points of departure
learning ro autonomy
updated 22nd March 2006
philosophical discourse on freedom of choice - en route á La Bastille
Peasants stream into downtown Paris, yelling "nous avons trois priorités
- liberté! liberté! et liberté!".
Until, that is, some member of the awkward squad pipes up...
"Attendez vous a minute! Theres no real liberté without
egalité. I mean, just pensez about it: if people go around asserting
liberté, with no idea of egalité, then their liberté
becomes somebody elses futilité! - and that cant be
..."Liberté ET EGALITÉ!"
But they are not yet at The Bastille; and as it hoves into view...
"Attendez vous, encore!"
"Sacré Bleu! Maintenant quoi, Henri?"
"Ive been thinking: theres no egalité worth having
without some feeling for other peoples needs!"
(In another life, Henri would have made a pretty-good careers adviser.)
"Mais Henri, do other people have needs?"
"Oui! We must show care and respect for other people - a sense of
attachment to others, a respect for their humanity, a valuing of their
"...Oh! you mean fraternité!"
"Well, I was trying to avoid chauvinistic language; but - if you
can think of women as brothers - yes, fraternité!"
The demands are re-drafted..
"What do we want?
"A society based on a thoughtful analysis of social conditions, which
show that there is no worthwhile freedom - or possibility of sustainable
choice - without justice; and there can be no defensible justice without
some sense - on the part of each of us - of attachment to others; and
this means offering due respect to other peoples rights, feelings
"When do we want it?"
That was, of course, the academic peasants shout. By the time they
reached The Bastille, normal Gauls had got it down to a stylish three-word
phrase. And it was not "liberté! liberté! et liberté!".
Is there something here for
careers work and citizenship? Well, if you think that there are not, in
this work, issues for access and attachment - as well as choice - you
have simply not being paying attention. To acknowledge this is not to
make things complicated, it is to face up to the complexity that has always
been there. And it is particularly there in the lives of les sans culottes
- or, as we Brits refer to them, the excluded.
with permission, from the Journal of The National Institute for
Careers Education and Counselling
are in 'Points of Departure' section
of the magazine
in The Career-learning Café
about possibilities for enabling
another sideways look