Against the Flow: Education, the Art and Postmodern Culture by Peter Abbs

By Peter Abbs

Immediately provocative and inspiring, opposed to the Flow is a piece of polemic from an the world over revered author and philosopher on arts schooling. Peter Abbs argues that modern schooling ignores the cultured and moral because of being in thrall to such forces because the industry financial system and managerial and useful dictates. He identifies the current schooling method as being inimical to creativity and actual studying and as a substitute, narrowly fascinated by the quantitative measuring of effects. This absence of an artistic and moral size in schooling has implications for artwork making in wider society. artwork is proven as rising from, and beautiful to, the ironic postmodernist sensibility and mass media-led tradition, whereas being with out philosophical significance.
This booklet opens up a clean and well timed debate concerning the very important strength of creativity in sleek schooling. Drawing on examples from glossy poetry, literature and visible artwork, it's an eloquent and passionate argument for the necessity to boost moral and aesthetic energies to confront the transforming into vacuity of latest tradition.

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Such a hope and such a desire for freedom must also provide the political and spiritual energy for the renewal of authentic THE ARTS AND POSTMODERN CULTURE 25 teaching. This calls for nothing less than a revolution in both current thinking and practice. The chances are it will not happen; but it is also true that the power of the spirit works in startling ways and what is repressed now, constellating in the unconscious, can suddenly be released and transform what, until that unpredicted historic moment, looked like the inevitable and unchanging state of things.

What cannot be said through propositions can be painted, danced, narrated and turned into musical sound and verbal metaphor. That is the whole point. The changing life of the spirit can be embodied, shared and developed nondiscursively through the arts. 38 THE POETICS OF EDUCATION On developing the spiritual in education and culture How, then, can we begin to reclaim the spiritual dimension in a form that fits the immense complexity of our own times? Most obviously, and most unobtrusively, it can happen in the many specific moments and encounters that make up the pattern of our daily lives.

It comes to its conclusions through the tangible presentation of art and the working through of arguments relating to its fitting interpretation. It makes its decisions openly and freely. The work involves acts of making, witnessing, and evaluating; it involves a dialectic of asking questions and examining answers. It also includes an engagement with some of the many ‘answers’ given in the cultural inheritance – whether in the form of art or theory or spiritual example. And whatever is discovered remains always provisional, always open, at least in principle, to further experimentation or argument or contemplation.

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