Artificial or artistic?

Mathias Maurer

Often these “provisions” are seen as a counterweight to the “hard” cognitive subjects but such a view misses the point. For Rudolf Steiner, it was about a practice which was intended to pervade all fields and layers of school life and the whole of the human being with all their abilities; and – irrespective of the subject – the structure of the lesson itself as well as the teacher who develops as an “artist in education” with their class. Indeed, even the social shape of the whole school organism, its autonomous management, the work in the faculty and with the parents was to be captured by this artistic principle. What is left in all these things that is still artistic? 

The function of the artistic is to be creative. In order to be creative we have to be sovereign in our actions, that is, have a command of the relevant techniques – but that is not yet the artistic, only its basis. It only becomes artistic when beyond the technical skills we actually forget the “tool” and can flexibly shape the “material” here and now in a concrete situation. Engineering is measured and counted, art only works as a process – and thus each learning process, even in mathematics, can be made artistic in a way that does not exclude beauty either. 

At the source of any artistic and creative activity human beings experience themselves as something that can express their inner life and thus change the world. Developing the self and shaping the world come together in an artistic process. 

Our consciousness is normally a conceptual one. We conceive our knowledge from ideas. Such conceptual consciousness is distinguished from its perceptual content through a high level of wakefulness and power of judgement, but also in that it does not create any encompassing connections of meaning but is focused on detailed segmentation of the world, including our own self. As a conceptual human being, we face ourselves and the world at one remove, we observe and primarily “process” the impressions coming from ourselves or the world, receptively; this is quickly followed by judgements: it’s like this or that... 

An artistic consciousness includes the unconscious and dream-like parts, seeks active participation in the world and in doing so experiences: the world is in me and I am in the world and can shape it. Art is therefore a creative principle in all living (learning) processes which may not only lend an aesthetic edge to our ideas and cultivate our feelings and but also stimulate to our actions. This artist is ready and waiting in each person; waking them is what an education for freedom is about.