An SES member says: it's time for an SES apology

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
ross nolan
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Postby ross nolan » Mon Mar 27, 2006 5:40 am

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Postby NYC » Mon Mar 27, 2006 8:34 pm

chittani wrote:I personally want to belong to an organization whose aims and methods are entirely consistent with the ethical norms and standards of reasonable people.

To this end, I believe that there has to be:

- a sincere apology from the School of Economic Science and St James, both public and private;
- new procedures and structures put in place to ensure full openness and accountability in the management of both organisations;
- face to face meetings with complainants by representatives of both organizations, in a mutually unthreatening environment;
- actions taken where possible to bring about reconciliation;

Above quote from thread "david Lacey" at ... c&start=30

Since your original post on this thread, chittani, I've wanted to ask you how an org with a neo-Platonic political structure like the SES can get accountability from its leaders. It is not a democracy. If the top of the pyramid doesn't want accountability, what can you do besides leave?
Attended Parts 1,2, & 3 and a Plato study group in the NY adult school 2004 - 2005. Also explored advaita philosphy in other organizations since 1995, and continue to do so.

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Postby chittani » Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:21 am


Don't know about neo-Platonic ... I think what you are saying is that we are Platonic in the Karl Popper sense - that is, a 'closed society' rather than an 'open society'.

The short answer to your question is that it would be impossible.

But the long answer is that it is not that simple. There are strands within the School that favour a closed pyramidal hierarchy, and strands that favour an open network. If you could have seen the changes I've seen within the last 10 years you would say that it is at least going in a good direction. That is different from saying that it has got there.

We don't have to follow the Platonic model - we also have the Socratic one, whereby reasoned discussion is what determines the way forward. Wisdom rules, not ruler rules. We might also call it the Upanishadic model.

Authoritarianism is something of a tradition within the School, but it is not the only tradition. Its roots are far less deep than the roots of Vedanta. It is a more immature philosophy.

That does not mean that we have no leaders, or need no leadership. That would be like saying that Apartheid would have fallen without Mandela or WWII would have been won without Churchill. Maybe it would have happened anyway, but it would have needed someone else to stand up and be counted. You may disagree with those examples, but still the world needs the leadership of wisdom.

"When wisdom speaks, dispute is ended". What this means is not that there are certain people who have a monopoly on wisdom, but that wisdom is a real and recognisable quality, and that it satisfies everyone who is free from perversity.

Leon MacLaren (bogeyman to many) did say that the School should move on to a non-authoritarian phase at some point after his passing. We are just now waking up to the implications of that.

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a different guest
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Postby a different guest » Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:57 am

umm, wasn't Leon being reborn so he could lead the SES?

And isn't the goal of the SES to implement Plato's Republic? Which of course is hardly a democracy, with a good two thirds of the population disenfranchised - particularly those that do the actual work. Reminds me of Douglas Adams and a certain starship filled with hairdressers and telephone sanitisers really. But I digress.

And lets not start on the eugenics suggested in the 'Republic". But then I've only experienced the 'expurgated' version (the one without the gannet) via Bertran Russell.

As for Socrates - let me revisit Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and I'll get back to you.

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Postby Goblinboy » Tue Mar 28, 2006 10:16 am

chittani wrote:If you could have seen the changes I've seen within the last 10 years you would say that it is at least going in a good direction. That is different from saying that it has got there.


Several times you have alluded to changes occuring within the SES over the past decade - reading your posts and thinking about what may have driven the changes, I found myself recalling the Townend report's citation of the 1996 ?St James Schools Report? by Marco Goldschmeid. It's worth revisiting.

It's tempting to read a fair degree of sympathy for Goldschmeid's views between the lines of Townend's report. Goldschmeid's report gets a significant amount of attention from the QC, despite hearing of it almost by accident through a complainant.

Goldschmeid - a very senior member of the SES, something of a public figure and leader in his profession, five children through the school, a governor for 10 years, who recommended "a more open and transparent organisation, no S.E.S. involvement (in the schools), and for the Governors to govern more proactively and to be seen so to govern."

While Townend appears to implicitly criticise the Governers and Lambie for not submitting the report and disdaining its contents, it would seem that the timing of the report and the changes you refer to are correlated. But naturally, correlation don't equal causation. Townend acknolwedged that the bulk of Goldschmeid's recommendations were yet to be adopted.

And according to Townend, Goldshmeid "was" a member of the SES. Presume this means he's no longer there.

Pity. He sounds like a man who woke up in the dark.

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Postby chittani » Wed May 24, 2006 11:17 pm

I'd like to draw everyone's attention to this.

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Postby bella » Wed May 24, 2006 11:40 pm

I think it needs its own thread.

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Postby Alban » Wed May 24, 2006 11:43 pm

It's good that Donald Lambie has apologised, but poor taste that he has chosen to use at least half the space to advertise the schools.

However, I have one thing to say to you Donald...

Actions speak louder than words


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