Remaining a Lifelong Learner
The big day arrives: Graduation! You march into the auditorium, stand and get your diploma and you never need to learn anything more! WRONG.
A good liberal arts education has been overshadowed by an education that relates specifically to one field, with a few courses thrown in to "round you out". With so many new fields of study in the past 30 years, and new college programs and ways to learn, liberal arts education has taken a back seat to specialized courses of study and these do not address the needs of a changing society or make students ready for real life situations.
Being able to read, articulate a particular political stance, a view on the changing world of art and media, or even contribute to a philosophical discussion have been overshadowed by hard facts and rote memorization of details that must be regurgitated in the form of a test at the end of a course offering. There is no synthesis, no analysis, no formulation of ones own conclusion in those areas of interdisciplinary scholarship. One removes the individual sense of critical thinking and replaces it with scientific or historical rhetoric. End of discussion.
To become a well rounded individual, one needs to be open to life long intensive learning, whether individual or group, formal or informal. How can one make a decision based on an outdated set of reference points? Our society is on the brink of mental annihilation if we do not do something about the idiocy of our people. Daily it becomes more and more apparent that those interested in positions of leadership are just plain dumb. They hold strong opinions of judgment, are not interested in stretching the limits of their knowledge, and living the "American Dream" through the lens of a cartoon character such as Homer Simpson. Ask them who the other "Homer" was and you get a glassy stare.
Recently I have been challenged to take a course of study that includes being subjected to material I heretofore have been vehemently opposed. The idea I need to remain open to revisit those ideas is tantamount to my remaining educated throughout my lifetime and willing to surrender my current belief system and to be open to the beliefs of others, even if just for a period of time. To remain sequestered in one manner of thinking is not conducive to my growth in my lifetime.
Just as many people believe people should retake their driving test once they become over 65 years old, I believe people should take an intelligence test as well. How can one fully experience the fullness of the beauty and the knowledge of life on this planet without continuing to learn new things and opening themselves up to new ideas. To "graduate" from a course of study and believe that is the end of ones need to learn new knowledge is like taking using a condom once and believing all other encounters will protect one from getting pregnant!
Liberal Arts is the cornerstone of all education and is vitally important to all manner of learning in the world. To not understand how things work, how people think, and the integration of the ideas of the great thinkers and writers, composers and artists is tantamount to missing some of the greatest workings of the human mind.
There is no reason we cannot continue to learn and grow into our elder years and keep our brains functioning and remaining sharp and keen so we can enjoy the life we are blessed to have. There should be some way to get the message out to those who waster their lives in drug or alcohol induced states and miss the very manna life has to offer. Carpe Diem! Don;t wait til its too late...!