The Social Artist – reflection

When I returned from teaching abroad to finish my undergraduate degree, I was not expecting to truly engage in my coursework.  I had planned to complete the necessary tasks to obtain my parchment and had written off any naive desire to engage in the big questions of life.  My first day in class at Augustana banished that thought as I suddenly had names and theories to analyze my experiences in other countries over the past 4 years.  I realize now that this was my first taste of reflection, and I was immediately hooked.

The process of engaging the world with a set of questions and theoretical tools in the hopes of coming to some kind of understanding of how this crazy train fits itself together is the joy of the human project.  It’s the motivation behind learning – we want life to be easier, more rewarding, more enriching, more fair, and if we can determine why it is not this way, perhaps we can unlock the mystery that would lead us to our own utopia.  If we are sensitive enough, we move from examining the ticking mess of the outside world to scrutinizing our own reactions and interactions with our existence.

This process of reflection is not always a given.  There are many ways we have learned to refrain from asking questions of those things that are ‘working’ – if it’s not broke, don’t fix it – but there are cultural norms, systems of power, political agendas, and personal relationships that are not actually ‘functioning’ though they seem to be ‘working’ when analyzed with the untrained eye.  It is only through exercising our critical reflection skills that we may have a chance to understand our own KEY role in life and the greater world.  Suddenly our actions have meaning, our thoughts and ideas have influence, and we begin to consciously create the world we want to live in, rather than blindly reproducing the world we have been taught.


4 Responses to “The Social Artist – reflection”

  1. If you haven’t read The Power of Habit, you should. It talks about this in great detail. How so much of our lives and realities are just because something worked, it became a habit, and we don’t really even know what it serves. Also, how can we change that? Super good reading.

  2. onepercentyellow Says:

    Thanks Jess! I’ll check it out. 🙂

  3. Hi Leslie I enjoyed this very much.

    I always wonder if people could be self reflective and/or critically reflective and then NOT engage in action. To me the process of critical thinking has led me to be an activist, they are not separate.

    I love that the idea of community is linked to reflection here as well, that we look to others to reflect our own multitude of selves back to us. That it is not an atomized process. It indeed does make life REAL and so much more meaningful
    thank you for posting!

  4. Hello onepercentyellow,

    You, Open Access Week virtual door prize winner, you. Could you contact me? 🙂


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