Reification & The Swamp

The Swamp

“The necrophilous person loves all that does not grow, all that is mechanical.  The necrophilous person is driven by the desire to transform the organic into the inorganic, to approach life mechanically, as if all living persons were things.” (Fromm, as quoted in Freire, 72)

The inherent danger in reification is that when we attempt to explain or describe a concept, we could transform what is fluid or living into a static thing.  When we theorize about education, for example, which is a very fluid and complex concept, it is tempting to try to make the reality of education—i.e. education-in-practice—fit into our static theories and definitions about education, rather than the other way around.  This is what Freire called “oppression—overwhelming control. . . nourished by love of death, not life.”  And Fromm: “he loves control, and in the act of controlling he kills life” (ibid).

Anne Wysocki and Johndan Johnson-Eilola problematize book-love.  Quoting several writers, they argue that books objectify cultures and worlds by encouraging people to imagine linear, concrete selves.  Continue reading