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On the Pedagogy of Suffering

Hermeneutic and Buddhist Meditations

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Edited By David W. Jardine, Christopher Gilham and Graham McCaffrey

This text articulates how and why suffering can be pedagogical in character and how it is often key to authentic and meaningful acts of teaching and learning. This is an ancient idea from the Greek tragedies of Aeschylus (c. 525 BCE) – pathei mathos or «learning through suffering». In our understandable rush to ameliorate suffering at every turn and to consider every instance of it as an error to be avoided at all costs, we explore how the pedagogy that can come from suffering becomes obscured and something vital to a rich and vibrant pedagogy can be lost. This collection threads through education, nursing, psychiatry, ecology, and medicine, through scholarship and intimate breaths, and blends together affinities between hermeneutic conceptions of the cultivation of character and Buddhist meditations on suffering and its locale in our lives. This book will be useful for graduate courses on hermeneutic research in education, educational psychology, counseling, and nursing/medicine.

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Chapter Five: First Fragment: Breaking the Gaze (David W. Jardine, Graham McCaffrey, & Christopher Gilham)

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First Fragment: Breaking The Gaze david w. jardine, graham mccaffrey, & christopher gilham i To have an orientation to the world, however, means to keep oneself so free from what one encounters of the world that one can present it to oneself as it is. To rise above the pressure of what impinges on us from the world. hans-georg gadamer (1989, p. 444), from TruTh and MeThod This is why hermeneutics is interested in “what happens to us over and above our wanting and doing” (1989, p. xxviii), not merely what arises from the impinge- ments of our wanting and doing or the wanting and doing of the world. It wants to break this spell. For the world to present itself to us “as it is” means that what we can know and experience of the world doesn’t just rise up in relation to my responses to it. Experience and knowledge need not be enslaved to the presump- tions of constructivism where I can only make the world in my own image. With practice, the world can start to “stand there,” unlinked to my wanting and doing, unlinked to my worry or fret. The deepest stream of our deeply human, deeply animal responses to this impingement is a sort of panicky retreat from a sense of threat. The deepest con- sequences of such impingements, so suggests Tsong-kha-pa (2002, p. 120), is what he calls a “reifying view” wherein the thing that rises up in response to such C h a p...

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