Saturday, 1 May 2010

All together now

conduco, conducere, conduxi, conductum
Why 'conductive'?

To the Public Library, to find a really big, authoritative Latin dictionary, to nail down for good what the Latin verb conducere means. I have written about this before on Conductive World, but based upon lesser sources. Yesterday's investigation was to reassure myself further upon the validity of what I had found in these – without going to the lengths of personally pestering classical scholars, and this posting is made to help others come to their own judgement on this question.

I found a copy of the massive and magisterial Oxford Latin Dictionary (Oxford at the Clarendon Press).and lugged it to my table. Page 396 (and that is only in the mid Cs!) devoted considerable space to relevant, conduc- words and their exemplification from Latin texts. I give here the gist of the leading item from these, leaving out the examples but intending to return to the other words at a later point.
Conducere
1. to bring together, collect, assemble, (persons or animals; also water)
b. to bring together, collect (in a speech, book etc.)
2. to unite, join; also to cause milk to coagulate
b. to connect,
c. to cause to contract or close up
3 to employ for wages, hire...
b. to induce by an offer of money etc. (bribe)
4. to obtain on hire, rent
b. to obtain on loan, borrow (money)
5. to accept a contract for, undertake a task, to undertake a contract
b. to farm (taxes)
6. to be of advantage, be profitable or expedient
b. to be proper or  fitting
7. to be conducive, tend (to
b. (of books, remarks) to be directed (to) or concerned with
You can have some fun if you wish with meanings 3 – 7. 

From the meanings give in OLD, in our own context I plump for the primary meaning:
  • to bring together, collect, assemble, to unite, join, to connect, to cause to contract or close up
Whatever conducere means, it does not mean 'to lead'. As one used to learn at school, that's ducere.

Get it straight

'Conductive pedagogy' does not therefore mean 'pedagogy that leads', as one frequently hears and reads. It means 'pedagogy that brings things together'.

My own view of what András Pető himself actually intended to convey when he chose the word konduktív as the defining qualifier of his approach is now as confident as I can make it, at least till others come forward with supporting or contrary evidence. 

How appropriate András Pető's neologism, konduktív, was is expressing what he actually meant when he coined the term konduktív mozgásterápia ('conductive movement therapy', the precursor to konduktív pedagógia) will have depended in part upon how assiduous a Latin scholar he had been at his Premonstratensian, Catholic gymnasium (grammar school) in the opening years of the twentieth century.

All that I have to triangulate my assumption that he used the correct word to reflect his intention is the fit of the resulting term, 'conductive movement therapy', when read in this sense, with his views on health and healing in general. He expressed these in the two books that he published under the pseudonym of Karl Otto Bãnklau in the mid nineteen-sixties. On page 151 of Gibt es unheilbare Krankheiten? Nein! he summed this up so   
 Der Mensch ist ein leiblich-Seelische Einheit
'The human being is a unity of body and soul’.

All together now

Others of course may hold contrary views, both on the the meaning of conducere and on András Pető's views of heath and healing – and what he was trying to say about them. I leave it to them to advance and corroborate their views in the appropriate manner.

In the meantime, a small step forward for the conductive movement must be to sort itself out on what it thinks 'conductive' to mean, and then unite around the same understanding (and definition) of its own defining characteristic – that what is does is 'conductive' in the sense that that it brings together and unifies the bodily and the spiritual, the physiological and the psychological, the individual and the social. etc.  In this respect at the very least least, Conductive Education should start singing from the same song sheet.

There are other, related issues here. No doubt Conductive World will return to these from time to time.

References

 (1968) Oxford Latin Dictionary, Oxford, Clarendon Press

Wikipedia (n.d.) Oxford Latin Dictionary

Bärnklau, K. O. (1965) Unfug der Krankheit: Triumph der Heilkunst, Hanau/Main, Verlag Karl Schuster

Bärnklau, K. O. (n.d) Gibt es unheilbare Krankheiten? Nein! Lindau, Rudolph'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung

Sutton, A. (2009) Why/how did konduktív pedagógia and konduktív nevelés morph into Conductive Education? Conductive World, 10 January 2009





8 comments:

  1. Not having a formal conductive studies myself, I wander when and where did 'the group' gained the status of one of the pillars of the conductive pedagogy. I wander whether beyond 'combining and unifying the bodily and the spiritual, the physiological and the psychological' etc. doesn't the term 'conducere' might also mean or relate to assembling a group of people, a community, the conductive group?

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  2. Andrew,

    The meanings that you plumped for - "to bring together, collect, assemble, to unite, join, to connect, to cause to contract or close up" - certainly reflect what I learnt, as a student at the Petö Institute, to be the meaning of being conductive.

    They reflect what I observed and what seeped through my skin through osmosis in the groups, they reflect what I have read time and time again when I read the books you mention.

    Throughout his two books, "Gibt es unheilbare Krankheiten? Nein!" and "Unfug der Krankheit: Triumph der Heilkunst", András Petö united soul and body. Whatever method of medicine or therapy he was discussing this seems to have been his aim, the simultaneous assembling of a healthy body and a healthy soul.

