Lord of the Flies and Levels of Development

My blog of June 2, 2015 was on “Restorative Justice,” a discipline program being used by many urban schools because of the federal mandate to reduce the number of minority students being disciplined and suspended. I quote from an article about Restorative Justice: “The administration welcomes this ‘Lord of the Flies’ scenario.”

Here is little background about the “Lord of the Flies,” the title of a book that the article refers to along with information about the author.

William Golding was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1983 for his novels that “illuminate the human condition in the world of today.” He will probably be remembered primarily for his first novel, “Lord of the Flies,” a dark and disturbing allegorical tale about a band of English schoolboys stranded on a deserted island. The book was first published in 1954, and after the appearance of an American paperback edition, it became a word-of-mouth cult classic and ultimately one of the last century’s most celebrated books.

The author decided on a literary career in his second year at Oxford. A year before he graduated, he came out with a small volume of verse, making him a published author at age 23. After joining the Royal Navy in 1940, he spent the next six years witnessing a host of life-altering events, including the Normandy invasion of World War II that transformed his view of the world.

He became a full-time writer after the success of his 1954 book, ultimately producing ten more novels that explored the struggle between civilization and the darker, more savage aspects of human nature. In a 1960s lecture, he said: “Before the Second World War, I believed in the perfectibility of social man, that a correct structure of society would produce goodwill, and that therefore you could remove all social ills by a reorganization of society.”

He went on to add that his wartime experiences profoundly changed his world view, the essence of which he described in a powerful metaphorical assertion: “Man produces evil as a bee produces honey.” He also said, “In the battle between Good and Evil, Good is always at a disadvantage because it plays by the rules.”

We are witnessing this today in the demise of civilized societies in the Middle East.

William Golding articulated the two lowest levels of the Levels of Development.

With no adult supervision and no civilizing value system, ANARCHY became rampant. When anarchy is prevalent, someone or some group will take control. Whether based on charisma, knowledge, confidence, energy, enthusiasm, motivation or who knows what, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that whoever takes control makes the rules. In the story, Ralph and Jack took control and decided to make the rules that they imposed on the other boys. It’s called BULLYING.

The “Lord of the Flies” reminds me of another tweet I recently made: “Not teaching youth how to function is like asking them to play a game without teaching them how.”

Learn more.