A DEEPER LOOK AT COMMON TERMS
an article by our site
The following is a glossary of terms that have special meaning for the MC movement. In the movie Dead Poets Society the teacher tried to get students to see things from a new perspective—he even had them all stand on their desks to facilitate insight. In the Novel we presented the opportunity to look at many things about life in a fresh new way. Hopefully, many of you who read this website and the novel will be empowered to see beyond some inoperable beliefs and ineffective lifestyle habits, the same habits and beliefs that have been barriers to your full enjoyment of life and your full social and psychological development as a person. And at the moment you see beyond these beliefs you will experience a sudden exhilaration as you are abruptly free to choose among some new lifestyle alternatives, ones that will enliven, humanize, and truly make life work better than it ever has before. As you read the following definitions, please stand up on your desk, open your mind, and see the terms in a fresh new way.
- ACTIVE LISTENING
- ALONE SPACE
- AT CAUSE
- AT EFFECT
- CHILD MONITORING DEVICE
- CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE FIRST KIND
- CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE SECOND KIND
- CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND
- DIFFUSION OF NURTURANCE
- ECOLOGICAL-HOLISTIC PARADIGM
- FIRST WAVE
- INDIRECT SELF-ACCEPTANCE
- INNER PARENTING
- LOGICAL CONSEQUENCES
- MC DATABASE
- MECHANISTIC-REDUCTIONISTIC PARADIGM
- NATURAL CONSEQUENCES
- NO-LIMIT PERSON
- NO-LOSE PROBLEM SOLVING
- PEACE CORPORATION
- PREDICTIVE PARENTING
- PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH
- ROADBLOCKS TO COMMUNICATION
- SECOND WAVE
- SELF PARENTING
- SOCIAL ENGINEERING
- THIRD WAVE
- WINNING FAMILY LIFESKILLS
ABUSE: Any sort of intentional or unintentional mistreatment of people by people.
Abuse may be in the form of spouse abuse, child abuse, or elder abuse. Some abuse is physical, some is sexual, and some is emotional. All forms are more common than most people believe, because reported abuse falls far short of the actual incidence of abuse. People are reluctant to report it, because of guilt, fear, denial, and confusion. The percentage of our society's families in which emotional abuse occurs is over 99 percent. Many forms of parenting include emotional or physical punishment and other manifestations of unfair and unwarranted power over young people. Totally unnecessary emotional abuse and many forms of physical abuse have been institutionalized as part of normal family life. The only thing keeping people from abhorring such activities, and the only thing keeping the practitioners of these infamous traditions from realizing the error of their ways is that "everyone knows that this is the way one should handle such things." These are entrenched beliefs, resulting from early childhood training, instilled when the young are naive, helpless, trusting, and all-absorbing. Replacing anachronistic parenting methods with P.E.T. and Winning Family Lifeskills methods will eliminate most abuse in our society. In an MC, there are no more excuses available to abusers.
ACTIVE LISTENING: This communication-enhancing technique involves the receiver feeding back a paraphrased version of the sender's message so both parties know that the receiver knows how the sender feels.
Mature communicators include this method of communication in their list of verbal skills, as it's one of the most effective communication methods known. This is a vital aspect of P.E.T.
ADJUSTMENT: Before MCs, this meant adapting "realistically" to one's inadequate environment. After MCs, it means adapting the environment to the needs of all the individuals involved. (MCs are, above all, resource increasers.)
ADVENTURING: In MCs, this is the act of mobile (crawling stage or above) babies or children choosing to travel around in an MC and initiating contact with any individual who has no "Alone" sign posted on his/her door. Young ones doing this will have a caregiver observing or otherwise monitoring their actions and all areas they have access to will be safe for them. Caregivers will perform appropriate PSB and telephone communications during this process on behalf of the young ones until the young ones can do both of these themselves.
It involves the excitement of risk and causes growth and maturation, as the individual learns about responsibility, self-control, and choice. Maslow's description of children vacillating between growth with risk and safety with security is the issue here.
AFFIRMATIONS: Sentences we repeat over and over with the intention of convincing ourselves they are true. We can say them out loud, in our minds, or both. There is nothing mysterious about them; they work on sound psychological principles to help change and improve our lives. And they're not new—everyone uses them. It’s just that the ones most of us do automatically and without thinking about it are negative and reflect past negative views of others, especially parents. Affirmations are an antidote for this emotional-psychological violence we unknowingly do to ourselves as a bad habit. Part of good self talk is to cease bad self talk. Then we start replacing bad self-talk with good. When we notice bad self-talk, we are taught to stop it that second and begin good self-talk. It gets down to the fact that it’s bad enough that various factors have made you less than happy, less than effective, and less than good at relationships, but to continue bad self-talk is to continue the negative environments that got you thinking in such ways in the first place. After an extended period of time using positive self-talk, the new self-talk turns into beliefs and you no longer have to think of them. You are re-parenting yourself.
An Alone sign
ALONE SPACE: All people need a room to call their own, where they can go to be alone, to think, to fantasize, to dream, to find themselves, to find meaning, etc.
It should have a lockable door; the lock should be under the occupant's control. Others should knock and get permission before entering except in dire emergencies, and should not knock or enter if an "Alone" sign is posted.
AT CAUSE: When a person is in charge of his/her life, responsible for it, and making his/her own decisions.
This is the preferred mode of being with regards to causality and intrinsicness. When one is given the opportunity to make choices in life and therefore feel and be in control of one's life and responsible for one's choices, one acts responsibly and respects those that gave one such opportunities. (See INTRINSIC and AUTONOMY.)
AT EFFECT: When others are in charge of one's life (a certain amount of this is inevitable in the lives of babies, but it needs to be kept to a reasonable minimum).
This mode of being, with regards to causality and intrinsicness, is stagnating; it acts as a barrier to: growth, self-awareness, responsibility, self-respect and respect for others. When a person's choices are made for him/her by others and s/he isn't allowed to explore and experience and find out for him/herself, s/he becomes obsessed with indirect self-acceptance, other-directedness, impressing, and eventually deceiving. (See EXTRINSIC.)
AUTHORITARIAN: The autocratic parenting style in which parents dictate to children. It is undemocratic and ineffective, as well as being an anachronistic and harmful relic of the Second Wave.
AUTHORITATIVE: The democratic parenting style that includes most of the P.E.T. methods but also includes what P.E.T. excludes: the use of logical consequences. Authoritative democratic parenting is the best parenting method there is—the science and research on the subject are clear. Both the Harmonious type of Authoritative parenting without logical consequences (e.g., P.E.T.) and the type that includes logical consequences (e.g., Winning Family Lifeskills) have been proven to produce effectively functioning, win-win, happy families with both parents and children pleased with their lives, so we advise people to adopt P.E.T. rules and restrict “consequences” training to natural consequences for a while, and then try logical consequences for a while as well, and decide which works best. Do the endless consequence-free occurrences on TV set such a bad example that logical consequences are needed as an antidote? You decide. (See HARMONIOUS, PERMISSIVE, AUTHORITARIAN.)
Neither authoritarian parenting nor permissive parenting (nor mixed) are valid parenting methods—only authoritative democratic parenting is good parenting and it transcends the other methods
AUTOCRATIC: The authoritarian parenting style in which parents dictate to children. It is undemocratic and ineffective, as well as being an anachronistic, harmful relic of the Second Wave.
AUTONOMY: Self-governing, self-responsible, at cause, intrinsically motivated, able to respond to real needs in truly need filling ways, ontologically mature. It's the goal of mature psychological development, as opposed to inner-directedness or other-directedness (Riesman describes these two as well as autonomy and advises that autonomy is the goal of development, not inner or other direction, both of which manifest a desire for Putney and Putney’s indirect self-acceptance in people who don’t fully accept themselves.) (See INTRINSIC, ONTOLOGY and AT CAUSE. See Putney and Putney’s The Adjusted American, and David Riesman’s The Lonely Crowd.)
One of the most harmful, unnecessary, cruel, stupid words in the history of the world. Implies a negative judgment; and this is something people do even though it's been shown that the communication roadblock known as "judgment" (of others) has only negative effects. Negative judgments are the quickest road there is to conditioning a child to be extrinsically motivated, at effect, dependent, self-loathing, and obsessed with indirect self-acceptance. Negative judgments are self-esteem killers. (See ROADBLOCKS TO COMMUNICATION and EVIL.)
BEING: A human can BE only when s/he doesn't NEED (see Maslow's books). To empower being, a nurturer needs to help the other person be at cause, let him/her make his/her own choices and have his/her own feelings (which helps the other person to be "brought into being"), and respect his/her alone space. (See AT CAUSE, ONTOLOGY, ALONE SPACE and INTRINSIC.)
BEING-COGNITION: Perceiving from a condition of needlessness and therefore being in a condition in which the truth isn’t being filtered through a layer of needs, so the perceptions are more representative of reality—more accurate. (The opposite of being-cognition is deficiency-cognition, in which one perceives from a condition of needfulness and therefore one’s perceptions are distorted by a filter of needs and they are thereby rendered less accurate.) These are Maslow terms. Along with self-actualization, they represent a profoundly vital milestone in psychological thought. MCs fill needs better than any other environments, empower self-actualization better, empower being-cognition (more accurate) wisdom to form better and faster, and encourage humanity in the direction of harmonious oneness with each other and the biosphere better than any other environments. (See BEING, AT CAUSE, ONTOLOGY, ALONE SPACE and INTRINSIC.)
In deficiency-cognition, one perceives from a condition of needfulness and therefore one's perceptions are distorted by a filter of needs
BELIEF: Something accepted as true.
Extrinsic beliefs are instilled from sources outside one (imposed). Intrinsic beliefs are ones developed through one's own experiences and thinking and being. (See PARADIGM, VALUES, EXTRINSIC, TRUTH and INTRINSIC.)
BLAME: Assigning fault.
This is a roadblock to communication—it only makes whatever happened worse. Responsibility needs to be taken naturally by people who make choices, not imposed and assigned by those in a position of power relative to the person. Such natural taking of responsibility is omnipresent in MCs, since the most well-developed character trait of MC people is RESPONSIBILITY. Blame is conspicuously absent in MCs.
In the case of criminal activity in the society, the logical/natural consequences of fines or incarceration is appropriate, except that to set up prisons to debase and humiliate insures that the convicts come out mad, vengeful, and even more likely to engage in criminal behavior that is characterized by violent disregard for the rights and feelings of others. Such treatment of lifers is excusable, perhaps, but it is an incredibly irresponsible pattern of negative conditioning to administer to people who will eventually be loosed on the public. (See GUILT, RESPONSIBILITY and ROADBLOCKS TO COMMUNICATION.)
Prison debasement and humiliation ensures that convicts come out mad and vengeful; this is an irresponsible pattern of negative conditioning to administer to people who will eventually be loosed on the public
CARE: When one aids in empowering another's being and feels positive feelings for that person.
CHARACTER: The moral strength, fortitude and self-discipline of a person. Various parenting methods tend to produce various character traits in offspring. Extensive research has shown that the best character traits evolve in people raised in authoritative or harmonious ways. (See AUTHORITATIVE and HARMONIOUS. See also our comments on Don E. Eberly’s The Content of America's Character, which can be found near the end of the article on OTHER HELPFUL GUIDANCE SOURCES.)
CHILDCARE: Caring for (nurturing) a child.
In MCs, this is defined as setting up the environment so that it is best for the child's welfare and being, including child-proofing when needed (or more likely doing childcare in child-centered spaces designed for that purpose), and including not only a nurturer but an alternative nurturer, so that the child may exercise choice, which will help the child develop responsibility and character. The child also needs the opportunity to adventure (see ADVENTURING).
CHILD MONITORING DEVICE: An electronic device allowing the monitoring of a child's whereabouts and safety while s/he's either adventuring, in a SUN or HUB, or with an exceptionally young alternate caregiver. See CHILD MONITORING DEVICES IN MCS.
CHOICE: The freedom to decide.
The key to learning, growth, responsibility, self-respect, respect for others, intrinsicness, being, psychological health, identity, self-actualization and being at cause. (See those terms.)
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE FIRST KIND: Relationships of MC people with other MC people, either in their own or in another MC.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE SECOND KIND: Relationships of MC people with non-MC people; responsibility for the well-being of the other is the MC person's context.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND: Relationships and activities engaged in by MC people that are focused upon taking responsibility for the well-being of the world.
These will satisfy the quest for meaning, making a difference, and "spirituality" felt by all humans. Some may desire to pursue this in harmony with their religious, humanitarian or charitable activities. Others may pursue it in the name of MC growth only. Either is fine. The MC movement is open to people effecting the fostering of MC spread in whatever way works, as long as they keep their holy wars, faction squabbles, biases, hate and oppression of others out of it entirely. The MC movement will tolerate none of this insanity and intends to keep clear of such things forever. The MC movement needs to be grassroots based, evolving out of local actions of families and individuals. Therefore, the MC movement will avoid the following like the plague: government, social programs, politics/politicians, social engineering, and bureaucracies. To all these we say "thanks but no thanks!"
COMPARISONS: Judging anything positively or negatively according to how it stacks up to other things, usually of comparable classifications or of similar types.
Unfortunately, this is how most people have been able to rationalize dysfunctional lifestyles as being "okay," "reasonably satisfying," or "as good as can be expected." They see that they're doing no worse than the Joneses next door, and use this as the basis of self-deception, in which they "decide" that they are happy, even though they don't FEEL that way, and that their lifestyle is working okay, even though the evidence to the contrary is obvious and often overwhelming.
With MCs to emulate, this will cease. Feelings in MCs are in harmony with reality, as are self-evaluations. People are given permission to feel how they feel, and to do something constructive about it if these feelings expose flaws in lifestyles and relationships. Deception is unnecessary when lifestyles are truly working.
The win-lose life context has its foundation in the steep gradient of nurturance in our upbringing (flat gradient of nurturance is much better caregiving)
COMPETITION: Acts in which one attempts to better another, as opposed to cooperating with another.
There must be winners and losers, successes and failures, and good and bad contestants. This win-lose life context has its foundation in the steep gradient of nurturance in our upbringing. (A flat gradient of nurturance is much better caregiving.) With win-lose steep-gradient-nurturance parenting there is one central nurturing figure—usually the mother—and she is the one both the children and the husband compete for. Her love is the prize. This encourages sibling rivalry, oedipal motivations, ambivalence, guilt, hatred, cruelty, deception, self-deception, competition, alienation, indirect self-acceptance, extrinsicness, superficiality, postponement of gratification, and future orientation as opposed to being-here-now. It also encourages resentment in both parents since the father has to share the mother with the kids and the mother is forced to be the supermom for everyone, as if no one else in the environment or neighborhood is capable of nurturing. The acceptance of women working, husbands participating in childcare, and the necessity for nonfamily childcare alternatives have alleviated this somewhat, but not nearly enough.
