Experience

Wondering why experience is so unimportant that it is actually banned from discussions as an illegitimate source of knowledge? Clarissa Bezerra translated an essay by Jorge Larrosa Bondía on experience which I’m trying to understand at a gut level. Lou Mycroft mentioned in her video at TDreflex14 that people “choose to feel not like an equal” and I agree with that, am feeling unequal but am also tired of being told to shut-up about it. So ultimately, the answer comes back to being entirely on your own to fix your broken voice. As a social being the idea of left to sort it out makes social existence a falsehood?

Allowing yourself to be vulnerable, you need to be silent too.

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Comments

  • Maha Bali  On May 8, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    Hi Scott. What a deeply thought-provoking post, and comparing two things that had touched me personally recently (Clarissa’s and Lou’s) and articulating a question I had not been able to articulate myself but was floating somewhere: are we alone in fixing our broken voices? Even if we are, isn’t there some sort of …something… You get from doing part of that collectively?
    And then the need to be silent… Not sure what you mean so I don’t want to impose my interpretation. Also wondering if you are putting yourself in silent mode, so won,t elaborate?
    I don’t though, believe we “choose to feel unequal”. We may “accept” it or let it affect us… But others and structures and power dynamics are real and even tho we can resist them, they act on us. How we respond is our call. Sometimes

    • scottx5  On May 8, 2014 at 2:11 PM

      Hi Maha, Wasn’t too specific as I’m trying to decide why I suddenly felt silenced, by myself mostly. It has become popular recently (in my regular life) to remind me that my memory is distorted from being sick and I should stop “imagining” what I experienced as “it isn’t useful.” It’s a weird situation where it might be necessary to pretend “in real life” to be someone I’m Not in order to keep it together to be someone I Am on the net.

      My preference is not to pretend or be agreeable for the sake of getting along, but…I do have an obligation to those closest to me to be supportive… I’m really unresolved on this, as you can tell.

      In the really real life I have surgery coming up and my reaction to anesthetics is distinctly crazy and very real at the time. The problem is, this too is an experience that I know as “real”, but an alternate reality. I know when in “in” and when I’m “out” though others probably can’t tell:-)

      This started, I think, when I read “The Limits of Dialogue as a Critical Pedagogy” by Nicholas C. Burbules and I thank you for mentioning his name. It came at a perfect time for me as the medical things push me to think about identity and things I say and how that reflects me–or how I present which isn’t a performance or an appearance of consistency but an important thing for a human being that is often unpredictable and at times hurtful to others regardless of intentions.

      Thanks for your reply Naha. Sometimes we just need to keep moving, even if it isn’t working and absorb the hurt. Not accept it, that’s the wrong word. More to acknowledge that we can be hurt because we are alive.

      Scott

      • Maha Bali  On May 8, 2014 at 2:53 PM

        hi Scott, (first things first – wish I could send you cyberhugs, it can’t be easy waiting for the surgery, and I hope it goes well; I’m sorry the anestthetics do all sorts of crazy things for you – I assume you mean even after the surgery is over – and can’t imagine the amount of anxiety and stress that must be causing you now)

        But your reply just shows how there is so much below the surface and between the lines of a blog post like the one you’d written, and how readers’ lack of knowledge of that context means we probably reflect our own context in reading it rather than whatever you intended… and yet interestingly can still find something in common to talk about that is sometimes outside those contexts… it’s got me thinking.
        I am also now reading Sidorkin and he is critiquing Burbules’ work on dialogue, so this should get interesting for me, as Burbules’ work on dialogue is some of my favorite. Sidorkin talks about dialogue as an essential aspect of being human, that it is an end in itself, not a means towards another goal. He says Burbules claims something similar but then proceeds to use dialogue as a means… I’m looking forward to finding out how that pans out

        You have an amazing capacity to write incredibly thoughtful and very quotable reflections that can work wonderfully across contexts. This one particularly resonated with the hurt I’m going through myself right now:
        “Sometimes we just need to keep moving, even if it isn’t working and absorb the hurt. Not accept it, that’s the wrong word. More to acknowledge that we can be hurt because we are alive.”

