Deeper into the Slave Archetype
Listening to life within the Slave Archetype places me solidly into a tension I wrestle with all the time in what I do (professionally): How does one invite another to learn something s/he does not necessarily want to learn? Particularly if s/he doesn’t see much value in learning (it), even sees “what is to be learned” as a conflict, so is predisposed against learning (it)?
I named last time how I flinch(ed) each time Quanita would use the language about being a Divine Slave. That’s a significant piece in this re-storying…resistant energies, internal defense against the framework she used, an obstacle to seeing or sensing what medicine is here. My/our students will have a similar resistance, I’m sure. Whether of African-, European-, or other-descent, a human being will resist the shadow, unresolved pains of slavery. The resistances may be even more extreme as the intellectual settings will seem to invite debate, argument, perspective-and-counter-perspective(s). The tension, said another way then: How does one hold a teaching/learning environment such that students will encounter or receive the medicine here, honoring their resistances/defense mechanisms while not being limited by them? I’ve learned it’s important to honor defense mechanisms, to avoid conceptually violent pedagogies rooted in power-over hierarchies of higher education. (Many progressives do not agree with me here…). The trick is not letting them limit the learning journey.
I remember exploring this tension within one of my favorite (old) movies: The Hunt for Red October. Jack Ryan, a CIA analyst, is asking himself questions, trying to anticipate the plan of a Russian Commander he believes is trying to defect: “How does a commander get his troops safely off the submarine, to defect with it in one piece? How does a Russian Commandant get his troops to want to get off a nuclear submarine?” The insight is, of course, a fake radiation-leak, which would require the soldiers to abandon ship, leaving the officers below.
The point for me in this film-metaphor: How do we create learning environments that encourage students to learn love and belonging underneath and despite positional power? How do we get students to want to get off that ship, learning surrender to Godde, learning spiritual stewardship in which a leader is not in charge?
How do we get students to want to learn seeing personal and collective Life anew within the Slave archetype?
Because freedom, sacred abundance, inexpressible joy and belonging are counter-intuitively on the ‘other side’ of a surrender to the Divine. Power-drenched habits of mind cannot see surrender as freedom or abundance, only willed submission. One has to un-see into a free-fall of trust, in a sense, which so many of us know not how to do…or perhaps better, have less and less experience of it, depending upon circumstances. Those with positional power will have the least experience of it, so will be the least skilled, all while developing and refining systems that prioritize positional power…
How do we move ourselves/others into wanting to learn surrender?