What we’re talking about is the child feeling either totally threatened by their environment or having the capacity to meet their environment, to open to and embrace an environment or to close into a tight defensive system and be already threatened by the environment. That’s a far more, that’s really what we’re brushing under the thing of self-esteem. People think of that as emotion as the substitute for bonding. The child who feels that they have some control over their response to a world, that they don’t have to just react like a litmus paper, then they have confidence, confidence means with faith in one’s own self. This is your self-esteem. One’s faith in one’s own ability to embrace the world and move into rather than retreat from it defensively.
Now this comes about, I’m convinced, early in childhood and one of the ways we can feed it and help it is to allow the child to take their inner world created, project it on their external world, and we’re the projecting targets for it. Whatever those stories are the child always wants to elicit the parents into the story and play the game out. And this leads to this whole marvelous thing. It runs on up to age 10 or 12, even later, let’s pretend. Let’s pretend I’m the mom and you’re the papa. I saw my little 3 year old granddaughter come in, climb up on the bench at the dining room table, and here were a batch of vitamin bottles of all sorts of different sizes. Immediately she grabs three of them, and here’s mama, and here’s papa, and here’s the little baby, and off she went babbling away. Now, these bottles suddenly to her were these marvelous images, you see. So you see, this capacity, she’s manipulating her world, manipulation is the wrong word but she’s in dominion. She can change that world out there, you see, and turn it into some inanimate object, become some animate object of her own deepest familiarity; mama, papa, and the little baby. And if they can elicit the parent into entering into that, even greater, but you’re talking about is that world embraced and do we come into dominion over it or do we retreat inwardly?
M: What happens if the parent comes in a rage? I guess what I’m saying is, what I want to get across is that this outward play is only possible if this outward expression, this whole process is only possible in a safe ambiance.
J: In a safe ambience, yes, in a safe environment.
M: And so as soon as something comes in to threaten the safety, that whole process goes away.
J: Well there again, does the child open to embrace that which is enfolded within the structure or does it try to protect itself? So if the environment is unpredictable, if they reach out to embrace, if there is rage and anger on the part of the caretaker, the family and so on and so forth, there is no way that child can complete that embrace of their world, and it’s their own world they have to shut off and close up.
There again, we get into the relationship between language, the affective system of the models, the child’s capacity to create internal image, and then effect the world with that capacity. We have the effects of play, you see, as the foundation of all further learning, which is to embrace all of the other fields that are inherent within the structure of the brain. So you’re not getting just visual imagery, it’s the fact that it comes combined with extremely high levels of sound and generate language.
The problem with television again is becoming rapidly known and all the medical research now is coming in, I’m getting more and more papers in on this all the time, the damage of television has nothing to do with the content, to the neural patterning of the child’s mind. It’s very simple that what nature’s agenda is, and since you find it in most preliterate societies on earth, is that the child be told a story which will elicit the growth of, development of, inner imagery, the inner seeing in their world. The vibration of the word is given the brain structure and the response of the brain is the auditory stimulus is paired with the visual stimulus. That’s the whole thing of the storytelling and all of the rest of it. If you feed both the auditory stimulus and the visual stimulus as a paired effect into the child, as the stimulus, there’s no room left for a response. So we find out very quickly the brain finds the most economical channel to handle this kind of work, since the work is already done for the brain. So it can do this on a very low, by low I mean low within the sensory motor loop within the brain, without challenging, there’s no challenge at all to the higher cortical levels at all. So, they in effect are not drawn into the infinite. There’s no internal image. This is an image presented through the brain structures that present the world out there. This also means that every time the device comes on, not program but that device comes on, the brain selects exactly that same neural pattern or network to handle that because that’s the economy of the brain. And within about three minutes the brain what is called habituates to it and there’s some argument about my use of the word habituates, the brain turns it into an automated or autonomous, automatic, it turns it over to the automatic pilot so to speak, so that no further development of the brain can take place from that and no further neural patterns can be elicited or brought into play. The same ones are used every time. The best example of that is an example I’ve used adnauseam, that the psychologist who take a group of television programs for the five and six year old, simply switch the auditory channels on them so the words weren’t and the noise wasn’t matching what was happening on the screen, and played these to group after group after group of children like they do in these controlled experiments and the children did not recognize the discrepancy. Why? Because they’re not processing information as we say. They’re not bringing in information. It’s locking through entrainment factor of the brain into a simple looped effect and so the 6,000 hours of television viewing in the average 5 year old child has all for all intents and purposes to be one program.