For D.R.B., Wherever You Are
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Author:  Steve [ Tue Jun 17, 2008 5:00 am ]
Post subject:  For D.R.B., Wherever You Are

I had to buy a book last week before Amazon would let me leave a 'review'--a 'comment', really, since I hadn't read it--for a biblically based book about the benefits of baby beating. My childhood was filled with "Mickey Mouse' and 'Woody Woodpecker' so cut me some slack! I'd been wanting something by A.S. Neill anyway so I just went for "Summerhill School--A New View of Childhood". I don't even know if other choices were available. I was in do-something-even-if-it's-wrong mode, wanted to get on with my comment, for which I still had to wait for clearance, as it turned out.

It also turns out that there's nothing about this Summerhill book that I don't like so far (at this point up to page 70 of 269). Neill makes clear his school's (and his own) limits and shortcomings. It would be almost impossible to point out the "good parts" because so far as I can tell the entire thing is outstanding. The one disappointment I can think of so far (bottom of p. 45) is that he said he "realized" that telling a mother who had been beating her three-year-old son how she was teaching him to hate life would be telling her something that "wouldn't sink in", so he did nothing, sounds like. But even that admission is out in the open, un-expertlike and I think therefore admirable.

A theme he has repeated maybe close to a half-dozen times by page 70 is that he had to finally stop crediting what he calls his "psychoanalysis" of certain problem kids with "curing" them, since the problem kids he hadn't personally treated became "cured" at an identical rate. He says over and over that it's freedom that does it. Freedom to be themselves and freedom from fear of authority.

But what made me think of you was our coincidental attempts at trying to calculate just how many trained mental health professionals it would take to change this lightbulb, if you remember that. Here's what Neill has to say (bear in mind the original appears to have been published in 1960):

"One disconcerting feature in therapy is the constant undeclared war between the various schools. The Freudians for the most part dismissed Reich as a fake. a Kleinian won't see any truth in what an Adlerian says. They label themselves and when one labels oneself one ceases to grow. Today there is much wrangling among Reich's followers: 'We alone realize what the Master meant.' I am bragging when I say that, although I have been a disciple more than once in my life, I have managed to steer free of idolatry. My motto is: take from each what you want and reject the rest, and never label yourself as one of a school. I'd hate to think that long after I am dead teachers will call themselves Summerhillians. They will thus advertise the fact that they are dead.

"Coming back from the psychoanalytic atmosphere of Vienna in the early twenties I thought that analyzing was the answer to the problem child. I spent years analysing dreams of such children and was proud when a boy who had been chucked out of, say, Eton for stealing went out of Summerhill cured. It took me a long time to realize that Bill and Mary who had also been expelled for stealing but refused to come to me for analysis also went out cured; it was freedom to be themselves. A most satisfying realization, for, even if therapy were the answer, the millions of kids in the world cannot all have it."

I think they can have freedom to be who they are though. All it will take is for enough regular everyday people to demand that children finally receive the equal rights to which they are without question completely entitled.

I'd be interested to hear if you found Boorstin's The Discoverers any good or not, if the opportunity ever presents.


Author:  Steve [ Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: For D.R.B., Wherever You Are

It's just a disease.

Yes, a violent basis for all civilizations has occurred to me, and your 10,000 year estimate is about the same as mine. Had to have originated through natural causes. Some freak accident. Can't find it, but I've seen video of chimpanzees making war--a band of males murdering an isolated member of another troop. People have said they're "only defending their feeding grounds" but it's still eerie. It still seems to suggest an innate genetic basis. Something went awry in any case, with humans. Evidence against civilizations necessarily arising from some need for all the bad stuff is limited to the discoveries at Caral, far as I 'm aware. This video didn't convince me but I have no choice but to give weight to the opinions of the stunned anthropologists (or sociologists?) coming up completely empty-handed when looking for signs of war and child cruelty. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4092265217728346257

Looked at in terms of pure cause and effect or determinism, there's "nothing wrong with this old world" because there just can't be. Whatever started the ball rolling had its own roots in the Big Bang, near as I can figure anyway. But of course at the same time there's plenty that's obviously wrong with this old world.

Last I was aware, the entire wild koala bear population was riddled with some kind of STD, hardly could be said the koalas themselves could be blamed. Somehow the human population became riddled with Stupid, I suppose the same way. Well, I mean through some sort of natural cause. Some kind of Pit of Despair situation, maybe, that didn't self-correct but went contagious instead.

I think your estimate of one open school per 100 'fool-schools' is probably too optimistic, that it's probably more like one per 50k or 100k. Depends on definitions, maybe, and other fuzzy factors. I was just thinking over the last couple days how much I'd like to locate the text of the UC/Berkeley's president 's orientation speech that was credited with setting off the student demonstrations in the 60's. I spent an hour at it some time ago and came up dry. "We are an education factory," it went, roughly. "You are the raw material which we will make into the cogs and gears of the military/industrial complex". Something like that.

