We can’t find meaning in the world, in the sense of a process of maturing and coming to find a place for ourselves which is satisfying and sustainable, simply through the internalisation of a symbolic order and/or the replication of our natal circumstances.
I wrote in yesterday’s post about being an ‘efficacious agent‘. Dewey has a much better term for this: freedom. The freedom which comes from the “power to frame purposes, to judge wisely, to evaluate desires by the consequences which will result from acting upon them; power to select and order […]
I’m unsure whether ‘collateral learning’ is a throwaway phrase used by Dewey in Experience and Education or whether it’s more fully developed elsewhere. However I’ve found it a really useful concept to make sense of informal learning through social platforms and their impact upon the socialisation process.
What I find particularly valuable in Dewey is his sense of how as an individual “passes from one situation to another, his world, his environment, expands or contracts” with the “knowledge and skill in one situation becomes an instrument of understanding and dealing effectively with the situations which follow” (pg 44). The nature of this experience constitutes the conditions which facilitate or frustrate the individual’s flourishing.
What sorts of experiences do social platforms generate? What “attitudes and habitual tendencies” (pg 38) are being generated? Which “are actually conducive to continued growth and what are detrimental” (pg 39)?
In his account of socialisation in Democracy and Education, Dewey places a great stress on habit formation. There’s an inevitability to habit as “excessive stimulation and excessive and ill-adapted response” necessitate that “certain stimuli are selected because of their relevancy, and others are degraded”.