Education vs success (Heather Havrilesky)

Learned Helplessness (Bookforum, via Le Nouvel Observateur): “Do we want to populate our planet with self-concerned, ultracompetitive warriors, or compassionate citizens?”

The answer will be obvious and completely opposite when read in the US (success means money, everyone else is a loser) or France (success means a balanced human being).

The deeper question is the same for all children, and follows Elizabeth Spiegel’s approach: help kids be responsible for their actions; show them their mistake but don’t put them down, help them overcome obstacles; this goes against the cult of the rich, self righteous sociopath in the US, but also against expecting the State to provide the means to achieve “normality” as in France.

There is a further element: the weight of social / psychological issues: what if normality means failing? What if any sort of progress, social, cultural, monetary, is frowned upon by those around you? This is a reality at least in all of Latinamerica, African-American US.

Problem: Hollande seemed a nice guy, is now seen as incompetent; nasty but hyperactive Sarko still lurks.

Consequence: nice people need to learn how to put the nasty, dominating people in their place, show how pathetic their “success” is; this has an extension for social democracy caught in between vociferous extremists.

Consequence: tiger moms are particularly ridiculous.

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