Aesthetic Education: Hammering at Mutual Development between Inner World and Outer World

Yunyun Luo  Ph.D

Professor of Aesthetics

Philosophy Department of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China



This theory system is one of the achievements of some relative research items (including “Today’s social human condition and aesthetic education of teen-age” that is the major program of The Ministry of Education P.R.C from 1996 to 2000, “Reform and practice of the aesthetic education didactical content and curricular system in university and college face to 21 century ” that is the research program of Beijing Normal College, etc), it is the concentrate and materialize of the last word of aesthetic education at home and abroad presently.


The put forward of this curricular system based on The Ministry of Education P.R.C about the pattern of a person with ability face to 21 century, according as the essence and character of aesthetic education (namely aesthetic education is the entia of sense education, interest education, and personality education), the developmental earmark of teen-age body and mind, the situation of our country and multi-analysis principle.


In the concrete, this curricular system looks at the new century’s aesthetic education course of school as a group of courses (just as the intellectual education course not only one topic but makes up of many topics), those course groups run through the whole process of education (from the elementary school to the university), it includes the primary channel as well as the second classroom, activity and appreciatory courses as well as theoretic courses; it content relates to classical works of various nation, culture, and type, bring up the artistic creativity of teen-age, as well as the essential knowledge of aesthetic, aesthetic education, history of art, artistic criticize and aesthetic culture.


Among this curricular system, we set up our courses aim of grade school as sense education (a keen sense and inspire sensibility and imagination), interest education (form exalted aesthetic spice during the aesthetic enjoy) at high school, and personality education (to unify sense and rational, mold fine personality) at college and university.


Yunyun Luo, Assistant Research Professor in Institute of Modern History of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 1989-1992

Assistant Research Professor in Institute of Literature of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 1992-1995

Associate Research Professor in Institute of Literature of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 1995-2002

Professor in Philosophy Department of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

Aesthetic Education: Hammering at Mutual Development between Inner World and Outer World

The distinguished American black leader Martin Luther King once published an essay titled Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? on the problems of American society in 1967, the year before he was assassinated. There is a profound login in it. He said: 

“We have to span the great gulf fixed between scientific progress and moral advancement through our persevering efforts with huge enthusiasm. Today, one of the most serious problems in human beings is that we meet with poverty in our spirit which vividly contrasts with richness in technology, as people’s material lives become richer and richer and their spirit lives get more and more indigent. Everyone lives in these two worlds: the inner world and the outer world. The inner world owns the core of spiritual aim expressed by arts, literature, morality, and religion; by contrast, the outer world is an integration formed by equipment, technology, mechanism, and instrument in which we live. The present problem of us undoubtedly shows that we allow ourselves to be bankrupt in the inner world resulting from the outer world. In other words, we allow instruments to transcend the living aim. … If without corresponding growth in the soul, the strengthening power of materials would imply an increscent disaster. When the outer world conquers the inner one, a gloomy rainstorm will come into being.”

Martin Luther King

Nowadays in the 21st century along with the progressive richness in material and the progressive diversification in mind, do the Chinese people face the same puzzle that we can not develop our internal and external world simultaneously? From the current development of the modern aesthetic culture, in my opinion, this situation does not exist.


The imbalance between the development of substance and spirit, science and morality, sensibility and sense (logos) has been exited for long. At the beginning of this century, the improvement of science and technology and the modernization of our society ended up with the limitation of human beings’ individual full development. The limitation provoked Herbert Marcuse to realize that there was danger for the industrial society to cultivate human beings into “one-sized” persons. From then on, many humanists realized the tremendous damage brought by the separation of sense from sensibility and the unilateral over-emphasizing of the development of an individual’s personality. And those humanists voluntarily shouldered the heavy burden to liberate humans’ sensibility. The Chinese aesthetic scholars especially had realized deeper: to the Chinese people, who had been deprived of sensibility and aesthetic rights and whose nation’s aesthetic quality had been degraded to an unprecedented degree through the ten-year catastrophic cultural revolution, liberating people’s world of sensibility oppressed for many years by aesthetic education and promoting the perfection of the individual personality was an urgent and compulsory obligation. However, what I have to remind you of now is that there is a new imbalance between the development of substance and spirit, science and morality, sensibility and sense in the new transformation period of our society. Currently, we have to prepare ourselves for avoiding the other new kind of “one-sized man”, namely the persons who indulge themselves in the world of sensibility, who only pursue and enjoy happiness from sensibility, and who have lost their own rational thinking and the grasp of art and life.


