Following on the heels of my previous post “The Vision of the Anointed is Our Nightmare; Ivy league Progressives and Their Creeping Racism” I offer the following video discussion. And, once again, real adults are involved. No trigger warnings issued here.
The discussion led by Peter Robinson of the Hoover Institute centers on the current state of liberal arts education. Joseph Epstein and Andrew Ferguson both share from their extensive experience. The participant’s credentials, included in the video, won’t be repeated here.
“We may fairly ask, could any field other than liberal arts yield as broad and as significant an introduction to life’s comparisons and choices; could any other provide a more vital classroom experience for the development of men who are free not primarily because of birth, but because they have learned to use their birthright to chose a way of life? Quoting from Dartmouth College President John Sloan Dickey’s Convocation Address,1954, as recorded in the Dartmouth Review, March 13, 2013, page 11
Considering my birthright to be that of an autodidact liberal arts student, I look at the world from both ends of a telescope. And, though my pay-the-bills ‘FT’ job is in the field of engineering I seek out all manner of wonderful going beyond the rote of everyday life. From my posts you’ll see that this includes and is not limited to quantum physics, genetics, theistic “old earth” evolution, philosophy, psychotherapy, Christianity, music, art, poetry and both non-fiction and fiction literature including Shakespeare. I say this not out of braggadocio but to let you know that I was taught early on to seek wisdom, knowledge and a good understanding. I have an insatiable appetite to learn. I need clarion answers and I also need a universe full of space, time and matter to ponder.
An old preacher once told me, “If it’s new it’s not true. If it’s true it’s not new.” This adage applies especially to a liberal arts education wherein one can unearth ancient wisdom, dust off traditional values and compare them to today’s instantly gratifying, mostly politicized and ‘Democratic-ized” popular icons of ‘knowledge” (e.g., global warming is a man-made crisis, crime originates from poverty and poor government institutions, etc.). This adage aptly applies to the physical sciences as well since what is being discovered has been around since the beginning of time
Knowledge-wise I cut my teeth, so to speak, sans ‘higher education’ when I began questioning common knowledge, spitting out popular ‘wisdom’ and seeking to rid myself of the scourge of acid-like sentimentality that eats away at the protective enamel of wisdom. The dentist told me to floss every day. And, Socrates told me that “an unexamined life is not worth living.” They share the same Hippocratic Office, I think.
Some of my liberal arts ‘findings’ are presented in my posts. I write the posts to remind myself of what I have read, to reinforce the content in my mind and to learn to parse, focusing only on what is true, good and worthy. And, then, there is also this reason…
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
– William Shakespeare (from A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Some thoughts on the most important aspect of a liberal arts education-gaining wisdom:
Hopefully by now you have noticed that science’s data collection and life’s growing empiricism do not counterbalance the super-sized questions of life weighing you down. Please don’t “scien-tize” your life as Joseph Epstein coined in the video or meta-data yourself into boredom. Wise-up your life.
And, even though the wisest, most circumspect and ‘experienced’ man in history, King Solomon, writes his direst thoughts in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, telling us that life is …
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless!”
…we are reminded that Solomon asked God for the gift of wisdom yet Solomon did not use all of the wisdom given to him. That led him to…
The Conclusion of the Matter
Not only was the Teacher wise, but he also imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.
The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.
Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.
Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.
There is just too much of life to be taken in to ever be bored with life or to find time to despair. No head in the oven for me.
Allan Bloom, American philosopher, classicist, and academician, in his 1987 book “The Closing of the American Mind, How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students” writes about how liberal arts education became impoverished and the consequential effects.
Here is a previous post with quotes from Allan Bloom: Fear and Loathing In America’s Shires