What is the Respect program like?-------------------------------------------------------------------
Hello David and Raul,
I wanted to start of by saying that this year has been very important to me in re-learning my self, and my education/study habits. This class has really opened up my eyes as to the ways I interact with people, how I learn from people, and what I'm interested in learning. Our class gave a chance to find out things that interest me other than conflict mediation. This last half of the year I feel I've gotten to make connections to conflict mediation/resolution that I never would have made in the past. I've delved into computers and understanding the computer network (ResNet) here at Evergreen as a facet to deliver knowledge and make information (such as recorded lectures from various subjects) accessible and correlated in one place to make for easy access, as we as making it easy to find for people with flyers. The central idea is to provide people with access to ResNet the ability to listen to lectures regardless of if they are enrolled. The idea being that some people would listen to subjects that they might not enroll in, or ever think about enrolling in. I have already started collecting these lectures; I have just received one 87 min lecture on Biochemistry. I am in the process of getting older lectures and seminars that were recorded in the 70s and 80s. My dream in the end is to get Evergreen to fund its own "streaming audio server" that would be like the one i built that could serve campus as a type of archive that was accessible from one's room 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
This is a big project, and I will be working with it for the rest of my stay at evergreen. Next year i hope to continue in retrieving lectures and seminars to share with the Evergreen community. I have enrolled in Recognition for next year, and hope to be working on this project in the background of my studies next year. So I would like to thank the both of you for being the catalysts in my endeavors, and I can't wait to be in class with you next year. But I do have one question, which is how can I sign up for my eval as I haven't been in class as of late. Also should I bring you my self eval, and when/where should this been done. Once again, thank you very much, and enjoy the weather.
What is the Respect program like?
Mostly Freire, a little Buddhaby jesse miller
Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed is a handbook for revolution. Freire analyzes oppression and the steps that occur in the transition to a more egalitarian situation. The book is dense and juicy, no words used unnecessarily, which makes the reading slow but rewarding. I feel like I could read it ten more times and get something new each time. The below is what seemed important to me on this first journey through Freire. The oppressor is living a lie. He is not free because his existance is materialistic--to him, "to be is to have," and in his eyes, everything is an object, something to be taken and used for his benefit. The oppressor exists only through his possessions, and thus he has no authentic existance. Since possessions know no love, he experiences no love. Since the oppressor is obviously suffering within his suffocating cage of materialism, it becomes clear that revolution is actually an act of love for the oppressor as well as the oppressed. But before revolution can occur, we must understand the plight of the oppressed. After a person is constantly treated as worthless and stupid, he begins to believe it. When oppression becomes a person's reality, then the oppression becomes internalized within, and she begins to buy into the lie that she is intrinsically less valuable than the oppressor. Once people believe in the oppressive system, they begin to enforce the system on each other, taking on the role of sub-oppressor. "Submerged in reality...and chafing under the restrictions of this order, they often manifest a type of horizontal violence, striking out at their own comrades for the pettiest reasons." People who are deeply submerged in a system of oppression often long to become oppressors themselves, seeing this as the path out of their own oppression. The Internalization of oppression keeps the oppressive cycle going. People who have internalized oppression cannot work for liberation
because they do not recognize the oppressor as seperate from themselves and they are afraid of freedom. Before change can occur, the oppressed must realise that they are oppressed. Thus, revolutionary leaders must bust out the pedagogy, also known as mad dialogue about the existential situation of the oppressed folks. Carrying out this dialogue requires faith in the oppressed. Without this faith, it the would-be leader will fall into monologue, addressing the people as objects, which would accomplish nothing but more dehumanization of the oppressed. In order to understand why open authentic dialogue is so essential to the process of liberation, we must analyze traditional educational methodology. The traditional teacher-student relationship denies the humanity of all involved parties. Students are treated as receptacles for information and the teacher's role is fill them with knowledge. Reality is presented to the students as a cold, motionless set of facts. In Freire's words, "Education thus becomes an act of depositing...in stead of communicating, the teacher issues communiques and makes deposits which the students patiently receive, memorize, and repeat. This the 'banking' concept of education..." This system is based on the assumption that the students are completely ignorant; this projection of absolute ignorance onto the masses is a recurring theme within systems of oppression and is used by the oppressors to justify their domination. Besides the oppression inherent in the banking method of teaching, the presented facts themselves are often propaganda which deny the reality of the oppressed students. An example of this in the present would be a white professor teaching black kids about African History from a Eurocentric perspective and then discounting their opinions. Revolutionary thought does not develop in a classroom where the oppressor's ideas are taught--it develops from the bottom up, through the oppressed discussing their existential situation. Thus, liberated education is free from hierarchy; it is people communicating with each other on a common plane. Liberated education occurs when the teachers and students step back from their distinct roles and realise that both parties will learn and grow through the dialogical process of education; for this to happen, the teacher must have faith in the students and their ability. Liberated Education, by posing problems in a context of reality, leads to cognition and critical thinking--not just the transfer of facts and the banking perspective of a motionless, disconnected reality, which further alienates the students. In revolutionary work, the idea of "winning people over" for the cause of the revolution is fundamentally flawed because authentic revolutionary work begins by identifying the needs of the people, and "winning people over" means telling people what they need. Since many revolutionary leaders come from a background in the dominating class and have been educated with banking methods, it is all too easy for them to fall back into banking-style dictation, which will, if anything, work against their purposes. This is a crucial point. Revolutionary leaders must be aware of this. "The People must be authors of their own liberation;" revolutionary leaders cannot carry out the revolution for them, making them objects, continuing the oppression. Only thorugh dialogue comes education, and thus a transformation of reality--revolution.