The modern-society culture environment has proposed a new requirement for the teen-age’s aesthetic education, and a new requirement for the theory researching on beauty research at the same time. The environment requires an explanation on a series of theories like the essence of aesthetic education, which has Chinese style and which is new and modernized, according to the change of the time spirit and the ultimate goal of quality education. These following of this book are to be an attempt on this aspect.

. The essence of Aesthetic Education

We always think that we have different ideas about aesthetic education in different eras. The quick development of aesthetic education in our country is closely related to the all-around advance of our quality education. So, we cannot abandon the background of quality education to re-explain aesthetic education. What is education? Education is a purposeful, organized, and planned social practice to cultivate people. In modern society, depending on this essence and function, education gains its important status and plays a very important role in economics, society, cultural development, and the improvement of human beings. In fact, to cultivate people is to change their potential into reality maximally, that is, to separate people’s potentials of learning, being nice, love-pursuit and growing up healthily and then make all of these have a full and harmonized development.


Since The Central Party Committee and The State Council gave instructions on and transmitted the <Action Plan of Vitalizing Education towards the 21st Century > by the Ministry of Education in 1990, our country has begun a hot round of education reform. The reason why quality education becomes a hot issue again draws many people’s academic interests and attention. As we know the word “Quality” was originally a physiological and psychological concept, which meant the dissected and physiological characteristics people own by nature that come from inheritance, so it also could be called “inherited quality”. And the concept of quality in modern education contains both this congenital natural endowment and the possibility for people to develop in society, culture, and other aspects. The concept of quality we are talking about here refers to the summation of development potential people may and should realize, including both the congenital and acquired factors; it is relatively stable, but it can develop and be modified as well; it is a must for individual development, and it is common to need for a certain society; it can be classified into many categories like physical quality, psychological quality, social culture quality, and it is a comprehensive integration.


The proposal on the idea of “Quality-oriented education” applies well to our nation’s historic task of modernized construction and improvement of the whole nation’s quality. To us, the idea of “Quality-oriented education” should mainly contain the followings:


1. Quality-oriented education should put the all-around improvement of the comprehensive ability of the educated as its basic tasks; it should set the students’ full development in moral, intellectual, physical, aesthetics and labor education as the goal. That is to say, education does not only means teaching, developing one’s ability, and dealing with exams but also means improving the students’ qualities of all aspects as a whole, which is more important, as a complete unit.


2. Quality-oriented education should emphasize the students’ entity position and initiative role during the course in education and should emphasize that the education receivers must include all students, which makes them study creatively and develop actively.


3. Quality-oriented education should treat the students’ healthy growing up as an important educational value orientation. More than educating people who have certain knowledge and who are able to work, education should cultivate such people who are physically and mentally healthy, who can create material and spiritual riches, and who have all-around individual characters. Therefore, besides knowledge and technology, students should have better physical quality, moral quality, aesthetic quality, psychological quality, and humane quality, which are the most fundamental.


4. Quality-oriented education is also a way to promote people’s modernization through education. Quality-oriented education should be specifically measured by people’s modernization and prepare the students with the respective qualities, which can help them ready for the modern society and construction of a modern country.


