A TCS Blog
Sunday, November 30, 2003

Just a quick report that I was pleasantly surprised by Looney Tunes Back in Action.

It was very well done. Fun for all!

Saturday, November 29, 2003
Ah, look how the (semi) great have fallen. From three or four posts a day to nothing for three days.

Some may ask what caused this death of the TCSblog. Some will tell you that I did it. Whoo, Lookit me, Sierra AKA Matrix AKA ect. The blog killer! But I don't know, I wouldn't say I was the only reason...

I don't know if this has happened in the past because, frankly, I got tired of reading this stuff a while ago. Hey look, I gave you the perfect reason to kick me out on my end as I could be a Heathen. But it's happened now, and I know there's in the very least a select few who'd love to kick me off of this blog. So, as a recent newcomer and just another stick to add to the pile of stress, so to speak, I guess, Guess who gets kicked off the blog?

But here's the thing. The people who've decided I should be gone aren't here anymore to back themselves up. Now. Is this just some kind of waiting game to see who posts first? Sorry that I broke your game then. Anyways, my case was, if they really wanted me kicked the hell off, then they woulda stuck around. Unless there's a conspiracy where they made a different blog and left me here on my own, while no person on the blogroll ... thing is allowed to speak to me. Oh Shit. That's what happened, Isn't it? That explains the lack of posts, and why like, nobody talks to me... Shit!

...*ahem* Anyways, Conspiracy Theories aside. Um. I don't know what I'm going to say now. Kick me off if you want to, I'm still waiting for it to happen. Just keep in mind I won't feel the need to talk to any of you for a long, long time. I hold grudges. Oh, and if you did make another blog, like in my conspiracy theory, can I have this one?...

Ahh! Shit! *starts dodging rotten fruit and...cannon balls??* This is why I say you have to loosen up, jeesh! Some things are just Jokes!! (And as a disclaimer because nobody knows me enough to understand what I mean, I am not making a reference to any of the titles. At all. But fingers are going to be pointed anyways, so... *sighs and shrugs* interperate as you like.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

I started to write this in comments;

Emma, I don't have your email. (camillebauer25@hotmail.com) - Email me.

I happen to think what's happened/happening here is horrible, and I think that it's horrible that people feel they *must* leave due to not being "TCSenough". That's complete bullshit.

By having this view, it seems that there is a TCS club and only members in good standing (ie; perfect theories) are allowed in. How the hell can TCS possibly expect to grow and do good things with this sort of crap idea?

Clearly this isn't the place for me...

I propose that Emma be in charge of TCSblog. This would include absolute authority over membership and rules. I'll give it a week to wait for objections, then assume there aren't any (more likely they will be posted in hours). I see no point making her start a new one and having a total useless mess here. (btw, i refuse to be in charge here. i have my own blogs to do whatever I like on.)

Also, I propose anyone who doesn't join the TCS blog email list within a week be removed (joining in hours would be nice). They could still rejoin the blog later if they do join the email list. This is because it's rather difficult to figure anything out without a private forum that everyone listens to. (emma, i hope you won't unsub from the email list until things are resolved)

to join, go here

Dear All,

Sierra started something very ugly on the site I called home. I do not wish to be involved in a blog where every visit involves anxiety over whether the title is going to be something offensive today, and while Sierra is is still on the blog roll, there are no guarantees that she won't start something similar again. That's not what I joined the blog for (which was - like Dawn - in the belief that this was a place where people who care about TCS could improve their theories).

I don't need my theories about the evil of shit-stirring improved; they are pretty highly developed anyway, and I prefer to disengage rather than to negotiate with people who consider this a reasonable way of behaving.

I am very keen to be involved in a group TCSers blog, but not one where I feel nervous about what ad hominem meta nastiness I'll encounter on arrival. If anyone starts up a new one where Sierra can't start this sort of nonsense, I'd be honoured to be included.


Tuesday, November 25, 2003
In comments down there somewhere (see below the first post on 11/23/03) Elliot denounces "false followers" of TCS, and says: " TCS must condemn these false followers loudly and often to avoid being tarnished."

Given Elliot's criteria, I feel certain that I am a "false follower." I'll be leaving now. I have no interest at all in trying to belong to an elitist club. I mistakenly believed that this blog was for people who care about TCS and are working (in their own ways, on their own paths) to improve their theories and their lives together.


