Friday, 4 August 2017


(2010 revisited)

At the 7th World Congress, Hong Kong, December 2010, a round table 'Conductive Education in the twenty-first century', to which I was invited to make a contribution

Contribution to a Round Table

I get to have the final word. I like that.

In the year 1910 nobody could have predicted what would lie ahead of humanity in the twentieth century:
    • total war
    • end of empires
    • decolonisation
    • totalitarianism
    • genocides
    • emancipation of women
    • antibiotics
    • climate change
    • life expectancy
    • population explosion
    • HIV/AIDS
    • computers
    • the Internet
    • the rise of Islam
    • plastics
List what was wholly unpredictable back in 1910 – everything that has happened since! That includes all of us in this room. It is not given to human beings to foretell the future.

In the year 2010, nobody can predict what will happen in the twenty-first century. Looking forward to the year 2099 one can still, however, make two assumptions:
    • all of us in his room will have gone, and

    • it is unlikely that we shall be much remembered.
Conductive Education as we know it now will also have gone, and maybe not be much remembered either.

Nobody is immortal. Similarly, ideas and institutions do not live for ever. But people and ideas can have effects, good or bad, that live on after their time and combine with others to produce vigorous offspring.

How to ensure this indirect kind of personal immortality of your own? Who knows? But generally speaking, such things do not happen by themselves: one has to do something. Doing nothing will in general grant us no personal legacy of worth

Similarly, if Conductive Education is here to leave a legacy for future generations, this will not just happen spontaneously, of its own accord. Certain things will have to be done. Here are some some suggestions:

  -    associate and interact with others who also know that the essence of our humanity depends not upon our biology but upon active participation, and upon pedagogy and upbringing – and proclaim our work accordingly in these terms, for all the world to hear

  -   work actively to help change the world's view of motor disorders, from mere physical disabilities to developmental disorders – right across the life span

  -   step outside motor disorders, outside disability, and identify with the universal, fundamental principle of human transformability

  -   realign strategically – change Conductive Education's primary reference group, away from 'rehabilitation' and 'therapy', to connect, blend, articulate and communicate, with fellow 'transformers' in fields outside motor disorder

  -   take a lead, do not expect the world to owe Conductive Education a living, it doesn't

  -   reignite the cause, that is the popular moral crusade, amongst the media, decision-makers and above all amongst individuals and families potentially able to benefit from transformative practice

   -    demonstrate – and proclaim – the core message of human transformability

Different people might make different action lists

Whatever you aim for – act, organise to affect the future.

The task for the twenty-first century is not to save Conductive Education as it presently stands – in a fast-changing world a task doomed to failure – but to contribute to a broader, more general end that, if attained, may in turn open new ways to benefit people with motor disorders and their families.

Time flies

Seven years have passed, not yet 8% of what in 2010 was left of the twenty-first century.

How is Conductive Education since then? What unforeseen directions is it taking, foreseeable or otherwise? What do you think of it so far? ,

Round table in Hong Kong

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