Friday, 25 November 2011

Calor en eme3 2 de Julio Barcelona 2011

Escuela de Calor, referencia al titulo de la cancion de Radio Futura, a la letra,( arde la calle al sol del poniente..) continuando con la postura de buscar y re-interpretar a varios "maestros" grecolatinos desde Diogenes, Socrates, Aristoteles a Joseph Jacotot o Jaques Ranciere.....

La propuesta para el festival de arquitectura Eme3, Escuela de Calor, surge de la idea de país y contexto caluroso y ardiente, de inter-zona donde quizás (como en muchas ocasiones hemos escuchado) el calor anulaba las ganas de aprender, de acudir a la escuela y por supuesto de trabajar y aplicar lo supuestamente aprendido. 
Quien no ha oído mil veces hablar de los perezosos e inútiles Latinos??
Nuestra vagancia proverbial conocida en todo el mundo desde donde se impone la moral protestante,amante del trabajo que viene de los países fríos... 
Una Escuela de Calor desde donde a nuestro ritmo y de paseo, sentados a una fresca terraza precariamente improvisada, retomando el espacio para nosotros en un gesto pequeño pero radical y con cervezas bien frias, nos encontramos para debatir temas muy Calientes, por lo tanto la idea de conspirar aparentando retozar, sobre las aberraciones Urbanisticas y Arquitectonicas,sobre las malas practicas y la Corrupción y sobre la necesidad de estudiar esos temas con nuevas luces y estadisticas.
Como hilo conductor se habla del texto de Martha Rosler publicado en E-Flux :

(Indeed, the very concept of “daily life” is itself a product of industrialism and the urban.) Martha Rosler.
////////////////////Calor en eme3 : An extract cut and paste fragments from Martha Rosler essay published at E-Flux Journal //////Culture Class: Art, Creativity, Urbanism, Part 1 E-Flux Journal http://www.e-flux.com/journal/view/190///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////




One may trace the grounding of the mid-century European group the Situationist International in a recognition of the growing role of the visual—and its relation to spatiality—in modern capitalism, and thus the complicit role of art in systems of exploitation. The core French group of Situationists—Lefebvre’s sometime students (and, some might say, collaborators and certainly occasional adversaries)—attacked, as Lefebvre had done, the radiant-city visions of Le Corbusier (and by implication other utopian modernists) for designing a carceral city in which the poor are locked up and thrust into a strangely narrow utopia of light and space, but removed from a free social life in the streets. (Le Corbusier’s housing projects called “Unités d’Habitation,” the most famous of which is in Marseille, were elevated above their garden surrounds on pilotis. The floors were called rues, or streets, and one such “street” was to be devoted to shops; kindergartens and—at least in the one I visited, in Firminy, near St. Etienne—a low-powered radio station were also located within the building, together suggesting the conditions of a walled city.)
We will leave Monsieur Le Corbusier’s style to him, a style suitable for factories and hospitals, and no doubt eventually for prisons. (Doesn’t he already build churches?) Some sort of psychological repression dominates this individual—whose face is as ugly as his conceptions of the world—such that he wants to squash people under ignoble masses of reinforced concrete, a noble material that should rather be used to enable an aerial articulation of space that could surpass the flamboyant Gothic style. His cretinizing influence is immense. A Le Corbusier model is the only image that arouses in me the idea of immediate suicide. He is destroying the last remnants of joy. And of love, passion, freedom.
—Ivan Chetcheglov9


Perhaps it is the primacy of the spatial register, with its emphasis on visuality, but also its turn to virtuality, to representation, that also accounts for architecture’s return to prominence in the imaginary of the arts, displacing not only music but architecture’s spectral double, the cinema. This change in the conduct of everyday life, and the centrality of the city to such changes, were apparent to the Situationists, and Debord’s concept of what he termed “the society of the spectacle” is larger than any particular instances of architecture or real estate, and certainly larger than questions of cinema or television. Debord’s “spectacle” denotes the all-encompassing, controlling nature of modern industrial and “post-industrial” culture. Thus, Debord defines the spectacle not in terms of representation alone but also in terms of the social relations of capitalism and its ability to subsume all into representation: “The spectacle is not a collection of images; rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images.”10 Elements of culture were in the forefront, but the focus was quite properly on the dominant mode of production.The Situationists’ engagement with city life included a practice they called the dérive. The dérive, an exploration of urban neighborhoods, a version of the nineteenth-century tradition of the flâneur, and an inversion of the bourgeois promenade of the boulevards (concerned as the latter was with visibility to others, while the flâneur’s was directed toward his own experience), hinged on the relatively free flow of organic life in the neighborhoods, a freedom from bureaucratic control, that dynamic element of life also powerfully detailed by Lefebvre and Jane Jacobs. Both Baudelaire and Benjamin gave the flâneur prominence, and by the end of the twentieth century the flâneur was adopted as a favored, if minor, figure for architects wishing to add pedestrian cachet to projects such as shopping malls that mimic public plazas—thus closing the book on the unadministered spaces that the Situationists, at least, were concerned with defending.
Quizá sea la primacía del registro espacial, con su énfasis en la visualidad, pero también su giro hacia la virtualidad, hacia la representación, lo que también da cuenta del retorno de la arquitectura a la prominencia en el imaginario de las artes, desplazando no sólo a la música sino al doble espectral de la arquitectura, el cine. Este cambio en la conducta de la vida cotidiana, y de la centralidad de la ciudad hacia dichos cambios, fue aparente para los Situacionistas, y el concepto de Debord de lo que denominaba “la sociedad del espectáculo” es mayor que cualquier instancia particular de la arquitectura o de las bienes raíces, y ciertamente mayor que las cuestiones relativas al cine o la televisión. El “espectáculo” de Debord denota esa naturaleza abarcadora de la cultura industrial moderna y “post-industrial.” Por lo tanto, Debord define al espectáculo no en cuanto a su representación por sí sola, sino también en cuanto a las relaciones sociales del capitalismo y su habilidad para subsumirlo todo en la representación: “El espectáculo no es una colección de imágenes; más bien, es una relación social entre personas mediadas por las imágenes.” Los elementos de la cultura estaban al frente, pero el enfoque estaba bastante apropiadamente del lado dominante de la producción.
El involucramiento de los Situacionistas con la vida de la ciudad incluyó una práctica que llamaron derivé. La derivé, una exploración de los vecindarios urbanos, una versión de la tradición decimonónica del flâneur, y una inversión del paseo burgués de los boulevares (preocupado como este último estaba con la visibilidad en torno a los otros, mientras que el flâneur se dirigía hacia su propia experiencia), articulado en el flujo relativamente libre de la vida orgánica en los vecindarios, una libertad del control burocrático, ese elemento dinámico de la vida también poderosamente detallado por Lefebvre y Jane Jacobs. Tanto Baudelaire como Benjamin le dieron prominencia al flâneur, y para finales del siglo XX el flâneur fue adoptado como una figura favorecida, si no es que menor, para arquitectos que deseaban añadirle un cachet peatonal a proyectos como los centros comerciales que imitan las plazas públicas –cerrando de esta manera con la idea de los espacios no administrados que los Situacionistas, por lo menos, se preocuparon por defender.
Lefebvre’s emphasis on the city contradicted the orderliness of Le Corbusier, whom he charged with having failed to recognize that the street is the site of a living disorder, a place, in his words, to play and learn; it is a site of “the informative function, the symbolic function, the ludic function.”5 Lefebvre cites the observations of the foundational urban observer Jane Jacobs, and identifies the street itself, with its bustle and life, as the only security against violence and criminality. Finally, Lefebvre notes—soon after the events and discourses of May ‘68 in France—that revolution takes place in the street, creating a new order out of disorder.
El énfasis de Lefebvre contradijo la correctitud de Le Corbusier, a quien criticó por no haber logrado reconocer que la calle es el sitio de un desorden vivo, un lugar, en sus palabras, para jugar y aprender; es un sitio de “la función informativa, la función simbólica, la función lúdica.” Lefebvre cita las observaciones del observador urbano fundacional Jane Jacobs, e identifica a las calles, con su bullicio y su vida, como la única seguridad contra la violencia y la criminalidad. Finalmente, Lefebvre señala –poco después de los eventos y discursos del mayo del 68 en Francia—que la revolución toma lugar en las calles, creando un nuevo orden a partir del desorden.
The theoretical underpinning for a renovated cityscape came primarily from the earlier, utopian “millennial” and interwar designs of forward-looking, albeit totalizing, plans for remaking the built environment. It was not lost on the city poor that so-called urban renewal projects targeted their neighborhoods and the cultural traditions that enlivened them. Cities were being remade for the benefit of the middle and upper classes, and the destruction of the older neighborhoods—whether in the interest of commercial, civic, or other forces, such as enhanced mobility for trucks and private cars—extirpated the haunts of those beyond the reach of law and bourgeois proclivities, adversely affecting the lives and culture of the poorer residents. Martha Rosler, Culture Class: Art, Creativity, Urbanism, Part 1 E-Flux Journal http://www.e-flux.com/journal/view/190


