Teacher Education

Dialoging with the Devil

Inner preparation to control the “adult personality”
"…the devil, too, is patient…he too can contemplate the agonies and impotent rebellions of the souls which are in his power, which are prostrate among vanities…He is patient in contemplating them, in supporting their cries — and he too offers them bears and rubber dolls, and feeds them, stuffing them…with new vanities which mask their errors…”

Dr. Maria Montessori from Spontaneous Act. In Ed., p.304

Controlling the “adult personality” means to restrain any outward expression of your built-in negative self-image (personality) with children. To do this, you must first observe your “personality” as separate from who you are. In Montessori teaching, this requires deep inner preparation, involving at times, an internal dialog that questions who you are, and who is in control of what you think, do, and feel.

The ordinary adult personality is an embodiment of evil, which you may personalize as under the direction and control of the devil. Now, imagine the devil dialoging about a certain Montessori teacher, Sally, who is struggling to control her personality by using IMS technology and the process of inner preparation. The devil’s dialogue might go like this…..

OK. So what if I can't stop Sally from thinking about Montessori. I know that. I've always known her to be very stubborn, and she really wants to do this Montessori stuff. But that's OK. I can still trick her to think about Montessori my way. Then, I can get her to do "Montessori" in a way that follows my control, power and authority. I’m a master at word definitions. I've done it with so many others who use the word "Montessori", getting them to fit that word into habits of behavior that conform to my way of thinking. It's easy because the programming for failure and lies is already set in concrete into their personality from early childhood conditioning. (It's particularly easy to control little children. They are so gullible! They'll believe anything! Like putty in my hands! And I am a seasoned craftsman!)

For example, I’ll just re-define Montessori terms to identify specific behaviors, like “observation” is just stand and watch (ho-hum); and “preparation of the environment” is just provide certain learning devices (academics!). I’ll trick her to think the child is really its physical body or personality. See Margaret run. Now get her into academics. New “technology”? No problem. Just a bunch of new words I can define as I like. (I have to deal with this new word “technology” because I have heard Sally talking about that a lot recently.) I'll have to make sure that she only uses the technology the way I say is "right". Of course, this will violate the technology itself, such as "protocols", but I'll trick her with the idea that you can't always follow these protocols. (Nothing is perfect, after all. Even Lee Havis wouldn't claim perfection in his technology. Right?! There are no absolutes. Right? )

After all, who the heck knows what are laws of nature anyway — far too vague to even talk about that. Fortunately, Sally doesn't like to think or talk about such vague intangibles. She's cool with imperfection. She has always hated vagueness and mystery. Since there is always mystery and confusion around absolutes, it will be easy to keep her away from any ideas like absolute, eternal and infinite.

I'll reinforce her thinking that everything is inherently "imperfect"; perhaps, I'll trick her about context and relationship. Everything is relative and dependent on the context. Right? At a more sophisticated level, I can play the word-game of philosophy, which is fun too. Like three-dimensional chess. But I can always win in the end. (Maybe I’ll let her win a few times, just to keep her interested) Semantics! Great! Word games! Keep her tied up in knots with that for her whole life, avoiding any fundamental truth.

So, I'll get her to buy into the imperfection of this so-called technology. Then, I can get her to do really stupid things, and think that she is following the technology. (What fun to watch her squirm, while thinking that she is really Montessori teaching!!!) But I must carefully hide the truth that she is really conforming to the negative mind-set, her “personality”, which I have programmed for her. (It was really great to have the cooperation and help of her parents, who were my willing servants in the programming process when she was a child). You see, it's not only Montessori folk that know the power of early childhood conditioning, and so it’s really easy to make adults think that only MY reality exists.

I have been speaking in her ear since childhood - constantly - that she is a stupid "mess-up", and, boy, has she really bought into that negative self-image! I have gotten her to block out any other way of thinking so long, that she is well-grooved to fit that pattern. It's such fun to watch her jump and hip-hop around trying to control children, thinking she is Montessori teaching - so tense, worried and negative towards the children. I love it! It's really hilarious when I can get her to tell others that she is "Montessori teaching", and it's a real hoot to see how well that idea "I already know" works to block out communication from others who might help her change to get out of my control. I also like to get her to say "I don't understand" a lot. I've been giving her that one a lot lately, and it really works good. It gets people to turn the lights out really fast. “There is no light”, I say -- and they go right back to sleep. hahahahaha!!!! sleepy-by baby. Here’s your bottle. Also, a pat on the head, and a nice little teddy bear to cuddle.

So much fun to watch Sally struggle in tense and angry rage with children, convinced that she is really doing what is good and necessary, because I have made the IMS technology into a tool for my purposes. It kind of gives me a warm feeling to remember the same joy I had with Maria Montessori (La “dotteresa”) and her followers, getting off the idea of real truth (what a nasty word!) of her discovery; getting them to think more about the "materials" and using Montessori in this superficial, physical way. Boy, I was really afraid for a while that Maria (the great “Mamolina” herself!) might get to see the real truth she had stumbled on to back there in 1907, and get that out into the world. But, fortunately, she didn’t catch on to me. She was weak and vain enough for me to easily divert her attention to MY program.

How I hate to get into discussions about the truth of normal being (No fun at all!). BO-ringgg. But, happily, that doesn't happen very much since I have convinced so many that this doesn't exist; and people are buying it! Wow! I'm so cool watching the play-acting about truth around Montessori!!! Puppets on a string! Dance, my little children, dance. I love it!

However, what bothers me recently about Sally is that she is starting to question my authority; She's asking way too many questions, like "who am I". Very disturbing. No fun at all. And I'm finding it hard to hide from her noticing me. (I sure don't like people getting me out into the light). She wouldn't like me at all if she really knew what I was up to. But, I'm still hoping that she will go back to the darkness; and then I'll be able to lead her around like a donkey as before, which was such fun. He-haw, he-haw!

Man, I really don't like the way she is questioning my control!!!. If she keeps this up, I'll have to go play the game of MY "Montessori" with others who are more willing. (I have such fun with this game, and fortunately, there are many playmates who are so willing.) I'll miss Sally, of course, but I can always come back and coax her out to play at a weak moment. I'll be especially watching to see if she ever stops annoying me with her intrusive questioning about who she is….oh, I mean who I am….well, whatever. Maybe if I keep get her guessing and confused enough about that, she’ll quit all this irritating inner preparation business. In any case, I sure don't like her shinning the light on me that way.

by Lee Havis, Executive Director
International Montessori Society
Adapted from IMS list (March, 2008)