Thursday, May 20, 2010

Spirituality In Higher Education: Overcoming The Divide

by Arthur Zajonc, a professor of physics at Amherst College in Massachusetts

Click here to read the full article.

"I believe that discoveries in science, artistic breakthroughs, and even the more common successes we experience in the classroom are instances of an apercu breaking into our habitual awareness with novel cognitive insights. To quote Emerson once again, "No discovery is ever made except by poetic perception."

How do we fashion the new eyes that lead to the novel apercu? The very act of attention shapes these capacities. In Goethe's words, "Every object well contemplated creates an organ for its perception."

In a letter to Emil Bernard, Cezanne wrote: "Nature is the true teacher, and through looking and working we must make ourselves concentric to her." That is to say, we start eccentric to nature, off center. Through our constant attention to her we become concentric, we reshape ourselves with every stroke on the canvas to be in alignment with her. Goethe was amazed by our malleability.

To grasp the phenomena, to fix them to experiments, to arrange the experiences and know the possible modes of representation of them ... demands a molding of the poor human ego, a transformation so great that I never should have believed it possible. I view the transformation of the self as the highest form of education."