It was a long plow, but I finally finished reading Robert Humphrey's "Values for a New Millennium." I have quibbles, and the ConCom stuff Marc and I are working on puts a huge amount of it into a clearer context... but it is, as Gwenn pointed out, not a fairy tale, but an ethical system that makes sense and may underpin all other ethical systems.
Within that, there is the problem that what underlies all other ethical systems would make sense. What Humphrey wrote makes sense...and there is no identity value in common sense. No tribe says, "We are special because we gather water" they define their culture and identity by what they gather water with.
Within martial arts and self-defense, knocking people down is common sense, but how you looked when you knocked the bad guy down defines the system. Effectiveness is the goal. In my opinion effectiveness is the only thing that matters... but the hoops you get through to achieve effectiveness are the identity, the system. And it doesn't take very long for the hoops to matter even if they no longer get you effective. Identity, especially in things that will never be tested, seems to be the bigger power.
And so, when he got a chance to apply his observations to the educational system, Humphrey's sons had spectacular success with students who "couldn't be reached". And spectacular success did not matter a whit when it came to renewal and approval... because if your identity is tied with a dismal system, spectacular success is change, and the human brain is wired to resist any change to the tribe, even if the tribe is imaginary.
ConCom explains why success will inevitably cause a negative reaction...but will that help navigate and change the fact? Or will it only give us the comfort of knowing 'why' when the ship starts to sink?
Non-teaching becomes described as 'deep teaching.' Or people who trick and confuse and lie to their students until the student rejects them and goes on their own are extolled as 'coyote teachers.' People are told they are taught to be tough and strong while simultaneously being required to bow and call 200 pounds of ego in a fifty pound sack "master."
How many have ever sat back, with the entire system or even individual techniques and just really examined what they are learning and why? Soul-searched to find their personal original purpose in starting on the path and checked to see if the path still serves the purpose? Picked out the things that simply don't work (and yes, there are some things that you will be told or believe that you must do wrong now to know how to do right later... does that even make sense, really? Can anyone name one of those things that couldn't have been taught the right way from day one?)
Have you ever had to unlearn things as you progressed?
Somewhere in this mix, there is the matrix of all the things that make learning less efficient than it has to be.
Here's a paradigm for you: In every martial art I respect, one of the goals is to move as efficiently as possible. The ideal is 'no wasted movement'.
Where is the striving for no wasted movement in teaching? No wasted time, no wasted words. No disposable concepts. Just efficient teaching.
And maybe I'm starting at the wrong end. Maybe there has to be an art of learning developed first.
(Lots of thanks to one of the long-time readers for getting me thinking in this direction today. I didn't want to bring her into this without her permission, since some of these posts that get a little to close to identity issues get inconsiderate...but I'm grateful.)