The Kingdom of God from Within….
It is interesting how we are pre-supposed to think about certain things as defined in a specific way. I’ve grown up in a church where it was preached to me that The Kingdom of God will be an establishment in Jerusalem at the return of Christ, during the end times, and probably over the past few years, I’ve come to understand that their maybe a double meaning to this, that the Kingdom of God can not only be a physical space but one from within ourselves, as well.
This is quite a transformation to think about, as a physical/natural structure and its connection to the spiritual, to the fact that one must transform themselves, must find peace and paradise within one’s self, if they are to ever achieve that in a physical sense.
What does this have to do with education? With Learning? Well, take a moment to think, possibly, non-consciously about your first reaction to learning, to education, and where learning/education and knowledge comes from and where it goes?
As Paulo Freire has rightly pointed out in Pedagogy of the Oppressed,
“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”
We cannot simply see education/learning/knowledge as the imparting of information, like paints on a blank canvas. The blank canvas is only turned into beauty because of the space it allows for the artists creativity and imagination. People learn, not because they are blank, non-descriptive slates, but because their own knowledge, own experience, own learning allows for the practice of freedom, allowing for critical and creative realties to pour out from their soul, from their feelings and from their personal life. The discovering of what is within them is where the learning begins, and that personal understanding, is how each person can help to transform the world.
The fact that we view knowledge as an exterior force, one floating amongst us in an orbit that is disconnected from our bodies and own background, character and inspiration, demonstrates our lack of regard for the intangibles, for the things that change our perspective and our sphere of influence.
This exclusionary outward grasping, establishes an immediate oppression; one that focuses on the utmost sensitive and personal information possible, our knowledge. Completely ignoring the serendipity of life, and how we learn and why we learn. Creating a dominant force such as this, harms the learner in a very distinctive way.
The control that is forced upon the learner, who is directly moved in one way, one path, and one mindset conforms and becomes part of a pre-determined system. This not only affects the learner and their life choices, but constrains them in what way and how they, can and do learn, and can and do live.
In order to break this cycle, we must first recognize that learning/knowledge/education first involves us, as individuals, and second, begins with us, the heart of us, the kingdom that is within us. Otherwise, the structure, the system, the physical will not be changed or even recognizable. Without the holism of learning, the shell will continually be the only thing that exists, and will be rotten with the disembodiment of the spirit, of the soul, of the authentic learning and authentic self.