Samir’s Selection 06/12/2014 (p.m.)

  • Nick Duffell:

    The psychological impact of these formative experiences… cannot be overstated. It leaves them ill-prepared for relationships in the adult world and the nation with a cadre of leaders who perpetuate a culture of elitism, bullying and misogyny affecting the whole of society…

    But it is less well known that costly, elite boarding consistently turns out people who appear much more competent than they actually are. They are particularly deficient in non-rational skills, such as those needed to sustain relationships, and are not, in fact, well-equipped to be leaders in today’s world…

    the effects of normalised parental neglect are more widespread and much less obvious…

    My studies show that children survive boarding by cutting off their feelings and constructing a defensively organised self that severely limits their later lives…

    Prematurely separated from home and family, from love and touch, they must speedily reinvent themselves as self-reliant pseudo-adults… Paradoxically, they then struggle to properly mature, since the child who was not allowed to grow up organically gets stranded, as it were, inside them. In consequence, an abandoned child complex within such adults ends up running the show…

    Boarding children invariably construct a survival personality that endures long after school and operates strategically. On rigid timetables, in rule-bound institutions, they must be ever alert to staying out of trouble…

    Now attached to this internal structure instead of a parent, the boarding child survives, but takes into adulthood a permanent unconscious anxiety and will rarely develop what Daniel Goleman calls emotional intelligence. In adulthood he sticks to the same tactics: whenever he senses a threat of being made to look foolish, he will strike…

    Ex-boarders’ partners often report that it ends up ruining home life, many years later. Bullying pervades British society, especially in politics and the media, but, like boarding, we normalise it…

    Strategic survival has many styles: bullying is one; others include keeping your head down, becoming a charming bumbler, or keeping an incongruently unruffled smile in place, like health secretary Jeremy Hunt, former head boy at Charterhouse…

    This false independence, this display of pseudo-adult seriousness is as evident in the theatrical concern of Cameron as it was in Tony Blair. It displays the strategic duplicity learned in childhood; it is hard to get rid of, and, disastrously, deceives even its creator…

    Recent evidence from neuroscience experts shows what a poor training for leaderships this actually is. In short, you cannot make good decisions without emotional information (Professor Antonio Damasio); nor grow a flexible brain without good attachments (Dr Sue Gerhardt); nor interpret facial signals if your heart has had to close down (Professor Stephen Porges); nor see the big picture if your brain has been fed on a strict diet of rationality (Dr Iain McGilchrist). These factors underpin Will Hutton’s view that “the political judgments of the Tory party have, over the centuries, been almost continuously wrong”.

    tags: boardingschool schooling children abandoned bullying sexism elitism UK England culture psychology psychiatry relationship friendship survival shame leadership cruelty empathy emotion neuroscience evidence

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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