Thursday, March 15, 2007

Finally

...something to redress the biased reporting we have had to put up with from recent radio programmes, this one from Radio Newcastle, courtesy of Denise. Cathy Koetsier of EO did a fantastic job, the only quibble: just at the end the interviewer needs to know that the home educating life is so far from lonely, even in this rural part of England, that we sometimes have to choose to make it more so. (Have just counted, there have been 44 people in our house this week alone, and 13 of those stayed overnight for some or all of the nights.) This of course, doesn't include the fact that we also went to three home education meetings, with loads of other people of all ages from 0 to someone in their mid 80s. There, how lonely is that?

97 comments:

Anonymous said...

What is the purpose of your blog?

1. To prove that you are a good home-educator in the eyes of the authorities and other parents should do the same.
2. To defend the parents' responsability to home-educate their own children without state surveillance.

It has to be one of the above. If you use a double edged sword it will get blunt on both sides.

It's not a home-education requirement now that I turn my house into a camping site, now is it?

Anonymous said...

Hi Innit-Person! :)

Not really trying very hard to disguise yourself here, are you? Nor am I though; In fact I'm not even trying *at all*. :P

"It has to be one of the above. If you use a double edged sword it will get blunt on both sides."

Wow, good analogy! I've never heard the second bit to that before - is it an original addition? Or am I just extremely ignorant when it comes metaphors? ;)

Innit's right though, Carlotta - there is a certain air of "Look we are doing everything that you would approve of!" to this blog at times, which does seem to be at odds with your politics.

It may be a contradiction in terms, but the post above mine is blunt criticism with a sharp point (sorry, the sword analogy's stuck in my head now!) - it can often be unclear just where you stand.

33,452

jax said...

I wasn't aware that blogs had to be single purpose at all times, and I don't see that the two purposes stated are always mutually exclusive.

Who is this innit person then?

Carlotta said...

I think you're right Jax...I don't think it a mutually exclusive position to take up. The thing is, despite my belief that it would be far better if the state were to intervene as little as possible, I am fully aware that we do actually have to make the case to them and the public, in order to defend our freedoms.

"It's not a home-education requirement now that I turn my house into a camping site, now is it? "

I think this is an example of a hasty generalisation. My point in using our week here as an example is not to show that home education has to be like this, but to refute the idea that I think the interviewer was trying to get across, which was that home education is necessarily lonely...which ime is just so ridiculous as to need require instant refutation.

Does that make any sense?

Anonymous said...

"Who is this innit person then?"

Isn't it obvious? The Innit Person is...









....anonymous! Obviously. :P


(Signed: 33,452)

Carlotta said...

lol...I think so, but am a fallibilist at the best of times, you know!

Anonymous said...

I think anon innit and anon :P and other anons *might* be missing the true intent of Carlotta's blog and imagining it is more negative (ie look at how good I am LEA!) than it is.

It is quite possible that Carlotta feels 'got at' by reports such as the Moony one or other critics of HE that say, for instance, that HE is socially inadequate. This is enough to provoke some sort of defence of the good points of HE that easily make it as viable an option as school. What better than to use her self as an example given that she is entirely informed on this subject.

However, others might then feel 'got at' by the exhibition of excellent home edding that ensues because they feel, perhaps, that they are not home educating in as good a way OR that they are some how being criticised for not having the same preferences in their home education style.

I admit that it is easy to feel frustrated by what one can not easily provide - and that the 'poor' home edder, who demonstrated the sort of interesting 'lessons' that automatically result through financial lack, might feel that as the children have to learn a lot of practical skills anyway that this is somehow doesn't matter. And this is sometimes so, but it is still a coercive position as they have NO CHOICE but to learn these lessons if they are lucky enough to be creative enough for this and interested in such things. A child who is not interested in this and has no capacity/talent for such things and yet lives in poverty IS coerced and disadvantaged.

This inquality in the coercion levels due to financial circumstances needs to be fully considered and addressed somehow. Schools eventually learned, imo, to express a fake worthy moral intent in sayint that the state stystem addresses these inequalities; hence, they feel that they gain the moral high ground. One which can not be rivaled currently. Whereas HE and other forms of education (e.g. private) fails to address them.

However, feeling 'got at' by criticisisms and jumping either to the defence or to the attack through feelings of inadequacy is perhaps not the best way forward.

Shall have to think this through - as have probably missed something! Any clarity here welcome - if Carlotta doesn't mind the digression and if any one can be bothered to read such a long comment!

D

Anonymous said...

If you think it's necessary to refute whatever accusation authorities make of home-educators, you are giving authorities the power they want.

They will find themselves entitled to inspect if families are up to a certain standard.

Do agree with them?

Imagine they were inspecting if scientists were messy, because they thought messy scientists were bad scientists. What should the scientists do to defend their privacy to do science?

Anonymous said...

D, why are you assuming someone's criticism comes from feelings of inedequacy?

You cannot make a stand for privacy by constantly making remarks of your own's family life, including showing off your economical and social situation. It seems simple to understand?

It's rather infantile to go from a well phrased political argument to "look at me, I'm a good mummy" posts. It spoils the whole purpose.
It turns the blog into a popularity contest.

Whatever social circle Carlotta has, if authorities want to check on her, they will all have to witness in a court.

Is that what you want parents to be doing?

Should families be inspected by authorities or not? Should those inspections depend on class or not? Should home-educators have to answer questions to authorities or not. Should home-educators have to ticked in a form by their financial, social, professional and formal education?

Carlotta said...

The thing is, whilst I don't believe we should have to be answerable to the authorities, it is the case that the authorities are preparing to restrict our freedoms whether we like it or not.

What is the best course of action in this situation? Is it better that we allow the authorities with the help of the media, to put about false information about us, but for us not to answer it (on the basis that this appears to accept that principle that we should have to be answering it in the first place, which actually, as I have explained before, I don't think it necessarily does...ie: we could answer them not on the basis that we accept the principle that we should be answerable, but only because it is the pragmatic thing to do), or do we go about, (on the basis of pragmatic reasons) countering this misinformation?

I think the former strategy way too risky in that I do believe that the authorities will take resistance from the HE community seriously, in whichever ways this can be demonstrated, which can, in part be done by their countering misinformation.

Anonymous said...

D

I think you are missing the point here.

Innit Person(who really needs a better alias than that one, as it just isn't classy enough!) has explained this though, so, hopefully, that's made things clearer for you. :)

All I'll add is one question. Out of curiousity, D and Carlotta, do you see home education as a *rival* to school education or do you see it as an *alternative*?

33,452

Carlotta said...

re HE being either a rival or an alternative, at times either or both, and this depends on the needs and desires of the child, mainly. ie: if child thinks school is no good at all, then HE is an alternative, if school has some benefit for him, then school becomes a rival.

Why do you ask?

Anonymous said...

Hi Carlotta

Thanks for your reply. :)

I asked because it seems at times that many home educators who put themselves in the public eye, including yourself at times, seem keen to prove the worth of home education by evaluating it in terms of how school education is evaluated. And this feels slightly odd to me.

It's like you take the arguments used by the system against us and turn those same arguments back on them. "Home edded children have better social skills!", "Home edded children are are often academically ahead of schooled children!", "Home educated children are more confident and articulate than schooled children!" Etc etc

But to *use* those arguments is to *accept* them as worthy of making. It is to endow them with validity. It is to say that how well-socialised, academically "ahead", confident, and articulate, etc etc children are *matters*.

To do this makes a statement that evaluating children by such arbitrary standards is acceptable. And that, to my mind, is a *very* big mistake.

It is saying "Yes, we accept the positioning of these goal posts and we can score here."

It is to say "We accept your interpretation of the rules of this game and we can beat you by them."

And to do this plays right into their hands. It makes home education *part of the system*.It
makes it nothing more than a competing institution.

Maybe some people are happy with this view but I, for one, am not. And it seems from a lot of what you write that *you* aren't either. Yet at other times you play their game expertly.

My way of looking at it and my message to LEAs etc is this:

"We have no interest in assessing how "ahead" or "well-socialised" etc our children are.

These are not our priorities.

These are not our goals.

We are playing a *different* game to you and we, therefore, play by different rules.

We will not allow our children to be evaluated this way by you, and we will not evaluate them this way ourselves.

You cannot judge how well a game of chess is played if you are looking at the rule book for draughts.

You are judging us and our children by *your* standards, and we will not permit you to do this.

We will not play this game."

That would be *my* message. What is *yours*?

33,452

Anonymous said...

D

One thing I shamefully neglected to mention is that you have used the term "coercion" incorrectly throughout your post.

The dictionary defintion of "coerce" is:

"To persuade someone forcefully to do something which they are unwilling to do."

Thus, we cannot state that "coercion" has occured unless we can identify the agent that performed the coercing.

Being coerced is very different to being restricted.

The word "coercion" implies intention and/or malevolence on the part of the "coercer" (if such a word exists!) Therefore, the "coercer" has to be a thinking agent.

Cash or its absence cannot coerce anyone, as it is not a thinking agent.

Poverty is a circumstance, and while circumstances can *restrict* a person they cannot *coerce* them.

I do very much feel that the distinction is an important one. :)


33,452

Anonymous said...

Anon, there are several points I'd like to try respond to.

1. You said:
"If you think it's necessary to refute whatever accusation authorities make of home-educators, you are giving authorities the power they want."

Interesting, but I'm not sure that refusing to engage in their ridiculous debate will prevent them acting. What makes you think this?
You use the idea of 'messy scientists' being scrutinised and condemned, as one that doesn't happen. However, this sort of condemnation is addressed at budding scientists in school all the time. Although I agree that authorities are not remotely qualified to assess home educators, I do not feel certain that they will understand this. But I do like your contention that:

"We have no interest in assessing how "ahead" or "well-socialised" etc our children are.
(...)
We will not allow our children to be evaluated this way by you, and we will not evaluate them this way ourselves."

It really annoys me when people feel perpetually obliged to assess HEd children as though they are only a success if they have achieved the goals that matter to schools or, consequently, most authorities. For instance, the constant implied criticism (negative) that a person has failed at home education if his child has not gone to university or is not making a lot of money or is not a genius. Nobody expects this outcome of school. (As you see, I believe that most people I speak to see school as a rival!)

I like the idea that I can opt out of the debate - if that is true. And if this is the best route, it has a great deal of integrity. However, I find your confidence in this strategy a little perplexing.

2. 'I'm a good mum posts'
I agree that it would be a shame to turn a good debate into a popularity contest; and that it is best to avoid this. If using examples from one's own life automatically creates this impression (although I am convinced in the cases here that this is not the intention) then it could be better to find alternative ways of illustrating points.

3.
Coercion definition.
I was using the definition found on this site (link below) for the word 'coercive':

http://www.takingchildrenseriously.com/node/50

"likely to place someone in a state of enacting one theory while a rival theory is still active in his or her mind."

Of course, I might be misunderstanding this, but I have taken it to mean, in the context of deprivation, that the child wishes to pursue a passion but is placed by 'a lack of money' in a state where he can not enact his theory.

I should have mentioned this definition.

Anyway, thanks everyone for the continued debate.

D

Anonymous said...

D

You're talking to at least two different people here! LOL!

I sign as "33,452".

I'll scan your post to see which bits were to me then I'll answer those properly, and let others answer for themselves.:)

33,452

Anonymous said...

re: coercion again

Incidentally, I see that I have misread the application of the word in that definition and it can only be something inacted by a behaviour. I shall have to re-phrase my concerns about how - if, of course, as you point out, we agree to engage in the traditional authorities' debate and play the game by their rules in the first place - a lack of money makes it very hard to 'win'.

D

Anonymous said...

Hi D

1) Most of this one is addressed to someone else, so I'll leave it for the poster to answer you themselves if they wish to.

But this bit:

"But I do like your contention that:

"We have no interest in assessing how "ahead" or "well-socialised" etc our children are.
(...)
We will not allow our children to be evaluated this way by you, and we will not evaluate them this way ourselves." "

Is mine.

And I think that we are mostly in agreement on it.

I'm not sure if I have confidence in it as a strategy as such though... Hmm... Food for thought there! :)

2) Again, this isn't addressed to me.

3) Definition of coercion...

Just read your last post, so have deleted my response to this as its no longer needed! :)

So, all in all, this comment I'm writing here is pretty redundant, isn't it? ;D

33,452

Carlotta said...

Hi,

OK, so I may deviate. I may be tempted very occasionally to respond to criticisms that I think are poor ones, (such as a child should be reading at a certain age), but actually I think I do this very rarely.

I actually don't do this not because of the mechanism you write about, ie: that it might make it seem to the DfES that we legitimise their agenda, but because I think it risks doing bad things to children: it means that one is likely to adopt a habit of applying a coercive agenda which may even have a narcissistic edge to it to boot, which of course can be very damaging. By investing in the standard agenda of success, one removes primary agency from the child. It is also quite likely to violate their privacy.

However, if you look at the original post, I actually respond to the case against *loneliness*, which I think I needed to do not simply because it is SO unjust..(I felt this very acutely at the time), but also because it is an accusation that I myself would take seriously. This because loneliness is generally a state of coercion (as defined by D, ie: it is a state in which someone is forced to enact a theory that is not active in the mind). Since my principal objective in HEing is to reduce coercion in order to maximise the opportunity for active theory acquisition, I would have to respond to a criticism about a possible coerced state.

The problem can be that one can be easily misinterpreted when one does this. The DfES and others could perhaps see my arguments as an attempt to impose a socialised agenda upon my kids, when what I am doing is trying to reduce the amount of coercion they are likely to experience by offering them seemingly good theories about how to relate to others. The trouble is that it may be very hard to get the latter argument across, I do grant you. But I think that we are better off responding to criticisms that could be good, however poorly they may be understood, because these criticisms are at their most sophisticated good ones. Nobody would willingly choose to perpetuate a state of coercion through not offering good theories about how to relate to others.

Also, if you look at the mail, you will see that I didn't evaluate the child in it. What I did was to say was that the situation that was provided would facilitate a solution to the problem of loneliness...which effectively means that accusations that I may be buying into an evaluation of the child does not actually stand in this mail.

Anonymous said...

Carlotta,

Loneliness is an emotion.

It doesn't have anything to do with theories.

You can't be coerced into it (or out of it for that matter).

It is the right of every living being to complete and total ownership of their own internal life.

Circumstances can affect this internal life, but they do not control it. Others can coerce a person into circumstances that they expect to elicit an unpleasant, or painful, emotional response in that person, but this is not the same thing as coercing someone into a particular emotional state.

Loneliness, Carlotta, is relative.

I'm sorry if the word "relative" is offensive to you, but, even the most fanatical of objectivists must accept that *some* things are, indeed, relative, and one of these things is "loneliness".

You consider that a child alone in their bedroom would be lonely? Well maybe a child in a room filled with others might be lonely too?

Maybe that first child is happily living inside their imaginations in a world populated with far more interesting people than they could ever hope to encounter at any HE meeting?

Maybe that second child doesn't know how to talk to anyone, or simply doesn't *enjoy* talking to anyone, and finds that groups make them feel lost, uncomfortable, and alienated?

No one can presume to know what will and won't create the emotion of loneliness in another.

You cannot say "isolation is coercive", anymore than I could say "socialisation is coercive".

*This* is the point you should be making if you wish to refute the statement that "Home education is lonely."

What you are doing instead is agreeing with the assessment that loneliness is automatically linked to lack of company and saying "No, no, we *have* company!"

It's more of the same.

"Nobody would willingly choose to perpetuate a state of coercion through not offering good theories about how to relate to others."

Statements like these make me shudder.

So... What are you saying here?

If a child is lonely this means that their theories about relating to others are poor?

If they had the benefit of better theories about relating to others then they would not experience loneliness?

You are *not* lonely, so you must have better theories about relating to others than your child does if they *are* lonely?

If you do not share these theories with your child in such a way that they come to accept them as the truth and reject their own to replace them with yours, then you are keeping the child in a state of coercion?

This is sick. I'm sorry to be blunt, but it's really, really, sick.

Such attitudes deny the child the right to their own emotions.

Such methods of child rearing teach a child that if their emotions aren't ones that the adult values, or considers appropriate, then their feelings are wrong due to "poor theories" and must be corrected by the enlightened adult.

Such an attitude denies the child a self.

And it dresses itself up as "autonomy"!

You have illustrated the flaws and hypocrisy of TCS far better than I ever could have done.

"TCS- We seek to control the *mind*, not the body!"

Sick. Utterly twisted.

33,452

Carlotta said...

"Loneliness is an emotion.It doesn't have anything to do with theories."

When I use the word "theories" I mean it in it's broadest sense to cover neurological events such as thinking, emotions, anythin that impacts upon consciousness.

"You can't be coerced into it (or out of it for that matter)."

Are you saying here that emotions cannot result from being coerced?
(surely not!).

Or are you saying that loneliness in itself is not a coerced state?
(I think it is. For example, according to definitions above, you are being forced (either by yourself or others) to enact a theory of being alone when your preference or active thought is that you would, for example, choose to be with others.

"It is the right of every living being to complete and total ownership of their own internal life."

Yep.

"Others can coerce a person into circumstances that they expect to elicit an unpleasant, or painful, emotional response in that person, but this is not the same thing as coercing someone into a particular emotional state."

No, of course not. I didn't say this anywhere as far as I am aware.

"Loneliness, Carlotta, is relative.I'm sorry if the word "relative" is offensive to you, but, even the most fanatical of objectivists must accept that *some* things are, indeed, relative, and one of these things is "loneliness"."

It varies in degree, if this is what you mean? Is that relevant to the problem here?

"You consider that a child alone in their bedroom would be lonely? "

No, I would make no such assumption. I certainly didn't intend to imply this.

"Well maybe a child in a room filled with others might be lonely too? "

Quite possibly. Of course, one could always ask, and if being alone is a problem, one would sort this out.

"No one can presume to know what will and won't create the emotion of loneliness in another. "

Quite, though one thing one can do is ask in an environment where honest answers are appreciated and attempts are made to solve the problem.

"You cannot say "isolation is coercive", anymore than I could say "socialisation is coercive"."

Quite so.

"*This* is the point you should be making if you wish to refute the statement that "Home education is lonely."

The point that was made was that HE is lonely, with the implication that it is always just about a child and a parent. It struck me as important to point out that the HE life need not be isolated.

"What you are doing instead is agreeing with the assessment that loneliness is automatically linked to lack of company and saying "No, no, we *have* company!" "

I think this is your inference. I was refuting the idea that the HE life is necessarily isolated. To me, this is all so transparently obvious that I perhaps didn't think about my expression closely enough, and apologise if this is so and misled you in the way it seems to have done.

""Nobody would willingly choose to perpetuate a state of coercion through not offering good theories about how to relate to others.""

"So what are you saying here?
If a child is lonely this means that their theories about relating to others are poor? "

Could be, though not necessarily so.

"If they had the benefit of better theories about relating to others then they would not experience loneliness?"

Not necessarily though if poor relations were the problem, then offering good theories about bettering relationships could help.

"You are *not* lonely, so you must have better theories about relating to others than your child does if they *are* lonely?"

I don't think I would make this assumption. I said I would "offer" theories, and I should point out that these theories would be offered tentatively, to see if they fit the child's agenda.

"If you do not share these theories with your child in such a way that they come to accept them as the truth and reject their own to replace them with yours, then you are keeping the child in a state of coercion?"

