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Humanising Education

Perhaps there is a somewhat central conundrum between moral- philosophical demands towards universal ethical humanity as a cosmopolitan project and organisation-based managerial training regimes. Humanistic education in general and conflicts between the human and the managerial interest in particular remain central problems of many educational endeavours. These two dilemmas remain rather serious when viewed from a moral-philosophical and critical emancipatory standpoint. This is perhaps even more distinct under the twin ideological imperatives of neo-liberalism (political economy) and Managerialism (business management) colliding with the humanising interest of Enlightenment education.1 In this context, the problem between education and humanisation takes on the character of constituting an indispensable concern. But a general concern for ethical humanisation, in turn, also leads to recognition of the general dehumanisation of managerial regimes and the dehumanising elements of those ideologies. The philosophical theme of recognition opens not just moral-philosophical and emancipatory possibilities but it is simultaneously also a historical reality—at least since Enlightenment and modernity were underwritten by

© The Author(s) 2017 T. Klikauer, Management Education, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-40778-4_2

  • • liberal capitalism (eighteenth and nineteenth centuries),
  • • social-democratic welfare capitalism (twentieth century), and the
  • • neo-liberal version of twenty-first-century capitalism.2

As people comprehend the extent of dehumanisation, depersonalisation, and demoralisation, often camouflaged by Managerialism’s hegemonic ideology of free market and “competitive advantage”,3 one might ask if humanisation in general and the humanisation of work and education remain viable projects. Within the roughly 200+-year-long history of capitalism providing a very concrete and objective context, both sets— “humanity versus inhumanity” and “humanisation versus dehumanisation” still remain real possibilities since modernity is still somewhat of an incomplete project awaiting completion. But while the “humanisation- dehumanisation” dialectics includes—as a philosophical necessity—real alternatives, only the “humanity versus inhumanity” dialectics constitutes the vocation of human beings. This vocation remains constantly negated, yet it is affirmed by a “double-negation” as a “negation of a negation”, that is, a rejection (negation 1) of dehumanisation (negation 2) that works against humanisation. This has the capacity to turn the project into a positive.

All this is also disturbed by global injustice, exploitation, alienation, domination, as well as the open and structural violence of oppressive regimes ranging from Islamo-Fascism to US-torture chambers such as Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.4 On the other hand, it is also affirmed by the desire of human beings for freedom and justice and by their struggle to recover the humanity they lost during the course of capitalism and its accompanying forces and ideologies. Subjugation to domination resulting in dehumanisation still characterises many of those whose humanity has been stolen. But in different ways, it also stains those who have stolen it, including their institutions and belief systems. All this supports the true vocation of becoming more fully human and, as moral philosopher Kant would say, becoming an “end in oneself” as the fulfilment of Mtindigkeit (self-determination) in his “Kingdom of Ends”.

Economical and ideological distortions always occur within historically specific contexts. They can never be ahistorical. Indeed, the acceptance of domination and dehumanisation as a “fact of life” often leads to cynicism, resentment, and despair. Hence, not engaging in a struggle for humanisation, for the emancipation of human beings and society in general, and in particular for labour that is still confined to domination under managerial regimes, and not fighting to overcome alienation and seek confirmation of individuals as full persons under the moral philosophy of personhood, would be rendered utterly futile. This struggle becomes necessary and possible because humanisation has never been, and never will be, “given from above” to those confined to an existence under domination. It remains the raison d’etre to overcome the unjust social, economic, and managerial order that allows domination and even violence and that dehumanises people by confining them to such regimes—structural and otherwise.

