Lucifer Effect Includes Calling Other People Cockroaches

18 07 2009

Situational psychologist Philip Zimbardo was interviewed about a book he wrote that I’ve read and blogged, The Lucifer Effect.
Powerful power of story stuff.

We can’t stop it until we can understand the mechanisms that corrupt not just individuals, but whole systems and institutions like politics or finance.

The Lucifer Effect is about bad barrels, not just bad apples.

It helps my own understanding to sharply distinguish school as institutional place, from education as personal goal/ attribute. What we compel is showing up at the place, not becoming an educated person.

. . .“place” can win over “person” through concepts like institutionalization, escalating dehumanization, stress and stereotyping, the seduction of boredom, the evil of inaction and much more. Sounds too much like what’s gone wrong between school and education — we’ve institutionalized thinking and learning and productive work, and lost the individuals we meant to inspire and empower in the process.

It all starts with “semantic distortion.”

Which leads to “moral disengagement” to detach from the human connection without really being aware of it and then finally, outright “demonization” of Other people.

Maybe words and ideas are repeatedly distorted to call the Other a cockroach, until you come to see that Other as sub-human, not your kind, literally insects to be squashed. It worked in Rwanda, telling Read the rest of this entry »

Bruxelles to Paris to Lausanne, Traveling Girls Make Tracks

18 07 2009

en route

“Two Long Travel Days…”
Posted by kiki under Switzerland

But all in all, now that we are in beautiful Lausanne, Switzerland, we could not be happier.

We won’t bore you with the details of our travels but when we finally reached Switzerland, we were amazed by just how beautiful it really is. I mean, people tell you that it’s beautiful, but it’s REALLY beautiful.

My friend Val’s parents so graciously offered to lodge us in this paradise, and Yvonne met us at the train station when we arrived, babbling about the beauty of a country surrounded by the likes of the Alps looming in the distance, their peaks shrouded in mist. We walked the short distance from the train station to their impeccable apartment with an indescribable view.

Lausanne Gare (train station)

Lausanne Gare (train station)

After watching the arrivée of the Tour de France on TV we went to the golf club (Club Domaine du Brésil) of which Gérard is the president. They’d held a tournament that day and we arrived in time to watch all of the participants come into the club house and then the subsequent awards ceremony. Of course there was then an “apéro” which featured meat platters, gourmet vegetable pizza, fabulously spiced filo dough creations, and tartes raisinées.

Gérard then quickly grabbed my attention by asking if I would like to hit some golf balls Read the rest of this entry »

Community Colleges Are to Home Education . . .

18 07 2009

NYT op-ed column:

“Most people in government, think tanks and the news media didn’t go to community college, and they don’t send their children to them.
It’s a blind spot in their consciousness. .. . .”

Ahem. Like home education itself?

These colleges educate students with wildly divergent interests, goals and abilities. They host students with radically different learning styles, many of whom have floundered in traditional classrooms.

Therefore, successful reform has to blow up the standard model. You can’t measure progress by how many hours a student spends with her butt in a classroom chair. You have to incorporate online tutoring, as the military does. You have to experiment with programs like Digital Bridge Academy that are tailored to individual learning styles. You have to Read the rest of this entry »