El fundamento teórico para el paisaje urbano renovado surgió primordialmente de diseños anteriores, utópicos “milenarios” y de entre guerras, para planes avanzados aunque totalizantes, para la reelaborar el entorno construido. No se tomó desapercibido por los pobres de las ciudades que los llamados proyectos de renovación urbana tenían como blanco a sus propios barrios y las tradiciones culturales que las mantenían vivas. Las ciudades estaban siendo reelaboradas para beneficio de las clases media y alta, y la destrucción de los viejos barrios –ya sea por intereses comerciales, cívicos o de otras fuerzas, tales como el estímulo a la movilidad para camiones y autos privados—extirpó las moradas de aquellos que estaban más allá del alcance de la ley y las proclividades burguesas, afectando adversamente las vidas y cultura de los residentes más pobres.http://artecontempo.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2011-06-11T22%3A32%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=1

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Inspiring Referents and Liana links: Pablo Helguera new book Education for Socially Engaged Art


Education for Socially Engaged Art (2011)


11.22.2011 | Book Excerpts, Books, Education, Essays, Performance, Socially Engaged Art









Education for Socially Engaged Art is the first “Materials and Techniques” book for the emerging field of social practice. Written with a pragmatic, hands-on approach for university-level readers and those interested in real-life application of the theories and ideas around socially engaged art. The book, emphasizing the use of pedagogical strategies to address issues around social practice, addresses topics such as documentation, community engagement, dialogue and conversation, amongst many others.


The book was published by Jorge Pinto Books in 2011 and can be acquired online.


An interview on the subject can be found here:


http://www.artpractical.com/feature/interview_with_pablo_helguera/





“For too long Social Practice has been the notoriously flimsy flipside of market-based contemporary art: a world of hand-wringing practitioners easily satisfied with the feeling of ‘doing good’ in a community, and unaware that their quasi-activist, anti-formalist positions in fact have a long artistic heritage and can be critically dissected using the tools of art and theatre history. Helguera’s spunky primer promises to offer a much-needed critical compass for those adrift in the expanded social field.” -


—Claire Bishop, Professor of Contemporary Art and Exhibition History, CUNY, and author ofArtificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship


“This is an extremely timely and thoughtful reference book. Drawn from empirical and extensive experience and research, it provides a curriculum and framework for thinking about the complexity of socially engaged practices. Locating the methodologies of this work in between disciplines, Helguera draws on histories of performance, pedagogy, sociology, ethnography, linguistics, community and public practices. Rather than propose a system he exposes the temporalities necessary to make these situations possible and resonant. This is a tool that will allow us to consider the difficulties of making socially engaged art and move closer to finding a language through which we can represent and discuss its impact.”


—Sally Tallant, Artistic Director, Liverpool Biennial


“Helguera has produced a highly readable book that absolutely needs to be in the back pocket of anyone interested in teaching or learning about socially engaged art”


—Tom Finkelpearl, Director of the Queens Museum, New York, and author of Dialogues in Public Art


Monday, 24 October 2011

MDM at Escuela de Calor










"There is an abc-ignorance that precedes knowledge, and there is another learned ignorance that comes after and that is created through 'knowing' and that will equally like the first be annihilated and annulled by knowledge."


Michel de Montaigne [1]








Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (French pronunciation: [miʃɛl ekɛm də mɔ̃tɛɲ]), February 28, 1533 – September 13, 1592, was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance, known for popularising the essay as a literary genre and is popularly thought of as the father of Modern Skepticism. He became famous for his effortless ability to merge serious intellectual speculation with casual anecdotes[2]and autobiography—and his massive volume Essais (translated literally as "Attempts") contains, to this day, some of the most widely influential essays ever written. Montaigne had a direct influence on writers the world over, including René Descartes,[3] Blaise Pascal, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Stefan Zweig, Eric Hoffer,[4] Isaac Asimov, and perhaps William Shakespeare (see "Influences" section below).


In his own time, Montaigne was admired more as a statesman than as an author. The tendency in his essays to digress into anecdotes and personal ruminations was seen as detrimental to proper style rather than as an innovation, and his declaration that, 'I am myself the matter of my book', was viewed by his contemporaries as self-indulgent. In time, however, Montaigne would be recognised as embodying, perhaps better than any other author of his time, the spirit of freely entertaining doubt which began to emerge at that time. He is most famously known for his skeptical remark, 'Que sais-je?' ('What do I know?'). Remarkably modern even to readers today, Montaigne's attempt to examine the world through the lens of the only thing he can depend on implicitly—his own judgment—makes him more accessible to modern readers than any other author of the Renaissance. Much of modern literary non-fiction has found inspiration in Montaigne and writers of all kinds continue to read him for his masterful balance of intellectual knowledge and personal story-telling.

"I enter into discussion and argument with great freedom and ease, inasmuch as opinion finds me in a bad soil to penetrate and take deep root in. No propositions astonish me, no belief offends me, whatever contrast it offers to my own. There is no fancy so frivolous and so extravagant that it does not seem to me quite suitable to the production of the human mind."

Monday, 10 October 2011

School of Heat warming Up!



On his book The Ignorant School Master , Ranciere states that universal teaching, the form of education which emancipates the individual, cannot be systematised or set within the status quo in any way - universal teaching cannot be that which is utilised by the various orders of society, and supported the finds of Joseph Jacotot, we also believe on this principles and we are working up for their defence


1 - All men have equal intelligence


2 - Every man has received from god the ability to instruct himself


3 - Everything is in everything



La misma inteligencia crea los nombres y crea los signos de las matemáticas. La misma inteligencia crea los signos y crea los razonamientos. No existen dos tipos de espíritu. Existen distintas manifestaciones de la inteligencia, según sea mayor o menor la energía que la voluntad comunique a la inteligencia para descubrir y combinar relaciones nuevas, pero no existen jerarquías en la capacidad intelectual. Es la toma de conciencia de esta igualdad de naturaleza la que se llama emancipación y la que abre la posibilidad a todo tipo de aventuras en el país del conocimiento. Ya que se trata de atreverse a aventurarse y no de aprender más o menos bien o más o menos rápido. El «método Jacotot» no es mejor, es otro. Ésta es la razón por la que los procedimientos puestos en juego importan poco por sí mismos."

