--the racial laws were meant to mark Adolf's final break with his father and his background. In addition to revenge, the tormenting uncertainty about the Hitler family was an important motive for the racial laws: the whole nation had to trace its "purity" back to the third generation because Adolf Hitler would have liked to know with certainty who his grandfather was. Above all, the Jew became the bearer of all the evil and despicable traits the child had ever observed in his father. In Hitler's view, the Jews were characterized by a specific mixture of Lucifer-like grandeur and superiority (world Jewry and its readiness to destroy the entire world) on the one hand and ugliness and ludicrous weakness and infirmity on the other. This view reflects the omnipotence even the weakest father exercises over his child, seen in Hitler's case in the wild rages of the insecure customs official who succeeded in destroying his son's world.

It is common in analysis for the first breakthrough in criticizing the father to be signaled by the surfacing of some insignificant and ludicrous trait of his that the patient's memory has repressed. For example, the father--big out of all proportion in the child's eyes--may have looked very funny in his short nightshirt. The child had never been close to his father, had been in constant fear of him, but with this memory of the skimpy nightshirt, the child's imagination provides a weapon, now that ambivalence has broken through in the analysis, which enables him to take revenge on a small scale against the godlike, monumental paternal figure. In similar fashion, Hitler disseminates his hatred and disgust for the "stinking" Jew in the pages of the Nazi periodical Der Stürmer in order to incite people to burn books by Freud, Einstein, and innumerable other Jewish intellectuals of great stature. The breakthrough of this idea, which made it possible for him to transfer his pent-up hatred of his father to the Jews as a people, is very instructive." For Your Own Good, page 196 and 197

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