Steep gradient of nurturance in our upbringing creates win-lose people, and putting all caregiving on Mom is unfair
The mom that tries to do and be all needs to get some friends and share childcare tasks with them, which will make her, her friends', and her kids' lives happier and less stressful
All of the above lays the groundwork for our rat-race society, with everyone in the fast lane, greedily fighting like dogs over a bone, for money, power,
prestige and possessions. It should be obvious that with the transformation from the win-lose mechanistic-reductionistic paradigm to the ecological-holistic paradigm now
occurring, this win-lose mechanistic-reductionistic type of life context will clash violently with the ecological-holistic needs of our nation and our world. Competition will lead us to choose things over people, power
over influence, prestige and money over quality-of-life improvements, unbridled growth over realism, and exploitation and cut-throat competition over cooperation.
Internationally, competition will be what pushes everything over the brink. While it's true that we need to continue to be assertive in economics and trade in order to continue to do well in the free-market economy, we must also remember that the key to making the world work (peacefully), in political, economic, and trade areas, is empowerment and cooperation. Russia, Ukraine, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, and North Korea are all big messes in 2014, with over-aggressiveness, corruption, unwillingness to cooperate, and hatred of the West merely a few of their serious issues. We needn't bother to denigrate their oligarchy, dictatorship, colonialism, or other antidemocratic types of power structures, since the U.S. too has been a corrupt oligarchy (merely pretending to be a democracy—like Iraq is doing currently) for quite a few years. (See The US is an oligarchy, study concludes.)
If a country has a lot of weapons but is near starving, it is only logical to assume that other countries with lots of food should help the near-starving country, or, eventually, expect to see the near-starving country either use or threaten to use its weapons in order to get what it needs in order to no longer be near-starving. (North Korea comes to mind. UN sanctions make aid too complex and frustrating, and then there's events like the U.S. agreeing to send 240,000 tons of direct food aid to North Korea in February in 2013, but that fell through when the North provocatively launched a rocket two months later. Their leader, Kim Jong-un, seems to be a can short of a six-pack and a pallet short of a full load, mentally.)
Kim Jong-un seems to be a can short of a six-pack
There is, in the world today, a unique chance for world peace and cooperation and universal ecological values. Applying mechanistic-reductionistic paradigm values to this situation will, without the slightest doubt, cause us to blow our chance. Applying ecological-holistic paradigm values will begin a process that will eventually make life on Earth what we all want it to be for everyone. The choice is ours. (But the messed-up countries listed above sure aren't making it easy for us and the terrorists are messing up the world's peace chances as seriously as they can. Most people are striving for mere survival and see no chance of world peace and cooperation and universal ecological values.)
CONNECTEDNESS: A feeling of nonenmeshed belonging and solidarity.
One of the most sorely needed elements in today's isolated nuclear (as well as step, single parent, and singles lifestyle) family. This element was in much greater supply several generations ago, before the prevalence of mobility, rootlessness, loss of respect for community values, and aloneness as the chosen lifestyle of the alienated (who are often in fear of relationship and commitment because of the negative aspects of it they experienced in the steep-gradient-nurturance overwhelm of their original family scenes). Solidarity with one's fellow humans is missing, in today's "advanced" societies, and the major symptoms of this show up as drug and alcohol abuse, child and spouse abuse, suicide, homelessness, depression and crimes like murder, rape and assault.
CONSISTENCY: Uniformity and predictability of behavior.
Before MCs, this concept convinced women that it was somehow best for the children if mothers would "act" nurturing or happy or attentive when they were actually needful or sad or distracted. Not only was this not best for the children, it led to innumerable instances of mystification (see R.D. Laing books) and pathological developments (including a context in which schizophrenia can and does frequently develop, especially in those with genetic predispositions), as well as less trust, less intimacy, and less happiness and love between mothers and children.
Consistency will never again mean attempting to feel or be what you don't and aren't, once the MCs are going strong. Instead, it will mean performing childcare in such a way as to assure that some person in a nurturing mood is available for children and babies, but not necessarily any specific person. The one thing that it is impossible to predict, and therefore to assure anyone about—including yourself—is "how you are going to feel." See Feeling Good.
This new definition of consistency will be likely to provoke a seriously negative conservative response, unless it is tempered with the following qualification: No one advocates selfish mothers or baby-sitters or childcare workers irresponsibly and randomly administering childcare whenever they happen to be in a good mood, and abandoning their charges otherwise. That is absolutely NOT what this redefinition of consistency is all about! It's important that we be clear on one point above all: we're talking about INCREASED responsibility and childcare, not decreases. But the requirements for this increased level of responsibility and improved quality of childcare are INCREASED RESOURCE ACCESS AND UTILIZATION—which is the way many other societies have been nurturing for centuries, if not millennia.
It is true that, in a few rare instances, some kids might possibly have to be pseudo-nurtured by people who are not really up to it because neither the child's designated nor alternate nurturer(s) are in appropriate moods and no one else is available in the MC. But if each of two or three nurturers are in inappropriate moods only 10 percent of the time, what are the chances of both or all of them being in such moods simultaneously? And even if they were, recall that the child can procure good care by the use of the proper PSB code or by adventuring, in most cases.
As a final note on the subject, recall that the strategy of shame and guilt being directed at parents who are inadequately loving and nurturing has been shown to be about as effective at "making parents more nurturing" as the Inquisition was at "making people more religious." Any realistic solution to the inadequate nurturing so prevalent in families is going to have to, first and foremost, recognize that THERE IS NO POSSIBLE WAY TO TALK OR SCARE PEOPLE INTO GIVING MORE THAN THEY HAVE TO GIVE. However, there IS a way for families to adopt an enhanced context (MC) in which they—as an MC—can give more than they have ever given, as well as all that is needed from them, in a way that never asks for them to give more than they have to give. (See MYSTIFICATION.)
CONTROL: Deciding among options and acting on one's decision.
One becomes extrinsically directed and obsessed with indirect self-acceptance and at effect (see AT EFFECT), if others control one, but if one gets to choose one's actions, one becomes intrinsically directed and involved in self-actualization and being at cause. (See AT CAUSE, INTRINSIC, EXTRINSIC, AUTONOMY, CHOICE, POWER, BEING and SELF-ACTUALIZATION.)
COPING: In general, either dealing with one's problems successfully or adjusting to a bad situation.
In pre-MC times, this meant adjusting to the negative environmental factors to avoid stress, depression, and conflict. In MCs, this means adjusting the environment until the factor of partial deprivation that was beginning to manifest itself in symptomatology is dealt with directly and alleviated by marshaling the MC's personnel resources or enhancing them.
DEFICIENCY: Pre-MC, this described a condition of lacking the resources to help people achieve adjustment to the negative environmental factors. Post-MC, this refers to anything less than need fulfillment, not poor coping with inadequacy.
DEFICIENCY-COGNITION: (See BEING-COGNITION.)
Voters wonder why they even bother to vote—it changes nothing; so they get cynical and apathetic
DEMOCRACY: A country in which the people hold the political power, indirectly through elected representatives. A democracy has rule by the ruled. Are you old enough to recall when the U.S. had a democracy? No one could seriously believe that U.S. citizens are ruling anything or that their votes change anything or that elections help anything (except for some of the local issues and elections). Voters are more cynical than ever before—see The Worst Voter Turnout in 72 Years. (See Democracy—an American Delusion, Freedom of the Press—an American Delusion, and FREEDOM.)
In specific parenting usage, democratic family structures use authoritative or harmonious parenting. Family meetings enable everyone to help decide things (rule by the ruled). Unilateral decisions only occur in emergency or in safety/security situations, since adults understand such things better than kids and are responsible to keep their loved ones safe. (See HARMONIOUS, AUTHORITATIVE.)
DEPENDENT: This is the necessary and benevolent condition of the attachment of kids to parents and other caregivers because the parents and other caregivers are the main need-fillers.
During infancy the dependent baby "imprints" on the mother or main caregiver, forming the basis of connectedness to humans for the rest of his/her life. (This is why mothers or main caregivers always hold, regardless of the amount of childcare they later do, a special place in the hearts of all children.) This is vital, and should happen in the first six months after birth.
But as the child grows older and begins to manifest the need for independence and autonomy, it is the caregivers' responsibility to let go, give the child room, and allow the child to be the chooser in his/her life. The caregivers that hold the child back always rationalize that they are "protecting" the child, being safe, keeping bad elements away from him/her, or "loving" (read that "smothering") him/her extra well. In truth, the mother is usually responding to her own unfilled, misplaced needs for love and/or companionship. Controlling a child so that child stays overly dependent on the mother is how the mother makes the child available to "love" that mother anytime.
With the advent of MCs, this unfortunate phenomenon will finally cease, as the mother will have other resources in her MC that fill her needs for companionship better than the defenseless "child-captive." It should be noted here that experts and laypeople alike have pointed out (see Earthwalk) for many years that such situations are psychological liabilities often leading to child abuse and personality warping, and that the main factors that have precluded such things in families have ALWAYS been either extended family resources, close-knit community ties that support the isolated mother in her nurturing, or exceptionally nurturing husbands and siblings, supporting both the mother and the child to an exceptional degree. (See AUTONOMY, GROWTH, IDENTITY, DIFFUSION OF NURTURANCE and SELF-ACTUALIZATION.)
DIFFUSION OF NURTURANCE: The amount children are nurtured by one, two or many caregivers.
A culture in which the mother is the main or sole nurturer for her kids is said to have an inadequate diffusion of nuturance, and also a steep gradient of nurturance, since a graph of how much time the people in an environment were nurturing the kids every day would have a steep incline when it got to the mother's times. A culture in which the mother nurtures her children as one of many nurturers, providing the children with an enriched environment with regards to quantity of people available to care for them, is said to have an adequate diffusion of nurturance, and also a flat gradient of nurturance, since the graph of various people's nurturance times with regards to a given child would all be quantitatively similar. If the environment also provides the young CHOICES relative to who will nurture them at any given time, this is an excellent growth and maturity support, since responsibility, identity, and being are fostered by such an arrangement.
A good metaphor for seeing clearly the superiority of flat-gradient nurturing over steep-gradient nurturing is to think of nurturing being delivered as warm fuzzies in wheelbarrows. In a steep-gradient scene, pushing the wheelbarrow up the steep gradient of the diffusion of nurturance graph is difficult, and if the incline is steep enough, impossible. But pushing the wheelbarrow along a flat gradient is relatively effortless and quite preferable.
Just think of nurturing being delivered as warm fuzzies in wheelbarrows—level is easy but slopes are hard
The world's most predictable failure is the attempt to be either all things to all people or all things to one or a few people. Believe it or not, the very idea that one would even consider trying such a thing comes not from our natural human instincts for nurturing and love, but from our (and a few other) culture's current habit of bringing up its young in isolated, resourceless families, so that they grow up believing that this state of relational resourcelessness is how it "should be." Many past and present cultures would laugh at such unrealistic and invalidated ambitions. Besides, such an overwhelming burden is unnecessary.
DISCIPLINE: In the past, this would be defined as training that produces obedience; such training often includes punishment.
Pre-MC, this would usually involve extrinsic sanctions and power struggles and the "disciplined" would cooperate out of fear. The object would be control of one person by another. But since the advent of P.E.T., Winning Family Lifeskills and MCs, discipline would be focused on engendering self-control and the context for voluntary cooperation—using proven P.E.T. and Winning Family Lifeskills techniques. These would involve intrinsic sanctions, win-win, and self-responsibility based upon the fact that the person undergoing discipline has chosen to do so and is responsible for that choice. Self-control voluntarily guided by another or oneself—without the threat of punishment—will be the new definition of discipline. As always, natural consequences will follow all actions and will guide the actor. (See PUNISHMENT, GUILT, HATE, CONTROL, OBEDIENCE, POWER, and WIN-LOSE.) (And read Thomas Gordon's Teaching Children Self-Discipline and Louise Hart’s The Winning Family)
ECOLOGY: The biological definition of ecology is: the branch of biology that deals with organisms’ relationship to their environments. The sociological definition of ecology is: the study of the relationship and adjustments of human groups to their social environments.
Reductionistic thinking is an important basis of logic for analytical purposes, including some of the purposes of environmentalism, ecology, and world survival. But the type of thinking required for "deep ecology" is usually of another type: holistic, intuitive, relational, and insightful. Our planet/biosphere is not a “thing.” It’s not an object. One cannot even begin to understand it from this reductionistic perspective. The planet is a complex system epitomizing the essence of the concept that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Without shifting to holistic systems thinking in our biosphere perspectives, we will certainly miscalculate disastrously and devastate the ecology.
Humans are devastating the ecology
Keep in mind here that
ecology refers not just to matters biological, but to the study of the relationship and adjustments of human groups to their social environments.
(Watch An Inconvenient Truth and you'll see what we mean by biological ecology. It is a 2006 Academy Award winning documentary film about Al Gore's campaign to educate citizens about global warming. This guy knows his stuff.)
Since this is not generally recognized, it should be vigorously stressed that ecology is also the study of the relationship and adjustments of human groups to their social environments. This website is focused on this latter ecological context.
With this in mind, it’s not hard to perceive that social systems are analogous to biological systems in that they are clear instances of the whole being greater than the sum of its part. Social scientists, because their subject has been disparaged as less “scientific” than the hard sciences, have put out volumes of reductionistic, analytical research that is often cryptic and less than highly valuable. The value and even the necessity for such research may be in question, but the value and necessity for ecological-holistic studies and research on the sociological aspects of ecology is self-evident, given the incredible quantity of symptoms of how badly many social systems are functioning. A world full of war, terrorism, hate, confusion, culture wars, bias, ethnocentricity, racism, bigotry, exploitation, fear, greed, neurosis, insecurity, substance abuse, etc., obviously needs people who can learn to understand it deeply and then guide us with their wisdom. It cannot be stressed enough that the type of guidance should go in a direction opposite to social engineering. The guidance should empower individuals to join the “thousand points of light” in this world who are part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Our Novel is a guidance tool stressing not only what works to empower people to get their lives together, but what will work to empower the world’s people to get their act together as a whole and transform the world from a time-bomb to an ecologically (both definitions) harmonious system.
In the new paradigm, communication and understanding are replacing fighting and arguing
We are currently in the midst of a paradigm shift. But it’s not just any old paradigm shift. It happens to be the most important paradigm shift in history. The world view is evolving from the adolescence of the mechanistic, reductionistic, materialistic perspective to the maturity of the holistic, ecological perspective. In all areas of life, a systems view is replacing an object view, caring is replacing having, communication and understanding are replacing fighting and arguing, the holistic health model is replacing the biomedical model, the systems models of psychology and economics and physics are replacing the object-oriented, mechanistic, analytical, reductionistic models. It's all happening slowly enough that you may have failed to notice it. It is part of the cultural evolution of the human race. From assimilation-based Second Waves to diversity-based Third Waves, the more advanced peoples on the planet are experiencing the chaos-filled hopefulness of a powershift from force and wealth dominating the nature of power to knowledge dominating the nature of power. Sociologically speaking, ecology, the relationship and adjustments of human groups to their social environments, is about how humanity relates and adjusts to the new paradigm, the Third Wave, and the powershift to knowledge. (See COMPETITION, GROWTH, POWER, POWERSHIFT, SOCIAL ENGINEERING, WIN-LOSE, WIN-WIN.)