El maestro ignorante. Jacques Ranciere . p.19



We are all here to speak about the virtue of masters. I wrote a work called The Ignorant Master. Therefore it falls to me to defend on this subject the most apparently unreasonable of positions: the first virtue of the master is that of ignorance. My book tells the history of a professor, Joseph Jacotot, who created a scandal in the Holland and France of the 1830s by proclaiming that uneducated people could learn on their own without a master to explain things to them, and that masters, on their side, could teach the things they themselves did not know. To the suspicion of trading in facile paradoxes we thus add that of being content with the cliches and extravagances of the history of pedagogy.


I would like however to show that what we are dealing with here is not the pleasure of paradox but a fundamental examination of the meaning of knowing, teaching and learning; that this is not merely an amusing journey into the history of pedagogy but a philosophical reflection, entirely up-to-date, on the manner in which pedagogical reason and social reason hold together.


I will immediately go to the heart of the question. What is this virtue of ignorance? What is an ignorant master? In order to respond well to this question we have to distinguish between several different levels. On the most immediate, empirical level, an ignorant master is one who teaches things he does not know. It is thus that Joseph Jacotot found himself suddenly teaching Flemish students with whom he did not share a language through the intermediary of a providential book, a bilingual edition of Homer published at that time in the Low Countries. He placed himself in his students' hands and told them, through an interpreter, to read half of the book with the aid of the translation, to repeat constantly what they had learned, to quickly read the other half and then to write in French what they thought about it. He was astonished, it is said, to see how these students, to whom he had not transmitted any knowledge, had learned, on his order, enough French to express themselves very passably, how he had thus educated them without having taught them anything. He concluded that the act of a master who obliges an other intelligence to exercise itself is independent of that master's possession of knowledge - that it was thus possible that an ignorant person might enable another ignorant person to know that which he did not himself know, that a common illiterate man might teach another illiterate to read.


We come there to the second level of the question, the second meaning of "ignorant master": an ignorant master is not just an ignorant person who gets a kick out of playing master. It is a master who teaches - that's to say, who is for another person a cause of knowledge - without transmitting any knowledge. A master, thus, who displays the discontinuity between the master's control and his knowledge, who shows us that what is called "the transmission of knowledge" consists in fact of two intertwined relations which it is useful to disassociate: a relation of will to will and one of intelligence to intelligence. But we must not be mistaken about the meaning of this disassociation. There is a common way of understanding it: an attempt to weaken the relationship of magisterial authority in order to enhance the simple force of one intelligence enlightening another. This is the principle of so many anti-authoritarian pedagogies whose model is the Socratic method, that of the master who feigns ignorance in order to provoke knowlege. But the ignorant master makes a very different kind of disassociation. He understands, in fact, the double bluff of the Socratic method. Under the appearance of nurturing a capability it aims in fact at demonstrating an incapability. Socrates does not only show the incapability of false savants but also the incapability of whoever is not led by the master along the correct route, in conformity with the correct relationship of intelligence to intelligence. The "liberalism" of the Socratic method is really only a sophisticated variation on ordinary pedagogical practice which confers on the master's intelligence the responsibility for overcoming the distance that separates the ignorant person from knowledge. Jacotot inverts this disassociation: the ignorant master exercises no relation of intelligence to intelligence. He is simply an authority, simply a will that instructs the ignorant person to set out on a path, that's to say to activate the capability that he already possesses, the capacity that every human being has demonstrated in succeeding with a master at the most difficult of apprenticeships: that of learning that foreign language that for every child entering the world is the language that we call their "mother tongue."


This is actually the lesson we learn from the stroke of chance that turned the learned master Jacotot an ignorant master. The lesson has to do with the very logic of pedagogical reason, which is to teach the ignorant person that which he does not know, to suppress the distance between the ignorant person and knowledge. The usual mechanism is explanation. To explain is to lay out the elements of the knowledge that must be transmitted in a manner appropriate to the supposedly limited capacity of the minds under instruction. But this idea, apparently so simple, of the "appropriate manner", is clearly subject to an infinite regression. Explanation is generally accompanied by an explanation of the explanation. There must be books to explain to those who do not know the knowledge they must acquire. But this explanation is apparently insufficient: there must also be masters to explain to them the books that are explaining the knowledge. There must be explanations so that the ignorant person understands the explanation that permits him to understand. The regression is actually infinite while the authority of the master is still accepted as the sole judge of the point where explanations have no need of further explanations.


Jacotot believed he could find the logic for this apparent paradox. If explanation is in fact infinite, it is because its essential function is to make infinite that very distance that it attempts to reduce. The practice of explanation is not at all a practical procedure in pursuit of an end. It is an end in itself, the infinite verfication of a basic axiom: the axiom of inequality. To explain something to an ignorant person is first of all to explain to him that he would never understand if things were not explained to him; it is first of all to explain to him his own incapability. Explanation offers itself as a method of reducing the situation of inequality that such people find themselves in with regard to those who know. But this reduction is, for all that, a confirmation. To explain is to grant to the matter that must be learned a specific kind of opacity, an opacity that cannot be penetrated by those kinds of interpretation and imitation by which an infant learns to translate the signs that he receives from the world and from the speaking beings around him.


This is the specific inequality that ordinary pedagogical thought displays to us. This display has three specific features. First, it supposes a radical distinction between two types of intelligence: the empirical intelligence, on the one hand, of speaking beings who talk to each other and intuit each other's meaning, and, on the other, the systematic intelligence of those who comprehend things according to their own inherent articulations: histories, for children and for popular minds, and reasons, for rational minds. Teaching therefore comes to seem like a radical point of departure, a second birth, the moment where it is no longer a question of speaking and intuition but of explaining and comprehension. Its primodial act is to divide intelligence into two, to exile from the habits of those who do not know all the procedures by which their minds have learned everything up till that point.


From this the second feature. Pedagogical reason presents itself as the act which lifts the veil from the obscurity of things. Its topography is that of summit and base, of surface and depth. The person who can explain things is the one who brings the dark depths up to the illumination of the surface and who, conversely, discredits the false appearance of the surface in favour of the secret depths which contain its truth. This verticality opposes the depth of the learned order of reason to the horizontal method of the self-taught apprenticeship which moves from one thing to something adjacent, comparing what it does not know to what it knows.


Thirdly, this topography also implies a certain temporality. To lift the veil from things, to relate every surface to its depth and to bring every depth to the surface - all this does not require only time. It assumes a certain temporal order. The veil is lifted gradually, according to the level of capability of the ignorant or infant spirit at any given point. In other words, progress is always the flip-side of the delay that comes from the pupil's inadequacy. The reduction of distance never ceases therefore to reinstate and to prove the axiom of inequality.


Ordinary pedagogical reason is based on two fundamental axioms: first, it is necessary to begin with inequality in order to reduce it; second, the method of reducing inequality is to conform to it by making the objective a form of knowledge. The success of the knowledge that reduces inequality comes from the knowledge of inequality.


It is this "knowledge" that the ignorant master refuses. This is the third sense of his ignorance. This is the ignorance of this "knowledge of inequality" which is supposed to set the terms for the reduction of inequality. About inequality, there is nothing to know. Inequality is no more a fact that must be transformed by knowledge than equality is a goal that can be attained through the transmission of knowledge. Equality and inequality are not two states but two "opinions" - that is, two opposing axioms according to which the apprenticeship can operate, two axioms that allow no passage between them. All that one can do is to prove the axiom that one has given oneself. The reason of the master as he explains makes inequality an axiom: there is inequality between minds but we can make use of this very inequality, to make of it the cause of a future equality. The master is the superior being who works towards the abolition of his own privilege. The art of the master who methodically lifts the veil from the things that ignorant people could never understand on their own promises that one day they will be their master's equal. FOr Jacotot this future equality consists simply of the fact that the unequal who has become equal will himself then drive the system that produces and reproduces inequality by reproducing the process of its reduction. The overall logic of this process that works under the presupposition of inequality, for Jacotot deserves the name: brutalization.


