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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Culture of Self: Meet the man (Ex- Altar Boy) behind the Self Esteem movement

Culture of Self: Meet the man behind the Self Esteem movement
We live in a society promoting ego and esteem which runs contrary to Chrsitianity.  The masses are being set up for the formal New Age Religion under the False Prophet and Antichrist who will teach a self realization "doctrine".
In the 1980s, Californian politician John Vasconcellos set up a task force to promote high self-esteem as the answer to all social ills. But was his science based on a lie?

In 2014, a heartwarming letter sent to year 6 pupils at Barrowford primary school in Lancashire went viral. Handed out with their Key Stage 2 exam results, it reassured them: “These tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique… They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them or that your laughter can brighten the dreariest day. They do not know that you write poetry or songs, play sports, wonder about the future, or that sometimes you take care of your little brother or sister.”
At Barrowford, people learned, teachers were discouraged from issuing punishments, defining a child as “naughty” and raising their voices. The school’s guiding philosophy, said headteacher Rachel Tomlinson, was that kids were to be treated with “unconditional positive regard”.

A little more than a year later, Barrowford found itself in the news again. Ofsted had given the school one of its lowest possible ratings, finding the quality of teaching and exam results inadequate. The school, their report said, “emphasised developing pupils’ emotional and social wellbeing more than the attainment of high standards”. Somehow, it seemed, the nurturing of self-esteem had not translated into higher achievement.
The flawed yet infectious notion that, in order to thrive, people need to be treated with unconditional positivity first gained traction in the late 80s. Since then, the self-esteem movement has helped transform the way we raise our children – prioritising their feelings of self-worth, telling them they are special and amazing, and cocooning them from everyday consequences.
One manifestation of this has been grade inflation. In 2012, the chief executive of British exams regulator Ofqual admitted the value of GCSEs and A-levels had been eroded by years of “persistent grade inflation”. In the US, between the late 60s and 2004, the proportion of first year university students claiming an A average in high school rose from 18% to 48%, despite the fact that SAT scores had actually fallen. None of this, says Keith Campbell, professor of psychology at the University of Georgia and expert on narcissism, serves our youngsters well. “Burning yourself on a stove is really useful in telling you where you stand,” he says, “but we live in a world of trophies for everyone. Fourteenth place ribbon. I am not making this stuff up. My daughter got one.”
Campbell, with his colleague Jean Twenge at San Diego State University, has argued that this kind of parenting and teaching has contributed to a measurable rise in narcissism: witness the selfie-snapping millennials. Although their findings are disputed, Twenge points to other research done in the US and beyond – “twenty-two studies or samples [that] show a generational increase in positive self-views, including narcissism, and only two [that] do not”.
How did we get here? To answer that, you have to go back to 1986 and the work of an eccentric and powerful California politician, John “Vasco” Vasconcellos. That year, the Democrat Vasconcellos managed to persuade a deeply sceptical Republican state governor to fund a three-year task force to explore the value of self-esteem. Vasco was convinced that low self-esteem was the source of a huge array of social issues, including unemployment, educational failure, child abuse, domestic violence, homelessness and gang warfare. He became convinced that raising the population’s self-esteem would act as a “social vaccine”, saving the state billions.
But Vasco’s plan backfired spectacularly, with the fallout lasting to this day. I spent a year trying to find out why – and discovered that there was, at the heart of his project, a lie.
***
John Vasconcellos grew up an obedient Catholic, an altar boy, the smartest kid in his class, whose mother swore that he never misbehaved. But, being such a devout Catholic, he knew that no matter how good he was, he could only ever be a sinner. At primary school, he ran for class president. “I lost by one vote. Mine,” he later said. He didn’t vote for himself because “I’d been drilled never to use the word ‘I’, never to think or speak well of myself.”
After a spell as a lawyer, Vasco entered politics. In 1966, aged 33, he was elected to the California state assembly. But there was a problem: his professional success was at odds with how he thought of himself; he felt he didn’t deserve it. At 6ft 3in and over 200lb, he would stalk the Capitol building in Sacramento, glowering and anxious in his smart black suit, perfect white shirt and arrow-straight tie, his hair cropped with military precision. “I found my identity and my life coming utterly apart,” he later said. “I had to go and seek help.”
That help came from an unusual Catholic priest: Father Leo Rock was a psychologist who had trained under the pioneer of humanistic psychology, Carl Rogers, a man who believed that the Catholics had it absolutely wrong. At their core, he thought, humans weren’t bad; they were good. And in order to thrive, people needed to be treated with “unconditional positive regard” (Rogers coined the phrase). Vasco began studying under Rogers himself, a man he later described as “almost my second father”. Through intense group therapy workshops at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, Vasco became a devotee of the human potential movement, based partly on the Rogerian idea that all you need to do to live well is discover your authentic inner self.

READ IT ALL HERE:
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/03/quasi-religious-great-self-esteem-con