To fully be we need to be active creators of the universe.
Dialogue and communication are they keys for a functional interaction between human beings, who through sharing, create a beautiful picture. A shapeless picture full of infinite colours.
Dialogue and communication are both interlinked. There is no dialogue without communication and there is no communication without dialogue.
What is significant for a dialogue to exist is the capacity of the human beings to listen while interacting.
Being formless and thoughtless while listening is a skill which requires concentration and the abandonment of anything pervading your ‘self’. Any concept, any knowledge you have acquired, any previous experience, any previous thought or feeling from the past need to be annulled. It is the process of tabula rasa you need to enact, which will enable you to fully understand the new message your interlocutor is giving you. Like Bruce Lee says: ” Be like water. Shapeless. Formless. You put water into the cup, it becomes the cup. You put it into a glass, it becomes the glass.” If you really want to experience the plurality of life and embrace this immense diversity, then let go of all your treasure and let the new flow of energy (the message of your interlocutor) caressing you, touching you but not entering you. You automatically become that energy and you will live that moment. You will understand a different ankle of that particular moment, which you could only see with your eyes. Now you can see it with the eyes of the other person and you will understand it with those eyes. This is the moment when you realize that everything is shapeless. You are the one giving it a shape through your view, through your eyes. What you see depends on you. Everything is abstract.
This is one way of listening. I call it active listening which I deem to be a powerful and creative way of living and interacting. It is necessary for dialogue and communication.
Then there is a passive way of listening which happens naturally when the interlocutor becomes a narrator rather than a facilitator. We are all active and passive listeners at the same time. Our activeness and passiveness depend on the way our interlocutor relates to us, or the way he does not relate to us at all.
Our interlocutor relates to us when he is communicating rather than talking.
Talking and communicating are two different ways of using words. Talking is not an art. Communicating is an art and a skill. Talking happens unconsciously and spontaneously. It is like breathing which also happens automatically. Communicating happens only with awareness and high consciousness of the self. It happens when you stimulate and engage the other person and when while engaging him you remain shapeless, without any thought and flexible for any change that might happen during that moment of interaction. That is communication: an active interaction between two human beings who are sharing the same moment and are bringing in that moment their own colours of life. Through the motion of that moment the colours get amalgamated. They form a rainbow of colours where both human beings can be authentic and at the same time embrace the difference of the atmosphere they are immersed.
I’d like to link my philosophy discoursed above with my “profession”. The term profession is too limited for me. That is why I quoted it. It is so narrow to say “I am a teacher” or “I am a programme developer” since there is so much more to attribute to the statement “I am..”.
In this society I am an educator.
What I am actually doing is not educating, but facilitating education.
Educating is passive while facilitating is active.
Who do I need to educate? Everyone is already educated. They know more than I do.
So, what do I know?
For me the process of educating consists of facilitating the hidden knowledge which is in all of us.
In that way I am not teaching any knowledge. I am facilitating the process of teaching oneself.
The people I share the classroom with, known as my students, are actually my teachers.
Together we create our learning environment.
My task, therefore, is not to transmit anything – no knowledge, no concepts, no information.
My task is to establish the blueprint of what can happen within time and space.
And believe me: anything can happen between time and space!
My students react to my creation by bringing in their knowledge, namely their own ‘self’.
Together we create the learning environment known as class or lesson.
Only in this way the participants will be connected to the totality of that reality.
To be truly human the individuals need to be active participants. Only active participants can create and transform.
As Paulo Freire says “education is suffering from narration sickness”.
What he says mirrors reality. How many times have I seen teachers sitting in the classroom and just talking, talking, talking. Talking without communicating to their interlocutors.