It is obvious to realize that for the final purpose of quality-oriented education, aesthetic education is essential. Based on this, the Central Party Committee and the State Council list aesthetic education in our policy for education again. Confirming this clearly helps us to define value pointing to and the task of teenagers’ aesthetic education further. It is not exaggerated to say that aesthetic education plays a quite important role in the transformation from exam-oriented education to quality education. Our understanding of teenagers’ aesthetic education should combine the great background of educational reform in our country first. It is one of the basic content of carrying out the policy for the education of our country in an all-around way to pay attention to aesthetic education and implement aesthetic education. To bring out the teenager’s potential effectively, we have to promote their development in aesthetics; to improve the teenager’s general quality; we must always keep it in mind to enhance their aesthetic quality; to improve the teenager’s moral, psychological and humane qualities, so we have to depend on aesthetic education. In other words, we can really attach importance to the students’ aesthetic education by putting really emphasis on quality-oriented education; only after we have a full and deep understanding of it can we have a clear understanding of its essence, function, and task for the teen-age’s aesthetic education. And the improvement of the knowledge of aesthetic education helps us grasp the connotation and range of quality-oriented education better. Aesthetic education is one of the fundamental factors contained in modern people’s qualities, which is relatively independent and has a positive influence on the improvement of moral, psychological, and humane qualities. Therefore, quality-oriented education without aesthetic education is incomplete, not overall.

On this basis, we continue to know about the unique nature of aesthetic education and functional question so that we can get a relatively more distinct clue. That is, aesthetic education is an organism, a comprehensive system project, which especially shows up as the integration of sensibility education, taste education, and personality education.


1. Aesthetic education is a kind of sensibility education

Aesthetic education has a direct and interior relationship with human sensibility. Sensibility contains human instinct, desire, and feelings, which is the most important part of human nature. And the meaning of original aesthetic education is the education of sensibility, and emotion —“sensibility education” exactly shows that it has the most basic and characteristic factors.


Generally speaking, aesthetics is the balanced point between sensibility and sense; aesthetic education is also an educational course on the mutual harmonization between sense and sensibility, feelings and intellect. However, comparatively speaking, in various kinds of education forms, aesthetic education relatively overweighs perceptually with sense and feelings whose special character of quality, function, and regularity, and its special value in modern science and industrial times are rooted. Under the domination of scientism and rationalism, our educational theories always describe an individual’s growing up as a process from sensibility to sense, from material sensibility to abstractive thinking. Therefore it makes us form a kind of illusion that the task of education seems to bring about an advance in people’s reason and develop people’s latent ability of thinking. Really, the individual has a development orbit from perceptual to rational to grow up; one of the important tasks of education is to improve people’s rational ability constantly. But people are the entities of perceptual and rational, spirit and flesh, so people’s development should regard the development of the overall one, the whole as the goal. While training people’s rational abilities, we should not ignore or abandon the cultivation of people’s perceptual abilities (such as intuition, imagination, etc.). Proceeding from this basic principle, education should refer to both sensibility and sense. But, in the field of our present education, there is something usually being ignored seriously such as acumen of sensibility, development of intuition, cultivation of imagination, the promotion of experience strength, etc. Therefore, aesthetic education is ignored —a lot of people even bring those aesthetic educations, which incline sensibility and emotion, into the mandatory rational education track. Truly, this view does not tally with the particularity of aesthetic education at all.


