Change Your View With An Experience

“A roadway led to temporary difficulty, resulting in a discovery which resolved the problem while opening up a whole new perspective of shared belief and speculation.” (xiv)

“This chance encounter showed me the special genius of these people and the special potential of the green banana.” (xiv)

“They had a valid belief, a universal concept, and I agreed with them. We tend to define the center as that special place where we are known, where we know others, where things mean much to us, and where we ourselves have both identity and meaning: family, school, town, and local region.” (xiv)

“Openness to the idea that the only thing you can legitimately volunteer for in Latin America might be voluntary powerlessness, voluntary presence as receivers, as such, as hopefully beloved or adopted ones without any way of returning the gift.” (1)

“I did not come here to argue. I am here to tell you, if possible to convince you, and hopefully, to stop you, from pretentiously imposing yourself on Mexicans.” (2)

What?

Illich is advocating for people to stop pitying his country, through voluntary and international services. I think he is angry because all American people see is a country that needs our help. “Openness to the idea that the only thing you can legitimately volunteer for in Latin America might be voluntary powerlessness, voluntary presence as receivers, as such, as hopefully beloved or adopted ones without any way of returning the gift.” (1) The kind of critical consciousness Illich is beseeching Americans to develop is to not see anyone as the victim, yes they may not be as fortunate as we are; however, that does not mean they are powerless. A quote that Illich uses that pretty much sums up his speech is “I did not come here to argue. I am here to tell you, if possible to convince you, and hopefully, to stop you, from pretentiously imposing yourself on Mexicans.” (2) This reminds me of what we discussed in class yesterday, of how do people who have always been seen as helpless ask to not be helped. That is exactly what Illich is trying to covey. Working with a community partner, I believe one needs to know that we aren’t here to better them, giving service is an equal opportunity to learn from one another.

So What?

Donald Batchelder shows how he is huge advocate on encouraging people to deepen their understanding of the value and importance of the experiences and knowledge, in his text when he finds a whole new perspective on the “green banana” and what it can mean to other people. A quote that he said that really caught my attention was “A roadway led to temporary difficulty, resulting in a discovery which resolved the problem while opening up a whole new perspective of shared belief and speculation.” (xiv) This quote really shows how you can stubble across something “meaningless” but can find meaning to it, if you look. Ivan Illich definitely has a different view than Batchelder. Illich wants the reader to learn to not see the students that we are helping as less than.

Now What?

A few days ago when I was at my community partner and a few of the girls were discussing a project they had in math, and the test was to be taken online. One of the girls responded and told the group that she finished it and another girl asked “how are we supposed to do it if we don’t have a computer.” This instantly made me think of the “green banana” saying because a computer is something that I have, but I do not necessarily see it’s value. Similar to Batchelder, he did not think there was anything of value about the green banana until he saw how other people used it. This moment made me think of how something so simply can have a huge impact on someone elses lives. Batchelder says “This chance encounter showed me the special genius of these people and the special potential of the green banana.” (xiv) A computer is being used more and more through schooling which becomes a challenge when not everyone is able to afford one. The center of the world for me is completely different than the kids at my community service, even though we are not too far from each other. The students come from different backgrounds than I do, which makes us see the world in a different light. “They had a valid belief, a universal concept, and I agreed with them. We tend to define the center as that special place where we are known, where we know others, where things mean much to us, and where we ourselves have both identity and meaning: family, school, town, and local region.” (xiv)

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