Saturday, March 3, 2012

Schooling the World
Showed this film last night to a small group of folks. Co-hosted by J, a long-time activist in this area, we had a a very diverse group: immigrant Pinays, US-born Pinays, lesbian elders from different ethnic backgrounds, and two white men.
After the movie, we passed around the talking stone so each one can take a minute or two to respond to the film.
In a way it's a difficult film to watch as it invites the viewer to review our fundamental assumptions about schooling. Schooling, as it's promoted by US-led globalization efforts, is a movement that seeks to mold every country and every child, to cater to a global, urban, consuming culture. Call it progress, modernity, development.
Not every one is convinced though and the folks around the circle confirm this.
But what to do? Since we are all products of this schooling system, how do we envision a different kind of education?

Grace Lee Boggs says that revolutions are no longer just about ideologies that compete with each other. Revolution requires putting spirit back into the work that we do in the world. Work that humanizes; work that creates community; work that seeks new ways of envisioning the future.

Every little step we take towards this future counts. It begins with asking questions. It begins with learning how to question what we know. It begins with paying attention to the voice that speaks to us about our feelings of emptiness and shallowness in spite of our material wealth. It begins with paying attention to the moments that do make us feel whole and joyful -- moments that don't last long but leave an imprint in the soul for a very long time. These are the memories that are hard to forget or numb out. They will come back again and again to haunt us, to woo us, to bring us back to what matters most.

The women of Ladakh know what matters. The young people that leave the village to get an education in the city know what matters. But once they are entrained and entranced by the urban life, how will they cope with the sense of what's been lost?

I know this question and I have lived it. And I say Yes, there is a way.

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