Um...Hang on here....I do think you may need to do some more reading up because there are clearly some serious mischaracterisations of my thinking. I never think one gains the truth, for example. I think we are truth-seeking, but that the truth is hidden from us by what appear to be the iron laws of epistemology. We may strive towards the truth and apply criticisms to our ideas, but we can never be sure that we have the right or truthful theory. Therefore, I would hope that a child only take my tentatively offered theory if it makes good sense to him, after he has fully critiqued it and it does things like seems to fit with other good ideas he holds etc. Otherwise, if he can think up a theory that suits his ends better, then yippee...and could he let me know, please!

If he is stuck in a state of coercion (here feeling lonely) would you not agree that offering theories that may help is not a reasonable way to go? And before you start about Carl Rogers, I would say that a good set of standard counselling skills is a matter of offering good theories, in the broad sense that I mean to use the word theory.


"This is sick. I'm sorry to be blunt, but it's really, really, sick."

Quite possibly but luckily it is only your theories about my theories that are so, because my theories are entirely different from that which you describe.

"Such attitudes deny the child the right to their own emotions. "

Yes, in your characterisation of my theories that is so. Luckily this is absolutely the opposite of what I am thinking and saying!

"Such methods of child rearing teach a child that if their emotions aren't ones that the adult values, or considers appropriate, then their feelings are wrong due to "poor theories" and must be corrected by the enlightened adult."

Ahem...Noooooo. Adults need only be offering theories when they are needed, and when the child asks.

"You have illustrated the flaws and hypocrisy of TCS far better than I ever could have done."

No, I haven't. What seems to have happened instead is that
you have quite dramatically misrepresented both TCS and my views.

"TCS- We seek to control the *mind*, not the body!"

Who said this....YOU DID :)

I do think you should go to the website and try to understand it a bit better before you attempt another critique, because there are some important misunderstandings.

Anonymous said...

I do not agree with your assessment of loneliness as being a coerced state, and have already explained *why* I do not agree, so I can't address your points about that as we are coming from completely different perspectives.

"No, I haven't. What seems to have happened instead is that
you have quite dramatically misrepresented both TCS and my views."

Nope, I don't think so. And your views are here for all to read and interpret as they will.

As most of your readers are TCS themselves I would imagine that they will not hesitate to jump to your defence. So, don't worry on that score. My solitary opinion cannot harm you or damage your reputation in any way.

" "TCS- We seek to control the *mind*, not the body!"

Who said this....YOU DID :)"

Yep. Because it damned well needed saying!

People need to know just how damaging this cult is.

"I do think you should go to the website and try to understand it a bit better before you attempt another critique, because there are some important misunderstandings."

Ah, but is this not the cornerstone of TCS philosophy that anyone who doesn't recognise its supremacy has clearly failed to understand it? That, of course, people sometimes don't agree with TCS, but this is because they are "fallible" and subject to "poor theories" or they have been exposed to "bad memes" for so long that this "radical concept" is a hard one for them to grasp?

TCS preaches "fallibility" as a *disclaimer*. Don't you get that? They only tacked that bit on in order to provide themselves with a get out clause and a handy way to dismiss criticism. Are you really blind to this?

It is *you* who misunderstands TCS. I hope for your sake and that of your children that you *do* eventually come to understand it and see it for what it really is.

Carlotta said...

"I do not agree with your assessment of loneliness as being a coerced state, and have already explained *why* I do not agree, so I can't address your points about that as we are coming from completely different perspectives."

I either don't understand your perspective or I don't think it a very good one, I am not completely sure, so it may be worth you trying to explain it again more fully.

Perhaps I should clarify a few things: I am not saying that loneliness is always a coerced state. I think it conceivable, for example, that someone could desire it, but that often, given the definition of being forced to enact a theory (emotion) that is not active (desired) in the mind, then in this situation, loneliness is a coerced state, in that it is often not desired.

Your attempt at a refutation along the lines that no-one controls anyone else's mind doesn't stand up as I have already explained that the coerced state is not necessarily to do with outside events. People can be self-coercive for example. Everytime you make yourself do something unwillingly, for example, you are being self-coercive.

Further, I never said that loneliness was an emotion that could be specifically induced from the outside, but that it "can" be an emotion that someone else can induce in someone else...so this paragraph in you mail missed the mark too.

So contrary to your assertion above, I do not see that you have anywhere provided an explanation of why your theory (which I have to say, I either don't think I understand, or is not a very deep theory) matches the data and why my theory doesn't.

I wrote:
"What seems to have happened instead is that
you have quite dramatically misrepresented both TCS and my views."

"Nope, I don't think so.And your views are here for all to read and interpret as they will. "

Perhaps the inference that has been missed, though I slightly hoped not to have included it explicitly, is that my children love having these people around. The people who visited last week are either people who they would specifically request for company themselves, or who they don't mind having in the home so that other people in the family can enjoy their company. On this point I am as clear as I possibly can be, as I ask them every time. My children appear to relish the companionship and it is in answer to their desires that I set about offering them this sort of scenario. If I were to prevent them from seeing their friends, as has happened on a couple of occasions when something happened like a car broke down, or someone was ill, I have strong reason to believe that they experienced the coerced state, (perhaps not loneliness but something more akin to frustration).

How is helping them to meet their own agendas (and the same time as meeting mine, please note) so "sick" as you would have it? You have not explained this to my satisfaction at all.

"As most of your readers are TCS themselves"

You clearly know much more about this than I do! How do you know this, I wonder? I don't track anything other than numbers of unique hits per day. I don't track individuals. Seeing as the blog receives at least 100 unique hits (excluding my own) per day and that many people I have spoken to who have read the blog have never even heard of TCS, I don't know how you can make your assertion with such confidence but am certainly slightly anxious to know whether this is anything other than an unfounded assertion.

"I would imagine that they will not hesitate to jump to your defence. So, don't worry on that score. My solitary opinion cannot harm you or damage your reputation in any way."

I don't know whether it will or not. I think sometimes the hurling of mud does damage people's reputations, and it is perhaps wise to try to think about what one is doing when one does it, simply on that basis. The thing is mud slinging (such as accusing someone as behaving in a sick or cultish fashion) does not contain much explanatory force, so whilst the mud may colour people's perceptions who are not looking to understand closely what is going on, all it really does is muddy the situation.

What I would hope readers would be looking for whether your idea is better than mine, whether your idea carries greater explanatory force, whether it matches the facts better, whether it fits other good theories well, whether your theories work because if your theory does do these things, then I would be happy for them and for me to change my idea. However, if you refuse to provide further explanations of why your ideas are better, when I have in my own mind refuted the ones you have offered so far, I think I will stick with mine as they seem to me to carry more explanatory force. I hope readers will make their own judgement here but based not on mud slinging but explanation.

"People need to know just how damaging this cult (TCS) is."

I am interested to know what your definition of a cult. What I think I have done is to think very carefully and critically about a number of tentative moral and epistemological theories. I spent quite a lot of time doing this and hurling criticisms left, right and centre. I concluded that these theories, after extensive examination, seemed good, though I am happy to abandon them if better ones came along.

Does this sound cultish to you? Does this mean I have been brainwashed into a fundamentalist way of seeing the world, or does this not instead, rather look like a rational decision to adopt a set of theories that set out to reduce coercion of children and their parents?

And just how damaging can it be to do this, or do you yourself, for example, believe that it is right to set out to bully children and be self-coercive?

"TCS preaches "fallibility" as a *disclaimer*. Don't you get that?
They only tacked that bit on in order to provide themselves with a get out clause and a handy way to dismiss criticism. Are you really blind to this?"

I disagree. TCS theory explicitly explains why people are best off holding their theories tentatively, ie: because that is the nature of knowledge, that our representations of reality are forever separate from reality itself. The theory of fallibility of knowledge and the theory of being open to improvement of theory are not just tacked on as a disclaimer at the end. They are a core parts of the way in which a parent is best off relating to a child.

"It is *you* who misunderstands TCS. I hope for your sake and that of your children that you *do* eventually come to understand it and see it for what it really is. "

Surely I would be sensible not to abandon seemingly good, so far unrefuted theories until better ones comes along? Until you or someone else actually does find a better theory that makes more sense, and until I see that helping my children as far as is humanely possible to live autonomous and fulfilling lives is not panning out in some way, why should I abandon these theories, pray tell?

Anonymous said...

Carlotta,

Thank you for your calm and considered response. :)

I confess that I find it very difficult to remain calm when discussing the subject of TCS - it is more than a soapbox for me - what I feel about TCS goes beyond passion, beyond hatred, beyond even revulsion.

*To me* and I make no claim in this statement that it is anything other than my personal opinion, TCS is bordering on evil (and I am not a person that believes in evil!)

The subject affects me strongly on an emotional level, which makes it very hard to discuss it in the way that you are asking me to. Not because I don't have the necessary theories or information here, but because I find the subject genuinely distressing and talking about it usually reduces me to tears.

I have suffered a fairly recent bereavement and am really not strong enough to face TCS discussions as the moment - I apologise for that and for raising the subject in the first place.

However, I did start work a while ago on my own website, which has the specific purpose of explaining what is wrong with TCS - the inconsistencies in the theory, the different defintions of cults and how TCS meets these, and suchlike.

This *will* be a calm and considered "response" to TCS. I will gladly send you the link to this when it is up and running, though that may be a while yet.

As an aside, I am not in any way questioning your parenting or the way that you relate to your children. I do not believe that it is my place to do this, and I have not yet seen any evidence to build such a case on anyway. :)

It is your *theories* (and *I* use the term in the dictionary sense of "a formal statement of the rules on which a subject of study is based or of ideas which are suggested to explain a fact or event or, more generally, an opinion or explanation") which I take issue with and, more specifically, those of the group that you belong to. I do not think that you have taken these theories to their full and horrific extremes in your own family life. If I did think this then I would not consider you worth addressing and would not be commenting here at all.

It is my opinion that you are involved with a particularly nasty secular cult.

One which practices mind control on its members.

One which knowingly exploits the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of its members.

One which has developed seemingly rational sounding theories simply in order to justify certain past events in the lives of, or peverse desires in the minds of, its leaders.

One that keeps its members in a perpetual state of infancy whilst manipulating them into thinking that they are taking control.

One which forces the individual to become dependent upon the group and then controls them through their fear of loneliness (now *there's* an example of loneliness as coercion! But, even here it's loneliness as the *method* of coercion, not as the coercion itself)their fears of isolation, and above all their fear of being ostracised by the group that has often been the first to *seem to* offer them acceptance and "a place to belong". (It breaks my heart to see this.)

One which belittles people's abilities as parents, undermines the confidence in this area, then rides to the rescue with the "solution" (kind of like a drug company that goes round *making* people sick, in order to sell its products)

I think all of this and more.

And I fully intend to back up each and every claim here with either evidence, logical theory, or both, on my website when it is up and running.

And I shall publish my own full name on my site.

And I shall *hope* that the TCS founders *do* sue me as this would mean that they would have to go to court and try to prove my claims as false. As my claims are true they would undoubtedly lose thse case.

I would contact the media and make the case as high profile as possible. Then I would dance for joy when the court accepted that my claims were not libelous, and hope that this would put an end to this sick cult once and for all.

People are involved with TCS to greater and lesser degrees. People approach them for different reasons. The majority of "outer" TCS people, such as yourself, seem like nice, genuine, people, and its sad to see you associating yourselves with this group of very dangerous and morally bankrupt people.

But, let's save it till I'm feeling better and have got my site together, shall we? :)

Carlotta said...

Thanks also for your considered response. I do know a little of what you refer to, and I qould guess that what happened there was actually not a manifestation of proper theories of non-coercion of children. I do strongly suspect that coercion of children will have taken place in one form or another, and I would not want to be associated with such a situation at all.

This is not what I would intend for my children (though I am by no means claiming to be perfect and they are coerced at times, though I would hope in much more trivial ways...though again it is hard to assess the seriousness of damage done on any one particular occasion).

The thing is, I don't think that one can assess the rigour or worth or effectiveness of a set of theories on the basis that someone who professes to hold it then fails to practice it. I am only interested in the theories themselves and not in the practioners lives. I do not have anything to do with any of them directly, and only take their theories seriously because they do seem to work so well for my family...far FAR better than the bullying and theories of coercion that I applied to my poor Ds before I heard of theories of non-coercion..

Will await your website with interest.

Anonymous said...

Hi Carlotta

Just a quick note to say that I am most definitely not refering to any specific events, situations, occurences, or incidents here. :)

I would not do this as it could seriously violate the privacy of individual families. There will not be any content of that nature on my website, rest assured.

It is, rather, a *pattern* of behaviour on the part of the TCS founders and inner core that I am refering to, and I will clarify all this when the site is up and running.

"I do not have anything to do with any of them directly,"

I'm very relieved to hear it! :)

"...and only take their theories seriously because they do seem to work so well for my family...far FAR better than the bullying and theories of coercion that I applied to my poor Ds before I heard of theories of non-coercion.."

But do you *really* need conscious theories to listen to your children and respect their rights and individuality?

That is another point that worries me - clearly a lot of people *do* need this! A lot of people *want* to respect their children this way but are too scared to go against the norms of society without having the "back up" of an organisation, and written philosophy to give them "permission" to do what they already know *in their hearts* to be right.

TCS exploits this too. It exploits people's need to feel validated in this way. This is part of what I mean about how the organisation infantises people.

Because of this it is easy for not-so-moral theories to be placed within the philosophy and hidden by the amount of *good* theories preached - thus, members often accept these theories alongside the ones that they orginally came to the group for. This is a very clever and insidious practice.

Will expand another time! :)

33,452 (who keeps forgetting to "sign" posts!)

Anonymous said...

It does seem that to attack TCS this way-without backing any of it up, but saying you are "not strong enough to face TCS discussions as the moment - I apologise for that and for raising the subject in the first place" and then going on to attack it further is indeed a very clever and insidious practice.
But of course you will explain all on your soon to be up and running website???

'trit trot' Carlotta is this a troll you are arguing with?

Anonymous said...

"It does seem that to attack TCS this way-without backing any of it up, but saying you are "not strong enough to face TCS discussions as the moment - I apologise for that and for raising the subject in the first place" and then going on to attack it further is indeed a very clever and insidious practice."

Actually it's an attempt to be polite and answer Carlotta, as I consider her to have responded to my posts with patience and courtesy, even if I don't always agree with what she says.

Clever? It is not clever to speak the truth. Some might go as far as to call it foolish. There is nothing clever about exposing one's vulnerabilities as I did here, for the likes of yourself to pick up on and use as a weapon. Nothing clever about that at all.

And insidious? Where is the secrecy in what I say here? I openly admit that I would dearly love to cause harm to the organisation of TCS; there is nothing even slightly furtive about my intentions there.

"Troll" is an easy accusation to hurl around at anyone who says things that you dislike. Read my posts. I don't fit the profile of a troll.

Btw, do you have a "tag", anon? Or are you a *truly* anonymous poster?

33,452

Anonymous said...

Anon,

I also said to Carlotta:

"The subject affects me strongly on an emotional level, which makes it very hard to discuss it in the way that you are asking me to."

I think that makes it clear where I'm coming from. The clear message of my posts is this one: The subject of TCS upsets me, therefore, if I discuss it(especially at this present time) I am very unlikely to do so calmly and unemotionally.

I was actually *explaining why* I am attacking TCS in *this* way.

I then went on to explain why talk of TCS affects me so profoundly on an emotional level. So I really don't see the point of your post.

(Note to self: I really must learn the twin arts of letting go and walking away...)

33,452

Carlotta said...

I would actually dearly love anon to feel happy with my preference not to coerce my kids, and to be OK with the fact that I actually find that the best way to do this is to apply theories of fallibility, theory growth, truth seeking and critical rationalism generally. In the service of which, I would happily not refer to the TCS. In other words, I am very happy to do away
with titles/nomenclature and any apparent connection with people I have never met. What I couldn't now forgo is the lifestyle we have, in which I try to set myself the standard of helping my children achieve a satisfactory state of uncoerced autonomy in this complex world. This I couldn't do without, as it seems to me to work.

As regards the point you make about people needing theories to achieve this sort of aim...personally, yes, I did for my first child. I myself was raised by a nanny who was apparently taught her skills in the Victorian era. She left after the first year and was replaced by a string of yet more Victorian nannies. I had never held a baby in a loving way ever until I held my own child. No surprise that I found it so hard to bond and know what to do. I had NO idea that you weren't supposed to leave small people in a pram yelling it out at the bottom of the garden, and indeed was firmly convinced that this was the only responsible form of child-rearing. The only thing that convinced me otherwise, since I couldn't possibly tap into hormonal theories (or resonances, if you like - perhaps because by the time you have raised your child in such a terrible way, you don't have these hormonal prompts any more), was reasoned argument that picked apart all the assumptions I had previously held.

For my second child, I just had to let the hormones flow and nothing could have been easier, but it was very satisfactory to think that the body and the mind agreed in the matter of child-rearing, as I found was the case with my second child.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post! :)

What a horrible way you were raised! :(

I appreciate your saying this.

It's not hormones that I mean when I talk of knowing things with the heart.

If your first set of "theories" had *felt* right to you, you probably wouldn't have been open to alternatives in the first place. I imagine that you *felt* things were wrong with your first child, and were lucky enough to discover (and courageous enough to *try*) something that worked for you with your second.

If TCS awoke the confidence and knowledge within you to help you to relate to your children in a way that *did* feel right, then this is one thing that TCS has done that is good. :)

Your last post is the kind of argument that I can understand. It is human and real and warm and moving. I cannot understand it when people speak in intellectual terms about human relationships - it feels cold and alien to me.

You have actually taken the time and trouble to walk over here and meet me on my own ground (even though it may be uncomfortable territory for you)and talk to me in my own language (even though this may be forgein to you), and, for that, I thank you and applaud you.

Not many people ever take the time to attempt to understand others and to try to reach them in the way that you have here.

Judging from this, I think you probably are a very good mother indeed! :)

And, yes, drop the "TCS" label - you *really* don't need it!

33,452

Anonymous said...

One thing though, we have gone waaayy off the original subject now! LOL!

I think in our side conversation about TCS, talking to me on a personal level as you did was by far the best way to express yourself. :)

But I still think that if defending the case of home education (and, of course, there is the question of whether we should seek to defend it *at all*), it is better by far *not* to do that, as I do feel that it only encourages authorities in their belief that evaluating and judging children by their current criteria is acceptable.

Just thought I'd better clarify that point! :)

Oh and I wanted to push the number of comments up even higher! LOL! Have you ever had this many on one post before? :)

33,452

Carlotta said...

But I still think that if defending the case of home education (and, of course, there is the question of whether we should seek to defend it *at all*), it is better by far *not* to do that, as I do feel that it only encourages authorities in their belief that evaluating and judging children by their current criteria is acceptable."

I do see what you mean, but I don't think that the act of defending HE encourages the authorities to think that they have any more rights than they already think they have. They already have a right in case law to make informal enquiries...the Donaldson decision. Donaldson said we would be wise (ie: we have) to respond to their enquiries with evidence that HE is a satisfactory form of education.

If we can help the authorities to understand home education as a broad principle...particularly if we can help them to understand autonomous HE (as this is, of course, far more difficult for them to understand), if we can do this in a general way, then it might make satisfying those initial inquiries all the easier.

