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NDE are the national educational radio network presents special of the week. From Yale University from its series called Yale reports don't trust anyone over 30 is the by word of one generation their elders answer. Kids should go to school to study not to make trouble. Each generation speaks from its past experience and tries to shape the future in the light of that. Each generation can speak to understand its own contemporaries but can they speak to each other. Today's Yale Reports finds that they can. Dr. Samuel Revo clinical professor of psychiatry at Yale's Child Study Center and past president of the American Psychoanalytic Association and Richard Belzer newly graduated from Yale Law School. View politics education and democracy from two different perspectives. Dr. Read go. I think it's a very good development that youth and students are taking a more active interest and more active part in the political process. To me it seems that taking
this pragmatic realistic approach to problem solving is a very appropriate step. One of the things that concerns me is that because the political process is so slow so difficult it has so many detours and disappointments in the way whether young people new to the process will easily or quickly become discouraged and perhaps give up on it prematurely. I was wondering what you thought about that. Well I don't know if the word prematurely is a fitting word I mean that too soon. Well no I mean that would depend on your analysis prematurely implies that it can work. I think a lot of young people make the analysis from operating in the political structure that can't work. And they may make that early on or later on.
Now if they pull out what seemingly to other people is quickly it's not maybe not a premature disillusionment. It may be that there are political analysis much more sophisticated than it was at one time and they're making an accurate analysis that this is not the way at this time to change society. I guess I would like to go back. I can remember several of the organizers and their originators the moratorium coming out to a farm I lived on last summer before they started talking about setting it up. And I only bring it up because a moratorium to many people was a huge success to me I think it's a mixed success at that time I expressed a lot of doubt about what could be done except set the stage for more large cathartic experiences to me. To me working in the political process so far is either meant working for peace candidates organizing for peace candidates or. You're trying to organize and put
together large groups who seem to have different interests i.e. labor groups students Women Strike for Peace. Putting a whole montage of of groups together. To me a lot of those efforts are our efforts. That can only accommodate psychic needs. Which is if you're feeling frustrated because you see a reality both Ryall let's just stay on the war for a moment because it's news or reality because I think even among youth fewer youth want to really deal with racism as a problem as a problem not only with other people but us as a personal problem then the problem of the war. I mean they prefer to deal with the problem of the war than with racism. This is more of an external problem and more of an external problem. And you can define the enemy somehow more easily as the other rather than some fundamental aspect of human nature you know to to
convert problems internal problems into external problems so that they can either be solved or avoided or one can either hide from or run away from or attack an external problem an internal problem is much more difficult to deal with. OK I would agree with that and that's probably part of the explanation why people don't want to deal with but him. Back to the to the war for a minute I think the analysis is the wars continue and efforts haven't been able to stop it. Now that leads to a great level of frustration. If you go to college and you learn that you as people keep on saying kids should study in school instead of causing trouble. But what if you study and you find out from your studies that the were politically socially economically even militarily may be a bad thing and you see that you can't do anything about it at least to a high level of frustration you can either do one or two things it seems to me and you become an alienated from the system
and do what we call dropping out or as a large phenomena you politically organize. To me the political organization that we've seen so far which I will limit to political campaigns is the response of a naive majority who wants once again to believe that something can be accomplished. I think though that you're going to you're having a larger phenomenon now of tremendous disaffection as more and more kids attempt the political process and not prematurely leave it but realize what marginal changes can be accommodated by the existing political Ixtoc sure what happens is the disaffection then gets larger. The frustration level gets larger. But I think all the efforts even of the media and I use the most recent example are always attempting to push kids back into political organizing seeing that as one of the positive things that young people can do
to soak up all the energy and not dealing with the deeper human and psychological problems that people have of putting together what they see is reality with the life that they have to live for look at the Cambodia incidents the recent Cambodian since I think a lot of people were not only affected politically thinking that the move into Cambodia was wrong but were affected very deeply and very frustrated by it. But all the media coverage covered those people who decided to channel their efforts. Either to work on a cooper church Amendment or the McGovern Hatfield Amendment. Let's not say that either one is a bad thing or not a good thing. But I think that that ignores and misses the depth of the frustration the hostility young people are starting to feel. There are a great number of young people who having seen what happened in Cambodia don't have a faith that it makes very much of a difference
at all. Who is to be elected in November. What amendments are to be passed. They think that or anything with the real meat won't be passed that any real change won't be accommodated through the political process. Now we know what happens to those people. They get no coverage and the frustration builds up and people sort of despairing we talk about the kind of growing what seems to be the new listicle or revolutionary rhetoric that's growing up and used depending on how one feels about that. To me that that's just the reality or continued reality of living with not only problems but horrors. To me there's a great difference between problems and horrors. Vietnam war is not a problem it is a horror. Racism that exist and to the extent that exist in this country is not a problem. It's a horror.
