Monthly Archives: October 2009

Love as violence

R.D. Laing was an unconventional psychologist. One of the thing’s he talked about was ‘love as violence’.

That is what we do to our children. Because we want what’s best for them, we go beyond simply loving them. We equip them to survive in the world. To us it looks like love.

Looked at from another side, it’s actually damage. One instance he gave concerned Indian beggars. India was a very poor country. Millions were starving to death.

So, when a beggar had a child, she had to consider how it would survive. Because nearly everyone in India lived in poverty, no one gave money to beggars. Not unless they had a seriously good reason to beg.

An obvious, and major, disability that prevented them working. Otherwise, they’d definitely starve. That was the world of the beggar.

So, if a child was born without a deformity, it was a serious problem. If you really loved your child, you gave them what they needed to survive. A withered arm or leg, a crushed foot, or blindness. That way they should be able to make a living as a beggar.

This is love as violence. How the world appears depends on where we see it from. Because that’s the only world we know. R.D.Laing said that, in the West, we do the same thing to our children. But we do it mentally.

We couldn’t see a healthy, fully-formed mind as a possibility. No more than the Indian beggars could recognise a healthy, full-formed body.

In their world, they see a deformed body as suited to survival. In our world, we see a deformed mind as suited to survival. So we train and shape our children from the moment they’re born.

We send them to schools to learn to do everything exactly as we did. Exactly as everyone else does. We break and shape that fully-formed, healthy mind until it fits our preconception.

Until it’s suited to survive. We commit love as violence just as the beggar does.

This is R.D.laing’s view of what we do to our children. And yet what choice do we have? We can’t know any world outside what we know.

So what do we do? I don’t have the answer.

But I do have the question. And that’s a good start point. To do what we think is right, while being able to hold the possibility that it may be wrong.

Not to go on auto-pilot. Not to knee-jerk into the fastest possible answer. But to constantly be in the enquiry.

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What use is advertising?

Akio Morita was the founder of Sony. Apparently how he got started was that, after the war, he
bought several dozen wire-recorders from the US army.

These were an early form of tape recorder. When he bought them he didn’t know what he was going to do
with them.

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Why art schools shouldn’t become universities

At my daughter’s school, the deputy head master asked her what she wanted to study at A level. She said she wanted to take Art, and Design-Technology, and Drama.

He said, “Ah yes, all the loser subjects.” That’s the view of the educational establishment.

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Recently, I was having lunch with David Abbott and he was telling me about Bill Bernbach. David had worked for Bernbach, and he’d met him many times. I’d hadn’t done either. So I loved to hear the stories.

Read more on Footnotes…

No one listens to technology

I was having dinner with some friends who are creative directors. We’d finished eating and we were just chatting.

While we were talking one of them got up to put some music on. He looked through the CDs, selected one, and put it on. Vivaldi I think it was.

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Is that all we do, sell stuff?

I was on the tube, on my way to the D&AD TV judging at
Olympia. Olympia is the last stop on that branch of the District

Normally, when you get near the station, the train driver’s
voice comes over the loud speaker. “The next stop is
Olympia where this train terminates.”

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Fear is good

Mel Brookes was a very funny stand-up comedian.

He was about to direct his first feature film and he was worried that the film crew wouldn’t take him seriously.

Film crews are notorious for taking the piss.

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Give it back to the people

In the first half of the 20th century, British music was
just a poor copy of American music. First ragtime, then dixieland jazz, then swing, then
modern jazz, then folk music, then rock and roll.

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