Further, I think that we might benefit from showing that the judgements that they try to apply are not relevant. What is relevant is that a child is enabled to live a non-coerced life. In the process this will mean that a child probably will acquire much of the sort of information that would be expected of a schooled child, but this is not important in the the judgment of AE. How one judges AE is to assess whether the child is the primary mover and sole judge of the success of his education, and that he is able to live an uncoerced life. (Should add here for the benefit of anyone reading who doesn't understand AE, I don't think someone even vaguely sociopathic can lead an uncoerced life).

This is why I responded to the accusation about loneliness, because 99% of the time, loneliness would involve a coerced state which therefore would not pass the facilitated autonomous life test. This, to me, seems like a proper question for anyone to ask, (when something like "have you done this maths question?" is not).

Anonymous said...

You think people can never choose to be alone? If a child chooses not to do maths, that is a sign of autonomy but if a child chooses to be alone is parental coercion?

And you are 99% sure?

Maybe the parents are just being unhelpful with maths.

Are you suggesting authorities should indeed check on families on the "loneliness" factor?

Anonymous said...

Okay...

So you heard of someone suggesting that HE was a lonely life, thought "Loneliness is a coerced state. They must consider that our children are in a coerced state. We must show them that this is not so."?

I don't think they'll have made that same association there, Carlotta. I don't think anyone *on here* made that association, let alone the authorities and/or the media.

Somehow I really don't think that those who consider HE to be "lonely" are worrying about the possibility that HE children are being coerced.

And I don't think your article would make them think "We shouldn't be worrying about 'socialisation'; we should be worrying about *coercion* instead! But there's no need to worry as these children here clearly aren't coerced."

What *they* would see is a HEer trying to demonstrate that their children are well-socialised, which would mean that at least *some* HEers accept the requirement of socialisation and the need to prove that their children are socialised.

So, they look at your blog and they say "Here is an example of effective home education!"

They then visit a family where the child is introverted and spends their days (through *choice*) reading in their room alone. They don't think "Ah that child is following their own preferences and the family clearly meet the non-coercion standard that Carlotta demonstrated to us, so all's well here!" Rather they think "This child is isolated and not socialised. This family compares unfavourably to Carlotta's. Carlotta gave us an example of effective home education and this family couldn't be further away from that model."

Do you see yet?

(I *still* don't agree that loneliness is a coerced state, btw, but I think we've each said all we have to say on that subject, so let's drop it, shall we?)


33,452

Carlotta said...

I think I agree that the mail in isolation could have been misread this way, though in answer to your question as to the likelihood of misreading, I should first say that it is clear in the post that I was addressing the problem of loneliness, not the issue of socialisation, so it would have taken quite a significant misreading to imagine that I was dealing with another( although related) subject and I don't feel I can really be held responsible for all possible misreadings.

The mail is of course more likely to be misread in the way you suggest if it is read in isolation, but if they were to read anywhere around in the blog, people could see that I don't mean to judge children according to externally imposed, rigid criteria, and I certainly don't want the authorities doing this sort of thing. This much is surely clear.

I do agree that some misreadings are likely to stem from the problem of not seeing loneliness predominantly as a coerced state. I do wish I could understand how this is not the case in your understanding. What would constitute a coerced state in your definition?

Carlotta said...

"You think people can never choose to be alone?"

Oh goodness...did I say that!! Actually, no I don't think I ever did. I wrote about "loneliness"...that people don't generally like or choose to be lonely. This is a different concept to choosing whether or not to be alone.

"If a child chooses not to do maths, that is a sign of autonomy but if a child chooses to be alone is parental coercion?"

Please see answer above. There is a difference between the concepts of choosing to be alone and being lonely. Most people don't choose to be lonely (though I am very happy when they happily and freely choose to be alone...please note).

"Maybe the parents are just being unhelpful with maths."

Could be and you're right. I would tentatively judge them poorly on this basis, though I am not saying that this means that the authorities should judge them poorly please note...see argument above about why I don't think refuting myths about HE here on this blog is an encouragement to LAs to intervene more in the lives of HEors.

"Are you suggesting authorities should indeed check on families on the "loneliness" factor? "

No. Obviously not. I have answered this point in comments above already.

Anonymous said...

"What would constitute a coerced state in your definition?"

It's not about my opinion it's about definition.

The TCS definiton of "coercion" is their own. It is relevant only within their circle and has no meaning in the non-TCS world.

However, as you kindly moved onto my turf a little last night, I shall, in return, move onto yours and accept the TCS definition as a valid one. So...

We have here two defintions of the word "coercion".

1) Dictionary definiton: Coercion: Noun of "coerce".

Coerce: "To persuade someone forcefully to do something which they are unwilling to do."

2) TCS definition: "Coercion: The psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind."

The first definition refers to forcing someone to *do* what they are unwilling to *do*. Loneliness is not a verb. One cannot "do loneliness".

By this defintion loneliness cannot, therefore, be a coerced state.

The second definition is non-sensical which is going to make it hard to work with but never mind, I'll give it a whirl anyway!

Now...by this defintion can loneliness be a state of coercion?

Well, in the TCS defintion coercion is a psychological state(which deviates greatly from the standard usage of the word and has very interesting implications indeed, but we're already off-topic enough for now!)Loneliess is also a psychological state, so this does, at least, move the two things into the same category. So we *can now* consider the claim that it is *possible* for loneliness to be a coerced state.

So now we move on to the part about *enacting* an idea or impulse that conflicts with another already in the mind.

What is the lonely child *enacting*? And what is the conflicting impulse?

Are they enacting being alone? And the conflicting impulse is the desire to be with other people?

Then, yes, Carlotta, I accept that *in such a situation*, by the TCS defintion (and *only* by the TCS defintion)loneliness could, indeed, be considered to be a coerced state!

Eureka - we have clarity!! :)

What if the conflicting impulse isn't there though?

What if the child has no desire to be with other people but still feels lonely? What about the child that is surrounded by people and feels lonely but does not have a preference to be alone as they feel lonely wherever they are and whoever they're with?

Can you identify what is being "enacted", and what the "conflicting impulses" are in these two cases?

We also have the problem of countering value judgments and unfounded assumptions.

The interviewer refered to in your article considers HE to be lonely and presumably means this in the sense of the "coerced state" that you refer to. You counter this by demonstrating that your children are not starved for company. Therefore, you seem to accept the interviewer's idea that loneliness is about having people around, and that someone who does *not* have people around all the time *will necessarily be lonely* and from that it follows logically that there is a validity to assessing how much company a home edded child has.

Now you have already clarified to us that you do not agree with that assumption, and that you do not think that families should be assessed this way.

But, if Innit had not raised the subject in the first place to allow you to make that clarification, it would not have been there, would it? And the article would have looked like a concession to those who believe that HE children are deprived if they lack company and that they need to prevent such deprivation by monitoring families to make sure it doesn't occur. Nothing good could ever come of that.

Can you see what I'm getting at here?

33, 452

Carlotta said...

"We have here two defintions of the word "coercion".

1) Dictionary definiton: Coercion: Noun of "coerce".

Coerce: "To persuade someone forcefully to do something which they are unwilling to do." "

I think this an interesting definition...How can persuade someone forcefully? Surely this is oxymoronic?

"2) TCS definition: "Coercion: The psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind." "

The first definition refers to forcing someone to *do* what they are unwilling to *do*. Loneliness is not a verb. One cannot "do loneliness". "

The thing is, (mostly for the sake of clarity) I asked what you would consider a coerced *state*, ie: what you would consider a state that had been produced by the act of a slightly improved definition of 1.

"By this defintion loneliness cannot, therefore, be a coerced state."

I think it can because saying something is a "coerced state* implies that it is a matter of the state that one achieves when one has been coerced.

"The second definition is non-sensical"

Why exactly? Could you explain?

"which is going to make it hard to work with but never mind, I'll give it a whirl anyway!

Now...by this defintion can loneliness be a state of coercion?

Well, in the TCS defintion coercion is a psychological state(which deviates greatly from the standard usage of the word and has very interesting implications indeed, but we're already off-topic enough for now!)Loneliess is also a psychological state, so this does, at least, move the two things into the same category. So we *can now* consider the claim that it is *possible* for loneliness to be a coerced state."

Thanks.

"So now we move on to the part about *enacting* an idea or impulse that conflicts with another already in the mind.

What is the lonely child *enacting*? And what is the conflicting impulse?

Are they enacting being alone? And the conflicting impulse is the desire to be with other people?

Then, yes, Carlotta, I accept that *in such a situation*, by the TCS defintion (and *only* by the TCS defintion)loneliness could, indeed, be considered to be a coerced state!"

What if the conflicting impulse isn't there though? What if the child has no desire to be with other people but still feels lonely? "

Then they may be desirous of some other solution to their loneliness..perhaps they would like to turn on the TV or choose the company of an animal...doesn't suddenly mean they are not coerced though.

"What about the child that is surrounded by people and feels lonely but does not have a preference to be alone as they feel lonely wherever they are and whoever they're with? "

If they don't want to feel lonely then they could be seeking other sorts of solutions. Again, though, if they don't want to be lonely and they are, then they are coerced.

"Can you identify what is being "enacted", and what the "conflicting impulses" are in these two cases?

In the situation that the child is lonely in a crowd and doesn't want to be, the theory that they are being forced to enact without wanting it is the experience of loneliness, and the desire that they have is not to feel lonely although they do not yet have any concrete solution for this problem.

"We also have the problem of countering value judgments and unfounded assumptions. The interviewer refered to in your article considers HE to be lonely and presumably means this in the sense of the "coerced state" that you refer to. You counter this by demonstrating that your children are not starved for company. Therefore, you seem to accept the interviewer's idea that loneliness is about having people around, and that someone who does *not* have people around all the time *will necessarily be lonely* and from that it follows logically that there is a validity to assessing how much company a home edded child has."

Sorry..that may have appeared to be so..though I have answered this in comments above. ie: I have made it clear that my children request the company of these people...I admit not for the express purpose of quelling loneliness, simply because we have never got to the point where they have ever expressed feeling it, but I imagine that if I were to repeatedly refuse to meet their demands to meet with other people, one of the consequences could well be loneliness. ( I think I didn't make this explicit in the original mail because of a repeated habit of wanting to protect my children's privacy, but sadly have abandonned this principle for the sake of argument here...but have asked for some forgiveness on this and have had their blessing after the event, so phew on this too!)

"Now you have already clarified to us that you do not agree with that assumption, and that you do not think that families should be assessed this way.

But, if Innit had not raised the subject in the first place to allow you to make that clarification, it would not have been there, would it? And the article would have looked like a concession to those who believe that HE children are deprived if they lack company and that they need to prevent such deprivation by monitoring families to make sure it doesn't occur. Nothing good could ever come of that.

Can you see what I'm getting at here?"

Yes, though hope the clarifications, and the reading of mails in context will help. It is sometimes very hard not to shorthand on mails, particularly when short of time, and when one feels one has explained oneself to the point where one would hope regular readers would understand, but I will bear in mind that there could always be new readers who will not understand the context and will try to make allowances for this.

Anonymous said...

"I think this an interesting definition...How can persuade someone forcefully? Surely this is oxymoronic?"

Okay, this is related to more subtle differences in the defintions of words, rather than to TCS changing their meanings.

"Persuade" can be used in two ways. The narrow defintion is "to make someone do or believe something by giving them a good reason to do it or by talking to them and making them believe it."

The broader defintion is simply "to make someone do something".

You know the gangster line "I can be very, very, persuasive"?

It's like that.

I agree though, that the defintion of "coerce" should have avoided the use of the word "persuade" as this does, indeed, sound a touch oxymoronic, as you point out! :)

"The thing is, (mostly for the sake of clarity) I asked what you would consider a coerced *state*, ie: what you would consider a state that had been produced by the act of a slightly improved definition of 1."

Being dragged. Being held. Being beaten. Being blackmailed. Being imprisoned. Having a knife to your throat or a gun to your head.

With the person doing these things having an objective. Eg to make you go somewhere, or force you to confess something.

"I think it can because saying something is a "coerced state* implies that it is a matter of the state that one achieves when one has been coerced."

Firstly I assume you meant "is being coerced", rather than "has been coerced". Otherwise someone imprisoned and then released would still be considered to be in a coerced state after release.

But, anyway, loneliness, Carlotta, is an emotion. I have clarified this for you on several occasions.

But then perhaps by the word "emotion" I mean a rather large freshwater fish, or a particularly gaudy Christmas tree!

Sorry, didn't intend to be sarcastic it just sort of slipped out - I mean, if you (TCS) are going to go around completely redefining the meanings of words, you have to expect others to find this a bit, well, ludicrous!

"Why exactly? Could you explain?"

Oh Carlotta, do you really want to go into all this? *Sighs*

It's non-sensical because it makes a word that means being forced into action sound as though it's little more than a synonym for "ambivalence"!

It's non-sensical because the human mind is contradictory and it is rare for a person *not to* consider the opposite impulse whilst engaging in the first.

It's non-sensical because it implies that wanting to do something and being unable to is a coerced state. I want to have telekinetic powers. I've wanted that since I was five years old. There is never a moment when I *don't* want that. I am, however, through the laws of nature, currently enacting *not* having telekinetic powers. According to the TCS defintion my lack of telekinetic powers means that I am in a coerced state.

Can you truly not see that this defintion and its implications are just plain silly?

"Then they may be desirous of some other solution to their loneliness..perhaps they would like to turn on the TV or choose the company of an animal...doesn't suddenly mean they are not coerced though."

To be coerced according to the TCS defintion of coercion a person needs to be encating one impulse or idea while another is active in the mind. If we cannot clearly identify what they are enacting and what the conflicting impulse is, then we cannot say that they are in a coerced state according to that defintion.

"If they don't want to feel lonely then they could be seeking other sorts of solutions."

Thanks, but I didn't ask you to offer this hypothetical child your advice, did I?

"Again, though, if they don't want to be lonely and they are, then they are coerced."

and

"In the situation that the child is lonely in a crowd and doesn't want to be, the theory that they are being forced to enact without wanting it is the experience of loneliness, and the desire that they have is not to feel lonely although they do not yet have any concrete solution for this problem."

Which brings us right back around to how non-sensical this definition of the word "coercion" is!

Perhaps I don't want to be human? Well, bugger me, I'm coerced!

Ludicrous.

""Can you see what I'm getting at here?"


Yes,"

Thank you.

It is with much relief that I now rest my case.

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Anonymous said...

Why do I keep missing the second "I" out when I type the word "definition"? Very puzzling...

I reckon I should change the spelling to "defintion" so I don't look bad when I do that.

After all, if *TCS* can change *meanings*, why shouldn't *I* change *spellings*? ;D

33,452

Anonymous said...

Okay, been thinking and I think I can see where you are getting confused now.

Now, I have agreed with you that by the TCS definition there can be instances where loneliness is a coerced state (but I certainly don't think that everyone who experiences loneliness is an a coerced state).

So it's my claim that loneliness *cannot* be a coerced state according to the dictionary definition of "coercion" that we're discussing now?

You think that loneliness is a coerced state as it results from a process of coercion?

Now, first, we need to clear up the fact that loneliness does not necessarily result from a process of coercion (by the dictionary defintion). There are many possible reasons why a person might experience loneliness, and most don't involve coercion at all.

As I have explained, coercion cannot occur unless a thinking agent is performing the coercing.

Even in the few cases where an agent willfully *forces* the child to be alone ie *coerces* them to be alone (a *very* uncommon scenario, I must point out!) we must ask whether making the child feel lonely is their aim? If it isn't, then they are not techinically coercing the child into being lonely.

If it *is* their aim to make their child feel lonely, we're in a grey area, as no one can force another to feel (in an emotional sense)anything. We cannot control the emotions of another. We can force them into a situation that we expect to make them feel a particular thing, but this is not the same as making them feel that way (as I have explained before) but I can see how it comes close.

Could loneliness *result from* coercion though? Yes, of course it could.

If a parent decides that a child's friends are a bad influence and threatens the child with all sorts of nasty consequences if they see them again, then they are coercing the child into being away from their friends.

But they are *not* coercing the child into feeling lonely.

If this made the child feel lonely, then loneliness (in this instance)would be the *feeling* that *resulted from* the *state* that the child was coerced into; it would not be the state itself.

The "coerced state", in this instance, would be "being alone" not being lonely.

Loneliness would be a feeling resulting from a coerced state.

Is this clearer now?

Carlotta said...

"Now, I have agreed with you that by the TCS definition there can be instances where loneliness is a coerced state (but I certainly don't think that everyone who experiences loneliness is an a coerced state)."

yes, I think this is just about so, according to the TCS definition, because someone could desire loneliness, I think, though I suspect that this is likely to create small miasmas of coercion inside a meta-theory of non-coerced state, iyswim.

"So it's my claim that loneliness *cannot* be a coerced state according to the dictionary definition of "coercion" that we're discussing now?"

I do see what you mean, but I think that the dictionary definition is less useful, because would you not agree that the problem we are looking at is the attempt to reduce pain in humans? The dictionary definition seems to place an emphasis on the intention to coerce rather than on the definitive experience of being coerced. There are plenty of times when someone sets out to coerce and actually fails to cause pain perhaps say, because the intended victim changes their preferences along the way to prevent themselves feeling bullied. And there are plenty of times when someone does not intend to coerce at all, but actually does cause pain in themselves or others. It is this pain that we are looking to solve and this is why the TCS definition of coercion looks rather handy.

Of course, we needn't get strung up on the use of that word. If there is another word that you would rather use to describe the state of being forced to enact a theory, let's go for it, that would be fine by me. But it is still the matter of reducing that pain of enacting an a theory whilst having another one outstanding that would be important to me.

Anonymous said...

"I do see what you mean, but I think that the dictionary definition is less useful, because would you not agree that the problem we are looking at is the attempt to reduce pain in humans?"

I most certainly would *not* agee. In fact, I have no recollection of this even being mentioned!

As far as I was aware we were looking at whether or not putting up posts about how many people your children typically spend time with, was a concession to those who believe that home edded children who do not mix with people are deprived and that HE families should be assessed in this area.

I pointed out that this was playing the authorities at their own game.

You refuted this and attempted to argue that you were trying to demonstrate that HE children were not in a coerced state. And that you considered "loneliness" to be a coerced state.

I then explained to you that this would not be of any interest to the LEA anyway, and that, if you were suggesting that it *should* be of interest to them, then there would be better ways of arguing this than using your own family as an example.

I went on to argue that loneliness was not a coered state anyway.

You refuted this.

We debated the point until we reached the stage of conceding that it was simply a matter of different definitions, and that, by one definition, loneliness could be considered to be a coerced state, and by another it could not.

When did the topic of attempting to reduce pain in humans enter into the conversation? I certainly don't recall this becoming the topic!

It's a worthy subject undoubtedly. But we weren't discussing it!

"If there is another word that you would rather use to describe the state of being forced to enact a theory, let's go for it, that would be fine by me."

So we're back to being forced now? That's not mentioned in the TCS definition.

If you are talking about being *forced* then you, yourself, are using the dictionary definition after all! :)

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Anonymous said...

Have I walked into a trap here, Carlotta?

Are you about to pronounce that your priority is to reduce pain in humans and if I do not share this priority then you would be wasting your time in debating with me?

Wouldn't work really.

