Has anyone noticed...

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
Alban
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Location: London

Has anyone noticed...

Postby Alban » Fri Dec 10, 2004 2:59 am

How all the posts defending various aspects and individuals have come from current or recently departed pupils. The only exception are various teaching staff.

This can be explained in a number of ways. I'm sure they would tell us that it is obvious because the school has changed and only the current pupils know how it is today. That maybe true, but anyone who has followed most of these posts will have noticed, that there's still "some strange going's-on down at that there farm". Besides which, it's taken me a very long time to completely clear my mind of all the rubbish that was fed into it in the bad old days. So, it could be argued that as people grew older they are less likely to defend the regime as they are less tainted by the SES ideals and more influenced by the real world. I guess this would hold true of the people who left without being drafted into the SES.

The interesting fact here is that while we have posts representing both sides amongst the current and more recent pupils, we have yet to see a positive post from someone educated in the first ten years of the schools existence. Bearing in mind that the "Experiences in St Vedast" thread has been viewed over 11,000 times, surely if the schools were as good as some people claim, then you would expect to see fewer recent pupils to be slating the schools and more (or at least some) past pupils extolling it's virtues.

I suppose the one overriding factor in all this, is that those who really liked the school so much went ahead and bought in to the whole SES experience. The trouble is, if you are surrounded by this regime where you have no social ties to people who aren't members, then you see it as normal, because everyone else around you is doing it too. Having been in that situation myself, I know now, that I didn't know then, how closeted and controlled it all was.

I submit then, that the schools haven't changed as much as we may have been led to believe. It is clear that they are still influenced heavily by the SES and as such inherit some pretty odd ideas. It is true, that they are now not allowed to beat those ideas into the pupils, but they are still pedalling their wares...and hey, it was what they were set up to do!

Oh and it really doesn't matter how nice a teacher is 90% of the time if he physically assaults pupils in the other 10%. Being nice is not against the law, abuse is.

TB

Postby TB » Fri Dec 10, 2004 8:26 am

Hi Alban,
I think you have verbalised a fundamental point around the school/SES process.
I suppose the one overriding factor in all this, is that those who really liked the school so much went ahead and bought in to the whole SES experience. The trouble is, if you are surrounded by this regime where you have no social ties to people who aren't members, then you see it as normal, because everyone else around you is doing it too. Having been in that situation myself, I know now, that I didn't know then, how closeted and controlled it all was.

How does one know at what point ones perceptions are? Are you in this abnormal world but consider it to be normal, so cannot remove oneself to the normal world. Once one is out of the abnormal world, and in the normal world, how can you be sure that it is like this, because both scenarios appear acceptable when inside of them.

Good point you make, however it presents a logical contradiction that has been debated at length over human history and ultimately produces the conclusion that morality must be relative. This outcome is not acceptable to most people, that their views arise because of their circumstances and not some inner pool of knowing good from bad.

Alban
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Location: London

Postby Alban » Fri Dec 10, 2004 9:34 am

Indeed, there is no guarantee that what I know now won't be superseded by something I may experience in the future - that's just learning, which should never cease. You do however, learn from your own experiences, and if you surround yourself with just a tiny subset of society, and that subset is guided by an even smaller minority of just a few (fanatical) people, then the result will be a rather cock-eyed view of the world.

I certainly agree that morality is relative, but society creates laws based on what the majority deem acceptable behaviour. To remain in that society you are bound by it's rules. A teacher punching a pupil and rendering him unconscious may have been acceptable behaviour 150 years ago, but it wasn't acceptable 25 years ago - indeed it was just as illegal then as it is now.

StVSurvivor
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Postby StVSurvivor » Fri Dec 10, 2004 9:56 am

TB wrote:Good point you make, however it presents a logical contradiction that has been debated at length over human history and ultimately produces the conclusion that morality must be relative. This outcome is not acceptable to most people, that their views arise because of their circumstances and not some inner pool of knowing good from bad.


I'm not sure that Alban's point does present a contradiction as you say TB. I would conclude from his posts that over the years he has developed his own unique moral centre, and this is what he bases his perceptions, opinions, and judgments on. I think this is what many of us do, including myself. Don't you have a moral centre and an "inner pool of knowing good from bad", and right from wrong? And don't your own views arise from this?

I notice you have a habit on these boards of veering threads off-topic (not quite sure why), so I would suggest this conversation is kept as brief as possible.

TB

Postby TB » Fri Dec 10, 2004 3:17 pm

Hi StVSurvivor,
I would conclude from his posts that over the years he has developed his own unique moral centre, and this is what he bases his perceptions, opinions, and judgments on. I think this is what many of us do, including myself. Don't you have a moral centre and an "inner pool of knowing good from bad", and right from wrong? And don't your own views arise from this?

