Education: The Power of Awakening to Beauty

EXCLUSIVE MAGAZINE - Priority is often placed on schooling and values. At the expense of beauty, which is the soul of education. This is what Jean Caron, professor of philosophy.

Why so little room for the awakening to beauty in education?

This seems to me to be related to a rather utilitarian conception of education and to our very intellectualism tradition, which aims above all to transmit knowledge, methods and rigor. We form the spirit and give a moral education at forgetting the sensitivity. Hence the importance of educating the senses: learning to watch, listen , touch, taste, to welcome this experience a little deep of oneself and others that passes by the sensation, to discover that one takes pleasure in look at things beautiful .

It is an education to feel, but also to the inner sensibility, that is to say, not only to feel, but also to feel, to be attentive to our emotions and to be able to name them. I like it and give me pleasure or, on the contrary, another gives me un-pleasure.

How can this education be concretely translated into a family?

Already by becoming aware of the importance of the environment in which our children live. We sometimes tend to think that beauty is a luxury reserved for an elite, and that it is not one of the essential things in life through which an individual can grow and develop. It is not a question of money or luxury, but of quality, which will nourish the meaning of what is well done, and make you want to improve.

The child also needs us to enrich his experiences, to put him in contact with beautiful natural settings, to make him stop on a face, a music, a work of art. In an era marked by urgency and consumption, it is very important to take the time to verbalize emotions: it feels good, it's nice, we stop, we breathe, we describe what 'we feel. It is also how we enter the dimension of contemplation and open to admiration and praise.

Why do we often prefer to cultivate critical thinking rather than praise and admiration, as if beauty becomes indecent in the midst of the miseries of the world?

This is the question posed by the writer Cheng, in his Five meditations on beauty . It would have become marginal in the XXI th century marked by suffering, poverty, tragedies? Would not the priority go to the poor, the people who suffer, the evils and the horror suffered by our brothers? The writer enjoins us to pay attention. There are always two mysteries to dig together: the enigma of evil, which must be questioned (it is necessary that all those who have the spiritual resources seek to confront this question and to join those who are stuck in it), but also the mystery of the beautiful, which opens just as many abyssal dimensions.

This is what Father Wresinski had not forgotten, who wanted to join the poor in situations of great distress and join the mystery of the beautiful that gives us hope. We must refuse this kind of injunction according to which we should choose either aesthetics, which would divert us from action, or social action, which would divert us from beauty and contemplation.