This piece by Captain Capitalism confirms my own experience completely. Real life is off the beaten track every time.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
|Dad grabs a midnight snack.|
It’s a very strange thing that nobody seems to have noticed, but Freud obviously got the Oedipus complex wrong. He claimed that every man secretly had an urge, like Oedipus, to kill his father and sleep with his mother.
But, in fact, Oedipus had no such urge. He killed his father and slept with his mother by mistake.
On the other hand, it is the exact opposite motif which dominates in Greek mythology: that of parents killing their children.
Starting with Oedipus.
|"Are you my Mommy?"|
Oedipus was left by his parents on a mountainside to die in his infancy. Whether or not it ended up that way, it was very much their intent to kill him.
Moreover, this practice was a standard feature of Greek culture; patricide was unheard of.
Nor is this motif confined to the Oedipus cycle. It is, arguably, the primordial Greek myth: Saturn, the original ruler of gods and men, devoured his own children as they emerged from the womb. For more examples of the motif, see Tantalus and Pelops, or Agamemnon and Iphigenia, or Romulus and Remus.
Nor is this motif confined to the Greeks. It is the story of Abraham and Isaac; it is also the central story of the New Testament, the story of God the Father and God the Son. The Hebrews inherited the land of Canaan from the Canaanites as punishment for their custom of infanticide. It seems to be the central moral issue of the entire Old Testament. Perhaps the Hebrew practice of circumcision was a sublimation. The Phoenicians, the Philistines, the Babylonians, and the Carthaginians all practiced ritual child slaughter. According to the Bible, so did the ancient Egyptians. So did the Aztecs and the Inca in the New World; infanticide was also accepted as standard practice, if not a religious ritual, in pre-modern China, India, and Japan.
|Freud, they say, thought of his patients as if they were his own children.|
Wikipedia: ‘Laila Williamson notes that "Infanticide has been practiced on every continent and by people on every level of cultural complexity, from hunter gatherers to high civilizations, including our own ancestors. Rather than being an exception, then, it has been the rule."’
In other words, parents willing to kill their children is a familiar human experience. We see it in the political inviolability of abortion today. Children wishing to kill their parents is a rare and almost unthinkable anomaly.
Nor should this be surprising. Paternal or maternal instincts to the contrary, children necessarily represent, as they did to Kronos, the parent’s mortality, and the reality that they are not, after all, the most important thing in the universe. Not everyone is prepared to accept this.
Of course, putting all the emphasis on the latter, the idea that the child indeed wishes to supplant and kill the parent, is a useful projection, because it neatly sanctions the unholy impulses so many parents have in any case.
Which was no doubt to the great advantage of Sigmund Freud in getting his theories widely accepted in his day.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Monday, June 10, 2013
A friend sends the following video, posted on YouTube by a resigning teacher:
I think I can endorse everything she says from what I have seen myself, though I am not in the public schools.
The fundamental problem with the schools since the turn of the 20th century has been that they have tried to reduce students to objects and education to an assembly line. The current supposed "reforms" are not reforms, but further steps in this continuing process. The new emphasis is on standardized assessment because it makes it all look "scientific" and "efficient"--more like a factory. But this is entirely cynical--we know perfectly well in scientific terms that such assessments are relatively meaningless.
It is amazing that any good, honest teachers make it into the profession any longer; if they do, they are driven out. Leaving the field to those who are there either for as much money as they can get given their limited talents, and/or for the opportunity to bully. The worst of these naturally move up into administration, where the money is better and where the bullying opportunities are greater. And once there, they throw their weight around as much as they can, because that's who they are--bullies. This is why office politics are worse in "education" than anywhere else you can think of. This is why administration in the schools has been growing by leaps and bounds. This is why kids now get expelled from schools for such things as saying "Bang! Bang!" during recess.
And this is why the costs of education are skyrocketing without any improvement in results: because people who go into teaching now are not there for the kids, but for the money.
|Michelle Rhee, former DC schools commissioner.|
This is also why the current forms of "teacher evaluation" are designed, just as this teacher says, never to reward good teachers or good teaching, but rather to give administrators as much arbitrary power as possible. Like the wrongly celebrated Michelle Rhee in Washington. Which they will naturally use first on the best teachers. Because the most sincere teachers care more, they make the most satisfying victims.
I think the system is beyond saving. Certainly, there is no real possibility of reform from within.
Sunday, June 09, 2013
Interesting article on the boom in homeschooling from Breitbart.
Some of the main points:
- Homeschooled students consistently do better on standardized tests:
those who are independently educated generally score between the 65th and 89th percentile on these measures, while those in traditional academic settings average at around the 50th percentile.
- Homeschooled students do better in university.
