Professor discusses importance of culture, beauty to redeem society

Theresa Balick
Copy Editor

A philosophy professor said humans should create and maintain a new culture around the arts and said beauty will fix the current culture at a talk Monday in the Gentile Gallery.

Alex Plato, who holds a doctorate in philosophy, spoke to about 25 students at the first of a series of talks about music that will continue throughout the semester.

Plato said culture connects to beauty and that both are necessary to recenter society around God. He said that, in today’s society, there is very little that humans do that is centered around God.

“You can believe in God personally,” Plato said, “but that doesn’t make a difference to how we do art, how we do science, how we do technology, how we do anything. … We are tempted in this world to live as if God doesn’t exist.”

Plato said that to fix the culture, humans need to learn to recognize beauty again, as beauty in the arts is what brings humans closest to God. To do so, he said that people need to create new cultures and traditions centered around the arts to replace the current culture.

“A culture that doesn’t value beauty is a culture that is suppressing its own humanity,” Plato said. “If we need beauty, we need culture. If we need culture, we need to cultivate these arts.”

Plato also connected culture to education since education is from where the culture first stems.

“Education … is being the acculturation of humanity,” Plato said.

Plato said that education should actualize leisure activity in the classical sense of the phrase, meaning that education should promote contemplation of the divine instead of being simply a means of relaying information.

“It’s not about information. … it’s about becoming the kind of person who loves to contemplate,” Plato said.

Junior Elijah Kim said he thought the talk was amazing.

“It reminded those listening of things that are so often forgotten but are so inherently vital to the human person,” Kim said.

The talk was hosted by the Veritas Society.