Spring in Palo Alto

Today was sunny and warm, almost warm enough for us to hold a committee meeting outdoors at lunch time. The apple trees at the school next door are white with blossoms, a couple of early California poppies are providing little spots of color along Charleston Road in front of the church, and I found this daffodil in full bloom outside the Main Hall.

Quite a contrast from the news we’re hearing from the eastern part of the United States, where buildings are collapsing under the weight of a huge amount of snow. (Personal to relatives and friends back east: yes, we do have an empty bed in our apartment if you want to escape winter for a few days and enjoy spring here.)

Congregations as learning communities: historical perspective and a possible path forward

Below is a lecture that I gave today at Starr King School for the Ministry, at the invitation of Rev. Michelle Favreault, visiting core faculty member, for her course “Between Sundays: Parish Life.” As you will see below, my title for the lecture is long and, as is necessary in academia, includes a colon. For the rest of the class, I spent much of the time focusing on how you can use a congregation’s physical plant as a teaching tool, using the concepts of implicit curriculum and distributed intelligence.

It was a good group of seminarians, who brought lots of good insights and experience to today’s session. I enjoyed meeting them, and if they are representative of the high quality of people going into Unitarian Universalist ministry, I have lots more hope for the future of our religious institutions.

Congregations as learning communities: historical perspective and a possible path forward.

The broken ecology of religious education

Religious education theorist John Westerhoff talks about the “broken ecology” of religious education; in this he is drawing on the work of Lawrence Cremin, a distinguished historian of education in the U.S.(1) The following handout summarizes Westerhoffs argument:

“Broken Ecology of Religious Education” handout (PDF)

On the handout, you can see that in the first third of the twentieth century, religious education of the individual was supported by a robust interconnected “ecology” of institutions and social contexts. That ecology is in large part broken today; this is graphically depicted in the lower part of the handout.

In the 1950s, the heyday of US religious education, while things were changing rapidly, a good bit of that earlier robust ecology was intact: prayers in public schools; a dominant Protestant ethos in many cities and towns; most churches were neighborhood churches; high participation in Sunday school; popular media still mining religion as a topic (think Charlton Heston); the family was more mobile and less likely to live near extended family but many women still at home.

Today, almost none of that religious education ecology remains in place. All we have left is the family and the Sunday school. The family is more and more likely to have little or no religious background, and may be seriously struggling to provide decent religious education to children and teens. The Sunday school is lucky to get children attending 30 weeks a year, which is less 30 hours a year, which is less time than many kids spend watching TV and playing video games each week. The church is removed from the neighborhood; popular media either ignores religion, makes fun of it, misunderstands it, or provides a fundamentalist or strict evangelical slant to it.

Forget nostalgia, let’s use what we have

We can bemoan this situation while indulging in nostalgia for a golden mythical past, or we can do something else.

If you wish to indulge in nostalgia, please remember that the old ecology of religious education was embedded in a society in which women and blacks could not vote, in which there were few if any social safety nets, in which there was extreme racism towards blacks, Chinese, Japanese, and other racial groups, in which homosexuality was illegal and socially unacceptable, and so on. Furthermore, this ecology depended on Protestant domination of the United States — what we now call mainline Protestants, including Unitarians, Universalists, Episcopalians, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, etc., ran government and society to please themselves. If you want to indulge in nostalgia for that social system, you and I have very different notions of what constitutes a good world.

So let’s recognize that broken ecology of the past, and figure out how to move on. What can we do to maximize the potential of our present situation?

Vygotsky and distributed cognition

Let me begin by offering one possible theoretical background for moving forward.

First, I’d like to turn to the work of the developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky worked in Soviet Russia, so his work was essentially ignored in the United States until the fall of the Soviet Union. Instead, we in the U.S. went with the highly individualistic developmental psychology of Jean Piaget. For religious education’s purposes, Piaget worked pretty well through the 1960s, because all society supported Protestant values, so it could seem like little kids were like little individual scientists, figuring out religion on their own through immutable developmental stages. It is no longer clear to me that we can rely exclusively on Piaget, or other structuralist developmental psychologies including so-called “faith development” derived from James Fowler, for our understanding of how children learn about religion, and learn to do religion.

