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[Xmca-l] Re: The manologue

Hi Phillip and others,

So I feel you are indicating that there is something about the society here that doesn't value texts by critical theorists, feminists, queer theorists, critical race theorists as perhaps they could. Can we say this is true?

What saddens me is that if that is true these "other" theorists will dismiss what you have called "anchor" texts by Hegel, Marx, Lenin, Herder and Vygotsky as being texts that have nothing to say to them, because of the society that is upholding them as the canon of this society. They will not trust them to have value because of the comportment of those who swear by their importance.

Now, certainly we could argue whether those are actually the anchor texts or not, (I'll say "canon" for short) but that isn't really what I feel is as important. 

What seems important is that there is (an appearance of) no safe space for discovery to realize whether or not these different kinds of thinkers can discern that there is actually something or anything we all have in common, a way to speak to one another in a space of dignified interdependency, and that the theories can speak to each other, even if they don't use the same words, or have the same cadence. Like the way academics from different countries at conferences must use whatever is at hand to speak to one another, even if it is stilted or difficult to comprehend. There is a commitment to understand, even despite apparent disagreement.

In Advaita Vedanta there is a system described about how knowledge takes place in the student. It is a triumvirate of sravanam (hearing), mananam (doubt), and nididhyasana (meditation/integration). I offer this as a way to think about gendered speech patterns as we are discussing them right now, from a little different view point, not that it is intended to be an authority worldview that I mean to impose on anyone. 

In the most optimum situations, all we need is hearing, and then knowledge takes place. But not all people are properly prepared to gain knowledge solely from hearing. (In the context of this list, I suppose that would be reading, but when we read a post aren't we hearing our interlocutor's voices, just in our heads?) That is why we also require mananam and nididhyasanam; doubt and integration respectively. For those cases where hearing is not enough. 

I probably would have to define doubt and integration more than I have thus far to clear any doubts you may have now that I have introduced this system to you, and of course that is welcome if that desire is there. Really what impresses me is that I do see some rhyming with Vygotskian theories. "Outside first then inside."

To continue for now, both doubt and integration depend upon hearing, because if you didn't hear it, you could not have doubts, and likewise we couldn't integrate what we know unless it was in our minds to integrate, which is also dependent upon hearing. 

Hearing, doubt, and integration can happen in an instant, or they can be drawn out over time chronologically, first we hear, then we doubt, mull it over, and integrate and automate what we learned. But everything depends upon hearing it first. 

Interestingly, for sravanam to take place, there must also be shraddha present.So sravanam depends upon shraddha. Shraddha is "faith pending verification." It is not religious, nor is it "blind faith" but a simple trust that the speaker (in this case a teacher) has something of value to say, and that the speaker will in fact say something valuable that is of benefit to me as the listener.

In the context of this thread, I'd say there is a frequent display of a lack of shraddha, which does not allow sravanam to happen. So there can never the opportunity to explore doubts and certainly never time to integrate what was heard. No one wants to speak where there is no shraddha, and that likely explains silence between these two groups. It has already been decided nothing is of value.

Like all values, nothing is of value unless it is valuable to me.

But let's say that there is trust and there is true listening to what is said. The nexts steps are where the fun begins. Doubts should be welcome and cherished, because it is in dialogue that discovery takes place and doubts are cleared. Doubts need not be hostile, but with shraddha also present, dialogues that arise from doubt can be quite liberating. But only it if the inquiry is allowed to take its natural and spontaneous turns. 

If there are interruptions, then not only are doubts not cleared, but integration can't happen. Unwelcome drama is usually a means (conscious or unconscious) of prohibiting hearing, doubt, integration, because in drama there is emotional upset. The mind has to feel safe to learn, something I think we see very much the case with children when they learn. Though I'm fairly certain adults too have emotions, desire safety, want to be heard, want to listen, so we can learn. This can't occur with an upset mind, which feels threatened. 

I hope that all this isn't a strong-arm explanation, but rather a tableau of considered possibility to reflect upon as a path forward to discuss these hard topics. I believe we can do it. 

Kind regards,