And when people can't deal with those they should have less faith in the existing political structure. We should have less faith in institutions. Now that doesn't necessarily mean that they can come up with a plan of how institutions can respond quicker. You know well since I think about these things approaching it from a different side I was very interested in your comments about it. Racism as a horror and the frustration in dealing with it or Vietnam as are the racist attitudes as we know go very deep are very long established. They touch on and keep alive the oldest and strongest emotions and prejudices of people they start when they're very young. To me it seems that a basic attack on it
has to keep in sight and keep in mind they need to influence people starting with children in the educational process. Now I know this is a this is a long term proposition and a long term approach and we can't wait for that we have to do things now to combat it. But I think it's the kind of problem that whatever we succeed in achieving now we will lose in the long run if we don't keep our eye on the need to get at these issues very early. And I think our educational system and process has a long way to go and needs many changes before it can achieve that. It would be impossible not I guess to disagree with you I mean that I don't comes to an
ordering of priorities. I mean one of the big problems is with all the rhetoric we have about attacking certain social and internal evils I think it's been pretty well demonstrated that we that we don't have the will as a nation to do that. I think that is more frustrating and always will be to youth than adults I mean adults always of course use the old phrase to react to don't trust anybody over 30 is when two you're over 30 and and then you'll see how you have to deal with problems. But if we look at problems we see how we don't know what are our priorities for look at the suburbs we see the growing kind of not integration that exists but separation that exists not between races and between classes. All the reality is that we can deal with. Seem to me have to make one very skeptical and I think what young people are starting to do and this isn't only college kids because what frightens me is the phenomenon of only college kids rebelling
because what they're rebelling for I think as distinguished from other people is a psychological oppression. But I don't think it's only college can I think a lot of people are rebelling to but naturally they don't and can't rebel in the same way that the college age can. But you were saying before that it's a matter of will that we don't have the will. I think the will is very important. I think though that the will would need to be motivated and supported by a recognition that. The war racism will eventually hurt all of us. Now that recognition can come to us in various ways but one of the most important ways it can come and has to come is from the leadership of the country. Because I think it's very
important that people who are in an actual position of leadership on symbolic positions of leadership should express these goals these aims these eyed ideals in order to bring people together to increase the will and to harness the will in one direction and that's what we haven't had. And I think we won't have it I mean not only have we I don't think we will and I think the differences where as more and more congressmen or senators or leaders will now talk against the war feeling that it's an appropriate thing that their constituents will talk about it. I think it's been clearly shown that there's active repression against a group like the Panthers nationwide repression. Very few quote leaders will talk about that repression and I'm not just talking about the repression of the Panthers qua Panthers but what it represents in the form of dealing with
dissent and dealing with the bigger problems I mean why the Panthers have to develop. Is it going to the very problems that exist. I would take it one step back to when you talked about education. The thing that most frightens me is we talk about democratic ideals in this country and yet the one institution that all of us at some time have to deal with which are the public schools seem to me to Forster anything but democratic programs. What I mean by this is that they're operated in such ways from disciplinary procedures to how the classroom is operated to the learning process that one has very little encounter in growing up with a democracy. And that's why I think it's. Not very surprising at all that a great number of people both in the left as well in the present generation are unable to function in a
democratic society because for well they haven't been educated in any real sense with it. The institution that they have encountered and grown up which is supposed to socialize them has socialized them in such a way that they they do not know and have never experienced a democratic situation. Now it seems to me if your great bulk of the population has not experienced and I means all of us we who are educated so to speak are much more sophisticated in our undemocratic ways of dealing with each other. But I think all of us have to deal with not having experienced. Democratic processes in school and it pervades the society and it makes it in any way that when we talk about democracy we can only talk about it because we never really experienced it. One thing that interests me in what you're saying is the significance of some of the psychological elements in
