by Peter Fritz Walter
Peter Fritz Walter
Sane Child vs. Insane Society is an audio essay about education. The insights expressed in this essay go back to the time, back in my 30s, when as a law student working part-time with children, my attention focused on certain mishaps in current early child care that seem to be part of a larger framework related to consumer culture. I found that children in daycare are kept busy, stuffed with knowledge they do not need nor want, trained and dressed up intellectually to a point that they lose the contact with their bodies, and their irrational part, their fantasy, and their spontaneity. I also visited Steiner and Montessori schools, and saw that Montessori drives the left-brain dominant educational paradigm to a peak level, while Steiner sees the pitfalls of this approach and stresses the necessity of caring for the soul of the child. And yet, I found that in Steiner schools, the tone is severe and sometimes pitiless and harsh, which is why he found the approach rather authoritarian.
Fact is that patriarchal society is hostile to all those present-time approaches to a liberal and emotionally permissive education, which is why we face a friction here. The essay points out the large array of aspects that contribute to raise, or else alleviate this friction, which is first of all a friction of sanity versus insanity, or of the sane child versus a largely insane culture that puts morality over nature, and taboo over naturalness, and that rules and regulates natural processes in education instead of first of all understanding them and then, as much as this is possible, letting things over to natural self-regulation.
For achieving the purpose of educating the child sanely, I believe that non-interference is the most appropriate educational approach; it requires the educator to stay away from judging, harsh criticism and punishment, and on the other hand from emotional and sexual entanglement with the children he or she educates. That this is not easy is obvious. Part of the violence in traditional education is the fact that educators are at pains to handle their natural pedoemotions, and it’s through the blinding out of this awareness that educators act out in chaotic and violent ways.
All forms of educational sadism, that typically humbles the child through humiliating the child, are in last resort triggered by hidden erotic attraction that, because of fear, are repressed and then begin to dominate the educator’s psyche as a split-self. Hence the necessity to educate the educators through a form of pedoemotions consulting that renders conscious the fact that wherever we are in touch with children for longer periods of time, pedoemotive attraction will manifest. And as this is invariably the case in educational relationships, these emotions have to be monitored and emotional awareness be formed about them.
These precautions taken, there is nothing that could stand against an education that insures that the sane child remains sane until he or she has turned into adulthood. It will then be of true advantage not only for the individuals concerned, but a benefit for the whole of society.
Child vs. Culture
Sane Child vs. Insane Culture
Sane Child and Trauma
Preserving Child’s Sanity