Teh 3vil title is title because my brain has been seriously overworked. I don't feel like thinking that much anymore. Today hasn't been the funnest day in my life.

Okee-dokee, I'm here to basically, break out with the cheer and funniness. Seriously, you guys need to loosen up. I mean all I've really seen is "Blah blah blah *flamewar* blah blah blah *flamewar*" lately.

So. I have come to reccomend... a PRODUCT FOR YE!!

Which basically means I've found a little kid's toy to keep my attention for more than 5 minutes. There's this thing called a Yo-yo ball, and it comes back to you, which is just really cool for those yo-yo disabled people like me. It's fun, get one and see if you have fun too. Oh, and if you're nasty like me, you can practice your aim and scare people with yo' crazeh-kewl movez!

And... Ahh fuck. I don't know. I disagree with Elliot and I think he and Toad hate me. My birthday's soon. Next week, actually. I should be planning. Gah! the Deadlines!!

If nobody could interperate that, it means I end the post here. So, yeah. End.

alice left the blog (hence the resposts). she did this by her own choice without asking me. i think the blog needs to be more morally unified. i think rather than unify around a worldview, it should unify around a single point: we can all post whatever we want.

as to who can be a member, I suggest anyone less TCS than Dan Frank is certainly out, and I'd be happy to make it more strict if there's support for doing so.

What Alice should have written, if she valued moral clarity more, was something like, "I object to the title "Fuck Dan in the ass" written by Elliot, because it's a personal attack. I consider that immoral.

Then I imagine a conversation something like this:

Elliot: Would you consider "fuck Michael Moore in the ass" a personal attack?
Alice: huh?
Elliot: well it's nothing personal, i just think his worldview is evil, right?
Alice: ok, not a personal attack
Elliot: so the title about Dan wasn't a "personal attack" either
Alice: huh?
Elliot: cause i just think Dan's worldview, like Michael Moore's, is immoral. i'm condemning a worldview. that's a perfectly legitimate thing to do.
Alice: ok, it's not a "personal" attack but it's still wrong?
Elliot: Why?

Alice would then give ad hoc (made up on the spot) reasons to object. No one would be surprised when they were bad and easily refuted. Alice would then not acknowledge this, and insist the title was immoral, because her feelings tell her so. When accused of not acting rationally she would deny it.

Notably I am aware of other reasons to object to the title. It's even fairly likely Alice would try some of those too before resorting to ad hoc arguments. But besides knowing them, I've worked out answers to them (in advance, mind you).

I'll go through one example. Some might say the title will offend readers and thus reduce readership (some will leave angrily) and thus inhibit the spread of TCS and thus make the world worse. They might suggest the solution is to refrain from writing stuff that might offend people (perhaps, "unless it was really important, but that title wasn't important"). The problem here though, is that we should stand up for our values, which allow for profanity and condemnation of bad people (at least I hope those are our values). Compromising our values to get more readers compromises our message. I mean, if we really wanted more readers, and to avoid offending people, we should probably be recommending "friendly punishments" of children or something. Of course that is a bad road to go down. We must stand firm in our beliefs, and if people don't like them, that doesn't mean we should back down or compromise in search of friends.

Alice comments:

For some sensible discussion of the issues, rather than just Dan and Elliot fighting with each other, see the TCS list

Excuse me, but that's extremely insulting. If you disagree with me, argue it. If you agree, then acknowledge I'm making important points relevant to growing TCS (if I'm right, then what I'm saying is important), rather than belittling my ideas.

The tendency to see a disagreement and then declare that both sides are wrong because they are fighting, is perverse. The most well known example is WRT Israel and terrorists. People decide both sides *must* have done lots wrong, and must both be guilty, simply because there is a large-scale disagreement and there are arguments put forward on either side of the issue (not necessarily true, but just attempts). Nevermind that one side could be right, and the arguments against it wrong. Nevermind that condemning the right side would be a great moral failure.

Here, too, Alice sees a disagreement, labels it a "fight", then refuses to pay attention to who's right, and just takes the stance, in effect, that all fighting is bad therefore we're both wrong. Hello? That's moral relativism. (Incidentally, moral relativism is one of Dan's qualities that I don't hold with.)

Monday, November 24, 2003
which brings us to the question: does this blog consent to censorship of moral arguments just because they imply that some people are bad?

if so, i should not be here, bye. if not, I'm reposting and alice is leaving.