The reason of the ignorant master poses equality as an axiom to be verified. It relates the inequality of the master-pupil relationship not to an equality to come - and that will never come - but to the effectiveness of a basic equality: in order that the ignorant person can perform the exercises given to him by his master, he must already be able to understand what the master says. There is an equality between the speaking beings that precedes the relationship of inequality and sets the terms for how it may be exercised. It is this that Jacotot calls the equality of intelligences. This does not mean that all exercise of all intelligence is the same. It means that there is only one form of intelligence at work in all intellectual apprenticeships.


The ignorant master - that is to say, the master ignorant of inequality - thus addresses himself to the "ignorant person" from the point of view not of his ignorance but of his knowledge, for he already in fact knows many things. he has learned them by listening and repeating, by observing and comparing, by guessing and verifying. It is thus that he has learned his mother tongue. It is thus that he can learn how to write, for example by comparising a prayer that he knows by heart to the unknown patterns that are formed oon paper by the written text of the same prayer. He must be obliged to relate what he does not know to what he knows, to observe and compare, to tell what he has seen and to verify what he has said. If he does not give himself to such a challenge, it is because he things it is not possible or necessary for him to know more. The obstacle that the ignorant person faces to the exercise of his capaciies is not his ignorance but his consent to ignorance. He is residing in the opinion of inequality held by intelligence.


But this opinion is quite different from an individual mental retardation. It is an axiom of the system, it is the axiom under which the social system ordinarily functions: the axiom of inequality. He who does not wish to proceed further in the development of his intellectual power satisfies himself with being "unable" to do so thanks to the reassurance that others cannot do so any more than he. The axiom of inequality is an axiom that compensates for the inequalities that operate in the rest of society in general. It is not the master's knowledge that can suspend the functioning of this machine of inequality, but his will. The command of the emancipating master forbids the so-called "ignorant" person from being satisfied with what he knows by declaring himself incapable of knowing more. It forces him to prove his capacity, to continue his intellectual adventure according to the same methods by which he began. This logic, which operates under the presupposition of equality and which demands its proof, is what we might call intellectual emancipation.


The opposition between "brutalization" and "emancipation" is not one between different methods of instruction. It is not an opposition between traditional or authoritarian methods and those that are new and participatory. Brutalization can and does operate through all sorts of modern, active learning systems. The opposition is properly one of philosophy. It concerns the idea of that intelligence that presides over the very idea of apprenticeship. The axiom of the equality of intelligences does not affirm any specific virtue of ignorant people, no knowledge of the humble or intelligence of the masses. It affirms simply that there is only one single sort of intelligence at work in all intellectual apprenticeships. It is in every situation a question of relating that which is not known to that which is known, of observing and comparing, of saying and verifying. The pupil is always a researcher. And the master is primarily a man who speaks to another, who tells stories and brings the authoriy of knowledge back to the poetic condition of all transmission of words. The philosophical opposition thus understood is, at the same time, a political opposition. Not because it would seek to denounce knowledge-from-on-high in the name of an intelligence-from-below. But in this much more radical way: because it concerns our very conception of the relationship between equality and inequality.


It is in fact the very logic of the normal relationship between these terms that Jacotot questions when he denounces the paradigm of explanation by showing the the explanatory logic is a social logic, a way in which the social order is represented and reproduced. If this story of the 1830s is directly relevant to us, it is because it si an exemplary response to the establishment, at that time, of a political and social system previously unknown: a system where inequality is no longer supposed to emerge from a sovereign or divine reality, where it has in fact no basis other than itself. A system, in sum, of the "immanentization" and, if we can say this, the equalization, of inequality.


The years of the Jacotot's polemic correspond in fact to the moment when the project of a reconstituted social order is finally put in place after the great upheaval of the French revolution. It is the moment when the revolution was supposed to be accomplished, in all the senses of the word, to pass from the age of critique, with its destruction of all monarchical and divine transcendences, to the "organic" age of a society built on its own immanent reason. This means a society putting in harmony its productive forces, its institutions and its beliefs, making them function according to a single, commonly-held regime of rationality. This is the grand project that occupies the nineteenth century - understood not simply as a break with the past but as a historic endeavour. The transition from the "critical" and revolutonary age to the organic age is most of all about the control of the relationship between equality and inequality. It is necessary, said Aristotle, to "reveal democracy to the democrats and oligarchy to the oligarchs." The project of the modern, organic society is the project of an unequal order which reveals its equality, which makes equality visible through its regulation of the relations between economic power and beliefs and institutions. This is the project of the "mediations" which institute between the top and bottom of society two essential things: a minimum web of commonly-held beliefs, and the possibility of separating, at least in a limited way, the level of an individual's wealth and the level of his power.


At the heart of this project is the programme of the "people's instruction", one that proceeds not only from the organisation of the state via the mechanism of public education, but also through the multiplicity of philanthropic, commercial or community initiatives that are devoted to a double task: on the one hand to develop "useful knowledge" - the forms of practical, rationalised knowledge that will enable people to emerge from their drudgery and improve their living conditions without having either to leave behind their condition or to make other claims; on the other hand to enoble the life of the people by making it part, in the appropriate forms, of the pleasures of art and the expression of a community sentiment: the "aesthetic" education of the people for which the founding of choral societies provides the great model.


The vision of the collective that animates these various public and private initiatives is clear: it seeks to achieve three effects. First, to pull people from the retrogressive practices and beliefs that hold them back from participating in the progress of wealth and that encourage in them various forms of resentment against the commanding elites; secondly to build between the elites and the people a minimum level of beliefs and communal joys that will avoid the prospect of a society divided into two separate, and potentially hostile, words; and third, to assure a minimum of social mobility which creates a general feeling of improvement and allows the most talented of the children of the people to climb the social ladder and to refresh the ranks of the elite.


Conceived in this way, the instruction of the people is not simply an instrument, a practical method of working towards the reinforcement of social cohesion. It is, more properly, an "explanation" of society, an allegory of the way in which inequality is reproduced through the "making visible" of equality. This "making visible" is not a simple illusion; it is part of the reality that I call a "distribution of the sensible": a global relation between the ways of being, the ways of doing, seeing and doing. It is the two-faced visiblity of this inequality: inequality appplied to the work of its own suppression, proving by its own actions the simultaneously incessant and unending nature of this suppression. Inequality does not hide itself under equality. It affirms its own equality with it. This equality of equality andquality has a proper name. It is called "progress". The modern organic society that applies itself to the task of "accomplishing" the revolution places in opposition to the static order of ancient societies a "progressive" order, an order identical to mobility itself, to the movement of the expansion, transmission and application of different kinds of knowledge.


The School is not merely the vehicle of the new progressive order. It is in fact its very model: the model of an inequality identified by the visible difference between those who know and those who do not, and that devotes itself visibly to the task of making ignorant people learn what they do not know and thus of reducing inequality - but of reducing it in stages according to the correct methods that only the elites understand: the methods that give to a given population, at the right moment, that knowledge it is capable of usefully assimilating. Educational progress is also the art of limiting the transmission of knowledge, to manage the delay, to postpone equality. The pedagogical paradigm of the master who explains, adapting himself to the capacity and the needs of his pupils, defines the social functioning of the school that is also the model for a society living under the order of progress.