I would approach this the other way. How has this unique moral centre developed? From something inherent in himself that is independent of his specific society or something that directly (but not exactly) reflects his society? The moral pool that is formed will certainly color our perceptions, opinions and judgements. I think the relevant question is what creates the moral centre?
If it arises from his society it will be relative, as valid as any other moral values arising from other societies. This can create an issue, one way out is not to accept that our moral views are relative.

Alban commented that while inside the SES 'moral pool', it was invisible to him as an insider. Now he is outside the SES, he sees it for what it is. The question is - can he see the new moral pool which he now accepts and certifies to be the correct one? He also says he is sure he will continue to learn and might look back and discount his current views. I have no doubt he is correct with this, but it still does not bring us to a point of certainty of judgement.

I am not arguing for or against his SES views, just that Alban raised a sense of looking inward at his own perceptions and judgements based upon his environment. It's a rare perception, most people seem never to experience it.
I notice you have a habit on these boards of veering threads off-topic (not quite sure why), so I would suggest this conversation is kept as brief as possible.



The reason is that I am looking for the mechanism that underlies comments like Alban's (and others) and not just the subject being discussed. For most people this is not relevant and seems to irritate some beyond measure. I do it on the premise that without knowing the mechanism one cannot hope to fully understand or judge the topic.

Guest

Sandra

Postby Guest » Fri Dec 10, 2004 3:30 pm

Sandra joined the primary St James school five years after the beginning
So I was around in the first ten years baby. :grab:

StVSurvivor
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Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2004 8:04 pm

Postby StVSurvivor » Sat Dec 11, 2004 12:26 am

TB, I think one's moral centre is developed from both something inherent in us and from our society. I disagree with you that the relevant question is what creates the moral centre. It's just a given that, to a greater or lesser extent, we all have one. But yet again this takes us off-topic, and for this reason I wont say any more than that, however much it may warrant more extensive debate. In case you hadn't noticed the title of this forum is "General discussion on SES". Judging from your posts you seem to be more interested in philosophical matters of a more general nature. With all due respect perhaps you would be better off starting your own forum entitled "General discussion on philosophy", rather than always veering these threads off-topic and towards your particular area of interest.

Best wishes,

StVSurvivor
Last edited by StVSurvivor on Sun Dec 12, 2004 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TB

Postby TB » Sat Dec 11, 2004 12:34 am

Hi StVSurvivor,
TB, I think one's moral centre is developed from both something inherent in us and from our society. I disagree with you that the relevant question is what creates the moral centre. It's just a given that we all have, to a greater or lesser extent, a moral centre. But yet again this takes us off-topic, and for this reason I wont say any more than that, however much it may warrant more extensive debate. In case you hadn't noticed the title of this forum is "General discussion on SES". Judging from your posts you seem to be more interested in philosophical matters of a more general nature. With all due respect perhaps you would be better off starting your own forum entitled "General discussion on philosophy", rather than always veering these threads off-topic and towards your particular area of interest.

Society needs a substrate to work upon, so you are correct, however as humans are more directed by nurture than nature, relative to other animals, societies views seem to dominate when it comes to the intense political issues like the ones addressed in this forum.

Starting a thread as you suggest would lack the context of personal experience that makes the discussion meaningful. Most people will not discuss topics like this in a vacuum. Thankyou for your response.

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a different guest
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Postby a different guest » Sun Dec 12, 2004 11:43 am

however as humans are more directed by nurture than nature,


Are they? If you beleive this back up your statement.

TB

Postby TB » Sun Dec 12, 2004 12:33 pm

Hi ADG,
Are they? If you beleive this back up your statement

My statement was
however as humans are more directed by nurture than nature, relative to other animals

I am not sure exactly how you would like me to do this without knowing how much you know about the subject, so let me have a brief attempt.

Since I am making a comparison with other animals, I will use instinctive behaviour as my aspect of nature. Weaver birds are able to weave identical nests to their forefathers, after being removed from their natural environment for 5 generations. They do not learn how to build their nests from their parents, the knowledge of this is hardwired in their nature. In other words they have a stronger reliance on nature for their survival tools.

Otters (regarded as being closer to humans than weavers) will return to water, swim and catch fish, without learning from a parent, after being similarly removed for several generations. Once again this instinctive behaviour is hardwired, not part of their nurture. However otters do not display as much reliance upon nature as weavers.

Baboons (regarded as being closer to humans than otters) cannot catch food without being taught by their parents. When removed from their habitat at birth, they have no idea (as adults) for example, how to deal with scorpions, a staple food for them. In other words they are relying more upon nurture than nature than otters.

Humans use their faculties to go much further than baboons for learning, we see it in our knowledge of things like science, etc that we are not born knowing, but learn after birth. Our sexual urges are instinctive, however our detailed sexual behaviour is taught. We have an innate capacity for language, however we need to learn how to speak Greek, English and so on. For this reason our relative slowness to mature, and infant helplessness allows a greater period to learn, and greater parental care.

