Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Deprofessionalized Intellectual

Gustavo Esteva is an activist in Oaxaca, Mexico. He calls himself a "deprofessionalized intellectual." In a recent article he writes of his long-time acquaintence with Ivan Illich (Deschooling Society) and of his experience creating Uniterra, a "university" of apprenticeship in which there are no teachers, no classes, no curriculum, just people coming together to learn what they need to know in order to maintain, or create and sustain, livable, functional communities.

Esteva writes:

"When we all request education and institutions where our children and young people can stay and learn, we close our eyes to the tragic social desert in which we live. They have no access to real opportunities to learn in freedom. There are no conditions for apprenticeships. In many cases, they can no longer learn with parents, uncles, grandparents – just talking to them, listening to their stories or observing them in their daily trade… Everybody is busy, going from one place to the other. No one seems to have the patience any more to share with the new generation the wisdom accumulated in a culture… Instead of education, what we really need is conditions for decent living, a community…"

Read the entire article here. It's long, and worth it.

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