Critical & Creative Thinking 02Bring the house to orderTheme:brain development, sexuality, cultureSummaryDiscussionTranscriptRelated Insights
We are about ready to enter into society as functioning social members. Nature provides for this. So, we look at a society's body of knowledge and it's around age 11 when the child is initiated into the culture's body of knowledge, and childhood begins to wind up and come to an end, and they make their preparations to become full members of the society.Coming
Now the child can deal with the structure of knowledge. Why do you bring it to order? You will see that in play, again, here, instead of the wide open play and make believe where everything changes all the time, very fluid, very relaxed, a lot of fun, the young person becomes very much involved in rigid rules and regulations. I talked about how out on the sandlot we spend half our time arguing. You are not being fair. I was out, you were not, and so on and so forth, hammering out our giving up of this absolute freedom we had on behalf of a social group and how a social group organizes and manages to get along together.
We are preparing for what now? Well, we have got about three, four years before puberty, before the opening of genital sexuality when we can actually father children. Can you think of anything on earth that requires more self-restraint than parenting. Self-restraint, self-sacrifice, giving up one's own entirely self-centered good on behalf of the good of another. That’s parenting. And to prepare for that, what do we have? We bring the house to order. And the person undergoes willful self-restraint on behalf of the rules and regulations of a larger order.
We find that we are about ready to enter into society, the mainstream of society as functioning social members. Nature provides for this, the fact that we now have created an intermediary state, which we call adolescence, which really never existed before. You were a child up to a certain point, you underwent certain rights of passage, and you took your place in the adult world, for which all your childhood had prepared you. Now, we have adolescence, and we start speaking of the teenager's adolescence. And adolescence has grown this way, moving deeper and deeper into childhood, children become adolescents earlier and earlier, and they stay adolescents longer and longer and longer. Now, they are even living with their parents until they are 30 and so on and so forth. So, adolescence is kind of an arbitrary dumping ground for people we are not ready for, we have no place for them in our society. But nature still is preparing for that socialization and parenting at this point.
So, we look at a society's body of knowledge. What is a society's body of knowledge? You won’t find any society on earth, the Aborigine, the Eskimo Laplanders, whatever it might be, the South American tribes, all of those people have a body of knowledge, and it's around age 11 when the child is initiated into the culture's body of knowledge, and childhood begins to wind up and come to an end, and they make their preparations to become full members of the society.
All bodies of knowledge that all societies have, following the same three categories, it's real interesting. And they, again, follow, and here I'm fitting everything into my pattern, like Freudians fitting everything into the Id, Ego, and Superego. By the way, they followed the same pattern too. But it does fit this triune nature of the brain.
All societies have a body of knowledge which consists of three things. The first will deal with the physical world, the actual mechanics of the physical world. In our society that ends up as science and technology and perhaps certain crafts. Science, technology, agriculture, all these practical technologies for dealing with the physical world. You don't find any society on earth which will not have a body of knowledge inherited, passed down through the ages for dealing with the physical world in the most economical fashion and for the wellbeing of all. And then, now that's, of course, dealing with the reptilian system, our primary world, physical body system.
And then, the body of knowledge's second category will always be art. Now art, in its broadest possible category, covering every facet of art, art is simply the language of the emotional cognitive system. It's the language of relationship. It's the language of feeling, of that deepest core of being me as distinct from everything else, and my experience of being me, distinct from everything else, and how I relate to the whole life experience. Art is that language of the *limbic system, the language of the emotional cognitive system. And if you think about it, you will see how perfectly that is true.
I remember David Bohm, the great physicist late departed, saying, music was pure, subtle energy. Subtle energy. He said, music was the subtle world, in effect, expressing itself in the physical world, and I really think that's quite true. When we look at the art forms of other nations, other peoples, the Australian Aborigine art form is astonishing. All of these, we find expressions of the feeling capacity, the affective expression of life.
And then finally, the third stage, moving on up, what do we have? The realm of meaning. Meaning in its purest abstract form. Meaning. Well, we stand back, we look at all this objectively and we say, what the dickens is it all about? Meaning. And this will always express itself as our philosophies and our religions. Philosophies and/or, whatever you want to call it, and/or religions. And around about age 11, a child simply, spontaneously becomes religious in some fashion. And generally, they want to become religious in a very organized, formal way. And they will immediately polarize things. This is a great age of polarization. We don’t understand this. Great age of polarization. It's either right or it's wrong. And let's be perfectly clear about it, it's either just or it's unjust, it's righteous or it's unrighteous, you are either fair or you're not being fair, etc. The child sees everything in these clear blacks and whites. They are a perfect example of the old classical, logical truth tables, either A or not A, and you can't have it both ways. That's this age, beautifully.
And this need, this critical need of philosophical, religious basis of meaning that's applicable to this age, that's a serious need. My friend Gene *Swartz, who's with the Waldorf School in Spring Valley, teaches sixth grade. He said, we talk about God because children seriously need the subject of God at that period, you see. And of course in this day and age, this is politically incorrect and not only that, it's illegal. But that's a private school system, so we relax.
Now, this need of a religious frame of reference or philosophical frame of reference, it's really all kind of the same thing, is simply the need for meaning. David Bohm said, the brain really operates and functions by meaning. It can't operate in a vacuum that is meaningless to it. We were speaking a while ago, someone came up and said, I've been called attentional, I have an attention deficit.
My daughter is seriously deficit on attention unless she likes the subject. And can she entrain then, you see. So, we get to this period and meaning becomes critically important to the child. And that's the expression of this third and highest structure of the mind, when it reflects back on the whole process and, look, it's reflecting back on its, always its physical process. It's now, what is the philosophy for meaning in this physical world at this time. We need a meaning for it. That's our religious impulse at that time, a meaning for this physical life. It's still directed toward this. The whole first 15 years is all directed toward what? Stabilizing our dominion over our physical world, gaining it and stabilizing it.
So, if we look at this from this standpoint, we will find that to make our focal point of the highest part of education, the production of scientific, technological minds, and geniuses in a system which, above all, must, of necessity apparently to maintain its own integrity, deny meaning. Deny meaning. Then, we are going to have some difficulties. We are going to have some difficulties.Coming