Perhaps it is because people still experience deliberate distortions of reality, capable of preventing them from being fully developed human beings, that being treated as less than humans—a human resource, for example—becomes unbearable.5 It might lead those still dominated as subordinates and underlings to struggle against those who brought them there. In order for this struggle to have any meaning at all, people still confined to managerial and other dehumanising regimes and being ideologically pacified through Managerialism and consumerism as transmitted through corporate mass media must never—while seeking to salvage their humanity—join those who are furthering domination. Simply exchanging positions in managerial regimes, in authoritarian schooling,6 in oppressive families, in the military, in management training, and many other structures defined by domination, does not eliminate domination. Domination has never ended by dominating others. Instead, those seeking emancipation have the double task to switch power positions while— simultaneously—restoring the humanity of “master and slave” (Hegel).7 This remains the humanistic and historical project of the demoralised slaves. It is the emancipation of themselves and their masters. By engaging in such a humanising project, the subjugated—those labelled underlings by managers and those dehumanised as human resources—are entering the ethics of resistance.8 Meanwhile, those who further domination, who oppress, exploit, dominate, humiliate, and alienate by virtue of their managerial-organisational power can never find in this the power and the strength to emancipate either the slave or themselves as masters.9 Perhaps it is only the power deriving from the powerlessness of the demoralised that will be sufficiently strong to free both from domination. Equally, the many attempts to sweeten the destructive power of domination and those who engineer it while remaining indifferent to the helplessness of the demoralised almost always manifest themselves in forms of false charity, faked philanthropy, reformism, mere aid-giving, and pretended generosities. These charitable attempts never go beyond cementing domination while engineering the ideology of “humanistic” management and aiding the hallucinogenic “do-gooders” who support the structures of domination. In order to enjoy the continued prospects to express their so-called benevolence and compassion, the domineering business elite continuously perpetuates injustice on a global scale. In addition, it gives corporate mass media and tabloid-TV10 the opportunity to present microscopic and often rather insignificant philanthropies such as helping the poor, while in reality confining the latter to being poor, trapped inside structures set up by the domineering elite. This creates an unjust global order, made dependent on the eternal fountain of elite generosities, welfare- and aid-giving, and nourished by misery, dearth, famine, death, despair, and poverty on a global scale.11 It also means that those who, like an automated vending machine, dispense compassion to the needy become extremely distressed at the most insignificant threat to the source of their pretended and, above all, “domination-stabilising” but ultimately false generosity and philanthropy.

Meanwhile true and domination-destabilising generosity still exists. It exists precisely in fighting to destroy the causes that nourish false charity as a domination-stabilising project of the global business elite. In fact, faked and pretended philanthropy asphyxiates the fearful and subdued, those extending their trembling hand in fear to the charitable domi- nator. Real generosity lies in determined struggles against exploitation and domination so that individual hands and the hands of society are extended less and less in subjection. This assures that they increasingly become less inhuman and more human and can work towards transforming the world towards ending domination. These are the imperative lessons of life as a human apprenticeship, coming from the exploited, from those downgraded to mere human resources and from those representing the community of victims—not from those giving meagre handouts.

By fighting to restore the humanity of those still confined to structures of domination as mere individuals, as groups of people, and as communities of victims, they will restore true human compassion and solidarity. No one is better prepared than the demoralised and downgraded to understand the horrifying significance of existing in domineering managerial regimes and societies.

Those suffering direct and indirect forms of domination can understand the necessity of emancipation. The project of humanisation will not be defined by simple chance but through an emancipatory praxis and the quest for humanisation by those people who recognise the necessity to reject domination and its adjacent hegemonic ideology of Managerialism. It will be a contest with the purpose and significance given to it by those who are oppressed and will constitute an act of life in opposition to those lifeless figures asphyxiated inside the eternal “management^consumerism” oscillation.12 Relentless consumerism and Managerialism are the smothering ideologies at the heart of domination operating at a global scale that not even the pretended generosity of the business elites can fully camouflage.

As almost always in such processes, during the initial stages of the emancipatory project of ethical resistance these moves are framed as rebellious, violent, stupid, useless, and fruitless by those seeking to maintain domination. They are well calculated and deliberate attempts to convert those who are oppressed through domination into acting against emancipation, thereby entering even deeper into domination while—consciously or unconsciously—being recruited to join those furthering domination. The ideologies even seek to restructure emancipatory thoughts. They seek to condition people so that these thoughts no longer present any danger to the global business elite. Their ideologies do not seek to overcome contradictions. Instead, they operate with simplistic “friend versus foe” dichotomies that seek to create a false consciousness about real situations by preshaping them under the ideological guidance of the master ideology of domination: Managerialism.13 The misogynistic ideology, for example, that is behind many of these ideologies is “to be a man”; and to be a “man” often means to be with those furthering domination.

But the risk of falling for these ideological trappings also means that there is a “clear and present” danger for those seeking emancipation.

This danger comes from the factual likelihood that those seeking emancipation might—in certain moments or situations—opt to adapt to the ideological attitudes of obedience to authoritarianism as found in Managerialism. Under these false but dangerous circumstances, those seeking emancipation might no longer be able see the humanitarian project of emancipation in all its clarity. The ideological goal of the forces of domination is to create individuals unable to discover what lies behind the ideology of Managerialism. This does not necessarily mean that those seeking emancipation are not aware that they will remain confined to live their lives under domination as long as Managerialism can dominate them. But their perception of themselves as mere appendages to business capitalism, as blinded consumptive “units” in the eternal consumerist regime, is enhanced by the ideological submersion into the dominationcamouflaging ideas of Managerialism. At this level, their perception of themselves as victims of domination and ideology engineered by those furthering domination cannot yet signify engagement in an emancipatory struggle directed towards humanisation. In that, one pole aspires to overcome the ideologically engineered identification with Managerialism with the other representing its opposite pole.14

