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Shamanistic Teaching: informing a posthuman pedagogy

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by

Jeremy Knox

on 28 November 2010

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Transcript of Shamanistic Teaching: informing a posthuman pedagogy

Shamanistic Teaching: informing a posthuman pedagogy. The theories of cyborg reclassification and distributed cognition require a fundamental shift in our understanding of the world, an altered perception that rocks the foundations of education as we know it. The notion of shamanistic perception provides a useful fictional narrative with which to consider a radical reformulation of educational theory. I therefore propose the fictional works of Carlos Castaneda as a way of exploring the latent pedagogies of the posthuman. The concept of 'knowing', the foundations upon which education, academy and institution have imposed themselves, has been undermined by the concepts of the cyborg and posthuman. Furthermore, the contemporary age of ubiquitous networks, unrestrained communication and ever expanding information has brought into question the notion that knowledge is indeed attainable. Posthuman pedagogy shifts the impetus of learning from the representationalist doctrine of internalising knowledge, to a new model of experience and performance, where practice and theory are enmeshed. Posthumans enact the world through the acknowledgement that knowing is not separate from doing. Carlos Castaneda wrote a series of books which describe his training and immersion in the world of Meso-American shamanism. Debates of authenticity and claims of cultism aside, Castaneda's work articulates an unusual approach to the act of learning, which provides an interesting stimulus for questioning the role of education in the posthuman era. All Carlos Castaneda quotes from:
http://www.prismagems.com/castaneda/ 'The basic premise of sorcery for a sorcerer is that the world of everyday life is not real, or out there, as we believe it is. For a sorcerer, reality, or the world we all know, is only a description.' 'I am teaching you how to "see" as opposed to merely looking , and "stopping the world" is the first step to seeing .' 'The precondition for stopping the world is that one has to be convinced; in other words, one has to learn the new description in a total sense, for the purpose of pitting it against the old one, and in that way break the dogmatic certainty, which we all share, that the validity of our perceptions, or our reality of the world, is not to be questioned.' 'After stopping the world the next step is seeing . By that I mean what could be categorized as responding to the perceptual solicitations of a world outside the description we have learned to call reality.' 'When you "see" there are no longer familiar features in the world. Everything is new. Everything has never happened before. The world is incredible! Everything you gaze at becomes nothing!' 'Things don't disappear they don't vanish, they simply became nothing and yet they are still there.' http://www.phacelift.co.uk/carlos-castaneda.html
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