Written Sept 2016 for teaching appointment at Naropa University:
My pedagogy is based on reconciling the analytical and intuitive aspects of the mind. In my traditional engineering education, the focus was primarily on analytical skill-building where intuitive knowing was written off as luck or laughed about. I believe, however, that intuitive skills can be just as finely tuned as the analytical and are equally as important for discernment and problem-solving. When I speak of intuitive I don’t necessarily mean metaphysical insight or power. For me the intuitive mind is more akin to the subconscious, emotional and sensory aspects of ourselves. As I believe many scholars at Naropa University will agree these spaces within ourselves are capable of processing incredible amounts of information and teaching us tremendous things about ourselves and our external world.
Another tenant of my pedagogy is based on the idea that there are no absolutes. That even ‘facts’ and ‘data’ can be fallible when certain assumptions about our agreed upon systems are challenged. I often say “The relative over the absolute…but not absolutely”. This speaks to the idea that we should learn to think in a system of relationships rather than building empires of conclusions on foundations that crumble when there is a once in a lifetime flood in the desert.
These philosophies are directly related to why I have such in interest in teaching this class. Since graduate school I have been challenging the status quo of the scientific paradigm. I quit my job as an engineer in 2014 after participating in a somatic ensemble process lead by a friend completing her MFA thesis at Naropa. After learning about how powerful the contemplative process could be I set out to determine how it could be used as a tool to reclaim the scientific method as a truly holistic method of inquiry and self-fulfillment. Through the past 2 years of development I have studied and taught on subjects relating to permaculture, earth patterns and complex systems, biomimicry, mindfulness, community building, afro-futurism and quantum physics.
A huge theme that has emerged out of my research has been the development of tools and techniques that inspire earth stewardship and community relationship building. From placemaking to story-telling; new and old social technologies are being put to work in order to heal and engage with our trauma-inflicted ecologies, communities and personal spaces. A significant portion of the class would be dedicated to exploring and experimenting with different social technologies that build enthusiasm and collective power.
Much of the wisdom I would draw for such a course would come from texts on Gaia theory, including those of James Lovelock and another that touches on a more modern connection to molecular biology. Also we would use Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions, parts of Darwin’s Origin of the Species along with other science philosophy supplements. Furthermore, being a woman of African descent I have studied a number of afro-centric and other indigenous cosmologies and futurism texts that I would excerpt from as well.
Overall the course would be a deconstruction and analysis of scientific paradigms and a co-creation of models and tools that are more appropriate for our urgent ecological and social shifts that we are experiencing today. I want to help inspire and empower dynamic critical thinkers that aren’t afraid to abandon their previously loved and cherish perspectives and embrace the radical possibility that paradoxical truths can in fact be held as valid in the same space. I’m also prepared to challenge my own assumptions and enter into this collaborative space with the new generation of solutionaries. Life and the universe is an ever evolving, shifting, growing, retreating, dismantling, exploding, emerging, amazing organism and it would be a true gift to explore these processes with eager and open minds.
Kendra is the founder of 4Love+Science and works as a Science and Community Consultant