An interesting book

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
User avatar
bonsai
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:08 am
Location: London

An interesting book

Postby bonsai » Tue Jul 18, 2006 1:43 pm

I have recently just finished reading a book called "The war for children's minds" by Stephen Law. I discovered it reading a review in The Economist to which I include a link http://www.economist.com/books/displays ... id=6999588

The book talks about Kant's philosophy of Enlightenment and that reason is the only tool that we have with which to make moral and ethical judgements. As such critical thought and reasoning should be encouraged in schools as opposed to deference to an external moral authority, be it religious or otherwise. He calls people who encourage freedom of thought and critical thinking Liberal with a capital L. The opposite of being Liberal is being Authoritarian and implies that critical thought and reasoning should not be encouraged but that moral judgements should be made with reference to a higher authority. Being Liberal does not imply that you need be liberal in action or soft on rules and you can be a Liberal authoritarian, meaning you impose strict rules but allow people (or in the case of a parent, your children) to question those rules freely.

In the book, he describes a few hypothetical types of school. In one of these he describes a school where on the surface healthy debates appear to be encouraged (St James’s philosophy lessons, Headmasters question time etc) but where the pupils’ real questions cannot be asked because they are suppressed. To me it was an exact description of St James. During my time at St James it felt like heresy to try and questions like, why I should believe in the Atman, Govinda, God or whatever you want to call it or why is my purpose to become fully realised or what if I believe I have a different purpose. They were just not questions to be asked.

The SES has always referred to an authority it has selected to be wiser than its members. The SES has always encouraged reference to higher moral authorities despite its claims to encourage reason and discrimination. It is this deference to these wiser authorities that has allowed the abuses that have occurred at St James to happen and for it to side-step and ignore the criticisms thrown at it. Strangely it is this deference to the Authority that the SES approves that creates the discrimination between those inside and outside the organisation and creates a duality that is not only in contradiction to its own core belief of advaita but which I believe to be morally wrong. The SES creates more duality than it breaks down. It is this hypocrisy I can not abide.

Bonsai

Scotsman
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 5:42 pm

Postby Scotsman » Tue Aug 22, 2006 11:38 pm

In one of these he describes a school where on the surface healthy debates appear to be encouraged (St James’s philosophy lessons, Headmasters question time etc) but where the pupils’ real questions cannot be asked because they are suppressed. To me it was an exact description of St James. During my time at St James it felt like heresy to try and questions like, why I should believe in the Atman, Govinda, God or whatever you want to call it or why is my purpose to become fully realised or what if I believe I have a different purpose. They were just not questions to be asked.


Quite right. I once doubted the authenticity and significance of the Baghavad Gita and got really shouted at by Don Lambie.

The SES has always referred to an authority it has selected to be wiser than its members. The SES has always encouraged reference to higher moral authorities despite its claims to encourage reason and discrimination. It is this deference to these wiser authorities that has allowed the abuses that have occurred at St James to happen and for it to side-step and ignore the criticisms thrown at it. Strangely it is this deference to the Authority that the SES approves that creates the discrimination between those inside and outside the organisation and creates a duality that is not only in contradiction to its own core belief of advaita but which I believe to be morally wrong. The SES creates more duality than it breaks down.


The membership of the SES engenders an attitude of Superiority in its members,and hence of Separation from "people not in School". That's my experience anyhow.

Goblinboy
Moderator
Posts: 227
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2004 4:07 am

Re: An interesting book

Postby Goblinboy » Thu Aug 24, 2006 12:54 am

bonsai wrote: The SES has always encouraged reference to higher moral authorities despite its claims to encourage reason and discrimination. It is this deference to these wiser authorities that has allowed the abuses that have occurred at St James to happen and for it to side-step and ignore the criticisms thrown at it. Strangely it is this deference to the Authority that the SES approves that creates the discrimination between those inside and outside the organisation and creates a duality that is not only in contradiction to its own core belief of advaita but which I believe to be morally wrong. The SES creates more duality than it breaks down. It is this hypocrisy I can not abide.


Spot on, Bonsai. And Scotsman's anecdote of Lambie's reaction to questioning the authority embodies your conclusion.


Return to “General discussion of SES”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests