by Lisa Quintana
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”… this saying is a rather modern concept. In ancient education, beauty was taught. Teachers told students to be aware of what they’re drawn to, and then encouraged to ask: to what are you being drawn? Is it something true and good, or not? Could it be a lie or evil? To answer that question is to recognize what is being stirred up within us. The Greeks noticed that people were not only attracted to the beautiful but to the ugly, the evil, the pornographic. They observed that beauty typically evokes love; something false evokes lust. Truth attracts; lies seduce. It would benefit American culture to return to a classical teaching method of training students to distinguish between these things, which can be crucial in learning discernment within our media-saturated world.
Beauty helps your soul bloom and humanity to flourish. Sadly, it seems we’ve lost something today because knowledge is taught primarily through science. Click To Tweet Everything is boiled down to the mere material. What about the immaterial things? The sense of wonder and enchantment at the cosmos, for instance, is not being taught. Instead, education is focused on getting a job. In doing so, we’ve lost the meaning of why we exist, what our purpose is: the meaning in life.
Ironically, in ancient cultures, those who focused on vocation were slaves. Free men studied the reasons and issues of life. So, by focusing education on getting a job, in essence, are we more enslaved? Many have become slaves to their jobs. Paying for a mortgage, a car payment, a student loan… if a job consumes all your time and money, then who’s the master?
If we don’t educate students about what is true, good and beautiful, the meaning and purpose of life gets lost in a rat-race of making money. Teaching children to see truth, goodness and beauty, may ignite the passion to create and innovate more in the form of hope, peace and energy. Returning to divine meaning and purpose in every aspect of our lives, we can focus on what makes us fully human, as God designed, in His image of truth, goodness and beauty. We are not like any creature on Earth!
Education balanced with the rational and emotional side of being human can create a complete picture of the human experience. Developing people’s ethical side fosters a sense of serving our fellow man in efforts to better the lives of all. This is an economy of grace: those who have much learn to give to others with less not because we’re forced, but because we want to—a divine command. If we foster those who think in this ‘economy of grace,’ civilization would change for the better. Through the gift of Christ, Jesus frees our souls to see life as a coherent picture of meaning. This helps to see all things—beauty, truth, and goodness—in a divine perspective.
“And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish you the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish it.” Psalm 90:17 (NKJ)