Did you know there’s another way to use the phrase “all bark and no bite”? You see, dogs have a funny way of thinking about power– and it only involves biting as a last resort. I never thought a human could understand this until I read a book that my master had laying around…
…Pedagogy of the Oppressed was written by a Brazilian man named Paulo Freire. I really think he understood that barking is way more important than biting. It’s the oppressors that bite. Who’d want to be like an oppressor? That’s one of the main questions Freire poses. He’s obviously a critical thinker.
Today’s post is meant to challenge you. If you are involved with a cause, if you call yourself an activist, if you see yourself as submerged in a pseudo-democracy run by global corporations… then perk up your ears:
Freire said that being an activist alone is not enough. Humans function fully when they are reflectionists at the same time. Without reflection coupled with action, humans cannot become fully human. Think about this: if you are caught-up in acting for the sake of acting, the actions become activism. If you get caught-up in the reflection, you become a sophist or a verbalist… just talking and talking while expecting others to act.
The key is to balance both at the same time, so that you know your actions aren’t oppressive, too– even if unintentionally.
And on what can you reflect? Probably the most reflective thing a human can reflect on is this question: “How did I come to know and believe what I have come to know and believe?” When you ask this, you develop rationale for action. Not only that, but you come to know what it means to come to know… and this is the first step in helping others come to know.
This is stuff is as deep as the Marcellus Shale, and it really does make sense. Do you have a message to share? If you seek to be an activist, then one of your main goals is communicating a message, no?
It is in communication with the oppressor that we can liberate both oppressed and oppressor. Do you expect the oppressors to be the liberating ones? It’s up to the underdogs to lead the entire pack, including oppressive leaders.
So, the audience includes the oppressor (and also any other humans who don’t know the message). We need to communicate with every in a non-oppressive way.
Please use the comment section below to suggest any loving, peaceful, dignified ways to be active-reflective. The picture above, ironically categorized as “phony hysteria” by former PA Gov. Tom Ridge, should serve as an inspiration. Regardless of what Shale Gas Outrage was called by the industry, it served as a clear example of sending a message without using oppressive strategies.
Woof! to Shale Gas Outrage, and much thanks to the organizers and participants!