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Ma Hope Ho'i Ma Mua


Manu Meyer

length - 5:48

Aloha is the intelligence with which we meet life.

[quote from Olana A‘i, Kumu Hula]

I love that. And so I'm here today to discuss the alternative ways of knowing. Because I no longer say "Hawaiian ways of knowing" anymore. Because people just relegate that to the margins. "Ways of knowing," as if it's a quaint, anthropologic way of describing something outside of us.

No, it's "epistemology." This is the philosophy of knowledge. This is the belief of knowledge, production and exchange. What is important about knowledge.

So the truth of knowledge is very profound. And it starts with our sensual development. Where did you grow up? How did you grow up?

And Hawaiians, you know what we say about that kine stuff? It's your history. You learn from your history. Ka wa ma mua, the thing that you face, is history. You learn from that. Don't be oppressed by it. Learn from it.

So how you see the ocean? If I grew up Kailua side, if you go Wai‘anae side, and you know the malie ocean over here, You know dakine north shore ocean over there. You know the ocean if you grew up.

Is it the same relationship or is it the same "seeing" as a guy from Iowa growing corn? Will he see, coming to Hawai‘i, the same ocean? You know? No. Fundamentally, the seeing changes the relationship of knowledge. That is fundamental.

And so philosophers will say "Of course, that's a given." No it's not. Most people will argue that he sees the same thing as I. You know, I, who can see, who can see that there's a school of ulua way out there because the birds are flying here, and then, in another two hours, the surf is coming up.

There's stuff to see, to know, because of experience. Ma ka hana ka ‘ike. We know by experiencing.

And so, in order to understand the idea of intelligence for our kupuna, you have to understand the rhythm of the seasons. If you're going to fight for water, understand why we called wealth waiwai. It is so pronounced.

Because there's so many people that believe water is something to own. You know, as if it's a commodity.

Waiwai was the ability to plant, harvest and feed ourselves. And then, if we get choke, then we give. And that is the true waiwai, the ability to share with others. We knew this.

Land educates. ‘Ike ‘aina. the land of your birth educates you. This land here educates you.

You know, when people believe that literacy is the highest form of intellect, I beg to differ, beg to differ. You know. Poor thing, you cannot read. Yeah, in a modernity sense, you've got to read. But don't tell me I'm stupid if I no can read.

Understand your own shackling of colonialism, that would put literacy as the highest form of intellect, and not aloha.

Being smart, to me, and having it viewed as an expression of a test score as a number one indicator, is to me very dangerous, you know. And I'm very convinced that we are heading more into the realm of "all knowledge must be seen," you know, as exhibited in a SAT score or a GRE test score. It's a valuable tool, testing. It's a valuable tool. Do not misunderstand me.

So people always say "So Manu, what? You're going to want to have lower standards in your school?"

You know, as if wanting the test scores not to be the only predictor of intelligence means that I want lower standards. Isn't that a fabulous? It's an interesting argument that has no place in people that feel invigorated because we recognize what intelligence is.

In a Catholic school, from K to eight and at Punahou, from nine to twelve, every single teacher, every single lecture, every single test, every single jumping jack was not Hawaiian. Whoa! Good thing I had one, you know, kua‘aina family to come home to.

Every single test, every single textbook paragraph, every single teacher was not Hawaiian. Maybe there was a Hawaiian teacher in there somewhere. I never noticed. They get on habit on.

That's profound. That's profound.

I feel as if I didn't spend my whole life out on the beach, I'd be, you know, shackled to the SAT as the number one indicator of intelligence. I'd be like right there going.... [GESTURES BEING SHACKLED] OK. I'd be right there with the standardization.

I don't mind standards. I just want to develop them with my community. It's the standardization that's going to kill us.

Because ‘a‘ohe pau ka ‘ike i ka halau ho‘okahi. Knowledge is not all in one school. You know. It's as simple as that. ‘A‘ohe pau ka ‘ike i ka halau ho‘okahi.
Ma Hope Ho'i Ma Mua