Ok, I need to write this down today. When in fith or sixth grade of public school, we twice a year had to rite some short paper on a subject for 'religion' class. This time - oh, I dont remember the title, but it had something to do with children and empathy. Anyway, a week after we'd returned our papers, he gave us his general opinion of our text.
I was sitting pretty much in front of the class. When it was my turn, he adresses me - and I would get a bit nervous, because I never could foresee what he would say about anything, although I understood him to be very clever with words and just very intelligent. In my experience, it was a bit like a trial. Would I pass the trial or not? But if it was a trial, then what was at stake? Surely not my 'liberty'!
During the years at public school, I had come to define myself as a very intelligent young man. This definition was naturally a defense shield, and I was dead serious about it. You did not want to mess with my shield. Now I was good at words too, but because my parents did not pertain to the intellectual class of society, I had to 'work myself up'. I remember being ashamed when someone would point out to me that this or that viewpoint of mine was very 'conservative' or 'narrow-minded'. From fourth grade on, I develloped an immense ego - like you cannot believe. All defense and protection shield offcourse. I could get really hard on people with words, with no regards whatsoever for who they where or whatever. It was like punching with words. Once you master words and some intuitive psychology, it is very simple to deeply hurt and even traumatise people by saying certain words in a specific tone of voice and facial expression. So, most people did not want to mess with me. Actually, a lot of people were scared of me. I had no problem with putting someone to complete ridicule. Yes, I made people cry. I would humiliate people like they never had been humiliated before in their entire life. (I'll get to the different reasons as to why I created such an ego, but somewhere else.) Also, I was lucky to have a very deep voice. I had all the assets to play 'the part' effectively. People would always say I was very mature for a guy of my age.
Now, as to what the trial was about. Obviously, what was at stake was this specific ego-construct of mine. It had become my only source of selfworth. Now, this teacher - he could, if he wanted, take it all away from me, if he really wanted to. His (apparent) self-confidence was way above my own. I actuactually ddnt posses any, except when I stood before someone I knew I could deal with on an intellectual level - because them I could fool with my ego, they'd buy into it. I knew this teacher had done university - philosophy and something else aswell - and was one of the oldest around at school. It's safe to say that by most people he was considered the most 'wise' person at the whole school - he'd even impress his fellow-collegues. It had something 'socratic' about him. A silent wisdom and always wearing a smile inside his beard.
Now this guy, I could never fool. (I lived according to a picture hierarchy-structure in my mind: people that stood above me and below me, and some next to me (but not too close!). He stood way above me. The 'intellectual map' of my world. If this sound like a WAR-map to you, then you guess correct.) Ok, back to the class. He gave me some 'positive comments' on my paper, but then he started discussing my main thesis. My main thesis was: children don't know empathy, due to lack of experience. According to my view, children's ability to sense others peoples feelings was limited to their own experiences. Now, he looked at me -straight in the eyes - and starts talking about his son, a little boy. This boy - he said - had made a drawing because he felt sad, sad for a whoman that.... blabla, I dont remember the details. For some reason he felt very strong about this, he kept going on about it. And as he was 'presenting his argument' I started to sweat and I felt all the blood going to my head, because he didn't stop looking me in the eyes. I was in total panic, I wanted him to stop, otherwise - I feared - I might actually burst out in tears and collapse. I did not feel humiliated, it was even beyong humiliation. this feeling inside me, taking controll of me - and I didn't understand why. I didn't understand where it came from! (I was feeling very embarrased at the same time, for feeling the way I did) I could feel the tears ready to race, but I was holding back and cotrolling myself all that i could, all the same looking in a direction so no one would notice I was freaking inside. i felt like a child, being punished infront of everyone. As if someone was tearing the clothes from my body, the presentation i gave of myself, and putting me naked infront of everyone.
I just wanted to put this on record, because I know there's much work to do still in this direction. It is an interesting fear...