III. General Information
Aesthetic Maturity may be described as a quality of the critical response to some object, natural or artificial, external to the self. Or it may be a process of creation and development of the self. In the former case, aesthetic maturity may be attained by a sufficient exposure, not necessarily in courses alone, to works of art (inclusive of music, literature, and drama) and to the critical traditions concerning them. Such maturity may also be directed at aesthetic valuing of features of the natural environment.
In the latter case, attainment of the quality will require an active involvement in the work of creation itself. A different order of aesthetic maturity may be attained by practice of that form of manipulation and recreation of the original object known as criticism (as distinct from appreciation).
Viewed this way, aesthetic maturity has a certain resemblance to both independence of thought and depth of understanding, in requiring an active creativity. Aesthetic maturity need not be divorced from the specific character of individual disciplines. By possession and exercise of aesthetic maturity, students may be brought to appreciate the order, elegance, and harmony not only of the subject matter, but also of the procedures, of the discipline.