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Last updated Aug 15, 2023

# Great Books: Modern Period


# Module 3: Absurdity or What does it all mean?!

# Reading “The Stranger”

# How to live in the face of absurdity?

# Module 4: The modern condition

# Revisiting

# Hyphens

# Answer

In my eyes, I believe that Filipino culture is inherently hypenated. Due to our centuries-long history with colonization (e.g. Spanish, Japanese, Americans), our culture is a mixing pot of international influences, and it’s impossible to imagine Filipino culture without them. And this struggle with being hypenated is expressed most in our colonial mentality: the internalized belief that we are inferior to our colonizers.

I’ve experienced this in how I learned languages. Growing up, I was taught English first instead of Filipino. While this allowed me to speak English with complete mastery, my Filipino suffered. It doesn’t help that I went to a high school that mainly taught in English, and that English is considered a native language in the Philippines. Because of this, I always felt insecure about my identity; how can I claim I’m Filipino when I’m not good at speaking the language?

# Fragmentation

# Answer

Fragmentation is also expressed in my identity as a polymath. I have multiple passions – design, dance, education – and I want to pursue them all! These fragments shine by making me more unique; in an increasingly competitive world, being a T-shaped person (someone who has one speciality, but also has a range of related skills) will get you far in life. Unfortunately, having multiple interests as a polymath can also be a struggle, because there is only so much you can do with your limited time and energy. I often burn myself out because I always want to do everything; learning how to discern and focus was a hard but necessary skill for me.

# Alienation

# Answer

I definitely believe that Tito Maning experiences alienation. He is strongly commited to his beliefs; he is not only loud and imposing when it comes to these beliefs, but he also looks down on others who don’t align with him. Thus, he ended up becoming alienated from the rest of his family. He is estranged/distant from his siblings because of their “wrong” lifestyle choices (e.g. same-sex marriage, migrating abroad); meanwhile, even if his daughters remain physically close to him, he is alienated from them as well because they are harboring secrets from him (e.g. owning technology, having relationships).

# Absurdity and meaning

# Answer

In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, self-actualization is at the top. One cannot attend to this need without first fulfilling lower needs, such as esteem, love and belonging, safety, and physiology. Therefore, it is nearly impossible to find meaning when you are in survival mode, a.k.a. living day by day just focused on getting by. Unfortunately, this applies to majority of Filipinos. Most of their time and effort has to be spent on addressing their lower needs – especially nowadays, costs for goods are mostly higher while acquiring jobs is getting harder

# Self-knowledge

# Answer

It’s one thing to acquire self-knowledge, but it’s another to actually act on it. Being self-aware is only helpful when it can lead to personal development. But in a world of lengthy personality tests, informative Instagram carousels, and too real Tiktoks, one temptation people often fall to (myself included) is acquiring tons of self-knowledge, but not doing anything about it. For instance, I am very aware of how I use work as a coping mechanism for dealing with deeper problems. Unfortunately, I often tend to be a workaholic and burn myself out, even though I know that it’s a harmful inclination for me.

# Saints of nothing

Why is the concept of the Patron Saint of Nothing, which Jay wrestles with at the end of the novel, so modernist in itself? Just a thought to play with!

# Answer

Given that they are always assigned to certain people/places/things, patron saints represent specialization. I believe “patron saint of nothing” is a fit term to describe both Jay and Jun because of their identities as hypenated people. They struggled with fragmentation, as seen in Jay with his Filipino-American identity and Jun with his values and addiction; they also had to deal with alienation, as seen in both boys’ alienation from their families. Overall, we can see in the novel how both of them were struggling against external and internal forces, which is characteristic of modernism. I believe that unlike the saints, patron saints of nothing do not know how to fully define themselves, amidst all these forces – and perhaps may even refuse too. Jun and Jay have definitely exemplified this concept.

# Module 5: Responsibility

In this module, we briefly examine what it means to be a responsible individual, in an age where self-knowledge is very important. How do we become responsible while living in conditions of fragmentation, alienation, absurdity, and all other factors that wreak havoc on who we are?

# Returning to Camus

Here is a video of a lecture written by Albert Camus. Camus himself read it when he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in the 40s. In this version, the actor, Viggo Mortensen, reads it. It’s called “The Crisis of Man”. I know the title is inappropriately gendered but let’s give it to Camus who was writing from a different time. But, do pay attention to how Camus’s ideas still remain important today. Personally, I think they’re more important today!

# To think about

Is the crisis that Camus wrote about in the 40s still visible today? How is that crisis manifested?

# Answer

I definitely believe that this human crisis is visible today – an elevated indifference to great human suffering. It’s the reason why people believe history always repeats itself. Whenever we overcome evil, it seeps back into our lives when we forget about it, and in turn become desensitized to it. The most relevant example of this to me is the revival of the Marcos legacy. Despite all the human rights violations that occurred his time, the atrocities of Marcos Sr.’s regime were glossed over by his surface achievements (e.g. infrastructure development, raised economy). And majority of the Filipino population (31 million voters to be exact) allowed this happen because of their indifference to past suffering.

# Reconcilation

Modernism tends to be quite inward-looking. Would that be selfish, do you think? How is the idea of responsibility for others reconciled with an inward-looking perspective? Or there is no conflict between responsibility for self-knowledge and responsibility for others?

# Answer

During one of his lectures, my DLQ prof was talking about the circular nature of love; self-love is fulfilled by loving others, and in turn, loving others is fulfilled by self-love. Thus, in a society that leans towards workaholism, he said that choosing to rest is a form of service; this is because it sustains the quality of your work for others. After all, can you really serve well if you haven’t even taken care of yourself? Thus, despite how contradictory it sounds, I believe that responsibility for others can be united with a modernist perspective.

