Mistakes : Correction And Punishment

Mistakes are common facts. Everyone commits them, be one pauper or king. The wise have the knowledge and experience to have learnt from them; the ignorant repeats them. We each may expect our next one sooner than the time we’ve spent regarding a mistake by another.

Mistakes have consequences; otherwise, they wouldn’t be categorised as such. They injure our time, effort, money, body or soul, more or less, and are notoriously repetitive if unchecked. Therefore, it is rational that they be corrected, learnt from, and not repeated. It means that mistakes, and our learning from them, need to be remembered.

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The liberal theory is that punishment is unnecessary to a mistake; we just need to correct it. It is widely propagated that punishments inflict a psychological trauma. That isn’t true, we’ll soon dwell on why. The debilitating effects of extreme punishment, such as was rigorously enforced by medieval Christian institutions everywhere, is fairly well documented. We only have to refer to historical reports and gory tales of “Inquisition” tribunals in Europe and colonised countries… Joyce brings that out well and Dickens follows its social pervasiveness in their respective works.

But punishments aren’t extreme in unregimented societies, such as it prevailed among Hindus, in India and it’s diaspora, except as excesses committed by individuals because of personal suffering or failure. There are graded punishments that parents and teachers are allowed in the process of correcting one’s mistakes and impressing the experience package in memory, so as not to repeat the same mistake in future.

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This introduces a vast consideration in our understanding : all punishments are not traumatic; only extreme, loveless ones are. I remember, one of the first serious punishment I would suffer for my transgressions in childhood : withdrawal of love. It would torment me, prompting prolonged introspection and bringing up that clarity and resolve to correct and remember. It would be elevated to corporal kind only rarely, when it was established even in my realisation that I had been blunderous or had repeated the same too many times.

I hope Child Welfare authorities in Europe, especially Scandinavia, read up this blogpost and desist from treating cultured child raising norms in Indian immigrant families with their own “evolved” socialist christian values.

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