Why a Newsletter?
Ever since the first publication of The Continuum Concept (in England, 1975), many people who feel that we have gone seriously wrong have taken the trouble to write to me or arrange for me to come and speak to their organizations. They include doctors, psychotherapists, parents, academics, ecologists and others. More than anything else, they tell me that I articulate their own deep feelings. That, of course, is a great reward, as it is precisely what I had hoped to do.
They also ask questions about how to put the principles of the concept to work in their own lives. The culture around them and their own experience provide little in the way of example that appeals to their long neglected sense of rightness. Parents particularly, from parts of the world like a tiny hamlet in Scotland or New Zealand, an American university town or a village in Germany or Holland or Sweden, ask for others near them who may have experience in the practicalities of rearing children in a way consistent with the concept. They say they need moral support in the face of opposition from parents, in-laws or neighbors who say, “You’re going to spoil that child,” or, “Why don’t you put him down so he can rest!” or, “You’ll be sorry. That baby is going to be dependent on you. He’s got to learn that he can’t have his way in this world!”
I put people in touch with one another when I could, but usually I asked them to be brave, as pioneers have always had to be. “At least it won’t be very long before you are proved right,” I said, “In a year it will be evident that your baby is more independent, less aggressive, happier, more confident than others. Perhaps even these doubters will benefit from your example.”
Frankly, I had not thought that the book might be used as a child care manual, but many readers have thought of it as their guide and have asked me to discuss in more detail the application of the principles. At first that made me a little apprehensive; I had abhorred the undermining of each person’s faith in his own competence and the following of fads and fashions by “experts” who cowed the public into believing that they could not trust their own instincts. I did not want to be taken for yet another inventor of a system of behavior, but as an observer and reporter of the kind of behavior that meets the innate expectations of our species and therefore results in the high state of well-being that evolution has prepared us to experience as normal.
I believe that by now many people are fed up with the experts and their failed advice. But the most critical factor is the loss of trust in our own expertise, the discounting of our long-evolved knowledge of how to behave like humans, that makes it possible for these so-called experts to step into the breach. So we are on our own, as it were. There are no experts but ourselves, and it is my hope and intention to help steer a clearer and clearer course through the doubts and insecurities that have been cultivated in us by our culture and our personal experience. This newsletter is offered to that end.