Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Now why is that?


I’ve been blind-sided by Yet Another Book. Mercifully, this one is a short one, only 150 pages. It is Beauty for Truth’s Sake: On the Re-enchantment of Education. The author is Stratford Caldecott (University of Oxford), the editor of Second Spring, a Catholic publication devoted to theological reflection and cultural analysis. He asserts

Who will not admit that harmony is more beautiful than dissonance, health more beautiful than sickness, kindness more beautiful than cruelty? If you push the postmodern relativist, you will almost certainly get an admission that he would prefer to look up at a gorgeous sunset than down into the latrine. Now why is that?

This is not a particularly original question, but the author traces the search for the answer back to Saint Augustine and even farther back to Plato, Socrates, and Pythegoras. Caldecott makes the search sound strangely exciting, especially as he contrasts it with today’s educational model of carving knowledge into discrete “disciplines,” which are too often used as a means of getting one’s job ticket punched.

Over the years I have become increasingly convinced that there are often almost(?) supernatural links between disciplines. Good computer programmers often are accomplished musicians. Good engineers are often expert physicists and mathematicians. Good teachers are often theologians in their own right, whether acknowledged or not. Beauty for Truth’s Sake tries to provide a manifesto to help explain these links and make sense of them, with the help of the Ancients. There is something solidly satisfying about his thesis, at least to my engineering-disciplined mind. Maybe a life of learning is not only utilitarian in the sense of achieving wholeness but also pleasing to the God who, after all, is in charge of the renewing of my mind.

Dave, which he sees beauty in galaxies and black holes.


2 Responses to “Now why is that?”
  1. Kyle says:

    I will have to read this one. As an aspiring learner I am very interested in what links a reader can make between disciplines especially my two favorites, history and theology. You inspire my learning Grandpa.

  2. Dave says:

    Another good book: Weaving The World: Simone Weil on Science, Mathematics, and Love. Weil lived and wrote during World War II and has some interesting thoughts on today’s mostly Godless scientists and mathematicians. I’m not sure I understand her thought very well, but I think she is on the right track.

    So many books and so little time!

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