Knowledge is power. As a passionate educationalist it is one thing that I strive to impart to people in particular my students that I encounter. The reason that I do that is that I believe there is a direct correlation between feelings and experiences of helplessness and powerlessness in peoples lives and a whole raft of negative social and personal outcomes. If I can imbue in these young people a way to empower themselves then they have choices. Choices I believe can help address many of these negative outcomes.
Knowledge is power because it gives us choices. We in New Zealand are privileged by high rates of literacy. Being literate means that we can express ourselves, have a voice, be heard. We have also by and large the freedom of expression. Voltaire a champion of freedom of expression warns us however that it is not encumbered. He said “we have a natural right to make use of our pens as of our tongue, at our peril, risk and hazard”. Dictionnaire Philosophique, 1764. The peril, risk and hazard refers to the harm that we can do to ourselves and to others with our ability to express ourselves. Sometimes as the old saying goes it is better to remain silent and be though a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt. Sage advice it seems, advice however that I often choose to ignore.
Having the freedom of expression comes with another freedom and that is the freedom of thought. I listened to a student give a speech the other night on this whole subject. He gave a very reasoned and intelligent appraisal of this area. The very thought provoking link he provided was that the freedom of expression was hollow unless the freedom to think was exercised before the freedom of expression. Not knew thinking by any means but to hear it said with conviction from a teenager was heartening.
To be a thinker at times is burdensome. And to heed Voltaire’s advice about the intrigue of freedom of expression is a conundrum indeed. For myself it leads to a searching for the right words, an examination of motive and sometimes a reluctance to speak up about my own personal needs preferring silence which unfortunately often ends in a subjugation of self that if not kept in check becomes unhealthy. Such subjugation is for me often linked to fear and more precisely the fear of rejection but more on that another day.
It is a conundrum that really has no answer and has an easy answer. The easy answer is for me to accept that I am a thinker and more so to embrace it. To understand the fact that sometimes I think too much. That I need to mediate my wish to be responsible about the way I express myself and my to express my own needs which include expressing disappointment, hurt and frustration as well as my emotional and physical needs with the knowledge that in not doing so is often a form of pointless self martyrdom that serves no purpose.
I think that is more than enough to think about right now. It certainly surprised me as I began this blog with the intent to talk about crying! So perhaps next blog I will talk about that narrative.
A few poetic words saying something similar if you wish to have a read http://softlyfallingpoetry.wordpress.com/