ECOLOGICAL-HOLISTIC PARADIGM: (See ECOLOGY.)
EMULATION: Copying others.
The only truly effective and nonintrusive way to pass values on from person to person. By being examples to emulate, parents can show kids the values that lead to successful, happy lives. Of course, the problem with this method for many people in the last bunch of decades is that the kids can easily see that the lifestyles of the parents are not all that happy or satisfying, and the kids experiment with values intentionally different from the parents' in hopes of discovering a more happiness-producing set of values, or at least demonstrating rebellion and dissatisfaction with the lifestyle the parents have created. This usually leads to punishments from the parents, resentment from the kids, and an ugly power struggle in which the attempt at forced conformity fails again and again.
In MCs, humanitarian values that create happiness and satisfaction will be shared by everyone since totally voluntary emulation will be automatic. Kids will naturally pick up on values that have led to happy, successful, satisfying lifestyles, without the need for urging. Emulation of WHAT WORKS is one of the major factors in the growth of the MC movement; it will apply super-grease to the wheels of MC marketing.
ENMESHED: The condition in which the survival and continuance of the group and its values are given higher priority than the growth, being and maturity of the individuals within the group, and where various forms of covert and overt, coercive oppression and dogmatic conditioning keep individuals ready to support the group regardless of personal cost.
On the worldwide scale, the doctrine that mankind is basically evil and unworthy and born bad is often a key tool for getting individuals to accept their low lot in life as followers of religious or political fanatics, "fundamentalists," and worshipers of powerful, vengeful, bigoted "gods." Erich Fromm called this enmeshment in the group "regressive," as contrasted with the maturation to autonomy and self-actualization which he called "progressive." He showed how these things operated using such things as Hitler's Germany as examples of the danger of man's regressive tendencies and man's vulnerability to the effects of enmeshment.
The belief that mankind is born bad is often a key tool for getting individuals to accept their low lot in life as followers of religious or political fanatics
Now, at the opposite end of the spectrum, we have the MCs, in which the individual is faithful to and cares for those in his/her MC, but it's from a progressive, supportive context in which all relationships are set up as growth-promoting, rather than a "sacrifice" context in which individuals surrender liberty, identity, worth, awareness, happiness, and sometimes even their humanity for the "good of the group."
Enmeshment is, unfortunately, easily transmitted when deprived, oppressed people pass along their negative cultural or familial legacies to the next generation, never knowing the miraculous possibilities inherent in human relationships, as they experience only how others hold them back, but rarely how others help them grow and find real happiness. It is extremely obvious why so many fundamentalists are so angry and vengeful and militant and coercive to others. Their upbringings have predisposed them towards these attitudes—they are, simply put, mad at those who have oppressed them and held them back, but they are repressing the true object of their anger. Instead, they project this anger onto other groups, in which they inevitably find "devils," whether the groups are simply of a different religion or political persuasion, or are of an "enemy" nation. Such groups rarely have any idea how transparently obvious it is to many of the rest of us that their anger has to do with the deprivations they experienced at the hands of their group, and is not based upon any real feelings connected to their hate objects.
Sometimes enmeshment patterns aren't related to groups larger than families. Sometimes the family itself is the main enmeshment focus. John Bradshaw's books on co-dependency and dysfunctional families are full of evidence for this and full of wisdom concerning it.
ENTRENCHED: Normally, ideas that are held in association with deep conditioning.
Metaphorically, it's as though people had performed a brain operation on someone and dug a trench in the person's brain and then filled it in with certain beliefs which they wanted that person to strongly hold. This type of belief is very extrinsic, and it tends to get in the way of clear thinking—it's mind mud. The mechanisms of fear and guilt are used to instill such beliefs. The beliefs are instilled for the purpose of manipulation. Sometimes the motivation for doing this is as innocent as wanting one's children to share one's religious beliefs. Other times, it is a clear case of exploitation of followers by the leaders of fanatic sects, cults, religions, hate-groups or political groups.
Entrenched beliefs are very extrinsic, and they tend to get in the way of clear thinking—like mind mud
In any case, the preferred way of attempting to get one's kids to share one's beliefs is to present them with opportunities to learn about various aspects of life. Sometimes they won't want to adopt a parent's beliefs. The foolish parent then proceeds to try to jam these beliefs down the kids' throats, and forces the kids to attend various institutions in which these beliefs will be involuntarily inculcated, causing the kids to pretend to believe what they do not, lose trust in the parent, build up resentments and anger toward the parent, and harbor a needlessly negative context around that whole area of life.
The wise parent will make his/her own life something worthy of emulation and respect. All kids are impressed by parents that have happy, moral, compassionate, wisely-lived, successful lives. Most kids will emulate such lives for the simple reason that they, too, want to be happy and respected, and their happy, successful parents are two of the few or perhaps the only people they know who can truly claim to be happy, respected and successful.
Kids often see that, whether parents are successful or not, they are not noticeably happy, and such kids will experiment with alternatives to not only the lifestyles of the parents, but the beliefs as well. This is as it should be, since what kind of parent would want a child to follow in unhappy footsteps? If lifestyles and beliefs didn't work for one person, isn't it logical and wise for another person (upon viewing the results of the first person's lifestyle and beliefs) to at least try variations if not completely different alternatives? We ALL have a right to pursue happiness! What often happens, however, is anything BUT the opportunity for one's kids to try it their way and find out for themselves what works and what doesn't. Instead, the parents repress their own obvious unhappiness and unknowingly give up on their own chances of finding happiness, so they—out of desperation—begin to try to live through their kids. Of course, if the kids "go their own way" the parents cannot live through them successfully. So the parents manipulate their kids, both emotionally and with money ("I'll pay your college tuition if you enter the field I know is best for you."), to act like new, improved versions of themselves. Strong kids resist and rebel. Weak kids fall beneath the wheel of the emotional blackmail and become ontological casualties.
The entrenched beliefs, which are also known as extrinsic, other-directed, conditioned-in beliefs one holds for indirect self-acceptance, have an alternative: intrinsic, empirically-validated, voluntarily-arrived-at beliefs. (See EXTRINSIC, INDIRECT SELF-ACCEPTANCE, PARADIGM, TRUTH, UNDERSTANDING, and VALUES.)
EVIL: Harmful, morally bad or wicked.
Many people miss the critical fact that environments that produce 'evil' generally are seriously oppressive and deprivational—like Hitler's
When a person's development is so interfered with or so ignored by his/her caretakers that s/he is traumatized and becomes sociopathic, amoral, antisocial, violent, and prone to acting out, many of us see this as evil behavior. But many people miss the critical fact that environments that produce "evil" generally are seriously oppressive and deprivational, almost always contain emotional abuse, and sometimes contain physical and/or sexual abuse. (There are cases where biological etiology, based upon chemical imbalances or genetic abnormalities, is the main culprit, but these are rare.)
One of the main cultural supports for the doctrines of good and evil is the confusion that results from the effects of haphazard parenting. For example, when parents do their best—and especially if they feel they have "loyally" followed the strategies taught to them by their own parents—but the result is a mess of a kid, they have a vested interest at not "being the ones to blame" for the mess of a kid. They are predisposed to finding some other cause to pin the blame on, such as the kid's peers, school, or the inherent evilness of humans. The closer the parents are to being fundamentalists, the more likely they are to select the latter scapegoat. They may keep the kid working, studying, or Bible-reading so hard that the kid hasn't time to "be evil." "The devil finds work for idle hands." They may punish him/her at the drop of a hat to "keep the devil at bay." "Spare the rod and spoil the child." No matter that such behavior on the part of the parents has been known for several generations to worsen the psychological and social problems of the "errant one."
Tradition, no matter how irrational, unproductive, destructive and mean, dies hard. It was legal in some places, only a couple of hundred years ago, for a father to kill any of his children he found to be serious behavior problems, regardless of the fact that it was the parent's incompetence that was the source of those problems in the first place. That tradition died, fortunately, but some of the attitudes about children as chattel did not, and some of the laws on the books still reflect such traditions. All this is certainly not an appeal for permissiveness. It's an appeal for precluding most "evil" by use of P.E.T. and Winning Family Lifeskills methods, which are neither permissive NOR authoritarian, since it has been proven that NEITHER permissive NOR authoritarian methods work!
"Evil" is not a word people normally need to use in MCs (except perhaps in their religions, if they have any). (See P.E.T., PUNISHMENT, BAD, BLAME, HATE and WIN-LOSE.)
EXTRINSIC: Values and beliefs that have been imposed from outside the self.
These are opposite from values and beliefs that have evolved from one's life experiences (intrinsic). Extrinsic values are held and conformed to for indirect self-acceptance, while intrinsic values are held and conformed to from inner integrity and self-respect. The Freudians point to the internalization of one's father in the form of the superego, with the values taught by one's father becoming one's own. (If you think of the Victorian times Freud was brought up in, you can see where this concept came from and why he couldn't see beyond it.) Frommians, on the other hand, distinguish between the authoritarian conscience and the humanistic conscience. The first is imposed; the second is each person's responsibility to evolve from his/her own experiences and interpretations of same. The Frommian view, which is also the Maslovian view and the view of the most sophisticated and wise psychological experts today, is that submitting to the extrinsic, instilled values of childhood should happen for only as long as it takes the young person to be ready to assert him/herself, make his/her own decisions, decide what s/he believes, decide who s/he is and what's important to him/her, and then replace conditioned beliefs and values with intrinsically-arrived-at beliefs and values.
Freud insisted that normal kids resist growth like they resist pain, so they must be "kicked upstairs," as it were. Maslow cleared up this misunderstanding by proving beyond any doubt that healthy, nondeprived kids love to learn and grow. It's only the deprived, fearful, angry ones that are growth-avoiding. Freud studied negatively-abnormal, deprived people, while Maslow spent decades studying both healthy, happy, growth-loving self-actualizers and deprived, symptomizing people. One of the main upshots of Maslow's discovery is that it pulled the rug out from under authoritarian parenting and psychologists who recommended it. It was shown that such parenting stifled growth and healthfulness. It was also shown that the opportunity to have needs met and to securely choose growth (when it was an opportunity rather than a command or coercion or manipulation) PRODUCED growth. Extrinsic sanctions, the basis of power/authority relationships, were found not to be the solid basis for growth they were previously thought to be. Dr. Thomas Gordon knew exactly how to apply this new knowledge to parenting methodology. See his books. (See ENTRENCHED, AT EFFECT, CONTROL, POWER, DISCIPLINE, INDIRECT SELF-ACCEPTANCE, PUNISHMENT, and VALUES.)
One of the main upshots of Maslow's discovery is that it pulled the rug out from under authoritarian parenting and psychologists who recommended it
FIRST WAVE: A Toffler term for the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago; this allowed cities to evolve, as well as more sophisticated culture.
FEELINGS: The emotional components of a person's nature.
In P.E.T. and Winning Family Lifeskills, communication and relationship is greatly facilitated when people temporarily full of strong feelings are responded to with active listening, which helps them clarify and express their feelings. This greatly strengthens the relationship, creates a context for respect and love, and allows communication, the basis of relationship, to succeed. (See ACTIVE LISTENING.)
FREEDOM: Reasonably unrestricted choices are allowed.
If one can choose, then one can define oneself, be responsible for one's choices, and BE. So freedom, as has been realized by many for centuries, is the critically important basis for society and relationships. However, to realize is not necessarily to actualize, and some entire societies—past and present—have NOT ever realized the importance of freedom at all, with the exception of the ruling classes who utilize the power of information, coercion, and wealth to insure their own freedom.
Ethics were such, many times and many places, that there was no overall social context regarding what is best for a culture's people. There was instead a paradigm in which the purpose of the underclass was to serve the ruling class. What was "best for" the underclass was to serve well so that they might stay out of trouble. The underclass was exploited so that the ruling class, which realized the value of freedom of choice, could indeed enjoy such freedom.
A few centuries ago, the guiding paradigm was that the purpose of the underclass was to serve the ruling class
America was founded on the most freedom-respecting basis of any society yet evolved. The world has been watching the United States of America for hundreds of years to see how this test case for freedom would turn out. Only very recently (1989) has the pendulum of freedom made a decisive international swing towards universalism. Some leaders have acknowledged that the capitalist world was right about freedom, and that state control of everything leads to abuses, corruption, bureaucratic stultification and social degeneration. Additionally, it leads to an inflexible economy and a low standard of living, and it allows and inspires little insight or creativity—which it needs in order to be wisely self-adjusting. It brings out the worst in people in areas like innovation, flexibility, persistence, awareness, honesty, humanness, and social and environmental responsibility. Even if a leader or ruling party were all-knowing, and ruled perfectly, always doing the right thing and even being kind to the country's people, running a society without real choice is INEVITABLY going to lead to irresponsibility and degeneration.
People intrinsically find it nearly impossible to feel and act responsible for something that they do not choose to do. Choicelessness is simply an erroneous context in which to act to pursue goals regarding responsible actions.
What is true for former Communist party strategies is also true for parenting strategies: true responsibility is NOT the product of an authoritarian environment. And therefore neither is productivity, innovation, or true loyalty. Recall how quickly the Baltics wanted to "divorce" the former Soviet Union once they saw their chance. Unfortunately, Russia's new "democracy is a sham and a pretense—Russia is a criminally controlled kleptocracy, which is a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often with pretense of honest service. Putin is the head of this mafia of crooks, which has reportedly stolen £130 billion of the people's money. Taxpayers are not happy. (Source: Kleptocracy.)
We should not be so much focused upon the fact that "it sure took the non-kleptocratic former Soviet and Eastern European countries a heck of a long time to figure this stuff out" as we should be focused on "now that they're moving in the right direction, how can we act in a win-win manner to help them transform their lifestyles, economies, politics and thinking so that it leads to happiness, need-fulfillment and peace?" Of course, since from 1989 through now the U.S. has degenerated into a corrupt oligarchy, we should begin worrying about ourselves and forget all the phony holier-than-thou caterwauling. The people don’t trust the government with their money in EITHER country! Too often the government has shown its true colors in this area. (See The US is an oligarchy, study concludes.) (See CHOICE and AT CAUSE.)
GOOD: Moral, righteous, benevolent, kind, and worthy.
The flip side of the BAD word, and almost as oppressive and ill-advised. The problem with the word is syllogistic: all that is not good must be bad. Therefore if one conditions a child to depend upon the indirect self-acceptance implied in the use of the GOOD word, one will eventually succeed in instilling, however unintentionally, in the child a self-concept of BADness. It's virtually inevitable. The "NO" word can easily take on the BAD context, and is wisely replaced with I-statements. "I'm worried that you may break that." is true, clear, and respectful. "No! Put that down!" defines the child as BAD by the tone of voice people use when saying it, and the logic that only BAD people have to be given orders to preclude their BAD impulses. "That's bad! Put it down!" is even worse. "How good you are! You haven't messed up anything for hours." is a syllogistic indictment if there ever was one. This tells the child that s/he's usually BAD and that exploration and using one's mind and body are evils.