In this situation, those seeking emancipation are prevented from identifying what might be called a “post-managerial human being”—a human being born from a resolution of the still prevalent contradictions of today’s business capitalism. All this also heralds the early stages of a process of anti-domination that will—eventually and inevitably—lead to full human emancipation from domination. The post-managerial vision of an emancipated human being is neither the hallucination of the atomised individual of Ayan Rand nor that of hyper-subjectivism.15 Instead, in this vision there no longer exists the identification with domination. What develops is a critical emancipatory consciousness—being conscious of themselves—in a truly self-determining person while this person— at least in the early stages of the emancipatory project—still remains a member of a social class defined by domination. This is infused with a wish to become free as an individual, as a social group, class, and people, rejecting meagre reforms that—under the ideology of neo-liberalism— have sought to turn the clock back to eighteenth century’s capitalism.

Under the ideological heading of “reform”, reactionary policies have been metred out. Meanwhile at workplaces, achieving emancipation has never meant that workers can simply be promoted to positions such as overseers, supervisors, and middle managers. Emancipation does not happen by becoming yet another overseer and potential tormenter of someone’s former colleagues. This is because the context of a worker’s situation as defined by domination remains essentially unchanged—whether being promoted or not. Both maintain domination. In this example, the former worker and now supervisor and middle manager (as determined by management) must, in order to fulfil his new job, enhance domination and be at least as hard-hitting as his boss—and perhaps even more, if lessons from Goldhagen’s “Willing Executioners” can been learnt.16 This also confirms previous assertions that during the initial stage of the emancipatory struggle those seeking emancipation can find support in the negation of domination as potential stepping stones towards future models of humanisation.

Every transformation of the—at present—still very concrete situation of domination will establish processes directed towards emancipation. They all must confront the “domination versus emancipation” dialectics. But whenever those who seek emancipation and directly or indirectly participate in the status quo—largely conditioned by ideological myths such as the “Good Old Days”—to turn this process into their own “private” emancipation, they will inevitably be doomed to fail. In short, emancipation, humanisation, and ending domination are not individual and private affairs—they remain collective goals17 despite the all too commonly propagated hallucination of an individual solution to collective problems such as domination that only mimics domination-ending solutions.

However, there is still the “fear-of-freedom” problem that also causes theoretical and ethical problems for those seeking emancipation. It has the real capability to frustrate moves towards emancipation. This, quite equally, may lead to a desire to overcome those who enhance domination. For this, the hideous instruments of domination need to be examined. One of the basic elements of the “domination versus dominated” relationship remains the issue of “prescription”. Every prescription represents the imposition of an ideology upon people. Transforming such “prescribed” ideas into nonconformity remains the task of critical humanising education. Thus, the behaviour of those seeking emancipation can only be found in the development of an anti-prescribed consciousness and behaviour that no longer follows the guidelines of domination as outlined by Managerialism.

Still, some of those seeking emancipation may have internalised images of domination and have been led down such ideological routes in the fear of freedom. The moral imperatives for human freedom require them to evict the images of domination and replace them with autonomy, selfdetermination, and responsibility. Human freedom remains to be acquired by conquest as it has, throughout history, rarely been a gift handed down by those in a position of domination. Hence, those seeking emancipation face no other road in the quest for human freedom than to engage in a struggle for human freedom. But human freedom can never be a theoretical ideal located outside of human existence. It is not simply an idea that has, under the ideological conditions of corporate mass media, become a myth. Perhaps it was the neo-liberal “ideological business apparatus”—to speak with Althusser 1 8—that invented, propagated, and mass-disseminated the elimination of human freedom in favour of market freedom, thereby marking the conversion of an Enlightenment-guided human freedom into an ideologically guided market freedom in which human beings are reduced to structural auxiliaries to capitalism. It not only turned human freedom into a myth but, once converted into pure ideology, this freedom became distorted beyond recognition. This might be the crowning achievement of what the philosopher pair Horkheimer and Adorno once called “mass-deception” in their seminal masterpiece “Dialectic of Enlightenment”.19 Today, many know this as WMD, “Weapons of Mass Deception”.20 Analysing and overcoming the ideological mass distortion of the present under corporate mass media has become a rather indispensable condition in the quest for human freedom.21

To defeat the present situation of global domination as sustained by the twin ideologies of neo-liberalism and Managerialism, people must first critically recognise the causes of domination and the reasons for the existence of today’s rather massive ideological apparatus. It is through such intellectual actions that people can create educational situations that expose the domination that is ideologically sustained by corporate mass media and thereby enable the pursuit of emancipatory humanisation.

