Wednesday, March 27, 2013

More thoughts on the parental state

“Parental control,” in the scientific literature on parenting, usually refers to parental intrusiveness, or pressure, or the extent to which parents attempt to dominate their children’s lives. The opposite of control is “parental support for autonomy.” A contrast is often made between psychological control and behavioral control. Psychological control has to do with parental coercion and manipulation directed at children’s thoughts and feelings, whereas behavioral control includes such things as mentoring, monitoring, and setting rules.

Behavioral control tends to have positive effects on children, while psychological control has been linked to a variety of negative effects, including psychopathological conditions such as anxiety and clinical depression.   

Our consumer-based world is a world of arrested development and wide-spread infantilization: in effect. a society of children in perpetual need of corporate/governmental “parenting.”

Intrusive corporate marketing targets our underdeveloped emotions, grooming our fragile and easily manipulated emotional states through highly refined psychological devices. Paranoid governmental institutions direct and redirect our behavior through an escalating array of coercive tactics underwritten by violence and the threat of violence. 

A community with unanimously agreed-upon rules, and ways of coordinating behavior to everyone’s advantage that respect personal autonomy, provides a healthy backdrop for development of personal maturity. A society in which corporate interests establish the rules—where personal desire is manipulated to channel consumption for corporate advantage—is a society that breeds chronic immaturity, dependency, and psychopathology.

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