What it means to be a stranger to oneself

Educational Philosophy and Theory 41 (5):490-506 (2009)
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Abstract

In adult education there is always a problem of prefabricated and in many respect fixed opinions and views of the world. In this sense, I will argue, that the starting point of radical education should be in the destruction of these walls of belief that people build around themselves in order to feel safe. In this connection I will talk about ‘gentle shattering of identities’ as a problem and a method of radical education. When we as adult educators are trying to gently shatter these solidified identities and pre‐packed ways of being and acting in the world, we are moving in the field of questions that Sigmund Freud tackled with the concepts of ‘de‐personalization’ and ‘de‐realization’. These concepts raise the question about the possibility of at the same time believing that something is and at the same time having a fundamentally sceptical attitude towards this given. In my article I will ask, can we integrate the idea of learning in general with the idea of strangeness to oneself as a legitimate and sensible experiential point of departure for radical learning?

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