We can ask ourselves how and why children can ask these types of questions if they are so 'underdeveloped'? And - how can we as adults have so few real answers ? (whereby it's important to mention that once we have become young adults we have to study (again) the 'art of asking questions' as, for example, in science education)
In my previous post I further laid out that one of the major mechanisms to stop children from asking questions is to make children compliant with an adult's demands. This is done under the umbrella of teaching a child respect.
While parents demand of children to be respectful, the parents in turn are limited and constrained by having to respect the collective agreement of manners and social etiquette, which in part is the reason parents impose a programmed behavioural conduct on children - to ultimately portray a satisfactory picture of themselves to society.
We begin to see that we apply the concept of respect as adaptable parameter that is conveniently used to install fear: to fear each other. At the same time, when we use respect to create inequality, as with the child-parent relationship, where fear can flourish, then what is the context that causes us to accept these fears?
When children are taught to respect their parents, they are also taught that any opinion, attitude, idea that comes from the parent counts as valid because in the greatest sense, it's coming from someone who has more 'buying power' in the world. This establishes the fact that 'hierarchy' is instrumental in whose 'respect' comes first. Children are completely dependent on their parents for survival and this dependency can be expressed in buying power (because all dependencies originate in money since money is the main link to our physical survival and comfort but also the feeling of security, warmth, and happiness).
The child-parent relationship teaches respect by validating non-sense arguments. The situational context may be because the parent is angry, tired, annoyed and so forth, and gradually builds up to a parent-child interaction that paves the road for children to become adults that 'respect another's opinion' regardless of the sensical or nonsensical content that an argument may contain. This is the basis for religion and politics: To freely speak out about our beliefs and opinions, and find others who will agree with us - regardless of the consequences that are created with this speech or the action items that are put into motion on the basis of a belief and opinion.
Let's look at the English entry on wikipedia again and then reformulate what is really being said:
"Respect is a positive feeling of esteem or deference for a person or other entity (such as a nation or a religion), and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem."In common sense this translates to:
An entity's - such as a nation, organisation, corporation, party - belief, opinion and perspective must be accepted by others as long as there is a receptor or a body of people - such as a group, organisation, society, consumer - who is benefitting from this belief and opinion with a positive feeling.
The next question is: what if there is a group or body of people who does not benefit via a positive feeling?
Here I also refer back to the wikipedia page, among the named references is an essay that draws on John Paul Lederach, and it states:
"Respect is the first positive step in building a relationship and relationships are central to conflict transformation."If we bring this statement back to the child-parent relationship, then we see that this is exactly what the parent/adult is doing:
...creating a relationship where the hierarchy of power is clearly established, where parents are in charge of the children and children redeem the parents with respect.
...that children are compliant with the parents beliefs and opinions so that in the future, as these children become adults, they will recreate this "building of relationships", where they find their appropriate place in the social hierarchy and 'pay respect' to those who are above them, and demand respect from those who are below them - and this is how we resolve keeping the peace with conflictual feelings based on opinions and beliefs.
In my next post I'll explore the paranoia of respect further.