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#301 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 01:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by captain crunchy
Dal brought up Nazi Germany. I think this is a great example. Did the children spitting and throwing stones on the street at the Jews REALLY hate Jewish people? Deep inside them, did they REALLY make the choice that Jews were dispicable and thus needed to be put in ghettos or exterminated? Or was it that they observed the adults around them that they loved, admired, and trusted, talking about Jewish people, or throwing stones at them, and made a *choice* that if their parents, whom they love, admire, and look up to were doing it, it must be desirable?
Yeah! Have you ever seen the clip of the teenage girl who was being escorted into the high school in ********** (I think?) by the National Guard when they were desegregating, and the white girl pushes her? I saw a video at the Smithsonian of those two girls meeting, as middle-aged women, and the white woman apologized to her and explained how she didn't know any better. It's bringing tears to my eyes right now! Kind of OT, but as far as indoctrination and personal choice go...

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#302 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 01:47 PM
 
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Dal,

I understand where you are coming from. I really do. I just do not believe there is an absolute right and wrong. Even about harming others. Or animals. Harming others in self defense is commonly considered an exception to the "absolute". Even the act of assisted suicide is considered by some an exception to the "absolute". Most view the act of abortion debatable. With animals, I believe by my very act of living, I do harm other animals indirectly. By living in a house that clear cut some small portion of land and thus the animals lost their home. By driving on roads which destroyed animal habitat, etc. Direct and indirect harm is a whole 'nuther continuum. Knowingly and unknowingly harming is another continuum. One can fall/choose anywhere on the continuum based upon one's degree of awareness of direct or indirect impact. But, I do not believe that 'not harming' while living are mutually realistic. And I do not believe in martyrdom, even as an almost pacifist. A fine distinction, I am sure.

The relevant variable being an autonomy not to act, or an autonomy to act. Neither being compulsory based upon some moral absolute.

I actively do not "raise our son to be" "moral" by any definition. I do consciously and conscientiously model my own personal moral code of not harming or coercing others to the best of my ability and awareness at any point in time. "I intentionally do the best that I can at all times." And I do give information of social conventions because our son seeks to be a social being innately. However, he has a choice to adopt or reject these morals or coventions for himself. I trust that he will choose his own definition of "moral" despite his inescapable "nurture"/environment. Because to the best of my ability I hold that nurture/environment to a standard of volitional, rather than "inescapable". Your arguement about mental/psychological (verbal) coercion is a HUGE dilemma for me. And as you mentioned convincing, persuasion, selective information provision are as potentially imposing as any physical coercion. As such I do not imbue actions with judgement. Our son is not informed that any action of his is right/wrong/ok/unacceptable except as it relates to expressing my own judgement of the impact of his actions on *me*. Or as I mention the non-verbal or verbal objection of others (people or animals) about the impact of his actions on themself. Or proactively to provide him with non-compulsory information about generally 'accepted' socio-cultural norms. Or provide as information as objectively as possible about actions which may harm him.

We have a large social network within which he receives many iterations of imposed/coerced precepts of 'right' and 'wrong'. However, I consciously and conscientiously do not convey these judgements in an effort to either lead him to my moral code, or dissuade him from an alternate moral code. As such, I see that he has integrated and chosen many of my beliefs of volitional interconnectivity and a desire to support and nurture others unconditionally. He does not do this perfectly or consistently. I realize with each day of increased awareness of other's suffering, including animals, nor do I.

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#303 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 01:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by captain crunchy
I'm still here! My aim is to get more responses than the "children on leashes" thread

It is great though, that although there are differing views, we have, for the most part remained really respectful of eachother and it hasn't degenerated into madness...madnessss I say....
Wow! We'd have to hit 542 posts and not get locked down. Which is coercive, btw!

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#304 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
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However, I consciously and conscientiously do not convey these judgements in an effort to either lead him to my moral code, or dissuade him from an alternate moral code.
I agree with that, but I also maintain that one wouldn't even have to assign judgement or someone or some thing or some act to their child in order for their child to pick up on the *moral* code in the home or elsewhere. For instance, I would never even have to say one word to my daughter either way about how I feel concerning animal rights. Merely by the act of being involved in the causes of animals and having the information available in my home, as well as several ongoing campaigns -- I will not even have to broach the subject of the way I feel for her to understand how I feel when she reaches the age where she can read, or even the age where she can understand conversations around her.

The same goes for anything else. While to me the act of brushing one's teeth isn't a moral dilemma, the mere act of witnessing my husband and I brush our teeth regularly will send the clear messege that brushing one's teeth is desirable in our home. Even if she chooses not to brush, even if we don't punish her for not brushing or tell her that her teeth are going to fall out or anything -- the mere act of my husband and I brushing our teeth on a daily basis in her presence and when she gets slightly older, the realization on her part that most people do the same -- the messege is already sent brushing teeth=good not brushing=bad, or not normal -- even if a word or judgement isn't mentioned at all.

So while I do think it is very noble to aspire to live as purely as possible with respect to our children making decisions without influence or judgement -- even if the only judgement you are giving to whether something is desirable or not is simply the act of you choosing to do it or not -- the influence is there.

