Last Wednesday I went to a classical education event held on the campus of St. John’s College in Annapolis. I enjoyed a day away from my regular responsibilities, a day thinking about the classical tradition, a day amongst adults. Some parts of the presentation were better than others (the two-hour long teaching on mimetic teaching was not my favorite), but one thought has stuck with me and was brought into particular focus during the symphony concert I attended last night.
Wednesday, in a talk about the 7 Liberal Arts, Andrew Kern observed that these arts bring harmony when they’re mastered. Arithmetic teaches us to endure discord. We have to live in that tension of not knowing for a time. Eventually we understand, and then there’s harmony. He mentioned that we see this principle at work in other places in our lives as well. We have to endure discord to get to harmony. Pop music, he said, makes us lazy because the tension is resolved so quickly. We don’t have to live with it, struggle with it, try to understand it. The harmony is immediate. Instant resolution. Continue reading