Montessori


"It is organized violence on the top which creates individual violence at the bottom" --Emma Goldman

"... the 19th century's anarchist Emma Goldman's warning about the consequences of the use of unlawful physical force to resolve conflict...

"... nary a word has been mentioned about the influence of violence upon a society that has become not only fascinated by, but has come to deify, it.

"Particularly when it comes to youth we see this idolatry manifest itself today, fueled by graphic international conflicts, movies, television, computer games and, to some degree, music...

"Kids' TV often has a particularly bad kind of violence--the humorous kind...

"Added to this mix is the ever-present influence of a corporatist culture willing to use exploited violence and unfettered competitiveness as a means to satisfy its own insatiable greed while a supportive government cheers it on under the guise of a free-market economy...

"...we have not made peace and non-violence attractive. Perhaps, this is because we ourselves have never really understood what they mean. Our concept of peace has always been framed in terms of the final and stabilized goals of a given conflict.

"True peace, as the famed child educator Dr. Maria Montessori reminds us, "suggests the triumph of justice and love among men; it reveals the existence of a better world wherein harmony reigns"... [from her pamphlet Peace and Education]...

[More from the pamphlet] ""The obedience which is expected of the child both in home and in the school--an obedience admitting neither of reason nor of justice--prepares [them] to be docile to blind forces.

""The punishment, so frequent in schools, which consists in subjecting the culprit to public reprimand and is almost tantamount to the torture of the pillory, fills the soul with a crazy, unreasoning fear of public opinion, manifestly unjust and false," the noted educator adds.

"The perfect and infallible discipline therefore becomes synonymous with slavery for the child...

"[From Montessori again] "The virtue worthy above all others of public encouragement and of reward has always been triumphing over one's school fellows in competitions, and the gaining in examinations of the decisive victory allowing one to pass from one year to another of a monotonous existence of perpetual servitude.

""[Children] brought up in this way have been prepared neither to fight and be victorious, not to conquer truth and possess it, nor to love others and join with them in striving for a better life.

""Their education has prepared them rather for an incident, a mere episode of real community life: war. For in reality, the cause of war does not lie in armaments, but in the [individuals] who make use of them"" (A.V. Krebs. "Sacrificing Childhood to Idolatry of Violence." Progressive Populist, May 1, 2005: 7).


Colby Glass, MLIS