I believe we are constantly teaching our children are morals and values just by the act of how we conduct ourselves in our home and with others even if no attempt to *teach"* or *judge* is made. I feel that most (very young) children have a strong desire to mimic their parents, to please their parents, to do things that are desirable to their parents... I think where this goes awry is when the parents take advantage of that and exploit it.... such as telling a child santa won't bring presents if they aren't good or that it "hurts mommy's feelings" when they refuse to brush their teeth and things of that nature.

In everyone I ever met, certain morals and values were taught in the home, by whatever means the parents have chosen -- by the strictest enforcement, or by simply living their life and their child picking up on *how* they live their life and forming their beliefs on that. I have observed though, the people who usually rebel the most against the moral codes that have been taught are the people who felt exploited by them, used by them, punished by them, imprisoned by them.... but then again, to me it is really very simple actually, semantics and what if's aside. I feel that if someone is consistently treated with kindess, love, respect, trust, and decency, they return that to you and to almost everyone they encounter 9 times out of 10...
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#305 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow! We'd have to hit 542 posts and not get locked down. Which is coercive, btw!
Now, now Pat, reign it in...there is absolutely NO judgement of the practices at MDC allowed here
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#306 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
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How many times has the word coercive been used in this thread? Any takers? I say 487 times...
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#307 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 04:23 PM
 
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ambdkf - thanks for the reply You have reassured me that she is still young and I will not pressure her

~Sara, WAHSingMomi to girls R and AV, S.O.A.R. Scout Leader and Homeschooling In Detroit Blogger

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#308 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 04:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Dal
Why then would I support non-coercion as ideal in cases in which no one is being harmed? Because his interests and his feelings are important.
yes. I feel exactly the same way!

I'm only up to post 287, but I've decided that I agree with just about everything you say

Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)
 

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#309 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 05:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by captain crunchy
How many times has the word coercive been used in this thread? Any takers? I say 487 times...
There are 308 posts. Some dont use the word at all, some use it 50x. So my guess is HMMM
924 times.
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#310 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 06:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by captain crunchy
So while I do think it is very noble to aspire to live as purely as possible with respect to our children making decisions without influence or judgement
I disagree with this completely, and I guess I now realize that's why I can't really be a non-coercive parent. Not only do I agree with Captain Crunchy that it's impossible to NOT influence our children's morality, I consciously and conscientiously teach my child about my own personal moral code, and will continue to do so throughout her life.

No, I don't believe in forcing it down their throat, but I will make it clear where I stand and what I believe to be right and wrong. I believe it is my duty as a parent. I do think it's good to be as non-coercive as possible, but I will not hope and assume that my children will develop a strong moral compass without any help. Maybe I should give them more credit, maybe they can learn it all by example, but I just want to be sure.

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#311 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 06:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by natensarah
I disagree with this completely, and I guess I now realize that's why I can't really be a non-coercive parent. Not only do I agree with Captain Crunchy that it's impossible to NOT influence our children's morality, I consciously and conscientiously teach my child about my own personal moral code, and will continue to do so throughout her life.

No, I don't believe in forcing it down their throat, but I will make it clear where I stand and what I believe to be right and wrong. I believe it is my duty as a parent. I do think it's good to be as non-coercive as possible, but I will not hope and assume that my children will develop a strong moral compass without any help. Maybe I should give them more credit, maybe they can learn it all by example, but I just want to be sure.
:
I dont see it as somethign to be avoided or even something that could be avoided. In fact I see it as an integral part of my job.
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#312 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 07:23 PM
 
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This is the most fascinating discussion I've had the pleasure to read.

I'm going to admit: it's also the most confusing. : I read this and I think everyone's talking about two different things and calling them by the same name. I read this and I think of coercion as compelling someone to do something by force or by threat or maybe even rewards, or preventing them from doing something by force or threat (you will not do that in my home or else!) or maybe rewards. I think of guidance as the discussion of values, sharing of information, and role-modeling-and I just don't see guidance as coercive.

I'm seeing things here being discussed as if they are coercion (at least that's my interpretation), when to me they seem more like guidance. In my mind to tell my child that it's not kind to hit people, and that I want them to be gentle with each other but I'm not punishing them or threatening them, is guidance rather than coercion...but that may be seen here by some as coercion? I see the decision not to serve meat in one's own home when one believes the eating of meat to be immoral as role-modeling and the sharing of information about one's own values. I see it as guidance.

It seems to me that young children need an awful lot of things explained to them, they are rational, feeling people who are also inexperienced and to varying degrees they are limited in their understanding in various ways. They need guidance in making decisions. Not coercion, but guidance. Heck, I still need guidance at times as an adult-I still find myself limited in my understanding and I still find myself inexperienced. The line between coercion and guidance may be a fine one at times, I suppose. And it also seems to me that being human, even the parent most committed to non-coercion is likely to be coercive at some point. That's not horrible. I would think that the goal would only be to be as non-coercive as possible, not perfectly non-coercive.

