Article: Playing the Nice Guy Ruins Our Kids
as well as our Society

By Théun Mares, July 12, 1996

If one looks beyond the face value of the violence and chaos that is occurring all over the world today, it becomes clear to see that the real motivating force is man's inherent, albeit mostly unconscious, drive towards seeking harmony through conflict.

Inside each and every one of us is the instinct for survival, and therefore also the intuitive recognition of the need to fight for that survival, irrespective of whether it is physical survival, economic survival, emotional survival, survival of one's culture, religion, language, or quite simply survival of the self in the broadest possible meaning of the term “self”.

But in a world that has become riddled with crime and violence, injustice and anarchy, the word “fight” has become a dirty word.


  • we frown heavily upon those who express the desire to fight,
  • we protest loudly when any one person steps out of line relative to what is the accepted norm,
  • we condition each other in the so-called civilised ways of democracy and, worse still,
  • we condition our children into becoming meek and mild, unable and indeed, unwilling to fight.

Then we wonder why our children cannot fight peer pressure when it comes to alcohol and drugs, and we wonder why, once they have become adult, they turn out to be so weak in fighting for their rights.

Therefore the question facing all of us, is not whether or not it is good to fight, but that if we have to fight, how best can we fight to our advantage so that the positive emerges, rather than chaos, anarchy, rebellion and ultimately also destruction?

“No-one can fight for us, because no-one can live our lives for us.”

If we are going to:

  • achieve peace in our country,
  • rid society of crime,
  • build a stable economy,
  • and carve out a type of future which all of us can look forward to,

then it is time that we start to acknowledge that the only way in which to achieve our goals is for individuals like you and me to stand together, not only in taking joint responsibility for our circumstances, our challenges and our lives, but also to fight for what we believe in.

No-one can fight for us, because no-one can live our lives for us.

Not the police.
Not the government.
Not the church.
Not the schools.
Not our neighbourhood watch or the security companies.

We all have our own lives to live, our own challenges to face and our own responsibility in fighting to create the type of world and society in which we would like to live.

And most important of all, each and every one of us has our own individual responsibility to give our children the correct guidance in helping us to build the country and the future of our dreams. Why?

Because our children are the future, and therefore they too need to learn to fight:-

  • to fight against peer pressure,
  • to fight against the debilitating restraints of social conditioning and, above all,
  • to fight for self-respect in learning to think for themselves, rather than just becoming the victims of circumstance and society

“Too little is done to help children build the resilience they need to cope when things go wrong.”

A very sad reflection of where we are failing as a society comes from the result of a three year study commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation in England.

The report concludes that pressures on children to succeed and mollycoddling by parents who fear for their kids' safety are turning out a young generation that is emotionally illiterate and at an increased risk of mental breakdown.

One in five from the age group four to twenty suffer from problems, ranging from bed-wetting to anorexia, which significantly disrupt their lives.

The problem is that the pressures on children to achieve are enormous, but too little is done to help them to build the resilience they need to cope when things go wrong.

Up until now the needs of children everywhere have been determined largely by the demands made upon them by adult society.

In this respect it has for a long time been assumed that the needs of children are the same as those of their parents and teachers. Although people, generally speaking, can sense that children must by the force of evolution develop needs different from those of their parents, yet in practice very little has been done to guide children towards discovering for themselves what are their own particular needs within an evolving world.

Oliver L. Reiser, lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh points out that:

“The world today suffers from a cultural provincialism based on the dualism of an outward-looking, objective attitude of the Western world, and an inwardness or subjectivity of Oriental societies.”

“For the future, the remedy for the social schisms and psychological fissions that have handicapped and obstructed modern efforts to overcome the divisions of humanity, lies in a restoration of unity of principles upon which an integration of human values and achievements can be attempted.”

“The educational implications of this development are clear. The time to resynthesise the objective and subjective, the extrovert and introvert, and to achieve a great orchestration of culture is now.”

In this respect our greatest challenge is how best to resynthesise the objective and subjective, the western and the eastern, and ultimately male and female, conflict and harmony.

Culture and Education

Culture, in its broadest possible implications, must be restored to its rightful place within education, for buried deep within its abstract depths are the roots of all education. Culture is not the product of education; rather does the evolution of culture lead man into new avenues of thought, and hence of education.

“To be schooled but not educated is to be a fragmented human being.”

In speaking about culture we should bear in mind that man is essentially a religious creature, and that at the basis of all culture lies man's deepest questions concerning life.

Who are we?
Why are we here?
What is the purpose of our lives and our deaths?
How should we understand our place in the world, in time, in space?
And what indeed, is the purpose of education, of going to school, of learning?

Yet sadly, how many of us are knowledgeable about even our own culture, let alone that of another?

How many of us can even accurately define the meaning of the word “culture”?

