Authentic REAL discipline is a very personal and internal process, arguably in tune with the path of dissolution, culminating in enlightenment. The development of self-control in human beings happens in childhood through the kid’s independent interaction with the world around them. When people talk about “disciplining” kids it’s as an outsider coming in and hurting another person to punish them into doing something. This is so profoundly damaging, and most of all it is damaging to the kid’s inner sense of self-control and discipline.
They become more dependent on extrinsic motivators and less autonomous, less empowered to make their own choices. They devalue themselves, become ashamed when making mistakes, and sabotage their own potential. External discipline is toxic, evil, and tragic, nothing but a word to cover up abuse.
The way punishment such as spanking can damage a person can be hard to recognize in your personal life, especially if you’re older looking back on your younger self.
There are many parts of reality that are harder to deal with if you have been routinely punished and abused, and it changes your whole framework for how you react and interact with yourself. This isn’t just getting the fish to see the fishbowl, it’s asking the fish to build a fishbowl.
There’s two options here. You can observe your own reactions and pay attention to what happens. Do you make independent choices or are you dependent on bullying and forcing yourself into “making the right choice” ? Do you rely on extrinsic motivators and cheap rewards or are you seeking more longterm pursuits, intrinsically motivated? Do you go to work, or do you go to play? These are some of the comparisons.
But the other option is to look at the research and look at how people are affected by punishment such as spanking. It’s universally damaging and unnecessary. There’s an astounding magnitude of research and historical discovery over thousands of years on childhood trauma and how that impacts our relationships with kids as adults. It’s one of the hardest things to really understand.
Stop Spanking – Research
Dr. Peter Gray – The Importance of Free Play (Interview with Reason)
Dr. Peter Gray – Trustful Parents Lead to Healthier Kids
Dr. Shefali Tsabary – Becoming A Conscious Awakened Parent
Alfie Kohn – Traditional Reward & Punishment Doesn’t Work
Alfie Kohn on Oprah – Rewards & Punishment
I see many people with trauma respond to that pent up energy by funneling it into an ideology that makes them feel safe and comfortable. There is politicization of trauma today, and in the words of Marshall Rosenberg (nonviolent communication), this is a “tragic expression of unmet needs, tragic because it is said in the way that makes it unlikely others will want to or be able to meet those needs.”
I see the heartbreaking tragedy of growing modern religions and religiosity in many people with trauma, where they are training themselves and even being trained by others into externalizing their trauma and suffering to other people. Other people are at fault or responsible.
It is my job, as an advocate for healing and peace innovations, to practice nonviolent communication and translate what these people say. Once I connect with them via “emergency empathy”, pathways to feeling mutual safety and trust can be established. And slowly but surely, a person may find more successful, symbiotic and reality-based ways of healing, reality-based outlets that do not require safe ideology protecting them from a complex, vulnerable world. Being human is being vulnerable. I believe somatic experiencing and/or spiral model therapy can be helpful to anyone, because it doesn’t antagonize ideology or threaten the ego’s stories.
When you discover how difficult some things can be, how crippling and how Deep Dark, that’s when you believe what you thought was powerful is all a sham. But sometimes it’s just showing you why something is really powerful. Get used to the dark. What’s powerful is not always light, the light could be a crutch. What’s powerful is allowing you to live in the dark, and transmute it on your own.
That is the path to self-determination.
Art: “Learning to live with the noises” by Hoopoe Aftonmåne
I’ve come to discover an archetypal root that explains the difference between liberated, peaceful people and corrupt authoritarians. The root is self-determination. The start of self-determination is autonomy, so the individual must claim his autonomy and aim to grow his strength in acting on it. And others must respect his autonomy- making requests instead of demands, using conflict mediation instead of punishment, etc.
Self-determination involves 3 needs:
Autonomy – the agency to make decisions and own your life;
Interconnection – healthy supportive relationships; and
Competence – the skill and strength to do something really well.
All three of these mixed together creates liberation that many people can’t even comprehend, and even some of the few who have achieved it go around talking about parts of their journey that completely ignore self-determination, showing they are oblivious to it.
The real vicious truth here is that when a person lacks autonomy, and especially if they have been traumatized or damaged, they will strive for control to make up for the loss. It’s like trying to steal the autonomy of others, but many wannabe dictators don’t even realize this is the result of their actions. They just get blinded by the stress and trauma pushing them to try and make their environment clean, predictable, and in their power. It doesn’t work. Becoming intrinsically autonomous, self-determined, and skillful will give you the sense of liberation and inner peace to come to terms with the world around you, as it is.
Continue reading “Self-Determination: The Path to Liberation”