Thursday, September 30, 2004

Introduction to Summerhill

Okay, I haven't been posting much lately, so I'll put up something for contemplation.

I mentioned Summerhill in an earlier post, its a school in England where the children are free to attend class or not. Its pretty radical. The head of the school, A.S. Neil, also wrote a book about it, Summerhill. From his introduction:

"What is the province of psychology? I suggest the word curing....The only curing that should be practiced is the curing of unhappiness.

"The difficult child is the child who is unhappy. He is at war with himself; and in consequence, he is at war with the world.

"The difficult adult is in the same boat. No happy man ever disturbed a meeting, or preached a war....No happy woman ever nagged her husband or her children....

"All crimes, all hatreds, all wars can be reduced to unhappiness. This book is an attempt to show how unhappiness arises, how it ruins human lives, and how children can be reared so that much of this happiness will never arise...."

Tantalizing, I think. Where is the quick fix to get me to stop nagging my husband and kids? I do know that when I'm feeling happy, I don't nag, I have more patience, I'm a better person to be around. But how do I hold on to that fleeting happiness?

I'm very interested in the intersection of religion/faith and psychology, so I think one's faith plays a large part in their happiness. More on that later...

1 comment:

Larry said...

Sparky,
My son, Rob, is the happiest person I know; it may be partly a pretend, but I don't think so. He's religious although I don't really know to what extent except that he has gone with his wife faithfully to the black Catholic church for a number of years. Finally, he's working on a doctorate in Psychology at George Washington. Maybe you need to meet him; think it might be contagious.