ISJ Spring 2021: Facing up to Complexity: The tension between convictions and experiences / Richard Pearce
It will be argued that education involves the sharing of knowledge and evaluations, images of how the world is and how it should or should not be. These memories are progressively filed, some of them at mental levels below those which we can verbalise and consider, and they are filed together with evaluations of them as good or bad. The outcome is a mind equipped on two levels: convictions which we cannot question and verbal memories which we can question. A community has its own experiences and evaluations which they accumulate as factual and moral ‘knowledge’, some of them at the deep level; if children move from one moral community to another they will encounter a discontinuity between the foundation they bring with them and the new which they meet. This happens progressively between stages in growing up, as the Eriksonian ‘crises’ of identity (Erikson, 1968), but it is more sharply discordant in moving between social systems, as is the norm in international schools. What is held at the verbal and debatable level may be sensed and dealt with consciously; what is intuitive may be overlooked, with serious consequences.