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Paulo Freire

“No one can educate another person, no one can educate himself; human beings are educated together through interaction in the world.”
Paulo Freire’s conviction is the inspiration behind our proposal that participants make the Exercises together, interacting with one another.

When called upon to teach the poorer population of Brazil how to read and write, Paulo Freire said that in order for adults to learn to read they needed to understand why it was important. The illiterate population was unable to see they were being oppressed by the major landowners, for the oppressive regime was so culturally pervasive that it was taken for granted.

Paulo Freire set about raising the consciousness of the oppressed population, i.e. helping them become aware of the oppressive situation in which they found themselves. The landowners reacted by repressing this movement. Many of those who were oppressed became afraid of what they now knew, afraid both of their repression and their freedom.

The same kinds of fears come to the surface during an ESDAC retreat when we become conscious of the oppression that prevails in the world, in our community, in our team, in our relationship with our partner, within our own self. Daring and courage are required to grasp the freedom to become our true self, in harmony with our name of grace.

Because the action of others impacts upon us in situations of oppression, we need to come together if we wish to be free from oppression.

Education and formation do not just mean transferring knowledge from an expert (who knows) to a pupil (who does not). Because each of us is the expert of our own experience, ESDAC seeks to draw upon all of the expertise available in the group.

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