Calling bloggers:

Please note that our sidebar says:

Note to bloggers: whatever you do to or on this blog, please make sure your best theory = the blog consents!

Immoral behaviour on this blog will not be passively accepted, nor will consent necessarily be sought in solving annoying problems created by those who failed to seek consent when they created them! Immoral use of a blog includes making changes to it for the sake of personally attacking others rather than because you thought of a better title for the blog that everyone would enjoy.

I'm sure nobody here would ever do such things, though...

Sunday, November 23, 2003
On Sunday, November 23, 2003, at 08:37 AM, A Poster wrote:

Subject Line: shouldn't TCS be questioned?

Yes, of course. It even says so, does it not? Now, some people seem to have the idea that TCS holds itself up infallible, but reality seems to be against them. For example, I no longer use the "official" TCS definition of coercion.

(Of course, one should not make such a change haphazardly, or on a whim, but rather after deep understanding of the official definition, and its strengths. And one should be careful the new version really is an improvement. etc)

What happens to all those families out there who find that, according to their own lights, TCS seems like a really bad, dangerous idea?

Well, until they give some good reason (an argument), I will consider their lights wrong. But I won't hunt them down; all that *happens* (in my view) is they have worse lives than they might.

Even if some of it has changed their lives for the better? But that certain aspects of - say - hardcore rationalism, dogged belief in the TCS 'way', an abiding faith in the TV as a *good thing*, ditto eating what you feel like....all have and continue to.... feel a bit unnatural?

well i think you've misunderstood TCS here. while i will insist that TV shows are, in principle, great things, just like books, I will also concede that there are both many bad books and many bad TV shows. Personally I don't watch tons of TV. mostly japanese anime and movies and southpark oh and The OC. lots of other stuff is great if you have the right problem situation for it, and many people are too negative about TV, but for some problem situations not watching a whole lot of TV would make sense.

as to eating, well we should eat what we want, and we should want to eat the right things to eat. true and changeable. favorite and changeable. you need *both* sides of that coin. the solution to bad eating habits is not to eat what you don't want to. that's just hurting yourself. the solution is to find some good arguments about what is right to eat, and then want to eat that way because you really do believe it's right.

personally, i eat almost no candy and desert fairly rarely, and have a general distaste for too much sugar. i think i'm weird about that, but *shrug*. i *also* don't like salad much.

What if believing in these things starts to make parent feel totally duped and like he doesn't have enough faith in his own good ideas?

You should not hold ideas true because someone said so, not even Elliot Temple nor David Deutsch. You've got to act on your best theories, which means only arguments that you find make sense. Even if some theory is true, if you don't understand it, it's no good to you (though maybe it will be later). And if you do this, faith in your own ideas should not be an issue, because you would know of none you consider better.

Isn't this TCS working against itself? That would be a good thing, right? But then if the TCS parent turns off the TV because he wants to, and does the things he wants to do, because he strongly believes those things to be better for his children - and,yeah, he 'could be wrong, but so what? - he would be said to be reacting to his coerced and unhappy former way of life (and was possibly evil according to some of the TCS inner circle)?

Well, as to making choices for your children, it's not just that you could be wrong, but also that it isn't your choice to make. Children are people with their own lives. You should decide if you want to watch TV, and if someone says you should, you can decline their advice and not watch. And if your children want to watch, and you advise against it, it's still their call.

Just as TCSers will not rule any parent's life by force, parents should not rule their children's lives by force.

Isn't all this a bit fucked up? Maybe the parent should just go and get a life, take his children seriously the way it makes sense to him, be willing to question himself constantly, be aware of his fallibility, but forget all about the harm done to his home by the less desirable aspects of TCS

I want to point out that your understanding of TCS is fallible, so even if hypothetically TCS was perfect, sometimes your understanding of TCS would be wrong, and you would be right to act contrary to it when you thought you knew better. This is manifest in the way most of what you think TCS is wrong about, I think you've simply misunderstood.

Don't let "I think TCS says X" pressure you into doing X. Maybe it doesn't even.

Sometimes he can't work out which is worse, but maybe it doesn't matter,

Well, I can tell you that how you parent *does* matter to your children. So this stuff is important.

-- Elliot Temple

Where the heck did my other post go??

