we make the road by walking: conversations on education and social change
Paulo: I ask: do the people have the right or not, in the process of taking their history into their hands, to develop another kind of language as a dimension of those who have the power? this question has to do with an old one. for example, do the people have the right or not to know better what they already know? another question: do the people have the right or not to participate in the process of producing the new knowledge? I am sure that a serious process of social transformation of society has to do that. of course, it implies a change in the way of producing economically. it implies a much greater participation of the masses of the people in the process of power. then it means to renew the understanding of power. of course, I agree with Myles that the people have a kind of language that is organic knowledge...
Myles: People's knowledge
Paulo: ... people's knowledge, in which the body has much more place than in our way of thinking and of knowing. as progressive teachers and educators, we have first to get the knowledge about how the people know. you say it very clearly in your Danish article, Myles. it means then to understand the way they speak, their syntax, their semantics. then secondly we have to invent with the people the ways for then to go beyond their state of thinking.
Myles: that's a starting place, not the ending place.
Paulo: well, then yes. it's a starting and not a staying point. because of that I come back to the question again of reading texts no started also recognizing the fantastic importance of the way the people think, speak, act -- the design of it all. then I have to understand the experience, the practice of the people. but I also know that without practice there's no knowledge; at least it's difficult to know without practice. we have to have a certain theoretical kind of practice in order to know also. but practice in itself is not its theory. it creates knowledge, but it is not its own theory. secondly, in discussing my practice with the people as an educator, I have to know something more than the people know. at least I have to understand better theoretically what is happening in the people's practice. reading is one of the ways I can get the theoretical illumination of practice in a certain moment. if I don't get that, do you know what can happen? we as popular educators begin to walk in a circle, without the possibility of going beyond the circle, without going beyond man's theory of why we do not go beyond. do you see?it has to do with a very important moment in theory of knowledge, which is knowing man's moment of information.
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