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Keywords:

  • aesthetic;
  • spiritual;
  • Whitehead;
  • Benedict;
  • education;
  • theory

Abstract

The article attempts to clarify the appeal to the Benedictine ideal that Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947) makes in The Aims of Education and Other Essays as a way to renew the life of the spirit in education. In particular, the essay will consider St. Benedict's three central themes of Whitehead's philosophy: freedom and discipline, the teacher as artist and the art of life, and universities as workshops or homes of creative energy. The aim is to bring about a harmony of thought and action, the mind to the feelings of the heart, to subordinate scientific or critical pedagogy to aesthetic-spiritual instruction. This deserves our attention because today's educational theories and practices emphasize the technical, the critical, and the social sides to the neglect of the aesthetic-spiritual side. On both its practical and theoretical side, the educational theory of Whitehead falls within the Benedictine tradition of ora (meditative reading) and labora (work).