Thursday, September 13, 2007

Change: from inside, from outside or both?

I proudly posted the quote of the month from Foucault's discussion of technologies of self. You can read it on the right hand side, but the basic idea is that changes in people come through the intellectual. Now, as I was browsing my colleague's thesis today, the first thing I saw was her own motto: change comes from within, from our own consciousness.

The first one seems patronizing, but I can remember of few instances in my life when I think it is true. Think of your own intellectual development and ask yourselves: was it purely my own work here? No author whom I read, no teacher who has taught me, no mentor who has guided me? But the second is equally applicable: who did the change? Did the teacher or the author operate the change in me like a surgeon working on my brain?

Maybe change comes with both of them. Maybe change comes with the example set by a person you respect, but it comes with the help of who you are so far. Which would mean that changing our way of perceiving difference starts with some basic activities of inquiring what we deem as different and why, but also with every little conversation or life experience that we have with difference.

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