Teaching for wonderfulness
by Ken Myers
“What kind of education would enable a child to progress in the rational understanding of the world without losing his poetic and artistic appreciation of it? This is what I am searching for in the present book. Inadequate though my answers may be, I know the questions are valid. Rationality and poetry, science and art, need not be opposed. After all, we owe scientific breakthroughs as much to great acts of imagination as to feats of observation or calculation (one thinks of Einstein trying to picture running alongside a beam of light, or comparing in his mind’s eye the experience of being in a falling lift or elevator with that of floating freely in space, on the basis of which he developed the special and general theories of relativity). It must be possible to use this intrinsic connection between reason and imagination to overcome the alienation between the humanities and sciences.
“The central idea of the present book is very simple. It is that education is not primarily about the acquisition of information. It is not even about the acquisition of ‘skills’ in the conventional sense, to equip us for particular roles in society. It is about how we become more human (and therefore more free, in the truest sense of the word). This is a broader and a deeper question, but no less practical. Too often we have not been educating our humanity. We have been educating ourselves for doing rather than for being. We live in an excessively activist civilization, in which contemplation and interiority are often despised and suppressed in favor of mere action and reaction. The task before us is not only to renew the foundations of education, but to rediscover our own relationship to Being (the secret of childhood), and our place in a cosmos that is beautiful in the Word.”
— from Stratford Caldecott, Beauty in the Word: Rethinking the Foundations of Education (Angelico Press, 2012)