expanding my personal definition of liberation

an important thing that came out of developing my vision statement back in fall 2016 in infinite growth was finding a definition of liberation that worked for me. in spaces i’ve been working in for the past four or five years, the word liberation gets used a lot without much clarity. but it’s always used with a lot of passion and that felt good. since i wanted the word to be a part of my vision for the world(s) that i live in, i needed to be absolutely clear about what it meant. the clarity would be necessary in order for me to understand when work i was doing was headed towards liberation or not.

the definition i landed on was “joy untouched by fear,” inspired by nina simone.

but just last week i finished reading pedagogy of the oppressed for the second time in an online book club that i ran and freire has a definition of liberation that i love.

freire says that to oppress is to be necrophilic, to perpetually push life towards thing-ness, thereby killing that life. humans can do this with natural resources (water, plants, animals) as well as with humans. because of the fundamental qualities of what it means to be human, to treat a human as life that cannot think for itself is to move it towards death.

in contrast, liberation is the process of moving towards life. for humans, who are imbued with consciousness, liberation means continually becoming more fully human. and to become more fully human, one must participate in the cycle of praxis, the cycle of action and reflection in order to continually transform the world. and the world to be transformed consists of the world outside of ourselves, inside of ourselves, and between ourselves - community).

i’m still working my way through it a bit, but i like it a lot. i’m not sure yet if i want to keep both or if i like it better and want to replace my current definition. i’ll think about that during my january retreat, but for now, i’ll just consider my definition to be expanding.

thanks, freire!

words / writing / post-processing
361w / 13min / 6min