Wednesday, January 25, 2017

All the Cosmos Is a Stage

All learning should be interconnected because everything in the cosmos is, ultimately interconnected. In Beauty in the Word, Stratford Caldecott makes the same argument, but then he goes on to argue that we can understand this interconnection as a drama:
A drama is a story that unfolds in a given context between several characters---each human life can be viewed as such a story, as can the history of mankind as a whole. Cosmology, astronomy, and geography give us the stage and the set and the props, while history and psychology and religion give us the plot and the action. Everything makes sense, everything connects, through the person whose character, actions, and destiny are the subject of the story. (101)
Not just cosmology, astronomy, and geography give us the stage and the set and the props, but so to do all of the physical sciences. And while history, psychology, and religion certainly give us the plot and the action, so too do the humanities, sociology, anthropology, and economics. More, each actor (you, the student) has to understand the motivation of the character they are playing (them now, them in the future), meaning an understanding of psychology (including neurobiology), sociology, economics, and the humanities is necessary.

In my own experience, the more I have come to learn about how my brain works and learns, the more freedom I have gained. I have learned to see many of the unconscious things I have been doing, and by bringing them to consciousness, I am now freer in my choices. It is the freedom of the author well-educated in grammar, logic and rhetoric: I can now better edit myself to make a better story of my life.

Seeing each of these aspects as part of a great drama allows us to see how they are interconnected, and how and why they relate to us at all. The actors on a stage don't get to pretend that the stage and set and props and lighting and so on aren't there or that they have no effect on what they do, for if they do, they will run into the set, misuse or fail to use the props, and speak from the shadows---not to mention potentially fall off the stage! If you don't understand the plot, how can you act well? If you don't know the character, how can you act well? You'll just be stiffly going through the motions, doing a poor job of acting---indeed, being a bad actor.

This is why a liberal education is vital. And not just a multidisciplinary education, where nothing is connected, but an interdisciplinary education, wherein all the links are clearly made. This is what makes for a truly liberal education.
Post a Comment