Because we're not discussing priorities or values any more than we are discussing "reducing pain in humans".

You cannot deduce from anything said here whether that topic is, or is not, amongst my priorities, can you?

Why are we still having a discussion at all? We have now reached a conclusion for every point argued.

You have conceded that Innit's original point is valid.

You have conceded that my point that loneliness cannot be a coerced state by the dictionary definition is valid.

I have conceded that your point that loneliness can be considered to be a coerced state by the TCS definition is valid.

So what is left to discuss?

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Carlotta said...

Hi Anon,

>Are you about to pronounce that >your priority is to reduce pain >in humans and if I do not share >this priority then you would be >wasting your time in debating >with me? Wouldn't work really.
>Because we're not discussing >priorities or values any more >than we are discussing "reducing >pain in humans".

Well, for me, the point in the blog post was to counter the myth that home educators either by accident or intentionally cause loneliness/pain in their children, and indeed that many home educators specifically set out to reduce the experience of coercion/pain in their children. I am happy to concede that I clearly expressed this badly in this particular blog post, as it is very clear that this was not originally understood by some.

So, for me here, and in life in general, on of the key motivating forces of my life is to reduce the amount of coercion we experience by seeking creative solutions to problems.

Further though, the conversation had moved to the point (away from the original debate) about a definition of coercion, at which point it seemed valid to make the point that reducing coercion can be a priority in people's lives.

"You cannot deduce from anything said here whether that topic is, or is not, amongst my priorities, can you?"

No..nor did I. I merely asked.

"Why are we still having a discussion at all? We have now reached a conclusion for every point argued."

Because someone, I cannot recall who moved the debate on to a definition of coercion...I think it was you who did this, if I do recall correctly.

"You have conceded that Innit's original point is valid."

err, not entirely. I have conceded that my post could have been misread. That is not to concede very much really, as misreading can happen anywhere and to anyone about anything, however well the something is expressed.

Just to reiterate, my intention was NOT to show the authorities that they are right to judge us, but merely to counter myths that persist in the public mind about the way home educators lead their lives (ie: coercing their kids, when they are doing precisely the reverse.) What I do concede is that I didn't expressly make the link between avoiding the coerced state and my children's preference for companionship, but this (as I have said before, was something to do with residual preference for not talking about their preferences).

"You have conceded that my point that loneliness cannot be a coerced state by the dictionary definition is valid."

I think I would always have said this. The point is that I would say that it is not the most useful one in terms of reducing human pain.

"I have conceded that your point that loneliness can be considered to be a coerced state by the TCS definition is valid.

"So what is left to discuss?"

I wasn't aware that a discussion had to close at any preconceived point, but if you are not happy to pursue it, then by no means don't...(let me be the last to try to coerce another into answering a question when they would rather not!)

And I do understand that you may not want to answer the question about whether or not you think it a good idea to try to reduce the coerced state in humans, though if the answer was no, then I would be interested to know why that is... since given the definition that coercion is the state of being forced to enact a theory whilst having another active theory outstanding in the mind, it is not hard to see that such a state is likely to reduce the possibility of clear thinking, of creativity and rationality.

I do feel strongly on this point, for it is my experience (particularly as a child) that I couldn't think clearly when I was experiencing the coerced state. That terrible blinding headache that reduced thought processes to a pulp...all that was coercion induced and I want to minimise this for my children (though I do often fail, I concede, though it remains worth the effort to limit it as much as possible)...and at the same time, provide them with tools for critical thinking.

Incidentally, (talkign of critical thinking skills) a little while back in your argument, in talking about telekinesis, you used the logical fallacy of appeal to ridicule. ie: you set out to make an argument look ridiculous in an attempt to refute it, without actually refuting it, but merely by using a silly example. Does this make sense?

Anonymous said...

"So, for me here, and in life in general, on of the key motivating forces of my life is to reduce the amount of coercion we experience by seeking creative solutions to problems."

Then, in my (not so) humble experience you are wasting a terrible amount of time and energy on attempting the impossible.

"Further though, the conversation had moved to the point (away from the original debate) about a definition of coercion"

Which we already settled.

", at which point it seemed valid to make the point that reducing coercion can be a priority in people's lives."

Did it? Can you explain how?

"Because someone, I cannot recall who moved the debate on to a definition of coercion...I think it was you who did this, if I do recall correctly."

And we settled that, Carlotta.

"The point is that I would say that it is not the most useful one in terms of reducing human pain."

No, that was not the point at all. The point was that it refuted your claim that loneliness was a coerced state.

"And I do understand that you may not want to answer the question about whether or not you think it a good idea to try to reduce the coerced state in humans, though if the answer was no, then I would be interested to know why that is... since given the definition that coercion is the state of being forced to enact a theory whilst having another active theory outstanding in the mind, it is not hard to see that such a state is likely to reduce the possibility of clear thinking, of creativity and rationality."

I'm perfectly happy to answer and my answer is "No".

And let us remember that "forced" is *not* in the TCS definition.

The TCS defintion is:

"Coercion: The psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind."

What this theory sets out to do is dehumanise humans.

It is part of the human condition to experience conflicting desires, impulses, ideas, whatever else you may wish to call them.

This is natural.

This is magnificent.

This is something to be very proud of.

No, Carlotta, I do not wish to dehumanise either myself or others by cutting off a large number of our thoughts and feelings, and narrowing our experience in the way that "solving" the "coercion" problem would do.

I do not consider it to be a problem at all. I consider it to be part of the wonder of humanity.

I consider our ability to hold two conflicting impulses in our minds simultaneously to be awe-inspiring and I certainly don't want anything to do with a philosophy that aims to quench or supress this.

What TCS calls "coercion" I would call "the human condition".

*If* the human condition causes you pain, I'm sorry, but the answer to this would be to find out *why* it is painful to you and to work on that, rather than to seek to eradicate what is one of the best parts of being a member of this wondeful species mankind.

"I do feel strongly on this point, for it is my experience (particularly as a child) that I couldn't think clearly when I was experiencing the coerced state. That terrible blinding headache that reduced thought processes to a pulp...all that was coercion induced"

:(

I'm sorry that was your experience.

Do you think that you are really talking about the state of enacting one theory while having another in your mind here? Or do you think that you might be refering to being *forced* to act against your nature and against your will?

If you mean the former this is a problem *within* you and it is something that you need to find answers for if you want to be happy. Because you can't transcend or otherwise escape the human condition, Carlotta, without losing your humanity.

If the latter, then I couldn't agree with you more that this is a terrible position, and one that we should seek to avoid placing either ourselves or others into.

" and I want to minimise this for my children"

Admirable. :)

"(though I do often fail, I concede, though it remains worth the effort to limit it as much as possible)"

We *all* fail at times. Of course it's still worth the effort to *try*! :)

"...and at the same time, provide them with tools for critical thinking."

If that is your aim, then I think you need to move away from TCS.

TCS is fundamentalist. It really doesn't encourage critical thinking at all. I know it *claims* to, but the claim doesn't stand up to closer inspection.

The fact that they consider it necessary to have a glossary to explain how they have redefined the meanings of words to suit their purposes should start the alarm bells ringing.

And look at the choice of words -

"Coercion" in the true definition is a pretty nasty word. We react to the word "coercion" on an emotional level because of the associations that we have with it. Almost all of us will hear the word "coercion" and feel revolted by it.

They *play* this, don't you see?

They attach an innocuous meaning to an emotive word, and, thus, people start to associate the second concept (which is actually unrelated to the first) with the unpleasant associations that they have with the first one, and they turn against the second concept because of this, even though these associations have nothing to do with the state/concept that TCS is actually describing.

It's smoke and mirrors, lies and manipulation, Carlotta.

If you *really*, sincerely, are open to new theories, if you *truly* wish to teach your children critical thinking skills, then you need to take off the rose coloured glasses and examine TCS again from the beginning.

If you want to continue with this discussion, I will try to. :)

It *is* painful for me, but I will try my best all the same. :)

"Incidentally, (talkign of critical thinking skills) a little while back in your argument, in talking about telekinesis, you used the logical fallacy of appeal to ridicule. ie: you set out to make an argument look ridiculous in an attempt to refute it, without actually refuting it, but merely by using a silly example. Does this make sense?"

No. It was a valid argument.

According the TCS definiton, the fact that I am currently enacting not having telekinetic powers *does* mean that I am in a coerced state.

I didn't use the argument *to ridicule*, but *to demonstrate the the definiton was ridiculous*, which isn''t the same thing.

I was not at this point *refuting* an argument; I was *supporting* one. You had asked why I considered the definiton to be non-sensical. I answered by demonstrating that the definition was, indeed, non-sensical.

I didn't mean to ridicule you. I'm sorry if it felt that way.

I have, at several points, sought to ridicule *TCS*, by showing that it *is* ridiculous, I admit.

But I certainly didn't intend to ridicule *you*.

I am trying to remain calm, rational, and considered. I can't always manage this. But I continue to try.

It wasn't logical fallacy; it was a valid argument. But you are, at least to a certain degree, right that I have used ridicule to make points. This is shameful and I'm sorry. Thank you for drawing my attention to this.

33,452

Anonymous said...

I suppose this brings us round to the obvious question of *why* the TCS founders would seek to do such a thing...?

The answer is "To foster dependence on the group."

By taking something that is a ubiquitous part of the human thinking process and redefining it as a "problem" in the way that I explained above, they foster an illusion that this ubiquitous process is *solveable* when, of course, it is *not*.

Thus, followers frequently "fail" to "solve" it. This makes them feel bad. This lowers their self-esteem. This makes them think that there is something wrong with their problem solving abilities, and it makes them turn to the group for help with this.

This starts off a vicious cycle.

Now...

If you genuinely cared about people would you want them to be wrapped up in problems that they could never hope to solve?

More to the point, would you want them to be *dependent* on anything or anyone?

I would hope you would answer "No" to these questions.

So do TCS genuinely care about people and helping them to solve their problems?

The answer seems clear that they do not.

When we care about people we want them to have control of their own minds and their own lives.

TCS, instead, exploits this by telling them that they can have this control through TCS.

Which is, of course, a paradox.

33,452

Carlotta said...

I wrote:
""So, for me here, and in life in general, on of the key motivating forces of my life is to reduce the amount of coercion we experience by seeking creative solutions to problems.""

"Then, in my (not so) humble experience you are wasting a terrible amount of time and energy on attempting the impossible."

Why is it a waste to try to maximise as much as possible the amount that people enjoy existence and can think rationally and creatively?

re: dictionary definition of coercion...

re: whether it is your priority to reduce coercion?

"I'm perfectly happy to answer and my answer is "No". And let us remember that "forced" is *not* in the TCS definition."

The TCS defintion is:

"Coercion: The psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind."
What this theory sets out to do is dehumanise humans. It is part of the human condition to experience conflicting desires, impulses, ideas, whatever else you may wish to call them."

Experiencing two contradictory desires is NOT the same as experiencing coercion. One can hold two apparently contradictory theories in mind perfectly happily. The problem happens when one enacts one idea over and above the other, and at the expense of the other active theory, thereby setting up a tension.

"This is natural."

Of course it is also natural that people should get say physical pain. Would you also say that is is therefore somehow not right to try to solve the problem of physical pain.

"This is magnificent."

Whilst I can understand how holding two contradictory theories could be this, I don't see how suffering due to coercion could be considered magnificent in most circumstances.

"This is something to be very proud of."

One should be proud of internal pain? Why?

"No, Carlotta, I do not wish to dehumanise either myself or others by cutting off a large number of our thoughts and feelings, and narrowing our experience in the way that "solving" the "coercion" problem would do."

I am absolutely NOT suggesting that this is what you do. To suggest that this is what I am suggesting is to profoundly misunderstand all the explanations I have so far offered. Think again.

"I do not consider it to be a problem at all. I consider it to be part of the wonder of humanity."

So you would do nothing to limit human cruelty on the basis that coercion is natural and that it is part of wider humanity?

"I consider our ability to hold two conflicting impulses in our minds simultaneously to be awe-inspiring and I certainly don't want anything to do with a philosophy that aims to quench or supress this."

So do I, but this is not what I am saying...as explained above.

I wrote:
""I do feel strongly on this point, for it is my experience (particularly as a child) that I couldn't think clearly when I was experiencing the coerced state. That terrible blinding headache that reduced thought processes to a pulp...all that was coercion induced""

"Do you think that you are really talking about the state of enacting one theory while having another in your mind here? Or do you think that you might be refering to being *forced* to act against your nature and against your will?"

I think that it I was acting out one theory above the active one, and that the reason why I was doing this was because I was being forced to do so.

"If you mean the former this is a problem *within* you and it is something that you need to find answers for if you want to be happy."

That is precisely what the TCS attempts to do: it's definition is not clear on the causes of the state but seeks to untangle the emotional and intellectual experience and it tries to clarify this in order to facilitate the possibility of finding a solution, when this state is not desired, as it generally isn't. The TCS definition does not specify whether the cause is the person themselves (self-coercion) or whether it is an outside agent, but other parts of the theory clearly acknowledge that such a situation can be induced by someone coercing someone to enact a theory against their will. eg: I would not have had the problem of not wanting to sit in a classroom had someone not made me sit in a classroom. It was a problem of theories inside my head, but this situation was what resulted from someone else's decision. Had they allowed me out into a field...no coerced state.

"Because you can't transcend or otherwise escape the human condition, Carlotta, without losing your humanity."

By transcending a situation, do you mean that one should not seek to limit oppression, or to seek solutions for painful conflicting states, since this is all I am seeking to do here. In effect, you seem to be saying that we should all accept anything up to a dictatorship simply because it is natural and the human condition, and magnificent, though perhaps I am misunderstanding you here?

I wrote:
" and I want to minimise this (coercion) for my children"

"Admirable. :)"

But you said above, that in your not so humble opinion, this is a waste of time...which assertion was false?

re: appeal to ridicule...

"I was not at this point *refuting* an argument; I was *supporting* one. You had asked why I considered the definiton to be non-sensical. I answered by demonstrating that the definition was, indeed, non-sensical."

"I didn't mean to ridicule you. I'm sorry if it felt that way."

I didn't feel you were ridiculing "me" and I didn't say this, I don't think. What I did say you were doing was trying to prove that the TCS definition of coercion was nonsensical by using a ridiculous example, which attempted to make the definition look nonsensical but which actually didn't do so.

ie: a person actually would indeed be in a coerced state if they wanted to have telekinetic powers but didn't have them. This does not mean that the TCS definition is nonsensical, it is just a silly example of it.

re: logical fallacy, appeal to ridicule...an example is given here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_ridicule and runs as follows:

If Einstein's theory of relativity is right, that would mean that when I drive my car it gets shorter and heavier the faster I go. That's crazy!

(though I do realise that Einstein's theory is up for refutation, the above statement does not work as a refutation or a demonstration of the nonsensicality (err) of the theory.)

"I am trying to remain calm, rational, and considered. I can't always manage this. But I continue to try."

I do appreciate the difficulty and that you do seem to be doing this, from this end, very well indeed.

Anonymous said...

"Why is it a waste to try to maximise as much as possible the amount that people enjoy existence and can think rationally and creatively?"

It isn't.

But I don't consider that reducing what TCS calls "coercion" would do this. :)

"Experiencing two contradictory desires is NOT the same as experiencing coercion. One can hold two apparently contradictory theories in mind perfectly happily. "

Not according to the TCS definition. You are either working with the definition or you aren't. Make up your mind.

"Of course it is also natural that people should get say physical pain. Would you also say that is is therefore somehow not right to try to solve the problem of physical pain."

But most people experience physical pain as a bad thing. Most people do not experience having more than one "theory" in their mind but only enacting one of them as bad at all.

Plus people who do not experience pain injure themselves, and become sick, and often die, because they don't have the signals to tell them something is wrong. In some cases pain is unneccessary suffering. In others it is vital information . Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

"Whilst I can understand how holding two contradictory theories could be this, I don't see how suffering due to coercion could be considered magnificent in most circumstances."

You can't decide which definition you are using, that's why! :)

There is no suffering from holding two contradictory theories and this is what TCS calls "coercion."

There may well be suffering from being forced to do something against one's will. In fact, there nearly *always* would be! But this is *not* TCS calls "coercion." let's be clear about this.

"One should be proud of internal pain? Why?"

A dual core proccessor is more efficient, yes? *That's* why it's something to be proud of.

And there is no pain involved in this. That is a TCS myth, or a "meme" spread by TCS if you prefer to look on it that way!

"I am absolutely NOT suggesting that this is what you do. To suggest that this is what I am suggesting is to profoundly misunderstand all the explanations I have so far offered. Think again. "

I am not suggesting that *you* are suggesting this. I am informing you that if you accept the TCS definition of coercion as valid and say the things that you do, then this will be the logical progression. Hence, ditch the TCS definition!

"So you would do nothing to limit human cruelty on the basis that coercion is natural and that it is part of wider humanity?"

Cruelty? In thinking "I fancy a biscuit! But I've already eaten too much today. I don't want to eat anymore because of the calories..." then eating the biscuit while still worrying about calories is cruelty??

Carlotta, you have a very strange view of what constitutes "cruelty"! And I have already had my fill of defining words for you.

Buy a dictionary.

"So do I, but this is not what I am saying...as explained above."

But it's what TCS *are* saying. As explained above.

"I think that it I was acting out one theory above the active one, and that the reason why I was doing this was because I was being forced to do so."

And with that my point about TCS encouraging muddled thinking is proved.

You have merged two different concepts in your head. That of being coerced (by the dictionary definition) and that of experiencing two contradictory ideas and only acting on one of them.

That is what TCS wanted you to do.

Your thinking is confused and muddled and that is what they were aiming for.

The TCS concept of "coercion" is not related to force.

It is *force* that you object to (from what you say here) that has nothing to do with conflicting theories.

Have got to take a break here - kids and puppy need attention! :)

Will be back to answer the rest soon! I'd appreciate it if you refrain from answering this post until I've completed answering your last one - otherwise things may get even more confusing!

Thanks,

33,452

Anonymous said...

Hubby came back, can now finish answering you! :)

"That is precisely what the TCS attempts to do: it's definition is not clear on the causes of the state but seeks to untangle the emotional and intellectual experience and it tries to clarify this in order to facilitate the possibility of finding a solution, when this state is not desired, as it generally isn't. The TCS definition does not specify whether the cause is the person themselves (self-coercion) or whether it is an outside agent, but other parts of the theory clearly acknowledge that such a situation can be induced by someone coercing someone to enact a theory against their will. eg: I would not have had the problem of not wanting to sit in a classroom had someone not made me sit in a classroom. It was a problem of theories inside my head, but this situation was what resulted from someone else's decision. Had they allowed me out into a field...no coerced state."

Again you're merging two theories and this makes it hard to identify the problem.

The problem in this instance was true coercion. It had nothing to do with conflicting theories.

"By transcending a situation, do you mean that one should not seek to limit oppression, or to seek solutions for painful conflicting states, since this is all I am seeking to do here."

But this has nothing to do with enacting one theory while a conflicting theory is still active in the mind. It has nothing to do with that at all.

"In effect, you seem to be saying that we should all accept anything up to a dictatorship simply because it is natural and the human condition, and magnificent, though perhaps I am misunderstanding you here?"

You most certainly are misunderstanding me! ;)

In effect I am saying that dictatorship has nothing to do with conflicting theories.