Anyway, I feel lost and inexperienced right now. Feel free to disregard this post. Just blabbering and trying to sort it out. Back to your regularly scheduled brilliant discussion...
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#313 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 07:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by natensarah
I disagree with this completely, and I guess I now realize that's why I can't really be a non-coercive parent.
I think the waters are being muddy a bit by my dear friend Pat (Scubamama) I do share my beliefs and values with my children, as they are integral to how we live. We thank plants for nourishing us (animals too), we ask trees before we place a swing in them. These are things they are learning from me, my value of nature and my beliefs about it. That is a completely separate issue from using coercion. Coercion just isn’t a tool we use in our home, we haven’t found it necessary.

I do disagree with the sentiment of it's my "duty" or that somehow I can guarantee that they will adopt my beliefs. That isn't my goal at all. I see they are capable of learning to be members of society and meet a 'moral code' because they want to, they are interested in it and see that it helps them. So I do give them that credit. I just share my beliefs because I'm passionate about them. They have taught me many things too, deepening my understanding of many things. That's the beauty, the give and take.

So please don’t toss the baby out with the bath water You can still share your beliefs and be a NCP. They are not mutually exclusive. IMHO

Anna
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#314 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 08:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sledg
I'm going to admit: it's also the most confusing. : I read this and I think everyone's talking about two different things and calling them by the same name. I read this and I think of coercion as compelling someone to do something by force or by threat or maybe even rewards, or preventing them from doing something by force or threat (you will not do that in my home or else!) or maybe rewards. I think of guidance as the discussion of values, sharing of information, and role-modeling-and I just don't see guidance as coercive.
I believe the issue as it relates to this thread is if a parent is compelling (child "has to") adhere to a moral code because it is a right/wrong edict that compulsion (coercion) is a very different degree of "guidance" than giving information with or without overtly sharing one's moral code.

As it relates to my own practice of "parenting", I could say that I unschool morals through modeling, without teaching, instruction, indoctrination, proscription (there is a continuum of degrees of "guidance"). But more philosophically, I Trust our son to adopt a moral code of his own based upon his own best judgement without overt external direction from me. And that as a principle, I do not feel that imposing my moral code on him, in any intentional degree, is in line with a belief that he knows "best" for himself. Conveying unconditional Trust in his ability to choose a moral code is more important to me than conveying a "right/wrong" code of morality. I don't Fear that he will choose a moral code that is "wrong", implying I need to "teach" him what is "right".

However, non-coercive parents can certainly share their moral beliefs. Which I obviously do by modelling. My focus is on verbally "sharing" information in a mutually agreeable manner, irrelevant of type of information. Just as I share information and opinions with our son when he is interested, I solicit his opinions and moral perspective to understand him. The process of sharing information about my moral beliefs is in a discussion format (mutual learning), not a teaching format. I don't have an agenda or expected outcome of him adopting my moral beliefs.

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#315 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 08:29 PM
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Sorry that I'm not doing much to respond to individals here. Despite appearances, I'm rushed.

SunRayeMomi, my teeth were harmed by thumb-sucking. I sucked my thumb until I was 12 or so. The only thing that helped was when I started going to the orthodontist's for braces and he put an arch in my mouth. I assume this was for an actual purpose, but it made the thumb-sucking uncomfortable enough that I stopped quickly after that. I was happy about this as it was an embarassing thing to do, and of course because it was ruining (had ruined) the aesthetics of my teeth. My parents told me every lie under the sun to try to coerce me to stop. They never told me that it might cause my teeth to move, nor did they show me any pictures of the possible end result. I seriously think that may have helped because I was intelligent enough to know that no, my thumb wasn't going to fall off from sucking on it. I've since had braces and my teeth are now fine. I think it's worth further thought, especially if she spends quite a bit of time sucking her thumb. Maybe some orthodontists put in such a bridge specifically as a preventative measure? It wasn't at all a big deal to have it inserted.

Scubamama, what I'm advocating is not an absolute ethics. I may have forgotten a few qualifiers, but I did mention repeatedly that what is wrong is not any and every instance of harm to another being, but causing or contributing to the "unnecessary" and "needless" suffering of others. Of course I acknowledge that in virtue of being alive and meeting my needs, I cannot help but to cause some harm to others. I think you'd be very hard-pressed to find a vegan who claims to cause no suffering to others. Even Jains acknowledge that their way of life does cause some suffering.

I really have trouble accepting that you can possibly believe that there are no moral rights and wrongs? Allow for a contextual take, as any well-thought out ethics would do. So, given the current context, with Simon once again sleeping, can you honestly tell me that it would not be 100% morally reprehensible for me to start beating him? Let's pretend that I have some anger management issues and am brimming with anger and take it out on him. There is no gun to my head. I could have chosen to act otherwise. I knew what I was going to do before doing it and knew what I was doing during the beating. Beating him is not going to end world hunger. I'm not having a psychotic break. What there is is just what is in this room: a mom at her laptop blabbing away as she does and a precious little boy sound asleep on the bed next to her. Kicking him wouldn't be wrong? You seem to think that coercing him to get into the carseat is wrong. How can it be that you don't think that any well-functioning human ought to believe that such an act is morally deplorable?

