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  • Le yoga entre le don et l’appropriation

    vendredi 27 novembre 2015
    Jean-François Méthot

    La Fédération étudiante de l’Université d’Ottawa et son Centre pour étudiants ayant un handicap (CÉH) ont fait les manchettes cette semaine après l’annulation d’un cours de yoga gratuit pour cause d’appropriation culturelle. Les réactions des Internautes ont été vives et partagées, allant de l’hilarité à l’indignation et à la solidarité.

    Il ne faut pas ridiculiser ces débats, même si, pour un instant, je croyais que la nouvelle venait d’un site satirique. Les jeunes d’aujourd’hui, comme ceux d’hier, font à l’Université une expérience du débat social, de la vie politique, dans un contexte de tolérance et de liberté. Tant mieux si l’on réussit encore à préserver ces conditions de la vie universitaire.

    Je me demande cependant si le concept d’appropriation culturelle n’est pas trop réducteur pour capturer la complexité des formes de transferts culturels. On comprend l’idée : l’appropriation culturelle consiste dans la récupération et l’usage non-consentis de pratiques ou de symboles, par une culture dominante aux dépends d’une culture opprimée ou dominée. Ce débat dépasse bien l’Université, comme le montre la controverse au sujet du nom des « Redskins » de Washington.

    Bien sûr, il existe une exploitation éhontée des symboles et pratiques culturels, incluant une industrie florissante du yoga qui ne profite en rien à ceux qui nous l’ont fait découvrir et qui le pratiquent comme un art et non comme un passe-temps. On a certes raison de critiquer cela, du moins, si l’on réussit à s’en apercevoir. Jeunes, nous écoutions le rock de Cream, des Stones et de Led Zeppelin, croyant y trouver une toute nouvelle musique. Nous ne savions combien elle devait aux musiciens de Blues des années 1930, essayant par leur musique, comme Robert Johnson ou  McKinley Morganfield, d’échapper aux fermes et aux plantations du Sud.

    L’appropriation culturelle, cependant peut tenir du don ou du partage. Jeune étudiant en philosophie, je me souviens encore de notre professeur Roch Bouchard qui nous avait fait découvrir la pensée du grand philosophe Indien Jiddu Krishnamuerti. Pourquoi Krishnamuerti est-il un grand philosophe? Il a produit une synthèse de la philosophie indienne qu’il a voulu et pu communiquer au monde philosophique occidental, parce qu’il avait trouvé une universalité dans la sagesse de sa culture, et il voulait la partager. Le yoga, pour lui, faisait partie de cette élévation de la conscience.

    Krishnamuerti ne se souciait pas d’appropriation culturelle. Bien au contraire, c’est par générosité intellectuelle, vertu philosophique, me semble-t-il, qu’il a voulu partager sa pensée, comme d’ailleurs ses héritiers qui poursuivent l’étude et la dissémination de son œuvre. Il voulait la faire partager, car il voyait ce qu’elle pouvait offrir à l’humanité, et pas seulement aux Indiens.

    Il y a ainsi des cadeaux faits à l’humanité par les peuples opprimés : le blues, le rap, le tango, le reggae,  le folklore québécois et franco-canadien, la cuisine traditionnelle des peuples, l’art, l’habillement, la médecine naturelle. Le christianisme lui-même ne relève-t-il pas, du moins en partie, de l’appropriation culturelle gréco-latine d’un mouvement religieux juif au temps de l’Empire Romain? Nous discutons volontiers entre collègues de philosophie et de théologie de cette grande aventure dans l’histoire de la pensée.

    L’appropriation est un signe de l’universalité; et la philosophie, qui tend vers la sagesse, en fait partie. Nous ne pourrions vivre en philosophie sans appropriation culturelle. C’est au plan de l’humanité qu’il faut penser, et non au plan de nos productions culturelles, ce qui favorise le dogmatisme et l’impérialisme culturel. Soyons toujours à l’écoute de toutes les sagesses, méditons-les, chérissons-les. Appropriation, peut-être. Mais avant rencontre, compréhension, partage et don.

    *Photo courtoisie de Wikimedia Commons

  • Coming "Home" and the Synod

    jeudi 12 novembre 2015

    Home is curling up on daddy’s knee, like a cat nuzzling into his chest, lapping up the attention.

