5th September 2021

I was recently asked to clearly define the difference between being disciplined and being punished. To the non student of the English language their meanings seem similar, to regulate, penalize, order. Nothing could be further from the truth. Firstly let us dispel the thought that either word implies automatically excusable physicality. Certainly was a time both punishment and discipline would have been meted out by a cut or two of the cane, I myself endured such afflictions on numerous occasions as a schoolboy, but the days of the wholesale societal acceptance of capital punishment, outside of some very intimately personal and private activities, have thankfully passed.

We have reached that most bizarre of positions were the only state allowable application that can be considered is execution, extreme termination being somehow more societally acceptable than a minor cuff around the ears. However I digress.

The purpose of punishment is to cease aberrant behavior, most primitively by locking the perpetrator away from his possible victims for a legally predetermined period of time, imprisonment, confinement. A more interactive method is to attempt to reprogram the criminals mode of thinking, activity, pointing out errors and reinforcing naturally occurring self-controls that were possibly overridden by bad example.

Discipline in this context is a strict form of training, impressing in the individuals inherent sense of equity a code aligning with the values held by the community as a whole. Such guidelines may be construed moral or ethical, dependent of the societies basis for principles. Such training is dependent upon collective adoption and fervent rigidity in interpretation, laxness in instruction or definition will eventually lead to   mayhem if not outright anarchy.

The twenty first century, with the exception of certain repressive regimes, has moved beyond pervious regimentation, freedom had now become desirable not only physically but intellectually. We have a society of individuals barely able to coexist, let alone concur upon the most obvious factoid.

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