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East Coker

As I write, I am beginning to see learning as based on hermeneutics. We learn the world by reading it. We learn about our self by turning in and listening. In all this, we observe and hopefully find meaning. It could be in the form of words, images, and is just as easily what is left out. T. S. Eliot reminds us of the challenges of learning language and finding meaning them in. We learn, unlearn, relearn all in cyclical fashion. We read the world and try to make new sense of it with each iteration as we move back and forth between the whole and the parts to make sense of either. It might seem all a waste, but perhaps it is not.

So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years–

Twenty years largely wasted, the years l’entre deux guerres

Trying to use words, and every attemp

Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure

Because one has only learnt to get the better of words

For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which

One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture

Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate

With shabby equipment always deteriorating

In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,

Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer

By strength and submission, has already been discovered

Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope

To emulate–but there is no competition–

There is only the fight to recover what has been lost

And found and lost again and again; and now, under conditions

That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss

For us, there is only the trying, The rest is not our business.

About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

10 responses »

  1. So beautifully illustrated as state of mind!
    I think it, too. Interpretation makes us different and beautiful… the synergy of our senses and thoughts trying to find answers, to understand, to ‘read’ the world…

  2. One of my favourite thought process concepts – hermeneutics and one of my favourite poets! Great post.

  3. I love T. S. . I don’t always understand what he is saying, but love the way he says it. >KB

  4. “…and every attempt/Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure….” Fantastic! Thank you for the intriguing and stimulating post, Ivon.

  5. Excellent. I really love TS Elliot. Thanks Ivon.


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