Great Quotes

Stratford Caldecott's new book Beauty for Truth's Sake is MUST reading for anyone interested in Sacred Geometry. Just to give you a taste, here are some favorite quotes. Scroll down for quotations from other sources, and send in the ones you find.

No wonder students come to a college education expecting nothing more than a set of paper qualifications that will enable them to earn a decent salary.  The idea that they might be there to grow as human beings, to be inducted into an ancient culture, to become somehow more than they are already, is alien to them. They expect instant answers, but they have no deep questions. The process of education requires us to become open, receptive, curious, and humble in the face of what we do not know. The world is a fabric woven of mysteries, and a mystery is a provocation to our humanity that cannot be dissolved by googling a few more bits of information. 20


Arguably, despite the great achievements of medieval civilization, in general the potential of the Liberal Arts for intellectual and spiritual integration failed to be manifested. …the medieval ideal was instantiated most perfectly not in the universities at all, but in the great cathedrals such as Chartres, Amiens, and Notre Dame – and in the liturgies they were designed to serve. Here the sacred sciences of the quadrivium were expressed in massed stone and statuary, rose windows, and labyrinths, and in the interplay between light, music, and sacramental gesture. 27


The purpose of an education is…to teach the ability to think, discriminate, speak, and write, and, along with this, the ability to perceive the inner, connecting principles, the intrinsic relations, the logoi of creation, which the ancient Christian Pythagorean tradition (right through the medieval period) understood in terms of number and cosmic harmony. 29


What I want to suggest is that the opposition between the ‘cultures’  of science and the arts can be overcome by teaching science and mathematics themselves at least partly according to the poetic mode. ..We need to reestablish – for the sake of science as much as for the arts – a truly humane education that, in [James] Taylor’s words, ‘begins with the senses, and the discovery and cultivation of harmony and beauty in the soul by way of the sense’s natural affinity for the harmonious, proportionate, and the beautiful in nature and the arts.’  45 [reference to James Taylor’s Poetic Knowledge, which I’ve been recommending for years!]


Mathematics is regarded as a form of logical notation, a mental tool with no relation to truth except the fact that it assists us in manipulating the world. This elimination of the symbolic dimension of mathematics is largely responsible for the divorce of science from religion, and art from science. …I want to immerse us in an alternative vision of mathematics. Let us learn for ourselves the beauty to be found in this world of patterns and relationships. …The Pythagoreans regarded each number as an expression or facet of Unity (the Father of all things) projected through Duality (the Mother) to create multiplicity. 55


The recovery of a contemplative appreciation of numbers and shapes would also herald a renewal of the arts (painting, sculpture, music, architecture, even film). For it is the contemplative dimension that connects us with the source of inspiration and beauty in the cosmos and our own souls. 90


One of the aims of the European Enlightenment was ‘mathesis,’ or the spatializing of all knowledge, mapping the world onto a notional ‘grid’ so that it could more easily be measured and controlled – effectively reducing the world to pure quantity. With this went the attempted substitution of a concept of space for the concept of eternity, and with the attempt to achieve through frenetic activity or movement in space what can only really be attained through contemplation. Aspirations of this sort tend to be implicit in most drives toward greater efficiency, and lie at the root of the sense of ever-increasing stress and shortness of time with which modern man is afflicted. 99