Against the Flow: Education, the Art and Postmodern Culture by Peter Abbs

By Peter Abbs

Without delay provocative and inspiring, opposed to the Flow is a piece of polemic from an the world over revered author and philosopher on arts schooling. Peter Abbs argues that modern schooling ignores the cultured and moral due to being in thrall to such forces because the marketplace financial system and managerial and practical dictates. He identifies the current schooling method as being inimical to creativity and genuine studying and in its place, narrowly thinking about the quantitative measuring of effects. This absence of an artistic and moral size in schooling has implications for paintings making in wider society. artwork is proven as rising from, and attractive to, the ironic postmodernist sensibility and mass media-led tradition, whereas being with out philosophical importance. This ebook opens up a clean and well timed debate concerning the important strength of creativity in sleek schooling. Drawing on examples from glossy poetry, literature and visible artwork, it truly is an eloquent and passionate argument for the necessity to increase moral and aesthetic energies to confront the becoming vacuity of latest tradition.

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She is a fragment of God’s presence on earth, as real and important as any other, calling out for what I cannot provide, what no one can provide. What can I give her? 14 Only my presence; that is the most naked form of spiritual life. But that presence – that being for another person – entails a particular kind of engagement with the world. The author modestly finishes his account – and his long study of meaning across symbolic forms – as follows: It occurred to me that she might have trouble understanding what reading is because she had never been read to.

It is as if, ironically, in the consumer West we have won the ideological war but, at the very same moment, lost the poetic spirit, the solidarity of communion, the zest of life. If these words seem somewhat vague then in this chapter I will try to make them precise. Certainly, if we are to address the ethically vacuous state of consumer society and the increasingly functional character of our educational system, we have no choice but to raise seminal questions and in the dominant Zeitgeist of relativity and protective irony, we must do so with as much courage as we can dare.

Through a strange paradox, the scientifically discredited map of the universe becomes a spiritual diagram of the inner life. The outer becomes retold as the inward. But, in fact, such transpositions are taking place all the time in the symbolic transformations of cultural life. One has only to consider the crucifixion painting of Frida Kahlo (see Plate 4) and to place it in the field of that archetype to see the possibilities of such retelling. The work of drawing together the spiritual impulses of the student and the spiritual art of the culture, allowing for quiet contemplation and also the most active experimentation, releasing THE SPIRITUAL IN ART, CULTURE AND EDUCATION 41 the play of both the conscious and the unconscious, actively develops and deepens the life of the spirit.

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