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TOPIC: Paulo Freire - Pedagogy of Freedom

Paulo Freire - Pedagogy of Freedom 06 Jan 2019 10:19 #110204

I was reading the first chapter of Paulo Freire's "Pedagogy of Freedom" and found this. The topic is not contemplative practice at all, but rather pedagogy/teaching/education/formation (not of specifically of meditation), and when I read it I got the feeling it was pointing at ideas such as karma - with the ideas of history and conditioning, and the point about "presence" is also interesting. There's also the issue of morality. I wonder what other people think.
When I speak of a universal human ethic, however, I am speaking of something absolutely indispensable for human living and human social intercourse. In making this statement, I am aware of the critical voices of those who, because they do not know where I am coming from, consider me ingenuous and idealistic. In truth, I speak of a universal human ethic in the same way I speak of humanity's ontological vocation, which calls us out of and beyond ourselves. Or as I speak of our being as something constructed socially and historically and not there simply a priori. A being born in the womb of history but in the process of coming to be bears in itself some fundamental archetypes without which it would be impossible to recognize our human presence in the world as something singular and original. In other words, our being in the world is far more than just "being." It is a "presence," a "presence" that is relational to the world and to others. A "presence" that, in recognizing another presence as "not I," recognizes its own self A "presence" that can reflect upon itself, that knows itselfas presence, that can intervene, can transform, can speak of what it does, but that can also take stock of, compare, evaluate, give value to, decide, break with, and dream. It is in the area of decision, evaluation, freedom, breaking with, option, that the ethical necessity imposes itself. In this sense, ethical grounding is inevitable, although its transgression is also possible. And transgression occurs. It cannot be considered a value even though it is the fruit of choice. It is not, in other words, a virtue.

In truth, it would be incomprehensible if the awareness that I have of my presence in the world were not, simultaneously, a sign of the impossibility of my absence from the construction of that presence. Insofar as I am a conscious presence in the world, I cannot hope to escape my ethical responsibility for my action in the world. If I am a pure product of genetic, cultural, or class determination, I have no responsibility for my action in the world and, therefore, it is not possible for me to speak of ethics. Of course, this assumption of responsibility does not mean that we are not conditioned genetically, culturally, and socially. It means that we know ourselves to be conditioned but not determined. It means recognizing that History is time filled with possibility and not inexorably determined-that the future is problematic and not already decided, fatalistically.
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Paulo Freire - Pedagogy of Freedom 06 Jan 2019 13:14 #110206

It seems to me the topic is history and human activity. Is there an inevitable historical trend, a direction to human history, and do we as human beings have any ability to have an impact on that? I would say 1) there is no inevitability to history and 2) we do have the ability to affect history. If those two things are true we need to do our ethical best to make our effect on history human-positive. Ethics and morality then matter. If, on the other hand, we have no say, no impact, no power over the course of human events, then ethics and morality are moot.
Last Edit: 07 Jan 2019 07:50 by Chris Marti.
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Paulo Freire - Pedagogy of Freedom 07 Jan 2019 05:04 #110213

Oh, Paolo Freire is interesting although I find him difficult to read. A teacher friend introduced me to his Pedagogy of the Oppressed and I thought it was highly relevant to teaching/learning meditation. Freire was highly critical of what he called the "banking model" of traditional education, where the student is a passive receptacle to be filled with knowledge, and felt it reinforced a lack of critical thinking which then reinforced oppression. Instead, Freire saw real knowledge as something that was co-created by teacher and student in a creative, active, dynamic process.

So in the context of meditation, a teacher might fill a student up with all Buddhist theory, technical terms, etc. (banking model) but that won't do anything to wake them up and might just further oppress them. The student actually has to do the practice, while the teacher is there to guide/provide feedback/etc.
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