Okee-dokee, the new title is the title because my brain is under strain because i have a headache and the pain is distracting.

hokay. so. in my other post that i think got deleted, i was complaining about braces. so. if your kid gets braces, be sure that 1) you get an orthodontist who knows what he's doing, and 2) don't have any unnessicarily sharp edges.

why no extra sharp edges ont he braces? ... you f***ing dumb***, there happens to be METAL in your MOUTH. do you know how much metal can rip?


Saturday, November 22, 2003
Well, if I didn't like any of the blog titles before...

This is by far, the ummmm, funniest?


The latest anti drugs campaign in the USA....

Friday, November 21, 2003
Going with the advert slogan theme

Endless possibilities for title-changes there. Also, cultural crossover failures. We'll see...

In case readers are baffled- you can see from the sidebar that the title of this blog changes regularly. All bloggers are able to change it at will, so we never know who done what (that's an English street expression, ahem). But the outcome is fun for all, and we very much believe in fun.

Thursday, November 20, 2003
My homework (with the genius Douglas Adams's quip firmly in mind: "I love deadlines; I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by")

How do I define TCS when I talk to people about the subject?

I don't much, unless they already know about it.


This is such a radical philosophy that a bald statement is probably too shocking to be heard. Instead, when I talk to friends or aquaintances, I am consistent with my views, and that sometimes involves me saying things that surprise them, but I don't go the whole hog and lay the entire TCS thang out there.

Most people I know are aware that I would not send my child to school; they could go if they want, but it's quite unlikely since schools are mostly boring places where people don't learn much. The teachers and ex-teachers in my life (there are a lot of them) are particularly supportive of this view.

Everyone is an expert on education since we've all had one (*ahem*). Discussing the shortcomings of compulsory schooling is a great way of indicating to my friends that I don't think people under some arbitrary age should be forced to listen to or read about what someone else is interested in at the pace of other people. And that implies all sorts of things about my views on what kinds of creatures children are (that would be, in Alice's genius phrase: small people). I think that once the non-school bit sinks in, people may be ready to hear a bit more about non-coercion and common preferences and things, but that schooling is the first stage in explaining the philosophy to family and friends.

Exploring these ideas with family must be easier if one's own rearing was in the direction of Rational, and the assumption was that school might be a means to various ends, but that the really interesting stuff was likely to be going on at home (my mother was reading John Holt back in the '70s).


Whether or not one has children of one's own, any interaction with children by a TCSer is a living embodiment of the philosophy, and in many ways, it speaks louder than words. I wish I had left the room - in fact, the house - immediately when friends of mine told their small child to take a "time out" on the stairs a few months ago. Breaking out of the adult conspiracy is perhaps the best TCS thing one can do in public.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Okay people, see the post below? It says my name. Oh yeah, i finally came back to give all of yah a load of what i think, AKA crap (by most people's standards).

So, you've probably never heard of me. Damnit people, start clicking on the linked names already. see the one that says 'Sierra Larson'? That's me. So click on the link. Or, alternatively, don't, and i'll take offense even if you don't care.

Anyways. I feel like ranting. about what, you may want to know? Not much, apart from People, animal-hurters, animal activists, TV, cliches, people, hate, homophobes, racists, bad jokes, curi, people... well, you might get the idea.

This particular time i feel like ranting about homophobics. Mostly because I can't stop whining on this subject.

One, it is not gross and disgusting, people. Homosexual love is just as great as Heterosexual love. It isn't sick and wrong nor disgusting, in bad taste, 'yick', 'yuck', 'ew!!!!!!!!11' or anything else of the matter. Okay, you can dislike it i guess as much as i don't like the idea of there being the wrong kind of prejudice around, but for gods sake don't start pressing your beliefs on others! I've had about enough of people forcing their own opinions on other people. It's starting to happen everywhere, you know.

I guess you could easily view me complaining as me trying to make you accept male/male or female/female love. I don't mean to, first off, and second off, I try to only show off my opinion and, well, if you like it, yay. But if you don't like what i'm saying, you can turn away. I can try not to be offended, and all that jazz.

Hum. I'm getting bored, and i doubt my little wild rant has done much to change anybody's opinions... gah, why the hell am i ranting on this blog? i have my own! ah well...

So, just before i leave, i've gotta say...

The title change is my fault. A joke of an insider spy. If ya don't like it you can kiss my--*static screen, Sierra is phased out*

*big black words trail across the screen and say, End*

I hate doing HTML by hand

Because for some reason I do have to do it by hand on this blog, because I didn't friggin start it up.

