Philosophy Role in the Atmosphere of Intellectuality in Papua – Philosophy is a critical science. By studying philosophy,  one becomes critical of somethings in his life. Starting from the nature of human life, himself, others, nature, and God, everything is questioned and the truth is sought.

It is this critical characteristic that makes philosophy be wached  for being included in the education curriculum, especially in a  dictatorial, authoritarian, conservative polity, and has closed freedom of the press. For example, in France, the government has limited the teaching of philosophy, because it eduactes young people to become critical and perhaps left-leaning people (K. Bertens: 1985: 250).

So what is the position of philosophy in intellectual life in Indonesia, especially in the intellectual life of education in Papua? This paper is the author’s attempt to answer this question.

The position of philosophy in Papua

It is quite pessimistic if we want to describe the intellectual situation or education in Papua, because the educational situation in Papua is very worrying, especially if we want to have the position of philosophy as a discipline in the education curriculum over there. So it appears that the effort is quite ironic as well as courageous, because the majority of the Papuan population is illiterate, moreover, a discipline of philosophy classmate is very impossible.

However, there are also Papuan intellectuals who are fluent in philosophy. To explain it, there are three important topics: First, philosophy is very vague for the majority of Papuan people. Let alone in Papua, the majority of the Indonesian population is also not very fluent in philosophy, both theoretically and practically, or both. Indeed, there is no valid enough data or research results showing the barometer. However, when if it is generalized mostly, it can be concluded that philosophy is only known by intellectuals and develops in the climate of leading campuses or universities. But more than that, in line with Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), an Italian Marxist philosopher said, actually everyone is a philosopher, but only a few people have philosophy in their life (Edward W. Said: 2018, p. xxvii);

Second, intellectuals, namely students, lecturers, scholars, activists, religious leaders and others are a community that is quite familiar in the activities of dialogue, discussion, and dialectic with philosophy. These intellectuals have always acted in opposition by criticizing aloud the rulers, but also being accommodative and cooperative by supporting the ruling regime. In the context of Papua, for example, a late Father Neles Tebay who put forward his brilliant philosophical ideas in his book entitled “Dialogue Jakarta-Papua: A Papuan Perspective” published in 2009 (Sambut: 2012, p. X).

There are also several other indigenous Papuan intellectuals (indigenous Papuans), for example, Priest Benny Giyai, Priest Socratez Sofyan Yoman, Markus Haluk, Sendius Wonda, Victor Yeimo, Benny Wenda, Okto Mote, and others. This veteran indigenous intellectual has always been concerned with maintaining the order and coherence of thoughts that developed in the Land of Papua as a result of being integrated into the Indonesian state, because the history of Papuan integration is full of manipulatives.

In this case, the history of the annexation of Papua in 1962 and the Presidential Act 1969, which has brought about conflict, injustice, marginalization, discrimination, and even suspicions of crimes of the caliber of genocide. Even though they have a lot of ridicule, ridicule, and even terrorized to the point of being killed, they never back down from their struggle, total and loyal consistency is the real capital of their passion.

For them, their position is on the side of truth, justice, and peace, so that external upheaval is seen as a logical consequence of the attitude they take. That is the true role of the intellectual as has been clearly described by the Algerian-American philosopher and activist, Edwar W. Said (Said, p. Xii), that an intellectual is he who bravely tells the truth to the rulers, even though it may not be in accordance with the mind of ruler or even contrary with it; Third, philosophy thrives at the Fajar Timur Jayapura School of Philosophy of Theology (STFT). Although at Papua there are very few educational institutions based on philosophy, it appears that STFT is the only educational institution that makes philosophy a priority discipline in Papua. As an educational institution for prospective priests in Papua, students are required to study theology and philosophy as a provision of knowledge to serve the people, and ensure that people’s lives grow and develop both in the light of faith and reason.

Philosophy is included in the curriculum in Papua

It can be assumed that one of the factors behind the country’s slow progress is the weak critical and analytical power, especially among its millennial generation. It is especially in the eastern part of the country, such as in Papua. All efforts, ranging from changes to the learning curriculum in the era of Minister Anies Baswedan (even long ago) to changes in the massive, complex and comprehensive digitalized education system under Minister Nadiem Makarim, the boss of Go-Jek,  appear not have resulted in significant and meaningful positive changes for the entire Indonesian nation, especially in the context of the intellectual life of the nation, as mandated by the 1945 Constitution.

On the island of Java and its surroundings, these changes must be clearly visible and reach the target. But if it gets dimmer to the east, especially when you arrive in Papua, it will be nothing. In fact, it makes it difficult for students and educators because everything is digital based, while the majority of students there (Papua) are illiterate, let alone digital means (computers, cellphones, laptops, and others). Worse yet, there is no adequate internet network there. Even if there are, they often get errors due to isolated geographical factors. This is one of the weaknesses of the central government since policies are carried out without contextual research or research based on sociological, anthropological, and geographical approaches by involving the experts first. At least, policies are carried out in accordance with the context of certain regions by upholding local wisdom, such as in Papua.

If not, the cabinet, no matter how good and the final program will not hit the target or miss, because it deviates from the nature of the target. So here is very important contextual approach in the intellectual life of the nation, as well as perhaps other central government programs. Never just take the primary sample of the development of the life of the nation and the state from just one small territory like on the island of Java with trivial logic (or even copy it from Europe), even though the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia is not only on the island of Java. Of all the ideas that have been given to the provincial government in the context of educating the nation’s life, there are two things the author wants to convey. First, philosophy should be considered to be included in the high school curriculum (SMA).

In the institution, an introduction into the world of philosophy is introduced, at least, as a living praxis where logical thinking methods, objective writing, polite speech and ethical actions are packaged in the personality of students through the transfer of knowledge syllabus. Thus, the critical and analytical power of students as a capital for reforming the nation and state is sharpened as early as possible. It is at this stage that the expected human resources are sown, so that they will be reaped in the future; Second, the existence of philosophy faculties at Papuan universities, such as the Cenderawasih University of Papua (Uncen) and the State University of Papua (Unipa) could be further considered.

This is prioritized for indigenous Papuans (OAP) so that they become more critical of their identity, their relationships, nature and their ancestral land, and the future of their land and ethnicity. This is not a discriminatory shield for non-Papuan youth, but as an effort to provide an educational space that favors indigenous Papuan youth. With the consistency of the Provincial Governments of Papua and West Papua to educate the nation’s life, it is hoped that philosophy as a critical science can be included in the minimum education curriculum at the high school and college level.

Author: Siorus Degei (Student of STFT Fajar Timur, Abepura, Papua).

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