That the former is repugnant and the latter is magnificent.

And I am saying that TCS has mixed up the two and muddled up your thinking by doing so.

I really thought I was being clear on this...


"But you said above, that in your not so humble opinion, this is a waste of time...which assertion was false?"

Neither. You were talking of TCS "coercion" when I said trying to minimise it was a waste of time, and you were talking of an experience of oppression when I said it was admirable to seek to free your children from this.

"I didn't feel you were ridiculing "me" and I didn't say this, I don't think. What I did say you were doing was trying to prove that the TCS definition of coercion was nonsensical by using a ridiculous example, which attempted to make the definition look nonsensical but which actually didn't do so."

You're wrong here and I've already explained how. But will explain further below.

"re: logical fallacy, appeal to ridicule...an example is given here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_ridicule and runs as follows:

If Einstein's theory of relativity is right, that would mean that when I drive my car it gets shorter and heavier the faster I go. That's crazy!

(though I do realise that Einstein's theory is up for refutation, the above statement does not work as a refutation or a demonstration of the nonsensicality (err) of the theory.)"

I know about logical fallacies, as I'm a big fan of philosophy, logic, and critical thinking - that's one reason why I despise TCS! ;)

But this was *not* a fallacy.

If my point had been "The TCS definition of the word "coercion" is unhelpful in the context of the problem of pain in humans" and I had tried to make the point by showing the definition to be ridiculous, *then* it would have been a fallacy.

*However* at that point, I was trying to prove the point that the TCS definition of "coercion" was non-sensical/ridiculous. Therefore showing it to be ridiculous was highly relevant to the point being made. Thus, in this instance, it was *not* fallacious.

"I do appreciate the difficulty and that you do seem to be doing this, from this end, very well indeed. "

Thank you. It is certainly not easy!

33,452

Carlotta said...

I wrote:
"That is precisely what the TCS attempts to do: it's definition is not clear on the causes of the state but seeks to untangle the emotional and intellectual experience and it tries to clarify this in order to facilitate the possibility of finding a solution, when this state is not desired, as it generally isn't. The TCS definition does not specify whether the cause is the person themselves (self-coercion) or whether it is an outside agent, but other parts of the theory clearly acknowledge that such a situation can be induced by someone coercing someone to enact a theory against their will. eg: I would not have had the problem of not wanting to sit in a classroom had someone not made me sit in a classroom. It was a problem of theories inside my head, but this situation was what resulted from someone else's decision. Had they allowed me out into a field...no coerced state."

You wrote:
"Again you're merging two theories and this makes it hard to identify the problem. The problem in this instance was true coercion. It had nothing to do with conflicting theories."

The thing is, what is happening to the person who is coerced by an outside agent, if it is not to enact a theory whilst having another active theory in mind?

Equally, would you not agree that it is possible to create a state of self-coercion?

"In effect I am saying that dictatorship has nothing to do with conflicting theories."

The thing that I am not sure that I have said yet, though I certainly meant to, is that it is perfectly possible to hold conflicting theories in one's mind perfectly happily. This could well be magnificent. The problem of coercion comes when one enacts a theory whilst having another one outstanding. So say, I can consider both going to the shops and not going to the shops perfectly well...it only becomes a problem when I make myself, say, go to the shops when I don't want to.

"And I am saying that TCS has mixed up the two and muddled up your thinking by doing so.
I really thought I was being clear on this..."

You are completely. It is just that I don't think you have necessarily understood what I am saying as this has not been clearly demonstrated in your criticisms so far.

"*However* at that point, I was trying to prove the point that the TCS definition of "coercion" was non-sensical/ridiculous. Therefore showing it to be ridiculous was highly relevant to the point being made. Thus, in this instance, it was *not* fallacious."

But you didn't show that it was either nonsensical or ridiculous. You merely showed that one application of it could be perceived as being rather silly. Whilst someone wanting telekinetic powers and not having them and thereby having the TCS version of coercion would look silly, it does not prove that the theory is incorrect. It merely proves that this application of the theory looks to be a pretty silly one. If you take the experience, say, of wanting to care very well for a crying baby and yet at the same time desperately wanting to sleep, this could be seen as a less trivial theory of self-coercion which still fits the TCS model despite attempt at refutation through appeal to ridicule.

Do you see what I mean now?

Anonymous said...

"The thing is, what is happening to the person who is coerced by an outside agent, if it is not to enact a theory whilst having another active theory in mind?"

What is happening to them? They are being persuaded forcefully to do something that they do not wish to do, of course. Ie they are being coerced. By the dictionary definition. :)

Do you mean what is their psychological state at the time of coercion? I've no idea - it is impossible for us to know this merely from observing their circumstances.

We may *guess* of course, but we cannot *know*.

Maybe they're angry, maybe they're frustrated, maybe they're sad, maybe they're defeated. I don't know.

But how is this connected to anything?

I agree that coercion according to the dictionary defintion is a terrible thing, that it is likely to cause pain, and I would like to eradicate it wherever possible.

But I do not agree that coercion according to the TCS definition is a bad thing at all. In fact, I think it's, as I said, magnificent! :)

"Equally, would you not agree that it is possible to create a state of self-coercion?"

Which definiton, Carlotta? I don't know how to answer when you are changing the definiton of the word "coercion" to whichever best fits your argument at the time.

By the dictionary definition, no, it is not possible to create a state of self-coercion.

By the TCS definition most people are in a state of self-coercion most of the time and most do not consider it to be a problem that needs solving.

Hence, I think the there is no such thing as "the coercion problem" unless it refers to the dictionary defintion of coercion.

"The thing that I am not sure that I have said yet, though I certainly meant to, is that it is perfectly possible to hold conflicting theories in one's mind perfectly happily. This could well be magnificent."

Yes, you've said that. And I completely agree with it. This is why I consider the TCS definition of coercion to be nonsensical/ridiculous.

"The problem of coercion comes when one enacts a theory whilst having another one outstanding. So say, I can consider both going to the shops and not going to the shops perfectly well...it only becomes a problem when I make myself, say, go to the shops when I don't want to."

Why does it become a problem?

I don't see it as a problem.

I see it as a weighing up of advantages and disadvantages, and assessing of priorities, a deciding on whether going to the shops when you only half want to stay home would cause you more discomfort than staying home when you half-want to go.

I cannot see how this can be a problem. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is *not* a problem.

You cannot seriously be suggesting that eliminating this phenomena is your goal surely?

"But you didn't show that it was either nonsensical or ridiculous. You merely showed that one application of it could be perceived as being rather silly."

I disagree. I think that I showed that it was both non-sensical and ridiculous. I think I showed that, by this definiton, the laws of nature are coercive, which renders the definition non-sensical.

"Whilst someone wanting telekinetic powers and not having them and thereby having the TCS version of coercion would look silly, it does not prove that the theory is incorrect."

Carlotta, was it my intention to prove that it was *incorrect* or to prove that it was *non-sensical*?

As their definition is their own, it would not be possible to prove it incorrect, so I wouldn't attempt this.

"It merely proves that this application of the theory looks to be a pretty silly one."

Which is all that I was *trying* to do! :)

"If you take the experience, say, of wanting to care very well for a crying baby and yet at the same time desperately wanting to sleep, this could be seen as a less trivial theory of self-coercion which still fits the TCS model despite attempt at refutation through appeal to ridicule. Do you see what I mean now?"

Yep. But a less extreme example would not have sufficed in this instance.

That the argument appealed to ridicule does not automatically mean that, in using it, I committed the fallacy of appealing to ridicule, as there was validity to the argument over and above this, *and* as I *sought* to demonstrate the point that the definition is *ridiculous*, and this cannot be done without, well, demonstrating that the definition is ridiculous!

Therefore the argument was not fallacious.

If I had been trying to prove a point unconnected with how ridiculous the definition was, but had still appealed to ridicule, this would have been fallacious, but as I was *not* doing this, it was *not* fallacious.

Do *you* see what *I* mean now?

Your example also shows how coercion in the TCS sense of the word refers to nothing more than the normal processes of the human mind.

33,452

Anonymous said...

Hi. B here.

There's mileage in changing words to mean what you want them to mean, but it's bad form and, I'd have thought, somewhat frowned upon in The Debate Handbook. I'm not sure if the arguments derived from using the TCS definition of coercion come under the fallacy of category error, but they'd certainly be on good speaking terms. I'm appealing to the authority of the 1997 Oxford Concise English Dictionary. I hope this doesn't count as a fallacy. So, in 1997, the definition of Coerce (Coercion simply has itself as the act of coercing) was:

Coerce - persaude or restrain (an unwilling person) by force.

This definition is herein OED-C. TCS decides, in a thrillingly Orwellian move, that coercion now means:

"The psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind."

This definition is herein TCS-C.

'X' is whatever argument you might have that something is coercive; loneliness, etc.

John: X

Joan: No. How can that be. Look at OED-C.

John: No, when I say X, I'm referring to TCS-C.

Joan: But... you can't do tha-

John: Don't coerce me!

Joan: I'm not coercing you. It's just you can't change what words mean to suit your arguments!

John: But, if TCS-C, then X.

Joan: Well, if you change words to mean what you want - nay, need - them to mean then we won't get anywhere.

John. That's not the point, that's not my argument. TCS-C, then X.

Joan: Well, possibly, yes if TCS-C, then X, bu-

John: Thank you

If you have to change the meanings of words to make your arguments work, then chances are the arguments don't bear much scrutiny.

I think 33, 452 has a good point about the (ab)use of the word 'coercion' here. Ambivalence was mentioned, and the 1997 OECD defines it as:

the coexistence in one person's mind of opposing feelings in a single context

which is much, much closer to the TCS twist on 'coercion' than, well, coercion (as would, say, states of Not Being Sure or Having Reservations, and I'm sure there are plenty of others before we would be in sight of coercion). So why not co-opt 'ambivalence'? Again, to go with 33, 452, because 'coercion' (rightly) has a strong emotional and moral impact which ambivalence doesn't (imagine a rousing speech invoking freedom and inveighing against coercion. Replace coercion with ambivalence - doesn't have quite the same effect, does it?). The word was chosen for effect, not for meaning.

Is there much appeal in a parenting philospophy centered on avoiding ambivalence? Could one lecture parents who regularly allow their children to be in a situation of Having Reservations, or insist that the parents themselves have a moral right (obligation, even) to no longer Not Be Sure? I doubt it, but it might be fun finding out.

B.Non.

Anonymous said...

"If you take the experience, say, of wanting to care very well for a crying baby and yet at the same time desperately wanting to sleep, this could be seen as a less trivial theory of self-coercion which still fits the TCS model..."

Can we look at this example actually? :)

Can we look at this closely and ask if it really *is* a problem?

Now, what would a mother do by instinct in this situation? She would forgo her sleep. She would do this naturally. She would follow maternal instinct to put her child first.

Now, this is a simple solution to the problem, and remember how I said that TCS does *not want* people to be able to solve problems? That, if people could so easily solve problems by themselves, then they would be able to manage quite well without the "help" of TCS? So it is the aim of the TCS founders to keep people trapped in problems?

Well, that being so, how can TCS get round the fact that the mother will naturally want to put her child first? Hmmm... Ah, by redefining self-sacrifice too, in order to make the concept sound *bad*!

So when a mother demonstrates in this way that she *does* have instincts, and she *is* capable of managing quite well on her own, TCS can now cry "self-sacrifice!" at her (as though it were a crime) in order to belittle her parenting abilities, knock her confidence, and increase her level of TCS-dependence.

They tell her she has failed. They tell her that she lacks problem solving abilities. They tell her that she (as you phrased it) self-coerced.

They force her NOT to self-sacrifice, by threatening her with censure and ridicule if she gives into her instincts. In other words TCS COERCES parents to act against their natural instincts to nurture.

It is TCS that is truly coercive, not the human mind.

This is so *ugly*...

I guess that's what bothers me most about TCS. I naturally recoil from ugliness.

Now, let me guess... You're going to say that putting the child first does *not* solve the problem? That the conflict still exists? Perhaps.

But then I may counter this by replying that there *never was* a PROBLEM in the first place.

That life is filled with such conflict and that we reach maturity when we learn how to *handle* such conflict, rather than *solve* it.

That the mother in the example handled conflict very well. That she demonstrated kindness, compassion, empathy, responsibility, self-control (yes, self-control, NOT self-coercion!), and that she aquitted herself excellently in a hard and challenging situation.

*I* would applaud this mother.

*TCS* would *berate* her.

And they would disguise it as "criticism", even though the mother had done nothing to warrant criticising. :(

Can you see what I am getting at here?

33,452

Carlotta said...

I wrote:
"If you take the experience, say, of wanting to care very well for a crying baby and yet at the same time desperately wanting to sleep, this could be seen as a less trivial theory of self-coercion which still fits the TCS model..."

You wrote:
"Can we look at this example actually? :)"

Good idea.

"Can we look at this closely and ask if it really *is* a problem?"

Sure.

"Now, what would a mother do by instinct in this situation? She would forgo her sleep. She would do this naturally. She would follow maternal instinct to put her child first. Now, this is a simple solution to the problem,"

Yes, it would be, she would have solved her problem, no problem.... but what if this doesn't work? What if although she thinks it a good thing to do the right thing, but it also leaves her exhausted and resentful? What if it leaves her more likely to be abusive towards her child at a later stage because of her tiredness? This then would not be a solution and could remain a significant problem that would require another solution.

"and remember how I said that TCS does *not want* people to be able to solve problems?"

Yes, but I still have no idea why you said that, particularly as much of the TCS list was expressly given over to seeking out solutions to problems that people couldn't find solutions for immediately ...though you may be explaining here...

"That, if people could so easily solve problems by themselves, then they would be able to manage quite well without the "help" of TCS? "

Absolutely..no need for TCS here, but you have now conceded that there is a problem with this sort of situation that does need a solution, so could we not concede here that the problem could be TCS coercion? ie: that the mother has the active theory of needing rest but enacts the theory of caring for her child at the expense of the active theory?

"So it is the aim of the TCS founders to keep people trapped in problems?"

Why on earth do you think this? They do not insist that you go to them for answers. They merely offer to seek tentative solutions should you not find an answer yourself? I in fact, never did actually go seek an answer from them on any specific problem, since once I had understood the principle, I began to solve my own problems much more creatively and much more autonomously, so actually my experience was almost the exact opposite of the one you have described above.

"Well, that being so, how can TCS get round the fact that the mother will naturally want to put her child first? Hmmm... Ah, by redefining self-sacrifice too, in order to make the concept sound *bad*!"

You think self-sacrifice, when it is not freely chosen or freely desired, or necessarily the rational choice is not bad? How so? I agree self-sacrifice, if it is freely chosen, and is desired and rational, is not then bad, but this is not what TCS is meaning by self-"coercion".

"So when a mother demonstrates in this way that she *does* have instincts, and she *is* capable of managing quite well on her own, TCS can now cry "self-sacrifice!" at her (as though it were a crime) in order to belittle her parenting abilities, knock her confidence, and increase her level of TCS-dependence."

No...no TCSer would say this. This is either to completely misunderstand what is being said, or is to deliberately traduce it. I suspect the former.

"They tell her she has failed."

No. See my comments above. They would not do this, if she was happy with her choice. They only seek to solve PROBLEMS where theer is one and actually only when someone asks for help.

"They tell her that she lacks problem solving abilities."

What are you talking about? TCS is shockingly confident that people can find solutions. Not only that but they believe that they shouldn't defer to people with apparent authority, if the solutions offered by those people are not good ones. In other words, anyone with a good idea is very welcome, whatever their status.

In this case, if the mother is happy with her solution, then no problem and no TCSer would try to tell her otherwise.

"They tell her that she (as you phrased it) self-coerced. "

They would never TELL her anything like this. If she appeared unhappy and asked for help in solving her problems, they may offer tentative theories about what may be happening and indeed they may offer tentative solutions. Do not see that this is almost diametrically opposite to what you are saying?

"They force her NOT to self-sacrifice, by threatening her with censure and ridicule if she gives into her instincts. In other words TCS COERCES parents to act against their natural instincts to nurture."

What on earth ARE you talking about???? TCS use of the word THEORY is all embracing...to include things designated as instincts. TCSers would recognise instincts as hugely beneficial in parenting. They would regard ignoring them as likely as not to be coercive. IF the mother is happy acting on instinct, then wonderful. No self-coercion. If not then and she asks for help in solving this problem.

"It is TCS that is truly coercive, not the human mind."

I think you are wrong in your characterisation of what TCSers would do, as I have explained already. Plus, I am not saying that the human mind is the problem. It is COERCION (TCS style) that is the problem.

"Now, let me guess... You're going to say that putting the child first does *not* solve the problem? That the conflict still exists? Perhaps. "

Possibly and thanks for getting there finally.

"But then I may counter this by replying that there *never was* a PROBLEM in the first place."

You honestly believe that parental exhaustion is necessarily not a problem, let alone a significant problem?

"That life is filled with such conflict and that we reach maturity when we learn how to *handle* such conflict, rather than *solve* it. "

OK...learning how to handle such conflict...what do you mean here? Do you mean that it is better to go round handling being exhausted, or trying to solve the problem of exhaustion, whilst caring well for a child?

Is it better to solve the problem of pain with anaesthetics or better to go have an opertation without it because we are better people, more magnificent for enduring the suffering? Are we better off being postnatally depressed because it is magnificent and good for us, or are we better solving the problem (which could be parental exhaustion, afterall).

"Can you see what I am getting at here?"

I can, and am now wondering if you can see what I mean?

In some haste...sorry.

Anonymous said...

"What if although she thinks it a good thing to do the right thing, but it also leaves her exhausted and resentful?"

Oh, in that case, I would say the mother is probably human, wouldn't *you*? :)

"What if it leaves her more likely to be abusive towards her child at a later stage because of her tiredness?"

Then she might do better being aware of this fact and working on it, instead of bogging herself down with worries that she wasn't creative enough, don't you think?

"This then would not be a solution and could remain a significant problem that would require another solution."

It would *be* a problem that would require *a* solution. Originally it was a tough experience, not a problem. There are differences, you know. Namely that dealing with a tough situation requires a totally different mindset to solving a problem.

"Yes, but I still have no idea why you said that, particularly as much of the TCS list was expressly given over to seeking out solutions to problems that people couldn't find solutions for immediately ...though you may be explaining here..."

I already have explained, yes. :)

"Absolutely..no need for TCS here, but you have now conceded that there is a problem with this sort of situation that does need a solution, so could we not concede here that the problem could be TCS coercion? ie: that the mother has the active theory of needing rest but enacts the theory of caring for her child at the expense of the active theory?"

No I have conceded no such thing.

In fact I have expressly stated the complete opposite.

And I have said many, many, times that I do not consider having more than one theory in the mind and only acting on one of them to be a problem.

"Why on earth do you think this? They do not insist that you go to them for answers. They merely offer to seek tentative solutions should you not find an answer yourself?"

No. They do more than insist. They tell you that their's is the only right way. They call you all sorts of nasty names if you seek non-TCS solutions to "problems".

"The final stage of the enlightenment" one of them called TCS (Fitz-Claridge, I believe), did you know that?

I have *never* before heard even the most extremeist of cults say anything comparable in its arrogance and delusion to that particular saying.

