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The Holistic Education of Artists Through Maharishi Vedic Science

The Holistic Education of Artists Through Maharishi Vedic Science

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Published by: AMTR on Jan 21, 2012
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About the Authors
 Matthew Beaufort is Associate Chairperson of the Department of Fine Arts and Instructor of Art at Maharishi University of  Management. He received his B.A. magna cum laude from YaleUniversity with honors in the history of art in 1973. For more thantwo decades, Beaufort has explored relationships between art and consciousness. He edited a ten-hour videotaped course on art and theScience of Creative Intelligence, which has been viewed around theworld, and has created a videotape on art appreciation in the light of  Maharishi Vedic Science. He has received two M.A. degrees from Maharishi University of Management, including an M.A. in theScience of Creative Intelligence in 1990. Beaufort regularly speaks at other universities and at professional conferences. Dr. Anna Jean Bonshek is Adjunct Assistant Professor of theScience of Creative Intelligence and Art at Maharishi University of  Management. Dr. Bonshek received her B.A. (Hons.) in Fine Art fromWolverhampton University (1978), her Graduate Diploma in Painting from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London (1981),and her M.A. and Ph.D. in the Science of Creative Intelligence from Maharishi University of Management in 1989 and 1996. Dr. Bonshek has taught in England, Hong Kong, Australia, America, and Cambodia—developing curricula in art, art history, art theory and  Maharishi Vedic Science and serving as founding Co-Rector of  Maharishi Vedic University, Cambodia, and Co-Director of  Maharishi School of Vedic Science, Minneapolis-St. Paul. She hasreceived research and curatorial awards and has written in publica-tions in England, Australia and America. Dr. Bonshek was regionaleditor for New Art Examiner (1990–92) and exhibits her work inter-nationally. Dr. Lee Fergusson received an undergraduate degree in visual art  from Caulfield Institute of Technology, a post-graduate degree in art education from Hawthorn Institute of Education, and M.A. and Ph.D.degrees in the Science of Creative Intelligence from Maharishi International University. He has held solo exhibitions and participat-ed in over 150 group exhibitions in Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Canada, UK, and the U.S., curated exhibitions of contempo-rary art in the U.S., and taught visual art in Australia before joiningthe faculty of Maharishi International University in 1986. Dr.Fergusson has also served as founding Co-Rector of Maharishi VedicUniversity in Cambodia (1992–93), founding Co-Director of  Maharishi School of Vedic Science in Minneapolis-St.Paul (1993),and founding Director of Maharishi Vedic College in Melbourne(1994–95). He has published research in
History of Education
Perceptual and Motor Skills(
Higher Education Research andDevelopment
(Australia) and numerous other refereed journals.
Address correspondence to: Department of Fine ArtsMaharishi University of Management, Fairfield, IA, 52557
 Modern Science and Vedic Science,
Volume 7, Number 1, 1997©1997 Maharishi University of Management
The Holistic Education of Artists throughMaharishi VedicScience
Unfolding theInfinite Reservoir of Creativityin Individual Awareness
Matthew Beaufort, Anna J. Bonshek, Lee C. FergussonMaharishi University of ManagementFairfield, Iowa, U.S.A.
he purpose of this paper is to introduce the fundamental principles and researchoutcomes of the Vedic Science-based approach to educating artists as it has been devel-oped and applied at Maharishi University of Management over the last 25 years. The paper outlines several unique features of the curriculum—including consideration of student quality-of-life issues, and the broader social and global dimensions of a collegeart curriculum—and examines the key element of a Vedic Science-based approach: thesystematic and holistic development of the student’s consciousness through the tech-nologies of Maharishi Vedic Science. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has brought to light that the simplest form of the student’s own awareness is a field of unbounded conscious-ness—the universal Self—the source of all creativity. This paper explores how theapplication of Maharishi Vedic Science can bring fulfillment to the long-sought goals of art theory, practice, and education.
