Beauty and Education

Benjamim Lockered has penned a concise summary of aesthetics that I highly recommend. Speaking of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful, he states:

Of the three terms, however, beauty is the one that has the most thoroughly succumbed to relativistic thought. If I make any aesthetic claim whatsoever, my students are likely to look at me blankly; if they find I am serious about it, they are likely to confront me vociferously, maintaining what everyone knows: That judgements of beauty are purely subjective. What one person thinks beautiful, another will think ugly. And, of course, there is some truth to this view since there is, indeed, great variation in taste when it comes to music or art or architecture. Let us admit from the outset, then, that the standards of beauty are subject to social and personal variation. (As I say when disagreements arise with friends, “These are differences in taste: I have good taste, and you have bad taste!”)

But, having allowed that there are socially conditioned tastes, let us nevertheless maintain that there are universals in the realm of aesthetics as well as in ethics and metaphysics. Let us take on the charge of relativism where our defense seems most vulnerable and thereby demonstrate the strength of our general belief that the universe has been created in a particular way by almighty God so that certain things in the universe are always true, good, and beautiful in themselves. Furthermore, let us help our students cultivate a rich imaginative sense, in the confidence that it will help them really see and feel the truths of the moral law.

Read more about the history of aesthetics and the importance of cultivating a sense of beauty here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *