Children: A Back-to-the-Body Perspective

Children start out as the brain.

Children start out as the brain.

Children, like everyone today, are undergoing a cultural change. They suffer from legal strictures, from educational requirements, from societal pressures. If you are in pre-kindergarten and haven’t yet devised your undergraduate career path, you may be left behind. In this article, I will deal with the position of children from the Back-to-the-Body Perspective. I will argue that the children, vis-à-vis the parents, have the position of brain in the family relationship. And the brain has two sides: the left and the right. So, the children will be basically of two kinds: those who tend to the left, and those who tend to the right. I will start out with a review of the back-to-the-body perspective and will conclude with an application to the children’s situation today.

The Binary Brain

The binary is like a noose that chokes.

The binary is like a noose that chokes.

The brain is binary–and this has led many people to interpret the world with a binary paradigm. One of the great things of the Back-to-the-Body Perspective is that we have a way to escape the dreadful binary paradigm. As a test, I searched the Internet for “binary paradigm,” and I was surprised at the amount of dissatisfaction people have with this way of thinking.

The binary paradigm is hateful because it places people in the false dichotomy of having to choose sides. Consider these false dichotomies:

Race: black vs. white
Family: parents vs. children; wife vs. husband
Business: management vs. employees
Country: government vs. people; immigrant vs. native born; workers vs. unemployed
Politics: Left vs. Right
Gender: male vs. female
Philosophy: mind vs. matter
Christianity: Catholics vs. Protestants; God vs. Devil; Cain vs. Abel
Islam: Shia vs. Sunni; believer vs. infidel; Europe vs. Asia; East vs. West
World View: Orient vs. Occident; North vs. South
Personality: Intellect vs. will

When people look at the world in binary terms, they feel forced to pick one side versus the other. Which one is superior? Which one is dominant? Which one is better? This leads to confusion, hate, and even wars. So, the best way is to abandon the binary paradigm–but what should we place in its stead?

Abandoning the Binary

So many people are revolting against the noose of the binary. They want to breathe free from the traditional shackles. Salman Rushdie typifies this rancor against the binary paradigm when he utters his cri de bataille, battle cry: “I refuse to choose.”

I became a British citizen… And the passport did, in many ways, set me free. It allowed me to come and go… But I, too, have ropes around my neck, … pulling me this way and that, East and West, the nooses tightening, commanding, choose, choose. I buck, I snort, I whinny, I rear, I kick. Ropes, I do not choose between you. Lassoes, lariats, I choose neither of you, and both. Do you hear? I refuse to choose.
Excerpt From: Salman Rushdie. East, West. iBooks.

Choosing Both by Choosing Three

The ternary breathes hope.

The ternary breathes hope.

In the cacophony of conflict, the Back-to-the-Body Perspective whispers, “Look around… There is a third way. You can embrace all.” We are talking about the ternary paradigm.

Thus, we offer the ternary paradigm instead of the binary one. This is the magic and the hope of our age: we can escape the binary of centuries past. Between East and West, we interject the South and choose all three. Between mind and body we interject heart, and choose all three. Between intellect and will we interject emotion, and choose all three; between government and people we interject culture, and choose all three. Between Cain and Abel, we interject parents, and choose all three.

This is the ternary way. It is inclusive. It allows people a real choice. It lets you create different kinds of blends. As it says in the Tao Te Ching,

Tao begot one.
One begot two.
Two begot three.
And three begot the Ten Thousand Things.
— (Verse 42)

Children and the Family

Children learn cultural roles.

Children learn cultural roles.

In order to have an integrated and happy family, we should have clear views about the roles that family members can play. These roles are usually associated with gender and age, but it need not be so. I think one of the changes occurring in our society today is the dissociation of gender and family roles. This upsets a lot of my friends, who would wish to maintain a close association between family roles, gender, and age; and I hope the back-to-the-body perspective can reassure them that the current changes need not be destructive if only we understand what is going on.

First, who defines the roles, and how are they assigned? The roles are defined by the Great Master, the paradigm of truth and reality, which is the human body. As always, the truth is within you—within each one of us, inscribed in our physical bodies. It is from the body that we get the inspiration about family roles and how to have a great and happy family.

The Body and the Family

The body is a ternary relationship, a triad. Centering on the three inalienable rights (pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness), humans come together and create a family unit with the following relationship:

Stomach (will, father),
Heart (emotion, mother),
Brain (intellect, children)–with two sides: left side and right side.