Vygotsky, true to his Soviet context, emphasized the social aspects of human development. He demonstrated that children could perform beyond their expected level of context if placed in a social situation with others — peers, older children, or adults — who knew more than the individual (“zone of proximal development”).(2)

In the West in the 1990s, Vygotsky’s work inspired other psychologists to develop theories of distributed cognition. A simple and direct example of distributed cognition is an axe; the thing lumberjacks use to cut down trees. If you look at it one way, an axe contains in itself accumulated learnings about trees and cutting them down, and learnings about wood as a material, and the way to work with it. There is a whole bunch of accumulated human cognition that winds up in that axe. So take that a step further: maybe cognition doesn’t happen just inside one individual’s brain, as Piaget seems to assume — maybe cognition is distributed socially across many people and across things and organizations.(3)

Here I’m interpreting distributed cognition (or “distributed intelligence” as Roy D. Pea prefers to call it), and Vygotsky, to suit my own ends. If you really want to know about these topics, you should go out and learn about them yourselves. But here’s where I’m headed: what if we think about a congregation as a form of distributed intelligence?

I’ve already pointed out that in the U.S. religious education used permeate the entire social setting in the first third of the twentieth century (at least, it did so if you were Protestant). Now the social setting has changed, but we can still try to understand religious education as much, much more than the short time kids spend in Sunday school. I would argue that as soon as a child enters the building that houses the congregation is when they start learning — for some kids, as soon as they start getting dressed to go to Sunday school or youth group, as soon as they get in the car, is when they start learning. And they don’t stop learning until they get home again. (Nor is this limited to children: all this applies as well to teenagers and adults.)

This would suggest that we need to maximize every moment the child is in contact with the congregation. Every aspect of the congregation’s physical plant should teach the child something; every aspect of the congregation’s physical plant should accurately reflect the values and the knowledge of that congregation. One possible metaphor is this: when you think of a congregation as a learning institution, it is like a children’s museum or a science museum where the displays start on the outside of the museum’s building (i.e., the learning and excitement starts as soon as you see the building), and it continues in a variety of interactive experiences throughout your stay in the building.(4) Note for this blog post: these days, a really good science museum extends learning into their Web site, like the Exploratorium in San Francisco.

This would also suggest that we need to train the members of our congregation that they are teaching every moment they are on site — they are like the staff of a good children’s museum or science museum, constantly leading interactive experiences. Moreover, just as a good children’s museum or science museum teaches adults just as much or more as it teaches children, so too with a congregation. In fact, since so many of our adult newcomers are completely unchurched when they arrive in our parking lots, they too are learning about religion the moment they catch sight of our buildings and grounds.

(By the way, insights from cognitive scientist and neuroscientists are changing the way we understand how people learn, and every religious educator should be paying close attention to this. The next annual conference of the Religious Education Association will be on precisely this topic, and will be held in Toronto this fall, November 4-6. This conference should be a high priority for anyone with an interest in educational ministries.)

Implicit, explicit, and null curriculum

This brings us to a lovely concept set forth in the 1979 by curriculum theorist Elliot Eisner.(5) We all know what curriculum is: it is a series of structured learning episodes designed to pass along an established body of knowledge and/or wisdom. And we all know that curriculum is contained in textbooks, printed curriculum guides, lesson plans, and teaching that we provide, right? Well, Eisner points out that this is merely the explicit curriculum, the curriculum that we say we’re teaching, the curriculum that we deliberately set out to implement.

However, there is also an implicit curriculum. The implicit curriculum is described thusly by religious educator Maria Harris: “the patterns or organizations or procedures that frame the explicit curriculum: things like attitudes or time spent or even the design of the room; things like the presence or absence of teenagers on our [governing boards]; or things like the percentages of church revenues we do or do not give to persons less fortunate than ourselves.”(6) In my experience as a practicing religious educator, the implicit curriculum is more powerful than the explicit curriculum. As an obvious example, if you are presenting a curriculum to children that teaches how much the children are valued by your religion, and that curriculum is being taught in a room that is not child-friendly, the kids are going to pay more attention to the poor ventilation, the lack of child-sized furniture, and the dirt and grime than they are going to pay to the lesson. And if you are trying to teach children to grow up to be part of your religious movement when they are adults — that’s the explicit curriculum — and you shunt them off to a less desirable space far from the adult community, they’ll learn that they aren’t really welcomed and they won’t come back as adults.

