Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Saddest Child

There's this little beach about 200 m from my home that I go to whenever I want to rid myself of distractions so I can think and be creative.

So I sat down at a table on the grass to get some sun and think about what scale visionary entrepreneurs dream on. And suddenly there's this fat woman 5-10 meters to my left saying, not shouting or screaming, in this incredibly loud and carrying voice how stubborn this girl is and loudly calling her back from the beach, which was like 10 meters away.

I got to watch as this fat woman towered over this little three year old blonde girl while loudly and publicly berating her. I heard all about how she'd been 'told' (ordered, not asked) not to go out on the beach without her and to follow her exactly and didn't she understand? And I couldn't help thinking a Japanese mother would have been far more gentle and loving in undermining their child's independence. I also thought that no the child probably didn't understand.

The worst part was the three year old's facial expression and body language. I recognized it you see from someone who'd been so incredibly traumatized by violence and neglect during her childhood that she just freezes whenever someone yells at her. It was an expression that said she was used to being yelled at but hadn't the slightest clue how to handle it. It said she was suffering and desperately trying to figure out how to end it but also quite certain that giving away her suffering was Not Allowed.

And I couldn't bear to watch this. I recall thinking at the time how this is what those sad people I have known who have no self-esteem or self-identity must have suffered as children. This three year old blonde girl is going to grow up to be one of them. And the thought of intervening didn't even enter my mind but what did enter my mind was how there is no socially-acceptable way for me to explain to this stupid fat woman exactly what she's doing.

And as if this wasn't enough, maybe 3 minutes later I got to watch another family come in right beside them. There was a distant-looking mother and her two daughters. The youngest was a 3 year old little blonde girl just like the first one and she couldn't stop smiling. Because she was at the beach and it was wonderful. The contrast couldn't have been any starker because the first girl looked like she never did. And minutes later when she finally did smile, it was so much smaller.

I got out of there because I'd had more than I could bear constantly wondering if this 3 year old was ever happy. So I want to know. How the fuck do you deal with it? Because I don't seem to be able to. Or do you even notice these things? Do you even care? Are you all just monsters?

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was that kid. And now I am a very somber person with socialization issues.

Anonymous said...

Why are you calling us monsters? You didn't do anything about it either...

Richard Kulisz said...

There speaks a monster. Definitely and without any doubt. The only thing you're worried about is your own comfort and you're incapable of imagining that others care enough about the world to act upon it.

What I've been doing since then, monster, is creating a formal mathematical theory of human emotions so that I can encode a psychotherapy plan into software and reverse the pre-existing psychological damage of billions.

It took me exactly 4 and a quarter days to overturn a century of psychology research. Unlike you, I care enough about ending child abuse to act upon that feeling rather than vaguely feeling guilty for doing nothing.

Here's another lesson for you monster. YOU would have maybe felt vaguely guilty for doing nothing. I felt, in chronological order: depressed, sad, upset, morose, listless, shell-shocked, resolved, grim, furious.

Anonymous said...

So, how are you acting upon your emotions exactly? I'm going to dismiss the formula thing and overturning stuff because I don't see how developing software is going to stop child abuse. not a monster.

Richard Kulisz said...

One doesn't act UPON one's emotions, you ignorant fool. One's emotions merely signal the state of what drives one's actions. And it does not surprise me in the least that you are blind to what drives your own actions.

In any case, why should I care what you can and can't understand? Who the fuck are you and how the fuck do you matter to the world? Did you perhaps miss every single point in my last blog post? Like that I despise you? Or that I'm dissociating from you?

Oh that's right, you probably dismissed it because you just don't see how someone could fail to respect you. Even though you're just an anonymous member of a herd of cattle. Come back when you can prove you're worth talking to. Which let's face it, you can't.

If you were worth talking to, you wouldn't dismiss something you can't understand just because you can't understand it. The fact you did indicates you are worthless.

As does the fact you think you're owed my time and an explanation despite remaining anonymous. As does the fact you're incapable of comparing your own behaviour against my clearly stated contempt for your kind.

You're a worthless excuse for cattle. And just who the fuck are you to blandly protest TO ME that you aren't a monster? I know your kind and I know exactly what you are. It is an insult to my intellect that you order me to believe other than the truth.

Go away. (slow slap) Stop wasting my time. (slow slap) Stop insulting my intelligence. (slow slap) And above all, stop disappointing me. (slow slap)

Richard Kulisz said...

There is something called a figure of speech. Acting upon one's emotions is a figure of speech, nothing more.

Now you have no excuse to respond whatsoever.

Ben said...

I suppose you could release that software in a sort of child designed program that you run on a computer. Anyways, put a name down and I will put the rest in my next comment as I have only 200 char.

Richard Kulisz said...

It took 3 minutes of effort but I succeeded in parsing your first sentence. I have not succeeded in parsing your second sentence.

Ben said...

