What We Lose When We Push Our Kids to ‘Achieve’

  • What We Lose When We Push Our Kids to ‘Achieve’

    Posted by Rodney Marsh on May 18, 2023 at 12:04 am

    In response to NYT article <b data-testid=”headline” style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; color: var(–bb-body-text-color);”> (https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/15/opinion/youth-achievement-happiness.html) I posted this note —- it seems IMG’s hemispheric approach appeals to some Americans (12 likes!)


    AustraliaMay 15

    Dewey and James have influenced the most important scholar of the 21C – Iain McGilchrist. In education, as in all areas of society, we are stupidly emphasising the leadership of the left hemisphere of our brains. And an education ‘system’ that only attends to training the attention of the left hemisphere of students’ brains will always be foolish and inadequate. To ignore the right hemisphere of children’s brains is to ignore the need for children to form relationships, value others, understand context and discover meaning and purpose. I think there is sufficient evidence in McGilchrist’s “The Matter with Things” to conclude that such a system of ‘education’ is irresponsible and damaging for children. Change is needed.

    Rodney Marsh replied 6 days, 7 hours ago 2 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • Rodney Marsh

    May 22, 2023 at 2:59 am

    Heard another pointless radio discussion with parents from an ‘expert’ in digital matters about the use of devices in schools and about limiting screen time… all discussion seems to ignore the fact that the use of devices is, in essence, only uses a LH attention. This only further suppresses RH attention to the world and others and damages the user. NO solutions to the damage digital devices are doing to children and young people’s brains can come via technology. The LH attention MUST be suppressed for reality to be faced. Then time taken to join the flow of life and pay RH attention to what is – it is the only way ahead that will lead anywhere. At present the digital emphasis in education, promoted as a solution (to what? – the problems it has created) is leading children away from life, healing and hope. The ‘experts’ in these areas seem not to even be aware of the evidence IMG has provided for the necessity to pay RH attention. To do that we must teach kids how to suppress their LH in order to see with new eyes the world and others through their RH.

  • Lucy Fleetwood

    May 22, 2023 at 11:32 am

    This is an interesting topic. I wonder if it is necessary to repress, since the LH is so useful for certain things. Would it be better to teach them the value of each hemisphere of the brain. Is suppression a LH approach?

    • Rodney Marsh

      May 22, 2023 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks, Lucy, for your comment. I think learning techniques and ways to suppress (if that’s the right word) the LH is an urgent need for all humans in the 21stC. One of IMG’s main insights is that the fibres connecting the hemispheres are mainly inhibitory – so when one hemisphere is attending to a task which is energy consuming and needs concentration it tells the other hemisphere to “keep out of this – none of your business”. The trouble is that nobody seems to use anything other than LH attention these days. The necessity for suppressing the LH in order to understand what is and who I am, explains why all mindfulness/meditation requires the withdrawal of attention from tasks, memories, resentments, hopes, desires, prayers, images etc… so the attention of the RH can attend to… ? (what) – essentially a RH attention is empty and open to what is – the other. This can be applied in education in so many ways – teaching students to attend to a flower, a bird, music, poetry etc…. not LH attention to break these down into bits and analyse and control and ‘understand’ but an open attention which lets the other be that which it is… So I think it is entirely useless to teach children (or adults) about the dangers of too much screen time when we have such weak wills to control or change behaviour. I argue in the essay attached that teaching meditation is ONE traditional way adopted (in different forms) by all Wisdom traditions to suppress LH attention and train the mind to attend to what is with open attention. As to the LH being essential, so it is, just not when you want to be not do. As one child described their meditation time in class – “we meditate, then we do maths” (right priority, I think).