...*ahem* Hello. I am S. Larson AKA Sierra Larson AKA Red_Cliff_Rhapsody AKA you-don't-need-to-know-anymore. I've come from my blog, Scorpion Stung, over here. It is one of the signs of the apocalypse.

Just saying, I'll be back to post with your strange creature called "Content" in a moment... But now, someone else needs my super amazing not-that-great powers. Mmyep. Talk Later.

Intro to Government for Kids

I just ran across this site. I just perused it briefly, but it seems like a fun and good introduction to the principles of governments and liberty for kids (of all ages).

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Those two posts that appeared here just then briefly, were meant to go on my blog instead... *hangs head in shame*. Still, go there and read, it's good!

Visitors, blogging, etc

We've had more visitors lately. Methinks this is good. Just goes to show that blogging activity does generate readers which does generate ideas-spreading.

By the way, can anyone tell me: when one googles something, are the items at the top of the list the ones that get the most hits? On what criteria does google organise its entries?

Monday, November 17, 2003
Why I hated Moulin Rouge

Apart from the flimsy story line, the strained vocal chords, and the sea-sickness-inducing camera movements...

Romantic movies almost always end with the male lead making a public affirmation of his love for the female. This can happen anywhere: on a plane (eg French Kiss, Martha meet Tom, Dick and Harry, or whoever they were), in front of her family and friends (Dirty Dancing, An Officer and a Gentleman, even the otherwise splendid Gigi), in front of HIS family and friends (Four Weddings and a Funeral) on TV (Notting Hill). Many of these and similar films are irritating for a myriad other reasons, but this is the aspect that truly makes my hackles rise now that I'm aware of it.

I think it is a substitute wedding, feeding on and perpetrating the myth that one public declaration of adoration by Him will be enough to ensure that They will live happily ever after. You can't end every movie with a wedding, but it's essentially the same idea: once people are publicly conjoined, All Is Resolved emotionally for ever. And since God and not-having-sex-before-you're-married is pretty much out of the picture now, the only thing that sustains the whole marriage idea (apart from tax breaks) is this false meme. Discuss.

One film that escapes this? When Harry met Sally. Yes, they are in public, but a) it is She who finally admits she loves Him and b) no-one else notices because they are all too busy saying 'happy new year' to each other. Maybe this is just one reason why, despite being a love story, this one is destined to sit in my DVD collection for the duration.

Sunday, November 16, 2003
Having an essay crisis

(what was it? 800 words by Monday? How many of them are allowed to be rhubarb? Are we allowed to cop a sickie?)

In the middle of not-quite writing a post about TCS, I had a question:

Why do some people say they don't think TCS works with very very tiny babies?

Does it get much easier once a child is talking; or once the child and the people interacting with them have developed various kinds of non-verbal communication?

Does understanding between a child and a person (parent or not) who is trying to take them seriously gradually develop?

It can be quite hard to "read" a stranger - Do they use sarcasm? Do they talk absolutely straight? Do they say one thing and expect the listener to infer something quite different? Do they witter on for so long that you stop listening and miss the nuggets? And if it's hard to interpret what they are saying because you don't know them very well, then I guess it might be very hard to interpret what someone wants when you only just met them and there isn't even the possibility of communicating through language for another few months because they are a tiny baby.

Saturday, November 15, 2003
Taking things personally

Someone wrote an entire blog all about how my philosophy piece below was a thinly-disguised personal attack on them! Not the first time my blogging has been accused in that way. There is a particular sort of paranoid egotist who thinks they are the centre of your universe and writes themselves into anything you care to write that can possibly be interpreted in such a light.

But they're not really so unique. Actually, all the trolls I've had and banned/deleted lately follow that pattern. Often they also see themselves as rejected close friends. They thought they were allowed to behave badly, because they were special, and when you said erm, no, they went crazy and started throwing teacups at the wall and chopping up your underwear.

Yes, that's right, it's the romance memes again... give me a desert island any day. Or a dessert island, maybe, with creme brulee, Belgian chocolate ice-cream and yummy pancakes with cream and bananas and caramel and I'm getting carried away now, time to get some dinner. Ahem.

(PS If you are the person who blogged that the blog below was all about them, then yes, you know who are and are not being paranoid this time!)

Friday, November 14, 2003

1. Who is Bill? And why would I be living with him?

2. The dog is getting it, cause I'm not doing any homework today :-)


Getting better theories about just one thing acts as a seed for getting more better theories.

