Tuesday, April 03, 2007

To be human? To be a child of the sun...to be an earthling...

Being empowered and empowering...
To quote an exceptional NZ woman that my institutionalised learning did no justice to, Katherine Mansfield identified her needs, while she was dying of tuberculosis she strove, she risked, she said "risk, risk anything". I don't move forward if I I don't risk. So My background is health and education, and in my mind, they are both basically about the same thing: how to empower? What should I be aspiring to in assisting others to aspire? What is it that others might aspire to? Well, Katherine just says it so well
"...the power to live a full, adult, living, breathing life in close contact with what I love—the earth and the wonders thereof—the sea—the sun. All that we mean when we speak of the external world. I want to enter into it, to be part of it, to live in it, to learn from it, to lose all that is superficial and acquired in me and to become a conscious direct human being. I want, by understanding myself, to understand others. I want to be all that I am capable of becoming so that I may be (and here I have stopped and waited and waited and it’s no good—there’s only one phrase that will do) a child of the sun. About helping others, about carrying a light and so on, it seems false to say a single word. Let it be at that. A child of the sun.
Then I want to work. At what? I want so to live that I work with my hands and my feeling and my brain. I want a garden, a small house, grass, animals, books, pictures, music. And out of this, the expression of this. I want to be writing....
But warm, eager, living life—to be rooted in life—to learn, to desire to know, to feel, to think, to act. That is what I want. And nothing less. That is what I must try for. "
Got that? Nothing less!
And more than this, it matters when I create the circumstances that makes this less likely to occur. Where I make it less likely it cannot be called education nor "work for health" (ref to David Seedhouse, to do less is dwarfing!)
Now back to compliance, there are deadlines to be met, educational structures that impose limitations...an ethics application for the doctorate that still isn't in by its second due date....
Time to stop being a child of the sun, and just fit the square peg into the round hole...at least for a couple of days...
Thanks to artichoke and Stephen's web for the diversions, now back to my constrained rather than empowered education...
(I can almost hear the ghosts of lecturers passed saying its not empowering if it leads to disadvantage, if it leaves you unable to be credentialized in a world that demands certification... time to thank James Marshall and Colin Lanksheer, for introducing me to the concept of freedom in education; that there might be philosophy to such undertakings, and time to thank David Seedhouse for introducing me to a better reading of Mansfield than my institutionalized schooling managed, thanks also to Chris Bigum for reminding me that plain ordinary folk in educational institutions might also be heroes.)

2 comments:

  1. Artichoke7:51 AM

    "And nothing less"
    Thanks Ailsa,- I have always avoided Mansfield after an unfriendly encounter in an English class at high school many years ago - this post means that I am going to confront my hastily formed opinions and go back and look again - the passage quoted is so beautifully balanced, and the sentiment, well the sentiment so appropriate to a life.

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  2. She manages to convey a passion for living life fully, with curiosity, fully saturated...

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