education. I think what makes it difficult to alter an educational system is that one of the primary goals of education not necessarily a conscious or consciously directed goal is curbing the the instincts if you will of children and preparing them for living in society. One of the difficulties is that the people who who do the educating have themselves been through the same process and the tendency is very strong. And I don't think this applies only to teachers it applies to to parents to everyone who has the responsibility in any way of rearing a child. And the tendency to repeat the same way of doing it. Without necessarily you know thinking ahead to the effects of this
education on the social process is is one of the. From the psychological side one of the main factors that prevents well to change in a constructive direction there is your long range problem. I mean to me if it were long range and short range to really live in a democracy would call for very radical departure from the educational process we have now and altering very fundamental ways the educational process that's long range. To me the real problem then is still what do we do in the short range. And I don't believe honestly that any kind of political organizing or any other kind of institutional responses that we presently know. Are going to be able to effectively deal with the deep and and daily deepening frustration alienation and hostility that young people feel. Well I wanted to tie together as what seems to me the be the new
force that's growing is you really have a psychological oppression growing of young people from middle class and upper middle class areas people who go to college and you have a continued sort of economic oppression of a lower and lower middle class group which is predominantly at this time bloc which which like students finds no success or access to a system and institutions don't respond. Seems to me that if one cared about the society it would even be safe to say and I know this probably isn't popularly conceived but I think would be easier to accommodate large segments of the black community quicker than large segments of the student community. Because I think it's much harder to deal with psychological oppression. It's much harder to buy that off than it is to buy off economic oppression.
You know you've stressed the slowness of institutions to change and and I agree they change slowly. Yet what has impressed me realising how slowly institutions change is really relatively how fast some of the institutions that that I'm familiar with and have some more direct contact with have shown signs of change. You know then we have to question of course which institutions and how much they are changing I mean I don't want to belittle the possibilities of institutions changing and individuals within institutions responding. But but I would say again that the responses has been minimal. And it is a good response but it clearly is not enough and if we look at the bigger institutions I think small institutions which universities really are are more easily changed because
they're more immediately affected by that by students because that's where students are. One might say there are long range other institutions will be affected because students who are graduating will have different ideas and go instance to sions. It seems like a very slow process if we just look at one industry for example. With all the credit the Ralph Nader has gotten and served with all the attention he has focused on the car industry the car industry pretty much still does exactly what it wants. He's picked an issue which is not an issue that goes to the kind of economic oppression or racial oppression. All of us are affected by safeties and cars. So it is an easy issue in that way. And yet look how little over five or six years has been accomplished in one very specific area. And I think that does go to to me one of the points that is
beginning to learn which will refocus attention maybe we can talk about for a minute. When I was in college the analysis was that change in the society could be accommodated politically that if you made reform in the society you made your analysis politically. You try to change things politically. I think of the younger people that I know who are young somewhat younger than myself. The analysis has shifted from you have to politically change the society to have to change the cultural values of the society have to alter in very fundamental ways the ways people deal with each other and only when you begin to affect the cultural values that exist in this country can you then talk about political values because political values cannot be opposed on outmoded cultural views political values can only be imported and put upon new cultural new human values.
