I am very sorry to be dissing Rodgers and Hammerstein and South Pacific, but they were out of their raving minds when they wrote “You’ve got to be carefully taught.”
I woke up with the son running through my head and my thought superimposed on it “That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.”
You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear
You’ve got to be taught from year to year
It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught
You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade
You’ve got to be carefully taught
You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late
Before you are six or seven or eight
To hate all the people your relatives hate
You’ve got to be carefully taught
This would be how things would work, if humans were born like onto angels, without an animal side. If we were pure souls, tossed down to this workaday world, with no stain of creation, yeah, maybe. Maybe. The workaday world would work its magic, anyway, without the ape body.
Ah, but we do have the ape body. One of the greatest — and arguably most harmful — delusions of the last hundred years or so, at least among the intelligentsia is the idea that we’re not animals. It is actually kind of funny, honestly, because these are the same devoted Darwinists (BAD Darwinists, making the poor man rotate in in his grave hard enough to generate electricity that would power all of Great Britain if they only knew) that would often finish their books about how terrible humans were with “you’re just animals, stop looking at the stars.”
Of course the books were incoherent anyway, often claiming that humans were the only animal who would “wage war” or kill its own species (these people obviously never had a fighting tom cat for a pet. Calimero killed every other male cat in the village, which is why half of the village ferals look siamese.) and at the same time claiming that we’re taught war and violence. On second thought maybe this is not incoherent, since humans are the only ones with the capacity to learn abstract concepts.
It’s still insane and stupid. The only place this “you have to be taught violence” could take root is among humans so divorced of nature that they can idealize it and not see that animals are arguably more violent than humans, and that animals play at fighting and dominance days after they’re born.
Even the humble chicken is a stone cold killer. And don’t get me started on mother rabbits who eat their litters. (No, not through some deficiency. Some just acquire a taste for it.)
Count among Peterson’s amazing achievement of speaking the known, the things we’ve all always known, but keep forgetting when we’re propagandized with crazy day in day out, that disciplining your child doesn’t teach him or her violence. It curbs their violence. Because every animal is born knowing violence. Life on Earth, from very early on has played dominance games and violence, often against its own species. It is one of the great achievements of humanity. learning to curb that violence and that natural hatred of the “different” (and this has nothing to do with race. I am one of those people who have ridiculously early childhood memories. I’m also one of those people who until much older could not remember faces or indeed anything visual — as far as being born premature, etc. damaged my brain, I think it whacked the visual area, which only started coming back around 14 — so I remember not liking people who smelled differently from my family. And in the village at that time, it could very well mean they only washed once a month with home made soap. Our laundress thought our clothes smelled wonderful even dirty, because we used “perfumy”– i.e. bought — soap.)
Those idiots who came up with the idea humans were racist as babies need their heads examined. Baby humans fear the stranger, because strangers are dangerous. For how dangerous I refer you to our closest relatives, the chimps, who tear chimp babies limb from limb and eat them. Usually when the babies are from another troop… but sometimes when they belong to a low-dominance female in their own troop.
It is teaching humans to overcome that so we can live in more than familial groups that makes humans strange and wondrous, not that we still have fights between groups (bigger groups, now more loosely defined) or between individuals in our groups.
And even then, if you want to train your little ape to fit in any group, you have to curb his aggression, and yes, that sometimes means a couple of swats to the behind. You’re not teaching them violence. You’re teaching them violence is unacceptable. (BTW I was gratified that Peterson pretty much confirmed my approach, which was all non-violent means first, then the swat as last recourse. He also made me feel better by pointing out higher-dominance individuals will need the swat more. This explains why one of my kids was not “spanked nearly enough” which is my way of putting it, when what I mean is “He could usually be distracted or bribed, and once we figured out taking his computer cord away worked better — when he was about 3 — we just used that, for an hour, a day, or in very bad circumstances, a week. The other… made me feel I was the worst mother in the world. Let’s put it that way.)
I understand the military has to train humans to kill, but people who think that’s because humans are born pure and innocent also need their heads examined. It’s because you’re contravening really early training, and that can be near-impossible to break. It’s not the only early training that’s hard to break. I remember seeing a study somewhere showing that the earliest you were potty trained the hardest to break, even when absolutely necessary. (I’m one of those people who can’t use bedpans. In a situation where getting up might kill me, I still had to because it was that or burst.)
We are born animals. Each generation is born as really smart apes. No, I’m not saying you don’t have a divine-formed soul (would I say that?)only that early on, without training, it’s subsumed to your animal nature.
Your animal brain is very old, arguably from before there were vertebrates on Earth, though it’s possible there’s more of reptilian than that. Your animal brain doesn’t care about your projected utopia. Heck, as I’m finding out, day by day, my animal brain doesn’t give much of a hang for what my higher, rational brain wants it to do. “We’ll have more money if you write 8 hours a day” doesn’t motivate it, because it has a warm cave and a full belly. Yeah. I’ll figure out a way around it. But it’s hard even working with those parts when they’re part of you.
Your animal brain will make you play violence and dominance games, unless it’s broken of it early. Which probably explains why people raised as pacifists are the most violent and dirtiest fighters in the world and also why the left which thinks that humans have to be “taught to hate” are usually the side that goes to brass knuckles, or bicycle locks, first, and overwhelmingly. It’s also why every regime that assumes humans are tabula rasa, and born perfect has filled mass graves. After all, if you are born a certain way and can’t change it, you have to kill vast portions of humanity to get to perfection.
It’s also of course because the people in charge are violent and denying that part of their nature. Psychologists have a term something like “the return of the repressed.” When you deny what’s a natural part of you (the left applies that only to sex, which can actually return as art, but never mind…) it will come back in a weird, deformed and often lethal way.
I’m not saying — do I look like a hippie? Okay, so I need to dye my hair. Shut up, wretch — that humans should give in to their baser impulses and have sex with everyone like bonobos, and kill everyone or fight among themselves like chimps.
I’m saying that learning to repress those impulses and only let them out when absolutely needed IS civilization. And civilization is a good thing. But you need to be aware humans have to be trained NOT to act like apes. And that the impulses are always there, even in the most civilized of humans.
And this is a good thing. Those sublimated impulses are what gave us art and science, besides allowing us to live in cities populated by millions.
But they’re not unnatural. And you don’t have to learn them. And swatting your kid’s butt won’t make him a killer. It might rather prevent him from going feral and being a maimed thing all his life, visiting violence, real or metaphorical, on innocents.
To put it in metaphorical terms: the serpent was always in the garden. It was Adam and Eve’s innocence that allowed it to do its work.
It’s when you ignore the serpent in yourself that you allow it to corrupt you. Or your kids.
We’ve seen the serpent and it is us. And it’s only by staring it in the face and telling it “yes, you’re part of me, but if I let you influence me you’ll destroy me” that we can save civilization.