23. Art and Morality

Art – it’s the first thing to go when school budgets get tight, isn’t it? I suppose that local school boards and school officials consider the subject of art to be less practical than the sciences. Ours is a generation that considers math and science to be the twin pillars of strength.

 

But was it science that imagined the idea of our American republic? Was it mathematical know-how that gave the Constitution its backbone? I think we deserve more than to consider ourselves beings able to thrive solely on the wheels of progress. Life, with all of its intricate folds and secrets, is a vast wonderland filled with human emotion. As far as I can tell, we are far less “calculating” than we are “feeling” beings.

 

Art is a celebration of the many things that make us human: innovation and achievement, yes – but also the strange attractors of love and beauty and our intense desire to know our origin and our creator. Our desire is to be not alone “in the garden” but to have others with whom to share experience. And this, too, is the subject of art.

 

And so why, I wonder, would something so personal and so terribly important be first on the list of things that are expendable? Surely, art has something important to teach us. And if it does, then shouldn’t we consider it important to teach?

 

The most innovative and progressive thinkers in all of history, the Greeks, were master builders, engineers and mathematicians. But they were also pioneers in the arts of drama, poetry, and philosophy. One of their most celebrated teachers, Plato, was also one of their greatest poets.

 

Day 23 Guide

 

Let’s get past the idea that art is optional. Our souls thirst; we feel; we love; we hate. Most of what goes on in our heads is better the subject of art than of any math or science. The spirit of Joyous Gard would have you to be an advocate for art. Don’t settle for a future void of soul.

 

© 2006, Levi Hill

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