Although silenced by corporate mass media, the fight for human freedom may have already begun in the authentic struggle to transform several forms of currently existing domination.22 Even though the situation of domination may well represent a dehumanised totality that sustains all those cementing domination as well as those who they dominate, it is the latter that must reject externally imposed asphyxiations by engaging in a struggle for humanisation. Those who ideologically and practically further domination—and who are often dehumanised themselves because they dehumanise others—may remain unable to engage in the struggle for humanisation.

However, those seeking emancipation, who have rejected societal and managerial domination in which they are still—at least partly— immersed, no longer resign to the struggle of humanisation. But such a “negation of resignation” also creates an awareness of the risks it incurs. Moreover, the struggle for human freedom threatens not only those furthering domination but also those members of a dominated group who—in the face of the overwhelming ideological apparatus—may have become fearful of still greater domination or even outright repression. But when they discover within themselves a hunger for human freedom, they may recognise that such a desire can only be transformed into reality when the same desire is aroused in others. While being ideologically dominated by, for example, the ideology of Managerialism, they might be coerced into declining to appeal to and listen to the appeals of others or even reject the appeals of their own conscience. Enticed by domination- stabilising ideologies, they might still prefer the inauthentic relationships of market relations in which there can never be mutual and equal recognition as individuals are enticed to see one another as sellers and buyers of commodities. Under these imperatives they are made to not engage at a human level but at market levels defined by market relations rather than by humanity. They might even fancy the faked security of organisational- managerial conformity with the state of unfreedom that always follows closely. Any creative and rather natural union produced by human freedom, and even the very pursuit of human freedom, are made to appear as pure utopia by the globally operative “ideological business apparatus” (Althusser) or corporate mass media (Chomsky).23

The launch of an ideological business apparatus of globally operating corporate mass media was perhaps the logical consequence of a process that combined the mid-twentieth-century consumerist forces with the ideological forces that sustain capitalism factually (consumerism) and ideologically (Managerialism and neo-liberalism). This development might mark the latest stage in the conversion of feudalist ideologies to capitalist ideology that can be depicted in the following matrix:

Figure 2.1 shows the economic-ideologic shift that occurred when feudalism moved towards capitalism. Since both systems are based on domination, they depend on ideologies to camouflage their contradictions, to cement domination and the status quo, and to prevent emancipation. While feudalism’s ideology could rely on relatively crude methods, modern capitalism, perhaps because of significant advances in mass education, had to develop a somewhat more sophisticated “ideological apparatus” in order to sustain capitalism. But capitalism was never to remain a static structure. It mutated from early liberal towards consumer capitalism with a rising middle class ready for consumption. Consumerism has a thoroughly pacifying effect that impacted on society largely during the course of the twentieth century. This resulted in “The Affluent Society”24 as a merger between ideology (Managerialism and neo-liberalism) and consumerism. But while developing global corporate mass media and mass consumption, modern capitalism still relied on a proven method ever since the days of the Roman elite. Its reliance on “bread and circus” mutated into a reliance on “consumerism and ideology” ranging from tabloid-TV to infotainment. In more sophisticated forms, it is this proven duality that continues to sustain capitalism today.25

Facing such a sophisticated and well-developed ideological apparatus, many might suffer from the duality (consumerism linked to ideology) that has established itself in people’s innermost being.26 But they might also discover that, without human freedom, they can never exist

The economy-ideology shift authentically

Fig. 2.1 The economy-ideology shift authentically. Yet, although many will desire an authentic life—not a mere existence and sheer survival under neo-liberalism—they might still fear what comes after domination has been removed. Some may even try to further domination, having been made to internalise it. But the inherent “domination versus emancipation” conflict of the present will rest on a choice between being wholly themselves as self-determining human beings and remaining “other determined”. It means choosing to refuse cooperation with those cementing domination and no longer comply with the “solicitation of victims” that converts them into “objects of power” who accept the forces of domination.27

There also remains a choice between human solidarity and alienation as well as between following the organisational prescriptions set forth by Managerialism and having a real choice, the latter being a real-life choice, not a faked consumer choice engineered between cosmetically rather indifferent variations of mass consumer products. But it is also a choice between remaining asphyxiated in the position of spectator while following the illusion of acting through actions set up by those who further domination.28 And there is a choice between speaking out and remaining silent and impotent to the ideological powers that create and re-create domination. These are some of the groundbreaking dilemmas set forth for those seeking emancipation for which humanising education must be able to be accountable to.

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