"I in fact, never did actually go seek an answer from them on any specific problem, since once I had understood the principle, I began to solve my own problems much more creatively and much more autonomously, so actually my experience was almost the exact opposite of the one you have described above."

You are still using their methods.

You are still unable to think outside of the TCS box.

You are still defering to them.

You are still trying to "sell" TCS to others.

Tell me how your thinking is free?

Tell me how someone can be acting autonomously when they do not understand the theories that they are working with, how these have been arrived at, and what the wider implications of them are?

Tell me how someone living by the unexamined ideals of another (as the other has taught them to see them) can possibly be acting autonomously?

"You think self-sacrifice, when it is not freely chosen or freely desired, or necessarily the rational choice is not bad?"

Tell me how self-sacrifice can *not* be freely chosen? Did you buy that dictionary?

"How so? I agree self-sacrifice, if it is freely chosen, and is desired and rational, is not then bad, but this is not what TCS is meaning by self-"coercion". "

No, it's what TCS mean by "self-sacrifice". They have redefined it to make it look like playing the martyr, when true self-sacrifice bears no relation whatsoever to this.

"No...no TCSer would say this. This is either to completely misunderstand what is being said, or is to deliberately traduce it. I suspect the former."

Every TCSer I have ever encountered would say this. Every last one of them.

There is no misunderstanding.

I have never heard of the word "traduce" - perhaps I could borrow that dictionary I advised you to buy? ;)

But if you mean something akin to slander, no, because what I say is true. And, because a lot of TCS interaction happens online, anyone reading this will be able to look around and discover this for themselves.

But I do fully intend to *condemn* them for this pratice. Very, very, much so.

"No. See my comments above."

Yes. See above and any TCS site you'd like to visit.

"They would not do this, if she was happy with her choice.They only seek to solve PROBLEMS where theer is one and actually only when someone asks for help."

They would interpret her frustration with the situation as a lack of happiness with her *choice* (rather than lack of happiness with her *situation*). They would interpret this as a problem. They would inform her that it *was* a problem and that it required a creative solution.

You, yourself, called it a problem, Carlotta. In fact it was *your* example of a problem that TCS would "solve"!

"What are you talking about? TCS is shockingly confident that people can find solutions. Not only that but they believe that they shouldn't defer to people with apparent authority, if the solutions offered by those people are not good ones. In other words, anyone with a good idea is very welcome, whatever their status."

They *say* this, Carlotta, but they don't act it, can't you see the difference? They *don't* pratice what they preach.

The very fact that they pretend to be "shockingly confident that people can find solutions", is precisely *how* they make those that *don't* find solutions feel bad.

You're not denying my claim by telling me this - you're unwittingly supporting it.

"They would never TELL her anything like this."

But *you* said this. Are you saying that if the mother were a real person not a hypothetical one, you would still *think* this but would not *say* it? Or are you just getting confused here?

"If she appeared unhappy and asked for help in solving her problems, they may offer tentative theories about what may be happening and indeed they may offer tentative solutions."

Yep. They wouldn't sympathise and tell her what a great job she's doing, would they? Even though she *would* be doing a great job, even though her "solution" is the best one for her "problem", and indeed the *only* moral one.

Even in spite of all of that, they would, indeed, offer theories about what was happening and solutions for it. Yes, that is exactly what they would do.

"Do not see that this is almost diametrically opposite to what you are saying?"

No. I think it is EXACTLY my point actually.

"What on earth ARE you talking about????"

I think I made it quite clear enough already.

"TCS use of the word THEORY is all embracing...to include things designated as instincts. TCSers would recognise instincts as hugely beneficial in parenting. They would regard ignoring them as likely as not to be coercive. IF the mother is happy acting on instinct, then wonderful. No self-coercion. If not then and she asks for help in solving this problem."

Carlotta, the mother in the example was *not* happy. She was tired, frustrated and throroughly peed off I would imagine. So, you can't use "if she were happy" as a defense here. She was *not* happy.

Now...

Why wouldn't they help her to cope with her unhappiness? Why wouldn't they understand that she was quite entitled to be feeling unhappy?

Why would they tell her that her situation could be solved to everyone's satisfaction and make her feel as though it were her own fault that it *hadn't* been?

Why *wouldn't* they tell her how great she was doing and that parenting *is* hard, and that this is a phase that will pass, not a problem to solve?

Why would they stress her with nonsensical theories just because she wasn't HAPPY?

Does TCS consider that those who are unhappy are either truly coerced by others or else are self-"coerced"?

Wouldn't it logically follow from this that unhappiness is a person's own fault? That unhappiness can be solved??

It denies our humanity.

It refuses to let people feel and be.

It is horrible, horrible, horrible!

"I think you are wrong in your characterisation of what TCSers would do, as I have explained already."

Look around the internet and you shall see that I am not.

"Plus, I am not saying that the human mind is the problem. It is COERCION (TCS style) that is the problem."

Coercion TCS style is "The psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind." Thus coercion TCS style *does* actually define the human mind as the problem.

" "Now, let me guess... You're going to say that putting the child first does *not* solve the problem? That the conflict still exists? Perhaps. "

Possibly and thanks for getting there finally."

Carlotta, I wrote this *before* your explanations! ;)

"You honestly believe that parental exhaustion is necessarily not a problem, let alone a significant problem?"

I don't consider it to be a problem in the TCS sense, no. I consider it to be a tough time that the parent is going through.

"OK...learning how to handle such conflict...what do you mean here? Do you mean that it is better to go round handling being exhausted, or trying to solve the problem of exhaustion, whilst caring well for a child?"

I think these are the same things. :)

But I think that TCS does not seek to do this. I think TCS takes advantage of it.

"Is it better to solve the problem of pain with anaesthetics or better to go have an opertation without it because we are better people, more magnificent for enduring the suffering?"

Oh, I think I would say it's better to have an anaesthetic, strangely enough, but then you already knew that, didn't you? ;)

I don't think there's anything magificent about suffering, as you are well aware, I think it is magnificent to be able to hold two conflicting theories in one's mind simultaneously. Which has nothing whatsoever to do with suffering.

No connection there at all. So why do you keep bringing it up? :)

"Are we better off being postnatally depressed because it is magnificent and good for us, or are we better solving the problem (which could be parental exhaustion, afterall)."

See above. :)

"I can, and am now wondering if you can see what I mean?"

No, I'm sorry but I can't.

"In some haste...sorry."

No problem.

Feel free to retire from the conversation whenever you want to. I'm well aware that I won't change your mind. I'm not an expert in de-programming by any means.

33,452

Anonymous said...

Sorry to double post (yet again!)but I think it important, at this point, to clarify what I do and do not believe, so please bear with me whilst I do so. :)

1) I DO believe that coercion as defined by the dictionary IS usually a BAD thing. And I would seek to reduce this as much as possible.

2) I use the qualifiers "usually" and "as much as possible" here, because I believe that there are exceptional circumstances where coercion is a GOOD thing. Eg/ If a man walked into a shopping centre with a knife and began stabbing random people, then I consider that it would be a good thing to forcibly restrain him.

3) I believe "the psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" to be a magnificent one, and an example of the how wonderful the human brain can be.

4) I do NOT consider that the concept of "persuading someone forcefully to do something which they are unwilling to do" and the concept of a "psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" bear any direct relation to one another whatsoever.

I consider them to be two *completely separate* concepts.

5) I DO believe that problems CAN be solved and that the best thing we can do is seek to solve them.

6) I do NOT believe that problems are inevitable or that we should just learn to deal with them. But...

7) I do NOT believe that "the psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" *is* a problem.

Is this clear now? :)

To explain how any confusion arose in the first place, let me go into this bit for (I hope) a final time:

We have here two completely unrelated concepts.

Concept A: "the act of persuading someone forcefully to do something which they are unwilling to do"

Concept B: "the psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind".

TCS has taken the word refering to Concept A and attached it to Concept B (the possible reasons for this have already been discussed here).

TCS regularly uses the word "coercion" to refer to Concept A *and* to Concept B in the same discussion, without clarifying that they are doing this.

Thus, many people have come to associate Concept B with Concept A and have, thus, turned against Concept B, simply because they are opposed to Concept A, without actually considering concept B independently of any (false) association with concept A.

Can you see what has happened here and how?

Or are you going to argue that because being subjected to the act of Concept A usually leads a person into the psychological state of Concept B, they are related concepts? If so, I'm afraid the argument will not stand up to scrutiny.

For example, some children get to school by walking, so the act of walking leads them to school. But there is no *direct* relationship between the concept of "walking" and the concept of "school".

Or would you prefer an example where Z *always* follows Y?

Okay, let's try that:

Being beaten leads a person to experience pain. But there is no *direct* relationship between the concept of "beat" and the concept of "pain" other than a casual link in certain cases. A person can experience pain without experiencing being beaten. Thus the fact that Y always leads to Z does not mean that Y and Z are directly related.

Now back to "coercion"...

Concept B can occur independently of Concept A.

In fact Concept B is an intregal part of human thinking processes so it tends to occur in most people most of the time, whether they are subjected to Concept A or not.

There is no link between the concept of "the act of persuading someone forcefully to do something which they are unwilling to do" and the concept of "the psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind".

A person cannot freely examine TCS critically until this first issue is recognised and delat with.

That's all that I meant by implying that you didn't understand TCS theory and were, thus, not acting completely autonomously in following it. But the way I worded that before was ill-thought out and possibly outright offensive, and I apologise for it.

Like I said, I *try* to remain emotionally detached in this discussion, but I'm not doing a very good job of it. :)

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Carlotta said...

Great summary of the debate so far, thanks!

"2) I use the qualifiers "usually" and "as much as possible" here, because I believe that there are exceptional circumstances where coercion is a GOOD thing. Eg/ If a man walked into a shopping centre with a knife and began stabbing random people, then I consider that it would be a good thing to forcibly restrain him."

Yes, the principle of proportionality does seem a good one, I agree and minimising coercion should also be linked to other good theories about what is right and wrong, yes.

"3) I believe "the psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" to be a magnificent one, and an example of the how wonderful the human brain can be."

But you have not, as far as I remember, provided any substantive explanation of why this is so. How, say, can it be good to be enacting the experience of acute pain, whilst wanting to enact the theory of not having acute pain? Why is this magnificent and demonstration of how wonderful the human brain can be? I am afraid I still don't understand.

"4) I do NOT consider that the concept of "persuading someone forcefully to do something which they are unwilling to do" and the concept of a "psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" bear any direct relation to one another whatsoever. "

Again, you make assertions without any substantive explanation for your assertions and expect me to understand why you think this, and also hope that I will believe you. This could be the equivalent to me saying that air is made of mustard gas, and not explaining why this is so but simply hoping you will just take it on board. Explanations are all in this kind of situation.

Not only have you not explained why the state of enacting a theory whilst having another contradictory theory active in the mind is not the product of what happens when one is coerced by an outside agent, but you have also failed to explain what does actually happen in the mind of someone who is being coerced by someone else. Why do you expect me to change my mind in such circumstances?

"5) I DO believe that problems CAN be solved and that the best thing we can do is seek to solve them."

Good.

"6) I do NOT believe that problems are inevitable or that we should just learn to deal with them. But...

"7) I do NOT believe that "the psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" *is* a problem."

So you do not think that my example above (of not wanting to experience pain) is not a problem then? Why so?

"Is this clear now? :)"

No, and I have explained why.

"To explain how any confusion arose in the first place, let me go into this bit for (I hope) a final time:

We have here two completely unrelated concepts.

"Concept A: "the act of persuading someone forcefully to do something which they are unwilling to do"

"Concept B: "the psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind".

"TCS has taken the word refering to Concept A and attached it to Concept B (the possible reasons for this have already been discussed here)."

Although you may have provided some external context to this, which I also refuted, I think, eg: you said things like TCSers wanted to reduce others capacity to think for themselves, (and I have explained why I think this is a mischaracterisation of the situation), you have not provided any substantive and relevant refutation of this concept as far as I am aware. The thing is, if a criticism is to work, it has to directly engage with the explanation itself and not try to undermine the context or the surrounding information, and such a critique you have not provided. Why is concept A not attached to concept B? What is the state of affairs in the mind of someone who is coerced by someone else not that which is described by concept B?

"TCS regularly uses the word "coercion" to refer to Concept A *and* to Concept B in the same discussion, without clarifying that they are doing this.

"Thus, many people have come to associate Concept B with Concept A and have, thus, turned against Concept B, simply because they are opposed to Concept A, without actually considering concept B independently of any (false) association with concept A."

Why is this association false? What actually happens in the mind of someone who is being coerced by someone else if it is not the concept that TCSers use?

"Can you see what has happened here and how?"

I think I can see what you think has happened, but I disagree that there is no link between the concepts, since I believe that the state of mind of the coerced person (someone coerced by someone else) is as TCS describes for reasons above.

"Or are you going to argue that because being subjected to the act of Concept A usually leads a person into the psychological state of Concept B, they are related concepts? If so, I'm afraid the argument will not stand up to scrutiny."

Ah right...this may be the substantive bit...but first, would you not say that there is a problem in that people experience being coerced? You say that you are interested in solving problems. Now is it that you are only interested in solving the problem of dealing with the appearance of intent to coerce or the appearance of enactment of coercion, or could it be that it would be more efficacious to
to deal with the actual experience of coercion?

The thing is, I don't think that if one wants to retain the principle of primary agency that you are best off acting to solve a problem when you think you see someone trying to coerce someone else. This removes the principle of primary agency from the supposed victim.

So, for example, you have a classroom of children with a teacher who is telling the children to do a particular thing. She could be perceived in the act of so doing to be being coercive and you would have to put an end to her behaviour if you were to act on what you see as being the better defintion of coercion and how to stop it. But you would have a problem here in that you may now be coercing the children who enjoyed doing what the teacher was telling them to do. OK, so you have solved the problem for the children who were coerced, but you have only done this at some risk that they were not experiencing this problem and you have now coerced the children who were enjoying the class.

ie: the most useful and effective definition of whether there is a problem of coercion which needs to be solved is not to look at the apparent implement of coercion, but to ask whether the coerced state is occuring in someone's mind. If you do not do this, you remove primary agency and autonomy from people in the probably erroneous belief that you know what is best for them.

"Being beaten leads a person to experience pain. But there is no *direct* relationship between the concept of "beat" and the concept of "pain" other than a casual link in certain cases."

So you are saying that in the particular instance of a person being beaten and that person experiencing unwanted pain, that because the link in general is casual, that there is no link between the beating and the reported unwanted pain, in this instance? How is to think like this not to mean that you would fail to stop an adult beating a child?

The thing is, I agree that there is not necessarily a causal link between the intent to coerce and the actual experience of coercion, but this doesn't mean that there necessarily isn't one. At least sometimes, being beaten will result in the state of experiencing pain when the victim doesn't want to experience it. (Concept B).

This then, if you are determined to actually solve problems, should make the TCS definition superior, because it doesn't rest on the link being predetermined, though it allows for the possibility that such a causal link could happen. The TCS definition relies on reporting by a person himself. If he tells you that the beating hurts, and that he would rather it didn't, and one is setting out to help him solve his problem, would you really do nothing about it on the basis that you think that the two concepts of beating and pain are only casually linked?

"Like I said, I *try* to remain emotionally detached in this discussion, but I'm not doing a very good job of it. :)"

I think you are doing a great job, actually! I too should apologise for any moments when I sound hasty or rude. It is probably an instance of coercion at this end, when I know I should be doing something else!

Anonymous said...

"In thinking 'I fancy a biscuit! But I've already eaten too much today. I don't want to eat anymore because of the calories...' then eating the biscuit while still worrying about calories is..."

Magnificent?

Carlotta, a forum thread you might be interested in, related to the original criticism on your post:
http://www.activeboard.com/forum.spark?forumID=98210&p=3&topicID=10692974

Anonymous said...

Carlotta,

"But you have not, as far as I remember, provided any substantive explanation of why this is so. How, say, can it be good to be enacting the experience of acute pain, whilst wanting to enact the theory of not having acute pain? Why is this magnificent and demonstration of how wonderful the human brain can be? I am afraid I still don't understand."

You said you *did* understand.

How is experiencing pain magnificient? I have said again and again that it is not.

What is magnificent here is the human mind's ability to consider not only two things at once, but two *opposing* things at once. This takes a great deal of intelligence and mental prowess.

If you must use the pain example, then I guess what is magnificent here is the way that the human mind is able to overcome the suffering of the body and still concieve of a state of not being in pain. Wow! As their mind is so atsounding that they can conceive of *not* suffering pain while they *are* suffering pain, they can now try to take the pain away!

In other words, what TCS identifies as the "problem", I identify as the first step of the *solution*.

Like an oppressed person still able to concieve of freedom. If the oppressed person could *not* conceive of freedom while being oppressed then how would they ever escape the oppression? They wouldn't, would they? Unless an outside agent intervened.

Thus, the ability of the human mind to conceive of an opposing state to the one that they are in as an *essential* part of the way that the mind functions, NOT a problem.

"Again, you make assertions without any substantive explanation for your assertions and expect me to understand why you think this, and also hope that I will believe you. This could be the equivalent to me saying that air is made of mustard gas, and not explaining why this is so but simply hoping you will just take it on board. Explanations are all in this kind of situation. "

LOL! I have explained again and again and again and again....

"Not only have you not explained why the state of enacting a theory whilst having another contradictory theory active in the mind is not the product of what happens when one is coerced by an outside agent,"

Excuse me? When did I make any such claim, let alone try to explain it??

"...but you have also failed to explain what does actually happen in the mind of someone who is being coerced by someone else."

I am not psychic, Carlotta.

"Why do you expect me to change my mind in such circumstances?"

I don't. I've already said this.

"So you do not think that my example above (of not wanting to experience pain) is not a problem then? Why so?"

Experiencing pain is a problem.

Holding two conflicting theories in one's mind at once is not.

"No, and I have explained why."

Yes, and from what I can gather here, it appears that you are simply ignoring my explanations, then claiming that I haven't made any.

"Although you may have provided some external context to this, which I also refuted, I think, eg: you said things like TCSers wanted to reduce others capacity to think for themselves, (and I have explained why I think this is a mischaracterisation of the situation), you have not provided any substantive and relevant refutation of this concept as far as I am aware."

Yes, I have. And anyone reading this can see that quite clearly, I'm sure.

"The thing is, if a criticism is to work, it has to directly engage with the explanation itself and not try to undermine the context or the surrounding information, and such a critique you have not provided."

Yes, I have. Several times.

"Why is concept A not attached to concept B?"

I have explained why it is not. The onus is now on you to explain why you consider that it *is*.

"What is the state of affairs in the mind of someone who is coerced by someone else not that which is described by concept B? "

It probably is, but I have already shown that because B follows A does not mean that A and B are related concepts. A causal connection is a tenuous one at best even in a scenario where A, and only A, can cause B, but, as I have explained, B occurs independently to A, which reduces the connection between the two concepts to pretty much nil.

You identified a case of wanting to go to the shop and also not wanting to go to the shops as an example of the TCS concept of coercion. Let's call this Scenario A.

Concept A is not present in this example. Yet what happens in the mind of the person in your example is concept B. Can we draw a conclusion from this that the concept "going to the shops when one isn't sure that they want to" and the concept of "The psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" are directly connected? The *situations* here are connected, that does not mean that the *concepts* are. This would be adding two and two and making nine hundred and seven to draw such a conclusion.