How could such gross errors POSSIBLY be part of good parenting?! They couldn't. "Good" is not a word one will ever hear in relationship contexts in MCs, nor is the word "bad." (See BAD, PUNISHMENT, POWER, I-STATEMENT, OBEDIENCE and DISCIPLINE.)
GROWTH: Change in which something gets bigger or better or more evolved.
There are two contexts here. One relates to the old, mechanistic paradigm being slowly replaced by the new, ecological-holistic one. The unlimited growth and exploitation goals of adolescent capitalist and communist states MUST be replaced by cooperation with nature and international cooperation, in which ecological concerns supersede profit motives as the dominant decision-making criterion.
The other growth context is cultural, psychological, social and spiritual. It replaces the immature obsession with the quantities of life with an ecological concern for the qualities of life. One could use the expression cultural-ethical maturity as a way of expressing what this growth context is all about. Paradoxically, what we need is more and less growth. We can use all the cultural-ethical maturity we can get. In fact, it's desperately needed. But much more old-paradigm growth (without going off-planet to do it) is simply not sustainable within the confines of our earthly biosphere, and could take us all under, in a flood of pollution, garbage, conflicts, and ecological irresponsibility.
In P.E.T., guidance imposed is oppression exposed, in colorful language. Guidance should be given when asked for, or when dangerous situations warrant it. Get hired as a consultant before you start being one, or your words will be blocked by the other person's resentment.
GUILT: A feeling that one is to blame. It's the principle tool of most religions.
Guilt can arise from either the authoritarian conscience or the humanistic conscience. (See EXTRINSIC for more on these two terms.) If it arises from the former, it represents feeling uncomfortable about what you feel someone else would feel about what you did. If it arises from the latter, it represents feeling uncomfortable about whether or not what you did was acceptable to your own, intrinsic value system.
In some cases, one's intrinsic and extrinsic value system may share the same values. But if one merely accepts some authority's values without consideration of who one is and what has meaning for one and what one cares most about in life, the values cannot be intrinsic, and one would merely be letting someone else do one's thinking for one and take responsibility for one.
True spirituality can never be the product of conformity and respect for/fear of authority—if it isn’t a product of finding oneself, it isn’t real
Everyone MUST confront the existential meaning—the "To be or not to be: that is the question"—of one's life alone and deeply. Without this there is no maturity, awareness, meaning, finding oneself or spirituality. One can't get such things from "being obedient to Daddy, one's preacher, one's guru, one's teacher or mentor, or one's political or corporate heroes." (See ENMESHMENT.) One must, in the final analysis, confront life alone. If one doesn't do this, EXISTENTIAL GUILT will arise (from the humanistic conscience), which, unconfronted, may lead to depression or angst. If confronted, one may be propelled, by nothing less than the unique facts of the existential human predicament, to confront one's place in the universe. Let there be no mistake about it: confronting the existential human predicament is both a necessary and a positive thing. MC alone space is a perfect, occupant-controlled context for such confrontations. (See ALONE SPACE, BLAME, BAD, PUNISHMENT, and EVIL.)
HARMONIOUS: Authoritative parenting but without the use of logical consequences, opting instead for natural consequences. P.E.T. is harmonious parenting, as well as Authoritative Lite. (See Authoritative and Democratic Parenting Programs, P.E.T., AUTHORITATIVE.)
HATE: Negative feelings for another.
Most people have such feelings (often ambivalently accompanied by love feelings) toward their parents, since most parents are sometimes negative, unloving, nonnurturing, inattentive, inconsiderate, neglectful, or otherwise unsuccessful need fillers. This is no one's fault. It's simply an inevitable result of the limits of the resources of the normal isolated nuclear, step-, or single-parent family. One might be tempted to think: "It's not fair that my son hates me, since I always did the best I could and nobody is perfect all the time." But this fails to take into account an overwhelming truth: When a child has needs, it isn't something remotely connected to logic and judgment. It's an internal need that is strongly felt and is related to universal needs for nurturance found in all children. Extraneous conditions such as a father in a bad mood or tired are not considered or relevant. The only thing relevant when a child needs is whether or not the need gets filled. A father would be silly to feel guilty that he isn't always in the proper state of mind for nurturance of his son. A mother would be just as silly for feeling guilty about these realities of life. However, there's an extreme difference between a dad telling a son to take a hike—when he needs his dad but his dad is tired—and a dad being resourceful by insuring that his son is not deprived needlessly. The only thing worse than telling him to take a hike is for Dad to pretend love and caring that he doesn't feel.
In MCs, aiding kids to preclude deprivation is trivially simple, and built right into the system. Outside of MCs, in normal, isolated nuclear or other types of families, this is often a hopeless situation. One can see, with only the simplest of logic, that the hate (along with resentment, guilt, confusion and low self-esteem) that arises when there is deprivation need not occur in an MC, but will almost always occur outside MCs. It's ironic that the situation of deprivation-based hate from a kid to an adult is just as common as its inverse. In its inverse, a parent feels a need, but at the time there is no one around the family's limited, inadequate environment but a child. The parent, having never had any training about how to parent, isn't aware of his/her own needs, and proceeds to lay them on the child. It's the unmerciful character of needs that they are so lacking in rationality and discretion: the parent resents the child for not filling the parent's needs and the child resents the parent for not filling the child's needs. It would certainly seem, in view of all the facts, that the internal, emotional make-up of humans is not very well suited for resource-poor, non-MC environments.
HONESTY: Telling the truth.
Ideally, this should be practiced by all members of a family. But when a young person finds out—in a fairly normal situation—that the truth will make his/her life hell, the truth has to be discarded for survival reasons and replaced by convenient deceptions that pacify others. It is quite common for children to find themselves in this bind. If a boy says how he feels and it gets responded to with insults, judgments, contradictions, punishments or mystifications, the boy will see that he either has to change his feelings (impossible), commit suicide (too radical and scary), or pretend feelings he doesn't have. The latter, when all is said and done, is the only real option.
If you've forgotten how often people respond inappropriately to the average kid's feelings, recall now what the normal parent's most likely responses will
be to the following feelings expressed by the child:
- expressing anger or hatred (punishment, humiliation, mystification or judgment)
- expressing a
preferred choice that's obviously not the "best" (moralizing, lecturing, warning)
- expressing pleasure at what s/he has just done (praising [sounds okay when you first consider it, but this response is usually a dangerous and inappropriate response; see PRAISE], judging, moralizing or criticizing)
- expressing fear (reassuring [sounds okay when you first consider it, but this response is usually a dangerous and inappropriate response that serves as a roadblock to communication and has many of the drawbacks of praise], sympathizing, ridiculing, lecturing, or criticizing)
Since all this is very normal, it can easily be seen how fast a child has to learn the art of deception in a normal family. (Although in the case of praise and reassurance, above, no deception need result, even though they are flawed responses.) In truth, children's feelings are not often dealt with sensitively or wisely. So emotional survival dictates a change in behavior in the direction of not expressing feelings (repression), pretending feelings (deception), or not even having them (hardening and deadening). A low EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) is the inevitable result. See Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.
Taking his/her feelings to a different person (relative, friend, sibling) is by far the most constructive option for the child, if the parent won't take responsibility for learning more about parenting so s/he can be more successful at responding wisely to others' feelings. This "taking of one's feelings to others" is a commonplace option in MCs; it's often an unavailable option outside of MCs. Either there are no alternate people to take feelings to, or the second or third person tried often is no better at hearing feelings than is the first person tried (due to lack of P.E.T. and Winning Family Lifeskills knowledge). In MCs, there are usually ongoing attempts to help parents learn about the aspects of parenting they have the most difficulty with, so people who respond poorly to others' feelings are aided in enhancing their responses.
HUB: An enclosed separate structure, room or apartment central to a group of homes (or living units), used to nurture young, and/or to nurture elders, and/or for MC meetings or other get-togethers, and/or for general playing and/or creativity, and/or for cottage industry pursuits, and/or for common laundry and/or cooking facilities. In block-home living, Hubs may have walkways connecting them to each house. This is recommended.
Probably in the future many hubs will be adjacent to MC productivity spaces in which a cottage industry (computer-related or crafts or telemarketing or
whatever) will act as a time-saving and pollution-eliminating (no car needed to get to work) feature. Parents or others may periodically check on or
relate to their young, and perhaps their elders as well (who are likely to be playing with the kids since that's one of the things grandparents say they
love most). Said checking on will be accomplished with incredible ease, convenience, and satisfaction.
Such situations will work fine in the suburbs, because not only are such jobs nonpolluting and noncongestive to traffic and nondestructive to suburban quality of life, quite the reverse is true: Such situations ELIMINATE a good deal of suburb-originating pollution and traffic congestion completely, since they eliminate many of the main needs for automobiles! Such situations eliminate many of the instances of bad daycare now in existence, since MCs do their caregiving within their boundaries, with everyone in touch with how young ones and elders are being treated. Such jobs, because of their remarkable resemblance to home businesses of centuries ago, would bring back some of the productive functions of families, extended families, and subcommunities, and some of the best qualities of the "good old days" (but none of the worst ones) would be brought back to life, much to the delight of conservatives of this country and the majority of people who expressed their agreement with such traditional values by voting for such people in elections. Such jobs, along with the MCs that contain them, help transform ticky-tacky, boring, TV-centered, automobile-obsessed suburbs into dynamic, livable sub-villages. (See SUN and see some hubs here.)
I-STATEMENT: In P.E.T., a statement that contains the word "I" and is used to indicate how the speaker feels about something.
This is modern, sophisticated communication for those who care about the success of relationships. And yet it's so simple. When you have a problem, you can let others know how you feel without blame or complaint; just tell them how you feel. They'll empathize with your feeling and feel like changing any behavior they may be engaging in that is contributing to your feeling, because they can feel that if they were in your shoes, they'd feel the same way.
IDENTITY: One's true self.
One also has what is sometimes known as a social identity—a role. This is unlikely to completely correspond with one's intrinsic identity (also called one's self-image or real self). People feel differently about you from the way you feel about yourself. And your social role oftentimes focuses on what others need and expect from you, while your intrinsic identity often focuses on what your needs and desires are, as well as being related to the meaning and potentials in your life. The taxi driver that took you to the airport may have an identity primarily focused upon being a mother, a wife, or an actress looking for a break—remember the TV sitcom Taxi?
The most important consideration in the development of identity for babies is true bonding with their primary caretakers
The most important considerations in the development of identity for babies are true bonding with their primary caretakers (usually the mothers) during their first six months of life, successfully dealing with the reality principle, and parents that engender growth, responsibility, independence, self-respect and security by way of proper nurturing and childcare. The most important factors to consider in identity development in childhood, adolescence and adulthood (identity continues to evolve in adulthood, even though usually all the major features are pretty well set by the time adolescence is through) are self-acceptance, being at cause, and examples to emulate. (See AT CAUSE and EMULATION.)
Adolescence is a time of identity upheaval, bewilderment and experimentation. The end of adolescence is supposed to be marked by the formation of a stable identity. It doesn't always work out that way. Much of this is due to inadequate parenting methods creating blocks to the young person's personality growth. Much of it is also due to the extended childhood caused by the realities of young people, for career reasons, having to stay in college until they're 21-26 years old. The fact that they're often still dependent upon parents financially (and often emotionally, in many ways) tends to postpone stable identity formation. It isn't until the young have to get a job, earn a living, and be responsible for themselves that they really find out who they are and what the world is really about and how they feel about their place in it. Here's where the identity gets a chance to level off and gain consistency.
If too much pressure comes to bear upon a person in his/her formative years, his/her identity may either center on pleasing others or on rebelling. In the first case, s/he may become a caricature of a parent, a follower, an obsessive champion of one parent's favorite cause, or a hollow, depressed person who feels like his/her self has been ripped off. A rebel, on the other hand, often takes on a negative identity, being AGAINST whatever the parents are for. This is not an effective way to find out who one IS. One eventually must take the maturity step of concentrating on what one wants, rather than on what one doesn't want. And, above all, one must eventually find true self-acceptance (uncommon) rather than spending one's life trying to rely on the fickle security from indirect self-acceptance (common). (See INDIRECT SELF-ACCEPTANCE.)
A rebel often takes on a negative identity, being AGAINST whatever the parents are for, which is not an effective way to find out who one IS
INDIRECT SELF-ACCEPTANCE: Approval from others, as opposed to approval from one's own self.
Originating with the uncommon wisdom of the Putneys in their The Adjusted American, this term refers to the dominant goal of normal neurotics—the "adjusted" Americans. It also explains why the anxious, alienated, other-directed Americans in Riesman's The Lonely Crowd are the way they are. The bottom line is that most Americans lack self-approval. So they seek approval from others (indirect self-acceptance). But, like the Red Queen in the Alice in Wonderland tale Through the Looking Glass, no matter how quick they are, they have to run twice that fast just to keep up with the demands of the indirect self-acceptance pursuit. In other words, the hopeless quest for indirect self-acceptance is a case of useless, squirrel-cage efforts and carrot-on-a-stick goals. The simple truth is: THERE IS NO POSSIBLE WAY TO FEEL ACCEPTABLE WITHOUT ACHIEVING TRUE SELF-ACCEPTANCE, SO THE EFFORTING ONE PUTS ONESELF THROUGH IN THE QUEST FOR INDIRECT SELF-ACCEPTANCE IS A LOT OF SOUND AND FURY SIGNIFYING NEUROSIS. It cannot succeed.
The hopeless quest for indirect self-acceptance is like Alice running twice as fast just to stay even
The next question, then, is why do most Americans lack self-approval? It stems from the way they are raised. They are forced to find themselves unacceptable. The image of an "acceptable person" learned in the normal, well-adjusted American home is a fake and a fraud—it can never be the image of any actual person. It is a nonexistent fantasy, a collective self-deception. The average kid has had NO shouted at him/her thousands of times and has heard the word BAD just as many times (see BAD). (Studies have shown that the average small child hears over 400 negative statements and only 32 positive statements every day, according to New and Improved Kids, a 1990 KPTV TV special.) Kids are shown and told that good children— acceptable children—do not do, think about, or desire the following: feel resentment towards parents, bite mama, question authority, tease the baby, play with excrement, play with their own bodies—especially their genitals, play doctor with other kids, or get mad at their parents. But all kids DO think about, desire, and do most of the above! Therefore virtually all kids, as a result of normal, but serious parenting errors, end up feeling bad and unacceptable.
To make matters worse, unattainable standards are held up in front of kids: They should be sports heroes, honor students, and the most popular kids in school. Obviously, almost all kids disappoint their parents here too. Finally, when puberty hits and sexual drives are strong, the early training about the body being dirty and sexual interests being nasty and unacceptable create shame and guilt; their new feelings seem so far from acceptable that they simply lose hope in ever feeling accepted—or even understood. So since there's no hope that they'll be able to accept themselves, because of how bad and nasty and unacceptable they are, they try to get others to accept them. This is the fundamental neurosis exploited by the advertising industry. (Many will spend lots of time on Facebook or other social networks seeking approval from others, which will fail because the only pursuit that could work is finding a way to accept themselves.)
