Decolonizing our minds: The struggle of our century
By Dion J. Flores
November 1st, 2018
Becoming conscious of what public education (and society at large) has done to our minds will be the struggle of the century for young millennials now leaving school and getting ready to enter the job force. It’s interesting that there even is a job force. What is the job force? Is it fiction? And to what degree? Most importantly, who owns this capital? How do they use it? And how does it affect you?
The struggle of decolonizing your mind and overcoming oppression comes with grappling with what consciousness even is. A google definition could say something like it is the state of being aware of your surroundings. But this, in and of it itself, is a presupposed story already. Is being conscious being aware of just your surroundings? And does this definition restrict itself to physical objects? If so, which objects? Can this grappling include non-physical objects? And what does that even mean?
It is confusing. That is part of the struggle. But where can you start? Start as early as you can getting familiar with reading. Where do you read? How do you read? What do you read? And are the authors connected in some unifying pattern? What is that pattern? And in what ways are you conscious of this pattern. A self-biography is a great exercise to investigate and make conscious the inter-connections of your personality and how it interacts and behaves in reality. Think of this space as your brain command centre, your Star Trek bridge perhaps. All commands come from a consciousness of the operations of one’s mind. Once you know how your mind behaves, you can foster an opinion, a criticism, and decisions and actions will become relevant.
A good first question could be “Does my life have any historical significance?” And most definitely not in a ‘snow-flakey’ kind of way. A real social investigation. If there were to be any significance to your life, what would it be? Unless you’re sure that you are just an insignificant nobody? Where were you born? When? Who was there? What do they do? How much money do they have? How much money do you have? How much money does your family have? Historically, what have you done with this money? What are the objects in your life that are a result of these actions? Do you have an opinion or criticism? How is that opinion and criticism based in deep psychological study?
Answering these questions are difficult. Where does one even begin to start explaining how they know these things? Building a mindmap of these connections is a great way to witness the interconnections of our lives. “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate (Carl Jung). Through mindmapping, you will begin to become conscious of how your life experiences have brought you to this present moment. Be sure to pay close attention to who you are associated with as this information will become necessary when you begin decoding your experiences.
How might you actually do this work? Writing works the best for me. When my mind gets clogged up. I choose between two things to do: free writing where I can just spill out everything that is on my mind and decipher it after or making short organized lists and drawing diagrams. Of course, I use a blend of these methods and have my own system going on but these are the main methods I discovered are most useful in combating psychological oppression. It is imperative that you figure all of this out for yourself. There is a strong debate of whether or not teachers and pedagogues should just reveal en masse the best pedagogical practices for the the public to consume. There are good and bad things about this. Good because there is brilliant work being done by teachers every day that contain the wisdom to solve our world’s most urgent problems. Bad because of who that information belongs to. Some of the practices I am referring to were cultivated in the highest towers of academia. Career professors who have dedicated their lives to answering the most critical questions in education. For them to impose their understandings on the public without properly establishing rapport and good relations would be the reckless behaviour that historically has been the cause to this problem and currently what governs our public policy and legislation.
Oppression has been bred over our epochial history (about the last 2000 years) and we are now noticing the destructive effects of this psychopathology. Domination has become a language that we are unconsciously familiar with. We’re enthralled, by a long history of establishment and competition of dominance in our culture. Dominance, if allowed to play out over history, eventually has counter-productive and irreparable consequences that demand our action and attention.
As my research continues, I will post these short articles to update you on my journey. I use these opportunities to make clear concepts and conclusions that I have not made as particularly clear in the past or a notion that I wish to clarify and establish as sign posts in my work.
Flores, D.J. (2018). Failing to be perfect: The role of mindfulness and meditation in music performance. www.dionflores.com
Flores, D.J. (2018). The profile and pathology of the oppressed musician. www.critiqueblog.org
Freire, P (1997). Pedagogy of the Heart. Bloomsbury Academic.
Jung, C.G. (1959). Aion: Researches into the phenomenology of the self (2nd ed.). Routledge.
Harari, Y.N. (2011). Sapiens: A brief history of humankind. Vintage.
Nietzsche, F. (1888). Twilight of the Idols and The Anti-Christ. Penguin Classics.
Giroux, H.A. (2011). On Critical Pedagogy. Bloomsbury.