As “sensibility education” aesthetic education being, it educates the side of sensibility and also is an indispensable supplement to rational education, meanwhile it uses symbolic means to educate people in order to keep the vitality and directness of sensibility. More importantly, aesthetic education is such an education shaping healthy personality, improving life quality, and promoting the society and cultural health towards modernization through liberating and promoting people’s sensibility. This characteristic of aesthetic education, is concretely embodied in two respects: “sensibility outlet” and “sensibility distillation”. The so-called “sensibility outlet” refers to leading the educated to release their emotion in a civilized and healthy way during the course of aesthetic education, which would make their passion obtain freedom. That is to say, in the course of modern education, it is not simply to oppress human beings’ emotions, by contraries, in order to let the educated grow up healthily it should let them get a proper expression which fits the healthy way. So what aesthetic education wants is to liberate people’s sensibility from the state of emphasizing rational suppression excessively and ignoring perceptual development, and to release people’s sensibility out of its numb and obtuse state, to resume it sensitive, vivid, and abundant again. And the so-called “sensibility distillation”, is to, through aesthetic education activity, make people’s sensibility from the unconscious depths to the top layer, to rise people’s emotional aspect from the animal to human nature even more, from biological competence to the level of sociology, so that it really makes the sensibility up to hominine. Only on the basis of this kind of promotion, the human nature could radiate brilliant rays. In fact, why is it able to sublime the sensibility? A chief reason is that because it itself is beyond utilitarian and non-practical, in other words, to spring of human being’s sense organ, to open up of human being’s imagination, to the inspiration of human being’s emotion, aesthetic education does not guide them into certain use value of the real target or themselves, but to make people obtain a certain degree of freedom and depth through aesthetic activity in aesthesia in target, and to show the intension with human nature, and to become real people’s aesthesia —This is exactly a basic meaning of competence distilling to human nature from the level of animal too.


In modern society, it is significant to emphasize aesthetic education as “sensibility education”. First of all, in the industrialized society, the division of human nature has already spread all over many fields of the human society, because of which there are various kinds of spiritual diseases appearing therefore the serious perplexing problems come forth along with the social development, and become the great obstacle while realizing modernization. If let go like this, modernization is not only impossible to realize but also the prospect of humans even turning into a dim state. Although there are many reasons that can cause the division of human nature, and undeniably, lack of such education for a long time can also be one of these important causations, so without aesthetic education, such self-conscious education, it will be absolutely impossible to make the deep wound of the human nature division up. Secondly, such lack of sensibility education for long still causes another serious consequence, which is that when rational controlling is weakened, when sensibility obtains the loose time, but because sensibility cannot express and display itself correctly, then it would appear inclination to degrading and materialization easily, and fall into the wrong road into which sensibility sinks. In other words, during the process of that, we are constructing socialist spiritual enlightenment with Chinese characteristics, it is far from being enough to only liberate and lead off sensibility, while liberating and leading off, there must also be sensibility distillation, namely, there is aesthetic education.

2. Aesthetic education is a kind of taste education

“Taste” as an aesthetic concept, means a kind of ability to distinguish, choose, judge, and enjoy the aesthetic targets, it is some psychological tendency the people show in the aesthetic activity. Its appraising form, based on an emotion such as “liking” or “not liking”, determines the choice of things correctly. It is embodied in the preferring or choosing aesthetically of the individual, also the common aesthetic inclination of certain communities. Certainly, in a more extensive sense, taste is not limited to aesthetic activity strictly; a person’s taste is directly related to his life attitude and relevant value ideals, liking or repelling, is always determined by his basic life value orientation. In this sense, taste education is a kind of life education.


Concretely speaking, the so-called “taste education”, is some indicator works aiming at the individual interest, that is namely to guide people’s interests from low grade to senior grade. This means, that there is a close relationship between aesthetic education and people’s tastes.


Obviously, “taste” relates to the fact that people are perceptual. If people’s sensibility only remains perceptually on the animal or the biological level, then, it can only be a kind of low taste. So, to guide “taste”, must be on the foundation, namely starting from perception. But such guide in people, is unable to be enlightened with administrative decree or morals by education way to achieve anticipated purpose obviously, “to guide people by understanding, can only let them know what it should be done at most, or how to do it, but finally whether done or not by the person who is guided, there is no relation. The more what has been known, the less what has been done. It is easy to excite people with emotion, just like a magnetic force to draw the iron, how large magnetism of weight, how does it guide large iron of weight.” The administrative decree or education by morals mainly aims at the reason of people, they just act on taste indirectly, not directly. Aesthetic education proceeded from sensibility, and could directly guide the taste of people.