        And this one was also very deeply moving “it might be necessary to pretend “in real life” to be someone I’m Not in order to keep it together to be someone I Am on the net.”… wow, trying to think if that’s the case. I do think I am living two parallel lives: one online and one in person. Wondering all time which one allows me to be the “real” me and where I am pretending. I think maybe for me personally I am the “me” that I “want to be” online because I can. f2f there are so many other restrictions, now that I think about it! Will be thinking some more…

      • scottx5  On May 8, 2014 at 7:34 PM

        Thanks for the cyber hugs. Last time in the hospital was really bad. First time, after the initial shock of being told I had 3 months to live at what I thought was a routine test, there was time in the hospital to get ready for surgery. Second time I went in fully sedated by ambulance, woke up in what I thought was the “wrong” hospital and literally scared myself so much the aneurism in my heart burst. (Actually it was the wrong hospital but I had to be in quarantine because my previous doctors had given me c difficile in their 5 week miss-diagnosis circus).
        The first time was like a grim science fair project. Scary but close to normal with high level awareness. Second time I woke up aware of being in another world. It was clearly me in a different identity. It was not a nice place and I wasn’t nice either. My psychologist suggested this might be a reaction to having been watched closely for 5 weeks by doctors who never bothered to check my heart even though my record and the huge scar on my chest indicate heart problems–not to mention my heart, leaking out my aorta couldn’t generate a measurable pulse.

        In a sense, it doesn’t matter what the reason was. Extreme situation caused me to react and for 10 days I needed to be tied down and lived in the hell my mind decided to build for me. What I find curious is I’m told not to dwell on this experience and focus on the “normal” but then when I mention normal experience it seems that experience doesn’t count. So is experience only something others are happy with and not actually something that belongs to you? And why do we permit people this intrusion into our being? How much can we exist for other people before it becomes a falsehood–or maybe the question turns and how much can they ask of us before they become false and unworthy of our attention?

        Strangely, in the midst of the crazy time I told my older daughter to leave the hospital because I’d betrayed her and she would be hurt if she stayed. She didn’t understand this crazy person talking to her but forgave me for that nasty part of my mind that in the reality of the moment revealed itself.

        Writing about this helps. As I write this I think the hardest part isn’t being ignored or miss-diagnosed. It’s the assumption that things can be normalized or accepted as formal agreements such that restrictions can fall on you and it’s okay because “that’s the way it is.” Maybe sanity is a form of being broken where it’s most possible break without being destroyed? If there was a rule about this that I made up it would be that the breaks in a person are part of life and the person themselves can decide where they are.

        Life is full of situations and choices emerge. Is a choice “bad” because it isn’t “fair” that we have to make that choice? Things may not be that clear and I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to introduce ourselves like “Hi, I’m so and so and I’m negotiating with such and such Daemon(s) so don’t be too hard on us.” Giving in sometimes happens. Giving up is something else.

        Scott

  • jaapsoft2  On May 12, 2014 at 1:05 AM

    Hi Scott, cannot find this translation by Clarissa Bezerra.
    I am very curious about it. You write: Wondering why experience is so unimportant that it is actually banned from discussions as an illegitimate source of knowledge? I wonder which other sources of knowledge exist apart from experience? And you did experience quite something.

    • scottx5  On May 12, 2014 at 8:52 AM

      Hi Jaap, the translation is here at Clarissa’s blog:
      Notes on experience and the knowledge of experience – Jorge Larossa Bondía (English version)
      http://clarissabezerra.com/2014/05/04/notes-on-experience-and-the-knowledge-of-experience-jorge-larossa-bondia-english-version/

      Working in construction, experience was always a qualifier. In academia everything seems to be based on slips of paper that permit people to believe you have qualifications. So, for instance, I’ve completed a course in helping conduct Personal Learning Assessments but the certificates we earned in the group were withdrawn in a fight over funding so I have no documented right to practice what I learned. Even the people I took the course with don’t believe themselves qualified without the certificates. Sounds like something left over from the way the church operated years ago?

      Basing “knowledge” on what you are told by certain qualified others keeps the power in their hands and makes knowledge a sell-able commodity. There are many reasons to set up systems of reliability but eventually they become corrupted by the personal interests of the qualified and need to be shaken up.

      Beyond convenience or safety, is there really any reason to believe one version of reality over another?

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