Corridors, Power and all that

From Sidey’s theme

After this weekend I find myself with a lot to think about, not least the inspiration first from Sidey who offered this photograph [from Wini Esterhuizen with her permission] as a theme, and then from Kate who produced not one but two thought-provoking posts, especially the first about the corridors and psychology and institutions. And of course Speccy has been to the NIRDP conference reminding us of human-ness and how much we need to get out of our own wee worlds. Kate said:

“In the Victorian years, institutions such as these were made to instil values from outside: iron-spined Christian values, paternalistic judgement enshrined in bricks and mortar”

Quite. Hence – Corridors of Power.

I also came across a news item in which our revered moronic powerful Minister of Justice, Chris Grayling, has made yet another pronouncement which would be utterly inane (as his thought process appears to be) if it were not also so utterly damaging to hope and health in our society. He thinks we should scrap the Human Rights Act, which enables us to engage with the European Convention on Human Rights, and in its place we would have… wait for it… a British Bill of Rights. I cannot work out if this stroke of genius/idiocy implies that the British are more or less human than the europeans, no doubt that will become clearer when we see what goes in to the Bill of Rights. [I know it is about those nasty courts and judges over there having an influence on British way of life – does he mean his way of life?]

Oh yes – it is only last month that he thought maybe rapists could be cautioned if the rapee was not able to give evidence [even the justice minister can’t think about enabling ways to give evidence?]. And a few weeks before that, he approved of smacking children. Here he did seem to recognize that he might need an evidence base, because a lot of us don’t like smacking anyone, not even small cuddly cats and dogs. So he provided irrefutable evidence: “It never did me any harm“.

On this smacking topic much has been said about the psychology, and harm, which is difficult to evidence because, lets face it, most of us have a pretty complex psychology (see corridors from Kate as above). We are influenced by all sorts of things. Some of us are unexpectedly resilient to some stuff, and  others, some different us are unexpectedly vulnerable, maybe to the same, or maybe to different, stuff. [if that is a terrible complicated couple of sentences – apologies]

So I would just like to add a little mite about the PHYSIOLOGY of smacking, not psychology [even though I happen to think that body and mind are rather connected.] When someone receives a ‘smack’ or walks into a door or falls off a swing or gets kicked in the shin by a fellow footballers boot, ie receives a sudden pain, guess what, the body reacts. I think it produces adrenalin – or one of those things – I am sure wikipedia or other google can tell you the correct details.

This adrenalin spikes, as it does in all situations of shock, so that us who are basically animal, can fight or flee. In other words, as the neuroscientists tell us, a smack leads to pain, leads to shock reaction, leads to adrenalin spike and straight into the most undeveloped animal part of our brains. Forget cognition and thought, or the idea of considered response, smack produces shock, and its physiological consequences – animal reaction. And, if it happens a lot, or regularly, and we survive anyway, which we do, the good old brain cells have a nice pattern they can return to over and over again. It might be addiction to adrenalin, or brain dead re affect in certain areas, or whatever. Who cares if it is called ‘harm’, or something more scientific, like amygdala activity? (amygdala = lower level brain action centre, again check details).

Corridors in the brain if you like, which lead straight to incapacity to think about stuff that has not been thought about (in this brain) before.

Oh dear, it seems we have animals in the corridors of power.

So… misquoting Kate… can I say

Upbringing practices such as these were made to instil values from outside: iron-spined Christian values, paternalistic judgement enshrined in I am bigger and more powerful than you

Help Help – reactive, unresponsive unthinking values! How many people vote, and act, and pronounce, conservative-ly for these reasons? Real values come from development INSIDE – as we live and grow together with others reaching out to the social parts in our brains. And, we do try to pass them on, but the instil method does not work. [I was also at a couple of meetings on Saturday re personal growth and development [Scottish Association for Psychodynamic Counselling in the morning, and Human Development Scotland, in the afternoon, but thoughts from there can wait for another post. ]

Hope if you have read this far, a good kind of animal corridor from an interactive living ecology.

Bengal Tiger

PASSING THROUGH: A WWF-India team spotted this male Bengal tiger crossing the Kosi River corridor in northern India. (Photo: WWF-India)

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