This word encapsulates everything that most inspires me in Paulo Freire. In my experience as an educator, as a person, as a woman in the world, transformation is a central desire, a permanent search for practices and ideas, and of ideas about practices. Freire reminds us that the meetings should be held with individuals who invent, create and recreate the world, transforming it. It is toward this horizon, toward this goal, that I move day by day as the unfinished teacher/learner that I am.
– Mônica Abreu
“The love of freedom and the respect for the freedom of others; the desire to help one’s people to help themselves, to mobilize themselves, to organize themselves to reconfigure their society. A clear sense of historical opportunity, an opportunity that does not lie outside us, at a certain juncture of time, expecting us to follow its path, but rather in the relationships between ourselves and time, in the intimacy of the happenings, in the interplay of the contradictions. Opportunities that we continue to create, to make within history itself. A history that punishes us when we do not take advantage of the opportunity or when we simply invent things in our own mind, without any foundation in the social interconnections.”
FREIRE, Paulo. Pedagogia da esperança: um reencontro com a pedagogia do oprimido. Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 1997, p. 87.
– Letícia Santos
My choice comes from something Paulo Freire said in an interview that really moved me: “I am an intellectual who is not afraid to be loving. I love people and I love the world. And it is because I love people and I love the world that I fight for social justice to be implanted ahead of charity.”
– Karina Fogaça
Consistency is an important word in my way of experiencing life. A phrase that summarizes this well comes from the book Pedagogia da autonomia, by Paulo Freire, which I always carry with me: “It is essential to decrease the distance between what you say and what you do, so that, at any given moment, your speech is your action.”
– Amanda Lopes
There was a moment when I discovered the weight and expectation that I was putting on words. On those I said and on those I received. I needed to cope with frustrations of words in the wind, empty of practices and intentions. I also saw that it was possible and delightful to bring charming words to my mouth, to make them flow from it, words that I gathered from poems and novels that please me and deserve more than just dwelling inside me.
I know that Paulo Freire had a life open to all the words. In transcendence for the love he nourished; in constant dialogue with the people for believing it was necessary “to grow and to change” with the human. And, above all, because I saw in them a way of constructing a world, a rewritten one. Word. A world changed by reading.
When I think about word, it is as though it were larger than itself or than what could be spoken. As though its significance bore everything that existed, and even what we cannot manage to express. I am in awe. I am fascinated. It is by it and with it that I walk. Rewriting worlds. With and without quote marks, Paulo.
I read Pedagogia do oprimido when I was a teenager and a concept that stayed with me was the “brand-new viable thing” or the “brand-new possible thing.” It was the idea that every situation had its respective horizon, that for every current action – limited by the interplay of forces, by the current capacity of who is acting, or other circumstances – there are possible futures which are less closed, more alive. This being the case, our task is always to know how to see the paths, even the hidden ones, that are available for broadening freedom, happiness. And then to know how to walk them. I believe that this is a crucial political teaching; I recall the philosophers Adorno and Horkheimer, who advised us to be “theoretic pessimists and practical optimists.” On the other hand, it is a concept that is aligned with what I would like to be able to follow in what I produce. They once said that the hallmark of Caetano Veloso’s work was his tendency and strength to “never repeat something he had already done.” That is beautiful. I like the writers, the musicians who, when you look at them, “are not there” (to allude to the film about the multi-personalities of Bob Dylan) where you expect them to be. These artists, these thinkers – including Paulo Freire, ask themselves: what is the step to take now? And they give this answer: a step that has never been taken. When I was a child, I saw in my grandfather’s agenda a quote by Nietzsche: “What good is a book that does not even carry us beyond all books?” I don’t even know if our mustached friend ever really said this, but I see a potential in it. Perhaps I have never left the shadow (the light?) of this phrase – and this is why I read Paulo Freire’s “brand-new viable thing” also as a shout: what good is a political, intellectual or artistic action that does not carry us beyond all the pasts?
Paulo Freire’s great lesson for me is how he spurred us to reinvent things. Reinvention is revolution. It is resisting through new forms. It is seeing oneself in the world and in all the social relationships – in the family, at work, at school, in the community, in the state – to know the context and to transform one’s reality, together with the collective, in search of an autonomous and liberating existence.
“At rock bottom, the essential thing in the relationships between teacher and learner, between authority and freedoms, between fathers, mothers, sons and daughters is the reinvention of the human being in the learning of one’s autonomy” (in Pedagogia da autonomia).
“Knowledge, on the other hand, requires a curious presence of the subject in face of the world. It requires a transformative action on reality. It demands a constant search. It gives rise to invention and reinvention” (in Extensão ou comunicação?).
Saudade, for me, is more than a word. It walks hand-in-hand with me, it has been part of who I am, for at least half my life. Since I started living far from my family, since I left my birth city, I have perceived that health is the feeling that transforms us. We become who we are according to the relationship we have with health. The health we feel from a person or from a place never goes away: it turns us into someone else. Since, in the thought of Paulo Freire, the generative words serve as a basis for the classes and lessons, there could be no other choice. This is the word that has taught me the most up till now.
– Fernanda Castello Branco
“I would say to us, as educators: woe to those, among us, who no longer have the ability to dream, to summon up the courage to denounce and to announce. Woe to those who never visit the days to come, the future, for being so profoundly engaged with today, the here and the now; woe to those who instead of taking this constant journey to tomorrow, are tied to a past of exploitation and routine.”
FREIRE, Paulo. “Educação: o sonho possível.” In: BRANDÃO, Carlos R. (ed.). O educador: vida e morte. Rio de Janeiro: Graal, 1982
– Tayná Menezes