The ignorant master is the master who removes himself from this game, by opposing the bare act of intellectual emancipation to the mechanism of society and of progressive institutions. Placing intellectual emancipation in opposition to the institution of the people's instruction is to assert that there are no stages to equality, that equality is wholly present, or is not at all. The price of this opting out is heavy: if explanation is the social method, the method by which inequality represents itself and reproduces itself, and if the institution is the place where this representation takes place, it follows that intellectual emancipation is necessarily opposed to the logic of society and its institutions. This does not mean that there is no social emancipation or emancipatory education. Jacotot sees the method of emancipation, which is the method of individuals, as being thoroughly opposed to the social method of explanation. Society is a mechanism governed by the weight of forces lined up against equality, a mechanism governed by the game of compensated inequalities. And all that emancipation can promise is to teach people to be equal in a society governed by inequality and by the institutions that "explain" it.


This extreme paradox deserves to be taken seriously. It alerts us to two essential things. First: equality, in general, is not a goal to be reached. It is a point of departure, a presupposition that must be proved by sequences of specific acts. Second: equality is the condition of inequality itself. In order to obey an order, one must understand it, and understand that it must be obeyed. There must therefore be this minimum of equality, without which inequality would turn in the void. From these two axioms, Jacotot drew a radical disassociation: emancipation could never be a social logic. I tried to show in my book "Disagreement" that they could be articulated differently, that the egalitarian condition of inequality could lend itself to series of acts, to forms of verification that were properly political. But this demonstration does not come into the frame of the question that brings us here today. I will apply myself therefore to another aspect of the problem: how can we think today about this relationship between pedagogical reason and social reason that Jacotot had placed at the heart of his argument?


At first sight, this relationships presents itself today in the form of a strange dialectic. On the one hand, the School is always in the situation of acknowledging that it has failed in its task to reduce social inequalities. But on the other, this school, constantly declared inadequate to its social function, appears more and more as an adequate model for "egalitarian" functioning - that's to say for the "unequal equality" proper to our societies.


I will begin, in order to illustrate this dialectic, with the debate on educational equality and inequality, as it has grown up in Francesince the 60s, because the terms of the debate seem to me to sum up fairly well a problem that we find more or less everywhere in the same terms. The debate was launched by Bourdieu's thesis, that we can summarize thus: The School fails in the mission of reducing inequality that has been set for it because it is ignorant of the functioning of inequality. It pretends to reduce inequality by distributing the same knowledge to all, equally. But it is precisely in this egalitarian appearance that we find the essential engine of the reproduction of educational inequality. It assumes that the notion of "individual talent" can do all the work of explaining the differences between students. But this "talent" is itself only the interiorized cultural privilege of well-born children. The children fom this class do not wish to know this, while the children of the dominated classes are not able to know this and thus eliminate themselves by the painful awareness of their absence of talent. The School fails to bring about equality because the egalitarian appearance of things hides the transformation of socially inherited cultural capital into individual difference.


The School, according to this logic, functions unequally because it does not understand how inequality itself functions - because it does not wish to know. But this "refusal to know" can be interpreted in two ways that are the exact opposite of each other. It can be understood as the ignorance of the conditions for the transformation of inequality into equality. In this case we would say that the master misunderstands the conditions of his practice because he lacks a certain form of knowledge, the knowledge of inequality - knowledge that he could learn from the sociologist. We would then conclude that educational inequality can be cured at the cost of an extra acquisition of knowledge that makes the rules of the game expliciity and rationalizes the system of school education. This was the conclusion reached by Bourdieu and Passeron in their first book together, "The Inheriters".


But the refusal to know may also be understood as the successful interiorization of the logic of the system: we would say in this case that the master is the agent of a process of the reproduction of cultural capital which, through a necessity inherent to the very functioning of the social machinery, reproduces indefinitely its conditions of possibility. Every programme of reform will thus be charged with futility from the very outset. It's with this feeling that Bourdieu and Passeron's next book, Reproduction, ends.


The "refusal to know" is therefore ambiguous. It leads us on the one hand towards the reduction of inequality, and on the other towards their eternal continuation. But this ambiguity is merely the ambiguity of "progressivism" itself, as Jacotot initially analysed it: it is the logic of the inequality that is reproduced by the very effort to reduce it. The sociologist merely introduces an extra circle to the spiral by adding to it a certain ignorance, a supplementary incapacity: the ignorance of that which can destroy ignorance.


Governmental reformers are determined not to see this ambiguity essential to all progressivist pedagogies. Socialist reformers therefore drew out of Bourdieu's sociology a programme aiming to reduce the inequalities of the School by reducing the presence there of grand culture, by making the place less learned and more convivial, better adapted to the habits of children from unfavourable backgrounds - that's to say, for the most part, children from immigrant families. Unfortunately, this cut-down version of Bourdieu only affirmed all the more strongly the centrality of the progressivist premise that obliges he who knows to place himself "within reach" of those who do not, to limit transmitted knowledge only to that which the poor can understand and of which they have need. It reproduces the process that confirms present inequality in the name of the equality that will come.


This is why this intervention quickly led to a backlash. In France the ideology we think of as Republican was quick to denounce these methods that were designed for the poor and that could only ever be the methods of the poor, burying the "dominated" from the outset still deeper in the situation from which they pretended to extricate them. The power of equality resided for this Republican world-view rather in the universality of a knowledge equally distributed to everyone, without consideration of social origin, in the idea of a School completely removed from society. But the distribution of knowledge does not lead of itself to any egalitarian consequence for the social order. Equality and inequality are only ever the consequence of themselves. The traditional pedagogy, consisting of the neutral transmission of knowledge, and the modern pedagogies, in which knowledge is adapted to the state of society, both lie on the same side of the dialectic posed by Jacotot. Both of them take equality as their goal, which is to say that they take inequality as a point of departure and operate under its premise. They diverge only on the particular kind of "knowledge of inequality" that they presuppose.


This is to say that both of these are shut up in the circle of the "pedagogized society." Both attribute to the School the fantasmatic power of bringing about social equality or, at least, of reducing "social fragmentation" even as they both denounce the failure of the other to realize such a programme. The sociologists call this failure the "crisis of schools" and appeal for the educational reform. The Republicans identify reform itself as the principal cause of the crisis. But reform and crisis can be brought together under one single notion of Jacotot: both of them are the explanation of the School, the infinite explanation of the reasons why inequality must lead to equality and yet never does so. Crisis and reform are in fact the normal functioning of the system, the normal functioning of the "equalized" inequality in which pedagogical reason and social reason become more and more like each other.


It is in fact remarkable that this School that is declared incapable of "reducing" inequality presents itself more and more as the positive analogy of the social system. In this sense we can say that Jacotot's diagnosis of pedagogical reason as a new, generalized form of inequality has been perfectly vindicated. Jacotot had discerned, in the role that the "progressive" spirits of his time granted to the instruction of the people, the premise of a new form of the "distribution of the sensible", of an identification between pedagogical reason and social reason. He had discerned this in the heart of a society for which such an identification was still only a utopia, where the value and the persistence of class divisions and of hierarches were enthusiastically asserted by elites, where inequality was affirmed as the legitimate law of the community's functioning. He wrote at the time when recalled along with their thinker Bonald that certain people were "in" society without being "of" society and when liberals explained in the words of their spokesperson, the Minister François Guizot , that politics was the business of "men of leisure." The elites of his time admitted without embarassment inequality and class division. The instruction of the people was only, for them, a way of creating some mediations between the top and bottom of society: to give to the poor the possibility of individually improving their condition and to give to everyone the feeling of belonging, each one in his place, to the same community.


We are clearly not in this situation anymore: our societies present themselves as homogeneous places where the lively, inclusive rhythm of the multiplication of commodities and of exchange has levelled out the old class divisions and allows everyone to participate in the same pleasures and liberties. In such conditions the representation of social inequalities tends to operate more and more on the model of educational achievement: everyone is equal and has the potential to reach any position. No more proletarians, only newcomers who have not yet taken on the rhythm of modenity - or else the laggards who, conversely, are no longer able to keep up with its accelerations.


