Saturday, August 14, 2010
Recently, I finished reading this book, which I highly recommend. I was turned on to Derrick Jensen when my teacher quoted extensively from an essay he wrote about hopelessness in a dharma talk a couple of weeks ago. To paraphrase, Jensen, who is an environmental activist among other things, discovered that his feeling of hopelessness about the state of our earth was actually liberating. Maintaining a notion of hope is, in some ways, maintaining a notion that someone other than yourself is going to fix things. When you lose hope, then you can really get down to business, see things as they are and do what needs to be done. It was rather a mind blowing idea to me. In fact, I seldom have been so provoked by an idea.
When I returned home I immediately looked up this Derrick Jensen person and discovered that he has written several books, including a very recent one about education. As this is a favourite topic, I ordered it, along with two others. I was extra pleased when the author wrote to me and asked to whom he might autograph them. (It is remarkable how much this little act of kindness on his part left me with a very positive feeling about him and his books.) I asked him to inscribe this one to Finnian and Lucy, and he did.
If you are familiar with John Taylor Gatto's writing about education and, in particular, the damage that schooling based on an industrial model does to the lives of children, and ultimately, our society, then you will not be taken by surprise at what Jensen writes. On the other hand, if you have never encountered this, then his book will be quite an eye-opener. For me, it was an excellent reminder and much-needed dose of inspiration to keep on going on this unschooling path we have chosen.
Although, I did have a fist pumping, YYEESSSS! moment when Lucy was speaking with her friend in Newfoundland on the phone a couple of weeks ago. She was trying to convince her friend to homeschool this year so they would have more time to hang out together. For some reason, Lucy had set the phone on speakerphone, so we all heard the conversation. It went like this:
L: Hannah, you should homeschool. It will be great. We can go cross country skiing.
H: But how will I get educated if I don't go to school?
L: (in a shocked voice) Hannah! You need to take control of your education!
Maybe someday Lucy will be inscribing her books to Derrick Jensen.