It’s been a while since I’ve written here, I’ve been directing my energy to the Cabin (a new paradigm model for education based on principles of self-direction, consent, children’s rights and ed positivity), as well as the role of being a Trustee for a progressive education charity.
But here I am, back putting words to the page to share.
The last two years have seen a continuation with my self-experimentation around the principles that I believe are crucial to moving us out of the old, patriarchal, colonial, paradigm and into the new way. It’s a practice that I engage with every day, integrating this new way of being into my life across all areas. It has and continues to be a transformative process with results that deepen and strengthen my commitment to this work. The principles that I work with are keys to a transformation in body, mind, heart and spirit – a speeded up process to manifest the world that we want and need, first within ourselves to then be able to share and build around us and in relationship with others that ‘get it’ and see the problem.
An absolutely critical part of this process of integration is engaging with our own ignorance. Patriarchy/schooling teaches us that admitting ignorance is unsafe, shameful, something to be denied and hidden. It teaches us that ignorance renders us as nothing. This lesson is essential to the internalisation and acceptance of patriarchy. Centering a persons power, worth and authority on a perception of them – and a perpetuating by them – as all knowing, is literally what justifies and underpins concepts of the legitimacy of the patriarch – the God, King, Father – the absolute and all knowing beings, entitled to rule over others, regardless of what they actually do or don’t know and understand. It is the illusion, the image of being all knowing, and the rejection/denial of ignorance, that is the problem.
Lets just consider for a second here how this issue has been weaponised in history and today. Justification for the oppression, subordination and undermining of women has often been based on an accusation of their ignorance, lack of ‘education’, and even ‘smaller sized brains’. Children are also diminished and undermined because of their perceived ignorance/lack of knowledge. Black people have been represented as stupid and intellectually inferior to justify racism under patriarchy. It’s no wonder that there is fear attached to playing with, accepting, admitting and engaging with our own ignorance when it arises.
The infuriating, yet, I have come to accept, typical thing when we look at what is unsafe in patriarchal paradigm, is that demonising admissions of ignorance is precisely what perpetuates and upholds patriarchy. It leaves us in a state of unknowns, because we can’t admit that we need to ask, and it maintains situations where people are in positions of power with their ignorance rather than learning and growing out of ignorance.
The methods of personal transformation and experimenting with self-directed education, have turned the patriarchal norms, values and culture on it’s head in regards to this. In this new way of being, problems – which can include ignorance/not knowing enough about something – are the gold dust and golden opportunities that you want. They most certainly are not something to be hidden or denied – that would be self-defeating, self-sabotaging, undermining to our own authenticity and integrity, and a misrepresentation and betrayal of self. Noticing and having self-awareness of our own ignorance and gaps of knowledge/information is a gift.
Every single time an ignorance is felt, it is an invitation to get smarter. It is a problem on the table to work with, in order to take forward steps, to grow, understand better, increase our integrity and competency in relation to our work, and to increase our capacity to be useful, creative and constructive in our calling.
Growing in and being socialised in a patriarchal society, as we all have, means we all have many ignorances, blind spots and gaps to dance with. We have beliefs that are limiting and poorly informed. It’s not possible to have avoided, that living in the world and dominant culture that we do. Part of integrating a critical approach asks us to question even the things that we feel we ‘do know’ and to test out the validity of those beliefs, to scan for where their might in fact be ignorance underneath. We can do this by being lovingly rigorous with ourselves. Asking, is this true? How do I know? Do I need to check this out more? Am I sure that I have all the information that I need on this? Endeavouring to go two steps further in examining our beliefs and assumptions, asking for our blind spots so we can explore them.
Rather than being triggered and fearful when it seems like we might not know what we need to know, practice every time to be grateful for this awareness, accept and acknowledge it, and take action to address it. This is self-loving, responsible, and demonstrates integrity and will lead to legitimate authority on an issue or area, increasing the value of our contributions to manifesting the world that we want and need. We need to be engaging in our education and knowledge base this way in order to be informed, strong and compelling enough to overcome the challenges that we face.
p.s. Self-Direction: it is our own responsibility to engage in, own and take responsibility for this process, there are many ways we can self-educate and work our way through ignorance and blind spots thanks to the time and energy others who know things that we don’t know yet are giving and have given to sharing content on the internet, publications and other places. This can also happen through asking for help in consent-based relationship with others. This is self-direction, the onus is on you to take responsibility and to deal with it, and ask.