A friend posted this article on Facebook about art in education. The premise of the article is that the lack of emphasis on arts education:
…came about in a frame of increased emphasis on test scores and utility—the market economy becoming a marketing society. Everything is about what you’re going to get, in readily quantifiable terms.
This article, as well as others I found on the subject, tries to create a link between art education and how it can aid in other, non-art related, subjects.
We’re talking about a way of educating that involves artistic sensibilities—artistic habits of mind. The ability to re-assess and to imagine. To be in a science class and not think it’s about memorization entirely, but to imagine its applications.
In order to convince the powers-that-be that art should be considered an important subject, it must prove that art supports business and science.
But does it?
While our ideas of education might evoke Aristotle and Plato and higher thinking, to my perception modern education is about teaching trades, values and the ability to work with or in corporations and large institutions.
Traditionally the 3rd and 9th house axis is about thinking, perception and education. The 3rd is learning about your environment (Gemini) and the 9th is making meaning of that environment which involves philosophical and abstract thinking (9th).
Art in astrology evokes images of Venus and the primary sign it rules – Libra. Libra enjoys art and pleasure in a way the school system definitely does not promote – i.e., it’s a beautiful, sunny day so let’s skip our school/work and have a picnic. Why are we alive if we don’t enjoy ourselves?
From the arguments for arts in education, I don’t believe it’s Libra energy that concerns the education system.
To my perception, our education system is now an 11th house construct of group expression and the challenge of art is 5th house self-expression which takes one away from the group into the self.
The 5th and 11th house axis
According to Isabel Hickey in Astrology: A Cosmic Science, the 11th house in the horoscope is about:
- Goals and objectives
- Social relationships
- Hopes, wishes, projects and ambitions
Its opposite house, the 5th, Hickey writes is about:
- Self-expression; any effort put forth to distinguish yourself from others – children you create, books you write, affections you display, anything that bears your personal stamp
- All emotional and romantic tendencies coming from the heart.
- Speculation, amusement, dramatics, theater, schools.
Because the 11th house is ruled by Aquarius, I tend to think of it in Aquarian terms – rebellious, revolutionary, off-beat and individualistic. Yet group and community expression by its nature is not individualistic. Aquarius as a fixed air sign is extremely stubborn about its ideas and with co-ruler as Saturn, will do much in authoritarian ways to implement its ideas.
Aquarius is different than Capricorn in that Aquarius is fixed on the idea; Capricorn in contrast is fixed on order which creates a controlling and authoritarian personality.
To my perception, our education systems are not appealing to higher mind and ideas but to practical applications and shared community value systems. Today it’s called socialization.
In that way, it is okay to be a football star. Your personal achievements are 5th house creative self-expression. However, your self-expression creates 11th house community feeling so is allowed.
In contrast, a person alone in the corner of an art room pulling emotions from the depths to put in concrete form in no way supports the 11th house group expression. Therefore, the group rejects it. American society is extremely suspicious of introverted activity.
Creative expression can be shared but can involve spending time alone with your thoughts and feelings. If you do this, you might find yourself questioning what the group is doing, which could take you away from the group. You might even question the education system itself.
Why would public education support individuals questioning public education? Why would it support people leaving the system?
Art and astrology
Astrology in my part of the world is considered stupid and superstition. While young I balked against this but now see it as a great gift. The gift is that I can learn astrology from those with great minds and true passion without the government setting the curriculum.
Astrology is free market – I have to figure out for myself who to read and who to reject. The government isn’t regulating the good blogs from the bad blogs, the good astrology teachers from the bad astrology teachers.
Art education might want to do likewise – stop looking for government support. While art may support the community, it may also tear down the community. You just don’t know – that’s art. That’s also freedom.