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Recognizing Yourself

We have to enable every person to see himself from absolutely every angle, to come out of himself, to evaluate himself objectively and agree with the fact that he can be in completely different guises. One has to learn to accept all people: Yesterday he was that way and today he is different. It’s very important to internalize that the perception of the world depends on me, on my mood, on the level of my development, and that it could change entirely. Whatever I am permitted, others are permitted, too. But all of this requires very serious study.

Incidentally, children’s perception is much more pliant than that of adults. We should simply inculcate within them a soft, “flowing” point of view of things, and they will use it correctly. Everything depends on their views of themselves, the world, and others that we can instill within them.

– Getting back to the question of tests, when we deal with results of tests, there is a problem of confidentiality. We said that in a small group of children, nothing should be concealed. So should test results be put on the table for open discussion?

– I don’t think the question should be put that way at all. If we approach the problem integrally, then all the children in all the schools in the world spend several hours a day working on self-analysis, self-discussion, and self-attainment. “Self-attainment” is the best word because through yourself you perceive the world, discern who you are, and accordingly, how you see the world. In such a state there is no question of whether you should disclose these tests or not.

These are not tests, but only a discussion. They can be displayed completely freely anywhere, even on TV. What is there to conceal? This is how children act and this is how they think.

I think that today the programs adults like most are programs about themselves. They’re called “reality shows.” People sit in a studio and talk about all sorts of problems.

I don’t think the analysis should be turned into something that’s concealed. Why do that? What could be secret about it? In fact, what could be secret about a person in general!? Don’t psychologists understand this?

A person has animalistic as well as social urges inside of him, and they shouldn’t be concealed. On the contrary, they should be revealed and discussed. A person has to understand how productive these urges can be for him in relation to others and to himself, so he can evaluate himself correctly and be comfortable with himself.

Instead of concealing things, everything should be exposed for everyone to learn from. It’s not a discussion about someone, but a general learning process so every person will turn into his own therapist, and then he won’t have to see therapists later on.

– Which don’t help anyone at all, by the way…

We are talking about the notion of group processes. But what if something suddenly happens to someone and the educator takes a child aside and starts individually figuring out what happened to him, and having a “heart to heart” conversation with him? Is this also something that doesn’t belong in this system?

– Absolutely not! Everything has to be brought out of the realm of the child’s individuality, or even be specific to the group. Everything should be treated as a phenomenon. Perhaps it shouldn’t even be treated or addressed on the same day. However, the approach should depend on the group’s level of preparation and on its level of perception, on the children’s ability to perceive themselves in different ways and to understand that “all that is happening reflects who we are.”

– There are two conceptual approaches: One approach is to act according to a scenario that was planned ahead of time, and the other is to act according to how the process unfolds. For example, the second approach is when something has just happened to a child and we discuss precisely what is relevant right now. Is it better to act this way or to go according to a scenario that was planned ahead of time?

Incidentally, pedagogy and psychology radically disagree on this. Psychology prefers the process, “If a person is going through this right now, then this is what we’ll talk about.” And pedagogues say, “No, everything is planned out. Let’s study according to plan.” What’s the right way to arrange this process?

– I think that all situations should be filmed. Today there are cameras everywhere—in cities, in the streets, and in parks. We, too, should put them everywhere, at all the venues where children go, including schools and school playgrounds.

We have to try to sort out their relationships and behaviors, or let the children suggest a topic for discussion, such as, “I have a certain relationship with one person or another. I think this way and others think differently, they don’t agree with me. Let’s talk about it.”

Each child should be asked to play opposite roles, to be in the right, left, and neutral role, “I am right” and then “I am wrong,” meaning I “move” into another person and from there I observe myself and discuss or condemn him. Or I am a “neutral person,” like a jury in court.

I think these discussions are the most important factor for a person’s formation because they let him develop on the inside. They expand his understanding of himself. He learns that “I can be one way, and the world can be completely different depending on how I look at it, and other people are like that too.” Everything becomes very multi-faceted, flowing, and relative. And that’s how the world really is.

– Can we talk about this more specifically? For example, suppose we have a meeting where we planned to discuss some phenomenon in the world, but one of the children comes to the meeting with a black eye. What do we do? Do we continue the discussion as planned, say about butterflies, or do we relate to his bruise and talk about it?

– Should we immediately discuss what happened together with him? But we don’t know whether he will be able to come out of his state and reason about it. Maybe it should be handled differently: We don’t pay any attention to his bruise, and have a “so what” attitude toward it. Meaning, we accept him the way he is, “This is your business. Sort it out yourself. To us you are a regular person. Right now we’re talking about butterflies. Can you talk normally after you had a fight, or are you completely wound up and agitated?”

In this way we will still pay attention to what is happening to him, but from the opposite side. Here everything depends on the educator; I cannot give you any formulas. But this has to be viewed from the point of view of pedagogy: To what extent can this influence one’s analysis of oneself and the world? Maybe he should talk to us about butterflies now, after this fight he had on the street? Or perhaps it’s to the contrary: to stir him away from his thoughts, which distracted the group and prevented him from joining it, we should give him some special task or role and make him a hero, thus manipulating him into a completely different state. Or, using his example, we can show how one incident has distracted all of us from our topic. Meaning, he has practically disrupted all of our plans. An educator should see all of this and decide.

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