When I originally though of the word ego before reading this section of Freud’s work, I imagined he would be explaining more along the lines of confidence or strictly the self-value of the human. I also thought of a particular artist, Beyonce, and her song “Ego” from 2008 and how she takes about exuding said confidence. I also thought about her persona in general and how when it comes to the ego, it’s one of those personal components of her being that seem to be very high. With numerous accolades in the music industry, it would only make sense for Beyonce to have such a high level of self-esteem, and thus, have a big ego.
Last week in class, we learned a lot about what constitutes power by definition and in terms of various power relations. In Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, he states that power is “the multiplicity of force relations immanent in the sphere in which they constitute their own organization”(92). Power itself can relate to the hierarchy of a boss to his employees or even the more traditional teacher-student scenario among others. Whatever the case, it exhibits a relationship of inequalities in which one or multiple groups are below another in a system of the “ruler versus the ruled”(94).
I found Paulo Freire’s concepts and ideas in Pedagogy of the Oppressed very eye opening but rather depressing to be honest. The way Freire compared the education system as a banking system really made me question if there is any real hope in today’s more traditional educational system. As taken aback as I was from this work, I would have to say that agree with most of his points.
For instance, I thought it was intriguing to see that Freire write that “education is suffering from narration sickness,” (71). Once I really thought about it, I noticed how much truth there really is to this statement, at least in comparison to most of my educational experiences. I never quite realized how many classes I’ve attended where a teacher has literally spewed out information at me and the rest of my pupils and we were never expected to really inquire or discuss the lessons in depth. The teacher always had a strict lesson plan and what he or she said was final.
A more specific example would actually be of one of my classes here at Emory. It’s in a smaller classroom setting where attendance is regularly taken and there aren’t more than 20 students enrolled. Initially I assumed that, similar to my other classes of this size, this class would be heavily discussion based and that vocal participation was often expected, if not required. To my surprise, during one of our review sessions before a test, our TA briefly stated that this class was strictly a lecture. Sure our professor might ask a general question to the class every now and then but he made it clear that it was not really a class for open discussion. Granted, there have been times where we’ve turned it into more of a discussion based class but overall, our professor has a set agenda and uses all of class time to get through the lectures in full. So in this example, my professor was more like a narrator in this situation instead of a professor who uses a “problem-posing” based curriculum.
In “Educating and Experience,” John Dewey makes the distinction between the two title words in an attempt to convey how every experience itself does not necessarily lead to education, or at least not in a positive and productive manner. In the text he says, “the belief that all genuine education comes about through experience does not mean that all experiences are genuinely or equally educative. Experience and education cannot be directly equated to each other”(13). Although I do see some truths to these statements, I do also disagree with some of it as well.
For instance, I take particular interest in the statement “Experience and education cannot be directly equated to each other”(13). I would argue against this statement in a similar way to the square-rectangle concept where every square is a rectangle but not every rectangle is a square. I think that education equates directly to experience but not vice versa. Education should be seen as an experience in its own right whether or not the pupil regards it as such. It’s no new discovery that power of education is invigorating and provides students with plenty of experience.
However, I do agree with Dewey in terms of experiences not necessarily being educative(13). Experiences can be life altering and very educative. For example, people on shows like “Survivor” and “Naked and Afraid” learn through experience as they try to accommodate living in the wilderness. But a counterexample would be of a typical college student attending a party. Granted, the results from experience may vary, but I highly doubt that this kind of activity would result in any type of educative enlightening. What do you guys think? Do you think that education and experience do equate to each other?
In Book I of Emile, Rousseau mentions early childhood and what a baby’s crying can signify. He then goes on about how sometimes a baby’s crying can get too raucous which results in him being spanked by a nurse. The instant look on the infants face is one of anger in his crying tones and facial expressions. Rousseau later goes on to compare more destitute children who did not receive physical punishment to the children of higher social classes who did and how the former seemed to be “generally less frail and weakly, [and] more vigorous.” (56)
A common theme among the readings is the concept of the senses and how they relate to knowledge. In Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel coins the term sense-certainty as something that “immediately appears as the richest kind of knowledge” and as “a knowledge of infinite wealth for which no bounds can be found,” (I.91). The way I interpreted this statement was by noting how important our senses are in determining what things are and therefore gaining knowledge. Knowledge gained through the senses (i.e., sight, smell, touch, taste, feel) provides the most natural and most hands-on experience in an attempt to identity and later understand an object.
Another quote that stands out to me is the one when Hegel says “But, in the event, this very certainly proves itself the most abstract and poorest truth” (I.91). I think this means that within the known factors, such as what we feel or see, we still have yet to delve into the true meaning of the object beyond merely identifying the object alone. It seems to be that sense-certainty is very important in the eyes of Hegel as the “richest knowledge” because it enhances our deductive reasoning. It forces us to use our senses to determine what we might think we know.
The idea of sense-certainty is still very complex in its meaning and by the way it encapsulates other sub-forms of knowledge and thought such as consciousness for example. Its perplexity makes sense in a complicated way by the way that the acquisition of knowledge can be reached in a multitude of ways, including how some knowledge is taught and how some is developed through the use of our senses.
The reading for this week is very difficult to understand and interpret from a vocabulary standpoint as well as from a conceptual view. Kant poses many important and complex ideas in his “Critique of Pure Reason” that delve into the elements of knowledge and thinking, particularly, the unification of self-consciousness. One particular term of interest that sticks out to me is his explanation of intuition, or “pure apperception”(B132), and its role in completing the conscious of self.
I think my confusion with his terminological breakdown of intuition is the fact that intuition is defined as “prior to all thought” (B132) or without the presence of conscious thinking and is yet a part of one’s self-consciousness. Can intuitions be a part of one’s conscious without being necessary thought of in a conscious matter but rather already being known? It seems as though the intuitions are connected in some sense to the “empirical apperceptions” Kant mentioned in the fact that they both include the “presentations that comprise the transcendental unity of apperception”(B132). I just think it’s hard to comprehend how an unconscious state of mind can dually comprise a conscious being.
In this section of John Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding, the reader gets a glimpse into the tangled terminology of “identity.” He introduces the idea of separating one from the other to create said identity when he says “one thing cannot have two beginnings of existence, nor two things one beginning” (II. 27. 1). Here, Locke uses the approach of dissecting the concept of existence and being, therefore designating any one thing to solely one origin and by later providing examples using the atom and the oak from a tree. Continue reading
In Friday’s class, there was a discussion on the different elements that make up happiness or “eudaimonia.” Some of these components included the “measures of health: courage, wisdom, piety, moderation and justice, along with moral character and external characteristics.” Discussion also led into Socrates’ insistence on knowledgeability in academic regards as a key to happiness and virtuosity. I agree with Socrates in the sense that knowledge is truly important and with more wisdom comes the ability to make better decisions and in some light live a happier life. However, I do not necessarily agree that academic prowess leads to a happier life for every individual.
The role of “perplexity” is an important concept to grasp because it serves as the basis for why people continually seek to gain knowledge. The confusion brought upon by being taught a certain subject but not being able to fully understand it creates the perplexity complex and forces people to try and learn just what it is they are perplexed about and as a result, gain knowledge by obtaining missing information. For example, in the text, Socrates attempts to break down this perplexity when he says “I still want the two of us to try to find out what [being good] is” (80d). The perplexity is represented by the state of what it means to be good and it plays the role of encouraging Socrates and Meno to figure it out. Therefore, perplexity influences the increase of knowledge by creating a window of unknown that has yet to be discovered and learned.