Conscientization, Paulo Freire. Creativization, Frank Hilario

clip_image002MANILA: It is Good Friday! 29 March 2013 and I have just invented a process whereby you, whoever you are, are guaranteed to become creative, to generate more ideas where you had none before. I Filipino educator and social mind reformer call it Creativization, a new approach to creative thinking. You can do it!

Are you following me? Creativization is actually a new name for an old practice of mine. How else do you explain how I have blogged as well as uploaded to the American Chronicle online at least 1,200,000 words (1,200 essays of an average of 1,000 words each) in the last 7 years alone? That's at least 3 essays a week! And each of those is tightly written, yes, with a beginning, middle and end, not simply rambling thoughts as in hundreds of thousands of run-of-the-mill blogs.

I have also come to realize that Creativization is in contradistinction to Conscientization, which is the creation of Brazilian educator and social reformer Paulo Freire (1921-1997), which is based on critical thinking.

I can't blame him. Freire's family suffered during the Great Depression of the 1930s; later, he said that "poverty and hunger severely affected his ability to learn" (Wikipedia). He said, "Experience showed me once again the relationship between social class and knowledge." In 1967, he published his first book, Education As The Practice Of Freedom. His most famous book contains his approach: The Pedagogy of the Oppressed (first published in Portuguese in 1968, translated into English and published in 1970). I am a certified teacher, graduate of the University of the Philippines in 1965, so I should know what pedagogy is all about.

Paulo Freire's Conscientization is Liberation Pedagogy, and Pope Francis would not have approved. It teaches: "Liberate your self." The phrase comes from me, but I think I have captured in 3 words what Freire fought for his whole life. Oppressor and Oppressed, Conscientization is your approach to advance to Critical Consciousness, so that you will learn to liberate yourself from the oppression of the upper class in society.

Conscientization vs Creativization is Critical Thinking vs Creative Thinking. There is a world of a difference, an entire universe of thinking. Paulo Freire would say, "Liberate yourself from poverty." Frank Hilario would say, "Liberate yourself first from the poverty of your thinking." Freire is referring to the world of the Oppressor vs Oppressed, which is the world of the one-track mind. Frank Hilario is referring to the world of Critical Thinkers vs Creative Thinkers, where social classes cannot be erased overnight but social thinking can be.

As processes for learning, both Conscientization and Creativization can utilize the same images and metaphors as aids to understanding and yet come up learning differently. How differently? Like this: Conscientization will describe The Universe, while Creativization will describe Parallel Universes. One is mind-limiting, the other mind-expanding.

Oppression, oppressors and oppressed are metaphors; they can be modified or even changed as they are not objective but subjective. Slavery is not a metaphor; it is a reality that you may not accept but, if you are the slave, you are owned by somebody and he can use you the way he likes. What Freire refers to as oppressors are not masters; the oppressed are not slaves - they can think their way out of the situation if they want to. That is the whole point of my Creativization.

Freire said, "To speak a true word is to transform the world" (Pedagogy of the Oppressed). That is confrontational. It is also delusional. We cannot transform the world; we can only transform ourselves. And that begins with creative thinking. Creativization.

Conscientization is a limited "practice of freedom" that Freire talked about; it is confined within the reality described in the world of the Oppressor and the Oppressed and is not intended as a leap of faith to the world outside, out of that limited history-of-class-struggle universe. Creativization is that leap of faith.

I first met the concept of Conscientization in 1985 when I worked as an extension specialist for the Farming Systems & Soil Resources Institute (FSSRI) of the University of the Philippines Los Baños. Ms Virginia Cardenas, the head of our extension division, introduced us to the concept in an FSSRI seminar. At first blush, I thought it was a great way to teach the illiterate in an informal way or in a non-classroom about the realities of Oppressor and Oppressed classes of people. Some 27 years later, at 72, in my creative attempt to come up with a name for a technique of opening the mind to alternative ways of thinking, I remembered Freire's Conscientization and in parallel, I came up with Creativization. Except that their names are similar, the concepts are the exact opposite of each other.

Frank Hilario's Creativization is Liberation Ecology, where ecology refers to the study of the totality. It's holistic. It teaches: "Liberate your mind." Learn to liberate your thinking from the oppression of the so-called higher thinking in society. Creativization is your approach to advance to Creative Consciousness, so that you will learn to liberate yourself from the oppression of limited, Black or White, Yes or No Thinking.

Conscientization is based solely on, no matter what name they call it, critical thinking: logical, vertical, serial, sequential, or hierarchical thinking. Critical thinking can come out only with either a "Yes" or "No" and never the "Maybe" of fuzzy logic. On the other hand, Creativization is based on creative thinking, and can come out with many possibilities, many kinds and any number of Yes and No and Maybe answers you can choose from.

Not only are the differences quantitative; they are also qualitative:

Conscientization constructs one reality, always of an Oppression, and stops there; there is only one interpretation and only one way to get out of that situation. Conscientization is sure of itself, so it cannot graduate to being creative. If Conscientization were to be summarized in 2 words, it would be, "Not right." Or, "Not this."

Creativization constructs one reality, always of an Occasion, a realization, and then considers many possibilities with it, not necessarily to avoid that situation but more to improve on it. Creativization is unsure of itself, and that's why it's so creative! If Creativization were to be summarized in 2 words, it would be, "What if?" or George Bernard Shaw's famous "Why not?"

In Conscientization, the battle is between the Oppressor and the Oppressed, and your critical mind limits you to fighting. In Creativization, there is no battle; instead, there are choices of action, and your creative mind generates them. Conscientization imprisons you; Creativization liberates you.

Education is the practice of freedom only if it is creative. Conscientization instructs on a limited scale; Creativization inspires on a very wide latitude. Conscientization is limits to thought; Creativization is limits to naught.

Liberate your self, Paulo Freire says. Liberate your mind, Frank Hilario says.

For your education, whoever you are, this educator has just invented 4 different passwords to open 4 different doors of creativity anytime. To see is to believe!

Creativization is what I am prepared to demonstrate to anyone who cares to learn beyond his biases and prejudices, beyond his exalted position, or ponderous credentials, or prized possessions. So, if your group, club, society or association care for a 3-4 hours of a lecture-demo of "Creativization: How To Liberate Your Mind," email me at frankahilario@gmail.com. All I need is your LCD projector and my cup of coffee. Your place, not mine. That is where I will teach you the 4 passwords. Yes, it's free. Liberate your mind!

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