The attempt to get others to accept oneself is prominent when people try to be sports heroes, lie about their feelings, become obsessed with every new style and fad, indulge in conspicuous consumption to impress the Joneses, charge over their credit limits until they're in deep debt, act phony in a friendly way that others find unnerving but which they hope is putting on a salable personality, act like they are sex queens or studs when they're not, and miss every opportunity for warmth and intimacy because they're too busy sexualizing (regarding nonsexual human-closeness needs as sexual out of fear of intimacy [because sex is less scary than true closeness], which in turn results from the steep gradient of nurturance in our society).
The preoccupation with indirect self-acceptance is usually taught—however unintentionally—to kids by parents, and it is further supported by teachers and ministers. But in the 21st century, it has become increasingly common for young people to experience the strongest pull of all (for indirect self-acceptance) in relationship to peer groups. Young people often turn to such groups for acceptance once they have determined that there is no hope in getting it from parents. Such groups are often obsessed with exact conformity to precise standards of behavior, many of which are incredibly superficial, naive, and senseless, as well as being barriers to insight and social growth. No one who truly accepted him/herself could possibly put up with the rigid restrictions such standards put on his/her behavior. It is a measure of just how few young people truly accept themselves when we notice just how many of our young are dependent upon cliques and gangs, and just how obsessive their dedication is to these groups. (See BAD, EXTRINSIC, ADJUSTMENT, IDENTITY, INTIMACY, and OBEDIENCE.)
INFIDELITY: Unfaithfulness, usually referring to married people sexually relating to people they're not married to.
This is one of the problems the MCs will virtually eliminate. In fact, MCs may be the most effective cure for this problem ever devised. This should become obvious once one makes an analysis of why people resort to such behavior in the first place:
The steep-gradient-nurturance parenting in American culture has far-reaching effects and implications. Children are taught to attempt to fill all their emotional needs in one place, and to put all their eggs in one basket (the daycare phenomenon has helped alleviate this problem slightly, but it doesn't have any effect on the way children are raised when they ARE at home, which is still the majority of the time).
Children are taught to attempt to fill all their emotional needs in one place, and to put all their eggs in one basket
Even though the mother-child bonding during the first six months of life is essential for healthy psychological well-being, it needs to be recognized that once this psychological and social foundation is laid, exclusive mother-child parenting is fraught with pitfalls and dangers of all types. Among these are overdependence, smothering, overwhelming, mystification, stifling, and instilling the psychological predispositions for win-lose character development in which the child learns to be manipulative, devious, suspicious, possessive, unrealistic, uncooperative, combative, mean, obsessed with sibling rivalry and/or oedipal motivations, opportunistic, overcompetitive, merciless, unsympathetic, envious, angry, and motivated by negative power (see POWER). In addition to all these negative potentials for the child's character, there are many pitfalls for the mother, psychologically, socially, and experientially.
It should already have started to become clear why infidelity is so likely a phenomenon (the majority of the American people eventually indulge in it). A mother is hardly likely to fill ALL the needs of any child. By setting herself up as a child's only resource—which so often happens, if only by default—the child's emotions in her direction can often reach the desperation and obsession level. He becomes so obsessed with her that he resents not only the father but his siblings as well, because they often "take away" his only resource, his only security, his only path to survival, joy, or need-satisfaction.
This common but regrettable steep-gradient-nurturance symptom means, of course, that children will have unrealistic expectations towards their mothers which will never be satisfied and that, as they grow up, they will transfer these expectations to others. No spouse can possibly live up to these expectations—any more than the mother ever did. So eyes wander in marriages, and eventually so do sexual desires, hearts and minds. As in The Adjusted American and countless other texts about parenting in our culture, the adult "child," who never really did get over his overattachment to his mother, begins his hopeless quest for someone who will fill his unfilled need for a perfect mother. In the case of the adult female "child," she has the added confusion of desperation for a mother being mixed with need for a more-effective father—she's likely to try to get a man to be mothering, something which he is singularly unprepared for and unlikely to respond to, especially since HE is busy trying to get HER to fill his unfilled needs for mothering.
It would be impossible, of course, for a man to get his unfilled needs for mothering filled at the hands of any woman alive. What he needs he needed THEN, and as an adult he may still desperately feel (almost always unconsciously) the need for such a thing but the chances of him being open and receptive to it if it were indeed offered to him are virtually nil. This leaves him needful, vulnerable, resentful, but also self-protectively defensive, angry and very repressed. He may sublimate all this energy into useful work, thought, or creativity. He may sexualize this energy and want to be sexually active with alarming frequency—his wife may eventually turn off to this, realizing that the "lovemaking" is mostly frustration, and not really positive feelings directed at her. This may cause him to seek to satisfy his impossible-to-satisfy needs elsewhere. You know the rest.
But it's also quite likely that the man won't even wait until the wife has become unresponsive (as her intuition tells her that something is amiss and that her needs for love are not being met). The wandering eyes will happen after only a few months of marriage regardless of whether he sexualizes or not and regardless of her responsiveness, for the simple reason that, responsive or not, his wife is simply NOT filling his unfilled needs for a mother. It's easy to see why the divorce rate has gotten so out of hand, and if it weren't for herpes and AIDS, the accelerating rates would have gone through the roof. As it is, more people will stay monogamous and married out of fear than out of satisfaction with their relationships. People will be "making do" in order to not risk catching something terrible from the next partner down the line. Fidelity out of fear is hardly a basis for a good marital relationship, but it does help a little for holding down sexually-transmitted disease epidemics.
Infidelity, then, is caused by unrealistic parenting methods which cause unrealistic expectations and lack of need fulfillment which in turn causes people to seek spouses who will actually be mothers and fathers in disguise, and this is a search that can never have a successful outcome, of course. So even though most people get married eventually, most of them are going to end up dissatisfied and frustrated because their impossible goals cannot be reached and their childhood needs cannot even be acknowledged, much less filled.
Behind this seeking is the hopeless search for indirect self-acceptance (see INDIRECT SELF-ACCEPTANCE) in which one finds oneself unacceptable (this wouldn't happen if P.E.T. and Winning Family Lifeskills parenting were utilized), and one searches for someone, mostly a mother symbol, who will find one acceptable and hopefully make the feeling of unacceptability go away (obviously this is doomed from the start, since only how one feels about oneself can truly allow one to feel acceptable).
And then there is sexualizing, in which fear of intimacy (due to steep-gradient nurturance upbringing) but frustration from lack of same, need for a mother (which one cannot face consciously so one transmogrifies this deep-seated, unfilled need into something one can bear to acknowledge—sex), and redirected, unfilled needs for loving relationships all get dumped into a bucket labeled "sexual needs and desires" and then acted upon. Sexualizing is a prime cause of infidelity.
Sexualizing would be rare if people would follow the advice of the seven sages, as well as Socrates, Jesus, Alexander Pope, et. al., and somehow learn to "know thyself." But our culture has a vested interest in not supporting our endeavors to get to know ourselves. (See Media Sexploitation.) Our cultural conditioning amplifies our childhood deprivation emotions, exploiting them for commercial purposes, using the search for acceptability, the search for sexual fulfillment, the search for a mother figure (think of cigarettes as nipples and various aspects of older makes of cars as overt breast symbols), and the search for close, intimate, meaningful, satisfying human relationships as hooks to snare us into consuming, whether or not we need the products involved.
The MC lifestyle, on the other hand, is specifically designed to help people let go of their addictions to the endless treadmill-running in pursuit of the impossible and the unacknowledged. This lifestyle will help people search for what they really want and need rather than settling for neurotic substitutes. It will help people raise their young so they feel acceptable, fill their needs, form deep and loving relationships based upon reality rather than illusion and self-deception, and raise other young in an effective, life-affirming way. It will prevent infidelity. Let's look at why:
A normal, alienated, isolated, disconnected, mother-seeking, indirect-self-acceptance-hunting American, when faced with an attractive coworker or neighbor of the opposite sex is merely reminded of unfilled emotional and relational needs, waning sexual interest in his marriage, kids that are running him ragged and making him wonder why he ever decided to have a family in the first place, and his own mortality. He asks himself if he can bear to pass up the few opportunities he gets for true sexual excitement, passion, feeling alive, and perhaps even a great love affair. After all, you only live once, and none of us are getting any younger. There's even a chance that he'll find the woman he "should" have married—Ms. Right, in which case he'll trade in Gertrude for Fifi.
It seldom occurs to him that he's still looking for self-acceptance because of defects in his upbringing and he's trying to get it indirectly even though that's impossible. Likewise he doesn't see how he's trying to fill impossible-to-fill needs for a mother, and then sexualizing these needs because they're unacceptable to him. The one need that he may be aware of somewhat is the need for a deep, meaningful closeness with another human being. But since this is painful because it is absent in his life, he may simply label his feelings "sexual desires" and let it go at that. This man will normally cave in to his "sexual" feelings after enough temptations have manifested. He'll engage in infidelities.
The MC man will be in a different situation. He will have a lot of close, meaningful relationships. The one with his spouse will include sexual expression; the rest will not. But the marital one as well as the nonmarital relationships will be satisfying—most of the male adults in his MC will be in a best friend or brother context in his mind, and most of the female adults in his MC will be in a sisterly or friend context in his mind. He may sexualize when he passes a pretty woman on the street, simply because it's fun and exciting and normal and an acceptable outlet for fantasy and imagination. But he won't feel much of the neurotic drive to act out these fantasies. He will be a person who feels fulfilled and satisfied, with lots of relationships and plenty of loving friends. These will mean too much to him to jeopardize, whether by the relationship consequences of infidelity or the potential for bringing home terrible diseases to his spouse.
If this man had been brought up in an MC, he will not have many unfilled childhood needs, he will not be seeking a mother in relationships, he will not be looking for indirect self-acceptance, and he will not be looking around with unrealistic expectations and neurotic hopes. So there will be nothing to support his straying from the path of fidelity—the very thought would be distasteful and stupid to him. He will be intrinsically motivated not to goof up or act out any stray inclination.
If this man had not been brought up in an MC, but had only just joined an MC, he would surely experience some neurotic emotions and desires as well as some
unrealistic expectations due to the inadequacies of his past. But he is now in an MC. He has more and better relationships than ever before and he's
happier than ever before—he has a deep desire to never risk losing such a great lifestyle. He will be intrinsically motivated to not risk his
lifestyle, but perhaps insufficiently, in the case of first-generation MC adults who'd been raised in non-MC lifestyles. So the balance of the motivation
that would prevent him from acting out neurotic needs and sexualized desires would have to come from extrinsic sources. He'd know how deeply disappointed
others would be if he wrecked his chances by acting out and then got booted out.
In normal, disconnected, alienated, superficial communities, the amount of guilt, shame and loss at being booted out for immoral behavior would be relatively minimal. But in this subcommunity composed of everyone he loves and respects and everyone who loves and respects him, the loss would be unbearable and utterly devastating—worse than getting thrown out of ones family. The unthinkable shame and hurt of being booted out of this close-knit subcommunity would feel even worse than a person would feel upon being deported from the country he loves. Love and respect for family (including his "extended" family) would prevent any acting out from this man. Furthermore, he would feel sisterly closeness with many adult women and he would strongly feel that sexual feelings in their direction would be "incestuous" and wrong if acted upon. (The mere event of a sexual feeling arising in this direction would be seen as acceptable and nonproblematical, since—as any shrink will tell you—this is normal between various nonspousal members of families. It's only the acting out that is abnormal, forbidden, and wrong. What this world does NOT need is Thought Police!)
Because of how fulfilling it was to have so many people that he was truly close with, he would not feel the emptiness of normal, alienated people. He wouldn't be looking to fill a void with sex, consumption or cheap thrills. His intimacy component would feel fulfilled, so he would be reaching out to others to help fill other's needs for love, security and self-awareness (close encounters of the first and second kind) instead of looking at women as mother-beings to "get something" from. Since he wasn't raised in an MC, there would be residual neurotic desires that would try to lead him astray, but he would be in the company of people who would be all too happy to help him learn more about himself, express his feelings regardless of what they were, and respect his "Alone" sign when he needed to be alone and confront various aspects of his feelings, life, past, upbringing, relationships, etc. People armed with the best of P.E.T. and Winning Family Lifeskills methodology would know how to help him be inspired to gain insight into himself and make good, compassionate, wise decisions. And there'd be MCs in existence that would be excellent examples to emulate.
INNER-DIRECTED: Controlled by the guilt a superego uses to keep you following the values and morals you were raised with. The key to why this happens is that you don’t really accept yourself so you’re looking for what Putney and Putney call indirect self-acceptance, or acceptance from inner, symbolic parental figures in place of self-acceptance. Inner-directed is a Riesman term that is often mistakenly thought to be Riesman's ideal, self-directed person. Both these ideas are wrong. His ideal type is the autonomous type, a truly self-directed person. Inner-directed is a type that is superego directed, NOT self directed. (See The Lonely Crowd, by David Riesman.)
INNER PARENTING: (See SELF PARENTING.)
INTIMACY: True closeness.
Sexual activity may or may not include intimacy—usually it does not. In true intimacy one risks being oneself, having one's true feelings, and being open and compassionate and caring. This is exactly the type of relating the adjusted American rarely, if ever achieves, as a result of past overwhelm in a steep-gradient-of-nurturance environment. S/he was taught indirect self-acceptance goals, however unintentionally, and this sort of motivation precludes real possibilities for intimacy.
INTRINSIC: The opposite of extrinsic, this describes motivations, identities, beliefs or values that are the result of a person who is AT CAUSE, in control of and responsible for his/her life, and s/he is his/her own person.
Intrinsics come from within; extrinsics come from outside the individual. Intrinsics are what the humanistic conscience contains; extrinsics are what the authoritarian conscience contains—regardless of how much these values have been "internalized." (See EXTRINSIC, AT CAUSE, CONTROL, and SELF-ACTUALIZATION.)
JEALOUSY: The feeling that you desire something or someone possessed by or committed to someone else, usually accompanied by resentment of a rival.
The emotion is mostly a product of steep-gradient nurturing in which normal, Adjusted American parenting errors lead to a neurotic need for indirect self-acceptance, and also lead to exaggerated oedipal motivations, exaggerated sibling rivalry, and the obsession with competition, future orientation, unjustified expectations, unrealistic romantic idealism, and heroic rugged individualism. The actual mechanism driving the jealousy is the emptiness resulting from the bad self-image that normal, Adjusted American neurotics usually harbor. (See INDIRECT SELF-ACCEPTANCE.) The need to fill this emptiness is part of the negative cultural heritage endemic to Americans.
