Love is a seeking for a way of life; the way that cannot be followed alone; the resonance of all spiritual and physical things. Children are not only of flesh and blood — children may be ideas, thoughts, emotions. The person of the one who is loved is a form composed of a myriad mirrors reflecting and illuminating the powers and thoughts and the emotions that are within you, and flashing another kind of light from within. No words or deeds may encompass it.
Friendship is another form of love — more passive perhaps, but full of the transmitting and acceptance of things like thunderclouds and grass and the clean granite of reality.
Art is both love and friendship, and understanding; the desire to give. It is not charity, which is the giving of Things, it is more than kindness which is the giving of self. It is both the taking and giving of beauty, the turning out to the light the inner folds of the awareness of the spirit. It is the recreation on another plane of the realities of the world; the tragic and wonderful realities of earth and men, and of all the inter-relations of these.
It’s as if we were locked up, this is practically a jail,” says Yergo, a third-year student. Camilo, a second-year student, is happy not having to wear a uniform. “It’s like a military doctrine, everyone with their crew cuts, their little ties, shirt tucked in. Don’t do this, don’t do that. And now [that the students run the school], you can just be who you are. You can just freely express yourself, you come here to be educated, not to be militarized.”
“The assembly is the control center,” Cristóbal explains. “All students participate and at times it’s open to teachers. We have watch duty and volunteers come in to make meals. Teachers teach, but they also learn from the students. At the beginning we had classes subject by subject, but later we saw that parceling out knowledge wasn’t the real way to learn, and we all got together for each subject. Some [students] explained to others, and the education became cooperative. That changes the way you relate to the subject and to the school.”
Just as workers who take over a factory change the way work is organized, students who took over their schools changed the “curricular boundaries.” Students need to know their rights, says Cristóbal, so they offer classes on the Constitution. “Philosophy, for example, lends itself to analyzing mobilizations and what is happening in the world; we begin to see that students work better if they are more interested.”
Juan Francisco, a philosophy teacher, agrees with his student. “All the student discussions have led them to reflect on the structure of power in Chile.” That’s why they analyze the constitution in his classes. Often they hold workshops, which furthers participation. Weekly assemblies have been incorporated into the curriculum.
The relationships between students and teachers have shifted. As hierarchies melted, relationships became more cooperative and supportive. In the classroom, they sit in a circle. The teacher is someone who helps, but is not above the rest. Eliana Lemus, a teacher of biology, chemistry, and physics, and principal of the school, maintains that discipline is much greater than it used to be, perhaps because it is not imposed and there is a desire to be together and share the experience.