Thanks for the apology, Jim, and I’ll offer one in return: I apologize if I read too quickly and with a bit too much defensiveness. As I emerge from the fieldwork, I continue processing out of my body its adaptations to the everyday authoritarian practices I endured.
Thanks for clarifying your views about human uniqueness, although they were clear if my own reading hadn’t blurred them a bit. Humility is where we all need to start all of our work. We white humans, as a species, need to acknowledge that we are functionally a virus consuming everything living thing on the planet. That’s where my humility starts.
Oh, and no dumbing down, not in my work! I have never had to dumb down an idea for a learner to hold it, use it, and understand it. I simply had to move out of my “authority” position as a prof and meet learners where they were, in their experience. The people who need access to the democratic ideas and practices the most are those in rural bubbles around the nation who live in everyday authoritarian cultures.
(I imagine you don’t mean “dumb down” as a disparagement of those for whom the ostensible dumbing down is employed. I’m sure you know that “general intelligence” is a term with vast constructivist implications. Put dumbly, the book smart people made up the term to distinguish themselves from the pleebs. Now the term just functions to do that work without any intent on the part of the human using the term. Human language, in this case, serves to exclude all those people for whom the ideas would be most beneficial by delimiting audience.)
Thank you so much for engaging, Jim! Your openness is refreshing, and your work important.