The Philosophy that I Liked to Teach (2)
By Erasmo Calzadilla
Since I first became interested in philosophy, its sense and meaning have changed several times for me; which of course is what should happen when one keeps on thinking.
That’s why it’s hard for me in my classes to repeat, and make students repeat, a pre-designed and poorly explained philosophical concept: the perfect procedure to create the zombies I don’t want to create.
What to do then? In a conversation I had some time ago with the teacher who served as the expert witness in my suit against the university that fired me, and a person who accused me of being rightwing, recognizing my unconformity, he didn’t hesitate to suggest, “If you don’t like it, leave. If you signed a contract saying that this is what you are going to teach, that’s exactly what you should do. That is what they are paying you for.”
What to do then? Withdraw from the fight and devote myself to less complicated matters? At the time, I decided to wait until the teachers were called to reanalyze the study program. I was hopeful that the struggle could be carried out from the inside. How naïve I was, such a moment never came and as I see it, never will.
As a result, I became a good contortionist trying to make my ideas fit into the tight framework provided by the program. At the beginning, it was disastrous; but then I began to learn how to do my work.
I understood that rebelliousness and all that Marx stuff against alienation were very similar to my way of understanding philosophy now. I even believed that, donned in such a helmet, I would be protected against smacks to the head, but I was wrong.
One thought on “The Philosophy that I Liked to Teach (2)”
Erasmo, you display rare courage. Standing up for what you believe in rather than taking the easy way out and conforming to the establishment point of view. All I can hope is that the judge adjudicating your firing shows similar courage.
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