# Synthesizing the course

And now we come to the end! I hope you enjoyed the course as much as I enjoyed teaching it. What I would like you to remember as we end this course is all this fragmentation, alienation, absurdity, the pain of the journey to self are inevitable. They are part of living in this mortal coil of ours. But, even as much as all these are an inevitable part of truly finding ourselves, there is a part of them that arises from the unjust material conditions we find ourselves with. So, as you face the rest of your lives, consider how you can help everyone on their journeys to self and how you can make conditions less harsh and more enabling.

# Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Education

#EDUC101i #education #history #philosophy

# Reflection

# Questions

  1. What is your own Philosophy of Education? Which of the philosophical perspectives discussed in this course align to your Philosophy the most? Explain this by providing concrete examples. 
  2. What do you think has influenced this philosophical perspective?
  3. How does your proposed school’s philosophy align to/ is not aligned to your own philosophy of education?
  4. What is the value of articulating a Philosophy of Education? (as a future educator/ and/or in your own prospective careers if you deem it relevant)

# Answers

# Idea Dump
# Outline
  1. Philosophy of Education:
    1. Characteristics
      1. Metaphysics
      2. Epistemology
      3. Axiology
    2. What this aligns with the most: Existentialism
  2. Influences
    1. My background in the arts: as a creative, studying in a liberal arts school under the school of humanities..i am definitely biased
  3. How this aligns with my school
    1. My philosophy is Existentialism: critical theory
    2. My school’s philosophy is Pragmatism: progressivism; reconstructionism
    3. Similarities
      1. Both tackle societal systems?
      2. Both aim for students’ growth
    4. Differences
      1. Individual experience v.s. external reality
        1. Existentialism focuses on individual experiences (students’ own experiences, history, identities and struggles)
        2. Pragmatism takes a societal approach, always considering the external world
      2. Critical v.s. conformist
        1. They are also skeptical of the hidden curriculum which refers to the values, behaviour and attitudes conveyed to and imposed on students through the milieu and practices of the school in a capitalist consumer-oriented society.
  4. Value
    1. One’s philosophy affects how they design learning experiences
      1. One good exercise for the educator is to reflect on and write down his or her educational philosophy based on one or a combination of educational philosophies presented in this chapter. This will help clarify the educator’s conviction, values and direction in the teaching profession, thereby sustaining his or her passion to teach and lead.
    2. Knowledge of the various educational philosophies and theories can also help educators analyse and solve current educational issues, challenges and problems
# Writing

Thinking of my own philosophy, I identify the most with critical pedagogy: “a philosophy of education that encourages the students to be critical towards their reality – its power structures, contradictions and flaws” (The Necessary Teacher Training College, 2022). Teachers seek to awaken their learners by posing problems, creating spaces for growing critical consciousness, creating plans for collective action, and developing a sense of agency (Constanza-Chock, 2020). This philosophy aligns the most with Existentialism, which believes in the following: (1) reality is constructed by the individual, since it’s inherently meaningless; (2) since our perspectives are subjective, what needs to be known is the human condition and one’s personal choices; (3) what is valued is freedom, responsibility, and authenticity, since values are found within people. In line with all of this, Existentialists education aims to awaken awareness in the learner by cultivating individual growth and decision making. Instead of dehumanizing learners by treating them like objects (which is what most schools do with mass education), schools must treat them like the subjects they are, and allow them to explore, reflect on, and articulate their convictions — which is exactly what critical pedagogy strives to do.

I believe that the experiences of the minority have played a big part in shaping philosophical perspective. Only those who struggled to thrive in school, and in turn society, would’ve thoguht of the unforgiving nature of these spaces. As a neurodivergent woman of color, I can definitely relate to this. In a world where everything seems to be designed, I often feel like I can’t find a place for myself. Getting exposed to critical theory was life-changing for me; after growing up thinking I was the problem, I realized that the systems we’re all embedded in are broken. Thus, I believe that education should be working to disrupt the status quo, instead of simply maintaining it.

While my own philosophy of education is based on Existentialism, my proposed school’s philosophy is based on Pragmatism, which believes in the following: a dynamic universe, thought done for action, and the relativity of truth. Both of these philosophies focus on the individual experience. Rejecting the universal and absolute ideas upheld by formal schooling, they believed that taught knowledge must be relevant and personal to the learner. They also share the same aim for education — growth. However, they varied differently in terms of approach. Pragmatists saw education as preparation for a changing world, so learning was treated as a sensory experience, wherein learners explored the world around them. Meanwhile, given that they saw education as an instrument of awakening, the Existentialists’ treated learning as an intuitive experience, wherein learners went deeply inside themselves. Because of this, the rebellious Existentialists would see the Pragmatists as conformists, who see the practical as what is good for society. Lieberman (1985) summarizes this conflict well: “The crisis of…education is one of finding ways in which the demands of social conformity may be reconciled with the intrinsic natural diversity in human beings”.

In my eyes, a Philosophy of Education is like a compass; by spotlighting your North Star, it guides you on your teaching journey. As an aspiring designer, technologist, and educator, my own North Star is convivality: “individual freedom realized in personal interdependence” (Illich, 1973). Illich believed that advancement in production not only disabled people from freely using their natural abilities, but also prevented them from connecting with themselves and others. I believe this still applies to the Philippines; as a top destination for outsourcing labor and a testing grounds for social media platforms, exploitation is a fate destined for many here.