Tagged: nan zheng
February 4, 2020 at 11:30 am #353February 5, 2020 at 4:40 pm #355wpinarParticipant
These days that question is often answered in exclusively economic terms – what can students study to ensure a good job upon graduation? – but it is also a political question, evident for example in certain U.S. school districts’ efforts to block the teaching of evolution, or skew the study of slavery. As those controversies make clear, the curriculum question is also an ethical question: what should students study to encourage them to become caring cosmopolitan citizens of their communities and countries and, as climate change requires, of the planet?
The great Canadian educator George Grant underlined the spiritual character of curriculum, insisting we ask why we are alive as well as how should we live, the two questions for him intertwined. For Grant, economics is a subset of ethics. Relegating curriculum to a means – to a good job or even to improve society – devalues it. For him study is an end in itself: a spiritual as well as academic practice.
George Grant was concerned about our relationship to technology, worried we would come to worship it, mesmerized by its many benefits, understating its many dangers, among them pollution, surveillance, the mass casualties of increasingly technological warfare. He predicted technology would produce homogenous societies worldwide, what we now understand as globalization (and the various often violent reactions to it). In that regard, the future of Quebec concerned Grant, but the future of Aboriginal peoples is also affirmed in his commitment to preserve what he termed particularity. Grant was quite critical of the United States, a country (he thought) that would sacrifice anything in the way of profits, now evident in efforts by computer companies to force secondary schools to replace the study of foreign languages with courses in coding.
For me, self-knowledge is knowledge of most worth, knowledge that requires knowledge of the world and its history. That answer positions history as the central subject for our era. In another time, another place, probably I would answer differently.February 11, 2020 at 10:54 am #360
Thank you very much, Dr. Pinar, for your comments.
It seems to me that the prevalent discussions about knowledge producing and delivering are anchored within the epistemological dimension of knowledge, which ignores a very important dimension of knowledge: the axiological quest or what is good and worthwhile knowledge. Dr. Pinar’s fundamental question about what is the most worthwhile knowledge draws our attention to this dimension.
Ethics is often understood as part of our economic reality which regulates its development. However, as Dr. Pinar refers to George Grant and points out that economy, on the contrary, is the subset of ethics. For me, ethics is about “becoming a human being”, which does not only set the rules for different social and economic activities, but is residing in the lived experiences of every particular person by asking each one of us about how to live a good and worthwhile life. When we approach curriculum as a means to the ends, we don’t recognize the spiritual and ethical significance of the it.
I continue to wonder about self-knowledge and its sources. In response to Dr. Pinar’s historical view of self-knowledge, I believe history is not only about the historical fact that we need to learn about, but also a historical awareness that we adopt and a historical stance we hold, using Dr. Pinar’s comment “our future is in the past”. In today’s era, the flaming discourses around presentism and futurism, ignited by the development of technology, seems to flatten our reality to the present and project it to the future.
I now wonder how self-knowledge of a person is related to his own subjectivity and other people. It seems to be very fluid and embodied concept to me. If we understand one’s subjectivity as the inner space of a person, does self-knowledge of a person reside in the space? Does self-knowledge of person mingle with emotions or awareness of emotions? How does self-knowledge of a person in relation with others’?February 14, 2020 at 8:49 pm #389Crystal-LiuzhParticipant
From my own perspective , I think the most worthwhile knowledge is to establish a correct concept of life,which including: the view of world, the view of value, and the view of life. Building the right idea is made up of every little detail of our daily practice. In other words, I think the most valuable thing is the scenery we see on the journey of life, and what we gain from it. For example, just like we go to school , the knowledge we learn from textbooks may be useless to us after a period of time, but what we really harvest is the spirit of studying, the attitude of be passionate to study, the determination not to give up easily. Therefore ，there is an old Chinese saying，“吾十有五而志于学,三十而立,四十而不惑,五十而知天命,六十而耳顺,七十而从心所欲,不逾矩.” Which means“People begin to aspire to learn at the age of 15, can stand on their own feet at the age of 30, will not be confused at the age of 40, know what is the destiny at 50, can listen to different opinions at 60, to 70 years old to achieve the follow one’s inclinations, want to do how to do, will not exceed the rules.” As the old saying goes, I think the most worthwhile knowledge is that we have different views on the world and summed up experience at every age, which is our new cognition and accurate positioning of ourselves . We can’t define what the most valuable knowledge is, because it’s different for everyone. People vary in education, income and family circumstances. So I think the most valuable knowledge for each of us is the process of the way we finding the truth，and the human quality that we have.February 18, 2020 at 4:05 pm #401
Thank you very much for your sharing. I wonder if there is a difference about the truth claim and the meaning claim. The gap between what it is like and what it should be like for you.March 23, 2020 at 11:12 pm #452nan zhengParticipant
To be honest, I think all knowledge is equally valuable and important. But according to my personal preferences and judgment criteria, awe and challenge are the most important knowledge. The spirit of awe and challenge may sound contradictory, but I think these two characteristics are actually complementary. Only those who truly have the awe of the world can become a good challenger. At the same time, those who do not have the spirit of challenge and have only learned awe can hardly achieve high achievements in a field.
First of all, about awe, awe is actually a kind of fear. Fear is not a completely negative word, because I think that people who have the feeling of fear tend to have higher moral standards. For example, I am in awe of nature, so I do n’t want to hurt wild animals; I am in awe of fate, so I want to be an upright person; In the end, I am in awe of the vastness of knowledge, so I wo n’t be arrogant because of my ability. Therefore, awe is a knife on people’s necks, reminding people to follow the moral bottom line, reminding people not to do whatever they want. So people should learn to be in awe. From the beginning of human beings, awe and fear are a kind of protection mechanism, not a symbol of the weak.
People should learn to be in awe of fate, but they must not succumb to it. Therefore, after learning to be in awe, people should learn to challenge. Awe is just a rope that binds human basic moral standards and behavior, not a curiosity about the unknown. The world is vast and knowledge is boundless, so exploration is eternal. People who lose their spirit of challenge seem to build a small house for themselves. Although the house shields them from the wind and rain, people are also imprisoned by this house. A sentence I like very much is this: Scientists are the most romantic group of people in the world, because in their world, there are no miracles and coincidences, because these are called probability. This sentence is a spirit of challenge. So I think awe and challenge are the most important kind of knowledge.
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