Making Us Feel Like KidsApril 10, 2012 | Print |
HAVANA TIMES, April 10 — This title is my answer to the question of what the police are seeking when they stop us and ask us for our personal documents while on the busiest streets in town?
Sustaining a system like this one requires and seeks the indefinite extension of the psychological stage of childhood. Indeed, many things are set up in this society so as to ensure this effect.
It’s so organic that it doesn’t seem to depend on anyone, but I suspect there’s an intelligence behind it all, one which is also organic.
It’s great that we all have free health care, right? But it comes accompanied by alienation in that people lose track of how their work pays for those health care services, and they then begin looking at it as a gift from Daddy State.
And if to this is added the impersonal treatment that is generally provided by physicians, with a few exceptions, then the circle becomes complete.
Nothing is more effective for diminishing dignity and taking us back to the infantile stage than some impersonal stranger, being paid by someone else, rifling through every nook and cranny of our being for “our own good.”
Free and generalized education for Cubans is another powerful tool to convert the nation into a giant childcare center and to perpetuate this condition in which the individual doesn’t rebel against their loving parents. Instead, they virtually require that these adults use a hard hand on them once in a while.
What we have is an educational system in which children are no more than patients in a process of indoctrination that doesn’t even end at the university level.
From my point of view, the official government program known as “The Formation of Values” isn’t the most harmful, because (almost) nobody believes in it.
What’s worse is that teachers widely resort to verbal abuse (yelling and using harsh words) to maintain order in the classroom. There’s nothing worse for diminishing dignity that shouting.
I know many Latin Americans who are delighted that there are no children beggars in the streets of Cuba — and rightly so — but something terrible is happening behind the walls of schools.
But I’ve gone off the track; I have wanted to talk about the police and their carding people on the street. On the main streets (which are full of cameras and guards) there’s always a group of these uniformed officers asking pedestrians (respectfully, to complete the full effect) for their identification documents, to search their bags etc.
Of course they’re not doing any actual law enforcement or public safety work per se. Their real role is, in my view, to psychologically engender a sense of vulnerability, a sense that at any time they can arrest you and take you into the station. “Arrest and jail”: Isn’t that exactly what’s done with children?
If you behave well, you won’t suffer the worst consequences. The other day a friend came out of police station with a fine, but there remains embedded in him and in us around him a certainty and a macabre sense.
It’s a feeling that while Daddy may pick me up off the floor and scold me harshly whenever he wants, but deep down he cares for me and is protecting me.
That’s something more intelligent and more “human” than tear gas grenades or high-pressure water cannons – don’t you think?