All too often, we educators ignore the implicit curriculum, and it subverts our explicit curriculum. I’m sure you can see that you can use the implicit curriculum positively, if you are intentional about it. So when I arrived at the church I’m now serving, and discovered that a major learning goal for them was to teach young people how to be Unitarian Universalist adults, the first thing I did was to arrange with the senior minister that the children would be in the first ten minutes of the worship service each week — she completely understands this idea, and is fully behind it — and we talk quite a bit about how to structure that first ten minutes so that the children are learning what we want them to learn.

In addition to the explicit and implicit curriculums, there is the null curriculum. Those are the things that you don’t teach at all. Sometimes these things are positive — as a Universalist, I try to keep the concept of hell in the null curriculum at my church. Sometime these things are negative — my church is in the middle of an area that’s full of Hispanic people, and there is little or no Spanish spoken except by a couple of the child care workers; so maybe what we’re teaching children is that a huge portion of the surrounding population simply doesn’t exist in our eyes? Anyway, the null curriculum is very tricky because often you aren’t even aware that it is there.

To sum up:

  1. Many congregations are still doing religious education like it’s 1950, or maybe even like it’s 1930; not a bright idea, since that old ecology of religious education is broken.
  2. Many congregations treat learners as individuals removed from social context; but there are social models of learning out there, such as Vygotsky’s model and distributed cognition. (And remember that neuroscience may change many things we now take for granted about education.)
  3. The whole congregation — physical plant, social structure, worship services, governance, etc., as well as formal classes — is the curriculum. It consists of explicit, implicit, and null curriculum, of which the latter two are just powerful as, or more powerful than, the explicit curriculum.

Notes
1 John Westerhoff, Will Our Children Have Faith?, revised edition (Seabury Press, 1976 / Harrisburg, Penna.: Morehouse, 2000), pp. 10-13.

2 A good place to start learning about Vygotsky is: Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes, ed. Michael Cole et al. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1978). The Introduction and Biographical Note are useful brief summaries. The sixth chapter of this book, “Interaction between learning and Development,” introduces the concept of the “zone of proximal development” in Vygotsky’s own words.

3 Concepts in this and succeeding paragraphs draw in large part from Distributed Cognitions, ed. Gavriel Salomon [Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge Univ., 1993], esp. “Practices of distributed intelligence and designs for education” by Roy D. Pea, pp. 47-87.

4 This idea comes in large part from Howard Gardner, The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach (New York: Basic Books, 1991). In this book, Gardner several times mentions the potentials of museums as educational institutions; see, e.g., pp. 200-203.

5 Eliot Eisner, The Educational Imagination (New York: Macmillan, 1979), pp. 75 ff.

6 Maria Harris, Fashion Me a People: Curriculum in the Church (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1989), pp. 68-70.

Excellent online biography of Sophia Fahs

Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California, is close to completing a massive project: a Listing of Religious Educators, capsule biographies of some 160 key figures in Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox religious education.

A quick scan seems to reveal that just one Unitarian Universalist religious educator makes it onto the list: that person is Sophia Fahs. The capsule biography of Fahs, written by Lucinda A. Nolan, Assistant Professor of Religious Education and Catechetics, Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., is well worth reading. Of particular interest is Nolan’s careful and concise summary of Fahs’s theological development; through her curriculum books, Fahs had a major theological influence on Unitarian Unviersalism in the middle third of the last century, so her theological development had a significant impact on Unitarian Universalism’s theological development.

In addition to the capsule biography, Nolan provides an excellent bibliography, and offers several interesting excerpts from Fahs’s many books and articles. Many of the things Fahs said continue to be relevant today, such as this excerpt from Fahs’s last article, published in 1971:

“I believe that during the past as well as today Christian churches have been neglecting the children, even though Sunday Schools have been growing in size and equipment; and few theological seminaries give the education of the ministers to children their whole-hearted interest and respect…. At present it takes a very strong purpose and a willingness to sacrifice prestige for a man or a woman to enter the field of the religious education of the young. Ministers in preparation should be helped to feel more keenly the critical importance of the children.”