I I agree with that. And because it has seemed to me and to many others of my colleagues that values cultural values you're talking really about ideals again you're talking about a shift in ideals. New ideals new ideals that are in better consonance with the new realities. I think this is a very powerful force because man is controlled more by his ideals and his conscience and his standards and his moral development than he is by any external force. I don't know equally so as for the neighbors joining forces to be more motivated by material needs and desires then then in the most men. Yes so long as that has been the ideal and the cultural value. And I think what you're what you've said is very important that if we can
succeed in in shifting or changing the cultural value in line with the new needs and the new realities and the need to develop a social conscience in people. On a broader scale and build and build it in more effectively into our educational system we'll have. Not necessarily new but different psychological realities which I think would be an aid to us in dealing with with the other realities. I think problems that need solving and I think that that turns to thing that I'm very interested is in the media. To me the media makes the ball game a new game because it changes realities it can help by its objective reporting to create reality. And I think as long as the American people and the American press the American media decides on what it thinks is positive decides on
what it thinks is healthy for young people to do that it will continue to miss to a large degree the extent and the depth of what's happening and will continue to bastardize a lot of genuine movement and try to redirect it into a more political more easily understood by the general population. Movements and a lesson last Will there be ability to deal with the frustration and I think this is done all the time it's done with the idea of American media always has to find a leader. I think a lot of students are much more into not needing a leader into a process of change of group collectivity. But the news media doesn't know how to deal with that doesn't know how to deal with interviewing 20 or 30 different people and finding out what the collective wisdom is. So it always has to
lionize an individual or group of individuals you can capture an individual. But I don't think you can capture a movement. I don't think you can capture or what is happening the Pampas have a one saying which I think aptly puts that which is you can jail revolutionary but you can't yell revolution. You know I think in a sense a new medium has been created that is the. Living or portraying a lifestyle as it's called which has I think a very important message of its own which says a new generation needs new values and needs new ideals. And I think these this is what is in process of being forged developed. And I think we don't know yet exactly what will come out of it will retain their value and their
use for adaptation to the new problems as it is in a lot of that. Going back to kind of how we all have old psychological baggage that we take with us. So that letter saying one of the new phenomenons or new cultural value is it's much more who you are than what you are doing to define yourself. But I think that's a struggle within all of us because if I come into a meeting somebody said What have you been doing this year. And I said Well I mean spending a lot of time in the girl I've been smoking grass I've been sitting around thinking about things I've been trying to become a better person. I think that's very hard for people to deal with. If I come into the meeting and say I've let 18 strikes. I've seen these two buildings. I've given 12 speeches in maybe and a new format.
I mean maybe that's different than organizing three political campaigns but that to me a big production is right is is very much in the same arena. It's very hard to move because of all the weight and an inability to deal with things to to move from one way of dealing with people into another. I can talk to you about instead of going to work for a corporation going to work for poor people. But if I talk to you about not working as a positive value instead of working in a corporation I think it's very hard for me probably and very hard for people that I would encounter to deal with that and to integrate that. So to me that that's the difficulty which is how do any of us or all of us get rid of the kind of psychological value laden ideas that we've grown up with when we're trying to express really new values as opposed to marginally different values. Are you posing not working as a as a real new value.
I haven't thought of doing that I'm I might I mean the only reason I wouldn is simply because I believe at this time it's not appropriate. I don't see any real. Value and work my political analysis says and maybe it's a different view of what work is that we need to work on changing in society. A conversation between generations with Dr. Samuel Revo clinical professor of psychiatry at Yale Child Study Center and past president of the American Psychoanalytic Association and Richard Belzer newly graduated from Yale Law School. Scripts for these programs are available without charge by writing to Yale reports 1773 Yale station New Haven Connecticut 0 6 5 2 0. This program originates in Yale's audiovisual Center and he rs special of the week Thanks Yale University for the recording of this program. This is any art of the national educational radio network.
Special of the week
Issue 37-70 "Between Generations"
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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