Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sacrificing beauty: a beautiful sacrifice II

In its wider application this principle is common. An individual who sees beauty in loving-kindness will part with objects of beauty in order to bestow their friends with gifts. Some incredible people even forgo living in luxury and move to a third world country in order to offer aid to its underprivileged citizens. Rather than barbarically destroying beauty on account of an inability to appreciate it, such individuals surrender it for the sake of attaining a loftier and nobler form.

This brings us to a specific form of such sacrifice, also visible in skateboarding. The top of a skateboard would look more appealing if it's smooth varnished wood was exposed, without coarse black grip tape covering it. Yet, for the sake of having more traction between one's board and feet, beauty is again sacrificed.

This form of sacrifice - beauty for traction - is pronounced in teaching. A teacher, especially one expert in highly abstract concepts, often couches his understanding in more concrete and sensually stimulating analogies and parallels in order to grip his students with the ideas. Certainly in high school, many students are overcome with lethargy when teachers discuss highly technical or rarefied concepts. The discussions simply fail to grip the attention of the class as if they are so smooth that the students 'slip off' them. The teachers that manage to express concepts in coarser and more tangible ways - though adding something foreign and relatively crude to otherwise elegant and fine mathematics or formulae - are most successful at grabbing and maintaining their students' interest...                                     

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