Oct 26, 2007

Teacher's authority.

In Korea, there is a old saying, 君師父一體, which means king, parent and teacher are same. The concept came from Confucianism. During Korea government was ruled by military dictators,1961~1993, it was quite strongly emphasized. Everybody can guess the reason. They exploited the old concept to make their political power stronger.

The concept is based on the hierarchy, which means everybody is belong to their king as well as they are belong to their parent. The relationship between parent and son is inherited by genetic system. But the relationship between king and everybody is made by the concept. And it is utilized by many eastern kingdoms in history regardless the Confucius's original motive.

What I want to say is that the concept made an illusion that there is a relationship between nation and people and we have to obey the authority of nation. It is meaningless separating nation from ourself. They are same. It is a kind of idolatry, like separating God from ourselves.

In addition, the position of teacher is quite interesting. Because I can find old eastern education and recent western education are in common. In history, western education system developed in order to let people adapt modern society such as factory systems. Before the modern society, for example, a farmer did not need to work in schedule or did not need to work together. And they did not need to seat on a chair for 9 hours a day. The modern education system which has a class, many students, one president of students, and one teacher who has strong authority is designed following factory system which has one working place, many workers, one president of union, and one director who has strong authority. The school system designed to make student adapt factory system easily, replacing a class to factory, replacing teacher to employer. And thereby obeying teacher plays quite serious role in modern education system.

Considering western modern education system, we can find common in the old saying. The obeying to king is beautified, in the name of teacher.

I don't think there could be a reason we have to give teachers authority. I guess the Confucius's original meaning is that we must be close to king and teacher as well as to parent, and it is not about authority. I think his saying is polluted by many people who can get benefits. Unfortunately I don't think we can find his original theory.


Anonymous said...

This is the best passage I have ever seen in your blog. The reasoning way is so clear and structured that I have to agree with you in some points. The nation and religion shares some common features as we have discussed after lunce one day, It make me clearer than before about why I love my country and why some people believe in God or Anla...
Thanks for talking with me...the time we spend together enlightened me a lot...
I am looking forward to seeing more articles like this here...

Black Beauty

Hellen said...

There has been a huge bunch of political philosophers discussing about the relationship between the state and individuals,like Machiavelli, Jean-Jacques Rousseau,Hegel,Hobbes,and of course Karl Marx,Michel Foucault,etc.

For example, In Rousseau's understanding, individuals conform to the law of the state because thejr ancestors have signed a "social contract" .

I don't think the relationship between teachers and students is completely parallell to that of the state and individual. Such "big" comparison will probably prevent you from getting into the details or substances. It is true that authority appears everywhere in a modern world,some of which impedes social innovation.But without any authority, it also becomes problematic. If someone steals your money, the first thing you may do is to find a policeman. Is a policeman kind of the incarnation of the state authority?

My suggestion is to read more,and think more, observe more. Don't be hurry to make a final conclusion.

Anyway, we should be open to diverse opinions and theories.


Jay said...

What I wrote is quite controversial.
; In fact, I don't like discuss on web site.

Thank you for comments, and I wish to get a chance to talk about it face to face.

Thanks again.

Hellen said...

Further response:

Modern world is based on specialization. Teachers are supposed to be kind of specialist,in the same manner as doctors or engineers exist in our society. The authority that a teacher has is delegated by the parents of children and the whole society. Once the tie between of students and teachers breaks up(for example the student graduates from school) , the authority of teachers vanishes.

However, in Eastern ancient societies, a teacher was the teacher of someone in his whole life. The tie between the teacher and the student was much tighter than that in a democratic modern society. I guess this was partly due to the immobility of ancient society,where a teacher and a student usually lived in the same area. Furthermore, the whole system of social ethics have changed during the recent hundreds of years. People are more equal now than in they were in Feudal eras.

So why not be more optimistic about our era? Can your professor scold you or even whip you with a stick? In ancient times, they definitely could.

Jay said...

Thank you.
Next time I hope to write some articles about teacher, considering your comments.
Thanks again.

Petrik said...

dear jay.

first of all, i found hellen's comment very inspiring and would like to second her opinion.

moreover, i would like to develop one thought of her. jay, your argument mentioned an increased authority of teachers with the advent of the factory system. actually, i do think that quite the contrary is the case.
the ability to freely express your thoughts, the possibility to disagree with your teacher is something that emerged only in recent years. the importance of discussion instead of a one sided knowledge transfer.

i think that capitalism did not lock us up in a cage of power/authority. i think the opposite is true, without capitalism we would have never developed the freedom of thought which we can see right now.

this is because of the following reasons ( i do not claim to present a comprehensive list, just a some ideas)

1) without the surplus wealth of capitalism, there would be no room for free thinking. so many people can afford to be at a university, not only because they are filled with skills in order to e productive, but also because there is no need that everybody produces food in order to survive, we can afford to engage in thinking because our primary needs are satisfied.

2) a capitalist system lives from innovation, innovation without free thinking is a contradiction. marx's capital accumulation is clearly not the way to sucess, it is creative innovation, ideas matter!

3) the mere thought of being authoritative education being bad would have never developed without capitalism. the institutional form of education always lags behind the idea what good education is supposed to be because we are developing so fast. nobody would have dared to question a teachers authority in pre 1800 europe, however, our prosperity and ideas develop so fast that our new ideas are already better than the reality. new concepts are introduced everywhere right now. just have a look at the pisa education study or the various new and brilliant types of schooling that are fashionable nowadays (julia could talk to you endlessly about this topic)

finally, i would like to disagree with hellen. reading more is not always the key. people with lots of knowledge make also huge mistakes (marx, lenin, mao etc). its the quality of the thoughts. discussion is better than knowing a thousand books (although it does help!)

Jay said...

Thank you for your comment. But I just wonder why you criticize even what I have not mentioned. Plz feel free on my blog. :-)