Throughout time, artists and teachers of art have sought to unlock the full creativepotential of the human mind. Despite this worthwhile endeavor, there have apparentlybeen no systematic, verifiable, or reliable means through which this goal could be real-ized. Indeed, art and art practice have been generally understood to be mystifying,unscientific, random, and subject to the vagaries of the human condition. MaharishiMahesh Yogi teaches that only through an educational approach based on the systemat-ic development and application of pure consciousness—the unmanifest field of infinitecreativity experienced as the simplest form of human awareness—might the long-sought goals of artists and educators be achieved. Such an approach teaches the studentto access the inner creativity and intelligence of Nature, or Natural Law—that level of infinite creativity which governs all of life. This is the focus of educating artists in thelight of Maharishi Vedic Science
.As a result of practicing the Transcendental Meditation
and TM-Sidhi
programs—techniques of Maharishi Vedic Science—many artists over the last 40 years haveobserved profound positive changes in their own art practice, experienced significant
progress in their personal lives, and witnessed the development of their community.Inspired by these experiences, artists, art teachers, and scholars have turned their atten-tion to the knowledge contained in Maharishi Vedic Science. With the founding of Maharishi University of Management 25 years ago, the Department of Fine
Arts was
cre-ated to apply this knowledge to the education of artists (Cain, 1975, 1988; Fergusson,1991). The result can be called the Consciousness-Based
approach to educatingartists.The Consciousness-Based approach to educating artists integrates into a traditionaluniversity art curriculum the principles of Maharishi Vedic Science and specific tech-nologies to develop consciousness—including the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs. This integrated approach holistically develops the art student, produc-ing quantifiable results which are satisfying for students, teachers, and society as awhole. This approach to educating artists cultivates: 1) access to infinite CreativeIntelligence—the managing intelligence of Natural Law; 2) spontaneous, life-support-ing action leading to a balanced, healthy and fulfilled life in harmony with Natural Law;3) expansion of the artist’s consciousness, supporting the creation of art which is pro-found and uplifting for the artist, for the audience of art, and for the whole environment;and, 4) the creation of a coherent influence in the collective consciousness of the com-munity, the nation, and the world; resulting in a holistic transformation in the quality of life in society.
Contemporary Issues in the Education of Artists
As evidenced in the history of Western thought, the definition and role of art andaesthetics changes with the philosophical, religious, social, political, and cultural cli-mate of each era. In the early history of art criticism, “high art,” as opposed to imitationand later kitsch, was expected to reveal concepts of the divine, the spirit, or the sublime(Hegel, 1975; Kant 1986; Mitias, 1980, p. 74). According to this theory, art was createdby a genius who did not know the creative mechanics of his expression (Kant, 1986, pp.42–43). However, during the twentieth century, with the rapid growth of science andtechnology, extreme political upheaval and social turmoil, and new philosophicalpropositions about the nature of life, numerous alternative art movements arose(Harrison & Wood, 1992), each having its own definition of art and its role in changingsociety and culture. Of these, American Abstraction or Formalism in the 1950s and1960s (the so-called pinnacle of Modernism), as articulated by critic ClementGreenberg (1961, p. 5), held that art captured absolute emotions or absolute knowledge(Zakian, 1988, p. 39) because it eradicated relative referents and represented “reality” asabstract and unbounded. Postmodern artists, on the other hand, deconstructed theseassumptions. Postmodern critics and artists argued that art, like language, cannotexpress an “unsayable,” but can only change or reinvent the rules of a relative languagegame (Kosuth, 1991, p. 247). (The term ‘Modernism’ refers loosely to the period span-ning the 1880s to 1960s, finding its culmination in the Formalism of the early 1970s.There are many definitions and interpretations of Postmodernism, a historical trendwhich emerged in the 1970s and has been influential since [Bonshek, 1996].)While there have been innumerable theories and movements of art which haveinformed the education of artists, the Modern and Postmodern approaches have impact-270

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