Since Fahs’s day, Unitarian Universalism has become a post-Christian religious body. Yet as someone who has moved from parish ministry to education ministry, I can attest to the fact that what Fahs said then remains true today: Unitarian Universalist ministers who start working with children and teenagers move down in the ministerial pecking order; and seminaries still do not adequately emphasize the critical importance of children and teenagers.

Link to the Fahs capsule biography.

The Orlando Platform

This morning, I was chatting on the phone with Paul Boothby, Unitarian Universalist minister in Lynchburg, Virginia, and I gave him a quick sketch of what’s been going on here in the Pacific Central District. Paul asked if I had read the Orlando Platform yet. I hadn’t, and didn’t know what it was. He told me that the four districts in the southeastern United States got together to talk about how congregations could work together better, hold each other mutually accountable to the mission and goals of the association of Unitarian Universalist congregations. “It’s not a perfect document,” he said, “but I think you’ll find it very thought-provoking.”

I’m reading it now, and I am finding that it’s provoking thought. I was particularly struck by this paragraph:

Lines of communication, though not broken, need much improvement. District boards need to talk with and listen to our members, our congregations, our ministers, affiliated organizations, district and UUA staff, other district boards and the UUA Board of Trustees. Moreover, our members and member congregations need to talk and listen to each other, their district boards, district and UUA staff and the UUA Board of Trustees. We believe that these communication issues have led, in some part, to a breakdown of trust which needs to be healed so that collectively we can move forward, grow our impact in the global community and get on with the work of our faith: nurturing spirits and healing the world.

That sounds familiar! — it is certainly one of the key issues I have noticed here in Pacific Central District.

I’m still reading through the Orlando Platform, and would love to hear from anyone who has spent some time thinking about it. What do you feel are its strengths and weaknesses?

Please note that I’m in the middle of a major spam attack. I’m having to moderate every comment, and there are lots of spam comments. My apologies, but it may take 24 hours for your comment to appear.

Shake up in Pacific Central District

Yesterday, several lay leaders in the Palo Alto congregation received an email letter from the board of the Pacific Central District (PCD) stating that the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) had “unilaterally” decided to terminate the employment of the district executive, Cilla Raughley. Today, I received an email letter from the UUA’s Director for Congregational Life, Terasa Cooley, confirming that as of February 11, “Cilla Raughley will no longer be serving as District Executive in the Pacific Central District.”

Since this is a personnel matter, it should be obvious that the UUA is not going to divulge the particulars of why Raughley’s employment is being terminated — they will have both legal and ethical obligations to maintain confidentiality. The PCD board will also be required maintain confidentiality on the specifics of Raughley’s termination. So playing guessing games about “what really happened” is a waste of our time.

It is pretty clear from the two letters that the PCD Board and the UUA don’t see eye to eye on this matter. This is an inherent problem with the co-employment arrangement used with district executives — every district executive has two bosses, the district board and the UUA. From my perspective, I believe co-employment can work only if both co-employers communicate carefully about goals for the employee and ways to measure those goals; at a bare minimum, annual reviews by both co-employers are essential, along with a format for discussing discrepancies in the annual reviews, and a way for coming to agreement on new goals for the coming year — that’s at a bare minimum. To the best of my knowledge, this kind of intentional communication is not part of the co-employment process for districts and the UUA — which opens the door for the kind of disagreement we’re seeing between the PCD Board and the UUA.

I’m also seeing something else at work here. In general, it is difficult to hold districts (or the UUA) accountable to stated goals. This is a common problem in the nonprofit world. Unlike the for-profit world, where we can look at the bottom line to see if a company is doing well or poorly, it is difficult to come up with metrics that accurately measure performance of a nonprofit. This means that it’s hard to say whether a nonprofit is doing well, or poorly.

Even so, it is clear that the Pacific Central District is a declining district. In addition to the obvious decline in membership, my own feeling is that the level of services provided in the Pacific Central District is the lowest of any of the five districts I have worked in. How bad is the decline? Opinions differ. Is this the sole responsibility of the District Executive? In his book Good Boss, Bad Boss, organizational theorist Robert Sutton says that bosses account for about 15% of total organizational performance, or a greater percentage in small organizations. So clearly there’s more going on here than can be accounted for by one person’s performance. Yet as Sutton goes on to say, just as bosses get most of the credit when things go well, inevitably bosses wind up taking most of the blame when things go badly.

