The Echoes of the Mind (106-1) Neglect


Babies do not develop “naturally” into social adults. If children are reared in isolation, their bodies grow, but they become little more than big animals. ~ American sociologists Margaret Anderson & Howard Taylor

The criticality of socialization is most graphically illustrated by examples of its absence or neglect.

 Victor of Aveyron

It is only in the heart of society that man can attain the preeminent position which is natural destiny. Without the aid of civilization, he would be one of the feeblest and least intelligent of animals. ~ Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard

There are numerous stories of feral children. Some are hoaxes.

The best-known and well-documented is of the “wild boy of Aveyron”: a feral French lad of 12 years who was caught in the forest in 1800 and taken into custody.

The boy gave no indication of feeling cold when he should have. He would growl when he saw a small animal, pounce on it and devour it on the spot.

After passing through an institution and making little progress at socialization, a young medical student, Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard, effectively adopted the boy, naming him Victor. Itard believed (wrongly) that 2 qualities distinguished humans from other animals: language and empathy.

Itard’s efforts with Victor led to meager success. Victor never did learn to speak, though he did come to use gestures to indicate an understanding of certain actions.

In one notable incident, Victor did express the innate nature of empathy. When the housekeeper wept one evening over the loss of her husband, Victor stopped what he was doing and displayed consoling behavior.


Orphanages are not safe places for children. ~ American human rights advocate Laurie Ahern

Throughout history and to this day, orphanages all over the world are often houses of deprivation for children, where babies receive little stimulation or socialization, and are often left to lie about unattended if not abused outright.

In one instance, infants in an orphanage in Siem Reap, Cambodia were drugged and hung in mesh baskets for up to 10 hours a day. Orphanage staff pocketed most of the money contributed for childcare by well-intentioned Westerners.

The examples of cruelty and neglect are almost endless. Babies tied to their cribs. Children with disabilities who go without medical care and are left to die. Infants who don’t cry when they wake because they learn there is no point in crying because no one will come. Over and over, the world’s orphanages become dumping grounds for poor children and those with disabilities. ~ Laurie Ahern