True self-acceptance precludes most jealousy, since when someone you care about is happy in the company of someone else, that makes you happy too (if it
doesn't it's time to examine your motivations, self-acceptance, and patterns of caring). Sexual jealousy, on the other hand, probably has pre-wired
instinctual and even genetic roots. It need not control one's actions, but it does make a case for monogamy, serial monogamy, or at least commitment. In
the age of incurable and even fatal sexually-transmitted diseases, commitment, loyalty and fidelity (see INFIDELITY) have never been wiser ideas. But this
should not mean restrictions on people's nonsexual friendships of either sex, regardless of marital status. The LAST thing the adjusted American needs is to reduce the number of social resources in
his/her lifestyle so that s/he is trying to get all his/her needs filled from one source. If you remember, it is exactly this situation (between the child
and the mother, during childhood, and between spouses, during adulthood) that has led to so much of the social and psychological symptomatology in our modern
society in the first place! (See DIFFUSION OF NURTURANCE and LOVE.)
In today's normal social conventions, people often don't want spouses having close opposite-sex friends, since any unfilled intimacy needs are likely to get sexualized and acted upon. So you don't want wifey having close male friends or hubby having close female friends. This is understandable but sad and symptomatic of a society out of whack. It's unfortunately true that unfilled intimacy needs are likely to get sexualized and acted upon in normal non-MC society. However, in MCs spouses having close opposite-sex friends as well as same-sex friends all over the MC is par for the course, expected, accepted, and encouraged. Spouses will fill all sexual needs with each other and nonspouse friends will be seen as sisters or brothers, and any sexual feelings that arise will get sublimated into friendship energy the same as it does when brothers and sisters experience such feelings in or out of MCs. It's not rocket science: when emotional and friendship and intimacy needs are well filled, people have no need to try to add sneaking illicit sex into their agenda. Remember, infidelity is a symptom of unfilled needs. Often it stems from low self-esteem and inner emptiness which one is trying to fill neurotically. But if one doesn't like oneself, one cannot love others—hence the settling for sex instead of the real need for intimacy which is driving one. Once the spouse is found to not be the mother object one seeks unconsciously due to ones steep-gradient nurturance upbringing, one applies this desperate neurotic struggle to others in a hopeless quest for the impossible. See INFIDELITY for a more complete discussion of the issue.
LIFESKILLS: (See WINNING FAMILY LIFESKILLS.)
LIFESTYLE: The living habits, patterns, and conditions, the type of residence, and the relationship habits in a person's life.
Often, lifestyle is a reaction to how one was raised. One either adopts the lifestyle of one's parents, without thinking (REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT THAT LIFESTYLE WAS HAPPY, PRODUCTIVE, BENEVOLENT, HOPEFUL, AND GROWTH- AND INSIGHT-PROMOTING), or one recoils from the memory of the parents' lifestyle, and the chaos and unhappiness in the environment in which one was raised, and adopts what one feels is a distinctly dissimilar lifestyle. (See IDENTITY.) In either case, whether one in reacting for or against parental lifestyles, the source of the choice is parent-related, at effect, and extrinsic. (See EXTRINSIC and AT EFFECT.) What's needed is action that's at cause, intrinsic, and a decision of one's real self. Action, not reaction.
LOGICAL CONSEQUENCES: The parenting method used in place of natural consequences whenever persuasive natural consequences are unlikely to occur. It is less helpful in parenting than natural consequences, because it can feel like imposed punishment to a child—especially if done wrong. But it’s sometimes needed, according to most advocates of authoritative parenting. P.E.T. and people who strictly adhere to P.E.T. guidelines don’t use it. But advocates of Winning Family Lifeskills and most other parenting methods do.
This term is being used by not just the authoritative parenting movement but also by the "positive parenting" movement to mean imposing a set of choices on a child when he becomes a problem. "Either eat with your mouth closed or eat when the rest of us are done" is admittedly better than punishment, insults, or rejection. But better still is the strategy called natural consequences, whereby people allow the natural limits of the situation to guide the person. Mother may want her daughter to wear a sweater, but if the daughter stubbornly wants to get attention for being too tough to need a sweater, then being cold will teach her the needed lesson much better than being hollered at, threatened, or not allowed to go out. See more on this subject in Authoritative and Democratic Parenting Programs.
Invented by the troubadours of the Middle Ages, love was seen as the proper basis for romance and affairs, but never for marriage
LOVE: This means warm liking and affectionate devotion, in normal use, but here we will discriminate between two types: romantic or conditional love, both based upon need-based D-love (deficiency based), and unconditional love, based upon being-based B-love (see below).
Invented by the troubadours of the Middle Ages, love was seen as the proper basis for romance and affairs, but never for marriage—the two were thought to be incompatible. But as morality influenced the concept of love over the centuries, there eventually evolved a concept in which one married and lived happily ever after soon after falling in love. To the knight, it was the inaccessibility that made love work, that kept the excitement up, and that made his beloved fair maiden so ideal, perfect, and irresistible. In these modern times, once you possess your beloved, the excitement dies down and you can't help asking that Clara Peller classic, "Where's the beef?" (referring to the advertising campaign Clara did for the Wendy's fast food restaurant chain).
Romantic love is a very shaky basis for marriage. Friendship, compatibility, and common interests seem a better basis, if you compare the marriages that have worked with those that have failed. Even economic and bloodline considerations, the major factors in times past, seem to have created much more successful marriages than romantic-love-based marriages. Of course, all this brings up the question of the definition of love. Romantic love is about projecting alienated potentials of oneself onto a loved one and adoring them embodied in that person. For example: males often aren't allowed to express their gentle, nurturing sides, if they are to preclude the ridicule of their peer group. So they project an idealized version of gentle nurturance onto a female and fall in love with it, and then attempt to unite with and possess their beloved, thereby "completing themselves." See The Adjusted American: Normal Neurosis in the Individual and Society.
Paradoxically, this search for integrity and completeness often leads us in a direction opposite to that of the true path to integrity, because of the nature of the well-defined standards and traditions one is "supposed" to follow in one's search for this elusive completeness. Another example of projecting alienated potentials: parents may have oppressed the career yearnings of a female and pushed her to find a successful male to "take care of her," as if mature adults were supposed to need "taking care of." She then finds a successful male to live through, adoring his career successes. The problem with this immature version of love, obviously, is that it depends upon (1) what you are NOT, (2) what you project upon the other person, (3) what each needs rather than the BEING of each, and (4) how much you are or are not self-accepting.
A truly self-accepting person would want a more mature version of love, one in which the BEING of each (not the illusion) is nurtured; one in which the vestiges of emotional dependence of each are given space to evolve into independence and full autonomy; one in which self-actualization is encouraged, as opposed to what happens in the normal marriage. The normal marriage is based upon trying to get one's partner to play the role of the mother or father one still needs (due to inadequate parenting—which is also normal). It is inadequate need-filling—past deprivations—that combine with the negative self-image from erroneous parenting methods to produce the context for the normal striving in romance, in which one wins a mother or father to take the place of the one that one still needs (but can't acknowledge needing and can't have), and in which one fills one's emptiness with the other and with one's alienated, projected potentials.
The American culture, with its conspicuous consumption, materialism, and steep gradient of nurturance (see DIFFUSION OF NURTURANCE), predisposes us toward the elusive butterfly of romance, alienation, seeking mommies and daddies in our boyfriends and girlfriends and spouses, and filling our emptiness not only with things, via consumption, but people, via romantic love. Half of marriages begun today will end in divorce, and many of the rest of them will be peopled by human beings who tried, failed, gave up, and now stay with the marriage out of apathy, resignation, religious convictions, fear of AIDS, parental pressures, or desperation. From this you can easily judge how well the romantic basis of marriage is working. Many cultures would laugh at the idea of romance-based marriages.
In Maslow's words, love based upon needs (what a person isn't and hasn't) is D-love and love based upon being (what a person is and has) is B-love. The D stands for deficiency and it's a conditional type of love, and the B stands for being and it's an unconditional type of love. The fact that one feels hate for a girlfriend when she is with a different male proves that one is conditionally "loving" her for what she can give, which is the way D-love operates, and not for who she is, which is the way B-love operates.
MCs incorporate B-love between spouses and from parent to child, and D-love from child to parent only. They will therefore evolve B-cognitional perception (perceiving accurately from a being state rather than inaccurately from a need state), and MCs will be composed of B-loving people with a lot to give (uncommon), rather than a lot of emptiness to fill up (like non-MC normals). When MCs first start and there are residual adult-to-adult D-love relationships at first for some members, the nurturing MC environment itself will help said relationships transform into B-love relationships fairly rapidly since social, emotional, and intimacy needs of all types get filled, resolving any residual "emptiness," self-esteem, loneliness, or relationship issues rapidly. Remember, P.E.T. relationship standards are in effect, so people's feelings get sensitive active listening and respect rather than the communication roadblocks omnipresent in normal adult-adult and adult-child relationships. The inspiration and security and happiness that result from such wonderfully nurturing relationships cannot help but create rapid growth and maturity in all members, with those that mature slowest getting help from the faster maturers.
Immature, romantic D-love is the worst reason to get married, but mature B-love is the best reason to get married. B-love evolving out of a normal
lifestyle is oxymoronically unlikely—it'd be a real fluke. But in MCs it would be the norm. All this doesn't mean that B-lovers can't play at romance, or use it as an occasional diversion. Everyone has at least a trace of projectable, unactualized, repressed, alienated
potentials, as well as places of inner emptiness, as well as unfilled needs. But romance as a basis for love, or for marriage, or for fulfillment, or for
happiness, or for satisfaction? That's asking for trouble. Mature B-love is a solid basis for the above. D-love-based romance is merely a temporary,
pleasant flirtation with the unactualized parts of oneself. Our apologies to Rock Hudson and Doris Day! (See BEING, AT CAUSE, SELF-ACTUALIZATION and
INTIMACY and read The Adjusted American.)
If you're thinking to yourself that MCs aren't for you because you enjoy romance so much, you're getting confused because of seeing too many romantic movies. Let's say you've been in an MC for several years and you've matured, become self-actualized, and you're now autonomous and all your relationships are B-love, except for the D-love from children to you experienced when you nurture little ones. Think of the most "romantic" movie you've ever seen. Recall the inspiring closeness and sweet intimacy and loving emotions depicted. You identified with them and wanted to experience this in your own life. But now you're a mature B-love experiencer—not D-love. The inspiring closeness and sweet intimacy and loving emotions of the romance you recall in the movie are NOT something you'll give up when you mature. Keep reading.
As you can learn in Toward a Psychology of Being, with B-love you get the inspiring closeness and sweet intimacy and loving emotions doubled and forever, rather than temporarily until the illusions wear out and you move on to the next potential lover. But you're not limited to just a spouse in MCs. The inspiring closeness and sweet intimacy and loving emotions will be between you and any or all other members. (Intimacy means emotional closeness, not sex, even though our neurotic society insists on lumping sex into the definition of intimacy because sex is so easy and nearly anyone can do it. But true intimacy involves the courage to risk true openness, so it is more rare than most people believe and it's therefore not a necessary aspect of the society's neurotic definition of intimacy.)
So we're saying that in MCs you'll get MORE than what you saw in that movie, not less. More depth, and with more people. Too much to hope for? Outside MCs, it surely is. But not in MCs. And once you experience B-love and know why it is better than D-love-based romantic illusions, you'll see why MCs have the power to change the world. Just think of a couple dozen people who care deeply for each other including the kids. Can you imagine how kids will respond to such an unheard-of miracle? Go straight to the The Forest Through The Trees webpage, get our free novel, and read it. Starting to get the picture?
MC: Microcommunity. A subcommunity of families in separate but proximate houses or apartments that see each other as great friends and important human resources for childcare, friendship, probably elder care, and mutual supports of many kinds.
An MC brings back the best of the traditions of close-knit communities and adequate social relationships. P.E.T. and Winning Family Lifeskills parenting (or other Authoritative and Democratic Parenting Programs) methods, proven for decades, enhance MC relationship quality as well, and are an essential element of MCs, as are PSBs.
MC DATABASE: The MySQL database, on a hosted server, that keeps track of MC aspirants' names, cities, email address, interests, type of friends preferred, etc.
This can be searched so that people can find other people with whom they are especially compatible.
MECHANISTIC-REDUCTIONISTIC PARADIGM: (See ECOLOGY.)
MYSTIFICATION: In general, the act of messing with someone else's experience, involving a misdefining of reality, and usually contradictions, invalidations, denials, and a constant shifting of meaning and position.
If Johnny tells his dad that he is afraid to go in the water and his dad tells him "No you're not," then Dad is mystifying Johnny—enough of this kind of thing can lead to schizoid personalities or even schizophrenia. If a mother has lots of unfilled needs and her daughter often expresses needs of her own, the mother may be made uncomfortable by her daughter's needs since they remind her of her own needs, so in the name of comfort she might tell her daughter that she doesn't really need or want what she says she wants, or she might act in a way that drives the daughter away; but then, because she WISHES she was a good mother, she might ask the daughter why she never comes to her to get that need filled—this covertly puts the blame for the daughter's deprivation on the daughter herself.
Mystification is a way that psychologically disturbed people pass on their malady to the next generation by confusing them until they're out of their minds. When one cannot face certain qualities about oneself, but one's children expose these qualities just by being, needing, and communicating, parents sometimes tangle up their children's communications, invalidate the actions, words, and BEINGS of their children, and otherwise stop them from unintentionally exposing the truths about the parents. One thing to keep in mind about this sort of psychological violence: no matter how unintentional, it has sent tens of millions of people to mental institutions over the years, and has sent many more to shrinks to "find out what is wrong with themselves." What's wrong with themselves is that the people who brought them up were incapable of nurturing, and the biggest tragedy of all is that these victims of mystification NEVER HAD ANY ALTERNATE SOURCES OF NURTURING TO TURN TO WHEN THOSE WHO WERE SUPPOSED TO BE NURTURING THEM WERE, IN TRUTH, SIMPLY DRIVING THEM NUTS. It would be impossible to overemphasize the significance of this regarding the preventative functions of MCs. Think of all that wasted humanity—all those wasted lives—all that pain and soul-deep suffering. And all because of the inadequacies of the normal lifestyle.
Note: Keep in mind that some people seem to get mentally ill regardless of their environment, simply because they are genetically programmed to. With others it's a combination of nature and nurture. And with still others it appears to be solely because of adverse environmental circumstances. So it's inappropriate to think that you know that bad parenting is involved when you see mental illness. It may or may not be but it's been shown that it usually is involved, unfortunately. But each case is unique—no one generality applies. (The parents may have done well but a horrible trauma like accidentally killing someone or being raped by a gang drives the person nuts anyway, for example.) Also, it's no one's fault. People don't pass on mental illness genes on purpose, nor do they drive their kids nuts on purpose. All one can be sure of is that if parenting improves, there will be a lot less mental illness. Unlike normal familes, MCs will never produce mental illness, but they could easily prevent illness in someone who had mental illness proclivities. A good enough environment can prevent many such proclivities from manifesting.
