Wrong, wrong, wrong.

The world is changing, the economy is riling, and we're stumbling into a future where people are their own personal corporations, moving from professional affiliation to private enterprise and on to the "next thing," always juggling too many tasks and playing too many roles, required to live their lives creatively and originally, to think without boxes, to anticipate futures, and to match all this hard work and effort with what we in America idealistically call "the pursuit of Happiness."

By this measure, virtually everyone in America should be engaging in a nuanced liberal arts education: learning to be a citizen and a thinker, learning how to live and how to learn to do, learning how to be in the company of mankind, mystery, and history at once. And to find meaning in this. But now is the exact time when people, stupidly, are running into holes and seeking out the University-sponsored equivalent of vo-tech.

...a traditional liberal arts education is, by definition, not intended to prepare students for a specific vocation. Rather, the critical thinking, civic and historical knowledge and ethical reasoning that the humanities develop have a different purpose: They are prerequisites for personal growth and participation in a free democracy, regardless of career choice.

But in this new era of lengthening unemployment lines and shrinking university endowments, questions about the importance of the humanities in a complex and technologically demanding world have taken on new urgency
Everything that follows this is, in my opinion, moot, because the problem is the premise. If the changes in the world are driving people away from the humanities, that is the problem, and someone needs to correct it: people need perspective, wisdom, and the ability to make connections that are both imaginative and reasoned, people need to learn the skills of lifelong learning, creativity, and sense of the human condition, past actions, consequences, and so on. 

But most importantly, people need to remember that humans are not supposed to be cogs in the economy-machine. The economy is supposed to work for us, to make our lives better, more fulfilling, and richer... we are not supposed to be sacrificing our happiness so that this great abstraction "the economy" which is often measured with rulers of our unhappiness (Dow goes up often means employment goes down; greater "productivity" often just means we're all working longer hours; etc.) should thrive at our expense.

Liberal arts education is needed now more than ever -- as the world gets more complex and interconnected, as cultures more frequently must be bridged... we've all seen what the "MBA presidency" brought us: unwise, un-nuanced, uninformed decisions made by persons with the air-tight smugness that comes from never having your pickle twisted by the great conversation, or having your soul touched by the expanses of time and the equally unchartable unknowns. 

So let's stop at paragraph 2 of this complaint and do something about it: young person, study the arts; study the humanities. Be a person first and an employee second. Your life depends on it.

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