Just my impression, but you sound pessimistic. I think it's getting better out there. Not denying the existence of major crap, up to and including a definite possibility of worldwide annihilation of everything except cockroaches. I just think there are also signs of a major spontaneous remission happening, well underway in fact.

Nice you chipped in.

PS Maybe a month ago I proposed to the "rationalists" at Sam Harris' forum that the voting age be dropped to five, I think. So far it's just been 'crickets'. I ain't proud. It was fun.

Author:  Steve [ Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: For D.R.B., Wherever You Are

Okay this is great!

At least your opening is: "I'm afraid there are no freak accidents." I haven't read the rest yet. And won't for a while. I'm scraping lettering off my aluminum stepvan so I can sell it. Just on a coffee break and can't stay long. I'd keep the truck except for two things--insurance rates have gone through the roof which may or may not be also affecting and greatly pissing off my lower working-class/mostly public assistance neighbors, but for whatever reason they generally treat their kids like shit. So the kids come over when they're not needed as toilet paper and slash tires and bust out my truck windows and say 'fuck' a lot. And since the autoglass shop is paid mostly out of insurance money, they get away charging murderous high prices for just sticking in stupid pieces of clear flat glass--but the bottom line is that between the expense of insurance and the hundreds of bucks each year in glass breakage (I have a high deductible policy--doesn't cover vandalism anyhow) it's been costing me something like forty or fifty smackers a mile to own the goddam sonabitching thing. Before gas, normal repairs and maintenance.

If the universe is a bunch of billiard balls (as I think it very much seems) endlessly cause-and-effecting each other then there can be no accidents and no free will. Fun to think about, same as how it's impossible to touch your finger to your nose, since no matter how fast you move your finger or how small a distance remains, that distance can always be divided by two--or by anything else. Calculus supposedly accounts for eventually getting there, ruining everything in my opinion, (same as quantum theory somehow supposedly takes care of free will) but since I skipped out on every bit of that junk I have no responsibility other than to cross my fingers and hope most people reading this majored in some kind of liberal arts.

More importantly, the famous German thinker What's-his-Face who discovered calculus at practically the exact same minute as Issac Newton caught I think well-deserved holy hell from Voltaire for all his "best of all possible worlds" crap. BUT--that's not to say that you're wrong. I'm not either. I just meant "accident" in the same sense as genetic mutations are considered "accidental"--even though when looked at closely enough those have no doubt their own natural causes as well.

There are no accidents. And then again there is nothing which is not. Grasshopper. Paradoxes sometimes just depend on how you look at them. I think. Anyway I know just what you mean but whether it's rational or not on my part I'm absolutely persuaded that human beings have the power to put the brakes big-time on huge numbers of 'non-accidents' like war, crime, mental illness, sadness, stupidity and cruelty in general. I'll take you're "I'm afraid" as just a figure of speech--would hardly have mentioned it except I gotta think of some way to make this coffee break stretch on longer. I really like coffee. So did Voltaire!!! No kidding!! But I'm just me and I know it. YouTube hasn't made me rich and famous and neither has my coffee-soaked fine mind so it's back to scraping letters off old trucks for Bonzo.

Looking forward to reading the rest of your post later. Steve

Author:  Dennis [ Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: For D.R.B., Wherever You Are

Steve, that was a great performance! You're the real deal. You really know how to play the guitar, and to imagine with 12 strings! I think I said it before, but your voice is like a mixture of Tom Waits and Bob Dylan. You should write an album, and go to a studio to record. When is your European Tour :D


Author:  Steve [ Tue Aug 05, 2008 6:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: For D.R.B., Wherever You Are


I have a hunch you don't need to be told anything about Jiddu Krishnamurti. But how about..?

Annie's lover was a big ol' man, he was a farming man
Never spent much time worrying ‘bout the people
In the big big city

'Cause all he did know ‘bout was the cows and the chickens
And the pigs and the horses and the sheep and the goats
And the ducks, they fly
Sat on the hill side, playing his guitar
Watching the whole thing come down in a harmony

Annie's lover was a big ol' man, he was an African man
He walked a lot and looked around and saw everything
That his eyes could see

Groups are funny things. So are individuals. I don't have any answers. I suspect that for me the answer I'm looking for is to see myself show a little courage, stand up for somebody sometime, probably some little kid, probably at some inconvenient, awkward time. It's just a theory. But it makes sense to me that really liking myself is kind of key, you know? I don't have any theory about how "we" can force the world to become less stupid. I just don't need to look in the mirror and only just pretend to like myself. I need to like myself in this world, the real one. The one with all the stupid in it. So I have to face both it and me at the same time, I figure.