Philosophical arguments in favour of skepticism are notoriously persuasive. Yet no one takes them seriously, at least, that is, no one lives their life as if they genuinely hold a radical skeptical position. I think this is even more true with moral relativism. (Though some people do accept it and act in accordance with it, I don't see you as doing this.) To be honest, this is my psychobabble take on your position: You accept relativism on a philosophical level, you have arguments in support of it, but many of your other narratives (e.g. the claim that coercion is wrong), as well as your other actions and re-actions indicate otherwise. You do not think it is equally good for your son to grow up to beat his children as it is for him to grow up to rally against child abuse. If he felt that it was o.k. to beat children, or to beat a dog, you would think that this is wrong of him. Wouldn't you? Of course you would. I think that your claims to relativism are especially unbelievable because you stand out as such a strong moral voice on these boards. If you truly think it's all subjective, why are you so amazing and helpful to others? I've wondered if many of your posts are done (at least in part) as a kind of community service/activism. Why do you care whether they force their child into a carseat? Why are you careful with how you word things so as not to cause offense (or maybe this comes naturally to you)? The claims to relativism do not jive with much of anything that I've heard and learned from you (other than your claims to relativism). So either you're mistaken about being a relativist, we're using the terms in inconsistent ways, or I'm seriously missing something here.

What if we talked of Big "O" Objective ethics and little "o" objective ethics. Is that the least bit helpful? An advocate of the Big "O" would hold that there are absolute moral commands (a sophisticated account of this usually allows for exceptions so that, e.g., taking a human life is not always unjustified so that wanton killing is wrong but euthanasia is sometimes acceptable). The foundation for these O commands is taken to exist above and beyond the animal realm: the Forms of the Good for Plato, God, or some other supernatural or super-metaphysical basis is assumed (or argued for). This is where absolute ethics loses me. Little "o" ethics can be entirely naturalistic. It can be based on the types of beings that we are and the interests that we have.

Whatever the narratives that our lives take on, the common nature that we share remains. We seek comfort and pleasure and shun pains (except those that we think are beneficial to us or to things/beings we hold dear). We take food, shelter, health, personal safety, and freedom from oppression to be goods, we want to be loved and treated with respect, and so on. Since these are common goods, we can assume that every being who has them wants them to be protected. We know that we do not want these things taken from us or threatened. We have strong reasons for thinking that it's wrong to take these goods from others when it is easily avoidable (or when the gain to us in minimal and the pain to them is extreme, to give an easy example). Call it empathetic inference. We *feel* the wrongness of a blatantly wrong action when we see it or hear about it. This response can be thwarted, but I do think it's the natural and most widely held response to the suffering of others.

The fancy tactics that are undertaken to keep compartmentalization afloat testify to the truth of this. We distance ourselves from the victims in order to continue their victimization. They become the Others, inferiors, less important, not worth considering. We mock them. Don't think about them. We are so much better than them that we're justified in using force against them, torturing them, and so on, because our interests are so much more important (a completely flawed argument). Even if one upholds such a mentality of domination, it is threatened and shattered by the realization of inconsistencies in our narratives (e.g., women are stupid and thus don't deserve the right to vote, Frankenstein was written by a woman, Frankenstein in a brilliant novel, maybe women aren't stupid?). I think that, assuming an older child or adult is not so far gone as to simply refuse to question the possibility that it might be wrong to believe that (e.g.) women should be submissive to men, ongoing debate (especially in the form of a Socratic-type discussion) that appeals to our in-built rationality and our common interests and awareness of those of others can lead to the widespread acceptance of objective boundary conditions (it would be idealistic to the extreme to think that everyone would come to accept the conditions, but this doesn't make them any less acceptable).

Aside from defending a philosophical thesis, how could you think that the holocaust was not patently wrong? Is your hesisitation of doing so because you hold the view that any objective ethics must also be absolute (i.e., if it's wrong to beat children there can never be any counter-examples to this, even if there is a gun involved and the child will be shot if I don't punch him). What about our shared traits as a basis for an objective ethics? That is not persuasive?

How about the point that both Captain Crunchy and I have raised: who counts in relation to the quest for mutual agreeability? And if you are ruling some animals (humans or otherwise) out of the equation, by what basis can you justify this exclusion?

natensarah, I'm a teaching assistant for an intro philosophy class. It isn't very glamourous. I do hope to teach courses on ethics and I dream of creating a course on philosophical writing. I really think such a course should exist. It probably does, but if so, it isn't widespread. Students from far beyond the philosophy department could really benefit from such a course. I love to scheme about pedagogy. They'd have a deadline date to submit their first essay, say Oct. 1st, and would be instructed to bring it to class. Come Oct. 1st, I'd have overheads that go over the common shortcomings of first year papers. I'd ask the students to think about which (often embarassing) mistakes they made and let them know that the average grade would most likely be 65% (major shocker to these students who are used to getting nothing but A's). They'd then have another week or two to polish their essay or re-write it if need be. In many cases I suspect that this would be the first time that they actually kept working on a paper once they had a complete draft. I'd also encourage students to re-submit work (provided the changes are substantial rather than petty as this would be time consuming to do). I do love to blab.

