[from Rupert Young (970130.1600 UT)]
Mary Powers 970129
This is a rather dark (and paranoid?) position to take:
My own personal feeling is that people/society want to
believe in something called free will so that those in
It is certainly true that "responsibility" is a word with a lot
of moral baggage, finger-pointing, and blame. But many people
take on responsibilities of their own free will (yes!), with no
social "oughts", internalized as self-blame, driving them to do
But surely there must be some basis, some reason for their decision to take on
such responsibilities. And those reasons must be due to previous experiences.
Dark, yes. Paranoid, perhaps not.
But it is not experiences alone that shape behavior, but the
interaction of experiences and the person/controlsystem. This
statement of yours expresses the S-R point of view:
experiences -> behavior. But not all children succumb to the
pressures of a rotten environment.
What is the person/controlsystem half of the interaction doing ?
Perhaps you could say a bit more about this, I'm not sure I understand how
being a control system avoids the influences of the environment. Why do some
children not succumb to the pressures of a rotten environment if not due to
some positive influences or genetic charcteristics. What made Fred West or
Jeffrey Dahmer into serial killers? What turns human beings that were once
innocent babies into such monsters ? Was it their upbringing or was it genetic
? If so, how can they be held responsible for their behaviour when it wasn't
due to their will ? People who are "normal" don't, one day, suddenly decide
to become serial killers.
I'm not, of course, condoning such behaviour. Lock them up by all means. But
ignoring the underlying reasons/causes/influences (complicated though they may
be) and just saying they were bad is not going to stop it happening genertion
after generation. This it seems to me is what is happening because of the
concept of personal responsibility allowing the "good" people to say and think
"deep down they're no good" about the "bad" people. Wouldn't it be a more
tolerant and understanding society if people thought "there, but for the grace
of God/genetics/environment go I"
There is a PCT-based program that appears to be working quite
Sounds good can you point me to descriptions of it.
Children who disrupt
are not punished, but are sent to a special classroom where they
are helped to find out what they were trying to achieve by their
disruptions and to work out alternative ways of achieving their
This is precisely what I mean by looking at the underlying reasons and not
just at the symptoms (with condemnation) of behaviour.