Back to your August 2 post:

Or first--do you have any thoughts about the supposed lack of war surrounding Caral? You managed to watch it? Seems to me that their main crop--cotton--is awfully labor intensive for a free society. Caral aside, my view of the "rise" of civilizations, regardless of where or when, goes something like "A war-like tribe emerged from the forest (or savanna or desert or whatever), conquered their neighbors, setting themselves up as ruler-gods (forcing their slaves to build monuments to them etc., etc., etc.)" I don't see government branching off from religion as an improvement, necessarily. I see it mostly as branching.

Okay humanity has been tremendously successful. I think success is great but it's also one of the leading causes of failure.

I also believe that almost no one is or ever has been a complete robot. And as odd a life as I've lived for a modern-day American I by no means consider myself a complete non-robot. Or maybe I am, but even if so, I'm here to tell you that by itself ain't no thang.

It is a very complicated world, and it's been made so by words.

Speech is what people learn to use instead of tears?


No plans for the main continent, week or so in Sweden only. As it stands now, July '09.

Far as "between Waits and Dylan", that's close to "a horse scratching in the gravel" but I appreciate it. thanks.

Så som i himmelen,

Author:  Bernard [ Wed Aug 06, 2008 8:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: For D.R.B., Wherever You Are

Harigata, you finished your post with an off-topic aside....

The whole world has conspired against Primal Therapy, including the ‘Prophet’ Janov himself. When all nice ideals and the preaching of great truths become tiresome, in through the door come Mephistopheles, with a think bundles of greenbacks in his hand.

Primal Revolution is the one I was dazzled by. Janov implied the result of successful primal therapy would be a person detached from the craziness going on in the world and at peace with themselves.... Because they finally became 'real'. Where are the post-primal people who are at peace and who have found a way to be content with life? The patients' stories in Janov's books don't count because he selects them very carefully to reflect well on his therapy. No *independent* long-term follow-ups and less than a handful from Janov himself, or so I've been told. A handful out of thousands who've been through Primal Therapy with therapists supervised by Art Janov himself.

A question. Has anyone compiled a list of primal success stories that were published independently of Janov? There's a benchmark, however. Without the uncomfortable, nitty-gritty details of the person's life story, glowing testimonials don't count.... Because whitewash fables are what you get from 'born again' Christians, Scientologists and believers in every kind of snake oil on the market.

Do post-primal people who are content and at peace with the craziness stay silent because they're not into preaching salvation? Is it only angst-ridden believers - still struggling to cope with life - who preach the primal gospel? Even after decades of failure to achieve contentment for themselves? Is that because once the gates against pain are down they can't be restored? Do some people feel better if they can persuade others fall into the same trap? Is there a placebo effect from knowing that others are experiencing the same kind of angst? Hmmm... It's not the same as a solution to the pain. If contented post-primal people actually exist, do they stay silent because they go along with the worldwide 'conspiracy' against Primal Therapy?

Author:  Steve [ Thu Aug 07, 2008 9:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: For D.R.B., Wherever You Are

This is an old, tired world we live it. Its sun has seen just about everything there is to see, and how it's all being repeated over and over and over.....

This old world's all right.

Well I mean of course we're all screwed up to beat the band, but, well you know.

Your discussion of the hows and whys of civilization reminded me of Mark Twain wondering (not that you were wondering) if the world is run by smart people putting us on or imbeciles who really mean it. I believe you give the 'leaders' and ruling classes more credit than they deserve. Not that the rest of us have been much to write home about either, mostly. Again, The Discoverers by Daniel Boorstin I think provides a historically accurate if unintentionally enlightening view of our ancestors' minds. We come from imbeciles.

Personally I see more and more disturbing signs as well as more encouraging signs than I believe have ever existed. But I strongly suspect that an awesomely significant page is turning. Alice Miller seems to have said regularly that she "doesn't know" what the future will bring--as in "not willing to guess" or has not enough sense of which way the world's momentum is taking it. I've been mostly negative about things since I suppose about the end of the Viet Nam war--when it started sinking in that the supposed US counter-cultural "revolution" was....well it seemed to me that except in perhaps a shallow theatrical sense people mostly just surrendered otherwise completely to the anxieties of their parents. I heard things like "They paid a lot for my education. I owe it to them and I'm going to work for Dow Chemical. It was the only place I could find a job. But I'll change the system holistically from within. And try to keep my beard and earring. And make sure to vote only for Democrats." Or: "I'm much too intelligent to work in a factory." "Only a Republican would go into business." (Including a barber shop I suppose.) I agreed with Grace Slick before I heard her thoughts on it: that "revolution" ended up being 95% or more nothing but a stupid joke. For me that was the reality of it. Everybody sold out. Except in a few superfluous, superficial ways, just about everybody did. They "had" to, they said. That was depressing. But I think now it wasn't a total failure. Freedom in the interval between then and now in the US has definitely plummeted in all sorts of frightening ways. BUT--women, for instance, have certainly made substantial real progress. That's huge, I think. And new. And good, because I can tell you free women ain't gonna take shit from NObody and you'd BETTER not lay a finger on that kid or you WILL pay! You watch. It'll be women more than anyone else who end up saving our asses. IF our asses are saved at all, I mean. Women probably understand the problem better and are emotionally closer to it too since they were kept behind the wall themselves for so long. Some of these women now--I dunno. But I pity the fool who gets in their way.