The real question facing us now is not whom to blame, but: What are we going to do about it? Pointing fingers of blame is a waste of everyone’s time, and I hope those who want to play that game have the grace either to stop, or to remove themselves from district activities. Instead, here’s what could be done to move in a positive direction:

  • All congregations in the district should engage in a period of reflection on the duties and the responsibilities (not just the rights) of congregational polity. Though it has many faults, Conrad Wright’s book Congregational Polity is one resource to use for this process. Ministers may wish to preach on this topic, and we ministers should make this a topic for our spring meeting.
  • Based on a renewed understanding of congregational polity, PCD ministers and lay leaders should give more time and attention to strengthening the entire district; this is especially true of our larger congregations, since small congregations are too often on the edge of disaster.
  • The entire Pacific Central District should establish achievable and measurable goals towards the district’s stated mission: “to provide services and resources to congregations that will grow the District in terms of its membership, the deepening of our faith, the effectiveness of our structures, and the power of our service to the wider world.”
  • Every district program should be re-thought in terms of these measurable goals, and programs that do not move us towards the district’s mission statement should be rebuilt, or eliminated.
  • PCD congregational ministers should spend some portion of their work weeks in service to the district, and congregational lay leaders need to make sure their ministers have the time to do this.
  • Congregational lay leaders should feel they too have a responsibility to serving the district, and even devote some of their precious volunteer hours to that end.
  • Before a new district executive is hired (or if one is hired; see below), the PCD Board and the UUA need to have careful and open conversations about terms of co-employment, perhaps including the establishment of a regular schedule of staff reviews and goal-setting.

Finally, I would not rule out the possibility of eliminating the Pacific Central District entirely. Given the level of dysfunction that seems to exist in this district, given that the districts to the north and south of us function better and offer more services for the same money, maybe it’s time to get rid of Pacific Central District. Personally, I’m all for being absorbed by Pacific Southwest District.

One final note: I’m going to moderate all comments. Comments that get into personalities or try to delve into personnel issues will not be approved. I will favor comments that focus on the bigger issues confronting the Pacific Central District, and the UUA more generally; e.g., the rights and responsibilities of congregational polity vis a vis the districts. And I’ll close comments on this post in a week or so. So please be nice, and please think hard and seriously about the relationship between congregational polity and the districts.

Playing the numbers game, pt. 2

Which is really the largest Unitarian Universalist congregation?

With the majority of congregations reporting membership and attendance figures, I looked at the online list of congregations to see which are the three largest congregations, measured in terms of average attendance (although Unitarian Universalists tend to measure size of congregation by number of certified members, experts on congregational growth at the Alban Institute recommend measuring average attendance).

Here are the top five congregations as measured by the size of their membership:

(1) First Unitarian Church (Portland, OR), 1068 average attendance, 1041 members.
(2) All Souls Unitarian Church (Tulsa, OK), 914 average attendance, 1900 members
(3) Unity Church Unitarian (Saint Paul, MN), 774 average attendance, 859 members
(4) First Unitarian Church (Rochester, NY), 687 average attendance, 955 members
(5) All Souls Church, Unitarian (Washington, DC), 646 average attendance, 878 members [corrected from original post]

Thus, by the standard definition of a mega church (average weekly attendance of over 2,000), there are no Unitarian Universalist congregations that even come close to mega-church size. Just to remind you, there have been Unitarian megachurches in the past — the Twenty-Eighth Congregational Society in Boston in the 1850s, Theodore Parker, minister (possibly the first megachurch anywhere); the Liberal Religious Fellowship in Prague in the 1930s, Norbert Capek, minister; People’s Church in Chicago in the 1920s, Preston Bradley, minister.

For the record, here are the top five Unitarian Universalist congregations in terms of membership (note that two of these congregations have not reported average attendance, which I find very curious):

(1) All Souls Unitarian Church (Tulsa, OK), 1900 members, 914 average attendance
(2) Unitarian Church of All Souls (New York, NY), 1529 members, no reported average attendance
(3) First Unitarian Society (Madison, WI), 1463 members, no reported average attendance
(4) The First Unitarian Church of Dallas (Dallas, TX), 1097 members, 457 average attendance
(5) First Unitarian Church (Portland, OR), 1041 members, 1068 average attendance

A list of Bay Area congregations, listed in order of average attendance, appears after the jump. Continue reading “Playing the numbers game, pt. 2”

Um, dominos fall; is that good?

