I’m reading the feminist controversy over THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOR BOYS, and I’m reading respondents who urge that it is “natural” for boys to want to read books without girls on the cover, and, finally, indeedy I am thinking, “Yes, of course — the western obsession with self-image over almost anything else!”
NO, you are not dangerous if you will not read a book with a girl on the cover — and I’m so sorry that mummy and daddy conditioned you to feel that way. You are actually a cookie-cutter boy, created in the dank factory of western culture. Needless to say, there is no virtue in this. Your predictabilities are already known — for instance, that you will not read a book with a girl on the cover! You are NOT FREE to make your own choices and decision about life — these have already been made for you, on the basis of what is known about your predictable behaviour guided by your interest in your own self image.
And westerners — and indeed, now, you yourself — would have you believe that this is merely being ‘natural’! Ah! Don’t fret, little victim — you have already learned to love your prison of predictability!!
When I was doing my teaching practicuum — an experience in which I failed, spectacularly, I found a major psychological impediment to be my inability to consider the students to be people like me. Above all, I wanted them to resist my ideas at times, in order to show their fighting spirit, which is to say, their underlying intelligence — which might be different from mine. I didn’t find this spirit, however — which was an outcome shocking and disturbing to me!
The monitor, from the university, therefore found my
approach to teaching “highly paradoxical” because I alternated between being very strict and also tending to very much encouraging free action.
I’d wanted to impart a sense of relation to authority
which was capable of being very independent OR conforming, according to one’s personal strategies. Yet, I found this characteristic difficult to impart to because of the already well developed Modernistic character structure of my
One of the most significant aspects about the training and
education of a Modern is that this training dispenses with that which used to be a part of traditional education systems — the training to resist.
For the modern, he is who he is and that’s all there is too that. He’s pretty pleased with how he is, too — he thinks the way he is to be “universal”.
This presupposition, of course, makes it difficult for him to relate to those of other cultures — a reality that he generally fails to register! His capacity to resist the imposition of control from the outside, especially control by ideological forces, is very limited. He is manipulated by Skinnerian behaviouristic techniques, and therefore fails to see the manipulation for what it is — this is at the basic level of schooling. He is educated only to the sufficient level that is required for the position in society for which he is being groomed (See Louis Althusser).
THe Modern student is also “allowed” to progress through his
education at his own pace (student centred education), as if he were wise enough to manage it himself — thus he is conditioned to choose the path of least resistance in life as the “natural one” (See Nietzsche: “The hand that kills with leniency”.) He is trained especially to be a dully conformist worker and a mere consumer.