Friday, April 1, 2016

Liberal arts are where we learn how to be citizens

Education has become almost exclusively a linear pursuit to secure employment, at the expense of other crucial factors. Education at the secondary, postsecondary, and even high school has become a training ground for developing human automatons. 

There is little room for studying the arts in its myriad forms. No time to read Melville, too busy for Federalist No. 10, and why take jazz or art appreciation if it does not get me in the door of a large company in Silicon Valley? 

Some governors have actually advocated doing away with liberal arts education in its state institutions. This may be well intentioned, but the unintended consequence will be the systematic dumbing down of society. 

The etymology of education includes the definition to “bring out.” Moreover, there are benefits to liberal education that are undeniable.

I’m not suggesting that one forgo a business degree to become a philosophy major. I am suggesting, however, the ethics that is taught in business school will be bolstered greatly with an understanding of and appreciation for Plato’s Republic. 

Liberal arts can remove one from the naivety of believing that the human condition is black and white, but rather multiple shades of grey. It is where students learn critical thinking and find comfort while existing in the discomfort of ambiguity. It is to pretend that objectivity is the exclusive coin of the realm, while subjectivity garners a value equivalent to the Confederate currency circa 1866.

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