ERIC Number: ED384058
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
John Dewey and Robert Pirsig: An Invitation to "Fresh Seeing."
Granger, David A.
While reading John Dewey's "Art as Experience" and Robert Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values," a graduate student observed close affinities between what Dewey referred to as "experience" and Pirsig referred to as "quality." Both texts are concerned with cultivating the appreciation of aesthetic things. When the student found himself conspicuous in the Chicago Art Institute because of the amount of time he spent at particular exhibits, he became distressed with the manner in which most patrons moved through the museum with only superficial observations. It is his contention that to a great extent the institutions of formalized education fail to provide either the types of environments and interactions necessary for aesthetic experiences to develop, or to teach students how to cultivate such experiences both in and out of school. Their privileging of mimetic modes of instruction and the acquisition of disembodied "knowledge," as evidenced by the widespread use of standardized testing, is in many ways fundamentally at odds with genuinely attentive approaches to the world (Jackson, 1986; Oakes, 1985). An excerpt from Pirsig's book in which the narrator enjoins one of his students to do "some original and direct seeing" by concentrating on a single brick in an opera house illustrates the potential of this type of education. (Contains 10 references.) (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A