There are realistic meanings to emphasize that aesthetic education is a kind of taste education. First, from the angle of taste-forming, it is not born by nature but the result of the environment, result of culture; second, from the angle of taste-essence, it separates altitude from inferiority, beauty from ugliness, and good from evil, so, to aesthetic education, it is necessary to educate and guide; third, from the angle of taste-function, it is related to life so that it can affect the life quality and the life assessment. So taste must be an indispensable factor in life. “Taste is the origin of acting. When taste does exhaust, the activity follows to stop. It seems that there is no fuel in the machine room so it cannot send out the steam, no matter how well it performs, if stopped of non-fuel, it will get rusty, and produce a lot of harmful material. If someone loses being interested in some taste, frankly speaking, he is living an impatient life, though that guy stays in this world reluctantly, only an utterly worthless person as the dead-alive person, if the whole society is like this, that society is as if being of tuberculosis, which could have already been declared to death by a doctor. ” “Taste is the motive power of the life if lost, life becomes meaning of none.” Especially in the age of a teenager, aesthetic education seems even more important as taste education that educates, for “to the youth, it is the densest to be interested at any tastes, all day seeking for fun, if not guiding them to the high-grade tastes, they would go down in the opposite way.”


In recent years, with the gradual change of China’s social-cultural environment, in particular, with the rise and development of mass culture, some vulgar culture as consumption has some developmental trends as well. This phenomenon has formed and exerted a certain passive influence on the mass, especially teenagers. Briefly saying, present aesthetic taste contains two negative aspects: “indulgence” and “freshness”. “Indulgence” means regarding indulging in material comfort as the only purpose in life, just pursuing instant happiness and satisfaction, and scorning to take even a glance at spiritual and surmounting things; they are eager for the need of material life but indifferent to the spiritual life; they pay more attention to external aspects and ignore the training of the inner heart. And “fleshliness” pursues a sense of organic excitement and satisfaction blindly; such taste only stays at the level of physiology which just seeks for venting except for spiritual sublimation, their cultural life is reduced to the level that simply meets the instinct desire. These influences are harmful to the advance of the level of mass tastes; therefore, it is vital to emphasize aesthetic education as a kind of taste education at present.

3. Aesthetic education is a kind of personality education

As a psychological category, “personality” refers to people’s synthesis of different psychological characteristics mainly. In past, because of the rationalistic influence on the understanding of “personality”, people think that in the course of shaping personality, the development of reason (or development of ethics reason, or development of cognitive reason) is the most important factor in personality so that reason becomes the essential core, and the perceptual factors are repelled in personality. After entering the 20th century, people began to realize gradually that reason is not the only factor in personality-shaping. Humanism psychologists once put forward the concept of “healthy personality” In order to show the strong discontent to “rational man” and “morbid man”, in their opinion, psychology could find out how extensile to the end mankind can extend and develop his own ability based on studying the healthiest personality.


What is a “healthy personality”? We consider a “healthy personality” as such a self-organism that is unified, harmonious, has coordinates ability, creativity, and abundant emotion. It has several essential features:


(1) Integrality.

A healthy personality is such a kind of personality of integrality. First of all, integrality means being overall wholly. That is to say, a healthy personality is a result from which all the key elements of personality fully develop as much as possible, but not just a one-sided outstanding personality in a certain aspect. Secondly, integrality requires that all the key elements of personality are unified organically wholly. Development of logical thinking cannot suppress the development of thinking in the image but promote the development of it instead; the richness of emotion cannot impact the tightness of reason but enrich its creativity instead; enhancement of morals cannot limit the variety of imagination but enable imagine deeper instead. In other words, there is harmony and unity inside the healthy personality of integrality, but not the splitting contradiction.


(2) Coordinativity.

A healthy personality has the proper attitude and enough ability to deal with the mutual relationships between self and others, self and society, self and nature. Among them, “love” is taken as a basic means to manage those relationships. As we know, love is such an attitude seeking coordinative mutually with the external world (including that nature and humans), it is similar to the aesthetic attitude, unselfish, hearty, and open; love is the inner needs of a healthy personality, The person with it inclines to talk with people and exchange information, regarding the realization of love as a kind of unselfish happiness, regarding the course of love as the purpose, never ask for anything through love.


