Friday, September 19, 2008

Leisure and Creativity

As you know I have been thinking of the concept of leisure and its connection to education for the last 8 months. The more I think on it the stronger the tie becomes. Because learning is hard work, the learner must have time (leisure) to assimilate. That is why entertainment is the antithesis of leisure. Entertainment pulls the learner away from contemplation, keeping him too busy to learn. If the entertainment industry is any indication, our culture has plenty of time. We could be a very educated culture but instead we have traded our time for entertainment rather than leisure. This, I think, is the natural outcome of Enlightenment thinking which puts originality ahead of craftsmanship.

In his character sketch of Bach, Glory and Honor, Greg Wilbur says,

" Emulation of the classics provided a firm foundation in what was excellent and a model on which to base new creative work. This concept also reflected the medieval and Baroque concept that craftsmanship was of greater importance than originality-a view contradicting that held by the emerging secular Enlightenment, which placed individuality and originality above all else."

Somewhere in this thought is the seed for the idea that classical education is not, in the early years, the efficient memorization of facts. The early school years are not the time to be cracking the whip, but rather the time to be developing the palate. This, of course, brings us around to Charlotte Mason. It also hints that much of what is called classical education in the early years is, in fact, the antithesis of true classical education.

With my 5 older boys out of the house for the day, I am going to enjoy my leisure.

Music provided by J S Bach St John Passion

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