Everyone ie equal but certain people lack the intelligence or the necessary energy for withstanding competition or simply for assimilating the new exercises that rushing Time, the great teacher, imposes on them each year. They cannot adapt, we say, to new technologies and mindsets and remain trapped between the depths of class and the abyss of "exclusion." Society represents itself thus as a vast school with its savages that must be civilized and its backward pupils who are having problems keeping up. In these conditions the school is increasingly charged with the miraculous task of overcoming the divide between the vaunted equality of conditions and the actual inequality, increasingly expected to reduce this inequality that is understood to be merely residual.


But the ultimate effect of such over-inflated expectations of the school is, paradoxically, to pander to an oligarchical vision of a society-school. Not only are the authority of the state and economic power both subsumed within this image of the school, but it is a school presented as if without schoolmasters, where the masters are merely the best in the class, those who adapt the best to progress and show themselves capable of synthesizing all the facts that are too complex for ordinary intelligences. To these "first in the class" is proposed, once again, the old pedagogical choice that has become global social reason: the austere Republicans ask them to manage with the authority and the distance indispensable for the good progress of the class, the interests of the community; the sociologists, political theorists or journalists ask them to adapt themselves, by good communicative pedagogy, to the needs of modest minds and to the daily problems of the least able, in order to help the slowest to advance themselves, the excluded to integrate themselves, and the social fabric to heal.


Expertise and journalism are the two great intellectual institutions charged with supporting the government of the elder brothers or the "first in the class" by making this unprecedented form of the social bond circulate indefatigably, this perfected explanation of inequality that structures our societies: the knowledge of the reasons why the drop-outs are drop-outs. It is in this way, for example that every dissenting demonstration - from social movements from the extreme left or extreme right - brings with it a fury of attempts to explain the reasons for the persistence of these old, savage forms - archaic trades unionists, little savages brought in through immigration, or middle-class families left behind by the speed of progress. According to the good brutalizing logic, this explanation is reinforced by the explanation of how we can lift these left-behind people out of their savagery, a list of methods that is unfortunately rendered improbable by the very existence of these left-behind people. If t cannot bring them out of their condition, such an explanation does on the other hand do a good job of rationalizing the power of those who lead the class, a power that consists entirely in this "advancement" over those "left behind."


It is precisely this that Jacotot had in mind: the manner in which the School and society inter-symbolise each other endlessly, and thus reproduce indefinitely the presupposition of inequality, in the very act of denying it. If I have felt it appropriate to revive this discourse that had fallen into oblivion, it is therefore not, again, to propose a new pedagogy. There is no "Jacotist" pedagogy. Nor is there a Jacotist anti-pedagogy in the sense that we usually give to that word. In brief Jacotot's programme is not one of pedagogical thought that one could use to reform the educational system. The virtue of ignorance is first of all a virtue of dissociation. By commanding us to dissociate control [maîtrise - the attribute of the master] and knowledge, it becomes useless as the basis of any institution where these two things would come together in harmony in order to optimise the social function of the institution. It is precisely against this desire to harmonize and optimize that the critique is levelled. This critique does not forbid us to teach, it does not forbid the function of the master. It requires us rather to separate radically the power of being for whatever cause of knowledge and the idea of a global social function for the institution that is aimed at bringing about equality.


Equality, according to Jacotot, only exists in the act and for individuals. It is lost as soon as it is imagined in a collective way. It is possible to correct this conclusion, to think about the posibility of collective realizations of equality. But this very possibility presupposes that we keep separate the forms of actualizing equality, that we refuse in consequence the idea of an institutional mediation, of a social mediation, between individual manifestations and collective manifestations of equality. Certainly, individual and collective actualizations have the same presupposition: the presupposition that equality is in the last instance the condition of possibility of inequality ittself and that i is possible to bring some effectiveness out of this condition. There is therefore an analogy between the effects of the egalitarian axiom, as there is an analogy between the effects of the axiom of inequality. But this latter functions as an effective social mediation. It is this uninterrupted mediation that Jacotot theorises in the concept of explanation. But it is not the same for the analogy of equality. The act which emancipates an intelligence is on its own without any social effect. And the axiom of equality iself commands us to refuse the idea of such a mediation. It forbids us from thinking of a social reason through which individual actualizations could transform themselves into collective actualizations.


It is in effect thus that the reasons for inequality introduce themselves into the reasons for equality. The explaining and explained society, the society of equalized inequality, demands the harmonisation of its functions. It demands in particular of the teachers that we combine our expertise as learned researchers, our function of masters working in an institution and our activity as citizens into one sole energy that works together towards the transmission of knowledge, social integration and social conscience. It is this quest that the virtue of the "Ignorant master" commands us to be ignorant of. The virtue of the ignorant master is to know that an educated person is not a master, that a maser is not a citizen, that a citizen is not an educated person. Not that it is not possible to be these three at the same time. It's that it is nevertheless impossible to harmonize the roles of these three personalities. This harmanization only ever achieves itself in the sense of the dominant explanation. The philosophy of emancipation demands the division of different kinds of reason. It showsus that it is possible to make the social machine function whilst still working, if we wish it, towards the invention of individual or collective actualizations of equality - but that these functions can never become condused. It demands that we refuse the mediatisation of equality.


This is, it seems to me, the lesson that we can draw from this singular dissonance asserted at the very beginning of the functioning of the modern educational-social machine. Equality only inscribes itself in the social machine by disagreement. Disagreement is not primarily about argument, it is the division in the very configuration of sensible facts, the disassociation introduced into the correspondence between ways of being and ways of doing, seeing and saying. Equality is simultaneously the final principle of every social and governmental order and the silent cause of its "normal" functioning. It does not reside either in a system of constitutional forms or in a the state of a society's mores, or in the homogeneous education of the Republic's children or in the availability of low-priced products on the shelves of supermarkets. Equality is fundamental and absent, it is current and out of place, always subject to the initiative of those individuals and groups who, counter to the ordinary course of things, take the risk of proving it - of inventing the forms, individual or collective, of its verification. The assertion of these simple principles constitutes in fact an unheart-of dissonance, a dissonance that we have to in some way forget in order to continue to build schools, programmes and pedagogies, but that we must also, from time to time, hear again in order that the act of teaching not lose its conscience of the paradoxes that give it sense.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

ENCUENTROS DEL TERCER TIPO EN ULTRAVIOLETA A PERFORMATIVE WORKSHOP

A rainbow at Ultravioleta
pic by Zio Estrada

LOS ENCUENTROS PARTICIPANTS:
Byron Marmol
Hugo Quintoc
Sofi Novella
Pablo Aragon
Alejandro Marre
Claudia Lorente
Jakob Kattner
Stefan Benchoam
Zio Estrada

DAY ONE:
The Starting points

Basically we walked and talk and the issue was all about perception and how once
we switch our minds on to an open zone of understanding what's around us we can
" see" or "experience" something unexpected.
Very important for me to pass the info to all the group about the basics of my
"method" which is an anti-method any way and which is based on exercices about
awareness and perception and not about me passing on to them any sort of "orthodoxia"
or known theories about any sort of cultural or artistic issues of the times.
As well I did give a sort of very rutinary intro to some of the International Situationist philosophy and ways of seeing .......




