[extropy-chat] ethical issues with children

spike spike66 at comcast.net
Sun Jan 21 16:51:32 UTC 2007

> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Amara Graps
> Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] ethical issues with children
> >...  But do develop a fondness for *small* toys.
> When my sisters and I were living on our boat in the 60s, all of our
> toys needed to fit into the hanging orange canvas storage unit above our
> bunks with dimension approximately: 2ft-6in-6in (length-width-depth).
> ... (I know that I would all too easily spoil my kids with
> toys.) ...

The issue is not the parents.  I have actually procured only one toy for my
son, a small stuffed tigger.  (That was because I like tigger's attitude:
woohoo! woohoo!)  The issue is my parents, both remarried, which between
them represent four grandparents with exactly *one very adored grandchild*.
All are doing well and want to give generously to their only
grand-descendant.  This love often comes out in the form of enormous stuffed
animals.  The baby ignores them of course, as it is physically impossible
for him to play with these absurd devices.

If the children had no exposure to television, would they really
> _want_ or _need_ all of those toys? Amara

You hit it right on.  Watch kids at newtonmas.  The toys they get are far
too *specific*.  They get a model backhoe for instance, which can only dig.
They get a model dump truck, which can only dump.  What kids really want are
two things that they can bash together.  Boys especially.  Watch them, you
will see exactly what I mean.  It is a window into human nature, an
insightful observation into human evolution.

The dump truck and the backhoe will break if they bash them together.  The
geezers (that would be us) interpret such actions as aggressive behavior
that must be suppressed, or as a child's way of commenting that he doesn't
like the toys.  But what we are seeing is simply human nature as it evolved
in such a way as to facilitate our survival as a species.

A parent with evolution-groknitution (me) knows to hang on to the styrofoam
packing material that the toys came in.  Let the kids bash those things
together.  These are non-specific toys, for those styrofoam packaging blocks
can be a backhoe, or can be a dump truck, or a boat or a car or a tiger if
he imagines it to be so.  They are great for bashing things, for the ancient
ones don't have a cow when they are used in this way, used properly from the
point of view of a kid.

Anyone who has ever tried to train a dog knows one must work *with* the
dog's evolved or selected instincts.  This is why it is easier to get a dog
to catch a frisbee or fetch a stick than it is to train him to walk without
pulling on his leash.

In human society, toy manufacturers have evolved to meet the needs of those
who buy the toys, not those who play with them.  Result: enormous stuffed
animals, action figures, truck models, toys whose function is so specific as
to make them practically useless to the child.  Real kids want to explore,
hurl, bash and beat.  They show us unvarnished human nature.  Behold and


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