Just finished reading Pedagogy of Freedom by Paulo Freire. I had read it years ago along with Pedagogy of the Oppressed, but it’s the kind of book I feel the need to re-read; I always discover something new every time. 

Freire wrote about our “unfinishedness” as human beings, and this unfinishedness is essential to our human condition and key to driving the curiosity we have that enables us to be engaged learners. To quote him: “Whenever there is life, there is unfinishedness, though only among women and men is it possible to speak of an awareness of unfinishedness…I like being a human person because even though I know that the material, social, political, cultural, and ideological conditions in which we find ourselves almost always generate divisions that make difficult the construction of our ideals of change and transformation, I know also that the obstacles are not eternal.” And further on he relates this unfinishedness with our ability to learn: “The real roots of the political nature of education are to be found in the educability of the human person. This educability, in turn, is grounded in the radical unfinishedness of the human condition and in our consciousness of this unfinished state.” 

We know that there is more to learn, we are aware that things can be different, things can change, that there is indeed an unfinishedness about ourselves.

One thought on “Unfinishedness

  • Dear Paul,
    It was just once in my life for no more than 30 minutes I met Paulo Freire. My husband is journalist and had scheduled an interview with him, here in São Paulo. It was my chance to see and listen to Freire. So, I became my husband´s driver and took him to Freire´s house.
    Freire did not talk about theory of education. He talked about the bishop of Olinda, his close friend, who was a very famous opponent of military dictatorship in Brazil during sixties and seventies, Dom Helder Camara. One myth of the Education talking about a myth of the HR Defenders.
    All Freire´s paintings and pictures on the wall and the smell of food coming from the kitchen were lovely. It was an unforgetable morning. Freire was wearing white clothes, confortably sat in the middle of the living room. This image of the myth is still clear in my mind.


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