The article linked below from the online version of the Chronicle of Higher Education points out some convincing reasons to “geek” a liberal-arts education. A primary argument is that it teaches us how to learn. Rather than learning a particular task that will soon become obsolete, we learn how to analyze the topic and discover its application to new situations. According to the author, Nannerl O. Keohane, “teaching focus, critical thinking, and the ability to express oneself clearly both in writing and speaking [are] skills that are of great value no matter what profession you may choose.”
Margaret Nussbaus, author of Not for Profit, poses a second argument, stating that democracies need “complete citizens who can think for themselves, criticize tradition, and understand the significance of another person’s sufferings and achievements.” With this capacity, we can make significant contributions to our communities rather than wringing our hands or feigning indifference because changes elude us.
Then there is the argument that a liberal-arts education just makes us more interesting–to ourselves as well as to others. Our inner thoughts are not bounded by what others have told us; we can explore new worlds with words as our passport. We can astonish our acquaintances by giving them something substantial to think about. And we can explore ideas–and answers–together!
Do you geek LAE, too? If so, I’ve got a universe or two I plan to explore, but I prefer to travel with friends…