So much for spending Simon's nap finishing off that batch of papers! Oh well. I have managed to grade most of them.
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#316 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 08:54 PM
 
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[QUOTE=sledgI read this and I think everyone's talking about two different things and calling them by the same name. I read this and I think of coercion as compelling someone to do something by force or by threat or maybe even rewards, or preventing them from doing something by force or threat (you will not do that in my home or else!) or maybe rewards. I think of guidance as the discussion of values, sharing of information, and role-modeling-and I just don't see guidance as coercive. .[/QUOTE]

I think what we are talking about is not simply guidance such as. "Hitting hurts others. Lets not hit people. Please dont hit your friend. We can find another way to solve this problem" is a way of sharing information and discussing values.
But to step in and remove your child or stop his hand to prevent the other child from being hit (or hit again) is coercive. But most of us would do this in the interest in the protection of the other child.
Not having meat in the house and discussing the values of a vegan lifestyle is a discussion of values and sharing of information.
Telling your child they may not have that meatball in the buffet line is coercive.

The difference is are you satisfied giving your child information with the knowledge that they may still do the opposite, or are there circumstances where you would intervene and coerce in order to get them to live the values you have discussed.

While it is also theoretically true that even the process of informing your child is selective to your own values and therefore is not truly giving the child the objective ability to choose for themselves and is perhaps psychologically coercive if not physically so.

And Dal,
I have been thinking about this all afternoon.
I happen to have the very strange circumstance of being both a moral relativist but believing that under it all is some objective morality.
But the funny thing is that while you and I do both believe that there IS an objective base for morality, we even differ as to its nature and what it encompasses.
First I must confess to being an anthropologist by training, which certainly is the brush which colors my viewpoint. And as an anthropologist you have to be a relativist in order to understand cultures objectively.
However I also learned a lot about human needs and adaptation. One adaptation humans have for survival is that they must live in groups.
And It is at the base of my belief system that what is adaptive for the survival of humans is the equivalent of morally good, and things that are maladaptive are the equivalent of morally bad.
Murder is morally bad because it is not adaptive to the survival of humans. War also. IN order to live with other humans we have to have certain expectations of behavior (people dont live together well if they steal from each other or react to anger or frustration with violence).

Of course this is entirely OT from the original topic of coercion. But still something I have been thinking about since you mentioned it.
Jolie
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#317 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 09:10 PM
 
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Ok, Dal. You know much more than I do about philosophy theory. I keep having to look up your "isms"

No, I believe I grok skepticism and moral relativism. And I hold a personal moral code which I apply as objectively (little o) as possible. But, I do not believe it is the right moral code and others are wrong.

Have you read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintence? It affected me deeply. From Objectivism (big O). Zen Buddhism and child bearing changed my perspective of objective reality.

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#318 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 09:19 PM
 
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Btw, I never judged that (nor said) coercion was "wrong". I don't believe it is necessary. But, I am not absolutely sure of that either. I do not perceive actions in the right/wrong matrix. I believe there is a rationale/perspective underlying what influences ("causes") actions, interconnected to the past (nature/nurture), beyond pure free will.


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#319 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 09:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay this would be a great beginning to a joke --

A Philosopher, an Anthropologist, and a Sociologist (me) walk into a bar....


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#320 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by johub
And as an anthropologist you have to be a relativist in order to understand cultures objectively.
I don't think this can be done. You can't learn facts about another culture and think of them in a way that is entirely outside of your belief systems. I don't think that we can't escape our belief systems like this. Perhaps something like this works within anthropology, but I think that this would be a very, very harmful thing for people to be taught to do. Sometimes we're justified to step in and end a holocaust and pretending that it's o.k. is just that. Sometimes it's wrong to not step in.

Doesn't it feel like killing and torturing a baby is wrong not because it is good for that baby to grow up to be an adult (though this is part of it), but because of the suffering that the baby will endure? I think that the inherent goodness of sensations of well-being and the inherent badness of those of pain and the like can get us really far on their own. Even if humans lost their ability to procreate, we should still accept and follow the basic boundary condition of refraining from unnecessarily causing harm to others. Empathy would still persist. I think it's part of the amazing oomph that gets us from a collection of bumbling molecules to a sentient being. I think this oomph, i.e., our existential experiences, are the basis for morality. What is the justification for the claim that it is good to procreate at all if it is not the fact that life is (for the most part) inherently desireable? It isn't good just because and when it persists. Why is persistence preferable to reconstitution? It's the unexplainable oomph that makes it good. I think our accounts may be compatible.
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#321 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 09:26 PM
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cc: very funny! Trying to finish that one.
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#322 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 09:48 PM
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Pat, I might have a copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintence (I think an ex left it in my possession, or maybe loaned it to me -- a hint?). I'll look for it. I've studied Zen Buddhism and Taoism to some extent, but it was awhile ago and the text was a boring one (at the time, maybe it would appeal to me now. I should look at it to see what it is.). From what I can gather from my limited experience with Buddhism, they do uphold an objective ethics and a pretty rigorous one at that, and they believe that others who do not follow suit are not enlightened. They have very laid back ways of dealing with others, but everything I've read deals only with adults and very mundane everyday existence, not with a toddler who is trying to bash in the head of another toddler. I could meditate when Simon bites me and not react. I think that could work very well. Gandhi's mother would show him extra love and care when he did something wrong. They weren't Zen Buddhists though. This is a messy freeflow of thoughts.

