Publish at 24 novembre 2021 Updated 23 décembre 2021

The pedagogy of joy

Putting imagination at work

source : Pixabay

The power of emotions

Emotions are at the heart of our lives. They are at the heart of learning. Through them we feel the world and know that our human experience has meaning. All too often our lives are dominated by the root emotion of fear, while the root emotion of joy has incomparable virtues.

The Dalai Lama teaches us to observe our emotions so that we are not overwhelmed by them. He even created a atlas of emotions to help us navigate this world. There is even a geography of emotions. Depending on our mental models we apprehend events that happen to us differently. We might even experience separate worlds.

The world of projections

We live in a world of projects through which we seek to control future outcomes. The "no-projects" are the poor relations of school guidance, business, and life at all. From our projects, we carve out time, we plan, we set goals, we calibrate resources, we constantly measure to make sure that what we planned happens. We evaluate the returns on investment.

This world of choppy temporalities reassures us because it gives us the impression that every slot of time is well used, that our lives and businesses are following the best possible flow. This world is a legacy and extension of the seasons that punctuate our existences with their regularity.

The intensity of our lives is increasing, with the heightened sense of the beginning and end of the world provided by a better knowledge of its origin and the realization that we have entered the Anthropocene, a time when the human footprint is irreversible. It is a matter of intensifying each moment. There is no time to waste in enjoying all the pleasures when we know that humanity is a tiny parenthesis in the history of the universe.

We give ourselves the impression of directing the course of events even as we rationalize a posteriori what is happening and imposing itself on us. What if at the heart of the movement of this world is fear? Fear of the unknown that must be reduced to a minimum to remain peaceful. Fear of running out of things and living without comfort, fear of dying. This world pushes us to accumulate more and more to keep away the fear of lack and emptiness. The joys that this state brings are formed from the pleasures that we drain away, more than from moments of fullness and welcoming what is simply before our eyes here and now.

There are alternatives to the world of projects and projection and its corollary, accumulation, whose root emotion is fear. Fear of lacking and even worse of living with the uncertainty of tomorrow. Everything happens as if each person were thinking independently of the others, each one seeking assurance and salvation for himself, watching for his happiness, burning his resources and his life as quickly as possible. The constant projection and control is exhausting. Our emotions are constantly agitated by favourable or unfavourable prospects. Managers are masters at regulating the flow of matter and information. They claim to manage time. But, many times they have cut themselves off from their emotions.

Imagination worlds

Imagination worlds whose root emotion is joy exist. When creative imagination takes over, it frees the future from the burdensome expectations of projection, success or failure. Imagination is the power in each moment to exist and to choose from the webs of life's events those where the potential for fulfillment is strongest.

It is the power to look at the world as it could be and not just as it is presented to us or projected. Imagination creates all the more life when it is lived in collective intelligence. Imagining together how the world is changing brings more joy than following the utopia of a visionary who pushes his invention and seeks to control everything. Collective intelligence connected to imagination produces a surplus of vitality because it leads to learning together from emergences, from what comes. Learning together is equipping us against uncertainties by betting on links rather than goods.

When imagination takes over from planning projection, positive emotions are summoned. A mixture of excitement and curiosity that bounces off events or rushes in. Creativity takes hold of us and feeds meaning. The consequences of what happens are not failures or successes but opportunities to do things differently.

Considerations for training

Psychologists have managed to model ways of being in the world with fixed minds projecting the same states over and over again and ever-developing minds demonstrating resilience and alternatives to everything.

In developing these hypotheses, I wonder, if training in seeking to control everything through its repositories, certifications, programs would not obey the world of projections and its root emotions of fear. The fixed mind produces this illusion of control. The fear of missing a test, of being badly marked, badly positioned in the group, badly recognized. Worry about missing out on a career path, a career opportunity, or anxiety about the future are perhaps the fruits of overly fixed projections and expectations.

Imagination is more open. It induces creative learning through the connections between situations, people, and ideas. Being less goal-oriented and focused, it frees one from the weight of success, the constraint of linear time and the means to achieve it.

By promoting imagination as a driver of learning, training could nurture more joy, the ability to bounce back and adapt, and to see opportunities or some perceive threats. Training should resolutely focus on producing minds that are continuously developing, curious and eager to move and explore. It is by opening up imaginations that it does this.

This imagination-based approach I call "joy pedagogy". It is based on pleasure, discovery, creativity.


The Express. Dalai Lama creates an atlas of emotions

Wikipedia. Emotional geography


Growth or fixed mentality

Cindy de Smet, Mary-Beatrice Raileanu, Margarida Romero. A review of the literature on creativity in educational sciences in French-speaking countries. Mcgill Journal of Education, Mcgill University, 2021, pp.588-618. ffhal-03406774

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