Is this because
a) the theory-getter is getting primed for being able to spot good theories (= practice makes perfect)
b) when finding out about the one thing, the theory-getter comes into contact with people whose ideas they respect in that area. Then they find that those people have theories about other things so they think about those and... whammee, from reading curi's domain they find out about TCS

Good parenting and "being TCS"

(I have also posted this to the TCS list)

One cannot simply "be TCS". It's not like joining the Girl Guides. You can't do a promise, buy a uniform and then get sworn in. "TCS" has at least several different definitions, and they mean different things. Some are:

1. Being in agreement with TCS philosophy,
2. Being in agreement with TCS philosophy, and trying to enact it in one's daily life as a parent,
3. Believing oneself to be in agreement with TCS philosophy, while actually having a superficial and wrong understanding of it,
4. Being successful in not systematically directly coercing one's children,
5. Being successful in not directly coercing one's children and not exposing them to coercion from other sources,
6. Being successful in not systematically indirectly coercing one's children.

But the idea that one can discover TCS, reject coercion and thereby become as good as any parent can possibly ever be at helping one's child to grow is total rubbish.

It's not as good as one can possibly ever be simply to avoid active coercion. It's not as good as one can possibly ever be to avoid active coercion and attempt creative common-preference-finding. It's not as good as one can possibly ever be to avoid active coercion, attempt creative c-p finding and be a cynical, relativistic, civilisation-rejecting, mean intolerant person with no friends of one's own who lives in a hole in the middle of the desert.

If you refuse to contemplate some kinds of change, then you're not being a good parent. It's no good complaining about entrenchments being hard to change: if you can't change your entrenchment against leaving the house, and you're a single parent with no half-decent adult helpers nearby, then your child is not going to develop his preference to learn ice-skating. And if he gives up on the entire outside world out of a feeling of pointlessness, you didn't help him much.

Parenting is about actively helping children to find and make good choices. Parents who shrug and do nothing when their children are repeatedly unhappy, depressed, lonely, frustrated- "It must be because there are so few TCS families nearby to make friends with"- are neglectful. Not so much permissive as passive.

TCS was conceived as active, involved parenting. But some people's idea of active and involved is a lot more inactive and uninvolved than others'. One person might talk to their child all day about science but never even think of challenging their own cripplingly neglectful entrenchment (which they don't know they have) about how "teenagers are supposed to be miserable due to their hormones". Another person might talk to their child for one hour a day, but in extremely helpful ways that send that extremely happy, fulfilled, contented, ever-smiling child off into wonderfully growthful activities every time, staying available and being called upon mainly for minor re-direction.

Here's the nub: parenting is not easy. TCS gives us some moral outlines but it does not provide vast amounts of practical problem-solving information, anything like enough to help us solve all our problems in good ways. It cannot.

There is a lot more to be done. It's not good enough to say "I'm TCS: nobody can be a better parent than me." Yes they can. It is always possible to do better, to provide safer, happier, more growthful and less coercion-hampered lives (and I mean by coercion all misery, frustration and unhappiness- none of it helps us learn, and there is a long way to go towards rising above that lot, for most of us!)-

So, how are we going to improve? How do we help our children have better lives? We already rejected the idea of forcing them into stuff. We already stared discussing problems with them and looking for common-preferences in the face of conflict, and hopefully in the face of potential conflict, and hopefully as a general practice so that conflict rarely comes up...

We already started realising that we have fucked-up ideas (entrenchments), from our own parents' failures with us, which we should take apart and get rid of...

What next?

We improve our rationality. We challenge our entrenchments in active ways. And we actively seek more good opportunities for our children. We work hard, on their behalf, to bring them more of the choices they want. There are a million ways to do this. It's a whole extra job than parenting as conceived by TCS theories so far. But when it's done well, it makes cp-finding seem like a piece of cake, renders the need for conflict-resolution a dim and distant memory, and makes the whole question of coercion seem totally silly and pointless.

And if you succeed to any degree in this area, your children will be consistently and amazingly happy, fulfilled and a joy to have around. Happily occupied kids are easy to get along with. That's not an object-oriented goal, just a simple fact.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Well, I'm certainly not going to do Alice's homework (I never liked that puppy anyway).

But, I thought I'd pass along these three outrages that I mentioned on my blog recently.

How are we doing?