    In the books he reports on his investigations into many methods, a different one on every page! But always he comes back to unity, connection, influences and relationships between function of the body and the soul.

    I understand from his books that he was looking at how if different personalities, with various ailments could see themselves as a whole unit, they could to begin to influence their physical health and the health of their soul by using a combination of the therapies and medicinal procedures that he reports on.

    In "Unfug der Krankheit: Triumph der Heilkunst" he has a whole chapter on the inseparability of the body and the soul with reference to Dr Walter H .v. Wyss.
    He states "Body and soul create an inseparable whole."
    and
    "The soul is found in all living processes, in the unconscious, somatic functions as well as in conscious processes."

    The following chapter is headed: “The whole of the human being must be treated” .
    The first sentence reads something like this: when a person is seen as a whole and time is taken to see the faults and the dis-ease in the temperament and time is taken to work positively on them, then often specific illnesses, diseases, disappear spontaneously.

    PS.

    Rony, your comment appeared before I had finished mine.

    I think that András Petö was already concerned with “conducere” long before he started forming groups to practise his “conductive movement therapy”, but he may well have thought that working in the group contributed socially and psychologically to the unity of individual’s bodies and souls that he was aiming for.

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  3. Thank you Susie. You have a far firmer grasp of this than I do, as you have lived it, and you can read AP in German far better than I.

    And Rony, yes, 'the group' is a myatery yet to be resolved. I rather share Susie's intuition, that the 'conducere' is the more fundamental and predated 'the group'.

    As a hypothesis, no more, I suspect that the groups came de facto, after 1945, when AP found himself responsible for live-in populations.

    Neither he, nor AH nor their associates and succesors seem ever to have written formally about the theoreical basis of the group as it evolved at the State Institute (and later the PAI). Many Westen visitors fom the mid-eighties onwards had a shot, but most of this was simply descriptive.

    I always assumed (Operhaps wrongly, that Makarenko's group pedagogy permeated Hungarian Education and that, by simple osmosis, this influence how 'the group' developed at the Institute over the Socialist years

    Recent correspnsence (quid vide) and conversations have suggested to me, however, that if this were ideed so then it didnot hapen explicitly, and that the teaching of Makarenko to student-conductors remained, shall we say, sketchy.

    More research, as they say, is needed!


    Andrew.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Whoops, apology and correction needed.

    In the first paragraph of the section called 'Get it straight' in the above posting, some words got lost in the transfer from Word to Blogger.

    This is the most important paragraph in the posting. Sod's Law!

    Andrew.

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  5. "a small step forward for the conductive movement must be to sort itself out on what it thinks that 'conductive' means, and then unite around the same understanding (and definition) of its own defining characteristic – that what is does is 'conductive' in the sense that that it combines and unifies the bodily and the spiritual, the physiological and the psychological – and that, in this respect at least, Conductive Education should start singing from the same song sheet."
    a small step but an important one ! first define, than operationalize , and than measure.
    Only when we get to the point of agreement as to definition, we shall be able to go ahead towards measurements.
    maybe we should take this as a first collective task: To identify the basic term and to define them. A good platform would be this stage-your blog. A term can be choosed, a definition proposed, feedback by others, and hopefully a wide consensus. Only than we should move to the next step of operationalization.

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  6. Thank you Andrew for clarifying this.

    I expect like me many of your readers had realised that this is what you meant to say, but it is always good to have it written clearly in black and white.

    Yes, I agree it is an important paragraph in your posting, especially as we hear so much said about "conductive furniture" as if it was some living being, but for me the following held more importance:

    "All that I have to triangulate my assumption that he used the correct word to reflect his intention is the fit of the resulting term, 'conductive movement therapy', when read in this sense, with his views on health and healing in general, as he expressed these in the two books that he published under the pseudonym of Karl Otto Bãnklau in the mid nineteen-sixties. On page.151 of Gibt es unheilbare Krankheiten? Nein! he summed this up as ‘Der Mensch ist ein leiblich-Seelische Einheit’ (The human being is a unity of body and soul’)"


    Susie

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  7. Yes indeedy: no catagories: no science. But before that an interesting problem. Rony wrote:

    '...a definition proposed, feedback by others, and hopefully a wide consensus. Only than we should move to the next step of operationalization.'

    Dream on. The problem stares out from the screen before your eyes. Who would respond?The usual suspects. No matter, let the rest simpl 'lurk', stand back and leave the advancement of CE to the wonks and anoraks.The wait for the 'wide consensus'. And wait, and wait...

    It's OK or the young people perhaps, they have a long time to wait. Forgive me, Rony, if I appear less than enthusiastic and wonder whether there might be speedier solutions.

    In the meantime, AP's proposition. ‘Der Mensch ist ein leiblich-Seelische Einheit’ seems a good tarting point as something that might be operationalised...
    Sure beats the 'principles of Conductive Education' as a threshold criterion.



    Andrew.

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  8. As I know 'coducere' meant to mean :0) in Hungarian
    ravezet, (oszze)rendez wich anyway makes a perfect sence

    Ravezeto Pedagogia

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