Monday, February 23, 2015

Interpreting and Changing the World as We Know It

There is this idea within Marxism that 'activism' is is purely action without reflection, which then lends to the idea that reflection without action is 'subjectivism'. Marx, it seems actually loathes this because he apparently "scientifically destroyed" the entire theory. In the Marxism pyramid, essentially the oppressor is at the top of the hierarchy, followed by the oppressed which oppresses another below them. It is evident that realizing that you are part of this pyramid is the only way for one to overcome being a part of it. Freire believes that it involves retreating from the world to understand this entire theory. "The revolution then is primary; philosophy is allowed only if the thinker is 'bathed' in reality, this bathing presumably connecting him to the revolution and history. Heidegger, in an interview for television quoted from Marx, in a Theses on Feurbach saying
that "The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it." Freire also notes that in order for an individual to speak out against the societal/political norms set in place for them, they must acknowledge what those norms are, otherwise they are exuding the message that they are content with living in a world organized for them, which should never be the case.

The piece of artwork that I created is meant to illustrate the theory that in order to change the way we live in our world/see it, we must first acknowledge what the world itself currently is. I'm borrowing of course, Columbus' theory that the world was flat in 1492, but bear with me while I explain why my drawing is significant (other than of course, I think I did a wonderful job of drawing geographically correct continents.) Illustrations of the world as we know it show the earth with blue water and green to indicate land (I didn't have a green pen so white will do here.) This is the reality of what our world is. However, we are free to recreate what we see and think with that acknowledgement in mind. It is not "wrong" theoretically to envision a world that is shaped like a square, with pink water and blue land as long as we know the reality of the world we do, indeed live in.

My questions revolve around education: how can we teach Marxism in the classroom without radically violating our students' systems of beliefs? Many of us will be teaching at the high school or middle school level and our students will be impacted greatly by what we teach and how we teach it. How can we illustrate Marxism in a way that they understand and can embrace as a theory? 

1 comment:

  1. Not sure about your characterization of the Columbus moment (don't get me started!), but I like the attention here to material conditions-- the "real"-- and how they influence the superstructure and the revolution as Marx would see it. Interested in the educational applications, as you think Freire would see them... Solid work with Marxism. Make sure you are getting enough detail from the readings, but this is generally a good model for a post.