Just reading this evening and this jumped out at me (pgs 84-5)


To educate, in its original sense, is to “lead out,” but although this may have some advantage over the more widespread interpretation, to “hammer in,” neither way is consistent with the child’s evolved expectations. Being led out, or guided, by an elder is tantamount to interference with the child’s development, since it leads him away from his natural, most efficient path to one less so. The assumption of innate sociality is at direct odds with the fairly universal civilized belief that a child’s impulses need to be curbed in order to make him social. There are those who believe that reasoning and “cooperativeness” with the child will accomplish this curbing better than threat, insult, or hickory sticks, but the assumption that every child has an antisocial nature, in need of manipulation to become socially acceptable, is germane to both these points of view as well as to all the more common ones between the two extremes. If there is anything fundamentally foreign to us in continuum societies like the Yequana, it is the assumption of innate sociality. It is by starting from this assumption and its implications that the seemingly unbridgeable gap between their strange behavior, with resultant high well-being, and our careful calculations, with an enormously lower degree of well-being, becomes intelligible.

As we have seen, either more or less assistance than a child demands is detrimental to his progress. Outside initiatives, therefore, or unsolicited guidance are of no positive use to him. He can make no more progress than his own motivations encompass. A child’s curiosity and desire to do things himself are the definition of his capacity to learn without sacrificing any part of his whole development. Guidance can only heighten certain abilities at the expense of others, but nothing can heighten the full spectrum of his capabilities beyond its in-built limits. The price a child pays for being guided into what his parents think best for him (or themselves) is the diminuation of his wholeness.

emphasis in original text


Wow. Just wow.