02 August 2006

A Celebration of Knowledge

I've decided to try to follow in Cindy's footsteps and blog my way through my notes as I try to think through the issues brought up at CiRCE and think through the implications for our homeschooling endeavors. I don't write nearly as well as she does, but I think this is a somewhat safe forum for this.

Well, after typing up my notes from the first Exordium to post, I've decided instead to write out the points that actually jumped out at me and that have stuck with me (although I must say that typing them out helped me to make more sense of them). My rabbit trails are italicized for clarity.

A Celebration of Knowledge
Andrew Kern

We are created to know God. Love, in knowledge, brings life (in reference to Adam knowing his wife Eve - Andrew said that this wasn't just carnal knowledge, but a knowing of her heart and soul, too.)

We must be willing to embrace ignorance, meaning that we must recognize there are things we don't know and can't know.

Education is not efficient. Relationship is not efficient. To believe otherwise is immature.

It is thought that knowledge is of the mind, but that's not true. The mind doesn't know, the person knows. It's not about the intellect, but the person. Adam knew Eve. We know and enjoy God. This doesn't refer to propositions or the intellect, but to a deeper knowing that also includes love. Because of this, knowledge is a miracle. While there are natural triggers of knowledge, to know is a gift from God and part of the Imago Dei.

Our feelings and affections must be trained or we won't embrace knowledge when it comes. "Grace and Harmony are the twin sisters of Truth and Goodness," ~Plato. Thus, the kindergarten teacher's job is to form good taste in her students by exposing them to beauty.

In today's world, we like what we like because we're honored for liking it. Certain kinds of music bring to mind certain associations. "Oh, you like that kind of music? You're cool!" (Or not!) Instead of this gut reaction to music and its associations, we must learn to examine why we like something. Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder.

This extremely politically incorrect thought was expanded upon later by John Hodges especially and will be developed further as I continue thinking out loud through my notes in the coming weeks.

In today's culture, bad taste is excessive. If the form of music is objectively bad, it is harmful despite good lyrics.

This will take much more thinking about. I've felt this way for quite a long time, but had no basis for understanding what is objectively good or bad about music. John Hodges expanded much upon this through the course of his workshops and over lunch one day and I began to relate what he taught about music to what I've learned about the objective goodness of a well-written and well-made film. I liked that he didn't focus on genres or back-beats or trivial things like that, but really wants people to discern the objective foundation upon which music is built, a foundation of ratio and proportion and a foundation which God built into humanity and the created order.

CS Lewis: "God doesn't want us to be happy; he wants us to grow up." Think about that one for a bit.

Active love is the solution to our immaturity. We must do what we can, remembering that love in action is harsh and dreadful compared to love in dreams. Love in dreams is romantic and easy - and I don't just mean eros, but any kind of love: parent to child, student and teacher, friend to friend, as well as husband and wife. Active love is labor and fortitude. It requires much from us. Think about the fact that, when a baby is born, there's a bit of a honeymoon. After awhile, the honeymoon is over and the reality of the changes required in our lives sets in. You still love your infant, but it's a more realistic love and therefore much deeper. We must love individuals, not just the abstract idea of love - again, back to learning to love the specific individual who's been placed in your family, with all his quirks and foibles and inconveniences instead of continuing to hold onto the dream of a perfect child and then only seeing how the child you actually have doesn't measure up. We must let go of the dream and embrace the specific and individual limitations that God has placed in that child (we all have them, after all) and embrace our responsibilities to that child. (This is only an example - fill in any other relationship, husband, student, etc., and the example still holds true.) Only then can we really love, and love is our calling as Christians. "They will know you are My followers if you love one another."

So we need not the knowledge of abstraction, but the knowledge of active love. Love that is not a good feeling, but that embraces reality, embraces the limits that come with knowledge, and embraces the limits that come with responsibility. When we take marriage vows, we limit ourselves to loving one person in the specific way required by the vows. If we do not embrace the limits inherent in the relationship and the limits placed on us by our responsibilities, we do not have a marriage. Without limitations, there is no love.

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