The brain (children) have two characteristics, corresponding to the two hemispheres of the brain: Left side and right side. The left side naturally connects with the stomach, and the right side naturally connects with the heart. As long as the parents become one united whole, the children will be united.

Which child should you choose? The best way is to choose both. Thus, parents give unconditional love to their children, regardless of their abilities and characteristics.

Gender and Family Roles

Gender stereotypes are partly cultural

Gender stereotypes are partly cultural

What, then, is the relationship between gender and family roles? The fundamental roles are three: stomach, heart, and brain–where the brain has a left side and a right side. A person may play this or that role, but every human being has all three aspects, namely, stomach, heart and brain. Therefore, any human being can play any role within the family.

The traditional way is a follows: a male fulfills the role of stomach; a female fulfills the role of heart; and children fulfill the role of brain (where the children can tend either to the right side or to the left side). In some families, the wife earns a living, not the husband. In a single-parent home, that parent will fulfill both roles of stomach and heart. A widower, for example, may raise a family by himself. A sick parent may assume a temporary position of child, and the children may perform a parental role for a time.

Thus, even though the cultural norm expects family roles to be attached to gender, it is important to know that family roles and genders are not identical. In fact, people have the capacity to play any of the roles.

Implications for Education

Brain education, yes, but also heart and stomach.

Brain education, yes, but also heart and stomach.

This, then, is the ternary perspective of social organization. What are the implications of this view for education? Educators need to keep in mind that children are born in the position of brain in the family, and they tend to the right side or to the left side. A balanced, wholesome life is one that avoids extremes. Hence, a child that tends to the right needs to learn also the ways of the left; and a child that tends to the left, should also learn the ways of the right. This is what is meant by keeping an open the mind.

In other words, let your child be what she is; then guide her to appreciate the other side of life, so as to promote open-mindedness. As a child comes to school, the roles expand. Male children receive a lot of cultural support to develop stomach-like qualities: courage, strength, bravado, daring, sports. Female children receive cultural support to develop heart qualities: sensitivity, caring for others, reading, language skills, music, dancing, poetry.

Thus, through toys, clothing standards, plays, and activities, children learn gender stereotypes, and from an early age learn what is and what is not appropriate for them to do, feel, or think. But in our times, people are beginning to yearn to expand themselves in all directions, not only in the direction expected by cultural stereotypes. A girl may want to learn how to do household repairs or play soccer; and a boy may enjoy taking care of children and later may become a nurse.

In the twenty-first century, people reject barriers that prevent them from experiencing life the way they want to experience, as long as they cause harm to no one. Educators should take this into account and devise curricula that accommodate people’s yearnings.

Be yourself at school

Be yourself at school

Schools should be a place where students feel free to be themselves. They should be encouraged to feel comfortable with what they are. Parents and teachers need to provide that kind of support so that children can find their own way and develop their full potential. What children end up doing may be very different from what parents had envisioned for them, but remember: children are the brain, and the brain yearns for freedom and justice. In time, children will develop the other two areas of their personality, namely, heart and stomach–and then they will be ready to become true parents.

We have seen, then, how the back-to-the-body perspective sheds a whole lot of light on the issue of children and education. This is a brand-new way of looking at reality and society. It helps us avoid the hateful binary paradigm of the past. With the ternary paradigm and dynamic, we can be inclusive and choose all. And this, of course, is the best way to peace and prosperity.

Paulo-Juarez Pereira
Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA
September 30, 2015

Photo Credits:

Smiling girl. Author: Isabel Cortés Úbeda. Source: http://bit.ly/1WyFt1L. Creative Commons License: Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Children at play. Author: Eversheds International; Source: http://bit.ly/1YONIZz; Creative Commons License: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Binary. Author: Post-Software; Source: http://bit.ly/1FEE45I; Creative Commons License: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Ternary. Author: JD Hancock; Source: http://bit.ly/1O2eo48; Creative Commons License: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

Gender conflict. Author: Kurt Löwenstein Education Center (International Team); Source: http://bit.ly/1N1AvJl; Creative Commons License: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

Brain education. Author: Peter Dutton; Source: http://bit.ly/1N1C5ec; Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Be yourself at school. Author: marco antonio torres; Source: http://bit.ly/1hb3a0h; Creative Commons License: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).

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