Average 34 hits a day, according to extreme tracking. Is that good, bad or pathetic? Does it matter? Maybe all 34 hits are from the same crazed nutter who doesn't realise we only blog once every twenty-four days (joke!!)?

Should we start some controversial comments-thread (no, not that controversial, I was thinking more of TCS-related ideas than made-up libellous bullshit- sigh- )? And what would be controversial to our 34 loyal TCS-friendly readers anyway?

How about answers to this question: "What is TCS- how would/do you define "TCS" when you talk to folks cyber and real about the subject?" 800 words please, in neat paragraphs, by Monday first thing. Or the puppy dog cops it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Things to Add...

I've recently blogged about TCS, here, at the top.

And I didn't like Taking TCS Seriously.. so I changed it for a minute and hope we can come up with a better idea.


You're nobody until...

You've received a money-laundering email spam from Nigeria

I am still a nobody, but I received one from Zimbabwe today. My first ever. Wheeee!

Does anyone remember the story of the woman who led some money launderers on and eventually captured them on a webcam in Amsterdam without ever actually meeting them? I'd love to see the link again.

PS sorry this is completely Off-any-Topic-that-anyone-might-be-interested-in. I was so tickled pink that I just wanted to share the moment with y'all. :-P

Tuesday, November 11, 2003
There is no TCS method

Here's one reason why people describe themselves as "being TCS parents" for years, then get pissed off with the ideas and start ranting and raving about it being evil: they failed. This could be due to one or a hundred original fundamental misunderstandings of TCS ideas (study this place, in detail, then bear in mind there's more...). It could be due to a kind of cynical anti-learning turnaround (which evil meme, it seems to me, many people surrender to sometime in their lives), or it could be because they thought TCS was a parenting method rather than a bunch of ideas about what's good and right: a kind of map for family relationships, a failsafe approach to problem-solving, a pattern that can be imposed on everyday situations in order to meet challenges. And having followed that method religiously and dogmatically for years, they finally noticed that it's not just problematic: it results in accumulating problems of a specific kind that get worse and worse and ultimately cause trouble.

Whether anyone associated with TCS has ever actively advocated this method does not concern me. What matters is, it doesn't work. It doesn't work because applying inflexible problem-solving patterns that can't adapt, rather than getting to the bottom of problems which may be complex and deep, is a second-rate approach. Sometimes, maybe even often, it's the best we can do, in one sense: re-assessing first principles every time we use the bathroom isn't a good use of resources. But on the other hand, never wondering why your child beats up the other kids whenever he sees them, just giving him ever-bigger weapons to help him along, is plain stupid and neglectful.

And knee-jerking to every tiny preference with no discussion, no attempt at offering better ideas, nil moral discourse input and zero creativity, simply a shrug and another surrender every brainless time, is one of the epitomes (along with mindless coercion) of bad parenting.

This is what some people apply as The TCS Method:
1. Help your child get whatever he wants as far as you think you can,
2. In the case of conflict between you and your child, discuss the problem till you reach agreement (common preference), challenging your own entrenched theories as necessary,
3. In the case of failure at 2, do whatever the child wants to do.

As a method it's hopeless because it is directionless, vague, morally vacuous and doesn't actually tell you what to do (is not a method!). For instance, if your child wants to take all the tops off the bottles of bleach in the supermarket, you fail to persuade him that this is a bad idea due to being a pathetic sap with dismal communication skills and no conviction (hard to have moral conviction while being a moral relativist, for instance), so you "self sacrifice", by allowing your child to open all the bleach bottles anyway, thus getting everyone thrown out of the shop and fined a bunch of money they don't have for being dangerous or whatever....

Well, it's no use. And you can't blame TCS for suggesting it, either: actually, TCS wouldn't suggest that. It would say, you should take responsibility, help your child have fun and learn and respect other people's property, and not get arrested, and the way you do that is your own problem, mate! Sorry! TCS can't live your life for you! (But why not ask other people how they'd solve it, and then take their ideas very very seriously?)

So: parenting. It's difficult. It's not for fuckwits. It's rocket science. Unless you're talking about crappy parenting of course, which, that's pretty widespread.

But if you don't want to know that parenting is rocket science, the most obvious method of truth-avoidance rules: shoot the messenger.

What is wrong with spanking your child?

[inspired by a TCS-list thread]

It assumes that there is no possibility of a non-disastrous and reasoned resolution to a child’s desired course of action. An example “Ralph [I love the generic TCS-child ‘Ralph’] reaches for a precious ornament belonging to Aunty Susan. Spanking him shows that he mustn’t touch it”.

