Regarding Correction And Punishment


Punishment:- I inflict/permit pain or discomfort on you because someone did something wrong. And you may or may not know that the pain or discomfort is a consequence of what you did, didn’t do, or what someone else did.

Correction:- I show/tell you what you did wrong, why it’s wrong (and perhaps why I’m showing you). And I show/tell you the right, why it’s right (and perhaps why I’m showing you).

Correction follows from the principle that people ought not get away with certain deeds, for their own good, and for the good of society. It assumes that there are positive results for the person and/or society if they are not allowed to get away with unacceptable behaviour or deeds.

Punishment, similarly so, but the wrong person might be paying the price. It has one message: ‘don’t do this again, or else.’ So the objective is deterrence rather than to instil values, even though it might also lead to repentance. It may also serve to satisfy the punisher’s need to assert authority, for the sake of maintaining authority.

Law of effect (in psychology) is the principle that behaviours are selected by their consequences; behaviour having good consequences tends to be repeated whereas behaviour that leads to bad consequences is not repeated. [WordNet® Dictionary]

Ivan Pavlov’s conditioning experiment is a variation on the theme of the law of effect. When we punish or correct, we’re attempting to condition people.

So we can say that ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ has sound basis in human psychology. The great book also says that a word is enough for the wise and the rod of correction drives out foolishness. So train up a child in the way he should go, or else …

Training requires, at some point or another, punishment and/or correction. And these are necessarily intertwined with morals—individual or group.

Determining what is the right or the wrong in any situation is another subject. In this though, principles over rules; commonsense over laws. Because, at the very least, one would need much less memory space for commonsense and principles than to store all the do’s and don’ts in the law. This is why ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ answers many questions.

Determining what is appropriate for punishment or correction or whether or not it should be effected or deferred is also another subject.

Is there folly where one chooses to ‘spare the rod’ and talk instead? It all depends. So we can ask when or where the talk, the face, or the tone, is strong enough to effectively motivate a desire for change? Because correction is about change. What might be the response, long term?

Punishment and correction are part of the joys and responsibilities of parenthood. And there comes a time when the parent’s right and ability to use the cane goes to zero. What then? We could always pray, talk from tough love, leave it to the karma principle since we reap what we sow. But we forgive ourselves and move on.

The rod or cane or pankere (Yoruba: pronounced kpankere with ‘a’ as in apple, ‘e’ as in tell, and ‘kp’ as ‘k’ and ‘p’ pronounced at the speed of light one after the other) or ukpokpo (Esan/Bini: pronounced with ‘u’ as in full, ‘o’ as in go, and ‘kp’ as with Yoruba) is not necessarily physical. Just to say the obvious.

Can’t think of an English word with the ‘kp’ sound in Yoruba/Esan…. It’s one sound, and of a similar character to the ‘dg’ sound in judge.


Beyond the resolution: to better or worse, richer or poorer, until….

“Pop psychology tells us that we are all victims, if we’re messed up it is because of our environment, or because we were abused as children, or we were socially or economically deprived, or any number of other excuses. We bear no responsibility for our actions or how we turned out. No matter what happens, it is always someone else’s fault—our husband, our wife, our children, our boss—anyone except ourselves.”
Quote attributed to Dr Miles Munroe.

Who is responsible for the final outcome, and when is the outcome final if ever so.

She gets a pony ride because she feels bad about being deprived; deprived because she grew up poor. So she committed crimes as a result; she became the ‘juvenile delinquent.’ To make her feel better now about her upbringing, to lure her away from the addiction, she gets a pony ride. Ivan Pavlov would say that society would get conditioned to bad behaviour if such rewards are the norm.

Once upon a time, in one English council, the Councillor proposed a reduction in late night taxi fares for scantily clad or sensually dressed women to minimize the risk of sexual harassment. I guess the spirit was to get them home quickly, safely and cheaply, since taking the cheaper public transport involved more alone walk time and potential outdoor male visual contact. Someone joked: “hello cab company please hurry a cab here, I’m a pretty girl, alone, outside in a very short pretty dress with my back exposed, I need a quick cheap lift.” O dear! There must have been, in that region, a ‘significant’ number of unruly and opportunistic men, expressing little restraint and respect for woman, going about late at night, fueled, likely on high spirits. The other side of the coin could possibly be that the stimuli were so strong, the temptations so great, that many ‘normal’ night crawling ‘normal’ men would be ensnared beyond their minds and be tempted to act animally, having opportunity. Which is more likely?

What one person was concerned about was the the kind of thinking behind such proposed solutions as above and those who pursued it. Fundamentals! He said.

And then, how easy is it to leave an addiction? Procrastination is much easier done—for the procrastinator, his norm. See and for an interesting picture of procrastination and dealing with it.

“It is easy to include, by accident, perverse incentives that promote and reward damaging behaviour. Similarly, it is easy to reward short term behaviour at the expense of long term success.” “…the challenges of the … century can … be met by … stakeholders playing their crucial roles in demanding, specifying and operating systems that work.”
From the booklet, Creating systems that work: Principles of engineering systems for the 21st century. Editors: Dr Chris Elliott, Professor Peter Deasley.

Vote engineers into elected government offices, if they would deign to contest. They seem to much prefer modeling and simulation (the interview) to the dignities or otherwise of seeking electoral positions (the campaign).

Make a new habit? “He is of age: ask him, he will speak concerning himself.” (From the book of John.)

‘Atrophy of vigilance’ refers to the idea that organisational performance will degrade or slacken with time. The vigilant Procter and Gamble, however, have rebranded/relaunched a particular successful soap product more than 80 times. An excellent company according to Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman Jr.

There’s something about having a bath; everyday refreshment.