We may look upon our modern society as being highly civilised, but ironically, it is also very uncultured. To lack a knowledge of the meaning and the purpose of culture is to be uneducated, even though we may be highly schooled in several academic disciplines.

To be schooled but not educated is to be a fragmented human being.

Culture addresses the questions pertaining to life. Schooling in those questions enables us to live life. But to be schooled only in academic pursuits that are not seen within the context of life as a whole is to be uneducated in the true sense of the word.

Uneducated people cannot live life.

Uneducated people are to all intents and purposes illiterate in the true sense of the word, and can therefore at best exist within the confines of their academic abilities and achievements.

Our problem today is indeed a world problem, because today we have a far higher level of academic achievement within the world as a whole, but sadly, also an illiteracy that is growing at an alarming rate.

With the advent of the worldwide web communication across political and cultural boundaries has increased dramatically in recent times, with the result that people today have become much more exposed to the marvellous mixture of different peoples, different races, languages, skills and culture, as well as the fundamental polarity of East and West, that comprises our one humanity.

We should therefore be fully aware of the potential, the opportunity and the challenges this new inter-racial and inter-cultural communication is offering us.

“It is not fighting that is bad; what is bad is that we don't know what we should be fighting for.”

Humanity on the whole is still very much a child at heart and, as a result, will more often than not resort to attempted trickery in order to achieve desired goals. This is something with which we are all very familiar, in that at no time ever before has corruption within all areas of human endeavour been so rife as it is today. The natural consequence of this is that both crime and violence have also escalated to enormous proportions. Therefore it is clear that humanity is badly in need of education, something that cannot be accomplished by concentrating upon academic schooling only. Why?

Simply because, as Joseph Henderson observes, “the trickster is thoroughly amoral. He submits to no discipline and is guided wholly by his experiential attitude towards life.

“Yet it is out of this trickster figure that the Hero-Saviour ultimately evolves.

“The trickster impulse provides the strongest resistance to initiation and is one of the hardest problems education has to solve because it seems a kind of divinely sanctioned lawlessness that promises to become heroic”

Does that sound familiar?

If it doesn't, then it should.

This last phrase sums up so very accurately where our children are at today, where society is at today, where we in the world are at today.

This is a lawlessness which we can try to suppress, or eradicate altogether.

But if we do we will be killing off something in us that is vitally important to our future and to our well-being. We will be killing off our potential to develop the Hero-Saviour.

The alternative course would be for us to educate ourselves in what it means to be human beings, and thereby to come into contact with both the meaning and the purpose of the Hero-Saviour.

In this way we may claim our deep inner drive towards fighting off inertia, in order that the evolution of awareness may proceed unencumbered.

It is not rebellion that is bad.

What is bad is that we have never taught either our children or ourselves to rebel with discrimination.

It is not fighting that is bad.

What is bad is that neither we nor our children know what it is we should be fighting for. As a result, rebellion turns into anarchy, and fighting becomes destructive, and the Hero-Saviour, instead of being a hero and a saviour, becomes instead a manic dictator that suppresses man's instinctual urge towards creativity and innovation.

Instead of the Hero-Saviour in us guiding us towards harmony through conflict, we debilitate ourselves into achieving only chaos and destruction through an ignorance which breeds only crime and violence.

If we wish to uplift ourselves and our children to the status of the Hero-Saviour, then we must come to the acknowledgement that academic schooling without a proper education is not even nearly enough.

“The teaching of social interaction is neglected almost entirely with the result that the child is not equipped to handle life.”

In this respect the major disadvantages of mere academic schooling lie in the fact that, firstly, the teaching of social interaction is neglected almost entirely, with the result that the child is seldom, if ever, taught and evaluated as an entire person.

Consequently, although he or she may excel in academic work, the fact remains that the child is not equipped to handle life, to handle the many pressures of society.

Why should this be?

Because the physical and emotional training of the child has been omitted, whilst the only mental training received is centred almost entirely around academic achievement.

Other areas of the mind, such as creative imagination and thought, learning to translate feeling into conscious thought, are relegated to the back row, if not frowned upon.

Yet it is only through this type of training that the child develops the ability to formulate purposeful questions, and thereby acquires the necessary ability to evaluate self, and to assess the personal.

Yet, it is not the responsibility of only the schools to educate our children.

All of us are jointly responsible by virtue of the fact that we all partake in the one life, we all participate in the one society, and therefore we all interact with each other to create those emotional responses and mental impulses we should be educated in handling constructively.

“True learning, true education takes place all the time, everywhere.”

True learning, true education takes place all the time, everywhere.

Life doesn't happen only at school.

Life happens all the time.

We need academic schooling in order to establish a career, but life is infinitely more than merely holding down a job.

For further Blog posts please click here...