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On The Art of (Un)Learning

I am one of the millions of people the Western model of education has failed. When talking about Myer-Briggs classification of Jungian personality types, I come out to INFP (Introverted, iNtutive, Feeler, Perceiver). This is not important except for a few quick facts I would like to mention.

1. INFP is one of the rarest of the 16 personality combinations. It is also the personality type that has the greatest amount of gifted people.

2. It is not until later in life this giftedness is realized. In fact, I think as a type in general, we are all late at seeing the unique things we bring to the table. The Western model of education (especially since the passage of No Child Left Behind in America) relies heavily on standardized testing. We do not do well on tests. (This is something that is general of most Introverts of any type). It is not until we develop life experiences outside the classroom that we find our gifts.

I did not understand myself for much of my life so far, and many others have had a hard time understanding me as well. I thought I was certifiably crazy until I picked up this book a few weeks ago:

The problem was not that I was crazy. The problem is that I am an introvert living in an extrovert world, and since I was different, I automatically assumed something was terribly wrong with me. Now I understand myself, and realize that I am not crazy at all. This book was not the only thing I picked up. I also managed to pick up a copy O Magazine.

O Magazine, Feb. 2012

I was drawn to the cover.

When it comes to my schooling, I will admit I have been quite the slacker. Both due to the fact that I do not learn in the way most of my educators have presented material to me and also because I felt I was stupid, and therefore should not try. There were other reasons too, but these are the main two. It wasn’t until I found myself in grad school that I started to think maybe I wasn’t so stupid after all, and maybe if I could figure out what I really wanted to study and do with life, school would be fun again.

Shout out to my grad school, which has saved my life in so many ways.

Over the course of a year and a half, I have started enjoying school, and life again. I realize now that what I had to do was unlearn much about what I knew. I have recently unlearned a lot by reading The Introvert Advantage. I have unlearned from many other sources as well. My life has often progressed topsy-turvy and backwards, but for me, it has been the only way that has made any sense.

With all these things I have talked about so far in mind, imagine the smile of my soul when I came across this page while flipping through O magazine:

The text is hard to read in this picture, but it simple reads: “I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught. -Georgia O’Keefe.” Meditate on this thought for a minute. On starting over by stripping away what one has been taught.

Only minutes later, I found myself wasting time on

While doing so, I came across this pin:

This is the heart of what I wanted to say in this post. I don’t agree necessarily  that the future is unwritten. In many ways, it has already been carved out. The thought occurred to me, however, the the future can be changed. The way to do this is by unwriting it, and to unwrite it, we must start anew, stripping away what we have been taught.

INFP’s are called the Idealist Healers. We are a set of people who wish to change the world for the better and often, each in our own way, do. I wish to do so, but before I can, I must unlearn to unwrite. After that, I will have a blank page on which to create the world how I wish it to be.

So I leave you with this final thought: What do you need to unlearn in order to unwrite the future that is waiting for you in order to have a clean page on which to write the future you wish to create?



On the Future of Social Justice

I know there are many reasons why people blog. My reason has always been that I have so much going on in my head, so many ideas, that I just needed to share them with someone. With you, my readers. I have remained silent for a long time, not for a lack of things to share. Something else. I don’t know what to label it, but a few moments ago, I had an idea. Remember, it is just that, an idea. I knew immediately that in order to flesh it out, I would need to write about it. I also knew if I wanted to discuss, and heaven forbid, ever act on this, I would need to share it with others. This is why I have made my (hopefully triumphant) return to blogging.

I realize that those of you reading this are expecting me to talk about social justice, and I will, but I couldn’t start there. I need to talk about a few other (seemingly arbitrary, but hopefully, in the end, clarifying) things first.

I went to the library today. Books have always been a huge part of my life (and always will). While I went in with a list of a few books that I planed on picking up, I of course got more than I was bargaining for. In a recent conversation with my friend Rickk, we were discussing the way  in which cover art for a book sometimes acts as a (positive) catalyst for picking up and reading books that one had no intention of reading otherwise.  When I found myself once again at the library, I had my book list in hand. I went in for three books, but came out with four. When I went to pick up one of the books, I noticed another volume, a few spines over, that caught my eye. It was the bright cover art that made me take notice, although once I pulled it out of the line-up, I was greeted by a title I was familiar with.

I had never read this book before, but the familiarity came from the fact I have already liked it on Facebook, and have for some time. I loved the concept and so thought that a day might come around when I would make contact with this book. Turns out that day was today. I had just finished reading Robert Silverberg’s Book The World Inside. (This is the book the sparked the cover art discussion between Rickk and me in the first place).

The World Inside

Rickk's Copy

I was in need of something else to read, so I decided to read Slanted and Enchanted next. I have not finished the book, nor am I far into it. The reason is that it gave me an idea and I decided I needed to blog instead.

For those of you reading who don’t know much about me, I am earning (and I do mean EARNING) my IMA (Individualized Master’s of Arts) at Goddard College. I study sex trafficking in social consciousness and explore new ways of thinking about sex trafficking (in hopes of developing my own discourse on alternative ways to think and act on the subject). Right now, sex trafficking (as part of human trafficking as a whole) is very much part of the zeitgeist that is America right now. This means that much of what is being done is by people in government and not for profits. This is good, and my suggestion is not that this stop. My other thought has been, another major part of the zeitgeist of the past few months has been the Occupy movements. More and more people are fed up with the mainstream and the corporate. The most untapped resource in America right now are the “indie” people. This group is growing by the day, and encompasses such a wide variety of people. It reasons that whatever they do get behind is bound to take off. As aforementioned, I am not suggesting that this no longer be a mainstream issue, I am suggesting that issues of social justice in general need to also become part of the current independent movements.

While I do have a particular heart and interest when it comes to sex trafficking, I think this is a smart move for all types of social justice everywhere. What I am not going to do is offer solutions about how to make this happen. I have an idea, but I don’t have an answer. If you reading this have suggestions or ideas, PLEASE let me know! Leave a comment in the comments section! I will also list personal contact information for myself at the bottom of the post.

Liberation and the meaning of Independence

On a related topic, and one that I think fits nicely here (as I certainly do not have enough fodder for it yet to consider making it an independent post) is the connection between what I call a rouge economy and reintegration. While I was also at the library this trip, I picked up and flipped through a copy of Wired magazine. I found an interesting article by Robert Capps titled “Why Black Market Entrepreneurs Matter to the World Economy.” In this interview with Robert Neuwirth, a journalist, Neuwirth asserts that “If System D [Neuwirth’s name for the black market] were a country, it would have the second-largest economy on earth, after the United States.” This is major. I also agree with Neuwirth that this is also a huge untapped area that needs to be tapped. One of the major issues when it comes to rescuing and rehabilitating sex trafficking victims is finding them a new role (read livelihood). This is especially crucial outside of the United States where there are less opportunities for sex trafficking’s overwhelmingly female victims.

In thier book Half the Sky, Kristof and WuDunn use this concept. In one of their stories about recusing a particular trafficking victim, they set her up with a stall and some merchandise in her local village bizarre as means of a business start up. According to them, she has been successful.

Half The SkyThis is where I leave you, me, us. Back at the beginning, with this idea. Let’s figure out how to marry independent culture, the new occupy uprisings and social justice.

Support Indie Art!

All pictures and hyperlinks should link to appropriate pages to find out more about the noun it represents. As always, support indepdent people. Start by supporting independent art. My friend Rickk‘s art can be found here:

Also, if anyone has any ideas, questions, etc… that they do not wish to leave in the comments sections, you can reach me here:

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