(3) Creativity.

A healthy personality is a kind of personality that can be lasting and creative. Creativity can generally be divided into two aspects: One refers to creativity and technical ability in a specialty, and the other one refers to the conscientious consciousness and ability which is constantly realizing and upgrade life and living as a kind of active life-vigor; it is the essential feature of the healthy personality.


(4) Sensibility.

A healthy personality is a kind of personality that is beautified and aesthetics-being emotionally and deeply. Its emotion is so emotional and sensitive as to experience uniquely with the environment and self. And, it is not merely the straight sense type that this kind of emotion is experienced, but also the after-tasting type, namely it can re-taste some emotion experience, thus making the emotion rise to the level of “pondering”. Meanwhile, a healthy personality still has a good aesthetic ability to appreciate and express and holds the more graceful artistic work, also has the ability to show intrapersonal life aptly. So, a person with a healthy personality often “appreciates repeatedly, and with curiosity and innocence feels family happiness……such as every sun-setting, every flower, every baby, everybody”, so as to obtain infinite enjoyment in living.

In a word, actually, a “healthy personality” is a kind of intact personality. Just in this meaning, the molding of a healthy personality obviously has close relations with aesthetic education. First of all, aesthetic education introjects to healthy personality while molding through promoting people’s development of sensibility. Here, what we need to declare clearly is that the so-called “healthy personality” in fact transcends all the past “one-sided” personalities, crosses beyond the “simply rational man”, surmounts the “morals man”, and exceeds the “simply perceptual man” too; it is coordinated with sensibility and sense so that it can be unified as a kind of intact personality. That is to say, to a healthy personality, only rational development is not enough, it indeed needs people’s sensibility and reason to develop synchronously which could form a personality of health. Just from this point here, aesthetic education introjects to the work of molding a healthy personality. This is mainly because of that, compared with intellectual education and moral education, aesthetic education is of a perceptual character, it attaches importance to people’s aesthesia and emotion, and it aims at the sensibility and emotion while carrying on to people. In personality education, the course of shaping a healthy personality, cannot proceed without perceptual dimensionality, namely the dimension of aesthetic education. If lacking the course of aesthetic education for long, people’s sensibility and emotion can not be cultivated and enhanced, such a person would lose the ability to communicate with the outside environment, and he has to seal himself in a narrow and small personal circle, and can not see wider world beyond this circle at all. Meanwhile, aesthetic education educated as a kind of personality is not merely participated in molding the healthy personality from the perceptual aspect which develops people, but still in the way of mixing sensibility and sense alternately which is not intellective to promote the forming of a healthy personality. For example, through aesthetic education people can be trained and received the attitude, ability, and demand of love, can be trained to pursue the values of high-grade life, their creative developments can also be promoted, and emotions can be enriched as well. All these are contents of molding a healthy personality.


Secondly, aesthetic education introjects to healthy personality through promoting sense and sensibility developing with each other in harmony. Construction of a healthy personality, not only needs rational participation but also perceptual joining, even more, to be organic integration of these two. Here, compared with other educational forms, aesthetic education possesses its own uniqueness. Aesthetic education not only possesses the characteristics of sensibility, not only promotes the development of people’s perceptual and emotions, the more important thing is that it seems to be a bridge connecting people’s sensibility and sense. Johann Christoph Friedrich Von Schiller ever said clearly: “There are different educations including some promoting the health, some increasing the knowledge, some enhancing the ethic, also some improving ability to appreciate beauty. The purpose of the last kind of education aims at training our sensibility and emotion to reach harmony as much as possible.” This is also exactly what the purpose of aesthetic education is.


