Friday, March 6, 2009


—Why, primarily, should people go to college?
—For an education, a higher education.
—And what is the mark of educated people?
—They’re thinkers.
—How do you know if they’re thinkers?
—They wield words well.
—Thinkers, then, are word-wielders?
—Yes. They have learned the arts of formulating their thoughts accurately, cogently, and persuasively in languages that inform and move others. Ideally, they are equally proficient at speaking and writing their well-expressed thoughts. Such dual facility, anyway, is the ideal. However, writing well is more important and enduring than speaking well, for writing can contain more thought and present it more copiously and subtly than can conversation or extemporaneous speech. And those who are well-versed in producing varieties of effective written communication have trained their minds more thoroughly and precisely than spontaneous speakers can speak or listeners can attend to and absorb. Writing well rocks the world.
—But couldn’t you be accused of narrow-minded “verbalism”?
—Well, to avoid that, let me include all the languages by which thought is communicated—not only by words but by mathematical, musical, and visual languages, and even physical and emotional languages, such as dancing, hugging, and empathizing.