My little dog, as well as I, has mind, Intentions and proclivities inclined In certain ways expressing her own kind, In other ways uniquely it’s designed, Though somehow hers and mine are intertwined In ways that only God could have divined.
A liberal education is one that disposes and prepares you to flourish in the future, providing you with what you need to know and do to meet the challenges you will face, both personally and publicly, while contributing to the success of the human enterprise. That is the aim of a liberal education.
Such an education begins formally in school and college but continues ad hoc through the whole of your life, autodidactically, for college should make you a life-long learner disposed to contribute your seasoned talents to meet the world’s needs.
What the world needs most from us from Homo sapiens, is our developed sapience, the wisdom to realize what is of value to ourselves and others, making it manifest and effective in the world.
The duty, therefore, of every liberally educated person is to discover whatever is dysfunctional and deleterious in nature and culture and work to rectify it. Our human duty is to serve, however we can, the world’s well-being. Liberated from egotism and empowered to benefit the world, heroes of humanity serve with compassionate determination the urgent needs of others.
A Global Wisdom Culture—what is that? A way that humankind may realize The time has come to lower Earth’s thermostat, Conserve its resources and otherwise Behave as sanely and responsibly As guardians and caretakers must do Who recognize this Earthly odyssey Is our clear cosmic mission to pursue. The awe we ought to feel as science shows The marvels of the universe displayed, Revealing how the whole shebang arose From nothing, yet is orderly arrayed, Shows us the motive that is rightly ours: To wisely use our own creative powers.
So, what then are the “Values of the Wise” That all well-meaning souls should realize? Most certainly the first one is that love, Compassion, fellow-feeling rise above All other motives harbored in one’s heart, And giving love is always where to start.
But yet you must be canny to detect The waywardness of others who elect To take advantage of your charity, Abusing it and you maliciously— So master then a cunning kind of love That shelters both the serpent and the dove, That knows the vagaries of the human heart And grows a mind not only kind but smart.
Amazingly, we’ve come to comprehend A history of the Universe which shows Implicit cosmic motives that intend To make our race, to whom it can disclose The secrets of its fertile cosmic mind, Appreciative of our amazing being, Aware that we’re thus specially designed For the delight of visionary seeing. Though still too few have wholly realized This visionary revelation’s aim, Increasingly, enlightenment is prized— Our apprehension of the cosmic flame. In time we’ll learn more thoroughly to see How all of everything has come to be.
The who, the what, the where, the when, the how— These questions curious human minds allow; One other, though, our minds always deny As most unfathomable: the question why.
Why are we here? What purpose do we serve? What rules and principles should we observe? Why, after eons, should our kind appear If not intended and designed for here?
It cannot be we are an accident. We have to think that somehow we are meant, That meaning is inherent in the scheme That we now know once made the cosmos teem From nothing into boundless energy Evolving into us—who strive to see.
To discover and develop what gifts you have to fill the world’s deficiencies, by providing good goods and serviceable services—is the answer to that question.
While many people serve themselves first and foremost, aiming to gratify chiefly their own lusts, they may find pleasure but not fulfillment in such selfishness and will never know the profound gratifications of sharing and giving—providing for others.
This is a truth of human nature, however it may have emerged in us through the course of our species’ evolution. We are “wired” to find our greatest fulfillment in providing for others’ well-being as well as our own, and to neglect or deny that innate summons will leave us essentially unsatisfied and unfulfilled. Only by giving to others can we get what we most deeply need.
More specifically, now: Why should you pursue a liberal education?
There are both personal and public reasons for why you might pursue a college education in the liberal arts and sciences. The personal reason is self-fulfillment, and the public reason is service to the world.
What drives the first motive is your curiosity to learn about various aspects of our cultural and natural world—the subject matters of the numerous fields of knowledge departmentalized in college under such categories as languages and literature, arts, sciences, and social sciences.
You come to college to explore these fields, finding out what they entail, and focusing on those ones most congenial to your own genius or aptitudes. Lacking such essential curiosity or internal urgency to learn, you will waste time and money in college and hinder fellow students from their own pursuits of higher learning, which is a communal enterprise, not an ordeal.
The public reason for your dedicated pursuit of a liberal education (whether in college or elsewhere) is to prepare yourself to recognize and wisely address challenges to the flourishing of life on Earth, from its lowest to its highest reaches, realizing how precious and precarious is life in the cosmos—and treasuring its well-being.
To the heart of the matter or seen the Bright Light That shines in a consciousness cosmically tuned, Confined to this outpost, lost and marooned, I’ll keep to my questing and hope soon to see Down to the bottom of reality.
What more is there that we can be Than we have been before? What visions may we see when we Fling wide perception’s door? Our great potentiality Lies sleeping in our core, Yet when we’ve learned to set it free We’ll see the world galore.