Re: Reforming Education

Robert Owen (
Sun, 10 Oct 1999 16:31:27 -0400

Clint O'Dell wrote:

> >May I just add that unless one is a sociopath, the affirmation of one's
> >moral choices by a conscience that says: "Well done, good and faithful
> >servant" should suffice.
> I fail to see the logic behind threatening to lable people as sociopaths for
> having a differen't oppinion as you do.

The Standard Diagnostic Nomenclature of the American Psychiatric Association includes in its description of "sociopathy" "the inability to experience shame or guilt" and "the absence of internalized ethical or moral standards of conduct", i.e. conscience, and in general "displays an amorphous hostile disregard of society".

So I use the term WITH reference to its MEANING; my opinions have nothing at all to do with. This is not to assert that "sociopaths" are "bad"; it is to say they have a personality disorder.

> Also, I would hope noone would degrade themselves to say they are servants.

Do it all the time -- my Board of Directors considers me their "servant"; anyone who serves anything -- a cause, the welfare of a child or spouse, an organization etc. is a "servant". The pejorative connotation you attribute to this term represents your interpretation, not mine.

Are you really that uncomfortable with the idea devoting your life, even sacrificing it if necessary, to an Ideal or Purpose whose value and importance vastly exceed your own?

> >And one very good way to receive this enhancement of self-esteem is, when
> >appropriate, to subordinate your own needs to the welfare of others whose
> >lives might contain less "quiet despair", and more faith in themselves,
> >more hope for a better future, as a result of your effort
> If that works for you.

I'm suggesting it works for everybody. For example, devoted Extropians are working hard not just for themselves but for all "incarnations" of Reason (c.f. the Greek "logos" which was interpreted by John and to some extent Plotinus as denoting "The Word" but in fact means "pattern", "order" and "Reason" or "ratio" in Latin). As a future-oriented group of people, they know that the possibility of incompletion of the program within their own lifetimes is very real--but that does not deter them from "serving the cause". Perhaps I ought to say that I assume so, because I cannot speak for anyone but myself.

> >extropians in your membership who have not emotionally matured beyond the
> >primary narcissism of a three year old?
> Robert, I would appreciate it if you didn't resort to name calling when
> dealing with such important disscussions. They don't contribute.

I agree with you in this case; NOT WHAT I said, but the WAY I said it was spoken in anger, for which I certainly apologize. What I ought to have said was something like:

             "...who have not emotionally developed beyond that
             phase which Sigmund Freud called "Primary Narcissm",
             the earliest state except for "Oceanic Feelings of
             Omnipotence" which precedes it."

Thanks for your reply,


Robert M. Owen
The Orion Institute
57 W. Morgan Street
Brevard, NC 28712-3659 USA