DAY TWO:
The Michelada making

To make a Michelada was an idea that came easy between the group , it was a Red drink, and connected to the idea of my show, and had thematical links about the idea of how as a drink , the Michelada could be considered a revolutionary,rebel one , even if this was just then, on the spot, that this idea was taking form.
To make a drink that is so much part of the drinks that Centro America consumes was
a way of just doing something very simple but that mean that appart of getting quite
high on it we would found our selves experiencing our walks and conversations in a very
fresh manner and as much as possible away from any notion of orthodoxia.
Michelada making by : Alejandro Marre, Sofi Novella and Stefan Benchoam






PORTABLE BENCH/CHAIR/DRINKS CASE by: Stefan Benchoam

DAY THREE:

THE WALKS AROUND THE TEATRO NACIONAL DE GUATEMALA

If we think about the iconography of the film " Closer Encounters of the Third Kind",
which is the title and the concept that isnpired this workshop, then is not strange to see why there is a connection between this amazing building and the whole architectural
project around it, with the "shape" of the mountain and location for the closer encounters passed by telepathy to the protagonist by the UFO that just had fly
over his/her heads...
The idea in this case was to realize that a experience around this building , as with
any one, the case given, will be a way to extract iconography on one way or another
all related with "the object" and its sorroundings .
A very similar procedure to that of constructing a "logo" but with a totally different
means, having to do more with just "the journey" of the practice about the extraction
of images and work and less about "the results" as if had to be qualifying for a special and specific standart about art making....


Efrain Recinos Teatro Nacional Joya
Cheverista


pics by Esther Planas during workshop walks





UN GRUPO DE GENTE SE ENCUENTRA :
Despues de unos dias de paseos/derivas, se obtienen
unos iconos ( fotos, dibujos, notas etc )se les denomina
iconos por que de alguna manera se puede entender que de
esos elementos se puede extraer y formar lo iconico, pero
no en el sentido de iconico como algo especial y unico ( religioso/adorado),
sino como algo que luego se podra reducir, esquematizar y formalizar
como forma y contenido, como parte visual de un discurso propio.
Cada uno encontrandose con sus señales, con sus temas, con sus notas...
Como ultimo ejercicio de formalizacion , el Fanzine, el cut and paste,
la fotocopia etc , es simple pero da pistas de como ir conduciendo y
plasmando lo " encontrado ".
Ademas, objetivo del encuentro, crear una identidad de grupo y de como
ese grupo y su paso por el tiempo se hace a si mismo "Historico".
Despues de varias propuestas se elige LOS NITIDOS INVISIBLES,como
nombre del grupo, acordarndo que ese es el tipo de definicion, que resume
en un "statement" linguistico, el humor de esas vivencias y su dinamica..
siendo tambien este significado parte de lo "hallado " en el "azar" que fue
la base y la estructura de esos encuentros.

Los encuentros del tercer tipo sugieren una capacidad de coincidencia en el tiempo y el espacio. Lo que pueda generarse durante ciertos encuentros entre ciertas personas tomará una forma única y dejará paso a diálogos, eventos y experiencias. Surgirán y se desplazarán ideas, nombres y definiciones, práctica y teoría. Y la posibilidad de formalización de esas experiencias en planos virtuales como la creación de una página en Wikipedia sobre "los encuentros y los encontrados" a la vez que el transcurrir se irá desvelando en "formas" y "rastros". Todo material es posible, toda efemeridad es necesaria.


Encuentros del Tercer Tipo en Ultravioleta:
Un taller impartido por Esther Planas (Londres/Barcelona)


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Friday, 4 February 2011

Escuela de Calor en Portuguese Escola



No texto chamado "Do Pedantismo", Michel de Montaigne busca refletir acerca da distinção entre erudição e sabedoria[1]; o que pode parecer um pouco estranho, pois geralmente elas não parecem ser coisas distintas, ou seja, uma pessoa sábia é uma pessoa erudita.Contudo, essa distinção parece ser bem clara para o filósofo francês, se entendermos erudito como alguém que apenas domina um conhecimento, alguém que apenas ostenta o conhecimento como um bem cultural – uma bagagem cultural como normalmente as pessoas dizem. Nesse caso, portanto, aquela educação que tenha como fim apenas a retenção de conhecimento – apenas encher a nossa "bagagem" – seria uma educação pedante, visto que,não nos tornaria homens melhores[2], não nos prepararia para a vida.


Ainda assim, no entanto, essas duas definições, de sabedoria e de erudição, onde a primeira estaria relacionada à qualidade do conhecimento e a segunda à quantidade do conhecimento, sendo que a primeira tem mais valor do que a segunda para o filósofo, parece ser muito arbitrária, pois: o que nos garante esse valor maior de uma em relação a outra? Que razões o filósofo tem para determinar que o que importa é aquilo que nos prepara para a vida? Será que a mera erudição não nos prepara para a vida também? Que vida é essa e o que significa nos tornarmos homens melhores? O mais certo, todavia, é que não encontraremos nesse texto - aliás, em nenhum ensaio de Montaigne -, a pretensão de chegar a uma verdade absoluta, mas sim, apenas o ponto de vista de uma pessoa que está se "fazendo" no próprio ato de escrever, que está se experimentando, como fica claro na advertência ao leitor: "Quero que me vejam aqui em minha maneira simples, natural e habitual, sem apuro e artifício: pois é a mim que pinto. Nele meus defeitos serão lidos ao vivo, e minha maneira natural, tanto quanto o respeito público mo permitiu"(Montaigne, p. 4). Portanto, quando nos direcionamos ao texto de Montaigne, precisamos ter uma outra postura filosófica que não aquela que faz análises minuciosas do texto, buscando uma argumentação exaustiva em prol de uma tese. Ao contrário, o filósofo propõe uma outra filosofia, em seu conteúdo e sua forma – uma filosofia que mais é uma efetivação do "conhece-te a ti mesmo" socrático, onde o desenvolvimento do próprio pensamento é a busca por sua própria identidade, e isso, com certeza, é a sabedoria e a radicalidade do pensamento de Montaigne em seu tempo.


Essa breve digressão não foi à toa, ela apenas serve para conter as nossas pretensões filosóficas, que tentam muitas vezes tirar de um texto aquilo que ele não tem. Além disso, acreditamos que ela também nos serve para dar uma pista acerca da ideia de sabedoria que o filósofo tem em mente, tendo em vista que, a verdadeira sabedoria é saber buscar em si mesmo as respostas, sem depender de ninguém, como ele mesmo afirma, criticando o tipo de ensino de sua época:


"Tanto nos deixamos levar nos braços de outros que anulamos nossas forças. Desejo armar-me contra o temor da morte? Faço-o à custa de Sêneca. Quero obter consolação para mim ou para um outro? Tomo-a emprestada de Cícero. Tê-la-ia buscado em mim mesmo se me tivessem treinado para isso. Não gosto dessa competência relativa e mendigada" (Idem, p. 205).


Ora, parece de alguma forma que Montaigne está antecipando aquilo que é caracterizado por Immanuel Kant por esclarecimento, isto é, poder fazer uso de sua própria razão sem auxílio de outrem. Todavia, não podemos meramente proclamar o filósofo francês como o antecipador da Modernidade, não que talvez não tenha sido, mas porque não é esse o nosso propósito. O que nos interessa, nesse caso, é perceber que a própria concepção de ensaio, sendo uma experiência de si mesmo, é o movimento de uma pessoa que serve-se do seu próprio entendimento, ou seja, que a partir daqueles conhecimentos que detém, cria formas de ver e viver o mundo, tentando fugir da imagem social do sábio, que seria o erudito; portanto, sabedoria seria poder ir além de "todas formas de socialização que nos alienam e trivializam" (FETZ, 2003, p. 222). Por isso, podemos perceber o fenômeno do pedantismo como algo social induzido por um tipo de educação da época, podemos ver, então, o ensaio de Montaigne como uma crítica ao ensino ainda por demais escolástico de sua época e, ao mesmo tempo, uma tentativa de fugir desse, pois não é por acaso que em uma parte do texto o próprio filósofo se questiona se ele mesmo não estava sendo pedante[3], isto é, se ele não estava se utilizando das mesmas "regras do jogo" que ele mesmo estava a questionar.


