Do you trust yourself?

Cedric Enjalbert watches teenagers play football, who are soon imitated by a little blond perched at the top of a brick staircase. He thrashes around with his own ball, threatening to tumble under the quiet gaze of his nanny. ” Watch your step ! “, Cédric cannot help but launch, and the nanny to answer: “He must learn to fall. A boy, if he doesn’t trust himself, he’s not a boy.”

Cedric is not happy. He sees in this answer an effect of the patriarchal culture. Confidence is not a manly virtue, he thinks. It is indeed in risk-taking, but that means getting out of oneself, from the stereotypes that society would like to impose on us. Self-confidence is not being sure of yourself. And Cedric concludes that we should “take inspiration from the naturalness of kids, not yet passed through the mill of conventions.”

Note that our young philosopher got a little lost in the reversals of his speech and that he thus agrees with the nanny, who precisely lets go of the naturalness of the kid. Could Cedric’s mood swings be linked to the allusion to virility? But his main mistake is to confuse the weight of stereotypes in the old, the mature adult, the adolescent and the young child. Weight in steeply descending order. Some old people seem to deserve brainwashing as they are stuck under the screed of dated cultural clichés. While children are a blank slate. How to get out of oneself when there is not yet a particular identity from which to get out?

Every individual is built on mimicry, the most widespread being by definition stereotypes. Without this identity background, a child remains wild, unable to fit into his culture. Education is not about protecting children from stereotypes that are controversial today, it is about inculcating them with a profusion of them, about varying the people with whom they interact, so as to multiply their sources of information, build their specific balance within this completeness.

The dangerous place is not the top of a staircase that opens onto the world, it is the too nuclear family, the sect, the gang, the social network isolated by its conspiracy. It is also the too young apprenticeship of philosophy, because to question stereotypes it is already necessary to have a coherent assembly of them, what is called an “identity”.

The child is not a mini-adult, who already has his own soul, and who should not be perverted. This is the only stereotype to be definitively abandoned.


Teaching philosophy to children?

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