Posted on November 14th, 2008 in Education, General, My Life | Written by Ben | 2 Comments »
This is one in a series of daily posts I conceived of writing many weeks ago while the election still raged on, as I looked for something to write about of more lasting value. The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving seemed perfectly appropriate for it. Just in case you wondered, the topics introduced are not necessarily in any particular order. I hope the series is of some small encouragement to you, even as my site traffic takes a dive.
If my mission in life were to go forth and make as much money as possible, I’d have to be considered a fool and a failure by now (some think the same of me, anyway). One of my first missteps would have been choosing to be a history major at a small liberal arts college of somewhat unique renown. But I have no regrets at all for doing so.
I count it a privilege to have spent four largely scholarship-subsidized years at Hillsdale College. This type of education certainly isn’t for everyone, but more people could benefit from a genuine dose of the great books, great ideas and great thinkers of Western Civilization. It truly gives a more rounded perspective of the world we live in and its problems, as well as the recurring themes of human nature and society.
Liberal arts education is designed to expand the mind. However, if such education becomes a cause for vanity and arrogance, it has been lost on the individual who has been its beneficiary. Liberal arts education should humble the mind in light of the vast accumulated wisdom of ages past and present. It is humbling to find out you knew much less than you thought, but in another sense it is truly liberating.
A worthwhile education promotes an awareness of its own immense value but also of its own limits. Liberal arts education helps to guide one to the true, the good, and the beautiful, and thus is a blessing. But only because it also knows its proper place.
My liberal arts education merely began with the four years at Hillsdale College, both in the classroom lectures, discussions, and meetings with professors, and in the student-to-student debates at the cafeteria, in the Quad, or in the dorms. But it didn’t end there. The opportunity to develop a love for lifelong learning – to avoid many dull and listless moments with a thirst for knowledge and always more questions than answers – is something for which I am truly grateful.
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