Thursday, January 30, 2014

Be Quiet, LISTEN & Learn

     In our "culture, where language is associated only with vocalization and speech, we fall within a 'discursive rationality' which makes the world amenable to linguistic and discursive ordering, molding, & systematization. Any speech act is 'potentially normative,' ... as 'the speech act selects an aspect of reality simply by speaking about it, and whatever is said is then transformed into the statutory basis of a discourse' which 'can ultimately result in constraint and epistemic control'. In a culture of 'discursive rationality,' the dominant form of knowledge is one that objectifies, organises, conceptualises, normalizes, & dictates. To 'know' the world, we categorize what we see and experience in the world – things, people – into concepts & ideasInstead of being open to the rich moment-to-moment experiences in our encounters with people and things, we 'know' & relate to them primarily through our presumed concepts about them. Such orientation produces a sense of cognitive order & control in our relations to the world. A well-known example is the European empires’ extensive categorizing & detailed mapping of the geography, fauna, flora, habitat, & people of their colonies in their effort to rule & control them.
Listening rationality,' on the other hand, functions in the context of 'silence.' It quiets our mind, takes away our (illusory) sense of security & control, and opens us to the untidiness, contradictions, & richness of being which cannot be bound by conceptual ordering. It invites us to the openness of not knowing and the 'risk' of growth. Silence can be 'a very fertile way of relating, (as it) might indicate a healthy desire to set aside certain automatic defenses that are only intended to fill emotional vacuums' and 'a desire to abandon automatic verbal sequences that fill our games (of social interactions). The highest function of silence,' therefore, 'is revealed in the creation of a co-existential space which permits dialogue to come along'. Listening in the context of silence involves 'the renunciation of a predominantly molding & ordering activity' and represents 'the readiness to tear away ideologizing modes of reflection which define & constrict the ways of coexistence'. It can be 'a support to the hermeneutic effort whereby we seek to establish a relationship between our world and a different "world," between our own attitude and a different attitude'.  
     Listening is also 'the attitude which can unblock the creative resources immobilized by the rigidity of traditional "logical" education'. It requires considerable 'dialogic patience' to give space to the 'inexpressible,' so that 'the inner experience which is less suited to being "spoken" can be expressed in some way'. In 'listening rationality,' the person who knows is someone who transforms him/herself in order to know, rather than objectifies the world in order to recognize her/himself in his/her cognitive conceptual immobility. To reach the 'highest function of listening silence' for coexistence to be possible, therefore, it is important that we are not confined by the conceptual mind and dominant discourses which categorize, normalize, & exclude. bell hooks proposes education as 'the practice of freedom.' I suggest that is also what critical social work education is about: the practice of freedom from the predominant order of things, that is, 'to transgress' the mode of 'discursive rationality' which privileges the mind and has been governing our production of knowledge & our relations to the world."

       Wong Y-L.R. "Knowing Through Discomfort: A Mindfulness-based Critical Social Work Pedagogy." Critical Social Work 2004; 5:(1)


No comments:

Post a Comment