There's definitely a dual momentum, and the half of it leading to total collapse and more misery for more people than I care to think about is certainly real too. It's almost like watching a close football game, enough time left on the clock that anything can happen. From where I sit though I think it looks more than ever like the good guys can really take this thing.

I sure don't have time for all you posted about, but wow you sure have spent time at your stuff!

Thanks for the compliment on the music. Really.

I'm from the US. Sometimes when we figure nobody can hear, we like talking like guys from over in England. Like: "Do you expect me to talk?" "No ho ho, Mr. Bond! I expect you to die!!!" Most of us figure that counts even though Sean Connery is from...I dunno, Scotland or somewhere. And Goldfinger was from...Belgium? I do a couple passages from The Life of Samuel Johnson. "My mind resembles a vast amphitheater! The Coliseum at Rome!! etc, etc." Anyway, it's better than trying to sound like the Crocodile Hunter guy. Crikey. Anyway, I forced myself (obviously) to try a little on video.

Or did you just mean the Swedish there at the end of the post. That's the title of a film. "As it is in Heaven". Oscar nominated I think in 2004. Has connections to childhood bullying, religious reality inversion and the importance of personal freedom. Karin, a lady who posted here for a while, and I visited in July. Pretty big deal and definitely super nice time for both of us. The film was a present from her.

Out of context I'm not sure how this will play, but what's gone on is that this woman finds the courage to sing only once she's found the courage to leave her wife-beating husband. (Frowning guy with arms crossed.) "I want to feel as though I've lived my life", last line. Very well done movie.

Gabriella's Song


Author:  Bernard [ Thu Aug 07, 2008 11:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: For D.R.B., Wherever You Are

Harigata, thanks for your frank and honest reply. It seemed the topic was mainly about how advanced societies turn citizens into semi-robots and worker-ants.

He has partial knowledge. Enough to make money on it. Don't forget the money. Never forget the money.

He has a home on Malibu Beach.... a place where real-estate is so expensive that many big-name Hollywood stars can't afford to live there.

You have to have an interest beyond money when trying to cure a person - like helping a kinsman! You have to LOVE you patient, or you will not do a good job.

100% spot-on. An ingredient that's virtually impossible to find in a therapist who needs a minimum number of patients to make a living. In truth, at best, they can only really love one or two. And I think Alice Miller should make this clear too. Her idea of an 'enlightened witness' depends on the capacity to love the person in need of help, but she doesn't explicitly say so. She also talks of a 'helping witness' in childhood. But that could be a passing stranger who lets a child know that what was done to them was wrong.

I'm with you on the idea that the craziness is a central part of our civilization.

The biggest safety-net for Machiavellians at the top of food chain is that individuals who see flaws in the system don't band together in political lobbying groups in larger numbers than ever before. What they do instead is watch videos passively at home, intellectualize on forums and sometimes even tell others to enroll for a course of psychotherapy. Bliss for Machiavellians.

Author:  Bernard [ Thu Aug 07, 2008 9:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: For D.R.B., Wherever You Are


I wouldn't say you hijacked the thread because DRB didn't respond. He (or she?) didn't have a user account and hasn't returned since registration became compulsory. So anything goes. It has turned into an interesting discussion.

I guess by Hubbard you mean Dianetics, which has a lot in common with primal therapy.
Daniel Quinn had an interesting way of looking at how we could live more naturally. But Jared Diamond made a bigger impact with his best-sellers. Probably because he's a respected academic with a writing style that appeals to a wide audience. I haven't read the Tolkien series.

What I don't understand is why you want to keep primal therapy in the limelight. I don't believe there's a conspiracy against it. It's just that people who want to see reliable independent evidence of its effectiveness don't find any.... only cultism and Art Janov finessing his theory to paper over the cracks. John Lennon relapsed into drugs a couple of years after primal therapy, split up from Yoko for more than a year and neglected his son from his first marriage right up to his death. The usual excuse is that Lennon didn't spend enough time in therapy.... a few weeks of exclusive time in England with Art and a few months in LA.... but I still see that as an excuse.

There was no such thing as psychotherapy in the world when Mark Twain made his observations about human folly. The same for Thoreau, Samuel Butler, Ralph Waldo Emerson and even William Shakespeare centuries before.

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