30 years ago

15th October 2004 at 01:00
A TES Scotland leader commented on a lecture by the internationally renowned Scots psychologist R D Laing given in Edinburgh under the auspices of the National Childbirth Trust (October 11, 1974):

Dr Laing went on to propound imaginative and visionary ideas about life before birth as an eventful and predetermining precursor to life after birth . . .

He thought it possible that the nine months after conception might to the individual seem like an endless aeon of time. Having attended many confinements, there was no doubt in his mind that when babies were born they were already "very ancient creatures". He had no time for the obstetrician who, handling a baby casually, claimed that it had not reached a stage of sufficient awareness for there to be significance in how it was handled or what was done to it.

He felt that the newborn were "exquisitely sentient creatures": from the very beginning their environment could either accept or reject them - the whole future of the ovum depended on whether the womb would accept it.

There may be fruitful lines of thought and research in his ideas on the accepting or rejecting environment at the very earliest stages. How might we estimate the effect of these stages on the later development of insecurity, fear and aggression?

* Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, the first branch of the National Association for Gifted Children was launched in Scotland that week.

Another leader observed that this "could give some satisfaction to those who are convinced that there is plenty of latent talent north of the border.

They might have found less cause for satisfaction in the inaugural meeting of NAGC's Strathclyde branch, for most of the contributions came from accents which held out little hope for local identification.

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