The Learning Moment: Blood
and Theory in the Meeting of
Inside every learning moment is a conversation,
a hopeful outlook, an ecology of understanding. In that very moment
also lies the possibility of misinterpretation, an unfortunate oversight,
Jacques Lacan and others have demonstrated that the nature of language
insists that words constitute and divide us.
This constitutive/divisive relationship manifests itself in any
attempt at true dialogue in physical spaces: the teacher instructs
30 students, only to find that half of those students will not comprehend
her instruction and are too timid to admit it; a student poses a
question, whereby the instructor attempts to answer in several ways
but finds himself frustrated when, throughout the course of deliberation,
he cannot answer the students question.
In thinking about what mitigates against true dialogue, one might
propose an alternative approach, asking the following questions:
What happens when those
physical spaces are pervaded by additional lines of dialogue?
How might dialogue proceed
when the lines of communication issuing forth from virtual spaces
weave in and out of the physical ones?
Can increasing the complexity
of the conversational situation increase the chance of conversationalists
experiencing a hopeful outlook?
We propose that intersecting multiple lines of communication
create the possibility for truth, friendship, and more specifically,
a friendship of truth. By way of exercising a professional faith,
the instructor resigns herself to initiating wayward flights of
conversations and trajectories that emanate from lonely silence
in an attempt to recuperate common ground; s/he creates an environment
richer in its ecology of understanding. What is at stake on this
topos, then, is the reconciliation of blood and theory (otherwise
known as theory and praxis), whose collapse necessitates a friendship
of truth. Hence, not only must the instructor have faith in dialogue,
she also must have faith in theory.
Harun Karim Thomas and Temi