I read Osho's book Courage: the Joy of Living Dangerously at the same time that I was reading Pedagogy of thed Oppressed and this led me to start thinking about connections between Freire's ideas and Eastern philosophy. The first time this occured to me was when I relised that Freire says "revolution is love" and Osho says "love is revolution." (Those aren't necessarily direct quotes.) Courage is a necessity for liberating pedagogy: you have to have courage to break out of the cold, suffocating banking system. It takes courage to open yourself to another and communicate as two humans. There are some other basic connections:
In both Freire's philosophy and Buddhism, no one can liberate anyone but himself. Freire makes it clear that an effort to liberate someone else will actually just objectify that person; real liberation occurs through solidarity--and each person must realise the need for liberation and work to make it happen. In Buddhism, you must look at your own mind in order to reach peace; no one else is in your head so no one else can do it. Osho writes about the importence of not letting prayer become a monoluge, a meaningless repetition of words: "Religions, organized churches, have destroyed prayer. They have given you ready-made prayers. Prayer is a spontaneous feeling...Bring love into prayer. It is a beautiful thing, a dialogue with the universe..." This is straight-up Freire, it seems to me--institutions have removed the authenticity of our existance, and through dialogue we can reclaim this joy. A final connection is that Freire says that dialogue can't happen without love, humility, hope and faith in human kind. This strikes me as Buddhism's loving kindness, a means for transforming reality.
Learning about "liberating education" and systems of oppression through Freire's work has been extremely rewarding for me. I now have language to describe the emotions and thoughts that I could never put into words. In high school, for example, I knew that something was horribly wrong with the system, but since I couldn't complete my thoughts, I half believed that maybe I was the problem...maybe I had some attention defecit disorder, or maybe I was just stupid. The truth was, I was a victim of an oppressive system. (An important note: I as a white male was, comparatively, one of the least victimized people in that incredibly racist, classist, and sexist environment.)
This class was tough for me to adjust to, especially at the beginning. Now I don't blame myself so much for my frustrations; I realise that I am coming out of thirteen years of indoctrination--the dark, cold world of passive mindless loveless "education." Of course it takes some time to reclaim my humanity and realise that I can learn without a teacher ordering me around. At the beginning of the year, I was angry--how can these so-called teachers not tell us what to do!? Funny that, because I was not used to being treated respsectfully by teachers, I mistook it at first for disrespect. I know that someday soon I will likely be back in a classroom that is somewhat more "banking"-oriented. Now, though, I fell like I will be better able to deal with the system...more able to retain my humanity. I have a better understanding now of why I am at school. I realise now that I am pursuing this education for myself, not to impress some teacher, and I will never again waste my time satisfying requirements when the work
does not inspire passion in me. The other big thing I got out of Freire was a better understanding of the politics of oppression...both in my own daily life and on the larger level of society. With a basic understanding of how oppression works and perpetuates, I feel comfortable enough now to begin exploring issues of racism and sexism, which obviously involves sometimes-uncomfortable introspection--something that I was afraid to deal with before now.
The International Travel Module
This module serves to maintain contact between the Ashaninka leaders from Peru and the Muckleshoot Reservation as well as prepare prospective travelers to the Indigenous Community of Mariankari Bajo in the Perene Valley in Peruvian Central Amazonia. This will be the second trip. Students from the Reservation Based program who are interested in going need to speak with Raul (email will work). A list of students for the summer 2003 is being started, write to us:
Raul Nakasone at email@example.com, Bob Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org, Chris Powell at email@example.com, Tim Kunz at firstname.lastname@example.org, Todd La Clair at email@example.com, Rosette Cross at firstname.lastname@example.org, Donna L. Starr at email@example.com, Meloney Hause at LAUGHNIS@AOL.COM, Leo La Clair at firstname.lastname@example.org, Claudia Miller at email@example.com
Fullfiling the 4 needs:
- Love and belonging
- Power of the self
- Freedom, and