Re-read this post and decided that I would have to agree w/ you that there was no acceptable way to help the kid ( unless he/she was physically abused). Then I'd tell that woman to stop or get charges

Ben said...

second sentence meaning that I put a name down, not for you to put a name down, as I have limited characters to type. BTW, was not the first poster

Richard Kulisz said...

In the real world, providing your name is a prerequisite for water-cooler chit chat. It's something 100% of humanity provides as a matter of course. I despise upwards of 95% of humanity and I don't do chit chat. So what exactly do you think giving me a name entitles you to?

If you make a wild ass guess about my email address, it will almost certainly be correct. That will give you all the space you evidently need to convince me you are worthless. Though for some reason you seem to think otherwise, you don't exactly present any evidence for it.

And in any case, you're wrong. The socially approved way to comfort a strange child at a beach is to buy them an ice cream cone. Too bad I thought of that 6-12 hours after it was too late. And unfortunately, the 10-20 min walk to the nearest store would have made the lesson lose all force.

Ben said...

So you answered the question to your own blog and no one need have bothered to comment other than to give you more reasons to believe that we are monsters? Sweet.

Ben said...

Oh, and the strange child thing. I was describing what I would've done in your situation, not if I had just met some random lone sad 3 yr old. Obviously I woulda helped him/her find their parent(s).

Richard Kulisz said...

As delightful as surprises can be, one can never actually expect to be surprised. It just doesn't work that way.

And given your last comment, I can say authoritatively that you will never surprise me with unexpected bursts of intelligence.

As awesome as it is to unexpectedly run into smart people, you aren't smart, Ben.

The same goes for unexpectedly running into good & caring people. It'd be awesome. And very, very surprising. But you're not a good & caring person.

You're not an EVIL person. You're not the kind of person I wish would die. But you're not a good person either. You're just kind of average.

Richard Kulisz said...

I score good and evil on a scale going from -3 to +3. I consistently score above +2.

The world in general is bucking for below -2. The USA in particular has hit a solid -3 for decades.

I can always count on the USA to pick the most evil of every available option. And Americans make up that USA.

Ben, you seem like either a 0 or a +1. And now you've gotten me curious which exactly you are.

4whirledpeas said...

About one hundred years ago, Maria Montessori wrote about observations that are quite similar to those you describe about your experiences on the beach.

And, she spent a lifetime creating environments that supported a more honest realization of human potential.

Of course, this does not mean that all Montessori schools are run brilliantly. Montessori had to defend her work on all fronts (including from many of her own supporters who misunderstood her work or made their own alterations without proper attribution).

My personal experience is that even large of groups of children (20-30, ages 3 to 6 years) can operate beautifully with little or no adult intervention for days on end. It is completely humbling to watch the profound creative genius and inner wisdom of young children. Most people think that I am exaggerating, and maybe you will also, but I cannot and will not deny what I have witnessed on a regular basis.

What most philosophers and scientific minds could not conceive of in the past, without fMRIs and other instruments of measure, is the complexity of the human cognitive system. In the 1950s, scientists thought they would be able to mass produce robots (able to function like humans) within a 10 year period. This is because their knowledge about the human body was ridiculously simplistic. For example, in the 50s EVERYTHING that was known about vision, in any medical journal, could FIT ON ONE page. Scientists also didn't realize that lack of movement and experiential learning can lead to immaturity of the vestibular and limbic systems (which can have long lasting and detrimental effects on cognition, learning, memory, and so on). They hadn't imagined the way that our muscles "remember" their activities; that there are sequenced stages and activities in which the individual must engage during critical windows of development -in order to develop the neurons that are required to perceive stimulus with acuity.

The developing human organism needs innumerable trial and error opportunities under multiple conditions to inhibit primitive reflexes, and to develop statistical mechanisms that can reflect probability with any level of accuracy. Lack of real world interactions and opportunities to explore/experiment can mean a lack of implicit and procedural knowledge (i.e. "common sense", understanding cause and effect or if/then relationships, ability to correctly predict outcomes, effective management of resources and time, and so on). We also require interdisciplinary experiences to connect the applicability of information to solving holistic problems. Effectiveness in communication requires practice and interactions with others of varying attributes (age, ability, backgrounds) and so on.

Many of our social institutions and responses have failed because we did not understand cognition, and underestimated the complexity of human development, relationships, and culture. We did not understand the role we played in causing many of the phenomenon that we witnessed and observable outcomes only served to reinforce errors in thinking. In other words, we inhibited potential, then observed the deviated result --and supposed this outcome was either an inherent trait or an immutable reality. We did not understand the malleability of the brain during development (which can even effect genetic expression and lifelong physical health outcomes).

(Of course, some of our institutions have failed by design -- because that is what served the corrupt needs of some people in power, but that is a different topic.)

Richard, I guess what I want you to know is that there are many people who are engaged and working to have an effect on the problems that, like you, we also find to be morose and unacceptable.


Take care~