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On the Pedagogy of Suffering

Hermeneutic and Buddhist Meditations


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 Twenty-Six: Happiness in Bricks (Alexander C. Book)


C h a p T e r T w e n T y - s i x Happiness in Bricks alexander c. cook Maslow (1962/2011) could not have been more right when he developed his Hi- erarchy of Needs. Humans are a multi-faceted and complex problem, and breaking them down was his analytical response to ease that complexity. That is a kind of response that can only be found in a moment of true Self-Actualization. For the rest of us, we can be found scattered between Physiology, Safety, Be- longing, and Esteem. Moments of victory bring us closer and closer to the seemingly mythical Self-Actualization, while pain is the great destroyer—tearing us back down to our most basic elements, and back to the foundations of Maslow’s Pyramid. I am no stranger to the victories of spirit, stepping up the great stones of Maslow’s Pyramid with the aims of reaching the light, and I am no stranger to the failures of the mind and body, stumbling and tumbling back to the pits. I would ar- gue that none of us are strangers to that ebb and flow as we work our ways through life, but I can only speak for myself, and what has been my evident progression and regression, through Maslow’s eyes. T h e m i n d The mind is an amazing thing. It enables us to achieve great feats of intellect and emotion, and it works independently of Maslow’s supposed Pyramid. If we 200 | alexander c....

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