Thursday, February 05, 2009

Liberal Education

 

A few years ago, a faculty committee at Harvard produced a report on the purpose of education. “The aim of a liberal education” the report declared, “is to unsettle presumptions, to defamiliarize the familiar, to reveal what is going on beneath and behind appearances, to disorient young people and to help them to find ways to reorient themselves.”

What Life Asks of Us - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com

The argument for liberal education is one side of the spectrum. The other side is the more conservative education through certain institutions religious or others.

Institutions do all the things that are supposed to be bad. They impede personal exploration. They enforce conformity.

But they often save us from our weaknesses and give meaning to life.

Need there be a conflict between the two? Any liberal education to the extreme will only produce confusion. On the other hand an extreme conservative education will produce bigotry. A liberal education thrives on solid foundation and builds on it.

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