    Home is a quiet walk after supper. Digesting a good meal while taking in the sunset.

    Home is wild, wonderful love-making. The experience of being completely accepted and cherished by someone when you are your most vulnerable and naked self; and believing that it will last forever. Perhaps as close to seeing the Face of God as it comes in the here and now.

    Home is attending Mass together, getting baptized and going to bathtizsms (as my 3 year-old aptly dubbed them) of siblings and cousins. Getting married, and giving your children away in marriage. Celebrating the final repose of a much loved family member with tears, laughter, and simply being together.

    If this resonates with you, count yourself among the lucky ones. These are the simple delights and the profound moments of life that are yours thanks to a strong and loving family. These are good things. God wants us to have them. This is the gift of family, of home.

    Most of us don’t have all of them. Some have next to none. Others have been dealt a very raw deal on the home front.

    Home is an alcoholic spouse, constantly wheeling on the edge of self-destruction, always threatening to pull the family apart.

    Home is struggling day in day out to keep it together. To pay the bills. To stretch an increasingly watered down soup amongst a family of 8, with the 9th on the way.

    Home is living in the perpetual state of being exhausted and overworked with no wages and few “thank yous” to show for it.

    Home is trying not to drive into a lamppost on the way home from work because you are afraid of what’s waiting for you when you get there.

    Home is exile, ridicule, and disgrace, thanks to living with same sex attraction.

    Home is not giving a flip about religion and God because of what your family or your Church has put you through.

    Depending on what your idea of home is, your perception of what just happened in Rome at the Synod on the Family is probably very different.

    For me, the experience of watching the reaction to the dialogue that took place brings the story of the Prodigal Son very much to mind. Hearing our Holy Father calling for a change of approach, of a new pastoral impetus in the Church, I pictured this rich king dropping everything and running out to meet his son who was returning.

    It was moving.

    Inspiring.

    Yet, in honesty, I always thought that the poor faithful son in the parable was dealt quite the raw deal. He was left standing there, bereft, as his father runs out towards the wayward son, the ingrate. How painful. How humiliating. I think many faithful Catholics can identify with his experience as we watched discussions at the Synod progress. The wind of change that seems to be blowing, risking to uproot the timeless institution brought up the possibility of Henry the 8th all over again.

    An argument against the analogousness of the parable and the movement of the Synod was that the wayward son was returning, repenting, willing to be converted. The “progressives” in the Synod weren't taking that part seriously. They were watering it down, leading people astray, offering love without Truth, which isn’t love at all. People must be repenting in order to receive grace, the son was on his way home.

    But here is the crux of the problem: What if the wayward son in the parable had never known home in the first place? What would he be returning home to? How would he know what was waiting for him?

    This is the situation we find ourselves. A good deal of the people in our world and our Churches have zero idea of what “home” is supposed to be about. What true family is. This was at the heart of what the struggle at the Synod. How to give people an idea of what we, as a Church, are possible of; how the Church can enrich our lives and our families, when some are “a long way off” and going in the other direction, not coming home at all. Not because they’re not interested. But because they were never home in the first place. Worse, because their idea of “home” is horrible and hurtful.

    The Synod was a working out of how the faithful, and not so faithful, have experienced home and what a true home in our parishes and our families would look like. It was the start of a dialogue that will make it possible to create a healthy home for those who never had one. It was a time to ask ourselves how we can "go out to the peripheries", to those who haven't experienced it and give them the taste of home.

    If you want to hear from those who took part in this gift to the Church that was the Synod on the Family, you can do so by registering here and joining us next week at Dominican University College in Ottawa.

    We are very privileged to have Fr. Peter Galadza, an Eastern Rite priest and Presbytera Olenka Galadza (his wife) open the conference by sharing with us how they strive to live their mission as a Christian home. Fr. Tom Rosica and Bishop Paul-André Durocher will keynote Friday and Saturday, offering their most important takeaways from their time at the Synod. We also hope to hear your ideas on how the Church can better serve you and your family, and more importantly how you can be of service in your homes, thanks to the tools, the Truth, Grace and Love offered by the Synod.

    Click here to see the poster for DUC's conference The Synod and My Family.