- Homeschooling comes at only a small fraction the cost of public schooling:
the average expenditure for the education of a homeschooled child, per year, is $500 to $600, compared to an average expenditure of $10,000 per child, per year, for public school students
- There seems to be no “socialization problem”with homeschooled students. Schools do not, after all, socialize in any natural way.
The words "quack" or "mountebank" don't begin to do it justice. More like "conspiracy against the public interest."
Saturday, June 08, 2013
|Spanish woman, 1922|
If there was one thing we in the West could do to encourage peace with Islam, it would be to simply return to our own Christian traditions. This would automatically make us much more like Islam. We look instead like a bunch of godless infidels, because, well, that is what we have become.
But not that long ago—say, a hundred years ago—we were a lot more like Muslims. Women up until a little after that time would have covered their hair in public as a matter of course, and a well-bred woman would never have revealed a leg.
|Italian woman, early 20th Century.|
“for a woman to pray or prophesy with her head uncovered shows disrespect for her head; it is exactly the same as if she had her hair shaved off. Indeed, if a woman does go without a veil, she should have her hair cut off too; but if it is a shameful thing for a woman to have her hair cut off or shaved off, then she should wear a veil.”
When Europeans dealt with the rest of the world, they saw such modest dress in women as the ultimate mark of civilization. As it is. And I suspect most men would actually prefer it if most women dressed that way. It is so much more feminine.
A hundred years ago, any sex outside marriage would have been a crime. No respectable woman would be found alone with a man to whom she was not married. Catholics, like Muslims, fasted regularly, and, also like Muslims, prayed at several set times a day—the liturgy of the hours. Church bells used to ring the times, just like the Muslim call to prayer. When do you hear church bells ringing any more? In those days, there would have been much less trouble integrating Muslims into Western society; they would have fit right in.
|How a lady dresses: Queen Victoria, 1880s.|
As it is now, though, when Muslims recoil at Western culture, they recoil for most of the same reasons serious Christians do. If we respected these traditions of our own, it might be easy to negotiate the remaining differences. And, in any case, we would have the moral standing to do so. One cannot honourably negotiate with the devil.
Thursday, June 06, 2013
The end of Western civilization began just ninety-nine years ago, when Gavrilo Princip fired at Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.
But what was the world thinking in that summer a hundred years ago? Back when everyone still believed in the indevitable progress of mankind; was there really any premonition of what was to come?
Happily, we now have newspaper archives easily available on the Internet—we can follow the news day by day from exactly 100 years ago.
So what was the news on the front pages of June 6, 1913?
In Winnipeg, the city of tomorrow, the fabled Free Press headlines a Highways Bill being debated in the Senate, and a meeting of the Canadian Grain Commission. “Empire and Foreign News” iss relegated to page 10.
The main item there is the “sheer imbecility” of the actions of one Miss Emily Davison, who attempted to halt the Derby by “grabbing the bridle of King George's entry,” in the name of women's suffrage. The Free Press was not impressed. It reports that Miss Davison is still alive in hospital, and is able to take some nourishment. Doctors feel there was some hope of a recovery, and, if she recovers, she is likely to be prosecuted.As is rarely reported of the incident these days, the King's jockey was also in serious condition with a concussion of the brain.
The Marconi scandal, implicating the Liberal whip at Westminster in possible insider trading, is grinding on. Suffragettes shouted down Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, as he attempted to speak at a lecture on the Antarctic. In other admiralty news, the Canadian senate has turned down a British request to fund three new dreadnoughts. They are being built anyway, at British expense.
In foreign, as opposed to Empire, news, the lead item is the resignation of the Hungarian premier and cabinet. To maintain order, the parlament has been locked down and is guarded by soldiers at machine gun implacements. During the melee in the house, a former premier was struck with a sabre. Another item, headlined “Bulgarians still making trouble,” implies a serious danger of a further Balkan war because of Bulgarian intransigence in negotiations with Greece. Not the Balkan War we ended up with, though: this one would be Bulgaria and Romania against Greece.
|The Wilson Cabinet|
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Call is demonstrating that city's bohemian traditions by reserving a part of its front page to note the funeral of the British poet laureate, as well as the death of a surviving descendent of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. President Wilson is in negotiations with Japan over naturalization law—presumably having to do with the right of Japanese to emigrate to the US. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan announced that Germany had signed on to his proposal for universal peace, joining twelve other nations. All that remains now is to draw up the formal treaty. Italy has appropriated $400,000 for their participation in the Panama-Pacific Exposition scheduled for San Francisco in 1915. The Southern Pacific Railroad is floating a bond issue of $30 million, partly to fund its own participation.
The Call has its own news of the buregeoning women's movement. It reports that Miss Vernie Goff, Joplin, Missouri's new “police matron,” has made her first arrest. It is of a man who greeted her in the street with the phrase “Hello, kid.” The charge is “mashing.”
Darned good thing, that universal peace agreement. Should be a great exposition, too.