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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %NEW BIRTH CHILD OPEN HONEST RESPONSIVE ALIENATE 910613 The new child at birth is open, honest and responsive. The new child at birth is not suspicious, defensive, and insecure. By what process does a culture turn an open, honest and responsive new-born into a suspicious, defensive and insecure adult? It is important for us to take note of the nature of the process of transformation, so as to take steps to minimize the conditions which occasion the transformation. Does the doctrine or original sin point to the nature of the condition of the new-born child in comparison to the adult? Or, is the doctrine of original sin the excuse of the adult who does not want to come to terms with the way in which adults take a magical, mystical child; and turn the child into a suspicious, defensive and insecure adult? To understand the process of transformation we need to be willing to be honest about it, even if we find that we share in the responsibility for the mistakes which occasion the transformation. In the absence of secure contexts for honesty we cannot come to terms with the imperfections which we find in ourselves and in each other. What happens to the child when the child finds that people cannot be trusted? The child initially assumes that people can be trusted and approaches many people with a level of openness which is rarely found in adults. Each occasion of broken trust teaches the child that it is not wise to be trustful. Many occasions of broken trust lead to adults who are prone to teach children that people cannot be trusted---perhaps because of original sin. The answers to these questions are not to be found in expensive objective research with sophisticated equipment, technology, techniques and data reduction. The answers lie in the hidden memories of each and every person who has undergone the transformation; in why each person moved from trust to distrust, from openness to secretiveness, from honesty to dishonesty. Our problem is to create contexts within which it is safe to uncover the hidden memories, and as adults to seek to understand what lessons we as adults can learn from those memories. If we do not learn those lessons from our hidden memories we are bound to cause the next generation to undergo the same transformation which put us in the prisons of distrust, defensiveness and insecurity. It does us no good to seek scape-goats to blame for our situations. The problem does not lie essentially in individual people, but in the quality of the relationships between people. It is not people who are evil; it is relationships which have aspects which are alienative. Evil has to do with the aspects and qualities of the relationships which conceive us. It is misleading to behave as if the participants in alienative relationships are essentially evil. The participants in alienative relationships are both victims of the alienative relationships and creators of the alienative relationships. Yet, it is not individuals who create alienative relationships. It takes two to tango. It takes two to create an alienative relationship. No one participant can helpfully blame the other participant for having created the alienative relationship; it was a joint venture for the good or ill of all involved. We need to find ways to communally acknowledge the communal aspects of alienation and evil; and learn to avoid the temptation of seeking isolated scape goats to blame for what goes wrong. We need to affirm the creative abilities of those among us who contribute to the creation of secure contexts for being open and honest. Such efforts are not only individual efforts, so it is not only individuals who need to be affirmed. The most significant efforts which create secure contexts for being open and honest are joint ventures of people who are dedicated to personal and communal integrity. It is misleading to place major credit for good on individuals alone; just as it is misleading to place major blame for evil on individuals alone. These considerations are relevant to educational activities within families, schools, religious institutions, colleges, universities, professional schools, and in business. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================