O pedante ostenta um conhecimento aparente que não tem valor; entretanto, essa desvalorização é dada por Montaigne, pois ele vê nesse tipo de conhecimento uma desvinculação com a vida prática; portanto, esse tipo de conhecimento não tem valor ético nenhum. Porém, é esse o tipo de conhecimento que mais tem valor para as pessoas, ou seja, o filósofo está valorizando aquilo que não tem valor social em seu tempo, como ele mesmo diz: "Proclamai a nosso povo, sobre um passante: ‘Oh, que homem sábio!’ E sobre um outro: ‘Oh, que homem bom!’ Eles não deixarão de voltar os olhos e o respeito para o primeiro. Seria preciso um terceiro pregoeiro: ‘Oh, que cabeças estúpidas!’ Facilmente perguntamos: ‘Ele sabe grego ou latim? Escreve em verso ou prosa?’ Mas se ele se tornou melhor ou mais ponderado, isso era o principal e é o que fica por último. Seria preciso perguntar quem sabe melhor, e não quem sabe mais"(MONTAIGNE, p. 203).


O pedantismo se transforma aqui em condição social, pois ao valorizar o conhecimento aparente, aquele que apenas nos torna mais sábios – sábio no sentido de dominar um certo conhecimento apenas teórico –, as pessoas, na medida em que valorizam a aparência, são pedantes. Por isso, devemos entender a crítica de Montaigne ao pedantismo como uma crítica à cultura do século XVI. Todavia, essa crítica ao qualificar um determinado tipo de conhecimento como o mais importante, o melhor, cai no problema de pensar uma natureza humana, pois, o que significa se tornarmos homens melhores? Qualquer reflexão acerca da moral diz respeito a um ponto de vista sobre o que é o humano; portanto, precisamos de alguma forma entender que tipo de homem Montaigne tem em vista para podermos entender o alcance de sua crítica.


A questão acerca da natureza humana não é de simples resolução, no caso de Montaigne, parece que essa natureza é algo a se buscar, como se em cada pessoa houvesse uma natureza que seria uma potência de criação de si mesmo, já não é uma natureza que visa a um fim, como é na perspectiva aristotélica; mas uma potência de artista, que faz do mundo e da vida um teatro onde sempre estamos ensaiando:


"Essa natureza (…) não funciona sem nossa colaboração como princípio de individuação. Ela passa para a nossa carne e nosso sangue apenas através da vida mesma, sendo que cada um tem de experimentar por si mesmo o que corresponde à sua natureza e o que lhe faz bem. Só a natureza desenvolvida e experimentada dessa maneira fornece o critério pelo qual podemos medir o que combina com o nosso si-mesmo" (FETZ, p. 222).


Podemos entender, portanto, aquela ideia de natureza humana como algo que depende da própria pessoa. Nesse caso, o conhecer melhor que Montaigne se refere, está ligado àquele que nos faz conhecer a nós mesmos; porém, esse tipo de conhecimento não é um conhecer a natureza humana estanque que há em nós, mas, conhecer a força de experimentação que possuímos para criar a nossa própria natureza.


A partir disso, podemos afirmar que o conhecimento pedante é aquele que nos impede de fazer esse movimento de experimentação, que ofusca a nossa visão e nos deixa preso às representações sociais, pois o conhecimento pedante é um fetiche social, que funciona muito mais como reprodução, ou de um idioma que poucos conhecem ou de palavras de pensadores e mestres da tradição do pensamento, do que por uma utilidade para a vida. No entanto, aquele ofuscamento de nossa potência de experimentação, tem implicações na "saúde" das pessoas, pois:


"(…) assim como as plantas se afogam por excesso de humores e as lâmpadas por excesso de,óleo, assim também a ação do espírito por excesso de estudo e de matéria, o qual tomado e embaraçado por uma grande diversidade de coisas, talvez perca a maneira de se desenredar, e essa carga o mantenha encurvado e encarquilhado" (MONTAIGNE, p. 200).


Tirando um pouco da ironia, podemos dizer que o pedantismo é um manto sombrio que impede que as pessoas busquem a si mesmas, pois "atentamos para as opiniões e o saber dos outros, e isso é tudo. É preciso fazê-los nossos" (Idem, p. 205). Essa demasiada atenção naquilo que os outros dizem se torna um problema quando não dizemos nada acerca disso que os outros dizem, quando não constituímos para nós mesmos as nossas próprias opiniões. No fundo o pedante é alguém que tem em si a tradição, o excesso de conteúdo, o peso dos livros; mas não tem a si mesmo, não tomou para si as rédeas de sua própria vida, não se experimentou, não se ensaiou. Assim, uma pessoa "saudável", seria aquela que sabendo de si mesmo, toma para si a sua própria natureza, sabendo discernir daquilo que lhe serve e o que não lhe serve.


No fundo ao criticar o ensino de sua época, que em grande parte incha a alma dos estudantes ao invés de ampliá-la (Idem, p. 207), o filósofo francês está se questionando sobre a utilidade do conhecimento, como que dizendo que só serve aquele conhecimento que tem utilidade prática, por exemplo, não tem sentido ter a cabeça cheia dos conceitos principais daética aristotélica, se eu não os ponho em prática, se eu não me torno uma pessoa prudente; portanto, saber é viver aquilo que se sabe. Um pedante apenas repete, decora, já o sábio, após aprender, dá um sentido aquilo e transforma em parte da sua vida. Por isso, "não basta que nossa educação não nos estrague; é preciso que nos mude para melhor"(Idem, p. 209) – e mudar para melhor é tornar as pessoas mais fortes em relação a sua própria existência. Aquele "inchar a alma", fruto da educação daquela época, tornaria os homens "pesados" ao ponto de não fazerem nada por si mesmos, como se fosse preciso desinchar a alma na vida prática, colocando os ensinamentos em prática o estudante se torna leve, pois torna o conteúdo aprendido como parte de sua alma.




A educação na perspectiva de Montaigne é um processo de formação que toma os conteúdos apenas como meio e não como fim, o pedantismo, nos parece, estaciona e toma esse meio como um fim em si mesmo. Entretanto, a nossa ideia não é fazer uma atualização do pensamento do filósofo simplesmente, pois isso se figura impossível sem uma mediação com outros pensadores contemporâneos; mesmo assim, ao distinguir a erudição da sabedoria, Montaigne nos faz pensar em um processo formativo constituído apenas na retenção de conteúdo, que tem êxito quando o aluno transfere isso para uma avaliação, ou quando uma pessoa domina determinadas técnicas sem refletir muito sobre elas, como se confundíssemos erudição com sabedoria, tomando as duas como uma só. Parece-nos que o filósofo nos coloca uma pulga atrás da orelha ao nos levar a crer, com muitas ponderações é claro, que o pedantismo se transformou, em nosso tempo, parte da nossa formação social. Porém, não é nosso caso querer tomar o pedantismo de Montaigne, em uma leitura genealógica, como o princípio de nossa atualidade, é preciso dialogar com o autor e em uma perspectiva crítica, perceber aquilo que diz respeito diretamente ao nosso tempo ou não. O renascimento, como já sabemos, foi um tempo de crise, de mudanças de paradigmas, mudanças essas que se afiguram na atualidade, onde os discursos se tornaram anti-humanistas e, portanto, pós-modernos; por isso, é preciso entender a crítica à experiência formativa do renascimento como uma crise, que talvez ajude-nos a entender as crises de nosso tempo.