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The Arts of the Hidden: An Essay for the Left Hand

  • Alan KayEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Cultural Psychology of Education book series (CPED, volume 2)

Abstract

Jerome Bruner wrote essays both to put forth his ideas, and as a vehicle for thinking. Many of the best ideas for cognitive psychology in the 20th century, and especially for education, came from these thought pieces, and they greatly influenced the present author. Jerry’s “essays for the left hand” were about the arts, less formal and more speculative. To celebrate Jerry, we attempt a “left handed” peek at the “hidden arts” inspired by his approaches and perspectives. To avoid trying to define “Art”, we look instead at emotional reactions when we transition from the mental context we think is “reality” to another point of view, and especially when and how we are helped to make the transition by something in the world around us. This can be easy to deal with if the new point of view was one we already had but was blocked by our limitations for simultaneous attention, or it can be quite shattering—and often resisted—if the new point of view was not anywhere in our previous “reality”.Most of the traditional Arts are “in our senses”, i.e. sensual, sensical, etc.: touch, taste, visual, auditory. Einstein’s world view was changed by a compass he was given as a child where he realized: “… something deeply hidden had to be behind things”. Much of the important content of Science, Mathematics, and even Engineering—are relationships, often in terms of dynamic systems—are quite hidden in this sense, yet fluent practitioners report the same kinds of “aesthetic emotions” as for the traditional Arts: it is likely that how one gets at and expresses “what is deeply hidden” constitute new great Art forms at least equal in depth to the traditional forms of the past. Since our form of government was set up as a systems design backed by a democracy— and much of what is powerful and dangerous in the world is in the form of systems whose properties, and sometimes existence, are hidden—it is as vital for all citizens to get fluent in the “Arts of the Hidden” as it is for them to learn to read and write. Questions are asked about whether and how the “Arts of the Hidden” can be learned and taught generally to society, and several examples are given to motivate further explorations.

Keywords

Art Science Context Learning Society 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Viewpoints Research InstituteLos AngelesUSA

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