Pedagogy of the Oppressed Quotes

In warm climate countries, time is different, they don’t work on tight schedules and time frames like we do. They aren’t controlled by the clock. I had an idea of this when I was coming to Haiti, and since I was away from home, uncertain if I would have Internet access, I knew I would have some extra time on my hands. So brought two books to read. One, which I just finished was called Stuffed and Starved, which was an excellent read and helpful book on the food industry. The other is Pedagogy of the Oppressed. I am 1/3 of the way through Pedagogy and I must say that I’m pretty happy that I brought this book. This book is world renowned and it’s unfortunate that it took me till now to read it. Here are some quotes that have stuck out to me from the book thus far.

The generosity of the oppressors is nourished by an unjust order; but because of their background they believe that they must be the executors of the transformation. They talk about the people, but they do not trust them; and trusting the people is the indispensable precondition for revolutionary change. A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages them in their struggle, than by a thousand actions in the favor without that trust.

Those who authentically commit themselves to the people must re-examine themselves constantly. This conversion is so radical as not to allow of ambiguous behavior. To affirm this commitment but to consider oneself the proprietor of revolutionary wisdom–which must then be given to (or imposed on) the people–is to retain the old ways. The man or woman who proclaims devotion to the cause of liberation yet is unable to enter in communion with the people, whom he or she continues to regard as totally ignorant, is grievously self deceived. The convert who approaches the people but feels alarm at each step they take, each doubt they express, and each suggestion they offer, and attempts to impose his “status,” remains nostalgic towards his origins.

Conversion to the people requires a profound rebirth. Those who undergo it must take on a new form of existence; they can no longer remain as they were. Only through comradeship with the oppressed can the converts understand that their characteristic ways of living and behaving, which in diverse moments reflect the structure of domination.

The oppressor consciousness tends to transform everything surrounding it into an object of its domination. The earth, property, production, the creations of people, people themselves, time–everything is reduced to the status of objects at its disposal.

This next quote I think does well to summarize what has happened to us in the west, and has convinced me even more that we truly are the oppressors.

In their unrestrained eagerness to posses, the oppressors develop the conviction that it is possible for them to transform everything into objects of their purchasing power; hence their strictly materialistic concept of existence. Money is the measure of all things, and profit the primary goal. For the oppressors, what is worthwhile is to have more–always more–even at the cost of the oppressed have less or having nothing. For them, to be is to have and to be the class of the haves.

At this point I am sure there will be more to come.

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