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Happiness, Hope, and Despair

Rethinking the Role of Education


Peter Roberts

In the Western world it is usually taken as given that we all want happiness, and our educational arrangements tacitly acknowledge this. Happiness, Hope, and Despair argues, however, that education has an important role to play in deepening our understanding of suffering and despair as well as happiness and joy. Education can be uncomfortable, unpredictable, and unsettling; it can lead to greater uncertainty and unhappiness. Drawing on the work of Søren Kierkegaard, Miguel de Unamuno, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Simone Weil, Paulo Freire, and others, Peter Roberts shows why these features of educational life need not be feared; to the contrary, they can be seen as a source of hope and human fulfilment.
After years of negotiating an education system dominated by the language of competition, performance, and economic advancement, students and teachers often long for something different; they seek not just measurable success but also opportunities to ask searching questions of themselves and the world they encounter. Happiness, Hope, and Despair makes an important contribution toward meeting this need. It fosters a rethinking of the nature, purpose, and value of education, and opens up possibilities for further scholarly and professional inquiry.


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A acceptance, 20–21, 55, 96 acknowledgement, 55, 66 actuality as the unity of possibility and necessity, 15 addressing a situation, 56 Aeschylus, The Oresteia and, 8, 32, 92–99 Agonia, 32 agony of existence, 88 Ahmed, S., 102, 103, 109 alienation, 112 Allen, D., 6 Altobello, R., 98 Andreola, B.A., 7, 63–66 anguish, notion of, 31 Apple, M., 5 Arcilla, R.V., 21 Aristotle, 102–103 Aronson, D., 56 Arzeni, F., 94 asceticism, 20, 47 attention, 37, 42–46, 88, 94–95, 99. See also Weil, S. Aurelius, M., 107 B Baggini, J., 34 Baker, A.F., 33 Barrett, W., 12, 32 Beauvoir, S. de, 107 Bellioti, R.A., 102 Berthold-Bond, D., 20 Beyer, L.E., 5 Bhagavad Gita, 103 Biesta, G.J.J., 33, 104 bildung, 85 bildungsroman, 87, 98 Boethius, A.M.S., 33 Bok, S., 102 Boler, M., 17, 65, 115 Børhaug, F.B., 111 134 happiness, hope, and despair Bortolotti, L., 102 Bowers, C.A., 64 brainwashing, 18, 25–26, 114 brands, language of, 103 The Brothers Karamazov, 55, 71, 74, 76, 85–86 Bruni, L., 102 Buddhism, 102 Burbules, N.C., 21 Bykhovski, B., 117 C Cameron, S., 42 Camus, A., 20–21, 107 capitalism, 8–9, 61 Caranfa, A., 37 change, 54, 78, 85, 118 Chen, R.H., 22, 77 Chernyshevsky, N., 73 (spelling) Chuang Tzu, 103 Cigman, R., 102 Cioran, E.M., 32, 77, 80, 107 Clowes, E.W., 71 cogito ergo sum, 30 Comin, R., 102 commitment, educational and, 21, 82 Concluding Unscientific Postscript, 16 Confucius, 102–103 consenting frame of mind, 45...

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