The YIN MIND
Consider the Value . . .
Consider the value of having children who progressively control themselves,
not because of the pursuit of a reward or the avoidance of a punishment
which their parents or society may conjure, but out of simple regard
for consequences they understand.
What will the process of helping them
understand the consequences of their actions and neglect be like?
Let us presume that they have to come to understand
that moral behaviour involves heeding other people,
especially not limiting their consideration to people
who are encountered in daily life, but includes people in other communities,
in other countries, even posterity, separated from us by time,
but this moral understanding includes all life
and the understanding that without habitable room for other life forms,
there is no habitable room for people.
How do we communicate an awareness of consequences to a child?
Do we begin with language?
We may attempt to use language.
But the earliest communication is not linguistic.
It may involve sounds, vocal tones, gestures, but it is not linguistic.
It does not principally use the tongue. That’s what linguistic means.
When or how do we assign the symbols of language
to the references that constitute the meaning?
When the consequences are difficult or impossible to communicate,
do we not simply appeal to conjured rewards and punishment,
perhaps rule making and rule keeping?
How do you communicate to a 12 month old or 13 month old child, who can walk,
“you can go here, you can’t go there”?
We use barriers, boundaries, limits.
At first the barriers are physical
and are simply beyond the child’s capacity to trespass.
But the child’s capacity increases.
We may improve the barriers, but finally
we need to use some form of communication
and some alternative to an understanding of the consequences,
if the consequences are beyond the child’s capacity
to understand or believe.
Ideally, the alternative bounding means should lead to
or be a part of the process of communicating the consequences
which will be eventually understood.
Does warmth represent heat which burns?
Does mild or unpleasant shock represent electrical energy which can electrocute?
Does a bad taste represent something toxic or poisonous?
Does pain represent injury?
There is a basis in resemblance for each of these intermediate alternatives
to understanding the consequences.
copyright 2011, 2014, ECOhealth / Eve Revere