Do you consider that I would be justified in using the phrase "going to the shops when one isn't sure that they want to" to explain how I was feeling if I were in two minds about something?

In my biscuit example, say, would it be reasonable for me to say when eating the biscuit "I am going to the shops when I'm not sure I want to about this now!" Just because this is an example of Concept B, and Scenario A leads to Scenario B?

"Why is this association false? What actually happens in the mind of someone who is being coerced by someone else if it is not the concept that TCSers use?"

I've explained why it's false. And why what happens in the mind of someone who is being coerced is not relavent to this discussion.
Because one SITUATION leads to another SITUATION, that does not mean that you can link the two CONCEPTS.

"I think I can see what you think has happened, but I disagree that there is no link between the concepts, since I believe that the state of mind of the coerced person (someone coerced by someone else) is as TCS describes for reasons above."

I've already dealt with this.

"Ah right...this may be the substantive bit...but first, would you not say that there is a problem in that people experience being coerced?"

Yes I would. How is this relavent?

"You say that you are interested in solving problems. Now is it that you are only interested in solving the problem of dealing with the appearance of intent to coerce or the appearance of enactment of coercion, or could it be that it would be more efficacious to deal with the actual experience of coercion?"

Okay... You are talking about three different things.

The *intent* to coerce (by definition A) is not a problem, is it? Someone's *intentions* are not problems.

The *act* of coercing (by definiton A) and the fact that this impacts on another *is* the problem and I would, indeed, seek to help in this situation.

I would say I was interested in solving the problem of coercion (Concept A).

What happens in the mind of the person who is being coerced is not a problem to solve. It is perfectly reasonable, *human*, in fact, for the coerced person to experience all sorts of horrible emotions while being coerced (by definition A). To say this is a problem is to deny the person a right to react emotionally to a horrible experience.

If we seek to reduce their pain and turmoil, we should do so by addressing the SITUATION that they are in, not their pyschological state. Thus, we help them to free themselves from the coercive (by definition A) situation. This is all we can do to address their pain.

"The thing is, I don't think that if one wants to retain the principle of primary agency that you are best off acting to solve a problem when you think you see someone trying to coerce someone else. This removes the principle of primary agency from the supposed victim.
So, for example, you have a classroom of children with a teacher who is telling the children to do a particular thing. She could be perceived in the act of so doing to be being coercive and you would have to put an end to her behaviour if you were to act on what you see as being the better defintion of coercion and how to stop it. But you would have a problem here in that you may now be coercing the children who enjoyed doing what the teacher was telling them to do. OK, so you have solved the problem for the children who were coerced, but you have only done this at some risk that they were not experiencing this problem and you have now coerced the children who were enjoying the class."

LOL! Let's go back to definitons, Carlotta.

Coercion (Concept A): "To persuade someone forcefully to do something which they are unwilling to do."

So this is *not* a situation of coercion here. So it is *not* something that I would seek to change.

"ie: the most useful and effective definition of whether there is a problem of coercion which needs to be solved is not to look at the apparent implement of coercion, but to ask whether the coerced state is occuring in someone's mind."

You're merging two concepts again and speaking as though they were ONE concept.

"If you do not do this, you remove primary agency and autonomy from people in the probably erroneous belief that you know what is best for them."

How?

They are only coerced (Concept A) IF they are being forced to do something against their will. Thus there is no case of whether or not we know what's best for them. The definiton of "coercion" (Concept A) rests upon the willingness and the will of the person being coerced (Concept A). Thus, if we seek to reduce coercion (Concept A) we are seeking to restore primary agency and autonomy in the belief that the person themselves knows what is best for them.

"So you are saying that in the particular instance of a person being beaten and that person experiencing unwanted pain, that because the link in general is casual, that there is no link between the beating and the reported unwanted pain, in this instance? How is to think like this not to mean that you would fail to stop an adult beating a child?"

First off I did say "casual" but it was a typo! LOL! I meant to type "causal"! Sorry!

I did not say there was no link between the beating and the pain.
I said that the link between the two occurences does not generate a link between the two *concepts*.

I would stop an adult beating a child because I would not want the child to be oppressed or to experience pain.

My actions in this situation would not cause me to muddle up the concepts and start saying "The beat in my head is terrible!" if I had a headache. I would still appreciate that the concept of "beat" and the concept of "pain" refered to different things.

"The thing is, I agree that there is not necessarily a causal link between the intent to coerce and the actual experience of coercion, but this doesn't mean that there necessarily isn't one. At least sometimes, being beaten will result in the state of experiencing pain when the victim doesn't want to experience it. (Concept B)."

I would say this would happen in almost all cases. But I don't see it's relavence to this discussion.

"This then, if you are determined to actually solve problems, should make the TCS definition superior, because it doesn't rest on the link being predetermined, though it allows for the possibility that such a causal link could happen. The TCS definition relies on reporting by a person himself. If he tells you that the beating hurts, and that he would rather it didn't, and one is setting out to help him solve his problem, would you really do nothing about it on the basis that you think that the two concepts of beating and pain are only casually linked?"

I have addressed this. Like I said I would seek to help, but I would not confuse two concepts because of it.

33,452

Innit:

Yep. Magnificent. Especially if it was a *chocolate* biscuit. ;)

My worrying about calories would not stop me enjoying the biscuit, because my brain is fabulous enough to be able to deal with two things at the same time!

I know EXACTLY why you've picked on this bit - it's very, very, similar to something that I said somewhere else, isn't it? I only noticed afterwards and it made me worry that I may have a slight problem with keeping my temper and avoiding sarcasam! :)

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Anonymous said...

Isn't it best to not be worried? To have truly solved the problem of enjoying what you eat and controlling your calorie intake? If it's not a problem, why would you worry at all?

Anonymous said...

"Isn't it best to not be worried? To have truly solved the problem of enjoying what you eat and controlling your calorie intake? If it's not a problem, why would you worry at all?"

*What* am I worrying *about* in this context?

Am I worrying about calories, or am I worrying about conflicting theories?

The calorific content of biscuits *might* be a problem and this can be solved by finding lower calories things to eat, or by consumers making it clear to the industry that they would enjoy tasty low cal biscuits.

It is the ability to hold to conflicting theories in the mind, that enables the person to identify the problem and work on it.

If a person could only experience one state/theory at a time then how would they ever know that there was anything wrong?

Thus, holding two conflicting theories and only acting on one of them is a very useful tool in problem solving. It is NOT, as TCS would have it, the problem itself.

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Anonymous said...

A person can experience conflicting theories in problem situations. This experience enables them to identify the problem and work to solve it. Thus, the *situation* is the *problem* and the conflicting theories are the mental tools used to identify it.

A person can also experience conflicting theories and act only on one quite happily in situations where there is *not* a problem (As Carlotta, herself, has said).

So...

In problem situations conflicting theories give us the information necessary to identify and begin to solve problems.

In non-problems situations conflicting theories allow us to enjoy more than one aspect of experience at the same time, and to gather more information, as they allow us to act while considering both the action and its opposite together.

So "The psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" cannot possibly construed as a problem.

Anonymous said...

That just shows that what is important is what is happening in the mind of the person suffering the coercion.

I also think it also explains why children have tantrums or don't pay attention in classes, that it's not the nature of childhood or their brains are ill.

Anonymous said...

"That just shows that what is important is what is happening in the mind of the person suffering the coercion."

Yes it does. :)

Coercion (as defined by the dictionary) causes people pain and suffering and should be stopped.

When I am coerced (in the true sense) I feel angry, frustrated, powerless, weak, upset, defeated etc etc I experience these as being important. I think many people feel the same way when coerced (by the dictionary definition) and, thus, coercion (as defined by the dictionary) should be stopped *because of the effect that it has on the mind of the person being coerced.*

But the person is suffering because they are coerced by the dictionary defintion. It is because they are being *forced* to enact one theory while another is in the mind that they are suffering. If you remove the element of force from the equation (as the TCS defintion does) that changes everything.

"I also think it also explains why children have tantrums or don't pay attention in classes, that it's not the nature of childhood or their brains are ill."

Me too. That's what I'm trying to get at here. :)

As TCS defines "The psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" as a PROBLEM does this not mean that TCS actually reinforces this?

That TCS does actually make it seem as though their brains *are* indeed ill? When their reactions are actually quite normal and natural given the horrible situations that they are in?

THIS is precisely the problem that I have with TCS.

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Anonymous said...

You've really hit on something here actually...

This is a perfect example of what I meant when I said that TCS is like a drug company that makes people sick in order to sell them its products.

TCS redefines a natural part of human brain function as a problem and makes people seek TCS solutions to it.

"The psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" is what keeps us free.

If we eradicated it then we would no longer be free, because as soon as we became oppressed we would forget all about freedom and wouldn't strive for it anymore if we no longer had those "conflicting impulses"!

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Anonymous said...

Hi all! Very interesting debate - anon D here again.

Anon 33 said,
"Now, this is a simple solution to the problem, and remember how I said that TCS does *not want* people to be able to solve problems? That, if people could so easily solve problems by themselves, then they would be able to manage quite well without the "help" of TCS? So it is the aim of the TCS founders to keep people trapped in problems?"

I do agree that the aims of the TCS founders could be very far from altruistic or even remotely kind; but I think it is not relevant to a discussion of the theories. TCS - as in the set of TCS theories - doesn't *want* anything. How can it? It's a theory not a live human being. The people who sent these theories out into the world might have had manipulative intentions and narcissistic personalities to support, I don't doubt, but the theories have to stand on their own merits. So I would suggest that one shouldn't even refer to the founders or the theories as 'wanting' anything. They, the theories,c ertainly aren't in a position to make anyone do/feel anything they don't want to feel. They 'the tcs people', though, could well be trying to do this. But then one can walk away freely from both.


"And I have said many, many, times that I do not consider having more than one theory in the mind and only acting on one of them to be a problem."

You have explained this and I think that you are right that there is no definitive/necessary link between that and the dictionary definition. As a parent, attempting to avoid coercive situations for one's child - especially when the child requests that they be avoided - improves the parenting of anyone hugely. TCS adds another dimension, but as you say one that is not necessarily connected, as one can not be certain about what experience is in the mind of another person and can only rely on the communication they make.

"3) I believe "the psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" to be a magnificent one, and an example of the how wonderful the human brain can be."

I can see that this certainly can be wonderful. The moral dilemmas we are confronted with and the decisions we make define our characters and values. It is always a question of choice - everything we do is between numerous possibilities. Sometimes they all have equal apparent appeal and value and this makes it hard - the character again is determined by choosing. Literature relies on these conflicts - because they are one of the essential aspects of our experience of life. And as the other anon mentioned, the weighing up of the two conflicting desires/ideas etc inform us that a problem OR a choice (so not necessarily a problem) exists. We then see more information and choose a route.

However, when these inner conflicts are created *only* by an external coercive person then there *is* a problem. But I would have to agree that being torn between two paths that both seem equally attractive is just a result of the experience of life and the development of character in many cases. TCS is perhaps wrong to say that this scenario is always *bad*. It is sometimes bad.



I suppose the accusation one could make about some one who never experiences conflicting theories is that it is likely that they never think about the consequences of their actions and are entirely hedonistic. This certainly was a criticism raised in debate, if I remember correctly.

The good thing about tcs theories (remember we are NOT talking about the founders THAT is an entirely different subject!) is that they make us truly *think* hard about what we do as a parent and how we do it. They help us to take our children's sense of being coerced seriously enough to free them from coercive school environments, for example, where appropriate.

I would agree that discussing directly with the founders *might* encourage the idea that we experience problems where we don't and that we somehow should have everything we desire at every moment when perhaps we would otherwise be perfectly happy just to meet one of our goals at such times as parental exhaustion without having the spectre of failing parent staring us in the face.

Basically, coercion avoidance on its own is pretty damn good advice for a parent with or without the addition of TCS. TCS adds another conflict in the mind by making us question things we otherwise wouldn't - but sometimes this is a good thing. They are only ideas and the ideas are expressly to make our lives and the lives of our children better, despite the appalling nature of the so-called originators.

(Actually, many aspects of these theories are available in all sorts of other sources - and the actual actions and lives of some of these theorists are just as far removed from the expressed theories!)


D

Anonymous said...

I can't better my last argument, can I? :)

But I can give further examples of why "the psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" is actually a VERY GOOD THING please? :)

EXAMPLE ONE:

A child forced to attend school, yet able to remain aware that school is *not* what they want.

The coercion (Concept A) that the child suffers is a problem.

The child's brain processes while in this stressful situation are amazing! They prevent the child from becoming cowed and defeated. They allow the child to still concieve of not-being-at-school and to strive to achieve this second situation.

If it were not for the child's ability to "enact one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" then they would *not* be able to consider the idea of not-being-at-school, and they would have no choice but to surrender to their circumstances.

EXAMPLE TWO:

A woman wrongly imprisoned.

Because she is capable of the wonderful "psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind", she can fight the injustice. She can fight it and she can secure her release.

If it were not for her ability to "enact one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" then she would submit to her situation, as she would never be able to conceive of an alternative to it.

EXAMPLE THREE:

A battered wife.

Because of the wonder of being able to experience "the psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" the battered wife is able to think about how good it would be NOT to be battered and may be able to leave her husband.

If she wasn't lucky enough to be able to experience "the psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" then she would not be able to consider the possibility of *not* being battered and would never leave.

Am I getting my point across any better yet? :)

"The psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" is NOT oppressive. Quite the reverse - it is actually this wonderful phenomena that gives us the tools to save ourselves from oppression! :)

It is what makes freedom possible.

It is, indeed, magnificent!

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Anonymous said...

Hi D

We cross-posted there. :)

I agree with pretty much everything you said.

And, yes, the aims and characters of the founders and the principles of avoiding what TCS calls coercion *are* different issues - thanks for making that clear. :)

When I refer to "TCS wants..." I do actually see TCS as a living thing. In the same way that I might say "the system aims..." But, yes, it doesn't help to achieve clarity to do that, so, again, apologies and thanks for pointing it out! :)

This has been more of a discussion than a debate so far I think, as we have moved between so many different topics, and debates tend to stick to the merits of just one principle (Which is actually very sensible, I suppose! LOL! Sorry folks - a lot of the topic changes were my fault!)

I totally agree that we should seek to free our children from coercion (by the dictionary definiton) wherever possible. I just think that worrying about them experiencing the perfectly natural, and extremely useful, phenomena of being in a "psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" is not the best way to do that. In fact, I think doing this *increases* the likelihood that our children will experience true (Concept A) coercion, as it teaches them that the very thing that is protecting them from being coerced is coercive itself.

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Anonymous said...

33,

You seem to be romancing the happy child rebel with your example.

Most of the time the "magnificent" process makes children feel miserable. They don't want to go to school, yet they are forced to go and live in constant fear of being punished. Some children might believe school is what they should want and they are evil when they don't want to go.

Being in this state of mind does no good to people.

What you call a magnificent state of mind can even drive people to suicide.

Human creativity is certainly more useful when people know what they want and can act on it straight away?

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Innit! :)

"You seem to be romancing the happy child rebel with your example. Most of the time the "magnificent" process makes children feel miserable. They don't want to go to school, yet they are forced to go and live in constant fear of being punished.""

Well, I think that it is the coercive situation (Concept A) that is making the children feel miserable, rather than the coercive (Concept B) state.

However, there is certainly validity in the theory that their continuing to hold to their own desires and beliefs whilst unable to enact them, does make them less happy than they would be if they abandoned these. But I don't think there is anyone taking part in this discussion who values submission as a way of coping with coercive (Concept A) situations.

And without coercion (Concept B) everyone would handle coercive (Concept A) situations by submitting to them as they would have no choice.

Now, I can see how "Submission makes coercive situations easier to deal with" and "If we forgot about our own desires and submitted to those of our oppressors we would suffer less than if we held onto our own beliefs and desires whilst prevented from enacting them." are quite astute observations and are worthy of arguing.

However, I know that you don't believe this is the best way of addressing problems. And nor do I. Nor, in fact, does anyone else here from what I can gather. So it seems like we would be taking too much of a detour to examine these propositions. However, if you do wish to do so, there's nothing to stop us. :)

"Some children might believe school is what they should want and they are evil when they don't want to go."

Which is because they have not only been coerced (Concept A) they have also been brain washed. This is an example of oppression and abuse.

Now it's link to "coercion" (Concept B) is that, if we removed the child's ability to experience the latter then they would forget that they wanted not to go, and would no longer feel evil as their desires would match those of the people who are abusing them?

Yes, I agree with that. But would this really be a good thing?

"Being in this state of mind does no good to people."

I disagree and have explained why, but will expand later in this post. :)

"What you call a magnificent state of mind can even drive people to suicide."

Unhappiness and pain drive people to suicide. If someone has difficulty making decisions, or is unable to bear the contrast between what they want from life and what they have, then, yes, coercion (Concept B) can drive them to suicide. :(

But it is their unhappiness, their frustration, their sense of hopeless, powerless etc that does this. It is NOT "The psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" it is *how they feel about it*.

And don't forget that suicide would not be an option for them without TCS (Concept B) coercion anyway. As how could a person conceive of not-being-alive while they were enacting being alive?

Can we define breathing as a bad thing, because some people have lung problems and experience pain while breathing?

Of course, Concept B coercion can cause *some* people pain, *sometimes*. But so can anything you can care to think of. And it is still essential. We really could not function without it.

Let me give some more examples of how useful the psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind can be:

EXAMPLE ONE:

A person is offered a new job with a higher wage, but they are very happy in their old job, and they have to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages to taking the new job.

That person is in a TCS state of (Concept B) coercion. Without that state they would remain in the same job permanently as they would not be able to conceive of *leaving* let alone of obtaining alternative employment.

EXAMPLE TWO:

A person is on a train. Without TCS (Concept B) coercion, how would they ever get *off* the train if they couldn't conceive of *not* being on a train while they *were* on one?

EXAMPLE THREE:

A person has terible body odour. How would they address this if they couldn't experience the psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in the mind? Without this, the fact that they were enacting having BO would make it impossible for them conceive of *not* having BO so it would never occur to them to take a bath.

EXAMPLE FOUR:

A person is in bed. How could they ever get up without TCS (Concept B) coercion? How could they contemplate getting out of bed if they were not aware that not-being-in-bed was an option?

Do you see what I mean yet? What TCS calls coercion is an ESSENTIAL part of brain function. It is what enables a person to move from one state of affairs into another one.

"Human creativity is certainly more useful when people know what they want and can act on it straight away?"

Quite possibly, yes. :)

*And* likewise human creativity is surely more *needed* when people do not know what they want or are *unable* to act on it straight away?

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Anonymous said...

Sorry - double-posting again! :)

What TCS calls "coercion" (Concept B) can also be called "hope", "intention", "ambition", "desire", "confusion", "determination", "planning", "consideration", "problem solving", "frustration", "contemplation", "imagination", "creativity", "will power", "ambivalence", "self-control", "decision making", "independent thinking" and many, many, more things.

DEPENDING ON THE *CONTEXT* IN WHICH THE STATE IS EXPERIENCED.

So in cases where the Concept B coercion occurs because of Concept A coercion, then, yes, it is a bad thing. But in many, many, other cases it is NOT.

