I my SELF?

April 29, 2007 at 5:02 pm | Posted in atheism, Autism, creation, Deleuze, Derrida, Gadamer, Genesis, Hegel, hermeneutics, Ivan, ktismatics, Lacan, nurture vs nature, Piaget, self, Tomasello | 9 Comments

In a fascinating post and discussion on what constitutes ‘the self’ Ktismatics has topped off a series of posts (developed over some time) discussing the ideas of Hegel, Derrida, Gadamer, Lacan, Deleuze, Tomasello, and many others, and charting out some new territory too on subjects as diverse as language, hermeneutics, psychotherapy relationships, and the self.

Particularly in our work with autistic children, but also with those who have other developmental problems, we often encounter the process of discovering and developing the sense of self. Our interaction, though, is always on the practical side. We are trying to ‘correct deficits’ and the norm is always what the majority of kids of that age group would attain.

How much is ‘just’ genetics and what effects do changes in nurturing style and other ‘inputs’ have on these children? Even if one is inclined to see the self as largely genetically programmed, one is still reminded that an awful lot depends on skill, and skill is something that is very relationally learned. But, my own feeling is that it is not even 50% genes. I believe that environment and social context make a huge difference. I have witnessed what effect some focused therapy can have on a child. We also see marked changes with modifications in physical factors like diet and sleep and exercise.

Children should indeed be encouraged and helped to reach their full potentials. How exactly we go about doing this is something that every parent, teacher, therapist, or anyone else that is around kids a lot, needs to keep struggling with. The child’s sense of self and the child’s developing personality do require and demand our attention and care.

I am very thankful indeed for Ktismatics’ massive effort to help to clarify some very confusing issues even though a large part of my confusion still remains! Indeed very often the discussion has gone right over my head but always in the process setting off various trains of thought and bringing much needed fresh perspectives.

I won’t even attempt to summarise what I am now thinking on this fascinating subject. I find that my reliance on a few thinkers such as Piaget has left me with an inadequate foundation (not Piaget’s fault!) and so much rethinking is now going on in my mind that whatever I might say now would be just garbled. So, do read for yourselves…

I have some other selfish reasons for frequenting Ktismatics’ blog one of which is the ongoing discussion with Ivan that was graciously hosted by Ktismatics shortly after a spam catcher on another blog set some of us adrift as we began a discussion on atheism, religion and evolution-creation! Which then led to the discovery of ktismatics nascent book on creation and in turn, that fascinating topic morphed into a fullscale, ongoing, exegesis of Genesis at OST. Right now, of course, the creation of the self is what it’s about!

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New Post at Ponnvandu

April 22, 2007 at 2:06 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Follow the link to an important new post on
NUTRITION FOR KIDS WITH LD

Perspicacious and Prescient – Samuel Daniel

April 15, 2007 at 5:34 pm | Posted in 16C, Delia, Jon Kamholtz, literature, poetry, Samuel Daniel, sonnet | Leave a comment

I read this poem during my second year at college not realising that one day I would be in India and reminded again of this amazing 16C poet.

Musophilus (Containing A General Defence Of All Learning)

Power above powers, O heavenly eloquence,
That with the strong rein of commanding words
Dost manage, guide, and master th’ eminence
Of men’s affections more than all their swords:
Shall we not offer to thy excellence
The richest treasure that our wit affords?
Thou that canst do much more with one poor pen
Than all the powers of princes can effect,
And draw, divert, dispose, and fashion men
Better than force or rigour can direct:
Should we this ornament of glory then,
As th’ unmaterial fruits of shades, neglect?
Or should we, careless, come behind the rest
In power of words, that go before in worth?
Whenas our accents, equal to the best,
Is able greater wonders to bring forth;
When all that ever hotter spirits express’d,
Comes better’d by the patience of the north.
And who in time knows whither we may vent
The treasure of our tongue, to what strange shores
This gain of our best glory shall be sent
T’ enrich unknowing nations with our stores?
What worlds in th’ yet unformed occident
May come refin’d with th’ accents that are ours?
Or who can tell for what great work in hand
The greatness of our style is now ordain’d?
What powers it shall bring in, what spirits command,
What thoughts let out, what humours keep restrain’d,
What mischief it may powerfully withstand,
And what fair ends may thereby be attain’d?