Mystification patterns in parenting are one way to create mental illness in kids
NATURAL CONSEQUENCES: (See LOGICAL CONSEQUENCES.)
NO-LIMIT PERSON: Dr. Wayne Dyer’s self-actualized, autonomous person, the goal of all of Dyer’s books.
NO-LOSE PROBLEM SOLVING:
The six steps are:
- Defining the problem
- Generating possible solutions
- Evaluating the possible solutions
- Deciding on the best solution
- Implementing the decision
- Follow-up evaluation
The No-lose method uses influence but not power. It doesn't force people; it finds a way for both sides to experience some kind of win; it's called win-win or no-lose. And both sides come up with the solution together, which means they can own it and take responsibility for it. This is straight out of P.E.T.
NORMAL: Here the Webster and Oxford Dictionaries lay a bit of mystification (see MYSTIFICATION) on us. The first definition found says that normal means standard or usual, but the second one tells us that normal means free from mental or emotional disorders.
But is it really "usual" to be so free of mental or emotional disorders? It's easy to see that these definitions are contradictory: either normal means swamped in problems, like the average American and the average family (see below), or it means a problem-free standard to shoot for. You can't have it both ways. Throughout our website it has been stated many times that most average people—in other words, the culture at large—believe that most of the families around them are Leave It To Beaver families, problem-free nuclear families consisting of happily-relating normals, free of emotional or mental disorders and parenting effectively. As these types of dictionary definitions show, it's taking a long time for the shock of reality to filter down through the traditional belief systems and impact the public awareness.
What remained when most social tasks were exteriorized in the 1950s was the isolated ‘nuclear family,’ held together less by the functions its members performed as a unit than by fragile psychological bonds that are all too easily snapped
- Statistically, in the 21st century the Leave It To Beaver-structured nuclear families with children are only a small
minority now (under 22 percent in 2012 and, unlike the Cleaver mother, most of these mothers work), and their numbers are shrinking fast.
- The rest of the
population is composed of married couples without children (28.2 percent), single-parent families (nearly 29 percent), or people who live alone (over 28
percent in 2008) or with unrelated people (almost 5.6 percent).
- There are lots more nonfamily households than there are households with kids.
- As for the "free of mental or emotional disorder" illusion: Only about 4 percent of families are considered fully functional, and 96 percent are considered dysfunctional, with sexual dysfunction in two thirds of the marriages, with 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men reporting problems.
- Half of all children (35.6 million) live in a household where a parent or other adult uses tobacco, drinks heavily or uses illicit drugs.
- And 37.4 percent of children (27 million) live in a household where a parent or other adult smokes or chews tobacco, 23.8 percent of children (17 million) live in a household where a parent or other adult is a binge or heavy drinker, 12.7 percent of children (9.2 million) live in a household where a parent or other adult uses illicit drugs.
- And there is emotional abuse in 99 percent of families, spouse abuse in 12.5 percent of couples (approximately 20% of the 1.5 million people who experience intimate partner violence annually obtain civil protection orders from judges).
- Sexual abuse is experienced by 1/3 of females.
- Concerning child abuse, in 2010 there were around 3,300,000 children reported as neglected or abused.
- Experts estimate that abuse is so rarely reported that, in reality, it occurs in 10 to 50 percent of homes.
- Percent of all births to unmarried women in 2010: 40.8%.
- Out-of-wedlock births: (15 percent of teens giving birth in 1960 and 56 percent of teens giving birth in 1986).
- Almost half (48%) of all nonmarital first births are to teen parents.
- And about 1/3 of all Americans suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lives.
- Suicide attempts are up since the 1940s for young people aged 15 to 24 (250 percent for females and 300 percent for males).
- Number of suicide deaths in 2010: 38,364; deaths per 100,000 population: 12.4; and cause of death rank: 10 (it is the 10th leading cause of death).
- Divorce rates per 1000 in 2010 are about double what the 1930s rate was.
- There were 1,000,000 runaways per year in 1985 and 1,600,000 in 2002.
All this surely doesn't sound like the Cleavers to us! If “normal” is going to continue to try to mean both “without disorder” and “usual,” it will end up as the most ludicrous oxymoron in history. But once the MCs are in full swing, ironically, “without disorder” will be “usual’” and the dictionary will no longer be in error. (Most sources will be found by following the above links.)
NURTURE: To nourish, rear, empower, support, love, and encourage another person.
Many of today's common practices are detrimental to the nurturing process, such as isolated lifestyles, steep-gradient nurturing, authoritarian or permissive (or mixed) parenting, mobility, environmental irresponsibility, the dominance of the automobile, remote friends and relatives and caregivers, and abuse of substances. The MCs help our society learn the wisdom of discontinuing such practices and substituting what works. See AUTHORITATIVE and MC.)
OBEDIENCE: Doing what one is told to do.
A word that is rapidly being dropped from marriage vows, since it is humiliating for marriages to be based on promises to obey—the culture is wiser than that now. Centuries ago there were good reasons for obedience to be asked of spouses, and of children who helped work the land and bring in the crops—survival was at stake. In the military and in prisons, there is still a need for a certain amount of this type of power relationship. But the notion that parents ought to have power relationships with their children, telling them what to do, forcing them to do things, and punishing every failure to obey, is an anachronism no longer viable, excusable, or needed in advanced societies. Negative power (force) is rapidly becoming a nonviable methodology in international relationships (what good did the Vietnam War or the U.S. invasion of Iraq do except cost us trillions of dollars and get us deep in debt?), and negative power is beginning to take on a reputation as being inexcusable and barbaric (except to counter terrorists). The same thing is happening in families. P.E.T. and Winning Family Lifeskills have been instrumental in paving the way for cultural evolution in the area of parenting, relationships, and conflict resolution. (See P.E.T., POWER, DISCIPLINE, AT EFFECT and PUNISHMENT.)
Obedience is a reasonable goal in dog training, but NOT in parenting!
ONTOLOGY: The science of BEING and existence. (See BEING.)
OTHER-DIRECTED: Controlled by the set of accepted peer values you’ve adopted. The key to why this happens is that you don’t really accept yourself so you’re looking for what Putney and Putney call indirect self-acceptance, or acceptance from others in place of self-acceptance. Other-directed is a Riesman term. (See The Lonely Crowd, by David Riesman.)
P.E.T.: Parent Effectiveness Training. An international parenting movement begun by Dr. Thomas Gordon that has had great success and is highly respected. It includes the procedures for truly successful relationships between anyone and anyone. (See NO-LOSE PROBLEM SOLVING, ACTIVE LISTENING, WIN-WIN, ROADBLOCKS TO COMMUNICATION, PRAISE, and I-STATEMENTS.)
PARADIGM: A set of beliefs serving as the current model for how things are or how things should be done.
The mechanistic paradigm of infinite growth, bigger is better, more is better, dominance, exploitation, reductionism and competition is slowly being replaced by the "kinder, gentler" paradigm of ecology, environmentalism, cooperation, nurturance, win-win, holistic health (and science, psychology, sociology, economics, and medicine), as you read this. (See POWER and BELIEF.)
PEACE CORPORATION: A Toffler term for an internationally chartered peace company that would be paid solely for furthering peace in a specific area of the world. Its profits would come from limiting and/or eliminating war and terrorism. This is the type of Third Wave, new paradigm (ecological-holistic) thinking that it will take to stop or at least diminish war and terrorism.
PERMISSION: Consent or authorization.
What one must have before entering another person's space in an MC, except in dire emergencies. Parents or other adults are NOT exceptions to this rule! (See ALONE SPACE.)
PERMISSIVE: Parenting in which the children have most of the power; they win and the parents lose, usually. One type of permissive parenting is simply disinterested and neglectful. Another type is overindulgent and doting. Kids think they like having so much power in such situations. But it has been shown that kids want guidelines and limits, and they prefer a win-win family to one in which they have to “get their way.” Because, in truth, kids that “win” are actually losing, relative to character, happiness, and their futures. The best way to parent is with authoritative or harmonious methods. (See AUTHORITATIVE, HARMONIOUS, P.E.T., WIN-WIN.)
POWER: The ability to do something.
It comes in two flavors: positive and negative. Positive power is what people raised with a flat gradient of nurturance will naturally tend toward, as will anyone who was well nurtured (example: MCs) so that his/her needs were well met in childhood. Positive power is the ability to empathize with, empower, inspire, cooperate with, love, and nurture another.
Negative power is the ability to coerce, threaten, torture, exploit, dominate, control, brainwash, and kill another. The old, mechanistic paradigm (supported by steep-gradient nurturance traditions) has led us in the negative power direction for far too long—almost to the point of irreversible catastrophe (nuclear war or irreversible environmental destruction). The new, ecological paradigm is leading toward a gentler, more human world in which cooperation and compassion prevail. Only a madman would try to thwart such a benevolent transformation. P.E.T. and Winning Family Lifeskills are positive power in the family context, which is why they work so well.
Power, in Toffler's view, is based upon knowledge, wealth, and coercion. Of these three, knowledge is fast becoming the most important in today's world. The world is experiencing a deepening split between the “slow” and the “fast,” the info-haves and the info-have-nots.
POWERSHIFT: Powershift: A book by the Tofflers whose title refers to a deep change in the very nature of power. The transcendence of lower quality power (coercion and wealth) by the highest quality power, knowledge, is a defining characteristic of the Third Wave (see THIRD WAVE.). The shift is part of the paradigm shift from the mechanistic-reductionistic worldview to the ecological-holistic worldview Knowledge, the ultimate amplifier of power, is fast becoming the key wealth-builder in today’s world. The powershift happens because of knowledge applied, not just knowledge known.
PRAISE: Words of encouragement that normally contain a hidden agenda to influence another person covertly, as well as a judgment.
This may usually be harmless and even encouraging when applied to adults, but when applied to children, this traditional motivating strategy is dangerous and must be used sparingly and delicately and in a certain way for it to not do more harm than good. (Praise is one of the most misunderstood of all relationship patterns. There is more misinformation on this subject—including that disseminated by well-meaning "experts"—than on any other subject we know of.) Wrong: "You did great!" "You are a great artist." "I think that's a lot better than any of your friends could do." "You were a good boy to help me with that." Right: "I am impressed with that drawing. I like it!" "I feel happy about the way you helped me with those dishes." Notice the I-statements in the good type of praise, as well as the absence of defining other people or their work ("good," "great," "better"). The use of such defining statements is detrimental in that it attempts to control behavior and manipulate attitudes and feelings, which tends to make kids into junkies for indirect self-acceptance. The use of I-statements that describe simple feelings, without hidden manipulations, definers, comparatives or judgments, can be encouraging if done right.
Verbally encouraging, which is bad for kids if it is done with You statements but good for kids if it is done with I statements
PREDICTIVE PARENTING: Shad Helmstetter’s Predictive Parenting book helps show parents how to make careful and sensitive positive comments to their kids and how to teach them good self-talk habits. Parents learn how to empower their kids. The premise is that your kids will inevitably grow up to have the traits you tell them they already have. Your words have a great effect on your children. Whether you tell your child he is smart, shy, lazy, a trouble maker, good at problem solving or anything else, you greatly increase the chance that your prediction comes true—hence the book's title. However, see PRAISE, above, for cautions about comments to kids, because praise is normally words of encouragement that often contain a hidden agenda to influence another person covertly, as well as a judgment. Avoid this by using only the P.E.T. type of praise that omits the hidden agendas and judgments.
PROBLEM-SOLVING: (See NO-LOSE PROBLEM SOLVING.)
PSB: Personal status board. A device for A.T. (artificial telepathy), which allows people in MCs, or potential MC people in remote locations with PSB access, to express their moods, receptivity, desires, needs, and general personal statuses, when and if they desire to.
This is a needed communication enhancement to keep disruption from communication increases in MCs to an absolute minimum, so that more opportunity, connectedness, relatedness, and solidarity are achieved, but not at the price of the loss of peace and serenity. There are 100 possible, separate, 2-digit codes that MC people can use to indicate personal status. People can know what any or all of up to dozens of people are "into" by a glance at the PSB on their computer or smartphone. It's the ultimate nonintrusive communications tool, and it is an online web page. Each MC has its own individual PSB. And only members of that MC have access to it.
In MCs, the superbly psychologically benevolent nurturing of the young produces a context in which the latter definition prevails. As far as the former definition goes, there is great variation in what psychologists consider "serious" problems. Normal Adjusted American neuroses and normally dysfunctional relationships are seen as "serious" by some shrinks, but not by others, who either consider these problems to be less than "serious" simply because they're so widespread, or they fail to even recognize the existence of these maladies! Upon further analysis, one can see that shrinks' standard of health is actually very covert and unrecognized, a standard by which patients who are "not like the shrink" are unhealthy and patients who are "like the shrink" are healthy. Mental institutions are full of people whose main "symptomatology" is that they constantly bring into question the healthiness and benevolence of the institutions in which they are involuntarily incarcerated. (Recall that the pre-1989 Soviet Union's definition—before perestroika and glasnost—of psychological unhealthiness was any thought or feeling that in any way was nonsupportive of or questioned the U.S.S.R. or the Communist Party.)
So, recognizing the obvious fact that most of our society's shrinks are normal Adjusted Americans, is it any wonder that the word normal and terms like psychological health are masterpieces of mystification, in which "average" and "a perfect standard" are definitions which both, oxymoronically, refer to the same word? In truth, the normal American lifestyle is not producing many paragons of psychological health, either in the society at large or in the sector of the population who end up working in the psychological profession. MC people in the future will be so much healthier than the average citizen (and the average shrink!) that shrinks will either have to define the MC people as somehow unhealthy (because they're so different from the shrinks) or these shrinks will have to redefine terms about healthy personalities, healthy environments, healthy relationships, and healthy parenting (which they SHOULD have done decades ago when Maslow published his findings about psychologically healthy people [in all fairness, some DID]). To prevent an identity crisis, the less "together" shrinks will have a strong tendency toward seeing MC people as "unhealthy" (translation: not like us). The more "together" shrinks will see MC people as "healthy" and be glad for the breath of fresh air that will accompany the necessary revamping of the psychological profession and its mystifying terms and standards. One wonders what will be the term used to identify the "psychological malady" of MC people by the few shrinks trying to cling to the old, obsolete ideas out of future shock. Perhaps it will be the "overdevelopment syndrome”!
As the new, ecological-holistic paradigm takes over from the old, mechanistic paradigm, and MCs flourish as examples to emulate, people will adopt systems views and holistic views and dump much of their reductionistic naivete based upon the misconceptions of the biomedical model of health. (Some of which have led shrinks to drug a huge number of children senseless, explaining their tragic actions with such idiocies as "they have defective brains." We have a better explanation: Big Pharma's greed!) The obvious cause and effect between bad environments and psychological problems will be acknowledged once and for all. And shrinks will cease going down the dead-end street of relegating normal neuroses to the "less-than-serious" category just because the majority of the society has them. Dysfunctionality will be looked straight in the eye and labeled what it is—even though Big Pharma will fight it at first saying that brain problems (including neurosis) are nature, not nurture. Dictionaries will cease giving us idiotic definitions of words like dysfunctionality (i.e., "failure to function normally"). The idea that the normal person functions with no dysfunctionality is ludicrous. It's easy to say that normal refers to the perfect standard by which everything must be measured, but that's simply not the way people relate to the word, so all such a definition does is mystify (see MYSTIFICATION), confuse, and instill mind mud. People relate to normal as a word meaning "average, usual, and like most of us." Definitions will begin being revamped once MCs get going.