In a non learning environment “the teacher talks about reality as if it was motionless, static, compartmentalized, and predictable. Or else he expounds on a topic completely alien to the existential experience of the students. His task is to “fill” the students with the contents of his narration – contents which are detached from reality, disconnected from the totality that engendered them and could give them significance. Words are emptied of their concreteness and become a hollow, alienated, and alienating verbosity.The outstanding characteristic of this narrative education, then is the sonority of words, not their transforming power. “4×4=16: the capital of Para’ is Bele’m.” The student records, memorizes, and repeats these phrases without perceiving what 4×4 really means, or realizing the true significance of “capital” in the affirmation “the capital of Para’ is Bele’m,” that is, what Bele’m means for Para’ and what Para’ means for Brazil. Words here turn students into “containers”, into “receptacles” to be “filled” by the teacher. In the non learning environment created by the teacher or depositor there is a lack of creativity, transformation and knowledge. Here individuals cannot be human. Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other. In the banking concept of education, knowledge is a gift bestowed by those who consider themselves knowledgeable upon those whom they consider to know nothing. Projecting an absolute ignorance onto others, a characteristic of the ideology of oppression, negates education and knowledge as processes of inquiry. Education is the reconciliation of student and teacher. Both are students and teachers at the same time. Banking education is the result of an oppressed society. The more students work at storing the deposits entrusted to them, the less they develop the critical consciousness which would result from their intervention in the world as transformers of that world. The more completely they accept the passive role imposed on them, the more they tend simply to adapt to the world as it is and to the fragmented view of reality deposited in them. The capability of banking education to minimize or annul the students’ creative power and to stimulate their credulity serves the interests of the oppressors, who care neither to have the world revealed nor to see it transformed. The oppressors use their “humanitarianism” to preserve a profitable situation ” (Freire 1993, p.52-55).
I thought of quoting Paulo Freire here. He is one of the most inspiring people I have come across. I often quote him. He seems to be fitting everywhere. He is an educator who does not educate. Transparency is what makes him who he is.
I experienced passivity during a university “contact course” where “there was no contact” and therefore “no course”. lol
So, in the end I did not understand why they called it contact course.
This course had been organised for extramural students, namely those who like me, study at home and do not go to lectures. It was the first time I experienced a “contact course”. There I met my lectures who have done admirable work in terms of material preparation and selection. I enjoyed all the material they had selected. However, they lacked the capacity of creating a learning environment.
They put up power-point slides which summarized the material that I had already read at home.
Since for me learning consists of a constant interaction of diverse human beings who manifest their feelings and impressions about moments, situations and things in general, I could not understand what the purpose of that “contact course” was.
I could have stayed at home reading the material rather than flying all the way to that “contact course”.
At the end of the course our lecturers grouped us up and gave each group a piece of paper with a situation and problem we had to solve. Each group was given a theory in line with which we had to solve the problem.
In the end each group had to come up with their solution and present it to the class.
There are two possible reasons for this:
Either they wanted us to understand the key arguments of each theory, which according to me can be understood well by reading the material, or they wanted to put us in a box with tiny corners out of which it was not possible for us to think further. Each box had a name. There was the ‘modernisation theory box’, the ‘neoliberalism theory box’, the ‘dependency theory box’, etc. All “past boxes”. There was no space for something new.
It would have been enough to read the material in order to be able to accomplish that task. Nothing else. I did not need to go to the ‘contact course’ and ‘interact’ with the people, since there is no interaction required if you are put in that narrow box. This is it. Everything you need is in that box. If you think out of that box, then you would break it and you would not act or think according to the ‘neoliberalism theory box’ which you were meant to be faithful to.
Furthermore, all those theories originated in the past. We can talk about them without immersing ourselves in them. We can talk about them and discuss them by being fully detached.
What about a new theory or new theories based on current events or reality which each group could have come up with by a natural interaction?
None of that was even thinkable.
This is not a critique. It is just an experience I would like to share with you dear readers.
I enjoyed my contact course and the diversity of it. It was something different for me and it surprised me, since I expected a contact course and not a lecture.
I love surprises and I love experiencing anything that comes into my life.
Development studies is what I am studying. It is the school of people.
Where are the people?
Freire, P. (1996). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. London: Penguin Group.