I should be offended by the presumption. After all, Indian culture predates and surpasses the British variety by a good five thousand years! But, in the modern period we have learned a lot from the Brits, both good and bad. As far as both politics and ethics go, India knows what not to do and be. So, despite the codescension, hats off to Daniel and his enthusiasm for spreading his variety of language and learning!

Three more examples of his work are further down in the sidebar.

Biodiversity II – or How to be LESS Inversive!

April 5, 2007 at 5:48 pm | Posted in biodiversity, bioinversity, biosphere, Cycas revoluta, deforestation, ecosystem, endangered species, environment, forest, marine life, observation, teach your children, teach your parents | Leave a comment
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The variety of life is absolutely essential for the survival of life on planet earth. Ecosystems are made up of an incredible range of habitats and habitats are a major driving force for biodiversity.

Mankind’s effect on habitats is to radically modify them to suit perceived, short-term needs. See a forest – start cutting and burning because what you want more of is space to build and to grow the few plants that provide humans with food. Now, of course it is the worldwide timber mafia that is destroying forests to make a very quick buck.

The 6 rules for saving our planet are simple:


1. Leave nature alone.
2. Don’t pollute.
3. Be least wasteful.
4. Analyse the longterm impact before taking any action.
5. Organise to save nature.
6. Participate in conservancy efforts locally.


Every species occupies its own little niche in an ecosystem. The ecosystem is sustained by the creatures that successfully fill up their respective niches. This interlinking means that the loss of species will result in the death of an ecosystem.

Changes in ecosystems threaten all life for eventually all niches, including man’s are tied to the environment of our planet.

Think about it. Learn to love the diversity of nature that keeps us all alive.

Act, or don’t – appropriately

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Biodiversity – The Inverse Main Point

April 3, 2007 at 6:14 am | Posted in biodiversity, bioinversity, biosphere, blogosphere, global warming, GW | 17 Comments


The blogosphere is full of much talk of environmental issues.

GW (or global warming) seems to take the cake for popularity. The fear factor and much media hype are partly responsible for the focus on GW even though one admits that the overall concern may be a very valid one.

But, for the biosphere, what are the real issues and environmental concerns?

If I had to pick the one greatest concern it would be the growth of
bioinversity / the loss of biodiversity.

I prefer the previous term as more descriptive of what is actually happening – species of all sorts are disappearing once and for all.
It is frightening. Bioinversity means that ecosystems will die, for
the interdependencies are huge.
We won’t notice the changes
overnight but our children,
and theirs in turn, will curse us as
the blindest of fools!

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LD1 – DYSLEXIA

April 1, 2007 at 3:34 pm | Posted in ADHD, Aspergers, Autism, Challenge Centre, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyslexia, dyspraxia, learning disorder, reading, spelling | 7 Comments

There are many, many things that can disturb a child’s ability to learn. The commonest cause of learning disorders is improper development but genetics is also thought to play some roll…

Today, I want to highlight reading difficulties or dyslexia as a common and troubling disorder.

Signs can be detected from about 3 years of age onwards as children fall behind their peers in reading. Commonly one will encounter any or all of the following:

  • May have poor reading ability or poor comprehension
  • May often misread information
  • May have problems with syntax or grammar
  • May confuse similar letters or numbers, reverse them, or confuse their order
  • May have difficulty reading addresses, small print and/or columns

The amount of disability and its causes will have to be determined by experts individually for each child. Various standardised tests are available to help with the diagnosis. Depending on the cause, many childrens’ disability can be lessened or even sometimes eliminated. Early detection and treatment are keys to success but our experience at Challenge is also that it is better late than never!

Dyslexia IS TREATABLE!

Almost every town now has professional help available for affected children. To ignore a child’s difficulties will simply consign them to a life far below their true potential. Any child that is considered “slow”, or “disorganised” (stupid, dumb… are words that should never be used of any child!) should be screened for a learning disorder.

If you have questions please do feel free to contact me (my email address is down in the footer) or post your question as a comment here.

I will soon do short highlights on each of the following – Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, ADHD, Autism and Aspergers, nutrition for kids with LD, and finally a few posts on tips for parents and especially for those who do not have access to professional help, at PonnVandu, so please follow the rest of this fascinating series there

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