future and past

I spent the last couple of days at Goddard College. This quotation from Paulo Freire again caught my eye. It was there last July. It strikes me as the kind of thing that’s hard to casually remove. I have no quarrel with the idea, indeed I think it’s a critical concept, but I’m struck by the way it functions as an artifact. It seems to echo the way that history is suddenly present in the discourse.

I believe in history. I spend a lot of time trying to understand the genealogy of ideas and discourses. I also have an eye for the way that history can be used to obscure the present or to guard against the future. Sometimes we rely on history because we don’t have the resources in the present to support our aims.

Pedagogy of the Oppressed, the text in which Freire developed the idea of conscientization was first published in English in 1970. It reflects thinking developed from practice in the decade preceding its publication. Freire’s intellectual vitality is tied to his ability to timelessly link human ways of being to the process of learning. His thinking marked a new starting place for progressive education. I find myself wondering when the next benchmark will appear. I need it.

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