But was spanking the only alternative? Aunty Susan could have been warned before your arrival that Ralph is interested in playing with new objects at the moment, and that he can reach approximately 3 feet. Then she could put any precious objects out of the way.

Or instead of reaching to spank the child, you could reach to act as a slip fielder, or even help the child to lift the precious object from the shelf onto the carpet.

And you could talk about glass and how it breaks (priming Ralph with cheap-glass-breaking experiments at home prior to a trip to a glass lover’s house might be good), admiring the way the light refracts through the glass, and feeling the pointy bits together so Ralph can work out how fragile the object is. Perhaps you have some other objects – cheap glass, ceramic and plastic – in your rucksack that can be pulled out for comparison; the precious object will soon stop being the focus of the game and can be removed to Aunty Susan’s safe.

Regardless of whether or not spanking causes long-term damage (and any experiment that tried to measure this would have to control for other equally arbitrary punishments such as “time outs” and whatever other manipulations parents engage in to impose their authority and will on small people), an example like the above should at least illustrate that violence towards a curious child is a pretty unimaginative and knowledge-creation-denying refuge.

So: spanking as unimaginative impediment to child interacting with the universe.

Monday, November 10, 2003
On the subject of school - does anyone remember THIS disgraceful moment?

Just makes my blood boil..

Wednesday, November 05, 2003
Schools: great places for getting killed

I think schools are far more dangerous and bad places than most people, including most home-educators, realise. I don't think this kind of thing happens without the institutional structure of schools making it possible and more likely.

And as for this story.. it makes me want to spit blood. The authority schools claim over children was exactly how these two girls got murdered, by their classroom assistant's school caretaker (groundsman) boyfriend. If kids weren't brainwashed into thinking people associated with schools are to be trusted not to murder them, they wouldn't be so vulnerable.

But of course, as in authoritarian families, part of how schools keep going is exactly in order to abuse children. It justifies their being, which justifies the career identities of a large number of people. Which is why they really don't like it if you suggest that kids can learn even better without having to spend 35 plus hours a week being ordered around by someone who wasted four years at college "learning" how to "teach" them.

*spits blood*

Tuesday, November 04, 2003
On giving advice

Giving unsought advice is never a good idea, IMO (I don't mean that saying "I don't advise standing in front of that fast-approaching tank" is a bad idea; I mean that giving unsought advice about someone else's non-immediately-life-threatening actions is a bad idea).

What about when someone asks for advice?

Scenario 1 (optimal) The person explains what the choices are, what the consequences are and how they are trying to choose between them. They find they've worked out their own answer; they just needed a sounding board to try it out on. For some people, a solution is not quite real until they've actually said it out loud to another person.

Scenario 2 (not quite as good) the person doesn't manage to take the final step of deciding what to do. Your response is to summarise your understanding of the situation (it's a "He's never going to leave her" moment, for those who've seen Harry and Sally); the resolution of the problem is still the responsibility of the problem holder, and is deferred until a later time.

Scenario 3 (getting very bad) the person really wants you to tell them what to do. In a moment of weakness, you say "well, I'd...". Needy Nora takes your advice... and holds you ultimately responsible for the outcome, good or bad.

Scenario 4 (the worst yet) the person spends hours discussing every aspect of their difficulty with you. But three days or a week or a year later, you discover that they did nothing to implement the solutions that they worked out when talking with you (not like scenario 3 - they did the working out themselves; if you gave them advice, this scenario gets EVEN worse). When you next meet, they wish to discuss exactly the same things again. If you do not disengage and refuse to discuss these matters, you risk being sucked into someone else's problem set which they have no interest in solving. IME, there is not usually any alternative to disengaging from Milly the Millstone entirely, since by this time they have come to view you as a person with whom they can talk about the problem (which actually they don't see as a problem, but an endlessly fascinating scenario through which to reflect at length on their own personality).

UPDATE: the upshot of all of this is that when I ask someone for advice, or discuss my problem with someone, I then have a responsibility to attempt to solve that problem. Continued inaction, mental or practical, means there was no point in talking about it.

Monday, November 03, 2003
Announcing that I moved my blog and split it into two:

Curiosity Frontpage: www.curi.us/
curi's domain: www.curi.us/domain/

go read them.

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