Posted in Articles Annotated, Ways of Knowing

The Western Structure of Knowledge

An Annotated Article: Grosfoguel, R. (2013). The Structure of Knowledge in Westernized Universities Epistemic Racism/Sexism and the Four Genocides/Epistemicides of the Long 16th Century. Human Architecture: Journal Of The Sociology Of Self-Knowledge11(1), 73-90. Retrieved from: http://scholarworks.umb.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1445&context=humanarchitecture

It is the position of this post that the western structure of knowledge centres on the impact of Rene Descartes’s writings in the early 1600’s. This is an article summary, see the article URL link below to review the article and it’s reference. This article discusses that the mid-17th century Cartesian “I think, therefore I am” (ego cogito) and the 150 years of “I conquer, therefor I am” (ego conquiro) is merged by the genocide/epistemicide of the “I exterminate, therefore I am” (ego extermino). The ‘I exterminate’ is the socio-historical structural mediation between the ‘I conquer’ and the ‘I think’: as in

“I conquer, therefore I am” leads to, “I exterminate, therefore I am” leads to “I think, and therefore I am like God”.

How Descartes Influenced Western Ways of Knowing:
Descartes ‘I think, therefor I am’, creates a separation between the mind and body; a dualism. It is universal in its knowing, like the God-Eye of post-Roman Christianity. The ‘I think, therefor I am’ learns certitude in truth by conducting an internal dialogue within oneself, to ask questions and come up with answers in an internal monologue with self. (Grosfoguel 76) The fact this internal monologue does not occur in a social relation with others is the initial beginning of the Western Ways of Knowing being detached from the environment of others, viewing them as inferior. Objectivity is interpreted to mean neutrality, whereas Subjectivity infers biased, invalid, irrelevant, unserious, that is, inferior knowledge. (Grosfoguel 76)

How Male European Elite Dominate Western Thought:
The Imperial Mind approach is based on 150 years of conquering and colonial expansion beginning in 1492. The segway between the “I Conquer, Therefore I Am” and the “I Think, Therefore I Am” required one more connector to link the two from “I am Master of All I See” to “I Am Like God”. That is what led to the extermination and genocide of non-Europeans and Women. It is this “I Exterminate, Therefore I Am” that is the causal link from an all-conquering male European elite to an all knowing God-like male European elite and the forefathers of our modern Western Ways of Knowing and Western Academic leadership.

Summary:
Thus, modern Descartian male ego centered perspectives continue to dominate the Ways of Knowing, extinguishing as inferior any perspective outside the limited historical perspective of the racist/sexist Western Academic world view. (Grosfoguel 88).  Grosfoguel recommends breaking with the male european based epistemologies, as they are based on racist and sexist genocidal practices: that universal conformism is inherently corrupted due to its corrupted source.

This recommendation supports the breakdown of modern academic ways of knowing by embracing other world views and diversifying epistemological understandings of ways of knowing to include non-Europeans and Woman as having equal ways of knowing just as certain as others.

Posted in Photos

New Years Day 2016

This is great! Starting the New Year with a trip out to the Banff Park Boundary on Highway 11 and taking some photos to enjoy the incredible weather (remember it’s January 1st, 2016 in the Rocky Mountains). A picnic lunch with our favorite cheese, fresh fruit, some crackers, a hot thermos of coffee, great company and a camera. Along with the spectacular natural views we enjoyed some great company together. Here are some mementos of that happy day bringing in the New Year 2016!

Kootenay Plains, heading west.

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Preacher’s Point heading to Two O’Clock Creek

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Beautiful, Natural Sunshine

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Glacier Covered in Snow

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Whirlpool Point in Ice

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Have any New Years Day photo’s (family friendly)?

Posted in Featured, Social Work

What are my strengths?

What are my strengths?
I am able to use my intellect to break large problems down into manageable chunks and set goals and tasks to complete those chunks. I also have the ability to see a vision of what the expected outcome should look like and then can work backwards to figure out what needs to happen to reach that vision. I believe it’s called reverse engineering, something like that; to disassemble something, analyze its components and gain understanding of how it works in detail. I’ve applied this again and again to complex issues to better understand what my role is within generating solutions. I’m empathic with others, a very good listener and again, can set a vision of the future that inspires others to expand their awareness and increase their efforts to excel as individuals, families and as social workers and caseworkers on team and agency goals.

Posted in Supervision

Me as a Supervisor

What key underlying beliefs about people influence me?
I’ve learned that people are generally kind to themselves and others and expect the same in return from those they meet. The fact that Social Work addresses numerous human experiences that don’t bring out the best in others, due to; homelessness, mental health, addictions, social isolation, oppression, discrimination and a wide variety of micro and macro issues of different forms that somehow mask or cover over a person’s intrinsic kindness. After working with a host of different people I continue to believe people are kind.

As a role, I see my role as an influencer or of some inspiration to those who need it most. When I work with individual’s I remember that inside this person, no matter the circumstances I meet them in, is a basic human being able to care for themselves and others. I base this on a spiritual belief that I’ve experienced in life, that each of us has in internal quality that exists, whether we acknowledge or not.

Think about each of us having a little spark inside of us, a small flickering light and despite any differences between us, I try to have my flickering light, my spark talk to that other person’s flickering light, talking right past their human pain experienced in these moments. It’s by talking to this part of another person I can reach them and inspire them to believe they can change. It’s an interesting perspective to have, one I’ve had for many years now that I use regularly.

Posted in Supervision

Me as a Leader

What key underlying beliefs about work teams influence me?
I’ve worked in a wide variety of work teams, both non-social work and social work related. I’ve observed and witnessed some horrific bullying and harassment in the workplace, including social work worksites. As a follower of other leaders, I’ve tried to excel at what I do, to carry a significant amount of the burden by following a few actions. I volunteer for jobs no one else wants. I see myself as being able to make a difference in some way – I don’t even have to know how I’m going to make a difference but if I apply myself, learn the role and its functions I know I can meet goals and follow timelines. Doing this, I’ve learned odd jobs no one else takes the time to learn but I have and it has been noticed by my leaders; both positively in that they can assign me work and I get it done to negatively, in that some leaders have been intimidated by my approach and seek to demean and minimize me as I am a threat to their sense of security. I’ve kept hard work, patience, tolerance of others and fairness or justice in my thoughts as I deal with various people in the workplace.

As a leader, I’ve tried to create teams similar to those I worked well in, where creative ideas are supported, critical thinking is encouraged so we can all learn what action is best. I’ve cultivated supervisees to grow personally in their self-awareness and professionally in viewing themselves as an integral part of case planning and execution of tasks to reach successes. It truly is an amazing experience to cultivate new professional identities to excel, challenge themselves, and even surpass me in their determination, insights, goals and skills.

I’m told repeatedly I am a good supervisor. Each time I am I give them my boss’s name and phone number and invite them to call her and tell her what they see in me. I’ve watched workers grow beyond the social work front-line to change careers, get graduate level degrees, take on higher responsibilities with confidence and self-awareness in their strengths and capabilities.

My current work as a supervisor is based on two features, one is a clear one-to-one dyadic supervisory relationship with each staff member that allows privacy, trust and engagement with each other, openness to challenge, to change. I combine this with team goals being established matching our agency’s strategic goals and how we work together as a group, supporting each other and asking for support when needed.