I still don't get (or accept) that you can truly believe that it is not wrong to beat a child (or insert other atrocity here). I guess I need to read up on Zen Buddhism. Your post about the right/wrong matrix reminds me of Taoism (I paid more attention to that). Actually, all that you say makes sense from my understanding of Taoism. I think. But is it practically efficacious? I guess that doesn't matter. Care to come to Ontario and explain this to me!? I bet that it is fascinating. Have you read the Zhuangzi? Also transliterated as Chuang Tsu and Chuang-Tzu and some other variants too. If not I think you'd LOVE it. Here's an online translation: http://www.truetao.org/chuang/. I'm familiar with Burton Watson's translation. I think it's best read in book format. How about Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching? If you haven't read that, I recommend it too. http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/gthurs...m/ttc-list.htm.

By your mention of "interconnected to the past" do you mean past lives, or just the past events of the current life?

Simon is up. Must go.
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#323 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 09:51 PM
 
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Whew... Can you mamas slow down? I am barely catching up processing your thought flow! Forget getting one of my own

I think I learned so-o-o much in this thread, probably more than in many others combined
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#324 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 10:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dal
Pat, I might have a copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintence (I think an ex left it in my possession, or maybe loaned it to me -- a hint?). I'll look for it. I've studied Zen Buddhism and Taoism to some extent, but it was awhile ago and the text was a boring one (at the time, maybe it would appeal to me now. I should look at it to see what it is.). From what I can gather from my limited experience with Buddhism, they do uphold an objective ethics and a pretty rigorous one at that, and they believe that others who do not follow suit are not enlightened. They have very laid back ways of dealing with others, but everything I've read deals only with adults and very mundane everyday existence, not with a toddler who is trying to bash in the head of another toddler. I could meditate when Simon bites me and not react. I think that could work very well. Gandhi's mother would show him extra love and care when he did something wrong. They weren't Zen Buddhists though. This is a messy freeflow of thoughts.

I still don't get (or accept) that you can truly believe that it is not wrong to beat a child (or insert other atrocity here). I guess I need to read up on Zen Buddhism. Your post about the right/wrong matrix reminds me of Taoism (I paid more attention to that). Actually, all that you say makes sense from my understanding of Taoism. I think. But is it practically efficacious? I guess that doesn't matter. Care to come to Ontario and explain this to me!? I bet that it is fascinating. Have you read the Zhuangzi? Also transliterated as Chuang Tsu and Chuang-Tzu and some other variants too. If not I think you'd LOVE it. Here's an online translation: http://www.truetao.org/chuang/. I'm familiar with Burton Watson's translation. I think it's best read in book format. How about Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching? If you haven't read that, I recommend it too. http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/gthurs...m/ttc-list.htm.

By your mention of "interconnected to the past" do you mean past lives, or just the past events of the current life?

Simon is up. Must go.
No, you come here and live. You were looking for somewhere interesting to move. I need to go study philosophy more. I have fashioned myself a passionate "philosopher, anthropologist and socio-economic, socio-cultural, political enthusiast". But, I am a critical care nurse, with a degree in business administration and a "Mutual Respect Advocate" who has travelled a great deal and read a great deal. Did I mention Atheist/Pantheist with Taoism leanings?

Thich Nhat Hanh's Zen Buddhist writings have influenced me. Especially "Peace is Every Step" and "The Miracle of Mindfulness". I have read the "Tao According to Pooh" and "The Te of Piglet"; but not the originals. But I lean more Taoist than Zen Buddhist, I believe. Thank you for the links. I will read them (in my spare time ).

Mostly, Ayn Rand first affected my personal moral code. And that absolutist belief sounds more like Joline's personal moral code above, despite her higher belief in moral relativity. I am amused that your belief Joline is so similar to my personal one, but applied so differently. And Captain Crunchy and Dal you all sound too ethnocentric (culturally myopic), imo despite advancing rights to animals. Your perspective seems Westernized. No offense intended.

Yes, read Zen and the Art... Is there a Ethical/Moral/Spiritual forum at MDC? I hadn't looked as I believe child rearing is inherently the most organic practice of spirituality.

I meant interconnected to past events, current life. Other's past events affecting the present. I am not sure about past lives in any concrete way. Perhaps more in an omnipresent Life Force; but not sure about any continuation of awareness into the present manifestation. Maybe some ambiguous "progress". But the construct of progress seems too ordained, imo.

I love talking with you all. At some points, I think 'am I conveying this abstraction in some means of articulating something comprehensible?' and then you all are responding with such insightful and applicable responses that I am awed at the depth of your understanding and challenging provocation to my perspective. Thank you.

Pat

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#325 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 11:35 PM - Thread Starter
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And Captain Crunchy and Dal you all sound too ethnocentric (culturally myopic), imo despite advancing rights to animals. Your perspective seems Westernized. No offense intended.
I would like an elaboration on that judgement.
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#326 of 434 Old 11-18-2005, 12:21 AM
 
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I see a lot of people saying things like their children have to learn about the "real world" and that sometimes we all HAVE to do things, that we HAVE to obey certain rules, that we HAVE to learn and teach our children how the world works and various other references that to me, are basically justifications for there being times where we HAVE to be punitive.

