Articles and commentary about activist teaching and radical pedagogy, and social theory and critique essays, by Dr. Denis G. Rancourt
Most of us want to be oppressed fairly more than we want freedom, and that explains a lot.
My train of thought:Let's imagine a person that wants to be free. What does freedom entail? Richness of experiences, often including a variety of activities, excitement, and some struggle and stress that (most people will agree) are necessary parts of a healthy life. In a word, things with which professional careers and modern life are advertised and made acceptable. It's quite easy for oppression to be unrecognized if we have such a concept of freedom. That vision of freedom proves to be a huge failure. We should therefore take an alternative route. Clarity, simplicity, lucidity. The difference between freedom and oppression is something that everyone feels viscerally in the rib cage. We know what it is. It just takes moral courage to reject the bullshit. If we were just to remind ourselves of that truth, the world would become so much better. If so, it is puzzling to see the radically diverse notions of freedom recounted in John Gray’s “The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Enquiry into Human Freedom" (2015): a book I abandoned because it appears to be only tangentially concerned with the notion of freedom. Perhaps the title has been chosen for marketing purposes, or perhaps it is an example of losing the train of thought, a typically modern malaise. And I have a suspicion that a satisfying view of this involves having music that plays in your mind versus not having that. In the former case, having the clearest view of the state of affairs might remain completely inconsequential. In the latter case we seek prosthetic help, and by that we become entangled in the very patterns of life from which we might have initially desired to escape. And this having music in your mind has something to do with how we relate to the topic of origins. With having a lively interest in origins, you have some idea of how things have flown through time and see yourself as a part of a flow, and thus get a sense of personal freedom that is embedded and reliable, relative to the worldview filled with narratives in which Things are Bad, then some One (the Individual as The Source) appears, and makes them good - through struggle. (Tell someone to struggle, or struggle more, the result is the same whether it's a big fat employer to his employees, or a true revolutionary to passive masses.) I'm afraid I'll make a metaphor too much when I note: The best sailing ship with the bravest crew can't move without wind or current, and without an intelligent use of them it can't reach a desired destination. Accidentally, the reasoning I'm making in this comment can connect the interest in physics with the interest in liberty.
I have developed the theme of my status statement a lot in my book:Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racismhttps://fightagainstracismbook.wordpress.com/ And see my essays on-line:http://activistteacher.blogspot.ca/2017/02/links-to-denis-rancourts-web-pages.html
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