Robert Swanson (email@example.com)
Thu, 02 Nov 2000 22:35:02 -0800
As bad as it is that some frankenstein-intellect behaviorist, may have at
some point in time, chosen to create monsters, I choose to regard behaviors
within the framework of science, of discovery, as is the foundation of
I'll add numbers and respond below.
on 11/2/00 8:13 PM, Rick Stansberger at firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> Robert, I think you and I have two different visions of school. You are
> seeking to
> shape behavior, and I'm talking about fostering learning.
> Learning is a change which occurs in the mind of a person which involves the
> acquisition of new data or concepts or new arrangements of old concepts.
> behaviorists call learning is really conditioning, the externally determined
> of behavior.
> Do behaviorists still deny the existence of mind? Thirty years ago, my psych
> announced that there was no such thing because it could not be operationally
> defined. You can see the fallacy in their logic: just because a thing can't
> defined in certain terms does not mean that it doesn't exist.
> Why do most of us remember so little of what we were taught in school even if
> we got
> A's in the stuff? Because we were intrinsically motivated to rid our minds of
> we didn't value, and we dumped it out of our short-term memories after the
> tests. I
> got the A's all right, all the way up through three college degrees, and it
> me when I look at an old transcript at what I supposedly learned. Conversely,
> still have some vivid memories from my college days, and I learned much, but
> most of
> that wasn't on a syllabus.
> If you want people to act a certain way (and you don't care if they resent you
> manipulating them), go ahead and apply reinforcement.
> If you want a person to acquire (and not forget) new data and concepts and new
> connections among previously held notions, stand out of their way and let them
> re-grow their curiosity.
1) What goes on in our heads is so fully equated with environmental
influence, I don't know how to separate behavior from learning. Though, what
Marlo said of the Australian aborigines suggests that they take their minds
and learning out of this world. Marlo said that their throats may be slit
with a knife and yet they need make no reaction whatsoever.
2) Yes, learning is finding something new. The trouble is, is that the stuff
taught arises from very old conditioning. In fact it is conditioning. To
learn what is new would be, by our definition here, to explore beyond
conditioning. So, we avoid teaching things unless relevant to
unconditioning. Instead of teachers we are mentors who demonstrate that the
enthusiasm of life is enhanced by the enthusiasm of adventure and
exploration. We demonstrate that enthusiasm is multiplied by sharing with
others. We demonstrate that enthusiasm evolves with awareness, honesty and
responsibility. Thus, learning is the joy of the way one chooses as being a
learner. This is only remotely connected to the things learned. It is very
much connected with behavior.
3) What is mind? Great question. I'd like to give that a shot. Mind is
self-reflection as if this image were projected; an energy of self thought
to arise as a consequence to a material world and subject to its laws. That
is one sick mind. What is a healthy mind? The energy of self creating; the
power to create which fully knows the created undifferentiated by any
thought of time, space or form.
No, they could not operationally define mind because they tried to define it
as its projections, a false relationship.
4) Todd Hathaway posted a quote on Indigo -- it declared how absurd that
school would teach disconnected facts to the effect of creating students who
have no use for the information gibberish. The quote neglected to mention
that the world has no use for jibberish schooling except for its inherent
conditioning which "dumbs us down". It is a good thing to forget the
gibberish. Intellect is the only thing that may find a use for it.
Intelligence is congruency and integrity.
5) Here is the issue of control vs. cooperation. Not much happens at Sudbury
except as there is cooperation. The question yet to be asked is, how much of
the cooperation is with higher intent evolving, and, how much of the
cooperation is with status quo and "lowest common denominator"?
6) Yes, get intellect out of the way, preferably from infancy, and watch
integrity and enthusiasm grow with the child. Intellect separates the child:
from mother at birth, from age groups, from adventure & play, from creative
thought, from sexuality, from respect, from spirituality, from heart, and
from the cerebrum of all things. Intelligence brings together.
> Robert Swanson wrote:
>> Well, this is my second reply attempt. The first got deleted following
>> connection problems of the last few days.
>> I have not read enough books on behavior. I have bought a few that I'll
>> comment on another time.
>> Extrinsic and intrinsic provide a foundation for comparison. We live in an
>> extrinsic world, that is, the common regard is that the environment is a
>> strong influence. The weather, what comes in the mail, the aroma of dinner,
>> someone's caress, the type of music playing, someone's glance or tone of
>> voice - it all is an influence. Only autistic people and enlightened gurus
>> may claim some exceptional control of their own behavior with regard to the
>> environment. They have more intrinsic control. Most of us live in a
>> stimulus-response world. And to a large extent, we play ignorant of this. We
>> are ignorant of how the environment is currently determining behavior; and,
>> we are ignorant of how past conditioning determines our responses.
>> The extrinsic stimuli might be put in two categories, cooperative and
>> controlling. Cooperative behaviors don't happen much in a competitive world.
>> Almost everything has an uplift me, downplay you motive. Even where there
>> seems to be altruism or self-destruction, look deeper for the power
>> struggle. Somehow the personality thinks some strength is in the course of
>> action. When no one seems to want to cooperate sabotaging self is a show of
>> In the case of my behavior class the two teachers cooperated to present
>> material for ease of assimilation (rather than a challenge). My interest
>> perked because I was succeeding at the class and applying the material
>> successfully in my work. No, they did not intimidate us or give us candy for
>> doing homework. There was an air of cooperation. In cooperation, with joy
>> and ease, we would apply concepts that work with the severely retarded and
>> become efficient. Thus the class was socially reinforced simply by
>> functioning well, together, for learning and for teaching living skills to
>> residents of a group home. More specifically, the behaviorists managed the
>> material to be taught progressively, in segments, quickly learned and easily
>> tested. Then the segments were brought together as a whole. This might be
>> called "shaping". We repeated this methodology in the group home. Simply
>> doing what works to attain stated goals brings joy and excitement as
>> rewards. Then joy and excitement are stimuli for more cooperation (if joy
>> and excitement are seen as outcomes - rewards - for cooperative behaviors).
>> Joy and excitement are not really intrinsic since they are fully dependent
>> on behaviors and responses outside of mind-self.
>> Back to controlling... In the Sudbury material is noted that an adult
>> praising a child is condescending behavior. Would an adult praise an adult
>> with the same words and tone? Equality at Sudbury is sustained while one
>> person does not control predominantly for the sake of singular motives.
>> Mutual support is fine. It is still stimulus-response but it is cooperative.
>> A recent student's email noted the intrusive influence of families, and a
>> benefit of sudbury was getting away from family. Yes, our culture is
>> controlling, and this erupts from competitive conditioning. Generally, we
>> are only friends or groups for the sake of defeating another. The defeating
>> aspect takes up so much energy that the sum of the experience will probably
>> be mutually degrading.
>> And if we were cooperative... Cooperation reminds me of childhood play where
>> fun was cooperating for a particular goal. Friends share a goal (or motive)
>> and then they share the joy of cooperating in the adventure to attain the
>> goal. The more one empowers friends the quicker the goal is attained. Using
>> intelligence is really helpful here. The whole experience will probably be
>> mutually empowering.
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