We are also able to overcome the limitations of our nature and environment more than any other animal, our science and technological achievements, examples of plastic surgery, diet, exercise, in vitrio fertilisation, climate manipulation, transport etc etc. We are now exploring the direct manipulation of genes, where our nature is coded.

I am not sure if that is the answer you were looking for, but this is what I meant with my original comment.

Alban
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Location: London

Postby Alban » Mon Dec 13, 2004 1:14 am

While I can see the relevance of the above conversation, I would like to guide the thread back to the original theme which was...

I submit then, that the schools haven't changed as much as we may have been led to believe. It is clear that they are still influenced heavily by the SES and as such inherit some pretty odd ideas. It is true, that they are now not allowed to beat those ideas into the pupils, but they are still pedalling their wares...and hey, it was what they were set up to do!


Can I infer from the lack of postings to the contrary, that this is going to go unchallenged? I would have expected at least a couple after all the "The School has changed" posts....or is the evidence just too overwhelming?

The Analyst
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Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2004 10:24 pm

Re: Has anyone noticed...

Postby The Analyst » Mon Dec 13, 2004 2:25 pm

Alban wrote:How all the posts defending various aspects and individuals have come from current or recently departed pupils. The only exception are various teaching staff.

Dear Alban,
I would like to suggest an alternative reason for this. Apart from the loyalty they feel they owe the school, the pupils who post on this site must be strongly motivated to do so- they are defending their own beliefs and therefore the SES. However, most pupils are indifferent to the SES, their involvement rarely extending beyond mimicking Mr Lambie speaking about the "many, many,many bad things in the world" and the "many,many,many good things" in a somnambulic monotone. They simply aren't interested. They mechanically sing the hymns and recite the dedications. Nobody BELIEVES in them, apart from a few exceptions. What we want is to find things for ourselves - not what our parents or schools forcefeed us. Therefore there is no "universal, timeless wisdom" - not in my eyes, at any rate. I'm sorry that many of you were deprived of this freedom and couldn't develop a sneering detachment and contempt for the SES. School, on the other hand, is school - who pays attention to that anyway?

Alban
Posts: 271
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 11:23 am
Location: London

Postby Alban » Mon Dec 13, 2004 3:01 pm

Hi Analyst,

So what are you actually saying here? I re-read your post a couple of times and I'm not sure what "alternative reason" you are putting forward.

You seem to be saying that those who defend the school (and hence the SES) do so because of loyalty, but that actually, most of the current pupils are "indifferent" to the SES and "don't pay attention" to the school anyway.

If what you say is true, then I am glad that a lot of the current pupils have a healthy disregard for the SES brand of philosophy that is pedalled in the schools, but in the spirit of self-analysis, I would urge you to look very deeply at everything you have been told. The reason I say this, is that there was a skepticism in my day too, but it wasn't for a number of years that I started questioning things that had been sold to me as "the way it is". As you can imagine, this was a very diconcerting experience for me because I called into question a great deal of what I had built my life around at the time.

However, the point I was making is that it was only recent pupils who were defending the schools, whereas you seem to be saying that all recent pupils do not defend the schools, which is understandable, but the two are not mutually exclusive.

The Analyst
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Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2004 10:24 pm

Postby The Analyst » Tue Dec 14, 2004 8:14 pm

Alban,
I think I may have rushed your original message. Thank you for paying so much attention to mine.Yes, I think my original point may have been lost in waffle about the teenage condition - it almost evades me now, reading back. It's just my opinion that the difference in ages should be considered - the (slightly - I'm being diplomatic) older participants have had the benefit of hindsight, as well as the maturity to view the past critically. At your prompting, I will attempt my own bit of self- analysis.

St James HAS changed me - it would be foolish to deny that, and least of all would I like to be called a fool. It has changed me in ways that I am not positive I like - I am more reserved and it seems that my identity has become equated with being a St James pupil, even within this forum. And yes, this leads me to wonder whether I will cope with the transition to the "real world" - normality OUTSIDE St James and its idealism. The hierarchical system has succeeded in creating a very definite distance between me and authority, therefore I am unlikely to question it. But there ARE good things too.
I was racking my brains to try and discover an appropriate analogy which could illustrate the relationship between St James and pupils, but could only come up with a couple of mediocre ones.

The Analogy of the Beehive
Within a beehive, there is a single queen bee, with a far longer life-expectancy than the workers. In comparison with the queen , the larvae (kids) of the workers are only fed on royal jelly for the first 3 days (happiness, fulfillment). After this, they are weaned onto the diet of all workers. The workers are less developed than the queen in many ways (idealism etc SES produces) and their life expectancy is only a fraction of that of the queen (emotional crises and stress of members of the SES). I'm sure I can find some more comparisons, but my attention span has been considerabely shortened by TV.

I wonder if I can throw a water balloon at something........


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