Learning By Example

Yes, mainstream “values” set the example. And, yes, our youth internalize those “values” and follow that example — albeit, sometimes too explicitly to suit our comfort and convenience:

“The video was made by girls at a Spanaway, Washington school who apparently had a falling out with a classmate, Piper. The clip carries illustrations of Piper being shot, made to commit suicide, thrown off a cliff and poisoned…”

Of course, we note — with some satisfaction, no doubt — that these girls were “disciplined.” That’s the modern-day euphemism for extrinsic punishment. We no longer remember what that revered word “discipline” once expressed. We just use it to sanctify that very social mechanism which makes such offenses so common first place: society’s unquestioning devotion to, and all-consuming obsession with, extrinsic behavioral conditioning.

[Note to Autism Hub members: that last devotion/obsession is, in my opinion, the very root of what ultimately makes ABA and its offshoots unethical.]

More on that later…

One Response to Learning By Example

  1. Lindsay says:

    [T]hese girls were “disciplined.” That’s the modern-day euphemism for extrinsic punishment. We no longer remember what that revered word “discipline” once expressed.

    Yes, you’re right! I hadn’t thought of that before, but it’s true.

    I guess a parallel trend would be the mutation of the word “disciplined” from an adjective to the past tense of a verb. “She is disciplined” (adj.) would mean “She is poised, rigorous and has excellent self-control” while “She was disciplined” (v.) would mean “She was punished.” One describes the person, while the other merely relates what was done to her.

    (It seems to me, reading lots of older books from the 1800s and earlier, that back then people seemed to have a better understanding of individual variations in personality and character. Today there seems to be this expectation that everyone be more or less interchangeable, and failure to be so must mean Something Is Terribly Wrong With You and warrants a diagnosis).

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