So why not simply speak out against true, dictionary defintion, coercion, instead of against a state that is sometimes good, sometimes bad, and sometimes neutral? Why speak out against a state that we could not function without?

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Anonymous said...

"Unhappiness and pain drive people to suicide."

Unhapiness and pain caused by coercion. Call it A, B, C or D, it's the same thing.

Even definition F does it: "To be fucked."

Without the bad state of mind there would be no need to feel bad. It's a bad state to be forced to do something without wanting to. That's what coercion is. It's better not to be forced and do what one wants.

It's better to eat the chocolate biscuit knowing it's not going beyond what you decided to be a good calorie intake.

"Can we define breathing as a bad thing, because some people have lung problems and experience pain while breathing?"

No, the illness is the bad thing.

"That person is in a TCS state of (Concept B) coercion. Without that state they would remain in the same job permanently as they would not be able to conceive of *leaving* let alone of obtaining alternative employment."

A person that is under coercion would think he was not be able to leave the job while still wanting to. What you are talking about in your example is just normal problem solving and decision making process.

"A person is on a train. Without TCS (Concept B) coercion, how would they ever get *off* the train if they couldn't conceive of *not* being on a train while they *were* on one?"

There is no conflict there. Coercion is not about the ability to conceive two or more different ideas at the same time. That's just knowledge. Certainly the person doesn't want to get off the train before they arrive to their wanted destination? If they are forced to, then they are coerced.

"A person is in bed. How could they ever get up without TCS (Concept B) coercion?"

LOL! They decide to get up when they want to, that's what getting up without coercion means. IF they get up before they want to, then that's coercion.

"Do you see what I mean yet?"

Sorry, I see lots of absurdity. It's kind of funny, though.

"What TCS calls coercion is an ESSENTIAL part of brain function. It is what enables a person to move from one state of affairs into another one."

You gave the TCS definition your own interpretation.

"*And* likewise human creativity is surely more *needed* when people do not know what they want or are *unable* to act on it straight away?"

If you conciously decide to not act on something you want straight away, and are happy with that, you are not coerced.

It's the ability to problem solve and think critically like that that helps people out of trouble. Coercion doesn't help.

Good examples of coercion without external force are for instance, when the groom at a marriage says "I got trapped" when he willingly chose to get married.

Anonymous said...

I said "So in cases where the Concept B coercion occurs because of Concept A coercion, then, yes, it is a bad thing."

I should clarify that, even in such situations, Concept B coercion is only a bad way to *feel*, it is still a very useful *tool* that the person could use to enable them to fight the Concept A coercion.

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Anonymous said...

"Unhapiness and pain caused by coercion. Call it A, B, C or D, it's the same thing.

Even definition F does it: "To be fucked." "

It's not about what you *call* it, is about what it *is*.

Coercion A and Coercion B are completely different things.

"Without the bad state of mind there would be no need to feel bad."

Without the state of mind, I do not believe a person would be fully conscious.

"It's a bad state to be forced to do something without wanting to. That's what coercion is. It's better not to be forced and do what one wants."

100% agree.

But TCS doesn't recognise that this is what coercion is.

"It's better to eat the chocolate biscuit knowing it's not going beyond what you decided to be a good calorie intake."

But that's a different situation, isn't it? We were talking about a situation of conflict. Ie wanting to eat the biscuit *and* worrying about calories. If you remove the conflict, as you have in the above example, then you render the example irrelevant to the discussion.

"No, the illness is the bad thing."

YES!!!! EXACTLY!! :)

Likewise the *coercion* (Concept A) is the bad thing, not the coercion (Concept B)

"A person that is under coercion would think he was not be able to leave the job while still wanting to."

That's Coercion A. Not coercion B.

"What you are talking about in your example is just normal problem solving and decision making process."

I know. :)

That's what coercion B *is*. :)

"There is no conflict there. Coercion is not about the ability to conceive two or more different ideas at the same time. That's just knowledge. Certainly the person doesn't want to get off the train before they arrive to their wanted destination? If they are forced to, then they are coerced."

You're totally confusing the two concepts.

"LOL! They decide to get up when they want to, that's what getting up without coercion means. IF they get up before they want to, then that's coercion."

By coercion A, yes, but NOT by coercion B. By the TCS defnition conceiving of and desiring one state whilst in another is coercion.

"You gave the TCS definition your own interpretation."

I gave it the logical interpretation.

"If you conciously decide to not act on something you want straight away, and are happy with that, you are not coerced."

True.

"It's the ability to problem solve and think critically like that that helps people out of trouble.

Yes, it is.

"Coercion doesn't help."

According to the TCS definition this is what coercion *is*.

"Good examples of coercion without external force are for instance, when the groom at a marriage says "I got trapped" when he willingly chose to get married. "

This is an example of someone feeling coerced by definition A when, in fact, they were not.

It has nothing to do with what we're talking about which is my assertion that:

"The psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind, rather than being a problem, is actually an essential part of brain function and an extremely useful tool for problem solving."

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Anonymous said...

Tell you what guys, there's a really simple way to settle this one:

Why don't we say that, if TCS changed their definition to include a reference to "force" then we could all accept and understand that definition?

That if they redefined it as:

"The psychological state of *feeling forced* to enact one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" then it would merge the two concepts and make sense to all of us and would no longer refer to the kind of examples that I was giving? :)

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Anonymous said...

"Coercion A and Coercion B are completely different things."

No they, are not. TCS just expands on the concept. The dictionary doesn't even define the world properly. It refers to the verb.

You are confusing "problem" and problem solving ability with "coercion".

"The psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind, rather than being a problem, is actually an essential part of brain function and an extremely useful tool for problem solving."

If you enacting an idea, if you act out a policy when you haven't solved the problem yet, that is coercion. It's not a tool.

Anonymous said...

"You are confusing "problem" and problem solving ability with "coercion"."

No, *I'm* not, *TCS* is, that's what I'm trying to explain here, that they are muddling up concepts.

When concepts get muddled up, critical thinking becomes very hard, as the muddle has to be unravelled before discussion can progress. Thus, it is better to use tight and clear definitons.

"If you enacting an idea, if you act out a policy when you haven't solved the problem yet, that is coercion. It's not a tool."

What problem? Problem is not mentioned in the TCS definition.

Anyway, this is just going round and round in circles. We cross-posted agin. What do you reckon to my above post?

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Anonymous said...

"If you enacting an idea, if you act out a policy when you haven't solved the problem yet, that is coercion. It's not a tool."

(Sorry, but I decided that my last answer was too brief!)

You're not necessarily acting out a *policy* though, are you? You're acting out *anything*. Like being-on-a-train, or lying-in-bed.

The TCS definiton doesn't mention policies, it doesn't mention problems, it simply says:

"The psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind."

All of the examples that I have given fit with this definition.

So can you not concede that the definiton needs to be tightened up?

That most TCSers clearly think of "The psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind" as being exclusively what happens to a person who is forced (either by themselves or others) to do something they would rather not, so the TCS defintion ought to be changed to reflect this?

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Anonymous said...

By using the word enacting and conflict they already imply the force.

When two ideas are in one's mind and the person is not acting on any of them, the person is still free to look for a solution, that's not coercion. There's no conflict.

Problem: "I want to be thin but I really enjoy my chocolate biscuits. I don't want to loose my little pleasures."

Coercion: "I really want to get thin but I'll eat the biscuit anyway because it tastes so good and I *cannot* help it."

Problem solving: "I can perhaps learn how to count calories and keep a varied diet with lots of foods I might enjoy. Who knows if there isn't something better than chocolate biscuits. Also, there might be a way to include the biscuit I like in the calorie count. I *know* I *control* what I eat and what I do with my life so I will find a way do what I want."

It might be a fair criticism that their definition doesn't convey the idea of coercion well, but you wrongly assume TCS doesn't discern the diference bettween problem and coercion.

They know problems are inevitable and are against the idea they can be avoided. What they think is problems have right solutions and it's not by being forced to do something against your will that you find them. Be it by external agent or your own self-repression.

Curi expanded on their definition but I cannot find it right now. I think he did it even more complicated.

Anonymous said...

http://www.takingchildrenseriously.com/node/50

"Problem

A problem is something that gives rise to thought. Human beings think when they want to go from one state of mind to a preferable state of mind (preferable to them, that is). Hence a problem is a situation in which a person wants to improve his state of mind.

Note: Some problems are unpleasant, others are pleasant. Understanding the difference (see Coercion) is one of the keys to TCS philosophy.

All problems in human minds are conflicts between theories.

Problem solving: One solves a problem when one succeeds in finding a preferable state of mind."

Anonymous said...

"By using the word enacting and conflict they already imply the force."

I can't see that. If there is a concept of "lying in bed" then a person who lies in bed *enacts* that concept. There obviously *is* a concept of "lying in bed" or no one would know what I meant when I said it.

And internal conflict is not always bad, is it? This is how we weigh up options, after all.

"When two ideas are in one's mind and the person is not acting on any of them, the person is still free to look for a solution, that's not coercion. There's no conflict."

Oh, I do agree, that's why I have tried to make sure that I have always included *action* in my examples. :)

"Problem: "I want to be thin but I really enjoy my chocolate biscuits. I don't want to loose my little pleasures.""

Possibly. (Only, just to be awkward, who mentioned being thin? LOL! There may be another reason for low cal diets, medical reasons etc)

"Coercion: "I really want to get thin but I'll eat the biscuit anyway because it tastes so good and I *cannot* help it.""

Yes. But no one mentioned not being able to help it.

I'm not refering to situations of not-being-able-to-help-it, I'm refering to a weighing up of priorities and a decison that, although I care about calories, I care *more* about the experience of eating the biscuit.

"Problem solving: "I can perhaps learn how to count calories and keep a varied diet with lots of foods I might enjoy. Who knows if there isn't something better than chocolate biscuits. Also, there might be a way to include the biscuit I like in the calorie count. I *know* I *control* what I eat and what I do with my life so I will find a way do what I want.""

Cool. :)

Alternative "Problem" "Solving": I have considered the above and I am already at my day's maximum calorie count so cannot eat anything more and still remain within the target range. I could always make up for it by eating less tommorrow, but I don't *want* to do that. I do not want to break my diet. But I do want to eat the biscuit. Which is more important to me?"

You see, to me, the kind of things you suggest are what a person considers *first*. If there are answers to a dilemma and the person is happy with those answers, then there is no longer a dilemma. Hence, I am more interested in situations where possible solutions have been considered and rejected and the person is now in the position of making a *choice* between *two* options.

Genuine questions (I'm honestly interested): Do you believe that such a situation does not have to arise? That we should continue to look for creative solutions eternally? Or do you think that there is a cut-off point for this where we should say "Yeah, looks like it's going to have to be one or the other"?

"It might be a fair criticism that their definition doesn't convey the idea of coercion well, but you wrongly assume TCS doesn't discern the diference bettween problem and coercion."

I think the definition doesn't make clear the differences. As I've said, if you take the definition as it stands, it really does refer to a ubiquitous function of the human brain. It's only if you tighten it up with the addition of a reference to force that it does not.

"They know problems are inevitable and are against the idea they can be avoided."

Gosh! Really? I honestly didn't know that! :)

"What they think is problems have right solutions and it's not by being forced to do something against your will that you find them. Be it by external agent or your own self-repression."

I think problems usually have *many* possible right solutions, but agree with the latter bit. :)

"Curi expanded on their definition but I cannot find it right now. I think he did it even more complicated. "

LOL! *More* complicated is the last thing we need! :P

And from your second post:

"Problem
A problem is something that gives rise to thought. Human beings think when they want to go from one state of mind to a preferable state of mind (preferable to them, that is)..."

Tentatively agree so far.

"...Hence a problem is a situation in which a person wants to improve his state of mind."

Ye-e-es... I guess so.

I need to think on this bit some more.

"All problems in human minds are conflicts between theories."

I agree with this, but I think there is a danger here of people believing it to be true in reverse Ie that "All conflicts between theories are problems in the human mind."

While I agree with the former, I definitely don't agree with the latter. I think it's important to be clear that the second proposition doesn't follow from the first.

Do you know if TCS *are* clear about this?

"Problem solving: One solves a problem when one succeeds in finding a preferable state of mind." "

100% disagree.

Because then a child who hated school, whose spirit became so broken by it, that they gave up on their "conflicting theory" would be considered to have "solved" the problem if their subdued mindset was less uncomfortable to them. When, in fact, the *problem* would still be there only the child would not know this.

Of course this leads us into "*Is* there a problem if the child doesn't think there is?" Which is complicated. The normal answer to that is, of course, "No. If the child does not experience their situation as a problem, then it is *not* a problem."

But this brings up some interesting moral questions. For instance, the Pearls' kids consider how they were raised was great, don't they? How does TCS approach the philosophical problem of a child considering their own oppression to be great? Surely by TCS theory what was happening to the Pearls' kids was not a problem as the kids didn't experience it that way?

Can't there be instances where a child has been beaten (sometimes literally, sometimes more browbeaten) into submission and has remained in this submissive state for so long, that they become too cowed to want anything better? How would TCS see this?

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Anonymous said...

Another point that confuses me is that if it is all about a person's state of mind then how can TCS claim to be objectivists?

I would whole-heartedly agree with the emphasis on how an individual experiences their circumstances is what matters. But that is because I lean heavily towards relativism.

I don't see how objectivists can think like this though. Surely to an objectivist something is either right or wrong, true or not true, regardless of how it is percieved, felt, or experienced by an individual?

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Anonymous said...

If neither of two available choices improve a person's situation, they are not good solutions and the person should seek to create better ones.

If one of the choices does improve the situation, even if just a nudge, then the person is not coerced.

A person should not forcefully think they have to reduce their options to two options and choose bettween the two. It's not really the best way to make a decision. Add as much possibilities you can think off and chose the best one.

I think it's difficult to understand that individual autonomy can exist without relativism. Objectivism is mostly associated with authority.

Carlotta said...

Hi 33, etc,

Sorry not to have kept up and will do so asap...but just in response to this last comment.

"Another point that confuses me is that if it is all about a person's state of mind then how can TCS claim to be objectivists?"

I don't think they do, if you mean in the Randian sense. They disagree with Randian epistemology quite dramatically. Their epistemology is soundly Popperian. Bryan Magree's Fontana Classic "Popper" is a great introduction to these theories of knowledge and is quite reasonable, price-wise.

"I would whole-heartedly agree with the emphasis on how an individual experiences their circumstances is what matters. But that is because I lean heavily towards relativism."

Critical Rationalist theories of knowledge differ markedly from the relativist position, and I believe to very positive effect.

"I don't see how objectivists can think like this though. Surely to an objectivist something is either right or wrong, true or not true, regardless of how it is percieved, felt, or experienced by an individual?"

What a critical rationalist would say that one can never (probably) be certain that one has the truth of the matter, but they believe that reality is out there, and that it benefits humanity to try to seek it though improving their theories about it through a process of conjecture and refutation.

Anonymous said...

"If neither of two available choices improve a person's situation, they are not good solutions and the person should seek to create better ones."

For how long? When should a person decide that any action is better than none? That, if they continue to seek better "solutions" eternally, then they will not be able to move in *any* direction?

When would you consider this? Or would you *never* consider it?

In which case, what would you do

A)When faced with an either/or decision?

and

B)When faced with more than one possible course of action, none of which is ideal for you?

So, you would look for more options that you would be happier with? Say you looked for weeks, nothing turned up. You tried asking the opinions of others. You tried researching. You still can't find the ideal option.

What if this situation continues, six months, six years, sixty years?

Would you let it go on indefinitely? Or would you, at some point, accept that your inaction was harmful to you?

"If one of the choices does improve the situation, even if just a nudge, then the person is not coerced."

Not according to the TCS definition of "coercion". According to that, they *are* coerced as they are enacting one theory and still considering the conflicting theory.

"A person should not forcefully think they have to reduce their options to two options and choose bettween the two."

Of course not.

"It's not really the best way to make a decision. Add as much possibilities you can think off and chose the best one."

Certainly. But *how* do you choose the best one? I would do this by a process of elimination. This would eventually leave me with two options. What then?

"I think it's difficult to understand that individual autonomy can exist without relativism."

Expand?

"Objectivism is mostly associated with authority."

Is it? How is it? I don't see this at all. I thought objectivism was completely independent of authority?

I thought objectivism was simply what I said earlier. Ie That objectivism is the theory that something is either right or wrong, good or bad, true or false, etc regardless of how an individual experiences it.

I thought objectivists believed that truth existed independently of the individual?

For example:
If being fat is bad, then, to the objectivist mindset, it is *always* bad, and fat people have no right to be overweight even if they are perfectly happy to be so.

Just got the dictionary out. It defines "objectivism" as "The belief that certain things (esp moral truths) exist apart from human knowledge or perception of them."

So, I can't see it as being associated with authority in any way.

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Anonymous said...

Hi Carlotta

"What a critical rationalist would say that one can never (probably) be certain that one has the truth of the matter, but they believe that reality is out there, and that it benefits humanity to try to seek it though improving their theories about it through a process of conjecture and refutation."

This is what I mean - I don't see how this position is consistent with your claims that the experience of (Concept B) "coercion" is *only* a problem *if the person experiences it as such*?

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Anonymous said...

Innit:

Sorry, I think I must have misread the bit below and I gave an answer that made no sense.

You said:
"If neither of two available choices improve a person's situation, they are not good solutions and the person should seek to create better ones."

Obviously if neither improve on the status quo then inaction is actually perfectly reasonable. :)

And this would be three options anyway, wouldn't it? 1)The person remaining in their current situation, 2)The person pursuing New Choice A, and 3)The person pursuing New Choice B.

Not actually an either/or at all! Sorry!

So in this case then, inaction would not be harmful, obviously; it would actually be the logical option. Why expend energy on action if it does not improve one's situation after all? :)

I suggest you ignore everything I said to that bit, as, on reflection, it was complete and utter rubbish! LOL!

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Anonymous said...

Hi all

I've decided to retire from the discussion, as I'm really getting exhausted here.

It's a Concept B coercive situation, but my sanity wins as my priority I think, and this sort of conversation drives me crackers, even if it is does have a kind of addictive draw! :)

Thanks all for the intellectual s(t)imulation everyone!

And thanks to Carlotta, our gracious host. *Gives virtual flowers and a virtual box of virtual after dinner mints*

So long all and thanks for all the fish! :)

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Carlotta said...

Sorry...that should have been Bryan Magee.

Anonymous said...

Innit:

All I was trying to say elsewhere is that I think we are *both* good people; that's all. That objectivism implies that only one of us is, but I think we *both* are. That's all. :)

(Sorry Carlotta; just had to borrow your comments box for a minute. I'm off again now. Thanks!)

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Anonymous said...

"Coercion is the state of two or more personality strands being expressed in different options of a single choice such that one cannot see a way to choose without forsaking some part of his personality."

Alternate def of coercion preferred by some TCSers. Personality strand = theory or theories that are complex and possibly multi-faceted.

-n

Elliot said...

I wrote that def :)

http://www.curi.us/dialogs

Carlotta said...

Elliot,

Is there any way you would consider putting an RSS or atom feed on your blog? I do want to blogline yours.

Elliot said...

I added RSS a day or two ago. It's at

http://www.curi.us/blog/

not on the dialogs page.

If it doesn't work in some way let me know and I'll fix it.

Carlotta said...

Ah yes, I have it...and it's working. Thanks.