Monday, October 18, 2010

The Pedagogy of the Existential Coyote

I have incorporated “socializing” into my daily routine, just like studying and writing and exercising, now I’ve made it basically mandatory that I get my dialogue, communication and study sessions in every day too. It’s good for me, and it’s good for all those whom I socialize with, and it has also become a good way for me to combat isolation and loneliness.

I’m particularly satisfied with the latest study sessions that I’ve been having with the comrades on my tier, because I’ve been able to exert some of my newly-acquired knowledge on “existentialism” and I was able to relay this knowledge to others in my study group in a way that they could not only grasp what I was saying, but also embrace it. And I guess that just made me feel good, you know? To not only see my own personal growth and development become actualized, but also to be able to pass these gems of knowledge onto others, to the effect that these gems that I pass on will always be with those that I’ve passed them on to. It’s just a beautiful thing and it makes me feel good about myself, about my study group and about what I’m learning, teaching and doing.

I mean what’s the point of studying and learning and acquiring new knowledge if you can’t, or don’t ever apply it? I’ve come to learn that the word “pedagogy” means the art or profession of teaching, but what I haven’t figured out yet is which I like more, learning or teaching, but I do know that they go hand in hand. I will always be a student, no matter how much I learn, or how old I grow, I could never know it all, and I’m always going to want to learn more, and the more I learn, the more I can share with others. Giving the gift of knowledge, is giving a real gift.

In his book, “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, Paulo Freire writes: “In fact, those who, in learning to read and write, come to a new awareness of selfhood and begin to look critically at the social situation in which they find themselves, often take the initiative in acting to transform the society that has denied them this opportunity of participation. Education is once again a subversive force.”

So, basically, once we learn, we become aware, once we become aware we start rejecting everything that’s wrong with the social order of things, and then after that we start taking initiative to make changes in our world, and that’s why knowledge is dangerous, and that’s why these pigs here in these prisons try to make it so hard for us to get books and literature in, that’s why they try to keep real radicals separated from one another, keeping us surrounded by crazies who bang and scream all day, making it difficult for us to find a peaceful moment to sit back, read and absorb new knowledge. Because these pigs understand how knowledge gives us new vitality, how it gives us strength and empowerment. They’d rather keep us crushed, dispirited and ignorant. That’s the way they do things.

I’ve come to believe that knowledge gives our lives meaning, because think about it; I mean without knowledge what meaning would our lives have? What would we be without knowledge? What would life be?

There’s nothing like learning something new and then passing it on to someone else. It’s a great feeling. Knowledge is a beautiful, powerful, subversive, dangerous thing! Get some!

August 2009

Several months after this essay was written, the administration moved Coyote to another unit in the hole that houses mostly psych patients who bang and scream all day, and they waited a couple of weeks to watch and see who all Coyote befriended on this new tier and then moved them all to other units in the hole, making sure to keep Coyote isolated. Coyote does not socialize with anybody, anymore, at the moment, but instead he uses this time to reflect, read, write and study. They’ve isolated him indeed, but his mind is still active and explosive and they have not shut him down!