The Harm In Negative Examples

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: In discussing child education two to three years ago, I brought up a book by G.B. Oster, Bad Advice. In this book, the author teaches good things through a paradox, in a deformed way, such as hit the grandmother, take the candy, and so on. Why is this method considered wrong from the perspective of integration?

Answer: Because people who hear and absorb the negative information paint the images inside themselves against their will. Negative fragments remain in them, which later enable them to act. It does not matter that at this moment the person disagrees with it, this fragment, this image, this action still registers in them. I think that this is not the way to work.

It is very difficult for a person to work from a negative example. This requires a special analysis, the strength to ascend, overcome, and recognize evil, to bring goodness opposite the evil, to understand what needs to be done to rise above evil, and to build a good attitude, which is opposite to evil; in other words, to completely invert it in the opposite direction. This requires a great effort and mind. A regular person cannot just do it.

Let him try to do something positive instead of doing something negative, not just in colors but in expressions and poses. Let him “transfer” not just the smile or an evil expression from one image to another, but also with postures, gestures, correspondence between the bodies, and so on.

A person does not understand how comprehensive the difference is between the positive and the negative. Naturally, when a person is shown a strict negative scenario, he rejects it because he does not fully like this scenario. But it becomes stored, registered somewhere in him, and the person will still use it! One cannot be taught good actions through negative examples.

Comment: There are authors in Russian society, like Mikhail Zhvanetsky, to whom people listen; they are considered to be very wise. Zhvanetsky bases his works on negative examples. He takes a certain negative situation, and, every time, he finds a funny solution, a way out of it.

Answer: With all due respect, I do not think that Zhvanetsy and other “philosophers” like him create a revolution in society. He brings out the faults of society, shows them to the people, and they like it.

This resembles the cartoon where a wolf who is not hungry eats a bunny and then sits and picks his teeth. You explain his bad action to him, and he agrees, “Yes, really…”

The audience sits and listens to its faults, but there is no result. Even though there is a certain need for this and a social demand, this is not education.

Comment: The entire underground culture of Russian intellectuals, for example, the writings of Igor Guberman, is based on the comparison of good and evil.

Answer: Between us, this is purely a Jewish approach. Raykin and everyone else also used this. This is how the Jews preserved themselves. They laughed at themselves. In this way, they defended themselves by turning everything that was negative into something positive, a joke. They made the situation better with positive emotions in order to survive everything.

I do not see this same, humorous approach among other nations. This is a consequence of exile and suffering. This philosophy belongs to an exiled, degraded people who were hit in the face and are trying to turn it into a joke because otherwise the situation would be very painful to them. In other words, this philosophy does not lead to a change in the society.
From a “Talk on Integral Upbringing” 5/28/12

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