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A Child in Search of Himself

– One of the most important characteristics of a game is its competitive aspect.

There is a book titled How to Become the Parent You Never Had: A Treatment for Extremes of Fear, Anger and Guilt. This book starts out by saying that we are all winners because 500 million sperm cells competed, and the winner was…

– Me.

– Yes, I won. Since this competitive element was enrooted in us by Nature itself, how can we use it correctly?

– Let’s not talk about chance or about how this is programmed in Nature. In this particular competition the winner is the strongest one, the one who has special qualities.

A person who participates in the life of society or the environment on a multifaceted plane might be better than others in one way and worse than others in another way. But if every person finds the best way to apply his fortes and abilities, then the flaws of one person are “covered” by the merits of another. A happy person is one who has found the optimal way to fulfill himself, and this is something he has to discern within. If he can be fast, alert, and steadfast, if he can overcome adversity and win over others, then his victory will benefit him and the people around him.

I would particularly like to underline that the victory will be virtuous if its aim is to use one’s abilities to provide maximal help to the environment, to society. Then it will be expressed in the common human system and will remain impressed there, and will be recorded in his account.

But if a person realizes himself incorrectly, then despite having wonderful talents, he will have the opposite result. We have to bring every child’s abilities to light and encourage their development.

When I was starting out in college, it was very fashionable to major in science and technical fields, and these departments tried to lure everyone in. I remember how agitated the students were and how great the disappointment was afterwards.

I understand and respectfully recall several of my classmates who left the studies not because they weren’t successful. They saw that technical studies did not have the romance they had dreamed of. Working with impulses and calculating parameters? They became convinced that this was absolutely not the profession they wanted. They left without much hesitation, and they were right to do so because they found their calling elsewhere.

In our system of upbringing we are trying to recognize a child’s inclinations early on so he won’t make mistakes. He has to see and become familiar with all the areas of human activity, and find himself during the period of his upbringing in our system. The search for the appropriate profession is very important and takes up a lot of time in our life. It’s a joy when a person finds himself in a certain profession.

– So there is nothing dangerous about expressing special talents, and we shouldn’t try to even children out?

– No. On the contrary, we have to bring out their talents during the teenage period. We are preparing children so that by age 13 or 14 they will start studying a university level curriculum.

Before that they have to clearly discern what is right for them. Our task is to push them to make the choice that fits their inclinations instead of being dependent on opportunities to rise on the corporate ladder or the size of their future salary.

– But is their contribution to the common good always evaluated?

– Of course. Otherwise one’s inner parameters will not correspond to the chosen profession, he won’t benefit anyone, and he won’t be happy with himself either. The right solution to this problem is good both for the individual and the society.

I remember how back in my time everyone across the board entered technical departments because this was in high demand by the government and the times required it. Everyone else were looked down on. Pedagogical and humanitarian departments became empty since everyone went into science and engineering.

As a result, I think the true value of this generation was never revealed. It quickly became exhausted, leaving behind a hollow-hearted environment.

– Yes, there is even a term, “the technical intelligentsia,” which was in many ways not occupied by technical matters, but the liberal arts.

– When I wrote my dissertation at Russia’s Institute of Philosophy, I found many former “techies” there. But once people received a technical education, they left and learned some other profession because in their youth they were lured to the wrong place, so later they still changed their profession.

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