I disagree. I feel that life is a choice. I feel that there is nothing in this world that I am doing because I have to do, but rather, the things I do or don't do are all consentual choices on my part directly related to the battles I choose, the way I choose to live, the comforts I am not willing to give up, the path I have chosen to take, the part I want to play in society.
This has been a fascinating trail of thoughts, concerns, opinions and ideas around personal freedoms and choice. It has been all the more fascinating because I actually agree with the majority of what the captain believes in. I think compassion is born out of a gentle mix of idealism and pragmatism. The captain sounds like a very compassionate mum.

However the piece in all of this that still worries me and I don't believe anyone has actually addressed (maybe I missed it amongst all the replies) is the opening statement. If the opinion that began this thread is premised on the claim that control is necessarily and inevitably punitive then I think the Captain is either a closet anarchist or is still carrying with her a lot of hurt and resentment from her childhood.

The paradox here is that control is actually a function of choice.

In our daily living and parenting we do our best to make choices that ensure our child stays whole. We have no choice in this if we want to particpate in life. The art lies in finding the balance that everyone is so passionately discussing. But to premise your approach to this quest by drawing a direct relationship between control and punishment is to misunderstand the journey.

I hope this doesn't sound too cryptic. I say this because it has taken me many years to work out that I am not always going to be punished for being self willed.
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#327 of 434 Old 11-18-2005, 12:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Dal
I don't think this can be done. You can't learn facts about another culture and think of them in a way that is entirely outside of your belief systems. I don't think that we can't escape our belief systems like this. Perhaps something like this works within anthropology, but I think that this would be a very, very harmful thing for people to be taught to do. Sometimes we're justified to step in and end a holocaust and pretending that it's o.k. is just that. Sometimes it's wrong to not step in.
I dont think it can be done 100% because even when you are trained to be as objective as possible it is still impossible to be fully objective because you are still looking through human eyes. BUT this is an issue that is actively dealt with and persued in the earliest stages of studying of Anthropology. But the focus of objectivity is really just an awareness of your own cultural/moral bias.
It really isnt anthropologists whose job it is to step in and stop holocausts. I mean they usually arent even armed! And those khaki shorts and safari hats are a dead giveaway. But it is true to a certain extent. Anthropologists do very much what wildlife biologists do when studying a culture. THey observe and document but to not intervene or apply their cultural values on the group. Just as we have all sat appalled on channel 8 when witnessing a predator chase and catch a baby zebra and wonder "how can the photographers let that happen!" or photograph an animal struggling in a swamp or whatever and document but not intervene, that is what anthropologists do.
They might witness sutti or infanticide. And try as well as they could to objectively document. But this "objective" information is often used by those groups who are aimed at intervening. And that is one way in which they contribute.
I mean can you really understand what is behind sutti or infanticide when you view it through your western religious and cultural bias? I dont think that means we do not judge for ourselves if these things are morally wrong. However it is important not to overlay our cultural/moral understanding over it otherwise a true understanding of all the cultural/sociopolitical/religious and economic forces which underlay these practices will not be found.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dal
Doesn't it feel like killing and torturing a baby is wrong not because it is good for that baby to grow up to be an adult (though this is part of it), but because of the suffering that the baby will endure? I think that the inherent goodness of sensations of well-being and the inherent badness of those of pain and the like can get us really far on their own. Even if humans lost their ability to procreate, we should still accept and follow the basic boundary condition of refraining from unnecessarily causing harm to others. Empathy would still persist. I think it's part of the amazing oomph that gets us from a collection of bumbling molecules to a sentient being. I think this oomph, i.e., our existential experiences, are the basis for morality. What is the justification for the claim that it is good to procreate at all if it is not the fact that life is (for the most part) inherently desireable? It isn't good just because and when it persists. Why is persistence preferable to reconstitution? It's the unexplainable oomph that makes it good. I think our accounts may be compatible.
Of COURSE I think it is wrong. And even if you were trained to try to see and understand and interpret these things without your cultural bias, you will still feel the horror. But even in societies where infanticide is practiced, it is not because they do not value life, or that they are morally inept people. but because an entire system is set up by which this is the cultural answer to a problem. YOu wanna figure out how to stop it. You dont rail against the mother who resorts to it in desparation, you find out what influences are there on the life of a mother, family, tribal unit that would make them adopt this practice.
Because such things cannot be understood simply from the perspective as "dont they know how evil that is. There is no reason not to value life more than that"
But we are not living on the edge of subsistence. I remember one film about the yanomamo where a pregnant woman was planning on exposing her infant after it was born because her pregnancy came too soon after her last one, and to rear the infant would risk the life of the toddler she has who still needs her milk and who has already survived past his first year and has a higher likelihood of surviving than the newborn infant. To raise the new infant would put both children at serious nutritional risk and likely result in both of their deaths.
But if we are seeing things from our western mind we might wonder how can she possibly not have enough milk for two babies. WHy cant somebody else share with nursing? Why cant she put the baby up for adoption?
From a purely moral standpoint even this is not black and white.

