“In order for this struggle to have meaning, the oppressed must not, in seeking to regain their humanity (which is a way to create it) become in turn oppressors of the oppressors, but rather restorers of the humanity of both.” –Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Pedagogy of the Oppressed has been an influential text in my own life and the work that I do as an educator. But there is another, arguably more crucial way to interpret this term, “oppressor.”
We oppress the Earth through the way we live. Every single day. Killing this Earth and the life that lives on it.
Balance is the way. We cannot take and not give back.
There is no refusing this fact.
We must put our energy into changing the way we live as individuals, communities, as a society as a whole. For there is no “nature”– the term simply separates us from a whole we could never truly separate ourselves from. There is simply this Earth and the beings that live on it, all depending on balance and diversity to survive. No matter what we believe, we must KNOW this to be true. And we must start practicing it.
Perhaps we are not inherently flawed as human beings; we are simply living a destructive lifestyle.
Sadly, tragically, however you feel about it, the Earth will not turn around and “save us.” It will balance itself as it sees fit. Thus we, humans, the majority of us living in some form of modern society that takes more than it gives, must turn the quote around. The oppressor must admit to their oppression and not only restore our humanity but redefine it. Being human should not be about power.
Perhaps it should be about life.
It is much simpler to imagine ways for an individual to change their lifestyles than ways that an entire society can change. If you or anyone you know has ideas, please share.
January 3, 2017