To be truly free in our society today encompasses a lot of things, and therefore it is difficult to determine if a Liberal Arts education promotes this ideal. I definitely believe that gaining a liberal arts educations benefits society, and gives people a more universal perspective on their lives and the systems in which they live. However I do not believe that gaining a liberal arts educations holds the only key to being truly free in our society today.

To start, I don’t think that a Liberal Arts education is required to get and maintain a job that enables you to enjoy a standard of living about that equivalent to a “wage slavery” job, but it certainly helps. There are many people who have not even received a college degree doing exceptionally well for themselves, and there are many people with a liberal arts education currently in “wage slavery” jobs. One of the reasons people with liberal arts educations tend to do better in the job market, however, is because they have a broader view of life. One of the critical aspects of any high level job is being able to see things from multiple angles and viewpoints to better choose where change needs to occur. By forcing ourselves at an earlier age to be exposed to multiple disciplines and subject, we gain that advantage. However, particularly now with the internet, a person can gain knowledge on a myriad of subjects if they so choose. In my opinion, those people who have sought on their own to gain a variety of knowledge with do just as well as someone with a liberal arts education.

In response to the last questions, I am not entirely sure. It would be so easy to say that if everyone was exposed to multiple disciplines and viewpoints, and if they gained a liberal arts education, that overall the world would be a better place. And in some sense, that is true. There has always been a belief that if you can walk a mile in another person’s shoes, and see things from different perspectives, you will be better off. However, just as important, is a person’s desire to see those perspectives. If someone has no desire to learn, they won’t, no matter how many different angles you throw at them. So, at the end of the day, a person’s will to learn and change is much greater than their actual accumulation of knowledge.

7 responses »

  1. Charles says:

    I think you bring up a valid point regarding the internet. Nowaday, so much information is available to majority of Americans on the internet that almost anyone if they so choose can be just as well-rounded as someone graduating from a liberal arts school.

  2. wesmw says:

    I agree with your point that a liberal arts education is a better tool for the workplace because it broadens one’s perspective. In addition, I also think a liberal arts education provides the motivation for people to achieve success in several areas.

  3. Jordi says:

    The stagnation of minimum wage laws relative either to inflation or the productivity of each worker does more to keep more people close to wage slavery than the availability of liberal arts education.

  4. Jordi says:

    What might affect that desire? TO learn?

  5. eric says:

    @Jordi: A solid nuclear family for one thing…

    I agree. The desire to learn, especially in the information age in which we live, is central to one’s self-cultivation and ultimate success. I just wish our educational system was geared towards giving all citizens the tools with which to build, rather than just a few.

    The desire to learn may be more naturally a part of some than others – it’s possible, given that kids have different temperaments from very early on (not EVERYTHING can be nurture…) – but ultimately, one’s desire to learn come from the realization that learning is the only way to achieve one’s purpose. Though finding a purpose seems to be the hardest part of our educational system. The more standardized and “efficient” we become, the less we learn to learn.

    I assume we are all familiar with the age old question of whether to take the straight path or the scenic route. So far as I can see, the purpose of life is to take the scenic route. The straight path is simply for survival. Isn’t it about time we began to live according to our purpose than out of survival? I don’t just mean as individuals – but as a society. Granted, in truth, this requires that we first achieve world peace, but hey, why not let us do that? Look at the world today as compared to just a few generations ago. Can we avoid, forever, World War III? or a Cold War II? If so, then we can, instead, work towards the freedom of all.

    Plus, we have robots now, lets let them do all the mechanical work.
    3D printers, Holographic displays, and we found the “god” particle…

    The future is going to be a fun place.

  6. Jordi says:

    What if God wants her particle back?

  7. eric says:

    At least in the christian sense, God with a capital G is generally referred to as a ‘he,’ I do believe.

    If we assume God is genderless, however, then when we place a ‘he’ or ‘she’ to reference God, I can’t help but assume it implies a yin/yang connotation…
    ie. If he wants it back, he’ll take it. vs If she wants it back, she’ll entice it to come back to her.

    So if she wants it back, she she can’t have it. Cause mankind has it now.
    Unless mankind learns a thing or two from this female God and learns to share better.

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