Joline
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#328 of 434 Old 11-18-2005, 12:51 AM - Thread Starter
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then I think the Captain is either a closet anarchist or is still carrying with her a lot of hurt and resentment from her childhood.
...in fact, both assumptions hold some truth I am sure. However, any form of anarchism I do embrace is only in the form of a personal ideal and not an illusion that most of our society would be comfortable functioning in a situation where no one was telling them how to live.

With that said, I will respectfully bow out of this discussion due to the personal tone that has seemed to find its way into a few assumptions based on very limited information of me and my life experiences.

Despite disagreeing with some sentiments expressed, I am happy that a thread I began as a way of expressing some thoughts has turned into such a deep discussion. Much love.
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#329 of 434 Old 11-18-2005, 01:43 PM
 
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Captain Crunchy,

From one closet anarchist to another, and with my known hurt and resentment from childhood, I don't think the posts were meant to be 'too personal'. I am sorry you are feeling defensive about the posts referencing your statements, views or opinions as a point of reference to give expression to a relevant idea and alternate pov. I perceived LiamsDad's post to reference that he speculates that the correllation between "have to" and punishment originates from some belief system (anarchy) or some emotional connotation of punishment associated with "have to". This logic seems sound, imo. However, I do agree with your premise that "have to" is a prevalent justification/construct of imposing punishment upon children. And the construct of "have to" is what makes this topic relevant to a *Discipline* forum.

Furthermore, I perceive LiamsDad's post to imply agreement that the construct of "have to" is (erroneously) applied based on the (perception/fear/assumption) premise of "or else" will occur. And that we do have a choice as there is no longer certain punishment for being self-willed (which many of us experienced in childhood). The correllation to "have to" having been imbued in childhood and unconsciously being carried into adulthood is based upon a false premise/projection. We don't "have to" unless the basis of "have to" is that we want to maintain life then there are some "have tos" imposed by life. Which is a totally different realm than the "have tos" imposed by parents, which are often, but not necessarily
attached to an "or else". I thought his note demonstrated the option of choice that increased awareness of the origin of our memes provides.

My post wasn't meant to judge or offend either. The point I was making, (obviously without the finesse that Dal attributed to me ) was that 'not harming animals' is a Western more that doesn't apply in the Bush of Australia, the plains of Africa, the islands of the South Pacific, etc. where killing and eating animals is a life substaining substance. Although, I agree with the intent of advancing humane treatment of animals in our consumer crazed Western world. Human life has been sustained by eating animals for thousands of years and isn't inherently good or bad, except by applying some external moral code.

An aspect of good and bad not needing to be defined, quantified and agreed upon is that only 'that which nurtures adaptation/survival persists'. But that *action* which nurtures sustaining life may be perceived good at some points in time; and at others perceived as bad for the beings involved if one does judge an action independent of its purpose. The construct of an absolute moral code ignores the purpose of the action. What is good or bad depends.

As this applies to discipline, I look to find the *purpose* underlying an action or behavior, not judge the action against some (my own) construct of a moral code. My moral code is in relation to choosing my own actions. Just as I believe other's moral codes must be independent of my judgement, as a moral code is only applicable to controlling one's own behavior/survival. I can not control other's behavior except by either their mutual agreement or coercion. The act of imposing coercion depletes their ability to depend on their own moral code/judgement. Which, in my estimation is contrary to sustaining adaptation based upon one's own best interests, priorites, personal perception and instinct. I don't believe another person can best judge what is best for another. Only the individual is the expert for himself. Not other or parent, even.

Perhaps, I could extrapolate that since humans are interconnected beings, there is no self/other and that all actions are interdependent upon what is best for the whole group. I do consciously live this way through finding mutual agreement in our home and with those with whom I choose to relate. But as a staunch anti-socialist, I will need to chew on this offensive idea for a while in that arena. : Don't get me started on politics.


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#330 of 434 Old 11-18-2005, 03:24 PM
 
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SunRayeMomi, my teeth were harmed by thumb-sucking. I sucked my thumb until I was 12 or so. The only thing that helped was when I started going to the orthodontist's for braces and he put an arch in my mouth. I assume this was for an actual purpose, but it made the thumb-sucking uncomfortable enough that I stopped quickly after that. I was happy about this as it was an embarassing thing to do, and of course because it was ruining (had ruined) the aesthetics of my teeth. My parents told me every lie under the sun to try to coerce me to stop. They never told me that it might cause my teeth to move, nor did they show me any pictures of the possible end result. I seriously think that may have helped because I was intelligent enough to know that no, my thumb wasn't going to fall off from sucking on it. I've since had braces and my teeth are now fine. I think it's worth further thought, especially if she spends quite a bit of time sucking her thumb. Maybe some orthodontists put in such a bridge specifically as a preventative measure? It wasn't at all a big deal to have it inserted.
I know that this was totally to the flow of the thread, so I just wanted to thank you for providing your background on the subject.

Also, I was actually wondering (in relation to the thread) if there were suggestions for non-coercive ways to get her to give it up. Or if anyone believes that trying to convince her to stop would be in fact coercive...? Sorry to throw the discussion. I'm having such a great time reading but I don't feel I have anything to add since I am in limbo. This thread is great

~Sara, WAHSingMomi to girls R and AV, S.O.A.R. Scout Leader and Homeschooling In Detroit Blogger

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