Wednesday, 4 August 2010

The (in)famous Mr Ed

I'm finally getting round to finishing this excellent book which I started way back in March - other books have taken precedence in the intervening months. Something which seems to happen with interesting regularity is that, since taking up this book again, several other areas of life have convened and lots of things are now slotting into place for me as a result.

I've been reading Kelly's collection of essays this morning, which has, rather uncomfortably, made me think about Ed Balls again - how I had hoped that man had been purged from my mind! So with that (him) in mind I'm just going to type up a bit of the book:

"One of the most poisonous ethereal ideas in human history is the concept of an absolute authority which overrides all other moral or legal considerations. Whether the authority cited is God or The Party, Science or Truth or The State, this particular ethereal idea has been used, and is still being used today, to justify some truly disgusting atrocities. By treating human beings as means rather than ends in their own right, it places human life, and quality of life, below some abstract goal. Whether or not it is associated with an explicitly totalitarian regime, it is a clear example of totalist thinking."

"... one of the joys of ethereal ideas is their apparent explanatory power, their capacity to make everything look simple. Dividing the world into clearly-marked *us* and *them* groups puts much less strain on one's cognitive resources than acknowledging the details of human difference."

I think that sums up pretty well what the man did, and is still trying to do when he writes guff such as this.

Lots of people have suggested that what home educators must now do is to keep positive stories about what we do in the press. That we can't afford to slide back into the shadows and get back to just living our lives as we were pre Badman. I must admit that I've not felt much attraction for this PR exercise, to be honest I resent it, it's an imposition, we are not celebrities, our lives are not fodder for the trashy magazines. But. Having read what Kelly has to say, and to find that it marries up with what this neuroscientist says about how to break through strong *cogwebs*, I think we really don't have any other option.

Can't recommend the book enough, it's fascinating, eye opening and a real education!

1 comment:

  1. Due to my dislike of wearing glasses I haven't read a book in a long time but you are seriously tempting me to don the specs and leap in.