PUNISHMENT: Negative treatment of any type with the purpose of controlling attitudes and behavior.
It causes anger, fear, hatred and resentment, even though its purpose is often depicted as "teaching responsibility." It does NOT teach responsibility, however. Natural consequences, respect, allowing people to make choices that they can then be responsible for, good examples to emulate, Winning Family Lifeskills and P.E.T. are what teach responsibility. (See BAD, CONTROL, DISCIPLINE, POWER, AT EFFECT, GUILT, WIN-LOSE, and OBEDIENCE.)
REALISTIC: Before MCs, realistic was doing the best one could with what one had. With the advent of MCs, realistic means doing the best one can with what is needed in the situation, since there are enough resources available to fill needs. (See Reality.)
RESPECT: Positive regard for and acknowledgement of another.
This CANNOT be taught to someone or forced on someone. One can force another to pretend to respect someone, but real respect has to be earned. The only realistic way of doing this is by getting your act and life together, treating people right, being good at what you do, and utilizing a benevolent, humane, successful parenting and communication method such as P.E.T. and Winning Family Lifeskills, and avoiding permissive and authoritarian parenting like the plague.
RESPONSIBILITY: The acknowledgement that one is at cause regarding one's actions.
Like respect, it can't be taught. One learns it when one has been given choices which have consequences, so that when one chooses something one is in a position to feel responsible for the consequences. P.E.T. and Winning Family Lifeskills (and other Authoritative and Democratic Parenting Programs) are the ideal techniques to create the context for responsibility. (See AT CAUSE, RESPECT, PUNISHMENT, NO-LOSE PROBLEM SOLVING and CHOICE.)
ROADBLOCKS TO COMMUNICATION: The normal communication errors most people make most of the time, because they were brought up with such errors all around them, and because the mass media constantly shows us bad examples, and so do the people around us.
In P.E.T. practice, these are what you DON'T do when children have a problem and are communicating to you: Order, direct, demand, warn, threaten, moralize, preach, advise, give solutions or facts, lecture, teach, judge, blame, criticize, praise (see PRAISE), butter up, name-call, ridicule, interpret, analyze, reassure, sympathize, probe, question and interrogate. These things will make the children quit communicating with you, get defensive, argue, counterattack, and feel bad, resentful, guilty, frustrated, interrupted, mistrusted, unjustified, unacceptable, misunderstood, mystified, manipulated, and angry. Instead of any of these parenting errors, simply do active listening. (See ACTIVE LISTENING.)
SECOND WAVE: The industrial revolution, mass movements, mass production, etc. This is Toffler’s term.
SELF-ACTUALIZATION: Fulfilling one's goals for personal growth and actualizing one's potentials for self-development.
One can do this only if the environment supports it adequately.
SELF-ESTEEM: An inner feeling of self-worth. Dr. Louise Hart is a renowned expert at guiding people toward self-esteem; her books The Winning Family and On The Wings of Self-Esteem are a mother lode on the subject. Jerry Minchinton’s Maximum Self-Esteem is also a book that will help guide people in that direction. (See the sections entitled: Jerry Minchinton’s Maximum Self-Esteem or Dr. Louise Hart’s The Winning Family, both near the middle of Other Helpful Guidance Sources for more on this subject. Also see SELF-TALK.)
SELF PARENTING: Dr. John Pollard’s enhancement to self-talk which goes so far as to guide those adults who need more nurturing in order to be happy and functional, toward learning to self-nurture. (See the Self Parenting section in the 1st part of Other Helpful Guidance Sources.)
SELF-TALK: The criticisms and affirmations that people tell themselves as they go about their lives. The negative type, criticism, is normal and reflects negative tendencies in normal parenting we all experienced when young. The positive type, affirmations, is more enlightened and is used to replace negative self-talk once people see the error of their ways and attempt to evolve high self-esteem in place of the low self-esteem that negative self-talk generates. (See the Predictive Parenting and the Self-Talk Solution section in the first part of Other Helpful Guidance Sources.)
SMART: Mental sharpness which most people are born with, but which gets partially "deactivated" by inadequate nurturing—a process Bucky Fuller calls "de-geniusing." (Read our novel The Forest Through The Trees to see what people are like when NO de-geniusing occurs.) A combination of nurture and nature produces a combination of intellect and insight, and the better the nurturing, the better the intellect and insight, up to a point. ("Better" nurturing is choice-intensive, so that learning, wisdom and responsibility evolve—this is what MCs will be like.)
Insight will become even more important as the ecological paradigm shift proceeds. Wisdom and information will be the magic combination in the near future, as the Information Age and the Ecological Age coincide.
Smart, in spite of what so many have said about such things in the past, is mostly the result of child rearing which instills less than the normal amount of de-geniusing "mind mud." Mind mud is our term for the stuff that develops in the mind when normal deprivations, normal negative power tactics and manipulations, and normal conditioning add up on top of normally traumatic birth experiences (much of this is preventable with Leboyer methods) and clog the mind's paths so one's thinking and feeling is distorted by all these past negatives. MCs will be instilling less mind mud than any lifestyle to date.
Do not confuse intellectualizing (a psychological defense mechanism often used to protect an individual from emotional pain and the threat of intimacy) with smartness or wisdom. Being good at clear thinking is hardly the same as using thinking and talking as a way of hiding from feeling and doing.
Smart is also not the ability to memorize useless facts and trivia and regurgitate it. Unfortunately the media likes to label this type of brain-stuffing exercise “smart” when it is actually an insult to the human brain. There are convenient books, databases, search engines, and websites full of facts, so people have no reason to misuse their brains by loading them with trivia. Brains are thinking devices, not storage devices.
However, there is a thing called wisdom in which important facts about life get stored in the mind in a context in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts—i.e., holistically. It's not as though the brain shouldn't have lots of content, including memories and facts. It should. But a truly smart person is very selective of the stuff s/he puts in his/her brain and how it is dealt with—it's these facts' and memories' interrelationships that add up to wisdom in some, and lack of it in most. MC people that are mudless are the most likely people to have wisdom. Mud-mindedness leads to wrong thinking, incorrect conclusions, inappropriate actions and feelings, and faulty lives. (See Harvey Jackins’ books, Jerry Minchinton’s books, Wayne Dyer’s books, and Shad Helmstetter’s books.)
Here's what your metaphorical mind terrain is like if lots of parenting errors occurred in your childhood
SOCIAL ENGINEERING: The attempt to impose a mass, Second Wave solution on human society as if people were mechanisms to manipulate. This anachronism—this relic from the Industrial Age—has caused more misery than all the disease mankind has ever experienced. It’s part of the exploitative, manipulative, reductionistic, aggressive manifestations of the old, mechanistic-reductionistic paradigm. Don E. Eberly calls it what the political salvationists try to do if we are dumb enough to let them.
There were many signs as the twentieth century drew to a close that last century’s most destructive scourge, political salvationism, was in retreat. But was this driven by wisdom or by the fact that there was no money to back it? We wish it was the former but fear it was the latter.
People have seen the evils of social engineering and the limits of “programs” to deal with social problems. On the other hand, the simplistic conservative and libertarian solution that government is always the problem and getting rid of most of it solves things is also being seen as naïve.
Don Eberly said that “What is needed to save families, make neighborhoods friendly and safe, and restore lost virtues are dynamic new social movements centered on the restoration of character.” Exactly! (This is precisely what we discussed in the MC Introduction. But such dynamic new social movements centered on the restoration of character need to avoid social engineering mistakes this time by being fully empowered by individual actions, NOT “policies and programs.”
SUN: The sun-shaped MC structure consisting of a hub and the walkways that lead from it.
A hub may be any central structure with or without covered or uncovered walkways leading from it. Hubs are usually located at or near the geometrical center of a block of houses. The walkways—like rays of sunlight—lead from the central hub structure to the houses of the MC. The hub may be a room or apartment. (See HUB and MCs.)
THIRD WAVE: The fundamental historical transformation from the industrial to the post-industrial age. Characterized by the growing power of knowledge, the growing use of computers and networks (especially the Internet), and by decentralization and diversification, it kisses mass man goodbye, creating more space for individualism, and creating more suspicion about any mass solution, especially “social engineering.” The term is Toffler’s. The Third Wave is about knowledge and diversity; the Second Wave is about conformity and assimilation. (See POWERSHIFT, SECOND WAVE, FIRST WAVE).
TRADITION: The source of much of the positive and much of the negative aspects of our cultural heritage.
Normal people adopt both the positive AND negative traditions. Wiser people adopt the benevolent ones and dump the malevolent ones. Authoritarian or permissive parenting styles, and the reductionistic, exploitative, anti-ecological mechanistic paradigm are examples of the negative ones. Marriage and family, freedom of choice, patriotism, environmentalism, respect for the elderly and freedom of speech are examples of the positive ones.
TRUTH: A relative term hinging upon degrees of approximation and purported to represent fact.
The Earth being flat fit with known facts and was the truth a few centuries ago. Then a spherical Earth fit the facts and that was the new truth. Then a sphere flattened by centrifugal forces was the new truth. Then the Newtonian universe composed of mechanisms and forces and exact measurements and times was the truth. Last came the Einsteinian universe, proving that many of the Newtonian truths were inaccurate. "Truths" were once again proven to be only the most recent approximation or perception of reality.
As you read this, the mechanistic world view (proven so inaccurate in physics and astronomy and therefore replaced with an Einsteinian world view) is being replaced with an ecological-holistic world view in medicine, psychology, sociology, economics, and other fields. There will be hold-outs, delays, and procrastinators—paradigm changes make many people uncomfortable, and there are large profits for some people in staying with the old paradigm. But an undeniable truth much more important than the profits of any one person or corporation is that the biosphere—including the Earth and all of her creatures—will profit profoundly from the ongoing paradigm shift and will be killed or irrevocably poisoned without it. Slightly postponed gratification for the purpose of even greater future (ecological) benefits must be the name of the game, then, for some. A game humans in advanced societies supposedly learn as they struggle their way through 12-20 years of schooling so as to have a more productive future. We will all be watching these individuals and corporations to see if they have understood the truths of our present predicament. Al Gore did. Watch An Inconvenient Truth and you'll see what we mean. It is a 2006 Academy Award winning documentary film about Al Gore's campaign to educate citizens about global warming. This guy knows his stuff. He didn't just get off the boat.
Al Gore didn't just get off the boat
UNDERSTANDING: To perceive the meaning or importance or nature of something.
If you are in a state of need, you will perceive through a need-biased filter, therefore misperceive, therefore misunderstand. A being state is the most appropriate context for understanding, so MCs, the most being-empowering lifestyle to date, will be our best source of true understanding. (See LOVE, TRUTH, and AT CAUSE.)
VALUES: Standards or principles considered important.
Parents try to teach them, but it doesn't work out, because values are not learned by word of mouth. They are learned when children are in the presence of positive (or negative, unfortunately) examples to emulate. No child is fooled by parents with "do as I say but not as I do" attitudes. Kids will often adopt the values of parents whose lives are happy, productive, successful, and kind. Parents wanting kids with good values have three choices, all of which involve allowing kids to evolve their own values: get their own lives together and let the good values rub off, leave in plain sight appropriate materials available for the kids to read, and make sure they're available to be hired as "consultants" if the kids ask. We suggest doing all of these things. Never lay advice or lectures on kids that is not asked for, unless there's a case of imminent danger, or you'll teach them to turn off to your voice. (See EMULATION and P.E.T.)
VISUALIZATION: This is the process of using our imagination to create realistic mental pictures of behavior we would like to adopt and then regularly focusing our attention on these pictures until we manifest them. So if we want to replace our customary response to certain situations with actions we consider more helpful, visualization is a useful tool to help make the change. Like self-talk, which we all do and have always done, but simply not always constructively, we all use visualizations about what we want, what we’d like to be like, and what we’re afraid of. But many of these are just an extension of bad self-talk wherein we express doubts about ourselves, fear of people and the future, or we dwell on negative possibilities.
Visualization is, like self-talk, a useful tool often used wrong. It’s used in medicine, self-help, stress reduction, substance abuse elimination, etc. It’s important to note that we’ve all been programmed, and some of this is negative, and unless we make a conscious decision to break out of this abusive cycle of negativity, we will always stay at effect of the bad programs. Existentially, it hits the nail right on the head when we point out that unless we replace other’s programming with our own—unless we distinctly CHOOSE to change such things from negatively affecting us—our lives will be running us; we won’t be running our lives!
Note: People full of self-defeating patterns of behavior and thought are not likely to allow themselves to evolve in the direction of healthy, satisfying, fulfilling lives—such people don’t believe they deserve a good life. But such people, with the help of affirmations and visualization, will gradually convince themselves it is all right to have what they want, thereby opening themselves to the possibilities that it could happen.
WIN-LOSE: One party wins and the other party loses.
A normal philosophy of Americans, incurred in childhood due to steep-gradience nurturing, symptomizing one of the reductionistic naivetes of the mechanistic paradigm as well as one of the major symptoms of not employing flat-gradient nurturing in parenting. Competition is the guideline, since "there's not enough for all," so cooperation is out of the question. This may be fine in sports and some aspects of free-market economics, but in international or family relations, it's often a disaster. P.E.T. and Winning Family Lifeskills are the ultimate champions of win-win philosophy and practices. (See P.E.T., NO-LOSE PROBLEM SOLVING, and WIN-WIN.)
WINNING FAMILY LIFESKILLS: Along with P.E.T., Dr. Louise Hart’s lifeskills add up to the best authoritative parenting system ever evolved by anyone. These two constitute the mother lode of family, self-help and parenting wisdom. (See the pages entitled ALL ABOUT WINNING FAMILY LIFESKILLS and The Winning Family.)
WIN-WIN: Both parties win.
The philosophy that is part of the new, ecological paradigm in which cooperation and compassion and intuition replace exploitation and competition and ruthlessness. P.E.T. and Winning Family Lifeskills are the ultimate champions of win-win philosophy and practices. (See P.E.T., NO-LOSE PROBLEM SOLVING, and WIN-LOSE.)
YOU-STATEMENT: A statement that defines, orders, or judges, usually, and contains the word "you," is a you-statement, and it is a bad idea.
This is exactly what NOT to do when you have a problem with a kid's (or any one else's) unacceptable behavior. Use I-statements to state your feelings, instead, when a kid creates what you perceive as a problem for you. (See PRAISE and P.E.T.)
The "you" word is best utilized in active listening statements, such as "So you're feeling uncomfortable about that, then?" (See ACTIVE LISTENING.)