ISSN 1989-1938
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Revista de pensament musical en V.O.

From self-abandonment to self-development in education

Secció a càrrec d’ORIOL FERRÉ


Life offered me the opportunity to receive a music education besides the general education. I faithfully followed the discipline of practicing piano and completing school duties throughout my childhood and youth. I did it so faithfully that I finished school studies in a public school at 19 and a degree in classical music at 23.

As a child I remember myself being keen and passionate to learn anything. Life was a thrilling mystery! The thought of going to a place (“The School”) where I could learn all the things I wanted to learn surrounded by my colleagues filled me with excitement and wonder. Nevertheless, once that reality began to unfold as it was, that original passion went slowly decaying. The incapability to understand why it was not fun, why that which could have been a marvelous experience turned out to be disappointing and upsetting, made me feel helpless. That helplessness was the origin of my inner and outer searching.

Delta de l'Ebre ©Maria Ivanova

Delta de l’Ebre ©Maria Ivanova

As a son, student, colleague and teacher I have experienced many different kinds of educational styles, groupings and methodologies. But, instead of coming up with a dissertation about the most appropriate pedagogical resource, I would like to pay attention to the inter-personal and intra-personal relationships that are established when practicing education.

These relationships are fundamentally established by the unspoken messages that we are permanently sending to the entire environment through our attitudes. These messages have a radical impact on the way we relate to others and to ourselves.

I invite you to take a deeper look to “hear” what they “say”.
The following is the result of my personal listening exercise.

We are telling our children that love is a fraud when we can’t offer it unconditionally to everyone, including ourselves. So we discriminate out of prejudice and out of affinity, creating emotional abandonment in others and ourselves.

We are telling our children that life is miserable when we don’t strive for what we really want. So we victimize and abandon ourselves by complaining but doing nothing.

We are telling our children that they are helpless when we can’t trust them to be responsible. So we deny the right of that person to use his freedom and to look for his own way of experiencing things by taking their responsibilities and criticizing everything they do.

We are telling our children that education is repression when we put a curriculum before their real educational needs, and when we pretend that one human being can assume the responsibility of attending the educational needs of a far too large number of people.

Being impossible to attend properly that amount of people, the only possible thing to do is to control the chaos that naturally happens by repressing each individual: welcome to authoritarianism by default. This repression means that during many hours every day, children are forced to stay in the same small room doing the very same thing at the very same time in the very same way. Opposition to this way of functioning means punishment in the form of segregation from the group, community disapproval, psychological abuse or getting “low” marks. Converting to this way of functioning means appraisal in the form of community acceptance or getting “high” marks. Education in this way becomes an embellished tyranny.

This education is dangerous. It really is. The continuous exposure to this kind of messages creates the accumulation of emotional abandonment, shame, fear, helplessness and unhappiness. The greater risk of an education based on the repression of the individual is that it tends to the abandonment of the Self.

The abandonment of the Self represents a psychological and emotional insanity that affects the whole life of a person. Beyond depriving real self-awareness it cancels all capacity of self-esteem and empathy. Resentment against oneself and against others is accumulated inside the person, so that the entire environment will be affected by his/her insanity and there won’t be chance of real self-development and personal growth in his/her life. This insanity can lead to destructive and self-destruction behaviour.

Educators and education have made and are making a great effort to help humans be able to relate to each other without generating physical, psychological and emotional abuse. We pay much attention to the way we relate to others.

But, aren’t we forgetting about the most direct, lifelong and influential relationship we have in our lives?
I am referring to the relationship with ourselves. Our inner life.
Are we aware of this relationship? Do we pay any attention to this relationship? Do we help other humans to be able to take proper care of this relationship?

There is, in the way in which we treat and relate to ourselves, a great source of experience and learning that is so valuable to our personal development and hence to our education.

We, as educators, wherever we may focus our educational work, may benefit greatly from finding ways to help children and people in general be aware and responsible of the relationship with themselves, and use this as the foundation of any potential education.

Self-development can only be achieved when we give proper awareness and care to the relationship with ourselves, thus, we should avoid self-abandonment by all means. Any kind of education, be it parental, primary, secondary, university, scientific, artistic,…any education based on the unspoken messages presented above should be considered as dangerous as the worst epidemic for humanity and, therefore, be eradicated and replaced by an education that guarantees real self-development in each one of us.

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