Therefore aesthetic education develops people’s sensibility and senses synchronously. On one hand, it makes human nature perceptual in order to avoid inclination toward materialization and degradation during the course of “sensibility outlet”; On the other hand, it makes human nature rational to prevent irrational trends owing to excessive dilation. Such a result is neither from suppressing sensibility nor suppressing sense. But through various methods, let sensibility possess the contains of civilization and humanization, and let sense get moist to change its “grey” property; there is perceptual support so that sense can base on the solid foundation, as sensibility can hover in the sky when guided and supported by sense. That is to say that aesthetic education is favorable to both people’s sensibility and sense, and its final purpose is to unify and coordinate these two factors in order to get synchronous development. So aesthetic education not only relates to the sensibility but also to the sense; this character becomes the indispensable means to mold a healthy personality.


In modern society, it is very significant to mold a healthy personality through aesthetic education. Regarding the west, modernization has already been done for many years which also has made enormous achievements. But at the same time, western modernization appears a lot of disadvantages as well. Eric Fromm once pointed out, that in western modern society, contrasted sharply with the abundance of material wealth, spiritual pauperization becomes more and more serious. Daisaku Ikeda, who is of famous Japanese scholar, also says, 

“The billow of the times of ‘the modernization’, have improved people’s living standard on the material, but have caused the low grade and vainness on spirit. In a word, because ‘modernization’ sets the focal point to a large number of material productions, the efficiency and rational distribution, and the material life is improved, sacrificing the spiritual civilization to pursue the richness of material will cause spiritual emptiness.”

Daisaku Ikeda (A famous Japanese scholars)

He points out that modernization affects human nature in two aspects: “On one hand is shown as pursuing the truth with reason, never satisfying; on the other hand is shown as the pursuit of the material and the present desire. Pursuing the truth results to injure nature, losing the heart that is revered for the real rhythm formed by everything in nature; and pursuing the desire results to make the respect and admiration and enterprise of lofty human nature that traditional ethics establish all gone. As a result, just as a lot of intellectuals pointed out in the past or now, they think not merely people’s spiritual dignity goes close to the danger, even human survival.”

Nowadays, the crisis appearing in the course of western modernization, in fact, is the crisis appearing in the development of human beings which is from the unilateral development of the human beings. If we want to exceed western modernization and construct modernization with Chinese characteristics, we have to carry on aesthetic education by paying more attention to human spirit and putting more strength into the construction of a healthy personality.


Viewed from the situation of our country again, since reform and opening-up, our country also begins the modernized long-march of difficulty and lengthiness. In this specific period, there is a vacuum from the human’s own development: on one hand, people can’t shape the modern person with the traditional ideal of personality again, because it has already been far from meeting the needs of the modern’s development, the disadvantage of traditional personality is shown more and more distinct today; on the other hand, new ideal personality is also forming, so some people do not know with what criterion to put forward the effective request to people in today, the development of people lack the clear system of goals. These make our education course not enough for the system to the cultivation of personality. Compared with the development of the contemporary China’s social and material progress, people’s own conditions are obviously more worth worrying about. If during the course of our modernization, without the strong concern about people’s condition, without a large amount of input, we will take some detours where the western modernization once passed by again probably in our modernization, so we cannot really construct such a modernization with Chinese characteristics. It is obvious that, while being modernized, in this transitional era, focusing on the construction of a healthy personality than to further calling on the participation of aesthetic education is of great and far-reaching significance.


In sum, aesthetic education can be independent and tenable, owing to that it can distill perceptually, and guide taste and perfect personality. In other words, aesthetic education is not single and plain, but a comprehensive organism: sensibility education is the foundation, taste education is the medium, and personality education is the aim. These three factors supplement mutually as integrally as none of them can be separated from each other. Should say, the protrusive property of teenagers’ aesthetic education is shown here as well as above.

Yunyun Luo

Yunyun Luo, Assistant Research Professor at the Institute of Modern History of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 1989-1992

Assistant Research Professor in Institute of Literature of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 1992-1995

Associate Research Professor in Institute of Literature of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 1995-2002

Professor in Philosophy Department of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China


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