Friday 30 March 2018


The first post in this series now has 68 page views on the fourth day of publication. The second post - yesterday's - has 55 page views. No copies of TRC sold yet through these two blogs but I'm an optimist ... (here's that link again - ... and I'm delighted that these extracts from the book are getting this kind of circulation. Today, I offer some thoughts about our brains.

Here's the Interpreter responding to Pilgrim's enquiry about whether he thinks people are born with different degrees of brightness and dullness:  

'Pilgrim was considering his own views on the matter even as he asked the question.

Interpreter:  'Indeed I do not. The human species has evolved from other higher primates and possesses an electro-chemical powerhouse – the brain – that is species specific. There may be glitches and twists in the hard-wiring of that brain that become evident in specific individuals from conception or from birth but by and large human beings are gifted similar human features. You and I have eyes to see, legs and arms to move, noses to smell, lungs to breathe, ears to hear, and brains to use to coordinate movement and thought and language and action. The differentiation in the wiring of the brain, the degree of complexity in the arrangement of the axons and dendrites, the whole cellular structure that is opened up by the knife of the brain surgeon, all that is the fruit of the inter-relationship between the brain of the individual and the life experiences of that same individual.

We are human ...

Here in this land they called it the nature-nurture issue and debated how much importance should be given to each in explaining our actions in life. Not before time, there are now academic voices

pointing out that the so-called debate was asking the wrong question, assuming that nature and nurture could be separated in that way.

Why do some people want to believe that there are those who are born dull and others who are born bright?  The answer to that question is in the box marked Power and Control.

Conformity, socialisation and control - Do as I say, aka Education and Schooling

Why were women marked out as different from men? Why were they seen as less
suited and therefore less capable of fulfilling the political and social roles that men played? Because men feared their competition.

Members of Parliament, High Court Judges, CEOs, Newspaper editors, Bank of England Monetary Committee members  Whoops! - Women in absentia ...

Why were those men and women of different races and different colours marked out as inferior by those who conquered and then exploited them? Because power and wealth corrupt. The demand for equality will always be resisted by those whose power and control rest on a foundation of inequality.

An American street in 1968

Imagine:  in every state in our world, every member of the next generation, is actually born equal, with the potential to enjoy the joy of being fully human. That’s such a subversive idea to take on board!  No wonder the wealthy and powerful strive to protect their vested interests by denying full human potential to most of the next generation. On the grounds they have been born too dull and lack the brightness to deserve the education deemed appropriate for their own children.'


I spent a working lifetime in schools, loved my role in the classroom - and always had grave misgivings about the educational system itself and those who pulled its levers. I wrote down some of my thoughts after serving the cause of education for seven years in a London borough between 1977 and 1984, teaching in a social-priority, multi-ethnic comprehensive school that saw its roll fall from 1,700 students to 800 in the time I taught there. Here's a link to that story for those who are interested -

In 2009, I withdrew from the classroom for the last time. It had not been the best of years. The kids remained great - but management once again had become a problem. They no doubt saw me the same way - a little local difficulty. Here's a link to that story for the curious among you -

Once again, do please comment and share your experiences - I know I have been privileged to have spent three decades and more working with young people and helping perhaps some of them fulfil their potential and enjoy the joy of being fully human.

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