Seth Godin is a marketing expert whose advice I value highly. Along with Jay Conrad Levinson’s Guerilla Marketing series, Godin’s book Purple Cow has been central to how I think about “marketing” Unitarian Universalism.

Marketing people have a tendency to go off the deep end, however, and I’m beginning to think that’s where Godin has gone. His latest marketing initiative is called The Domino Project. He says he’s going to “reinvent books,” primarily (it seems) by building an online community through his blog that will be a built-in market for his new book, and then publishing the book directly through Amazon.

I find this to be intensely uninteresting. My partner has been writing, printing, and selling her own books for a dozen years; she knew her market in advance, cultivated them, and maintains personal connections with them. She learned that Amazon has a tendency to exploit people: they lower the selling price of a book by cutting the amount that goes to writers and publishers and at the same time increasing their own profit margin. Half of what Godin seems to be proposing in his Domino Project is what good authors have been doing for years, and the other half seems to be promoting an exploitative corporation.

Worse yet, from my point of view, all Godin seems to be doing is coming up with ways to market his own books. None of this applies to the kind of marketing I’m doing all the time. In short, Godin has pretty much lost me — so now he’s gone from my blogroll, having been replaced with the Guerilla Marketing blog.

Buds

As Carol and I went for a walk this evening, we passed by trees with swelling buds. Every so often I caught the scent of flowers blooming. This while the bulk of the United States east of the Rockies is being clobbered by a huge winter storm.

Update, 2/2: Headline on this morning’s edition of the San Mateo County Times, printed over photos of winter weather: “Aren’t you glad you live in California?”

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The joys of pop fiction

Recently, I’ve been making my way through P. G. Wodehouse’s books. (You know, Wodehouse, the guy who wrote those books about Jeeves, the butler, and Bertie Wooster, the gentleman of negligible intellect for whom Jeeves worked. Yes, they were books before they got abducted by British television, and magazine serials in the old Saturday Evening Post before they were books.)

The real reason I’m reading P. G. Wodehouse is escapism, pure and simple: his books are worlds of delightful fantasy, with no particular relationship to reality, where everything turns out just fine in the end. But if you ask me, I’ll tell you that the reason I’m reading his books is because he’s such an excellent English prose stylist, and I’m reading him in hopes that I can learn to write better. Both are true statements, but the second statement is the kind of truth that’s so faded that it’s barely there at all.

Yet even though there is so little of substance in Wodehouse’s books, once in a great while, to my vast surprise, he actually has something to say that is more than mere gossamer fiction fantasy. When I read the following passage in the novel Picadilly Jim (Arrow Books ed., 2008, p. 85), I had to read it twice, because it actually said something of substance:

…But his father’s reception of the news of last night’s escapade and the few words he had said had given him pause. Life had taken on of a sudden a less simple aspect. Dimly, for he was not accustomed to thinking along these lines, he perceived the numbing truth that we human beings are merely as many pieces in a jig-saw puzzle, and that our every movement affects the fortunes of some other piece. Just so, faintly at first and taking shape by degrees, must the germ of a civic spirit have come to prehistoric man. We are all individualists till we wake up.

As I thought about this passage, a strange vision came to my mind: Ayn Rand and P. G. Wodehouse in a sort of literary fight club….

…They come out of their respective corners and meet in the middle of the ring, literary knuckles bared. Wodehouse says, “I published nearly a hundred books.” Rand sneers at this pathetic jab, and replies, “Yes, but they were drivel; my big serious novel has sold nearly 7 million copies.” Wodehouse winces; he feels this blow keenly; but he rallies, saying, “Yes, but I was knighted.” Rand reddens in anger, and replies, “I repeat, you wrote drivel, mindless musical comedies in sticky-sweet prose. Whereas I promoted a serious philosophy, an ethical egoism that rejects the ethic of altruism.” Wodehouse smiles faintly, pauses, and says, “Ah yes; so you did: we are all individualists till we wake up.” It’s a knockout blow: Rand grunts in pain, clutches her head, and hits the canvas, out like a light.